S-1 1 abscis-1.htm S-1 Document

As filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on June 30, 2021.
Registration No. 333-
UNITED STATES
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549
FORM S-1
REGISTRATION STATEMENT
UNDER
THE SECURITIES ACT OF 1933
ABSCI CORPORATION
(Exact name of Registrant as specified in its charter) 
Delaware873185-3383487
(State or other jurisdiction of
incorporation or organization)
(Primary Standard Industrial
Classification Code Number)
(I.R.S. Employer
Identification No.)
101 E. 6th Street, Suite 350
Vancouver, WA 98660
(360) 949-1041
(Address, including zip code and telephone number, including area code, of Registrant’s principal executive offices)
Sean McClain
Chief Executive Officer
Absci Corporation
101 E. 6th Street, Suite 350
Vancouver, WA 98660
(360) 949-1041
(Name, address, including zip code, and telephone number, including area code, of agent for service)
Copies to:
Kingsley Taft, Esq.
Maggie Wong, Esq.
Goodwin Procter LLP
Three Embarcadero Center
San Francisco, CA 94111
(415) 733-6000
Sean McClain
Chief Executive Officer
Absci Corporation
101 E. 6th Street, Suite 350
Vancouver, WA 98660
(360) 949-1041
Brian J. Cuneo, Esq.
B. Shayne Kennedy, Esq.
Latham & Watkins LLP
140 Scott Drive
Menlo Park, CA 94205
(650) 328-4600
Approximate date of commencement of proposed sale to the public: As soon as practicable after the effective date of this registration statement.
If any of the securities being registered on this Form are to be offered on a delayed or continuous basis pursuant to Rule 415 under the Securities Act of 1933 check the following box. ☐
If this Form is filed to register additional securities for an offering pursuant to Rule 462(b) under the Securities Act, please check the following box and list the Securities Act registration statement number of the earlier effective registration statement for the same offering. ☐
If this Form is a post-effective amendment filed pursuant to Rule 462(c) under the Securities Act, check the following box and list the Securities Act registration statement number of the earlier effective registration statement for the same offering. ☐
If this Form is a post-effective amendment filed pursuant to Rule 462(d) under the Securities Act, check the following box and list the Securities Act registration statement number of the earlier effective registration statement for the same offering. ☐
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a smaller reporting company, or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company,” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.
Large accelerated filerAccelerated filer
Non-accelerated filerSmaller reporting company
Emerging growth company
If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 7(a)(2)(B) of the Securities Act. ☐



CALCULATION OF REGISTRATION FEE
Title of Each Class of
Securities to be Registered
Proposed
Maximum
Aggregate
Offering Price(1)
Amount of
Registration Fee(2)
Common Stock, par value $0.0001 per share$100,000,000.00$10,910
(1)Estimated solely for the purpose of calculating the registration fee pursuant to Rule 457(o) under the Securities Act. Includes the offering price of any additional shares that the underwriters have the option to purchase.
(2)Calculated pursuant to Rule 457(o) under the Securities Act based on an estimate of the proposed maximum aggregate offering price.
The Registrant hereby amends this Registration Statement on such date or dates as may be necessary to delay its effective date until the Registrant shall file a further amendment which specifically states that this Registration Statement shall thereafter become effective in accordance with Section 8(a) of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, or until the Registration Statement shall become effective on such date as the Securities and Exchange Commission, acting pursuant to said Section 8(a), may determine.



The information in this preliminary prospectus is not complete and may be changed. We may not sell these securities until the registration statement filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission is effective. This preliminary prospectus is not an offer to sell these securities and is not soliciting an offer to buy these securities in any jurisdiction where such offer or sale is not permitted.
Subject to completion, dated             , 2021.
Preliminary prospectus
             shares
prospectuscover1b.jpg
Common stock
This is an initial public offering of shares of common stock by Absci Corporation. We are offering                shares of our common stock to be sold in the offering. The initial public offering price is expected to be between $        and $        per share.
Prior to this offering, there has been no public market for our common stock. We have applied to list our common stock on the Nasdaq Global Market (Nasdaq), under the symbol “ABSI.”
We are an “emerging growth company” as defined in the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act of 2012 and a “smaller reporting company” as defined in the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended and, as such, have elected to take advantage of certain reduced public company reporting requirements.
 Per shareTotal
Initial public offering price$$
Underwriting discounts and commissions(1)
$$
Proceeds to Absci Corporation, before expenses$$
(1)See “Underwriting” for a description of the compensation payable to the underwriters.
We have granted the underwriters an option for a period of 30 days to purchase up to             additional shares of common stock at the initial public offering price, less underwriting discounts and commissions.
Investing in our common stock involves a high degree of risk. See “Risk Factors” beginning on page 19.
Neither the Securities and Exchange Commission nor any other regulatory body has approved or disapproved of these securities or passed upon the accuracy or adequacy of this prospectus. Any representation to the contrary is a criminal offense.
The underwriters expect to deliver the shares to purchasers on or about                      , 2021.
J.P. MorganCredit SuisseBofA SecuritiesCowenStifel

The date of this prospectus is           , 2021.



Table of Contents
Page No.
Through and including            ,               (the 25th day after the date of this prospectus), all dealers effecting transactions in these securities, whether or not participating in this offering, may be required to deliver a prospectus. This is in addition to a dealers’ obligation to deliver a prospectus when acting as underwriters and with respect to their unsold allotments or subscriptions.
We and the underwriters have not authorized anyone to provide any information other than that contained in this prospectus or in any free writing prospectus prepared by or on behalf of us or to which we have referred you. We take no responsibility for, and can provide no assurance as to the reliability of, any other information that others may give you. We and the underwriters are not making an offer to sell these securities in any jurisdiction where the offer or sale is not permitted. You should assume that the information appearing in this prospectus is accurate only as of the date on the front cover of this prospectus. Our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects may have changed since that date.
For investors outside of the United States: We have not, and the underwriters have not, done anything that would permit this offering or possession or distribution of this prospectus in any jurisdiction where action for that purpose is required, other than the United States. Persons outside of the United States who come into possession of this prospectus must inform themselves about, and observe any restrictions relating to, the offering of the shares of common stock and the distribution of this prospectus outside of the United States.
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Prospectus Summary
This summary highlights selected information contained elsewhere in this prospectus and does not contain all of the information that you should consider in making your investment decision. Before investing in our common stock, you should carefully read this entire prospectus, including our financial statements and the related notes included elsewhere in this prospectus. You should also consider, among other things, the matters described under “Risk Factors” and “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations,” in each case appearing elsewhere in this prospectus. Unless otherwise stated, all references to “us,” “our,” “Absci” “we,” the “Company” and similar designations refer to Absci Corporation and its wholly owned subsidiaries.
Our Mission
Our mission is to change the world, one protein at a time. We founded Absci with the goal of creating better medicines and helping them reach patients sooner. We recognized the extraordinary medical and economic potential of protein-based drugs (biologics), but also the significant challenges the biopharmaceutical industry faces to both discover novel biologics and generate cell lines to manufacture them at commercial scale. We looked at the end game – getting better medicines to patients, faster — and asked: how? We built our technology to be that how.
We believe we are replacing the fragmented steps and inefficiencies of the conventional biologic drug discovery and cell line development processes with our fully integrated, end-to-end platform designed to create new and better biologics and accelerate their advancement into clinical trials and ultimately into the marketplace where they can serve patients. Combining innovative approaches, including synthetic biology, high-throughput single-cell screening, and deep learning artificial intelligence (AI), we seek to identify optimal drug candidates by exploring expansive protein sequence solution spaces — including considering sequences that nature's evolutionary trajectory has yet to propose. We believe our platform allows us to expand biological possibilities and generate proteins intractable to produce with other technologies to ensure the best drug candidates have the opportunity to become therapeutic realities for patients. Our goal is to enable the creation of better medicines by Translating Ideas into Drugs.
And we are just getting started. Proteins are everywhere making biology happen. We believe commercial applications for novel proteins extend far beyond the realm of therapeutics and into other industries including materials science, industrial chemicals, cosmetics, synthetic foods, and agriculture. Today, we are focused on bringing value to the biopharmaceutical industry and generating better medicines. Our near term vision is to enable discovery of novel, targeted biologic drug candidates, and the cell lines to manufacture them, with the click of a button. Looking ahead, we envision a future in which Absci will be the universal engine creating protein-based solutions to advance the bio-based economy, one protein at a time.
Overview
With our AI-powered Integrated Drug Creation Platform we enable the creation of novel biologics by unifying biologic drug discovery and cell line development into one simultaneous process. We leverage proprietary synthetic biology technologies and deep learning AI to predict, identify, design, construct, screen, select and scale production of novel biologic drug candidates, and learn from the data we generate. We believe our approach delivers disruptive efficiency, but more importantly enables our partners to create novel and human/AI-designed new-to-nature biologics (next-generation biologics).
While next-generation biologics have exciting medical potential and are a rapidly growing field of drug development, because their protein architectures (scaffolds or modalities) are biologically
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foreign, they present challenges for conventional biologic drug discovery and cell line development methods. These methods typically involve a linear series of steps to screen and select desired molecular parts and reformat them into their final protein scaffold, and subsequent laborious and often unsuccessful generation of a suitable manufacturing cell line. We are transforming the biologic drug discovery and cell line development processes by rapidly screening up to billions of drug candidates in the desired final protein scaffold that goes into patients and in the production cell line that scales up for clinical and commercial manufacturing.
We believe our platform integrates a fragmented set of processes and bypasses the molecular reformatting and cell line development challenges that can lead to inefficiencies and failures. To accomplish this, we use proprietary high-throughput single cell assays that can evaluate billions of drug sequence variants, each within its production cell line, for target binding affinity, protein quality, and production level (titer). We also harness the large datasets we generate to train and refine our deep learning models which guide our protein and cell line designs, and enable in silico optimization of multiple attributes.
We believe our platform is the only commercially available solution that allows for high-throughput screening for simultaneous biologic drug discovery and manufacturing cell line development for next-generation biologics. With our recent acquisition of Totient, we are expanding our platform to include identification of disease- and tissue-specific targets and fully human antibodies as enhancements to our Discovery applications. We believe our unique approach to biologic drug creation has the potential to significantly accelerate preclinical development timelines and expand therapeutic possibilities for the biopharmaceutical industry.
Our goal is to become the partner of choice for biologic drug discovery and cell line development. As a technology development company, we generate biologic drug candidates and production cell lines for our partners to develop; we do not conduct or sponsor preclinical validation studies or clinical trials or seek regulatory approvals for drug candidates. Our business model is to establish partnerships with biopharmaceutical companies and use our platform for rapid creation of next-generation biologic drug candidates and production cell lines. We expect our partnerships to provide us with the opportunity to participate in the future success of the biologics generated utilizing our platform, through potential milestone payments as well as royalties on sales by our partners of approved products. We aim to assemble economic interests in a diversified portfolio of partners’ next-generation biologic drug candidates across multiple indications.
We currently have drug candidates in nine Active Programs (across seven current partners’ preclinical or clinical pipelines) for which we have negotiated, or expect to negotiate upon completion of certain technology development activities, license agreements with potential downstream milestone payments and royalties. Eight of the Active Programs are focused on developing production cell lines for drug candidates that our partners (including Merck & Co., Inc. (Merck), Xyphos Biotechnology, an Astellas Company (Astellas), Alpha Cancer Technologies, Inc. and other undisclosed biotechnology companies) are developing (five preclinical, one Phase 1, one Phase 3, and one animal health), reflecting our 2018 commercialization of our Cell Line Development (CLD) applications. We have one Discovery program underway, focused on lead optimization with Astellas, which we signed shortly after our December 2020 expansion of our platform to include our initial Discovery applications. We define Active Programs as programs that are subject to ongoing technology development activities intended to determine if the program can be pursued by our partner for future clinical development, as well as any program for which our partner obtains and maintains a license to our technology to advance the program after completion of the technology development phase. There is no assurance, however, that our partners will advance any drug candidates that are currently the subject of Active Programs into further preclinical or clinical development or that our partners will elect to license our technologies upon completion of the technology development phase in a timely manner, or at all.
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Strategy
We believe we represent a new breed of biotechnology company, integrating powerful artificial intelligence with new synthetic biology technologies to create next-generation biologics. We aim to become a partner of choice to both large pharmaceutical companies and biotechnology companies to enable and empower discovery and cell line development capabilities for biologics. We intend to use our Integrated Drug Creation Platform to empower innovation by identifying new targets, creating new modalities, discovering next-generation biologics, driving efficiencies, broadening pipelines, and accelerating preclinical timelines.
Our strategy to accomplish this is as follows:
Enable the discovery and development of next-generation biologics and new modalities through our proprietary platform.
Accelerate biologic drug discovery and cell line development by unifying these processes as “Integrated Drug Creation.”
Drive rapid adoption by becoming a partner of choice for large pharmaceutical companies and biotechnology companies.
Advance the promise of in silico drug creation by leveraging proprietary data and AI.
Continuously invest in our platform to push the boundaries of science and unlock the untapped power of biology.
Maintain an entrepreneurial, founder-led, scientifically rigorous, data-driven, and inclusive corporate culture.
Our Integrated Drug Creation Platform
We built our Integrated Drug Creation Platform to create next-generation biologics including those that lie beyond the scope of nature. To achieve this, we leverage synthetic biology technologies, engineered biodiversity, proprietary functional assays and data-driven deep learning computational models to discover novel disease- and tissue-specific drug targets and next-generation biologic drug candidates while generating optimized production cell lines in parallel. The foundational technologies that power our platform are:
SoluPro & Bionic SoluPro: SoluPro is our patented bioproduction system based on bioengineered E. coli. Using synthetic biology techniques, we designed SoluPro to be our chassis cell line and be fundamentally good at making complex mammalian proteins. We believe our SoluPro unlocks evolutionary opportunities by expanding the biological repertoire of proteins that can be produced to include complex new-to-nature proteins such as next-generation biologics. We further engineered a version of SoluPro to facilitate site-specific incorporation of non-standard amino acids (nsAAs) into proteins for scaled production. We refer to these nsAA-containing proteins as Bionic Proteins and the SoluPro strain we use to produce them as Bionic SoluPro.
Custom Scaffold Libraries: We can design and generate custom collections of drug candidate sequence variants for each Discovery program, starting with whatever scaffold our partner specifies, whether natural, pre-existing, or newly-invented, and building out up to billions of different versions to test. These libraries are specifically generated for each program and scaffold, and our AI predictions coupled with our ability to generate libraries in any given scaffold allow us to consider relevant variants that nature could not have proposed. We can also specify nsAA incorporation sites as we design these libraries.
Folding & Expression Solutions: We curate a diverse collection of folding and expression solutions, which are genetic tools that we use to customize SoluPro and optimize
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production of the desired protein. Each protein we work on has different characteristics when it comes to manufacturability factors, and with the folding and expression solutions parts library and our synthetic biology methods, we create up to billions of different cell lines and measure each cell’s performance to find the solutions that work best for the protein-of-interest. The folding and expression solutions collectively comprise an expansive set of genetic modules and techniques we have assembled, including ribosome binding site sequences, molecular chaperones, and codon-optimization conventions.
Breakthrough Assays: Our proprietary Activity-specific Cell Enrichment (ACE) and High-Throughput Proximity Binding (HiPrBind) Assays allow us to evaluate and sort the millions to billions of drug sequence and cell line variants we generate. Tailored for each of our programs, our high-throughput assays can rank and sort billions of cells based on desired parameters such as target affinity, protein quality, and titer. We are also able to capture datasets correlating protein sequence variants and folding and expression solutions with cell line characteristics. These large, highly complex datasets have the potential to provide us with highly relevant insights about protein function and manufacturability in our system and beyond.
Denovium Engine: Our Denovium Engine is an AI technology that includes deep learning computational models of protein function. The Denovium Engine models, trained on our high-quality data that are particularly relevant to our system, generate non-obvious predictions about the impact of amino acid sequence and cell line characteristics on a given protein’s function and manufacturability. A deep learning neural network approach is well-suited to our complex datasets because the models learn what is relevant to the specific objective, without human annotation or bias. We expect the capabilities of the Denovium Engine to grow with each new set of data we generate and input. In the future, we intend to use AI to inform the choice of drug scaffold, define the scope of sequence variants to generate, and design the cell line attributes. We believe this technology may eventually enable us to optimize complex solution space fully in silico without the need to physically screen billions of options.
Computational Antibody & Target Discovery: Our computational antibody and target discovery technology is a bioinformatics and machine learning-based platform that allows us to reconstruct sequences of antibodies and other disease-specific proteins from bulk RNA sequencing data (RNA-Seq). We can retrospectively select samples from patients who experienced distinct immune responses and assemble sequences of the most highly expressed monoclonal antibodies present in the tissue of interest. We use these antibodies to identify corresponding target proteins (antigens), and thus we uncover both novel and previously recognized immunogenic targets. We are building a library of tissue- and disease-specific target antigens paired with unique fully human antibodies. Our approach is extensible to identifying other disease state-specific macromolecules relevant to therapeutic responses, such as T-cell receptors.
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Our platform integrates biologic drug discovery and cell line development processes, accomplishing these activities in parallel rather than sequentially. We have designed our Integrated Drug Creation Platform to provide the following potential benefits for our partners:
Accelerated timelines from idea to drug candidate.
Creation of new biologic modalities.
Efficient production of complex biologics.
Design of better drug candidates.
Increase manufacturing productivity and reduce costs.
We perform our process using our Integrated Drug Creation Platform to predict biologically interesting variants, identify novel disease targets, design custom libraries of protein-of-interest sequence variants, construct diverse populations of cells with these libraries and our folding and expression solutions, screen and sort these cells based on our desired criteria, select lead drug candidate/cell line combinations having the desired functionality and manufacturability qualities, optimize these leads for scaled manufacturing readiness, and learn by feeding data from our multitude of single cell experiments into our AI models to continually refine our predictions. Our process using our Integrated Drug Creation Platform includes the following steps:
Predict: We expect to use our Denovium Engine AI models to generate non-obvious predictions about what are likely to be optimal drug candidate sequences and cell line designs for any protein-of-interest. The AI combines the collective learnings available in public databases with our own experimental data specifically documenting protein functionality and manufacturability factors relevant to our system. Importantly, our Denovium Engine considers sequences and solutions that it has not seen before, and it may predict entirely new-to-nature protein scaffold elements and sequence motifs or design new biologic modalities. In addition, with data we produce through computational antibody and target discovery technology, we intend to train our Denovium Engine to predict likely drug targets from antibody or other binding protein sequences.
Identify: Starting with disease tissue samples or bulk RNA sequencing data of interest to our partners, we expect to apply our newly acquired computational antibody and target discovery technology to reconstruct sequences of human monoclonal antibodies that are prevalent in the tissue. With our SoluPro expression system and adapted versions of our ACE Assay we believe we can rapidly de-orphan the antibodies, using them as probes to identify their corresponding antigens. Not only are the antigens, whether known or novel, of
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potential interest as therapeutic targets, but also the fully human antibody sequences themselves may serve as starting points for lead drug candidate design.
Design: Based on the program goals, we design custom libraries of protein-of-interest variants in the desired scaffold architecture, and specify any desired nsAA placements. Using our Denovium Engine models, we may recommend modifications to the scaffold architecture, as well as define the scope of protein variation to evaluate options beyond sequences that exist in nature. In addition, we also incorporate designs based on folding and expression solutions predicted as relevant by our Denovium Engine models. This entire step is accomplished in silico.
Construct: Using synthetic biology approaches, we construct up to billions of genetically distinct SoluPro or Bionic SoluPro cells to evaluate. Each cell contains the instructions to make one version of the protein-of-interest, as well as a different assortment of folding and expression solutions.
Screen: Our proprietary high-throughput ACE Assay allows us to evaluate and sort up to billions of cells. We collect subsets of the population of cells that express the best versions of the protein-of-interest (hits), based on target binding, protein quality, and titer. We are also generating billions of data points describing sequence modifications and combinations of folding solutions contributing to protein affinity, solubility and manufacturability that we use to train our Denovium Engine deep learning model.
Select: With our HiPrBind Assay, using automated multiplexed plate-based methods, we grow micro-batches of each of the thousands of hits from the ACE Assay and perform quantitative characterization of protein function, quality, and titer. We also perform high-throughput biophysical characterization to collect additional data on relevant biophysical attributes that impact developability. We are able to select the best several candidates (leads) in their putative production cell lines for further analytics, as well as collect further data insights to enhance our Denovium Engine models.
Scale: We optimize fermentation conditions for the selected lead strain(s) to demonstrate desired productivity, quality, and scalability. We perform comprehensive analytics on the lead drug candidate(s) for evaluation and technology transfer to our partners.
Learn: Throughout our process, we generate large and complex datasets specifying determinants of protein function and manufacturability. We use these data to train our Denovium Engine to enable its models to make increasingly refined predictions for target identification, drug scaffold sequence variation and cell line design. Our goal is to train the deep learning models with enough data to be able to input a sequence of a new drug target and have the model output a unique, optimal drug scaffold sequence and cell line architecture that we construct and confirm: a process that we refer to as de novo biologic drug creation in silico.
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Applications of our Integrated Drug Creation Platform
Our platform is flexible, and we are able to onboard a given program at multiple points in the biologic target identification, drug discovery, and cell line development process. Starting with a given target and a desired scaffold format for an eventual drug candidate, we may perform comprehensive de novo biologic drug discovery through to cell line development. We may enhance discovery opportunities with our partners by building new scaffolds and designing new molecules to incorporate nsAAs to facilitate post-purification chemical modifications. We may further expand program scope to start with target identification activities incorporating our recently acquired computational antibody and target discovery technology. We may also design and optimize a high titer production cell line for a partner’s already-established lead drug candidate. We classify our applications into two key categories: Discovery and Cell Line Development (CLD). Since we deliver a production cell line for each of our projects, we define Discovery as any projects for which we are evaluating variants of the protein-of-interest, and we define CLD as a program for which the production cell line alone is the goal of the partnership.
Discovery: We commercially launched our initial Discovery applications in December 2020, and to date we have one Discovery program underway for lead optimization. Discovery involves screening for lead drug "hits” directed to the desired target; the target may be provided by a partner or identified using our computational antibody and target discovery technology. Unlike other commonly used screening methods used for biologic drug discovery, we are screening for hit variants in the complete scaffold, not a domain fragment to be subsequently reformatted. We also screen in production cell line variants. Our Discovery applications are scaffold-agnostic. Whether we are screening variants of an antibody, a T-cell engager, a multivalent Fc-fusion, or any other human- or AI-designed modality, our platform is adaptable to simultaneously optimize for functionality and manufacturability of lead candidates. We believe there is no other commercially available solution that enables comprehensive scaffold-agnostic drug discovery in the desired scaffold
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format. The Discovery applications that we currently or in the future expect to address with our Integrated Drug Creation Platform are the following:
Novel target identification - From tissue samples that are of particular therapeutic interest, we identify prevalent immune-response molecules such as antibodies along with the corresponding antigens, offering new therapeutic targets as well as cognate binding partners for further validation. Whatever the desired biologic modality, we can design, construct, and select the appropriate sequence for lead drug development. And we create an optimized production cell line.
Scaffold design & drug platform development - We are uniquely capable of assembling and producing new-to-nature next-generation biologic scaffolds. We may therefore empower our partners with the ability to execute on theoretical modalities, creative fusions, and multivalent molecular hybrids. Within the context of those assembled scaffolds we can evaluate variants to discover new drug candidates designed for optimal target affinity and other desired characteristics. And we create optimized production cell lines.
De novo discovery - We may perform de novo discovery by starting with a desired scaffold format for the desired drug, and creating a library of relevant sequence variants that will establish the target specificity (e.g., CDR regions of antibody). And we create an optimized production cell line.
nsAA incorporation (Bionic Proteins) - We may engineer a signal into the gene encoding the drug candidate that directs incorporation of an nsAA into the growing protein chain in a site-specific manner. The nsAA provides a handle for chemical modifications including glycosylation, PEGylation, ADC-payload conjugation, and novel branched proteins and chemical conjugates. And we create an optimized production cell line.
Human antibody discovery - From our catalog of human-derived antibody sequences we are building a collection of unique fully-human monoclonal antibodies with specificity for validated targets of interest. We may optimize monoclonal antibodies or next-generation biologics derived from these sequences as lead drug candidates in partnered programs. And we create an optimized production cell line.
Lead optimization - We may start with drug discovery leads and introduce modifications into the sequences to evaluate variants for improved target affinity, manufacturability, and other pharmacologic characteristics. Thus we can optimize leads that our partners may advance through preclinical development. And we create an optimized production cell line.
Cell Line Development (CLD): We launched our CLD applications in 2018 as our first commercial offering, and all but one of our ongoing programs are for CLD. Because we deliver a production cell line for each of our projects, we classify a program as CLD only when the production cell line alone is the goal of the partnership, or in other words, when the sequence of the lead drug candidate is locked in. Fundamentally, the process utilizing our Integrated Drug Creation Platform is the same as for our Discovery programs, except that the plasmid libraries we design include a fixed lead drug sequence, with variation limited to the assortment of the folding and expression solutions. Screening and selection steps are aimed at identifying the cell lines with highest titer expression of the drug candidate. Partners typically have come to us with late-preclinical or clinical-stage next-generation biologics for which they have not been able to develop a manufacturing process or for which an existing manufacturing process is poorly performing. As we succeed in these CLD programs, we believe we enable the advancement of next-generation biologic
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candidates that otherwise would not proceed in development due to manufacturability challenges.
Market Opportunity
Our market opportunity is driven by the number of biologic candidates we generate and the successful development and commercialization of these candidates by our partners. As reflected in aggregated data from EvaluatePharma® [April, 2021] Evaluate Ltd. (Evaluate Pharma data), there are currently 1,250 companies involved in developing and marketing over 4,950 protein-based biologics, which we define as including candidates categorized as monoclonal antibodies (mAbs), monoclonal antibody conjugates (ADCs), and recombinant products (comprising novel fusion proteins as well as numerous conventional recombinant proteins, peptides, and hormones), but excluding those categorized as cell therapies, DNA and RNA based therapies, gene therapies, plasma-derived therapies, and vaccines. In 2020, cumulative global sales of these protein-based biologics reached approximately $254 billion, representing 33% of the sales of all drugs. In 2020, 72 protein-based biologics reached blockbuster status with annual worldwide sales higher than $1.0 billion. Of the total protein-based biologics sales, mAbs represent approximately 63%, with average per product peak sales of $2.7 billion (median $1.3 billion). The protein-based biologics market is expected to reach $418 billion by 2026, representing a compound annual growth rate of approximately 9%. In the near term, we are focused on the next-generation biologics market, which we estimate, based on our analysis of Evaluate Pharma data, to represent approximately 32% of protein-based biologics in Phase 1 clinical development. We estimate next-generation biologics represent a similar proportion of the 2,539 preclinical protein-based biologics. While our Integrated Drug Creation Platform is suited to generation of any type of protein-based biologic, we believe our capabilities are especially differentiated in the area of next-generation biologics. We expect our future programs to be principally in this category as we seek to provide an avenue to expand the number and variety of next-generation biologics in development by our existing and future partners, including with the addition of nsAA-containing Bionic Proteins to their pipelines.
Totient Acquisition
In June 2021, we entered into an agreement and plan of merger, or the merger agreement, with Totient, Inc., or Totient. Totient has developed a bioinformatics and machine learning-based antibody discovery software platform that allows us to computationally reconstruct sequences of antibodies and other disease-specific proteins from bulk RNA sequencing data. To date, Totient has reconstructed more than 4,500 antibodies from over 50,000 patients and has de-orphaned a collection of promising antibodies by identifying and validating their target antigens. Building on Totient’s ability to identify fully-human antibodies from patients who demonstrated differentiated immune responses, we expect to generate a large collection of natural human antibodies and target antigens that it may leverage for therapeutic protein design as well as deep learning model training.
Upon consummation of the merger, or the Totient acquisition, in June 2021, Totient became our wholly-owned subsidiary. We paid the former stockholders and noteholders of Totient upfront cash consideration of $40.0 million, subject to customary purchase price adjustments, including consideration in exchange for the cancellation of (i) unexercised outstanding options to purchase shares of Totient common stock, whether vested or unvested, and (ii) outstanding stock appreciation rights previously granted by Totient. Holders of Totient’s Class A common stock also received an aggregate of 669,743 shares of our common stock, subject to certain vesting conditions. In addition, Totient’s Class A common stockholders and noteholders are eligible to receive up to an additional $15.0 million in cash upon the achievement of certain milestones.
Our Growth Strategy
Our goal is to establish our proprietary, end-to-end platform as the industry standard for biologic drug discovery and cell line development. We are laying the groundwork for integration into our
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partners’ discovery organizations, with the goal to be the de facto starting point for new drug creation. Our growth strategy is to:
Establish new partnerships to create biologic drug candidates.
Increase the number of molecules on which we work with our existing partners.
Expand the scope of our partnerships across the biologic drug discovery and cell line development value chain.
Create new biologic modalities and novel conjugates with Bionic Proteins that incorporate nsAAs.
Grow our platform through R&D and strategic acquisitions.
Create proprietary biologic assets.
Leverage our platform to address market opportunities outside of biopharmaceuticals.
Risks Associated with our Business
Our ability to implement our business strategy is subject to numerous risks that you should be aware of before making an investment decision. These risks are described more fully in the section titled “Risk Factors” appearing elsewhere in this prospectus. These risks include, among others:
Our current business has a limited operating history, which may make it difficult to evaluate our business and predict our future performance.
We have incurred significant losses since inception, we expect to incur losses in the future and we may not be able to generate sufficient revenue to achieve and maintain profitability.
Even if this offering is successful, we will need to raise additional capital to fund our operations and improve our platform. If we are unable to raise additional capital on terms acceptable to us or at all, we may need not be able to compete successfully, which would harm our business, operations and financial condition.
Our historical revenue is primarily related to technology development services, and our revenue for any historical period may not be indicative of results that may be expected for any future period.
Our commercial success depends on the technological capabilities of our Integrated Drug Creation Platform and its utilization by our existing partners and adoption by new partners.
Our future success is dependent on the eventual approval and commercialization of biologic drugs developed under our partnerships for which we have no control over the clinical development plan, regulatory strategy or commercialization efforts.
We are substantially dependent on the successful application of our Integrated Drug Creation Platform to Discovery and Cell Line Development partnerships, and we have only recently begun to enter into Discovery partnerships.
If we cannot maintain our current relationships with partners, fail to expand our relationships with our current partners, or if we fail to enter into new relationships, our future operating results would be adversely affected as a general matter.
Biopharmaceutical drug development is inherently uncertain, and it is possible that our technology may not succeed in discovering appropriate molecules or producing cell lines. Even if we do succeed, it is possible that none of the drug candidates discovered using our platform, if any, that are further developed by our partners will achieve development or
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regulatory milestones, including marketing approval, or become viable commercial technologies, on a timely basis or at all, which would harm our ability to generate revenue.
We expect to make significant investments in our continued research and development of new technologies and platform expansion, which may not be successful.
The loss of any member of our senior management team or our inability to attract and retain highly skilled scientists and business development professionals could adversely affect our business.
Our partners may not achieve projected discovery and development milestones and other anticipated key events in the expected timelines or at all, which could have an adverse impact on our business and our anticipated revenue.
The biopharmaceutical platform technology market is highly competitive, and if we cannot compete successfully with our competitors, we may be unable to increase or sustain our revenue, or sustain profitability.
If we are unable to obtain and maintain sufficient intellectual property protection for our technologies, including our platform and Denovium deep learning technology, or if the scope of the intellectual property protection obtained is not sufficiently broad, our competitors could develop and commercialize technologies or a platform similar or identical to ours, and our ability to successfully leverage our platform technologies may be impaired.
We have identified a material weakness in our internal control over financial reporting, and we may identify additional material weaknesses in the future or otherwise fail to maintain proper and effective internal controls, which may impair our ability to produce accurate financial statements on a timely basis.
Corporate History and Information
We were formed as AbSci, LLC in August 2011 as a limited liability company under the Oregon Limited Liability Act and subsequently converted into a Delaware limited liability company under the laws of the State of Delaware in April 2016. In October 2020, we completed a reorganization whereby we converted from a Delaware limited liability company to a Delaware corporation under the name Absci Corporation. We have three direct wholly-owned subsidiaries, AbSci, LLC, De Novo Design, LLC and Target Discovery Merger Sub II, LLC, and two indirect wholly-owned subsidiaries, Totient UK Ltd. and Totient d.o.o. Beograd. Our principal executive office is located at 101 E 6th Street, Suite 350, Vancouver, WA 98660, and our telephone number is (360) 949-1041. Our website address is www.absci.com. We do not incorporate the information on or accessible through our website into this prospectus.
Trademarks
This prospectus contains references to our trademarks and service marks and to those belonging to third parties. Absci®, SoluPro® and SoluPure® are our registered trademarks with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. We also use various other trademarks, service marks and trade names in our business, including the Absci logo, ACE Assay, HiPrBind Assay, Bionic Proteins, Translating Ideas into Drugs, Bionic SoluPro, Integrated Drug Creation, Denovium, Denovium Engine and TOTIENT. All other trademarks, service marks or trade names referred to in this prospectus are the property of their respective owners. Solely for convenience, the trademarks and trade names in this prospectus may be referred to with or without the ® and symbols, but references which omit the ® and symbols should not be construed as any indicator that their respective owners will not assert, to the fullest extent under applicable law, their rights thereto.
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Implications of Being an Emerging Growth Company and a Smaller Reporting Company
We qualify as an “emerging growth company” as defined in the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act of 2012, as amended (JOBS Act). As an emerging growth company, we may take advantage of specified reduced disclosure and other requirements that are otherwise applicable generally to public companies. These provisions include, but are not limited to:
being permitted to present only two years of audited financial statements in this prospectus and only two years of related “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” in our periodic reports and registration statements, including this prospectus;
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, proxy statements, and registration statements, including in this prospectus; and
exemptions from the requirements of holding a nonbinding advisory vote on executive compensation and stockholder approval of any golden parachute payments not previously approved.
We may take advantage of these exemptions for up to five years from the date of effectiveness of this registration statement or such earlier time that we are no longer an emerging growth company. We would cease to be an emerging growth company on the date that is the earliest of (i) the last day of the fiscal year in which we have total annual gross revenues of $1.07 billion or more; (ii) the last day of our fiscal year following the fifth anniversary of the date of the completion of this offering; (iii) the date on which we have issued more than $1.0 billion in nonconvertible debt during the previous three years; or (iv) the last day of the fiscal year in which we are deemed to be a large accelerated filer under the rules of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) which means the market value of our common stock that is held by non-affiliates exceeds $700 million as of the prior June 30th. We may choose to take advantage of some but not all of these exemptions. We have taken advantage of reduced reporting requirements in this prospectus. Accordingly, the information contained herein may be different from the information you receive from other public companies in which you hold stock.
We have elected to utilize the exemption for the delayed adoption of certain 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. We may choose to early adopt any new or revised accounting standards whenever such early adoption is permitted for private companies. As a result of this election, the information that we provide in this prospectus may be different than the information you may receive from other public companies in which you hold equity interests.
We are also a “smaller reporting company” as defined in the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. We may continue to be a smaller reporting company even after we are no longer an emerging growth company. We may continue to be a smaller reporting company after this offering if either (i) the market value of our shares held by non-affiliates is less than $250 million as measured on the last business day of our second fiscal quarter or (ii) our annual revenue was less than $100 million during the most recently completed fiscal year and the market value of our shares held by non-affiliates is less than $700 million as measured on the last business day of our second fiscal quarter. 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 have reduced disclosure obligations regarding executive compensation. Further, if we are a smaller reporting company with less than $100 million in annual revenue, we would not be required to
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obtain an attestation report on internal control over financial reporting issued by our independent registered public accounting firm.
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The Offering
Common stock offered by us
             shares
Option to purchase additional shares
We have granted the underwriters an option to purchase up to                 additional shares of common stock from us. The underwriters can exercise this option at any time within 30 days from the date of this prospectus.
Common stock to be outstanding immediately after this offering
             shares (or               shares if the underwriters exercise their option to purchase additional shares in full).
Use of proceeds
We estimate that we will receive net proceeds from the sale of our common stock in this offering of approximately $             million, or $            million if the underwriters exercise in full their option to purchase additional shares, assuming an initial public offering price of $       per share, the midpoint of the price range set forth on the cover page of this prospectus, and after deducting estimated underwriting discounts and commissions and estimated offering expenses payable by us. We intend to use the net proceeds from this offering to further our investment in expanding our Integrated Drug Creation Platform’s capabilities, continued growth of our business development organization and activities, and for general corporate purposes, including working capital, capital expenditures, and operating expenses. We may also use a portion of the remaining net proceeds, if any, to acquire complementary businesses, products, services or technologies, including scientific expertise, although we have no binding agreements or commitments to do so at this time. See “Use of Proceeds” for additional information.
Risk Factors
You should read carefully “Risk Factors” beginning on page 19 and other information included in this prospectus for a discussion of factors that you should consider before deciding to invest in our common stock.
Proposed Nasdaq Global Market symbol
“ABSI”
The number of shares of our common stock to be outstanding after this offering is based on                    shares of common stock (after giving effect to the conversion of 14,006,929 shares of our redeemable convertible preferred stock outstanding as of March 31, 2021 and the conversion of the Convertible Notes issued in March 2021, into an aggregate of               shares of our common stock immediately prior to the completion of this offering; the issuance of 669,743 shares of common stock in connection with the Totient Acquisition; and which includes              shares outstanding that
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are subject to forfeiture or our right to repurchase as of such date) outstanding as of March 31, 2021, and excludes:
1,625,055 shares of our common stock issuable upon the exercise of options outstanding as of March 31, 2021, with a weighted-average exercise price of $3.63 per share;
765,881 shares of our common stock issuable upon the exercise of options granted after March 31, 2021, with a weighted-average exercise price of $14.78 per share;
31,126 shares of our common stock issuable upon exercise of stock appreciation rights granted after March 31, 2021, with a weighted-average exercise price of $16.40 per share;
93,007 shares of our common stock issuable upon the exercise of warrants to purchase common stock outstanding as of March 31, 2021, with a weighted-average exercise price of $1.00 per share;
545,639 shares of our common stock reserved for future issuance under our 2020 Stock Option and Grant Plan (2020 Plan) as of March 31, 2021;
                   shares of our common stock reserved for future issuance under our 2021 Stock Option and Incentive Plan (2021 Plan) which will become available for issuance upon the effectiveness of the registration statement of which this prospectus is a part, as well as any future increases in the number of shares of our common stock reserved for issuance under the 2021 Plan; and
                   shares of our common stock reserved for future issuance under our 2021 Employee Stock Purchase Plan (2021 ESPP) which will become available for issuance upon the effectiveness of the registration statement of which this prospectus is a part, as well as any future increases in the number of shares of our common stock reserved for issuance under the 2021 ESPP.
Unless otherwise indicated, this prospectus reflects and assumes the following:
a       -for-         reverse stock split of our common stock effected on             , 2021;
the conversion of all outstanding shares of our redeemable convertible preferred stock as of March 31, 2021 into an aggregate of 14,006,929 shares of our common stock immediately prior to the completion of this offering;
the conversion of our convertible promissory notes issued in March 2021 (Convertible Notes) into an aggregate of                   shares of common stock upon the completion of this offering, assuming an initial public offering price of $      per share, which is the midpoint of the price range set forth on the cover of this prospectus, and that the offering is completed on                   , 2021;
no exercise of the outstanding options described above;
no exercise by the underwriters of their option to purchase up to                 additional shares of our common stock in this offering; and
the filing and effectiveness of our amended and restated certificate of incorporation and the adoption of our amended and restated bylaws, which will occur immediately prior the completion of this offering.
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Summary Consolidated Financial Data
The following summary consolidated statements of operations and comprehensive loss data for the years ended December 31, 2019 and 2020 and the summary consolidated balance sheet data as of December 31, 2020 have been derived from our audited consolidated financial statements appearing elsewhere in this prospectus, and the following summary consolidated statements of operations and comprehensive loss data for the three months ended March 31, 2021 and 2020 and the summary consolidated balance sheet data as of March 31, 2021 have been derived from our unaudited consolidated financial statements appearing elsewhere in this prospectus, in each case, except for the pro forma and pro forma adjusted data. We have prepared the unaudited interim financial statements on the same basis as our audited financial statements and, in the opinion of management, these financial statements reflect all adjustments, consisting only of normal recurring adjustments, that are necessary for the fair presentation of our unaudited interim financial statements. You should read the following summary consolidated financial data together with the “Selected Consolidated Financial Data” and “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” sections of this prospectus and our consolidated financial statements and the related notes appearing elsewhere in this prospectus. Our historical results are
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not necessarily indicative of the results that may be expected in any future periods, and our interim results are not necessarily indicative of results that may be expected for the full year.
For the Years Ended
December 31,
Three Months Ended
March 31,
2019202020202021
(in thousands, except for share and per share data)
Consolidated Statements of Operations Data:
Revenues
Technology development revenue$2,044 $4,117 $525 $940 
Collaboration revenue16 663 47 123 
Total revenues2,060 4,780 572 1,063 
Operating expenses
Research and development4,311 11,448 1,907 7,050 
Selling, general and administrative3,523 5,502 971 4,685 
Depreciation and amortization491 1,131 184 476 
Total operating expenses8,325 18,081 3,062 12,211 
Operating loss(6,265)(13,301)(2,490)(11,148)
Other income (expense)
Interest expense(268)(634)(98)(455)
Other expense, net(51)(418)(70)164 
Total other expense, net(319)(1,052)(168)(291)
Loss before income taxes(6,584)(14,353)(2,658)(11,439)
Income tax benefit— — — 477 
Net loss and comprehensive loss(6,584)(14,353)(2,658)(10,962)
Adjustment of redeemable convertible preferred units and stock(17,286)(34,336)(11,154)— 
Cumulative undeclared preferred stock dividends— (780)$— (995)
Net loss applicable to common stockholders and unitholders$(23,870)$(49,469)$(13,812)$(11,957)
Net loss per share attributable to common stockholders and unitholders:
Basic and diluted
$(5.18)$(10.55)$(3.00)$(2.33)
Weighted-average common shares and units outstanding:
Basic and diluted
4,606,505 4,691,020 4,606,505 5,140,648 
Pro forma net loss per share attributable to common shareholders:
Basic and Diluted (1)
Pro forma weighted-average common shares outstanding:
Basic and Diluted (1)
(1)See the subsection titled “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations— Pro Forma Information” for an explanation of the calculations of our basic and diluted pro forma net loss per share, and the weighted-average number of shares outstanding used in the computation of the per share amounts.
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As of March 31, 2021
Actual
Pro Forma(1)
Pro Forma,
As Adjusted(2)(3)
(in thousands)
Consolidated Balance Sheet Data:
Cash and cash equivalents$180,756 
Working capital(4)
167,953 
Total assets222,833 
Total liabilities159,959 
Redeemable convertible preferred stock161,377 
Accumulated deficit(101,027)
Total other stockholders’ deficit(98,503)
(1)The pro forma column in the balance sheet data table above gives effect to (i) the conversion of all outstanding shares of our redeemable convertible preferred stock as of March 31, 2021 into an aggregate of 14,006,929 shares of our common stock immediately prior to the completion of this offering; and (ii) the issuance of              shares of common stock upon the conversion of all outstanding principal and accrued interest on the Convertible Notes upon the completion of this offering, assuming an initial public offering price per share of $            , the midpoint of the price range set forth on the cover of this prospectus, and assuming that the offering is completed on             , 2021, and (iii) the completion of the Totient Acquisition (other than the potential payment of the additional $15.0 million for achievement of certain milestones).
(2)The pro forma as adjusted column in the balance sheet data table above gives effect to (i) the pro forma adjustments set forth in footnote (1) above; and (ii) the sale of shares of common stock in this offering at an assumed initial public offering price of $          per share, the midpoint of the price range set forth on the cover page of this prospectus, after deducting estimated underwriting discounts and commissions and estimated offering expenses payable by us.
(3)Each $1.00 increase or decrease in the assumed initial public offering price of $        per share, the midpoint of the price range set forth on the cover page of this prospectus, would increase or decrease, as applicable, the amount of cash and cash equivalents, working capital, total assets and total other stockholders’ (deficit) equity by approximately $        million, assuming the number of shares offered by us, as set forth on the cover page of this prospectus, remains the same and after deducting estimated underwriting discounts and commissions and estimated offering expenses payable by us. We may also increase or decrease the number of shares we are offering. Each increase or decrease of 1.0 million in the number of shares we are offering would increase or decrease, as applicable, the amount of each of cash and cash equivalents, working capital, total assets and total other stockholders’ (deficit) equity by approximately $        million, based on the assumed initial public offering price per share, the midpoint of the price range as set forth on the cover page of this prospectus, remains the same and after deducting estimated underwriting discounts and commissions and estimated offering expenses payable by us. The pro forma as adjusted information is illustrative only, and we will adjust this information based on the actual initial public offering price and other terms of this offering determined at pricing.
(4)We define working capital as current assets less current liabilities.
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Risk Factors
Investing in our common stock involves a high degree of risk. You should carefully consider the risks described below, as well as the other information in this prospectus, including our consolidated financial statements and the related notes and “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations,” before deciding whether to invest in our common stock. The occurrence of any of the events or developments described below could materially harm our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects. In such an event, the market price of our common stock could decline, and you may lose all or part of your investment. Additional risks and uncertainties not presently known to us or that we currently deem immaterial may also impair our business operations.
Risks Related to Our Limited Operating History, Financial Condition and Prospects
Our current business has a limited operating history, which may make it difficult to evaluate our business and predict our future performance.
Our current business has a limited operating history. We began commercial operations in 2018. Before engaging in commercial operations, we focused primarily on technology development. Our revenue for the fiscal years ended December 31, 2019 and 2020 was $2.1 million and $4.8 million, respectively, and for the three months ended March 31, 2021 was $1.1 million. Our revenue was generated primarily from technology development activities. We are very early in the adoption phase of our business model, and, to date, no partner has entered into a license for clinical or commercial use of any intellectual property rights related to biologic drug candidates or cell lines generated utilizing our platform. Moreover, we have only agreed upon clinical or commercial license terms for two of our Active Programs in the event an option is exercised by a partner to license such intellectual property rights. We may never achieve commercial success and we have limited historical financial data upon which we may base our projected revenue. We also have limited historical financial data upon which we may base our planned operating expense or upon which you may evaluate our business and prospects. Based on our limited experience in developing and marketing new technologies, we may not be able to effectively:
drive adoption of our technologies;
attract and retain partners;
enter into licensing arrangements with our partners following completion of our technology development activities;
establish partnerships that contain economic terms sufficient to make our business model viable;
achieve sufficient near term revenue or capital to sustain our business to enable us to receive the downstream economics of our existing or future partnerships;
expand the scope of our existing partnerships;
anticipate and adapt to changes in our the existing and emerging markets in which we operate;
focus our technology development efforts in areas that generate returns on these efforts;
succeed in achieving our technology development goals.
maintain and develop strategic relationships with suppliers to acquire necessary materials and equipment for the development of our technologies on appropriate timelines, or at all;
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implement an effective business development strategy to drive adoption of our Integrated Drug Creation Platform by new and existing partners;
scale our technology development activities to meet potential demand at a reasonable cost;
acquire, in-license or otherwise obtain technologies that enable us to expand our platform capabilities;
avoid infringement of third-party intellectual property rights;
obtain licenses on commercially reasonable terms to third-party intellectual property rights, as needed for our current and planned operations;
obtain and maintain valid and enforceable patents and other intellectual property rights that give us a competitive advantage;
protect our proprietary technologies; and
attract, retain and motivate qualified personnel.
In addition, a substantial portion of our expenses have been and will continue to be fixed. Accordingly, if we do not generate revenue as and when anticipated, our losses may be greater than expected and our operating results will suffer. You should consider the risks and difficulties frequently encountered by companies like ours in new and rapidly evolving markets when making a decision to invest in our common stock.
We have incurred significant losses since inception, we expect to incur losses in the future and we may not be able to generate sufficient revenue to achieve and maintain profitability.
We have incurred significant losses since our inception. For the years ended December 31, 2019 and 2020, we incurred net losses of $6.6 million and $14.4 million, respectively, and for the three months ended March 31, 2021 we incurred net losses of $11.0 million. As of March 31, 2021, we had an accumulated deficit of $101.0 million. We expect that our operating expenses will continue to increase as we grow our business and will also increase as a result of our becoming a public company. Since our inception, we have financed our operations primarily from private placements of our preferred equity securities, convertible promissory notes and the incurrence of other indebtedness, and to a lesser extent, revenue derived from our Integrated Drug Creation Platform. We have devoted substantially all of our resources to the development of our Integrated Drug Creation Platform and commercialization of resulting technology development capabilities. We will need to generate significant additional revenue to achieve and sustain profitability, and even if we achieve profitability, we cannot be sure that we will remain profitable for any substantial period of time. We may never be able to generate sufficient revenue to achieve or sustain profitability and our recent and historical growth should not be considered indicative of our future performance.
Even if this offering is successful, we will need to raise additional capital to fund our operations and improve our platform. If we are unable to raise additional capital on terms acceptable to us or at all, we may not be able to compete successfully, which would harm our business, operations, and financial condition.
Based on our current business plan, we believe the net proceeds from this offering, together with our existing cash and cash equivalents and anticipated cash flows from operations, will be sufficient to meet our working capital and capital expenditure needs over at least the next 12 months following the date of this prospectus. If our available cash resources together with our net proceeds from this offering and anticipated cash flow from operations are insufficient to satisfy our liquidity requirements, including because of lower demand for the application of our Integrated Drug Creation Platform to biologic drug discovery or cell line development, or the realization of other risks described in this prospectus, we will be required to raise additional capital prior to such time
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through issuances of equity or convertible debt securities, entrance into a credit facility or another form of third party funding, or seek other sources of financing. Such additional financing may not be available on terms acceptable to us or at all.
In any event, we may consider raising additional capital in the future to expand our business, to pursue strategic investments, to take advantage of financing opportunities or for other reasons. For example, this may include reasons such as to:
increase our business development efforts to drive market recognition of our platform and address competitive developments;
fund business development efforts for our current and future programs;
expand the capabilities of our platform into additional areas of biopharmaceutical research and development, such as drug target discovery;
acquire, license or invest in additional technologies or complementary businesses or assets;
pursue opportunities to apply our protein creation technologies beyond the biopharmaceutical industry; and
finance capital expenditures and general and administrative expenses.
Our present and future funding requirements will depend on many factors, including:
our ability to achieve revenue growth;
the cost of expanding our operations, including our business development efforts;
our rate of progress in selling access to our platform and business development activities associated therewith;
our rate of progress in, and cost of development of new technologies;
the effect of competing technological and market developments; and
costs related to any domestic and international expansion.
The various ways we could raise additional capital carry potential risks. If we raise funds by issuing equity securities, dilution to our stockholders would result. Any preferred equity securities issued also would likely provide for rights, preferences or privileges senior to those of holders of our common stock. If we raise funds by issuing debt securities, those debt securities would have rights, preferences and privileges senior to those of holders of our common stock. Debt financing and preferred equity financing, if available, may also involve agreements that include covenants restricting our ability to take specific actions, such as incurring additional debt, selling or licensing our assets, making asset acquisitions, making capital expenditures, or declaring dividends.
If we are unable to obtain adequate financing or financing on terms satisfactory to us, if we require it, our ability to continue to pursue our business objectives and to respond to business opportunities, challenges, or unforeseen circumstances could be significantly limited, and could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.
Substantially all of our historical revenue is related to technology development activities, and we have not demonstrated the ability to enter into a sufficient number of partnerships providing for long-term license arrangements under which we are entitled to receive milestone payments or royalties on net product sales. We have not received
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any such milestone or royalty revenues to date, and it may be years before we realize any such revenues, if at all.
For the years ended December 31, 2019 and 2020 and for the three months ended March 31, 2021, substantially all of our revenue was generated by technology development fees through performing technology development activities addressing molecules in programs for our programs. To date, such fees have generally been payable upon both the inception of, and the demonstration of technical achievement of program milestones, under technology development agreements with our partners. Our business model is dependent on the successful completion of the technology development phase under these arrangements and, more importantly, on our subsequent entry into long-term license arrangements with our partners that entitle us to development, regulatory and commercial milestones and/or royalties with respect to product candidates generated through our platform, which may include product candidates discovered and/or manufactured in cell lines developed by us. We are still in the very early stages of implementing our business model and, to date, no partner has entered into a license for clinical or commercial use of any intellectual property rights related to biologic drug candidates or cell lines generated utilizing our platform. Moreover, we have only agreed upon clinical or commercial license terms for two of our Active Programs in the event an option is exercised by a partner to license such intellectual property rights. If we are unable to maintain partnerships covering Active Programs (including if any partnership covering an Active Program is terminated during or upon completion of the technology development phase) or we are otherwise unable to enter into license agreements for our Active Programs, we will not receive any downstream payments under these programs, which will have a material and adverse effect on our business prospects. Additionally, any such license agreements that we may enter into may not be on terms that are favorable to us, or such license agreements may be terminated.
Technology development fees are generated by technology development activities that we perform for our partners, the timing and nature of which are dictated by the timing of program commencement, which depends on various permissions, information and supplies provided by our partners and/or third party vendors as well as the pace of program progression and receipt of ongoing input from our partners. Our eligibility to receive milestone payments is generally subject to the negotiation of future arrangements, as described above. As a result, we currently do not generate significant recurring revenue and, until we are able to establish significant recurring revenue, if at all, we will be prone to regular fluctuations in our revenue dependent on the timing of our entry into partnership agreements, our partners advancing subject programs, and our partners achieving development milestones or commercial sales with respect to drug candidates discovered and/or manufactured in cell lines developed by us.
Risks Related to Our Business Model and Partnerships
Our commercial success depends on the technological capabilities of our Integrated Drug Creation Platform and its utilization by our existing partners and adoption by new partners.
We utilize our Integrated Drug Creation Platform to identify biopharmaceutical drug candidates and associated production cell lines for further development and potential commercialization by our partners. As a result, the quality and sophistication of our platform and technology are critical to our ability to conduct our technology development activities and to deliver more promising molecules and cell lines and to accelerate and lower the costs of discovery and cell line development for our existing and potential partners, as compared to other methods. In particular, our business depends, among other things, on:
our platform’s ability to successfully identify appropriate molecules and production cell lines for our partners and provide them to our partners on the desired timeframes;
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our partners’ determination that the product candidates and/or production cell lines that we provide to them can ultimately be used to advance our partners’ clinical development programs;
our partners' willingness to enter into license agreements with economic terms that are acceptable to us, which is based substantially on the value our partners believe can be recognized from the product candidates and/or production cell lines that we provide to them;
our ability to execute on our strategy to enter into new partnerships with new or existing partners on technology development terms that are acceptable to us;
our ability to increase awareness of the capabilities of our technologies and solutions;
our partners’ and potential partners’ willingness to adopt our technologies;
whether our platform reliably provides advantages over legacy and other alternative technologies and is perceived by partners to be cost effective;
the rate of adoption of our technologies by pharmaceutical companies, biotechnology companies of all sizes, government organizations and non-profit organizations and others;
prices we charge for our technology and the discoveries that we make;
the relative reliability and robustness of our platform;
our ability to develop new technologies for partners;
our platform’s ability to offer sufficient cost effectiveness, efficiency, and performance to warrant partners’ continued adoption of and ongoing reliance on our technologies;
our platform’s ability to screen a high number of cells and drug candidates;
whether competitors develop a platform that enables biologic drug discovery and cell line development more effectively than our platform;
the status of the market for next-generation biologics, which may become less attractive due to business or regulatory factors;
our ability to bioengineer our bespoke E. coli SoluPro and Bionic SoluPro strains to produce certain types of proteins;
our ability to adapt our assays to screen effectively for certain types of drug modalities or targets;
our ability to adapt our assays to de-orphan antibodies we discover through technology acquired through our acquisition of Totient;
our ability to construct diverse genetic libraries covering sufficient diversity of protein sequence variants and folding and expression solutions combinations;
our ability to reliably adapt our assays to each program to screen large strain libraries and routinely identify molecules/strains that meet the program deliverables;
our ability to optimize our fermentation conditions to scale at an effective level;
our ability to use our deep learning AI to generate actionable biological insights;
our platform’s ability to create new drug modalities and novel conjugates;
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our platform’s ability to incorporate non-standard amino acids into proteins with high efficiency and fidelity;
the timing and scope of any approval that may be required by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or any other regulatory body for drugs that are developed based on molecules discovered and/or manufactured using our Integrated Drug Creation Platform technologies;
our partners’ and the biopharmaceutical industry’s continued interest and investment in next-generation biologic drug development, and the continued market growth and clinical success of this category collectively;
the impact of our investments in innovation and commercial growth;
negative publicity regarding our or our competitors’ technologies resulting from defects or errors; and
our ability to further validate and enhance our platform through research and technology development activities.
There can be no assurance that we will successfully address any of these or other factors that may affect the market acceptance of our platform or our technology. If we are unsuccessful in achieving and maintaining market acceptance of our platform, our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects could be adversely affected.
We are substantially dependent on the successful application of our Integrated Drug Creation Platform to biologic drug discovery and cell line development partnerships, and we have only recently begun to enter into biologic drug discovery partnerships.
To date, we have invested nearly all of our efforts and financial resources in technology development relating to our bespoke E. coli SoluPro and Bionic SoluPro strains. The biologic drug discovery and cell line development business is capital intensive, particularly for early stage companies that do not have significant off-setting revenues.
Our success is dependent on our ability to drive adoption of our platform by partners, developing technologies for our partners, and entering into license agreements with such partners. Further, our success depends upon our expansion of our existing partnerships, and entry into new partnerships, to include our Discovery applications, as well as continuing to drive adoption of our Cell Line Development applications. Substantially all of our revenue generated to date is from technology development arrangements for our Cell Line Development applications. To date, we have very limited experience and expertise in the biologic drug discovery using our platform and have not demonstrated success in expanding our platform into biologic drug discovery. In order to realize the benefits of such an expanded scope of our Integrated Drug Creation Platform, we need to further advance our technology and further market our expanded capabilities to existing and new partners.
Our future revenue growth and market potential may depend on our ability to leverage our Integrated Drug Creation Platform, together with our custom libraries and other proprietary tools, into other areas of biopharmaceutical research and development, such as biologics drug discovery. However, we may not be able to successfully validate that our Integrated Drug Creation Platform will accelerate the hit identification and lead optimization steps of biologic drug discovery or that they will allow us to discover more effective drugs.
Our inability to continue these initiatives and initiate new technology development efforts could result in a failure to develop our platform, improve upon existing technologies, develop and advance the opportunities like biologics drug discovery, and expand our addressable market, each of which could have a material and adverse impact on our business development, business, financial position and results of operations.
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We do not expect to generate significant recurring revenue unless and until such time as we enter into further agreements that, in the aggregate, result in regular and continuous fees for our performance of technology development activities, and, more importantly, agreements under which we would be eligible for future payments upon our partners’ achievement of development and regulatory milestones or commencement of commercial sales with respect to any drug candidates generated using our platform. We are unable to predict whether and the extent to which payments will be made to us under our arrangements and whether and the extent to which we will be able to enter into future arrangements under which we are eligible to generate additional revenues, or the timing of the achievement of any milestones under these agreements, if they are achieved at all. The timing and likelihood of payments to us under these agreements is dependent on our partners’ successful utilization of the molecules discovered using our platform, which is outside of our control. Because of these factors, our operating results could vary materially from quarter to quarter.
Our future success is dependent on the eventual approval and commercialization of biologic drugs developed under our partnerships for which we have no control over the clinical development plan, regulatory strategy or commercialization efforts.
Our business model is dependent on the eventual progression of biologic drug candidates discovered or initially developed utilizing our Integrated Drug Creation Platform into clinical trials and commercialization. This requires us to attract partners and enter into agreements with them that contain obligations for the partners to pay us milestone payments as well as royalties on sales of approved products for the biologic drug candidates they develop that are generated utilizing our platform. Given the nature of our relationships with our partners, we do not control the progression, clinical development, regulatory strategy or eventual commercialization, if approved, of these product candidates. As a result, our future success and the potential to receive milestones and royalties are entirely dependent on our partners efforts for which we have no control. If our partners determine not to proceed with the future development of a product candidate discovered or initially developed utilizing our Integrated Drug Creation Platform or if it implements a clinical or regulatory strategy that ultimately does not enable the further development or approval of the product candidate, we will not receive the benefits of our partnerships, which may have a material and adverse effect on our operations.
In addition, biologic drug development is inherently uncertain and very few product candidates ultimately progress through clinical development and receive approval for commercialization. See the risk factor section below “Risks Related to Biologic Drug Development” for additional information related to the risks of biologic drug development. If our partners do not receive regulatory approval for a sufficient number of product candidates originating from our partnerships, we may not be able sustain our business model. Further, we will have little control over how diversified our portfolio of potential milestone payments or royalties will end up being.
While as a general matter we intend to periodically report on the status of our business development initiatives, including anticipated next steps, we may not provide forward-looking guidance on the timing of those next steps. In addition, we do not control the timing of disclosure by our partners of any milestones or other information related to any drug candidates generated using our platform. Any disclosure by us or our partners of data or other information regarding any such drug candidates that is perceived as negative may have a material adverse impact on our stock price or overall valuation. Our stock price may also decline as a result of negative clinical trial results, including adverse safety events involving any drug candidate that is subject to one of our partnerships.
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If we cannot maintain our current relationships with partners, fail to expand our relationships with our current partners, or if we fail to enter into new relationships, our future operating results would be adversely affected as a general matter.
In the years ended December 31, 2019 and 2020, revenue from our top 3 partners and top 2 partners accounted for 87% and 77% of our technology development revenue, respectively. In the three months ended March 31, 2021, revenue from one partner accounted for 90% of our technology development revenue. The revenue attributable to these partners may fluctuate in the future, which could have an adverse effect on our business financial condition, results of operations and prospects. Our existing partners may cease to use our technologies depending on their own technological developments, availability of other competing technologies and internal decisions regarding allocation of time and resources to the discovery and development of biologic product candidates, over which we have no control. Our existing and future partners may have limited bandwidth to initiate new programs, which could limit their adoption or scale of application of our technologies. In addition, existing partners may choose to produce some or all of their requirements internally by using or developing their own manufacturing capabilities or by using capabilities from acquisitions of assets or entities from third parties with such capabilities. While our business is not substantially dependent on technology development revenues from any individual partner, because we currently have a limited number of partnerships, a loss of one of our partners could adversely impact our revenue, results of operations, cash flows or reputation in any given period.
Our future success also depends on our ability to expand relationships with our existing partners and to establish relationships with new partners. We engage in discussions with other companies and institutions regarding potential technology development and license opportunities on an ongoing basis, which can be time consuming. There is no assurance that any of these discussions will result in a technology development and/or license agreement, or if an agreement is reached, that the resulting relationship will be successful, or that the terms of such agreement will be favorable to us. In addition, although we have entered into a Joint Marketing Agreement with KBI Biopharma, Inc., this agreement may not lead to any future business opportunities. In addition, our ability to monitor the achievement of clinical, regulatory and commercial milestones by our partners and enforce the payment of any corresponding fees is limited. Furthermore, the termination of any of these relationships could result in a temporary or permanent loss of revenue. Additionally, speculation in the industry about our existing or potential commercial relationships can be a catalyst for adverse speculation about us and our technology, which can adversely affect our reputation and our business.
We cannot assure investors that we will be able to maintain or expand our existing partnerships or that our technologies will achieve adequate market adoption among new partners. Any failure to increase penetration in our existing markets or new markets would adversely affect our ability to improve our operating results.
Our revenue under our technology development and other partner agreements for any particular period, or on an absolute basis, can be difficult to forecast.
Because of the complexities and long development timelines inherent in the biologic drug development business, it is difficult to predict the timing of payments under our technology development and other partner agreements. In particular, payments under our technology development agreements are subject to the achievement of project milestones and our partners’ decisions to initiate or continue the technology development work, and any future downstream payments with respect to product candidates generated using our platform will be subject to our partners’ advancement of the product candidates, over which we have no control. As a result, our revenue for any particular period can be difficult to forecast. Our revenue may grow at a slower rate than in past periods or even decline on a year-over-year basis. Because of these factors, our operating results could vary materially from quarter to quarter from our forecasts. Also, due to the limited probability of success for advancement of a clinical candidate by a partner at any given
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stage of development and the unpredictability of when a partner may choose to continue development of a product candidate and whether any milestone payments will be due to us, our revenue may be difficult to forecast on an absolute basis.
Additionally, we recognize revenue either as we perform our technology development, upon completion of performing our technology development or upon achieving certain licensing, clinical, regulatory, and commercialization milestones. As a result, much of our revenue is generated from agreements entered into during previous periods. Consequently, a decline in demand for our platform, a decline in new or renewed business in any one quarter or any delays in the achievement, or any failure to achieve, development, regulatory and commercial milestones by our partners with respect to product candidates generated using our platform, may not significantly reduce our revenue for that quarter but could negatively affect our revenue in future quarters. Our revenue recognition model also makes it difficult for us to rapidly increase our revenue through increased operations in any period, as revenue from partners is recognized over the course of their drug development and commercialization process.
We expect to make significant investments in our continued research and development of new technology development and platform expansion, which may not be successful.
We are seeking to leverage our Integrated Drug Creation Platform as a consolidated technology for simultaneous biologic drug discovery and cell line development. We are seeking to expand our platform and the scope of our capabilities, which may or may not be successful. This includes, but is not limited to, drug discovery, incorporation of non-standard amino acids (nsAAs), and application of artificial intelligence across our Integrated Drug Creation Platform. We expect to incur significant expenses to advance these research and development efforts or to invest in, or acquire complementary technologies, but these efforts may not be successful. For instance, we have very limited experience with the discovery of novel biologic drug candidates and incorporation of nsAAs, and have not yet deployed these technologies in the context of partnered programs. Additional development will be required for the routine and robust use of these technologies in partnered programs. Through the course of additional technology development, significant unanticipated challenges may arise that adversely affect our future partnership prospects. To expand the scope of our platform, we acquired Denovium, an AI company leveraging deep learning for protein discovery and engineering, in January 2021 and Totient, a computational antibody and target discovery platform company, in June 2021. We are working to integrate the Denovium deep learning technology and the Totient antibody and target discovery technology into our Integrated Drug Creation Platform to accelerate drug discovery and cell line development efforts. Our long-term goals for this technology, such as constructing deep learning models capable of in silico target identification and drug and cell line design, will require significant investment and long development times and may ultimately never materialize.
Additionally, we may make significant investments in proprietary drug candidates we seek to discover, and any discovery and subsequent development efforts for such drug candidates may not be successful. Such investments may be costly, and given the uncertain nature of biologic drug discovery and development, our efforts in this field may not be successful. We may also make significant investments in pursuing technology development in industries other than the biopharmaceutical industry, and such pursuits may not be successful. We have no prior experience in using our technology platform in industries outside of the biopharmaceutical industry, and the economic structure of any future transactions in other industries may be more unfavorable to us than transactions in the biopharmaceutical industry.
Developing new technologies is a speculative and risky endeavor. Technologies that initially show promise may fail to achieve the desired results or may not achieve acceptable levels of analytical accuracy or clinical utility. We may need to alter our technologies in development before we identify a potentially successful technology. Technology development is expensive, may take years to complete and can have uncertain outcomes. Failure can occur at any stage of the development.
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Additionally, development of any technology may be disrupted or made less viable by the development of competing technologies, and changes in the industry in which our technologies are applied could obsolete our technologies. For example, advancements in gene therapy or RNA-based vaccine technologies could significantly reduce the market share of protein-based biologics.
New potential technologies may fail any stage of development or commercialization and if we determine that any of our current or future technologies are unlikely to succeed, we may abandon them without any return on our investment. If we are unsuccessful in developing or acquiring additional technologies, our potential for growth may be impaired.
The failure of our partners to meet their contractual obligations to us could adversely affect our business.
Our reliance on our partners poses a number of additional risks, including the risk that they may not perform their contractual obligations to us to our standards, in compliance with applicable legal or contractual requirements, in a timely manner or at all; they may not maintain the confidentiality of our proprietary information; and disagreements or disputes could arise that could cause delays in, or termination of, the research, development or commercialization of products generated using our platform or result in litigation or arbitration.
In addition, certain of our partners are large, multinational organizations that run many programs concurrently, and we are dependent on their ability to accurately track and make milestone payments to us pursuant to the terms of our agreements with them. Any failure by them to inform us when milestones are reached and make related payments to us could adversely affect our results of operations.
Moreover, some of our future partners may be located in markets subject to political and social risk, corruption and infrastructure problems, and could be subject to country-specific privacy and data security risk as well as burdensome legal and regulatory requirements. Any of these factors could adversely impact their financial condition and results of operations, which could impair their ability to meet their contractual obligations to us and have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Our partners may not achieve projected discovery and development milestones and other anticipated key events in the expected timelines or at all, which could have an adverse impact on our business and our anticipated revenue.
From time to time, we may make public statements regarding the expected timing of certain milestones and key events, as well as regarding developments and milestones under our partnerships, to the extent that our partners have publicly disclosed such information or permit us to make such disclosures. Certain of our partners may in the future make statements about their goals and expectations for partnerships with us. The actual timing of these events can vary dramatically due to a number of factors such as delays or failures in our or our current and future partners’ drug discovery and development programs, the amount of time, effort, and resources committed by us and our current and future partners, and the numerous uncertainties inherent in the development of drugs. Additionally, to date, none of our partners has successfully completed any regulatory submissions, such as investigational new drug (IND) applications or biologics license applications (BLAs), for any drug candidates generated using our platform. As a result, there can be no assurance that our partners’ current and future programs will advance or be completed in the time frames we or they expect. If our partners fail to achieve one or more of these milestones or other key events as planned, our business could be materially adversely affected and we may never receive the anticipated revenues from these partnerships.
Our partners have significant discretion in determining when and whether to make announcements, if any, about the status of our partnerships, including about clinical developments and timelines for advancing collaborative programs, and the price of our
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common stock may decline as a result of announcements of unexpected or negative results or developments.
Our partners have significant discretion in determining when and whether to make announcements about the status of our partnerships, including about preclinical and clinical developments and timelines for advancing product candidates generated using our platform. We do not plan to disclose the development status and progress of individual drug candidates of our partners, unless and until those partners do so first. Our partners may wish to report such information more or less frequently than we expect, or they may not report such information at all, in which case we would not report that information either. In addition, if a partner chooses to announce a partnership with us, there is no guarantee that we will receive technology development revenue in that quarter or even the following quarter, as such revenue is only payable to us in accordance with the terms of the agreements governing such partnerships. The price of our common stock may decline as a result of the public announcement of unexpected results or developments in our partnerships, or as a result of our partners withholding such information.
Risks Related to Biologic Drug Development
Biologic drug development is inherently uncertain, and it is possible that our technology may not succeed in discovering appropriate molecules or producing cell lines. Even if we do succeed, it is possible that none of the drug candidates discovered using our platform, if any, that are further developed by our partners will achieve development or regulatory milestones, including marketing approval, or become viable commercial technologies, on a timely basis or at all, which would harm our ability to generate revenue.
We use our platform to identify biologic drug candidates and develop cell lines for the production of drug candidates for partners who are engaged in biologic drug discovery and development. These partners include large pharmaceutical companies, smaller biotechnology companies and may in the future include non-profit and government organizations. While we receive payments for performing research activities and successfully completing technical program deliverables and milestones for our partners, we anticipate that the vast majority of the economic value of the contracts that we enter into with our partners will be in the downstream payments that would be payable if certain milestones are met by our partners with respect to product candidates identified and manufactured using bespoke cell lines developed by our Integrated Drug Creation Platform and royalties on net sales if such product candidates are approved for marketing and successfully commercialized. As a result, our future growth is dependent on the ability of our partners to successfully develop and commercialize therapies based on molecules generated using our platform. Due to our reliance on our partners, the risks relating to product development, regulatory clearance, authorization or approval and commercialization apply to us indirectly through the activities of our partners. Even if our platform is capable of identifying high quality biologic drug candidates, there can be no assurance that our partners will successfully develop, secure marketing approvals for and commercialize any drug candidates based on the proteins that we discover. As a result, we may not realize the intended benefits of our partnerships.
Due to the uncertain, time-consuming and costly clinical development and regulatory approval process, our partners may not successfully develop any drug candidates generated using our platform, or our partners may choose to discontinue the development of these drug candidates for a variety of reasons, including due to safety, risk versus benefit profile, exclusivity, competitive landscape, commercialization potential, production limitations or prioritization of their resources. It is possible that none of these drug candidates will ever receive regulatory approval and, even if approved, such drug candidates may never be successfully commercialized.
In addition, even if these drug candidates receive regulatory approval in the United States, our partners may never obtain approval or commercialize such drugs outside of the United States, which would limit their full market potential and therefore our ability to realize their potential downstream value. Furthermore, approved drugs may not achieve broad market acceptance among
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physicians, patients, the medical community and third-party payors, in which case revenue generated from their sales would be limited. Likewise, our partners have to make decisions about which clinical stage and pre-clinical drug candidates to develop and advance, and our partners may not have the resources to invest in all of the drug candidates generated using our platform, or clinical data and other development considerations may not support the advancement of one or more drug candidates. Decision-making about which drug candidates to prioritize involves inherent uncertainty, and our partners’ development program decision-making and resource prioritization decisions, which are outside of our control, may adversely affect the potential value of those partnerships. Additionally, subject to its contractual obligations to us, if one more of our partners is involved in a business combination, the partner might de-emphasize or terminate the development or commercialization of any drug candidate generated using our platform. If one of our strategic partners terminates its agreement with us, we may find it more difficult to attract new partners.
We are also subject to industry-wide FDA and other regulatory risk. For example, the number of BLAs approved by the FDA varies significantly over time and if changes in applicable laws, regulations, or policy or other events lead to an extended reduction in the number of BLAs approved by the FDA or otherwise reduce the number of biologics in development, our industry would contract and our business would be materially harmed.
Our partners’ failure to effectively develop or commercialize any drug candidates generated using our platform could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects, and cause the market price of our common stock to decline. In addition to the inherent uncertainty in drug development addresses above, our ability to forecast our future revenues may be limited.
In addition, we may in the future seek to advance proprietary drug candidates through preclinical validation, and may seek to license or co-develop such proprietary drug candidates with a partner for clinical development. In such case, we would also be dependent on our ability to enter into partnerships with respect to the drug candidate with license or joint development terms that are acceptable to us in a timely manner. We may also in the future invest in advancing proprietary drug candidates through some or all clinical-stage development activities and regulatory filings for approval to commercialize such proprietary drug candidates. If we were to do this, we would be subject to all of the risks of biologic drug development described above and elsewhere in this prospectus, and our failure to effectively develop or commercialize such proprietary drug candidates could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects, and cause the market price of our common stock to decline.
If our partners experience any of a number of possible unforeseen or negative events in connection with preclinical or clinical development, regulatory approval or commercialization of product candidates generated through our partnership, this could negatively affect our revenue opportunity for that program, and/or have broader deleterious effects on our reputation and future partnership prospects.
Our partners may experience numerous unforeseen events during, or as a result of, preclinical studies or clinical trials that could delay or prevent their ability to conduct further development or obtain regulatory approval or licensure of, or commercialize, biologic drug candidates generated through our partnerships, including:
Preclinical studies designed to enable the submission of IND applications, or other preclinical development activities, by our partners may not result in data sufficient to support the advancement of the applicable product candidates into clinical development, or our partners may abandon development activities for such product candidates prior to any IND submission for a variety of reasons;
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regulatory authorities or ethical review boards, including institutional review boards (IRBs), may not authorize commencement of a clinical trial or conduct a clinical trial at a prospective trial site;
there may be delays in reaching or failure to reach agreement on acceptable clinical trial contracts or clinical trial protocols with prospective trial sites;
the FDA or other regulatory authorities may disagree with a clinical trial design or a sponsor’s interpretation of data even after such regulatory authorities have reviewed and commented on the clinical trial design;
differences in trial design between early stage clinical trials and later-stage clinical trials may make it difficult to extrapolate the results of earlier clinical trials to later-stage clinical trials;
the FDA or other regulatory authorities may disagree about whether study endpoints are clinically meaningful or recommend study endpoints that require lengthy periods of observation;
the number of patients, or amount of data, required to complete clinical trials may be larger than anticipated, patient enrollment in these clinical trials may be slower than anticipated or patients may drop out of clinical trials at a higher rate than anticipated;
contract research organizations and other contracted third parties may fail to perform their duties in accordance with the study protocol or applicable laws and regulations;
changes may be made to product candidates after commencing clinical trials, which may require that previously completed stages of clinical testing be repeated or delay later stages of testing;
clinical trials may fail to satisfy the applicable regulatory requirements of the FDA or other regulatory authorities responsible for oversight of the conduct of clinical trials in other countries;
regulators may elect to impose a clinical hold, or our partners, governing IRBs, data safety monitoring boards or ethics committees may elect to suspend or terminate our partners’ clinical research or trials for various reasons, including non-compliance with regulatory requirements or a finding that the participants are being exposed to unacceptable risks to their health or the privacy of their health information being disclosed;
the cost of clinical trials of the applicable product candidates, or improvements to such product candidates, may be greater than our partners anticipate, causing them to delay or terminate their clinical development efforts;
the supply or quality of materials necessary to conduct clinical trials of the applicable product candidates may be insufficient or inadequate;
the outcome of our partners’ preclinical studies and early clinical trials may not be predictive of the success of later clinical trials, and interim results of a clinical trial do not necessarily predict final results;
product candidates may be associated with negative or inconclusive results in clinical trials, and our partners may decide to deprioritize or abandon these product candidates, or regulatory authorities may require our partners to abandon them or may impose onerous changes or requirements, which could lead to de-prioritization or abandonment;
product candidates may have undesirable side effects which could lead to serious adverse events, or other unexpected characteristics. One or more of such effects or events could cause regulators to impose a clinical hold on the applicable trial, or cause our partners or
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their investigators, IRBs or ethics committees to suspend or terminate the trial of the applicable product candidates; and
clinical trials may suggest or demonstrate that products are not safe and effective, or as safe and effective as competing therapies on the market or in development.
In addition, disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic may increase the likelihood that our partners encounter such difficulties or delays in initiating, enrolling, conducting or completing their planned and ongoing clinical trials. Delays of this nature could also allow competitors to bring products to market before our partners do, potentially impairing our partners’ abilities to successfully commercialize products generated in partnership with us and harming our business and results of operations. Any delays in the development of the product candidates developed by our partners generated using our technology our partners may significantly harm our business, financial condition and prospects. Many of the factors that cause, or lead to, a delay in the commencement or completion of clinical trials may also ultimately lead to the denial of regulatory clearance, authorization or approval of partnered products in development.
The biopharmaceutical platform technology market is highly competitive, and if we cannot compete successfully with our competitors, we may be unable to increase or sustain our revenue, or sustain profitability.
We face significant competition in the biopharmaceutical platform technology market. Our technologies address therapeutic discovery and bioproduction challenges that are addressed by other platform technologies controlled by companies that have a variety of business models, including the development of internal pipelines of therapeutics, technology licensing, discovery screening, cell line generation and the sale of instruments and devices. Potential competitors addressing certain steps in the target identification, biologic drug discovery and cell line development processes or adjacent aspects of these broad processes include the following:
in the field of novel target identification, we may face competition from academic, pharmaceutical, and biotechnology research initiatives, as well as companies focused on novel methods for target identification, including Insitro, Inc., TScan Therapeutics, Inc. and 3T Biosciences, Inc.;
in the field of AI-guided drug design and discovery, we may face competition from companies designing novel proteins such as Generate Biopharma, as well as adjacent technology companies pursuing small molecule design such as Schrodinger, Inc., Recursion Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Relay Therapeutics, Inc., Atomwise Inc., Valo Health, Inc., and Exscientia Limited;
in the field of scaffold design and drug platform development, we may face competition from pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies developing novel biologic modalities including Amgen Inc., Crescendo Bioscience, Inc. and Harpoon Therapeutics, Inc. among others;
in the field of novel human/humanized antibody discovery, we may face competition from companies such as AbCellera Biologics Inc., Adimab LLC and Alloy Therapeutics, Inc.;
in the field of non-standard amino acid protein engineering, we may face competition from companies such as Ambrx Inc. and Sutro Biopharma, Inc. (Sutro); and
in the field of cell line generation and single-cell screening, we may face competition from service providers, such as Lonza Group AG and Selexis SA, companies offering instrumentation, such as Berkeley Lights Inc., and companies with alternative protein production systems, such as Sutro.
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In addition, we are aware of other synthetic biology companies focused on developing various custom cell lines in a variety of model organisms for biomanufacturing of molecules relevant to other industries. These companies, which include Ginkgo Bioworks, Inc., Zymergen Inc., Geltor, Inc., Antheia, Inc., and Bolt Threads, Inc., may in the future pursue biopharmaceutical applications of their platforms that could compete with our technologies.
Our target partners may also elect to develop their processes on in house systems, or using other methods, rather than implementing our technologies and may decide to stop using our technologies. These companies are likely to exhaust all internal alternatives to our technology before adopting our technologies. In addition, there are many large established companies in the life science technology market that we do not currently compete with but that could develop systems, technologies, tools or other products that will compete with us in the future. These large established companies have substantially greater financial and other resources than us, including larger research and development staff or more established marketing and sales forces.
Our competitors and potential competitors may enjoy a number of competitive advantages over us. For example these may include:
longer operating histories;
larger partner bases;
greater brand recognition and market penetration;
greater financial resources;
greater technological and research and development resources;
better system reliability and robustness;
greater business development capabilities; and
better established, larger scale and lower cost manufacturing capabilities.
As a result, our competitors and potential competitors may be able to respond more quickly to changes in partner requirements, devote greater resources to the development, promotion and sale of their platforms or solutions than we can, or sell their platforms or solutions, or offer solutions competitive with our platform and solutions at prices designed to win significant levels of market share. In addition, we may encounter challenges in marketing our solutions with our pricing model, which is structured to capture the potential downstream revenues associated with drug candidates that were discovered using our platform. Our partners and potential partners may prefer one or more pricing models employed by our competitors that involve upfront payments rather than downstream revenues. We may not be able to compete effectively against these organizations.
In addition, competitors may be acquired by, receive investments from or enter into other commercial relationships with larger, well-established and well-financed companies. Certain of our competitors may be able to secure key inputs from vendors on more favorable terms, devote greater resources to marketing and promotional campaigns, adopt more aggressive pricing policies and devote substantially more resources to technology and platform development than we can. If we are unable to compete successfully against current and future competitors, we may be unable to increase market adoption of our platform technologies for the biologic drug discovery and cell line development, which could prevent us from increasing our revenue or sustaining profitability.
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The market, including potential partners and potential investors, may be skeptical of the viability and benefits of our technology platform because it is based on novel and complex synthetic biology technology.
The market, including customers and potential investors, may be skeptical of the viability and benefits of our technology platform because it is based on novel and complex synthetic biology technology. There can be no assurance that our technologies will be understood, approved, or accepted by potential partners and potential investors or that we will be able to enter into new partnerships with new or existing partners. The synthetic biology market is relatively new, and potential partners may be hesitant to allocate resources in a relatively unproven field. If we are unable to convince these potential partners of the utility and value of our technologies or that our technologies are superior to the technologies they currently use, we will not be successful in entering these markets and our business and results of operations will be adversely affected. If potential investors are skeptical of the success of our technologies, our ability to raise capital and the value of our stock may be adversely affected.
The medical insurance coverage and reimbursement status of newly approved therapeutics is uncertain. Failure to obtain or maintain adequate coverage and reimbursement for current or future products and services could limit our partners’ ability to fully commercialize product candidates generated using our platform, which would decrease our ability to generate revenue.
The availability and extent of reimbursement by governmental and private payors is essential for most patients to be able to afford any therapeutics generated using our platform that our partners may develop and sell. In addition, because the therapeutics we generate may represent new classes of treatments for diseases, we and our partners cannot accurately estimate how such therapeutics would be priced, whether reimbursement could be obtained or any potential revenue generated. Sales of such therapeutics will depend substantially, both domestically and internationally, on the extent to which the costs of such therapeutics are paid by health maintenance, managed care, pharmacy benefit and similar healthcare management organizations, or reimbursed by government health administration authorities, private health coverage insurers and other third-party payors. If reimbursement is not available, or is available only to limited levels, our partners may not be able to successfully commercialize some therapeutics generated with our technology. Even if coverage is provided, the approved reimbursement amount may not be high enough to allow our partners to establish or maintain pricing sufficient to realize a sufficient return on their investment in such therapeutics, and may lead to discontinuation or deprioritization of marketing and sales efforts for such products. Changes in the reimbursement landscape may occur, which are outside of our control, and may impact the commercial viability of our technology development services and/or therapeutics generated using our technology.
There is significant uncertainty related to the insurance coverage and reimbursement of newly cleared, authorized or approved therapeutics in the United States and other jurisdictions. Due to the trend toward value-based pricing and coverage, the increasing influence of health maintenance organizations and additional legislative changes, we expect our partners to experience pricing pressures on therapeutics generated using our platform that our partners may commercialize. The downward pressure on healthcare costs in general, particularly novel therapeutics, has become very intense. As a result, increasingly high barriers are being erected to the entry of new products, which would negatively impact our ability to generate revenues.
Healthcare reform efforts aimed at lowering the price of biopharmaceutical products may impact our ability to maintain sufficient profits.
Payors, whether domestic or foreign, or governmental or private, are developing increasingly sophisticated methods of controlling healthcare costs and those methods are not always specifically adapted for new technologies. In both the United States and certain foreign jurisdictions, there have been a number of legislative and regulatory changes to the health care system that could
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impact our ability to sell our products profitably. In particular, in 2010, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, as amended by the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 (ACA), was enacted, which, among other things, subjected biologic products to potential competition by lower-cost biosimilars; 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; increased the minimum Medicaid rebates owed by most manufacturers under the Medicaid Drug Rebate Program; extended the Medicaid Drug Rebate program to utilization of prescriptions of individuals enrolled in Medicaid managed care organizations; subjected manufacturers to new annual fees and taxes for certain branded prescription drugs; created a new Medicare Part D coverage gap discount program, in which manufacturers must agree to offer 50% (increased to 70% pursuant to the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, effective as of January 1, 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; and provided incentives to programs that increase the federal government’s comparative effectiveness research. If efforts to contain the price of biopharmaceutical products are successful, the magnitude of milestone payments and royalties we would expect to receive in connection with our partners’ future prioritization and investment in developing novel biologics may be impacted.
Our business could become subject to government regulation, and the regulatory approval and maintenance process may be expensive, time-consuming and uncertain both in timing and in outcome.
Our operations are currently not subject to the direct regulation by the FDA or other regulatory bodies. However, our business could in future become subject to more direct oversight by the FDA, or other domestic or international agencies. For example, we may be subject to evolving and variable regulations governing the production of genetically engineered organisms. Furthermore, while we have no active plans to operate a manufacturing facility designed to comply with current good manufacturing practices (cGMPs), future market pressures or the lack of available capacity at cGMP manufacturing facilities may necessitate our entry into this market. Complying with such regulations may be expensive, time-consuming and uncertain, and our failure to obtain or comply with such approvals and clearances could have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition and operating results.
Risks Related to Our Operations
Our loan and security agreement contains covenants that restrict our operating activities, and we may be required to repay the outstanding indebtedness in an event of default, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.
In June 2018, we entered into a Loan and Security Agreement (LSA), which was subsequently amended, with Bridge Bank (Lender) pursuant to which the Lender agreed to provide us a term loan up to $3.0 million with a maturity date in May, 2022. We initially borrowed $0.3 million that was funded in June, 2018. In March 2019, we entered into a First Amendment to the loan and service agreement to increase total borrowings to $3.0 million. In March 2020, we entered into a Second Amendment to the loan service agreement that increased total borrowings to $5.0 million. Until we have repaid such indebtedness, the loan and security agreement subjects us to various customary covenants, including requirements as to financial reporting, liquidity ratios and insurance and restrictions on our ability to dispose of our business or property, to change our line of business, to liquidate or dissolve, to enter into any change in control transaction, to merge or consolidate with any other entity or to acquire all or substantially all the capital stock or property of another entity, to incur additional indebtedness, to incur liens on our property, to pay any dividends or make other distributions on capital stock other than dividends payable solely in capital stock, to redeem capital stock, to enter into in-bound licensing agreements, to engage in transactions with
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affiliates, and to encumber our intellectual property. Our business may be adversely affected by these restrictions on our ability to operate our business.
Following the amendments, we are permitted to make interest only payments on the LSA through May 2021, at which time amortization begins. However, we may be required to repay the outstanding indebtedness under the loan facility if an event of default occurs under the loan and security agreement. An event of default will occur if, among other things, we fail to make required payments under the loan and security agreement; we breach any of our covenants under the loan and security agreement, subject to specified cure periods with respect to certain breaches; the Lender determines that a material adverse change (as defined in the loan and security agreement) has occurred; we or our assets become subject to certain legal proceedings, such as bankruptcy proceedings; we are unable to pay our debts as they become due; or we default on contracts with third parties which would permit the third party to accelerate the maturity of such indebtedness or that could have a material adverse change on us. We may not have enough available cash or be able to raise additional funds through equity or debt financings to repay such indebtedness at the time any such event of default occurs. In such a case, we may be required to delay, limit, reduce or terminate our operations or grant to others rights to develop and market our Integrated Drug Creation Platform that we would otherwise prefer to develop and market ourselves. The Lender could also exercise its rights as secured lender to take possession of and to dispose of the collateral securing the term loan, which collateral includes substantially all of our property (excluding intellectual property, which is subject to a negative pledge). Our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects could be materially adversely affected as a result of any of these events.
We rely on a limited number of suppliers or, in many cases, single suppliers, for laboratory equipment and materials and may not be able to find replacements or immediately transition to alternative suppliers.
We rely on a limited number of suppliers, or in many cases single suppliers, to provide certain consumables and equipment that we use in our laboratory operations, as well as reagents and other laboratory materials involved in the development of our technology. Fluctuations in the availability and price of laboratory materials and equipment could have an adverse effect on our ability to meet our technology development goals with our partners and thus our results from operations as well as future partnership opportunities. An interruption in our laboratory operations or technology transfer could occur if we encounter delays, quality issues or other difficulties in securing these consumables, equipment, reagents or other materials, and if we cannot then obtain an acceptable substitute. In addition, we would likely be required to incur significant costs and devote significant efforts to find new suppliers, acquire and qualify new equipment, validate new reagents and revalidate aspects of our existing assays, which may cause delays in our processing of samples or development and commercialization of our technology. Any such interruption could significantly affect our business, financial condition, results of operations and reputation.
In particular, we have purchased and rely on the Sartorius Ambr system. Sartorius AG (Sartorius) supplies us with the Ambr bioreactor system and related equipment and consumables, which are critical to our business. The Ambr system and its related consumables are provided solely by Sartorius. We are also materially reliant on the liquid handling robotics and associated consumables produced solely by the Hamilton Company (Hamilton). We obtain our supplies of equipment and materials from Sartorius and Hamilton under purchase orders and do not have supply contracts in place with either of these suppliers. Any disruption in the supply chain for these products would materially affect our business. While there are alternative types of equipment that we could use as a replacement for the Ambr system and/or the Hamilton workstations, switching to different systems would require significant capital investment, long lead times and significant training and validation.
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Our Integrated Drug Creation Platform may not meet the expectations of our partners, which means our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects could suffer.
Our success depends on, among other things, the market’s confidence that our platform is capable of substantially shortening the amount of time necessary to perform certain activities as compared to the use of legacy and other alternative technologies, and will enable more efficient or improved pharmaceutical and biotechnology product development and/or biomanufacturing. There is no assurance that we will be able to meet our partners’ needs in the future, or at all. To date, we have not yet had a program enter clinical testing or progress to manufacture in a cGMP environment, which may reduce our partners confidence in our platform. We also believe that pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies are likely to be particularly sensitive to defects in, or suboptimal performance of, our platform, including if our platform fails to deliver meaningful acceleration of certain research timelines accompanied by results at least as good as the results generated using legacy or other alternative technologies. There can be no guarantee that our platform will meet the expectations of pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies.
We will need to develop and expand our workforce, commercial infrastructure and laboratory operations to support anticipated growth in demand for our technology development programs, and we may encounter difficulties in managing this development and expansion.
We will need to expand our workforce, commercial infrastructure and laboratory operations to support anticipated growth in demand for our technology development programs. If we are unable to support fluctuations in the demand for our technology development programs, including ensuring that we have adequate capacity to meet increased demand, our business could suffer. As of June 30, 2021, we had 169 full-time employees and we expect to increase the number of employees and the scope of our operations as we continue to develop our technologies. As we seek to increase the number of our partnerships, expand the scope of our existing partnerships and further develop our technological capabilities, we may need to incorporate new equipment, implement new technology systems and laboratory processes and hire new personnel with different qualifications. Failure to manage this growth or transition could result in turnaround time delays, higher technology development costs, declining technology development quality, deteriorating alliance management success, and slower responses to competitive challenges. A failure in any one of these areas could make it difficult for us to meet market expectations for our technologies, and could damage our reputation and the prospects for our business.
To manage our anticipated 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 team 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 business expansion activities. Due to our limited resources and early stage of growth, we may not be able to effectively manage this simultaneous execution and the expansion of our operations. This may result in weaknesses in our infrastructure, operational mistakes, slower development of our technology development programs, loss of business opportunities, loss of employees and reduced productivity among our employees.
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 develop and commercialize our technologies and compete effectively, will depend, in part, on our ability to effectively manage our future development and expansion.
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Our business development organization is currently limited, and if we are unable to expand our business development organization to reach our existing and potential partners, our business may be adversely affected.
We currently have a limited number of business development professionals. We will need to expand our commercial organization in order to effectively market our platform capabilities to existing and new partners. Competition for employees capable of negotiating and entering into partnerships with pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies is intense. We may not be able to attract and retain personnel or be able to build an efficient and effective business development organization, which could negatively impact market adoption of our platform and limit our revenue growth and potential profitability. In addition, the time and cost of establishing a specialized business development or sales team for a particular future service, technology, asset, or set of assets, may be difficult to justify in light of the revenue generated or projected.
Our expected future growth will impose significant added responsibilities on members of management, including the need to identify, recruit, maintain and integrate additional employees. Our future financial performance and our ability to successfully sell our programs and to compete effectively will depend, in part, on our ability to manage this potential future growth effectively, without compromising quality.
The loss of any member of our senior management team or our inability to attract and retain highly skilled scientists and business development professionals could adversely affect our business.
Our success depends on the skills, experience and performance of key members of our senior management team, including Sean McClain, our founder and Chief Executive Officer, and Matthew Weinstock, our Chief Technology Officer. The individual and collective efforts of these employees will be important as we continue to develop our platform and our technology, and as we expand our commercial activities. The loss or incapacity of existing members of our executive management team could adversely affect our operations if we experience difficulties in hiring qualified successors. While certain of our executive officers are party to employment contracts with us, their employment with us is at-will, which means that either we or the executive may terminate their employment at any time, and we therefore cannot guarantee their retention for any period of time.
Our technology development programs and laboratory operations depend on our ability to attract and retain highly skilled personnel. We may not be able to attract or retain qualified personnel due to the intense competition for highly skilled scientists, including those focused on biologic drug discovery and cell line development, as well as qualified business development and sales professionals, among life sciences companies. Additionally, our geographic location in Vancouver, Washington, which does not have as high a concentration of innovative biotechnology companies as other geographic locations may negatively impact our ability to attract top talent.
We also face competition from universities and public and private research institutions in recruiting and retaining highly qualified scientific personnel. We may have difficulties locating, recruiting or retaining qualified salespeople. Recruiting and retention difficulties can limit our ability to support our research and business development programs. A key risk in the area of retention is that all of our employees are at-will.
We may not realize the expected benefits of our recent acquisitions because of difficulties related to integration.
In January 2021, we consummated the Denovium acquisition, and, in June 2021, we consummated the Totient acquisition. We expect that the integration processes for such acquisitions will require significant time and resources, and we may not be able to manage such processes successfully. If we are not able to successfully integrate Denovium’s or Totient’s businesses with ours, the anticipated
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benefits of such acquisitions may not be realized fully or may take longer than expected to be realized. For instance, in connection with the Denovium acquisition, we acquired a team of computational biologists and artificial intelligence experts along with a proprietary deep learning platform geared for protein discovery and engineering. There is no guarantee that Denovium will continue to benefit projects or that we will be able to achieve our ultimate goal of in silico protein and cell line design. Further, it is possible that we will experience disruption of either company’s or both companies’ ongoing businesses, including as we continue to service a limited number of Denovium’s ongoing contracts for the foreseeable future. We may also incur higher than expected costs as a result of the acquisitions or experience an overall post-completion process that takes longer than originally anticipated. In addition, at times the attention of certain members of our management and resources may be focused on integration of the businesses of the two companies and diverted from day-to-day business operations, which may disrupt our ongoing business and the business of the combined company. We expect to incur, significant, non-recurring costs in connection with the acquisitions of Denovium and Totient and integrating our operations with Denovium’s and Totient’s, including costs to maintain employee morale and to retain key employees. Management cannot ensure that the elimination of duplicative costs or the realization of other efficiencies will offset the transaction and integration costs in the near term or at all. Furthermore, uncertainty about the effect of the Denovium acquisition or the Totient acquisition on our business, employees, partners, third parties with whom we have relationships may have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects. In addition, such challenges in integrating our acquisition of Denovium or Totient may be magnified by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Other potential difficulties we may encounter as part of the integration process include (i) the challenge of integrating complex systems, operating procedures, regulatory compliance programs, technology, networks and other assets of Denovium and Totient in a seamless manner that minimizes any adverse impact on our employees, suppliers and other business partners; and (ii) potential unknown liabilities, liabilities that are significantly larger than we currently anticipate and unforeseen increased expenses or delays associated with the acquisition, including costs to integrate Denovium’s and Totient’s businesses that may exceed the costs that we currently anticipate. Accordingly, the contemplated benefits of the Denovium acquisition or the Totient acquisition may not be realized fully, or at all, or may take longer to realize than expected.
We have made technology acquisitions and expect to acquire businesses or assets or make investments in other companies or technologies that could negatively affect our operating results, dilute our stockholders’ ownership, increase our debt or cause us to incur significant expense.
We have made technology acquisitions and expect to pursue acquisitions of businesses and assets in the future. We also may pursue strategic alliances and joint ventures that leverage our technologies and industry experience to expand our offerings. Additionally, we may invest in certain wholly-owned preclinical and/or clinical development programs with the goal of licensing them to partners for clinical development. Although we have acquired other businesses or assets in the past, including our acquisitions of Denovium, Inc. in January 2021 and Totient, Inc., or Totient, in June 2021, we may not be able to find suitable partners or acquisition or asset purchase candidates in the future, and we may not be able to complete such transactions on favorable terms, if at all. The competition for partners or acquisition candidates may be intense, and the negotiation process will be time-consuming and complex. If we make any acquisitions, we may not be able to integrate these acquisitions successfully into our existing business, these acquisitions may not strengthen our competitive position, the transactions may be viewed negatively by partners or investors, we may be unable to retain key employees of any acquired business, relationships with key suppliers, manufacturers or partners of any acquired business may be impaired due to changes in management and ownership, and we could assume unknown or contingent liabilities. Any future acquisitions also could result in the incurrence of debt, contingent liabilities or future write-offs of intangible assets or goodwill, any of which could have a material adverse effect on our business,
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financial condition, results of operations and prospects. For example, in connection with our acquisition of Totient, Totient’s Class A common stockholders and noteholders are eligible to receive up to an additional $15 million in cash upon the achievement of certain milestones. We cannot guarantee that we will be able to fully recover the costs of any acquisition. Integration of an acquired company also may disrupt ongoing operations and require management resources that we would otherwise focus on developing our existing business. We may not realize the anticipated benefits of any acquisition, technology license, strategic alliance or joint venture. We also may experience losses related to investments in other companies, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects. Acquisitions may also expose us to a variety of international and business related risks, including intellectual property, regulatory laws, local laws, tax and accounting.
To finance any acquisitions or asset purchase, we may choose to issue securities as consideration, which would dilute the ownership of our stockholders. Additional funds may not be available on terms that are favorable to us, or at all. If the price of our common stock is low or volatile, we may not be able to acquire companies or assets using our securities as consideration.
We may be subject to laws that generally govern the biopharmaceutical industry.
Biopharmaceutical companies are subject to additional healthcare regulation and enforcement by the federal government and by authorities in the states and foreign jurisdictions in which they conduct their business. These laws and regulations may constrain our relationships with our customers and partners. Such laws include, without limitation, state and federal anti-kickback, fraud and abuse, false claims, and transparency laws and regulations related to drug pricing and payments and other transfers of value made to physicians and other healthcare providers. If our partners’ operations are found to be in violation of any of such laws or any other governmental regulations that apply, we may be subject to penalties, including, without limitation, administrative, civil and criminal penalties, damages, fines, disgorgement, the curtailment or restructuring of operations, integrity oversight and reporting obligations, exclusion from participation in federal and state healthcare programs and responsible individuals may be subject to imprisonment.
Our inability to collect on our accounts receivable by a significant number of partners may have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Invoices issued to our partners are generally made on open credit terms. While we haven’t experienced an inability to collect on accounts receivable from our partners historically, it may occur in the future. Management assesses the need to maintain an allowance for potential credit losses each reporting period. If our partners’ cash flow, working capital, financial conditions or results of operations deteriorate, they may be unable or even unwilling to pay trade receivables owed to us promptly or at all. As a result, we could be exposed to a certain level of credit risk. If a major partner experiences, or a significant number of partners experience, financial difficulties, the effect on us could be material and have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
If our operating facility becomes damaged or inoperable or we are required to vacate our facility, our ability to conduct and pursue our technology development efforts may be jeopardized.
We currently operate primarily through a single facility located in Vancouver, Washington. Our facility and equipment could be harmed or rendered inoperable or inaccessible by natural or man-made disasters or other circumstances beyond our control, including fire, earthquake, power loss, communications failure, war or terrorism, or another catastrophic event, such as a pandemic or similar outbreak or public health crisis, which may render it difficult or impossible for us to support our partners and develop updates, upgrades and other improvements to our technology and platform, advanced automation systems, and advanced application for some period of time. We
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may be unable to execute on our technology development activities if our facility is inoperable or suffers a loss of utilization for even a short period of time, may result in the loss of partners or harm to our reputation, and we may be unable to regain those partners or repair our reputation in the future. Furthermore, our facility and the equipment we use to perform our technology development work could be unavailable or costly and time-consuming to repair or replace. It would be difficult, time-consuming and expensive to rebuild our facility, to locate and qualify a new facility or license or transfer our proprietary technology to a third party. Even in the event we are able to find a third party to assist in technology development efforts, we may be unable to negotiate commercially reasonable terms to engage with the third party.
We depend on our information technology systems, and any failure of these systems could harm our business.
We depend on information technology and telecommunications systems for significant elements of our business operations, including the operation of our AI platform (Denovium Engine), our antibody discovery software platform, our computational biology system, our knowledge management system, our partner reporting, our platform, our advanced automation systems, and advanced application software. These systems involve computational resources and data storage distributed between onsite servers, cloud platforms hosted by numerous third-party providers (e.g., Amazon Web Services), and a private GPU cluster owned by us but located and maintained at a facility in Texas. We have installed, and expect to expand, a number of enterprise software systems that affect a broad range of business processes and functional areas, including for example, systems handling human resources, financial controls and reporting, contract management, regulatory compliance and other infrastructure operations. These implementations were expensive and required a significant effort in terms of both time and effort. In addition to the aforementioned business systems, we intend to extend the capabilities of both our preventative and detective security controls by augmenting the monitoring and alerting functions, the network design and the automatic countermeasure operations of our technical systems. These information technology and telecommunications systems support a variety of functions, including manufacturing operations, laboratory operations, data analysis, quality control, partner service and support, billing, research and development activities, scientific and general administrative activities. A significant risk in implementing these systems includes the integration and communication between separate IT systems, and any failure to integrate these systems effectively could adversely affect various aspects of our operations.
International expansion of our business exposes us to business, regulatory, political, operational, financial and economic risks associated with doing business outside of the United States.
Because we currently market our technologies and our partners may market products derived from our technologies outside of the United States and we or our partners may market future technologies, products and services outside of the United States, if cleared, authorized or approved, our business is subject to risks associated with doing business outside of the United States, including an increase in our expenses and diversion of our management’s attention from the development of future products and services. In addition, as a result of the Totient acquisition, we currently maintain offices and have employees located in Serbia and the United Kingdom. Our current and planned international operations could expose us to additional risks that may adversely affect our business and financial results, including:
multiple, conflicting and changing laws and regulations such as privacy security and data use regulations, tax laws, export and import restrictions, economic sanctions and embargoes, employment laws, anticorruption laws, regulatory requirements, reporting and disclosure obligations, reimbursement or payor regimes and other governmental approvals, permits and licenses;
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failure by us, our partners or our distributors to obtain regulatory clearance, authorization or approval for the use of our technologies in various countries;
additional potentially relevant third-party patent rights;
complexities and difficulties in obtaining intellectual property protection and enforcing our intellectual property;
difficulties in staffing and managing foreign operations;
complexities associated with managing multiple payor reimbursement regimes, government payors or patient self-pay systems;
difficulties in negotiating favorable reimbursement negotiations with governmental authorities;
complexities in technology transfer regulations and logistics related to delivery of our bioengineered E. coli to partners;
logistics and regulations associated with shipping samples, including infrastructure conditions and transportation delays;
limits in our ability to penetrate international markets if we are not able to conduct our operations locally;
financial risks, such as longer payment cycles, difficulty collecting accounts receivable, the impact of local and regional financial crises on demand and payment for our technologies, exposure to foreign currency exchange rate fluctuations and different tax jurisdictions;
natural disasters, political and economic instability, including wars, terrorism and political unrest, outbreak of disease, boycotts, curtailment of trade and other business restrictions;
certain expenses, including expenses for travel, translation services, labor and employment costs and insurance;
regulatory and compliance risks that relate to maintaining accurate information and control over sales and distributors’ activities that may fall within the purview of the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), its books and records provisions, or its anti-bribery provisions, or laws similar to the FCPA in other jurisdictions in which we may now or in the future operate, such as the United Kingdom’s Bribery Act of 2010; and
onerous anti-bribery requirements of several member states in the European Union (EU), such as the United Kingdom’s Bribery Act of 2010, and other countries that are constantly changing and require disclosure of information to which U.S. legal privilege may not extend.
Any of these factors could significantly harm our future international expansion and operations and, consequently, our revenue and results of operations.
Our business activities are subject to the FCPA and other anti-bribery and anti-corruption laws of the United States and other countries in which we operate, as well as U.S. and certain foreign export controls and trade sanctions. Violations of such legal requirements could subject us to liability.
We are subject to the FCPA, which among other things prohibits companies and their third-party intermediaries from offering, promising, giving or authorizing others to give anything of value, either directly or indirectly, to non-U.S. government officials for the purpose of obtaining or retaining business or securing any other improper advantage. The FCPA also requires public companies to make and keep books and records that accurately and fairly reflect the transactions of
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the corporation and to devise and maintain an adequate system of internal accounting controls. Companies in the biotechnology and biopharmaceutical field are highly regulated and therefore involve interactions with public officials, including officials of non-U.S. governments. Additionally, in many other countries, hospitals are owned and operated by the government, and doctors and other hospital employees would be considered foreign officials under the FCPA. These laws are complex and far-reaching in nature, and, as a result, there is no certainty that all of our employees, agents or contractors will comply with such laws and regulations. Any violations of these laws, or allegations of such violations, could disrupt our operations, involve significant management distraction, involve significant costs and expenses, including legal fees, and could result in a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects. We could also suffer severe penalties, including criminal and civil penalties, disgorgement and other remedial measures.
We use biological and hazardous materials that require considerable expertise and expense for handling, storage and disposal and may result in claims against us.
We work with materials, including chemicals, biological agents and compounds that could be hazardous to human health and safety or the environment. Our operations also produce hazardous and biological waste products. Our SoluPro system is based on bioengineered E. coli, which could pose a health risk if improperly handled. Additionally, we employ various synthetic biology processes, which could involve the use or emission of harmful materials. Federal, state and local laws and regulations govern the use, generation, manufacture, storage, handling and disposal of these materials and wastes. We may be subject to periodic inspections by relevant authorities to ensure compliance with applicable laws. Compliance with applicable environmental laws and regulations is expensive, and current or future environmental laws and regulations may restrict our operations. If we do not comply with applicable regulations, we may be subject to fines and penalties.
In addition, we cannot eliminate the risk of accidental injury or contamination from these materials or wastes, which could cause an interruption of our commercialization efforts, technology development programs and business operations, as well as environmental damage resulting in costly clean-up and liabilities under applicable laws and regulations. In the event of contamination or injury, we could be liable for damages or penalized with fines in an amount exceeding our resources and our operations could be suspended or otherwise adversely affected. Furthermore, environmental laws and regulations are complex, change frequently and have tended to become more stringent. We cannot predict the impact of such changes and cannot be certain of our future compliance.
Public health crises such as pandemics or similar outbreaks could cause a disruption of the development of our platform technologies, and adversely impact our business.
In late 2019, a novel strain of coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, which resulted in the evolving COVID-19 pandemic, surfaced in Wuhan, China. Since then, COVID-19 has spread across the globe and to multiple regions within the United States, including Vancouver, Washington, where our primary office and laboratory space is located. The COVID-19 pandemic is evolving, and to date has led to the implementation of various responses, including government imposed shelter-in-place orders, quarantines, travel restrictions and other public health safety measures, as well as reported adverse impacts on healthcare resources, facilities and providers across the United States and in other countries. In response to the spread of COVID-19, and in accordance with guidance from federal, state, and local government authorities, we have restricted access to our facilities mostly to personnel and third parties who perform critical activities that must be completed on-site, limited the number of such personnel that can be present at our facilities at any one time, required universal facial masking in accordance with U.S. Centers for Disease Control recommendations, and requested (and facilitated) that most of our personnel work remotely in compliance with the local government issued guidance. In the event that government authorities were to further modify
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current restrictions, our employees conducting technology development or manufacturing activities may not be able to access our laboratory and manufacturing space, and our core activities may be significantly limited or curtailed, possibly for an extended period of time.
With such restrictions in place our business has been and may continue to be impacted negatively in a number of ways. For example, we have experienced delays in technology development activities due to supply chain interruptions related to diversion of personal protective equipment and biotechnology research and biomanufacturing supplies to healthcare organizations and COVID-19 vaccine developers. In addition, the global focus on the pandemic and uncertainties of markets has extended our business development timelines, and has negatively impacted our partners’ and potential partners’ willingness to advance negotiations in a timely manner. We have also experienced difficulties recruiting personnel, especially from outside our region, due to travel restrictions and overall uncertainties and reluctance of prospective employees to relocate during the COVID-19 pandemic.
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, or similar pandemics and outbreaks, we have experienced and may continue to experience severe delays and disruptions, including, for example:
interruption of or delays in receiving products and supplies from third parties;
limitations on our business operations by local, state and/or federal governments that could impact our ability to conduct our technology development and other activities;
delays in negotiations with partners and potential partners;
increases in facilities costs to comply with physical distancing guidance;
business disruptions caused by workplace, laboratory and office closures and an increased reliance on employees working from home, travel limitations, cyber security and data accessibility, or communication or mass transit disruptions; and
limitations on employee resources that would otherwise be focused on the conduct of our activities, including because of sickness of employees or their families or the desire of employees to avoid contact with large groups of people.
Any of these factors could severely impact our technology development activities, business operations and business development, or delay necessary interactions with local regulators, and other important contractors and partners. These and other factors arising from the COVID-19 pandemic could worsen in countries that are already afflicted with COVID-19, could continue to spread to additional countries, or could return to countries where the pandemic has been partially contained, and could further adversely impact our ability to conduct our business generally and have a material adverse impact on our operations and financial condition and results.
The extent to which the COVID-19 pandemic may negatively impact our operations and results of operations or those of our stakeholders will depend on future developments, which are highly uncertain and cannot be predicted with confidence, such as the ultimate geographic spread of the disease, the duration of the outbreak, travel restrictions, additional or modified government actions, new information that will emerge concerning the severity and impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and actions to contain the outbreak or treat its impact, such as social distancing, quarantines, lock-downs or business closures.
We rely and expect in the future to rely on a limited number of outside parties to perform the cGMP manufacturing for clinical development and commercialization of any biologic product candidates produced using our technology. Limitations in this global
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cGMP manufacturing capacity could delay or prevent clinical development and/or commercialization efforts.
We develop manufacturing processes that are required to use our cell lines, but we do not currently have capabilities to manufacture products in accordance with cGMPs. We rely on the in-house manufacturing capabilities of our partners or capabilities of established third-party contract development and manufacturing organizations (CDMOs) to manufacture biologic drug candidates generated with our technology. Manufacturing capacity maintained by our partners or third-party CDMOs is a finite resource that is in demand. Shortages in cGMP manufacturing capacity are difficult to predict and could hamper our operations and harm our business.
Risks Related to Our Intellectual Property
If we are unable to obtain and maintain sufficient intellectual property protection for our technologies, including our platform, Denovium deep learning technology and Totient antibody discovery software platform, or if the scope of the intellectual property protection obtained is not sufficiently broad, our competitors could develop and commercialize technologies or a platform similar or identical to ours, and our ability to successfully leverage our platform technologies may be impaired.
We rely on patent protection as well as trademark, copyright, trade secret and other intellectual property rights protection and contractual restrictions to protect our proprietary technologies, all of which provide limited protection and may not adequately protect our rights or permit us to gain or keep a competitive advantage. If we fail to protect our intellectual property, third parties may be able to compete more effectively against us. In addition, we may incur substantial litigation costs in our attempts to recover or restrict the use of our intellectual property.
To the extent our intellectual property offers inadequate protection, or is found to be invalid or unenforceable, we would be exposed to a greater risk of direct competition. If our intellectual property does not provide adequate coverage of our competitors’ products and services, our competitive position could be adversely affected, as could our business. Both the patent application process and the process of managing patent disputes can be time-consuming and expensive.
Our success depends in large part on our ability to obtain and maintain adequate protection of the intellectual property we may own solely and jointly with others or otherwise have rights to, particularly patents, in the United States and in other countries with respect to our platform, our software and our technologies, without infringing the intellectual property rights of others.
We strive to protect and enhance the proprietary technologies that we believe are important to our business, including seeking patents intended to cover our platform and related technologies and uses thereof, as we deem appropriate. Our patents and patent applications in the United States and certain foreign jurisdictions relate to our technology. However, obtaining and enforcing patents in our industry is costly, time-consuming and complex, and we may fail to apply for patents on important products and technologies in a timely fashion or at all, or we may fail to apply for patents in potentially relevant jurisdictions. There can be no assurance that the claims of our patents (or any patent application that issues as a patent), will exclude others from making, using or selling our technology or technology that is substantially similar to ours. We also rely on trade secrets to protect aspects of our business that are not amenable to, or that we do not consider appropriate for, patent protection. In countries where we have not sought and do not seek patent protection, third parties may be able to manufacture and sell our technology without our permission, and we may not be able to stop them from doing so. We may not be able to file and prosecute all necessary or desirable patent applications, or maintain, enforce and license any patents that may issue from such patent applications, at a reasonable cost or in a timely manner. It is also possible that we will fail to identify patentable aspects of our technology development output before it is too late to obtain patent protection. We may not have the right to control the preparation, filing and prosecution of patent applications, or to maintain the rights to patents
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licensed to third parties. Therefore, these patents and applications may not be prosecuted and enforced in a manner consistent with the best interests of our business.
As of June 4, 2021, we own 35 issued or allowed patents and 48 pending patent applications worldwide, which includes four issued U.S. patents and 11 pending U.S. patent applications. It is possible that none of our pending patent applications will result in issued patents in a timely fashion or at all, and even if patents are granted, they may not provide a basis for intellectual property protection of commercially viable products or services, may not provide us with any competitive advantages, or may be challenged and invalidated by third parties. It is possible that others will design around our current or future patented technologies. As a result, our owned and licensed patents and patent applications comprising our patent portfolio may not provide us with sufficient rights to exclude others from commercializing technology and products similar to any of our technology.
It is possible that in the future some of our patents, licensed patents and patent applications may be challenged at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) or in proceedings before the patent offices of other jurisdictions. We may not be successful in defending any such challenges made against our patents or patent applications. Any successful third party challenge to our patents could result in loss of exclusivity or freedom to operate, patent claims being narrowed, the unenforceability or invalidity of such patents, in whole or in part, which could limit our ability to stop others from using or commercializing similar or identical technology and products, limit the duration of the patent protection of our technology, and increased competition to our business. We may have to challenge the patents or patent applications of third parties. The outcome of patent litigation or other proceeding can be uncertain, and any attempt by us to enforce our patent rights against others or to challenge the patent rights of others may not be successful, or, if successful, may take substantial time and result in substantial cost, and may divert our efforts and attention from other aspects of our business.
Any changes we make to our technology, including changes that may be required for commercialization or that cause them to have what we view as more advantageous properties may not be covered by our existing patent portfolio, and we may be required to file new applications and/or seek other forms of protection for any such alterations to our technology. There can be no assurance that we would be able to secure patent protection that would adequately cover an alternative to our technology.
The patent positions of life sciences companies can be highly uncertain and involve complex legal and factual questions for which important legal principles remain unresolved. No consistent policy regarding the breadth of claims allowed in such companies’ patents has emerged to date in the United States or elsewhere. Courts frequently render opinions in the biotechnology field that may affect the patentability of certain inventions or discoveries.
Changes in patent law in the United States and other jurisdictions could diminish the value of patents in general, thereby impairing our ability to protect our technologies.
Changes in either the patent laws or in interpretations of patent laws in the United States or other countries or regions may diminish the value of our intellectual property. We cannot predict the breadth of claims that may be allowed or enforced in our patents or in third party patents. We may not develop additional proprietary platforms, methods and technologies that are patentable.
Assuming that other requirements for patentability are met, prior to March 16, 2013, in the United States, the first to invent the claimed invention was entitled to the patent, while outside the United States, the first to file a patent application was entitled to the patent. On or after March 16, 2013, under the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (America Invents Act) enacted in September 16, 2011, the United States transitioned to a first inventor to file system in which, assuming that other requirements for patentability 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
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invention. A third party that files a patent application in the USPTO on or after March 16, 2013, but before us could therefore be awarded a patent covering an invention of ours even if we had made the invention before it was made by such third party. This will require us to be cognizant of the time from invention to filing of a patent application. Since patent applications in the United States and most other countries are confidential for a period of time after filing or until issuance, we cannot be certain that we or our licensors were the first to either (i) file any patent application related to our technology or (ii) invent any of the inventions claimed in our or our licensor’s patents or patent applications.
The America Invents Act also includes a number of significant changes that affect the way patent applications will be prosecuted and also may affect patent litigation. These 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. Because of a lower evidentiary standard in USPTO proceedings compared to the evidentiary standard in United States federal courts necessary to invalidate a patent claim, a third party could potentially provide evidence in a USPTO proceeding sufficient for the USPTO to hold a claim invalid even though the same evidence would be insufficient to invalidate the claim if first presented in a district court action. Accordingly, a third party may attempt to use the USPTO procedures to invalidate our patent claims that would not have been invalidated if first challenged by the third party as a defendant in a district court action. Therefore, the America Invents Act and its implementation could increase the uncertainties and costs surrounding the prosecution of our owned or any future in-licensed patent applications and the enforcement or defense of our owned or any future in-licensed issued patents, all of which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.
In addition, the patent position of companies in the biotechnology field is particularly uncertain. Various courts, including the United States Supreme Court have rendered decisions that affect the scope of patentability of certain inventions or discoveries relating to biotechnology. These decisions state, among other things, that a patent claim that recites an abstract idea, natural phenomenon or law of nature (for example, the relationship between particular genetic variants and cancer) are not themselves patentable. Precisely what constitutes a law of nature or abstract idea is uncertain, and it is possible that certain aspects of our technology could be considered natural laws. Accordingly, the evolving case law in the United States may adversely affect our and our licensors’ ability to obtain new patents or to enforce existing patents and may facilitate third party challenges to any owned or licensed patents.
Issued patents covering our platform and technologies could be found invalid or unenforceable if challenged.
The issuance of a patent is not conclusive as to its inventorship, scope, validity or enforceability. Some of our patents or patent applications (including licensed patents) may be challenged at a future point in time in opposition, derivation, reexamination, inter partes review, post-grant review or interference. Any successful third party challenge to our patents in this or any other proceeding could result in the unenforceability or invalidity of such patents or amendment to our patents in such a way that they no longer cover our platform and our technology, which may lead to increased competition to our business, which could harm our business. In addition, in patent litigation in the United States, defendant counterclaims alleging invalidity or unenforceability are commonplace. The outcome following legal assertions of invalidity and unenforceability during patent litigation is unpredictable. If a defendant 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 certain aspects of our platform technologies. In addition, if the breadth or strength of protection provided by our patents and patent applications is threatened, regardless of the outcome, it could dissuade companies from collaborating with us to license, develop or commercialize current or future products.
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We may not be aware of all third party intellectual property rights potentially relating to our platform or technology. 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 approximately 18 months after filing or, in some cases, not until such patent applications issue as patents. We or our licensors might not have been the first to make the inventions covered by each of our pending patent applications and we or our licensors might not have been the first to file patent applications for these inventions. There is also no assurance that all of the potentially relevant prior art relating to our patents and patent applications or licensed patents and patent applications has been found, which could be used by a third party to challenge their validity, or prevent a patent from issuing from a pending patent application.
To determine the priority of these inventions, we may have to participate in interference proceedings, derivation proceedings or other post-grant proceedings declared by the USPTO that could result in substantial cost to us. The outcome of such proceedings is uncertain. No assurance can be given that other patent applications will not have priority over our patent applications. In addition, changes to the patent laws of the United States allow for various post-grant opposition proceedings that have not been extensively tested, and their outcome is therefore uncertain. Furthermore, if third parties bring these proceedings against our patents, we could experience significant costs and management distraction.
We may come to rely on in-licenses from third parties. If we were to lose these rights, our business could be materially adversely affected, our ability to develop improvements to our platform or technologies could be negatively and substantially impacted, and if disputes arise, we could be subjected to future litigation as well as the potential loss of or limitations on our ability to incorporate the technology covered by these license agreements.
We may need to obtain licenses from third parties to advance our research, development and commercialization activities. We expect that any future exclusive in-license agreements will impose various development, diligence, commercialization and other obligations on us. We may enter into engagements in the future, with other licensors under which we obtain certain intellectual property rights relating to our platform and technologies. These engagements may take the form of an exclusive license or of actual ownership of intellectual property rights or technologies from third parties. Our rights to use the technologies we license may be subject to the continuation of and compliance with the terms of those agreements. In some cases, we may not control the prosecution, maintenance or filing of the patents to which we hold licenses, or the enforcement of those patents against third parties.
Moreover, disputes may arise with respect to our licensing or other upstream agreements, including:
the scope of rights granted under the agreements and other interpretation-related issues;
the extent to which our technology development 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 partnership agreements;
our diligence obligations under the license agreements 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 partners; and
the priority of invention of patented technology.
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In spite of our efforts to comply with our obligations under any future in-license agreements, our licensors might conclude that we have materially breached our obligations under our license agreements and might therefore, including in connection with any aforementioned disputes, terminate the relevant license agreement, thereby removing or limiting our ability to develop and commercialize technology covered by these license agreements. If any such in-license is terminated, or if the licensed patents fail to provide the intended exclusivity, competitors or other third parties might have the freedom to market or develop technologies similar to ours. In addition, absent the rights granted to us under such license agreements, we may infringe the intellectual property rights that are the subject of those agreements, we may be subject to litigation by the licensor, and if such litigation by the licensor is successful we may be required to pay damages to our licensor, or we may be required to cease our technology development and commercialization activities which are deemed infringing, and in such event we may ultimately need to modify our activities or technologies to design around such infringement, which may be time- and resource-consuming, and which may not be ultimately successful. Any of the foregoing could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.
In addition, our rights to future components of our platform, may be licensed to us on a non-exclusive basis. The owners of these non-exclusively licensed technologies would therefore be free to license them to third parties, including our competitors, on terms that may be superior to those offered to us, which could place us at a competitive disadvantage. Moreover, our licensors may own or control intellectual property that has not been licensed to us and, as a result, we may be subject to claims, regardless of their merit, that we are infringing or otherwise violating the licensor’s rights. In addition, certain of our agreements with third parties may provide that intellectual property arising under these agreements, such as data that could be valuable to our business, will be owned by the counterparty, in which case, we may not have adequate rights to use such data or have exclusivity with respect to the use of such data, which could result in third parties, including our competitors, being able to use such data to compete with us.
If we cannot acquire or license rights to use technologies on reasonable terms or if we fail to comply with our obligations under such agreements, we may not be able to commercialize new technologies or services in the future and our business could be harmed.
In the future, we may identify third party intellectual property and technologies we may need to acquire or license in order to engage in our business, including to develop or commercialize new technologies or services, and the growth of our business may depend in part on our ability to acquire, in-license or use these technologies. However, we may not be able to acquire or in-license rights to these technologies on acceptable terms or at all. The licensing or acquisition of third party intellectual property rights is a competitive area, and several more established companies may pursue strategies to license or acquire third party intellectual property rights that we may consider attractive or necessary. These established companies may have a competitive advantage over us due to their size, capital resources and greater technology development or commercialization capabilities. In addition, companies that perceive us to be a competitor may be unwilling to assign or license rights to us. Even if such licenses are available, we may be required to pay the licensor in return for the use of such licensor’s technology, upfront or technology access fees, payments based on certain development, regulatory or commercial milestones such as sales volumes, or royalties based royalties received or milestones achieved by our partners. In addition, such licenses may be non-exclusive, which could give our competitors access to the same intellectual property licensed to us.
In spite of our best efforts, our licensors might conclude that we have materially breached our license agreements and might therefore terminate the license agreements, thereby removing our ability to develop and commercialize technologies covered by these license agreements. If these licenses are terminated, or if the underlying intellectual property fails to provide the intended exclusivity, competitors would have the freedom to seek regulatory approval of, and to market,
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technologies identical to ours. This could have a material adverse effect on our competitive position, business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects. Additionally, termination of these agreements or reduction or elimination of our rights under these agreements, or restrictions on our ability to freely assign or sublicense our rights under such agreements when it is in the interest of our business to do so, may result in our having to negotiate new or reinstated agreements with less favorable terms, or cause us to lose our rights under these agreements, including our rights to important intellectual property or technologies or impede, or delay or prohibit the further development or commercialization of one or more technologies that rely on such agreements.
While we still face all of the risks described herein with respect to those agreements, we cannot prevent third parties from also accessing those technologies. In addition, our licenses may place restrictions on our future business opportunities.
In addition to the above risks, intellectual property rights that we license in the future may include sublicenses under intellectual property owned by third parties, in some cases through multiple tiers. The actions of our licensors may therefore affect our rights to use our sublicensed intellectual property, even if we are in compliance with all of the obligations under our license agreements. Should our licensors or any of the upstream licensors fail to comply with their obligations under the agreements pursuant to which they obtain the rights that are sublicensed to us, or should such agreements be terminated or amended, our or our partners’ ability to further commercialize our technologies or products generated using our technologies may be materially harmed.
Further, we may not have the right to control the prosecution, maintenance and enforcement of all of our licensed and sublicensed intellectual property, and even when we do have such rights, we may require the cooperation of our licensors and upstream licensors, which may not be forthcoming. Our business could be adversely affected if we or our licensors are unable to prosecute, maintain and enforce our licensed and sublicensed intellectual property effectively.
Our licensors may have relied on third-party consultants or partners or on funds from third parties such that our licensors are not the sole and exclusive owners of the patents and patent applications we in-license. If other third parties have ownership rights to patents or patent applications we in-license, they may be able to license such patents to our competitors, and our competitors could market competing technologies and services. This could have a material adverse effect on our competitive position, business, financial conditions, results of operations and prospects.
Our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects could be materially and adversely affected if we are unable to enter into necessary agreements on acceptable terms or at all, if any necessary licenses are subsequently terminated, if the licensors fail to abide by the terms of the licenses or fail to prevent infringement by third parties, or if the acquired or licensed patents or other rights are found to be invalid or unenforceable. Moreover, we could encounter delays in advancing ongoing or initiating new technology development programs while we attempt to develop alternatives. Defense of any lawsuit or failure to obtain any of these licenses on favorable terms could prevent us from developing technologies or advancing partnerships, which could harm our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.
We may not be able to protect our intellectual property rights throughout the world.
Filing, prosecuting and defending patents on our platform, technologies, software, systems and processes in all countries throughout the world would be prohibitively expensive, and our intellectual property rights in some countries outside the United States can be less extensive than those in the United States. In addition, the laws of some foreign countries do not protect intellectual property rights to the same extent as the laws of the United States, and even where such protection is nominally available, judicial and governmental enforcement of such intellectual property rights may be lacking. Whether filed in the United States or abroad, our patent applications may be challenged or may fail to result in issued patents. Further, we may encounter
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difficulties in protecting and defending such rights in foreign jurisdictions. Consequently, we may not be able to prevent third parties from practicing our inventions in some or all countries outside the United States, or from selling or importing products made using our inventions in and into the United States or other jurisdictions. Competitors may use our technologies in jurisdictions where we have not obtained patent protection to develop their own platform or technologies and may also sell their products or services to territories where we have patent protection, but enforcement is not as strong as that in the United States. These platforms and technologies may compete with ours. Our patents or other intellectual property rights may not be effective or sufficient to prevent them from competing. In addition, certain countries have compulsory licensing laws under which a patent owner may be compelled to grant licenses to other parties. Furthermore, many countries limit the enforceability of patents against other parties, including government agencies or government contractors. In these countries, the patent owner may have limited remedies, which could materially diminish the value of any patents. In many foreign countries, patent applications and/or issued patents, or parts thereof, must be translated into the native language. If our patent applications or issued patents are translated incorrectly, they may not adequately cover our technologies; in some countries, it may not be possible to rectify an incorrect translation, which may result in patent protection that does not adequately cover our technologies in those countries.
Many companies have encountered significant problems in protecting and defending intellectual property rights in foreign jurisdictions. The legal systems of many other countries do not favor the enforcement of patents and other intellectual property protection, particularly those relating to biotechnology, which could make it difficult for us to stop the misappropriation or other violations of our intellectual property rights including infringement of our patents in such countries. Proceedings to enforce our patent 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, or that are initiated against us, and the damages or other remedies awarded, if any, may not be commercially meaningful. In addition, changes in the law and legal decisions by courts in the United States and foreign countries may affect our ability to obtain adequate protection for our technologies and the enforcement of intellectual property. Accordingly, our efforts to enforce our intellectual property rights around the world may be inadequate to obtain a significant commercial advantage from the intellectual property that we develop or license.
Intellectual property rights do not necessarily address all potential threats to our competitive advantage.
The degree of future protection afforded by our intellectual property rights is uncertain because intellectual property rights have limitations and may not adequately protect our business or permit us to maintain our competitive advantage. For example:
others may be able to make products that are similar to any product candidates generated by our technologies that our partners may develop but that are not covered by the claims of the patents that we own or may license or own in the future;
we, or our current or future partners, might not have been the first to make the inventions covered by the issued patents and pending patent applications that we own or may license or own in the future;
we, or our current or future partners, 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 any of our technologies without infringing our owned or any future licensed intellectual property rights;
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it is possible that our pending patent applications or those that we may own 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;
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 patents issued to us or our licensors will provide a basis for an exclusive market for our commercially viable technologies or will provide us with any competitive advantages;
we cannot ensure that our commercial activities or technologies will not infringe upon the patents of others;
we cannot ensure that we or our partners or future licensees will be able to further commercialize our technologies on a substantial scale, if approved, before the relevant patents that we own or may license expire;
we cannot ensure that any of our patents, or any of our pending patent applications, if issued, or those of our licensors, will include claims having a scope sufficient to protect our technology;
we may not develop additional proprietary technologies that are patentable;
the patents or intellectual property rights of others may harm our business; and
we may choose not to file a patent application 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 and prospects.
If we are unable to protect the confidentiality of our information and our trade secrets, the value of our technologies could be materially adversely affected and our business could be harmed.
We rely heavily on trade secrets and confidentiality agreements to protect our unpatented know-how, technologies and other proprietary information, including parts of our technology platform, and to maintain our competitive position. However, trade secrets and know-how can be difficult to protect. In addition to pursuing patents on our technologies, we take steps to protect our intellectual property and proprietary technologies by entering into agreements, including confidentiality agreements, non-disclosure agreements and intellectual property assignment agreements, with our employees, consultants, academic institutions, corporate and/or strategic partners, potential or existing investors and, when needed, our advisers. However, we cannot be certain that such agreements have been entered into with all relevant parties, and we cannot be certain that our trade secrets and other confidential proprietary information will not be disclosed or that competitors will not otherwise gain access to our trade secrets or independently develop substantially equivalent information and techniques. For example, any of these parties may breach the agreements and disclose our proprietary information, including our trade secrets, and we may not be able to obtain adequate remedies for such breaches. Such agreements may not be enforceable or may not provide meaningful protection for our trade secrets or other proprietary information in the event of unauthorized use or disclosure or other breaches of the agreements, and we may not be able to prevent such unauthorized disclosure, which could adversely impact our
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ability to establish or maintain a competitive advantage in the market. If we are required to assert our rights against such party, it could result in significant cost and distraction.
Monitoring unauthorized disclosure and detection of unauthorized disclosure is difficult, and we do not know whether the steps we have taken to prevent such disclosure are, or will be, adequate. If we were to enforce a claim that a third party had illegally obtained and was using our trade secrets, it would be expensive and time-consuming, and the outcome would be unpredictable. In addition, some courts both within and outside the United States may be less willing, or unwilling, to protect trade secrets. Further, we may need to share our trade secrets and confidential know-how with current or future business partners, collaborators, contractors and others located in countries at heightened risk of theft of trade secrets, including through direct intrusion by private parties or foreign actors, and those affiliated with or controlled by state actors.
We also seek to preserve the integrity and confidentiality of our confidential proprietary information by maintaining physical security of our premises and physical and electronic security of our information technology systems, but it is possible that these security measures could be breached. If any of our confidential proprietary information were to be lawfully obtained or independently developed by a competitor or other third party, absent patent protection, we would have no right to prevent such competitor from using that technology or information to compete with us, which could harm our competitive position. If any of our trade secrets were to be disclosed to or independently discovered by a competitor or other third party, it could harm our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.
We may be subject to claims that our employees, consultants or independent contractors have wrongfully used or disclosed confidential information of third parties or that our employees have wrongfully used or disclosed alleged trade secrets of their former employers.
We have employed and expect to employ individuals who were previously employed at universities or other companies. Although we try to ensure that our employees, consultants, advisors and independent contractors do not use the proprietary information or know-how of others in their work for us, we may be subject to claims that our employees, advisors, consultants or independent contractors have inadvertently or otherwise used or disclosed intellectual property, including trade secrets or other proprietary information of their former employers or other third parties, or to claims that we have improperly used or obtained such trade secrets. Litigation may be necessary to defend against these claims. If we fail in defending such claims, in addition to paying monetary damages, we may lose valuable intellectual property rights and face increased competition to our business. A loss of key research personnel work product could hamper or prevent our ability to commercialize potential technologies and solutions, which could harm our business. Even if we are successful in defending against these claims, litigation could result in substantial costs and be a distraction to management.
In addition, while it is our policy to require our employees and contractors who may be involved in the conception or development of intellectual property to execute agreements assigning such intellectual property to us, we may be unsuccessful in executing such an agreement with each party who, in fact, conceives or develops intellectual property that we regard as our own. 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. Any of the foregoing could harm our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.
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We may not be able to protect and enforce our trademarks and trade names, or build name recognition in our markets of interest thereby harming our competitive position.
The registered or unregistered trademarks or trade names that we own may be challenged, infringed, circumvented, declared generic, lapsed or determined to be infringing on or dilutive of other marks. We may not be able to protect our rights in these trademarks and trade names, which we need in order to build name recognition. In addition, third parties may in the future file for registration of trademarks similar or identical to our trademarks, thereby impeding our ability to build brand identity and possibly leading to market confusion. If they succeed in registering or developing common law rights in such trademarks, and if we are not successful in challenging such rights, we may not be able to use these trademarks to develop brand recognition of our technologies or platform. In addition, there could be potential trade name or trademark infringement claims brought by owners of other registered trademarks or trademarks that incorporate variations of our registered or unregistered trademarks or trade names. Further, we have and may in the future enter into agreements with owners of such third party trade names or trademarks to avoid potential trademark litigation which may limit our ability to use our trade names or trademarks in certain fields of business.
Although we have registered Absci, SoluPure and SoluPro with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and certain other jurisdictions, we have not yet registered certain of our trademarks in all of our potential markets, and failure to secure those registrations could adversely affect our business. If we apply to register these trademarks in other countries, and/or other trademarks in the United States and other countries, our applications may not be allowed for registration in a timely fashion or at all; and further, our registered trademarks may not be maintained or enforced. In addition, opposition or cancellation proceedings may in the future be filed against our trademark applications and registrations, and our trademarks may not survive such proceedings. In addition, third parties may file first for our trademarks in certain countries. If they succeed in registering such trademarks, and if we are not successful in challenging such third party rights, we may not be able to use these trademarks to market our technologies in those countries. If we do not secure registrations for our trademarks, we may encounter more difficulty in enforcing them against third parties than we otherwise would. If we are unable to establish name recognition based on our trademarks and trade names, we may not be able to compete effectively, which could harm our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects. And, over the long-term, if we are unable to establish name recognition based on our trademarks, then our business development abilities may be materially adversely impacted.
We may be subject to claims challenging the inventorship of our patents and other intellectual property.
We or any future licensors may be subject to claims that former employees, partners or other third parties have an interest in our owned or any future in-licensed patents, trade secrets or other intellectual property as an inventor or co-inventor. Litigation may be necessary to defend against these and other claims challenging inventorship of our or such licensors’ ownership of our owned or any future in-licensed patents, trade secrets or other intellectual property. If we or our future licensors fail in defending any such claims, in addition to paying monetary damages, we may lose valuable intellectual property rights, such as exclusive ownership of, or right to use, intellectual property that is important to our systems. Even if we are successful in defending against such claims, litigation could result in substantial costs and be a distraction to management and other employees, and certain partners or partners may defer engaging with us until the particular dispute is resolved. Any of the foregoing could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.
If we become involved in patent litigation or other proceedings related to a determination of rights, we could incur substantial costs and expenses, substantial
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liability for damages or be required to stop our development and commercialization efforts of our technologies.
There is a substantial amount of litigation, both within and outside the United States, involving patent and other intellectual property rights in the life sciences, clinical diagnostics and drug discovery industries, including patent infringement lawsuits, declaratory judgment litigation and adversarial proceedings before the USPTO, including interferences, derivation proceedings, ex parte reexaminations, post-grant review and inter partes review, as well as corresponding proceedings in foreign courts and foreign patent offices.
We may, in the future, become involved with litigation or actions at the USPTO or foreign patent offices with various third parties. We expect that the number of such claims may increase as our business, visibility and partnership base expand and the number of our technology development programs and resultant licensed technologies increases, and as the level of competition in our industry increases. Any infringement claim, regardless of its validity, could harm our business by, among other things, resulting in time-consuming and costly litigation, diverting management’s time and attention from the development of our business, requiring the payment of monetary damages (including treble damages, attorneys’ fees, costs and expenses) or royalty payments.
It may be necessary for us to pursue litigation or adversarial proceedings before the patent office in order to enforce our patent and proprietary rights or to determine the scope, coverage and validity of the proprietary rights of others. The outcome of any such litigation might not be favorable to us, and even if we were to prevail, such litigation could result in substantial costs and diversion of resources and could have a material adverse effect on our business, operating results or financial condition.
As we move into new markets and expand our technology offerings, incumbent participants in such markets may assert their patents and other proprietary rights against us as a means of slowing our entry into such markets or as a means to extract substantial license and royalty payments from us. In addition, future litigation may involve patent holding companies or other adverse patent owners who have no relevant product or service revenue and against whom our own patents may provide little or no deterrence or protection.
Third parties may assert that we are employing their proprietary technology without authorization. Given that biologic drug discovery and cell line development platform technology fields are highly competitive areas, there may be third-party intellectual property rights that others believe could relate to our technologies.
Because patent applications can take many years to issue, there may be currently pending patent applications which may later result in issued patents that our current or future products, technologies and services may infringe. We cannot be certain that we have identified or addressed all potentially significant third-party patents in advance of an infringement claim being made against us. In addition, similar to what other companies in our industry have experienced, we expect our competitors and others may have patents or may in the future obtain patents and claim that making, having made, using, selling, offering to sell or importing our technologies infringes these patents. Defense of infringement and other claims, regardless of their merit, would involve substantial litigation expense and would be a substantial diversion of management and employee resources from our business. Parties making claims against us may be able to sustain the costs of complex patent litigation more effectively than we can because they have substantially greater resources. Parties making claims against us may be able to obtain injunctive or other relief, which could block our ability to develop, commercialize and sell products or services and could result in the award of substantial damages against us, including treble damages, attorney’s fees, costs and expenses if we are found to have willfully infringed. In the event of a successful claim of infringement against us, we may be required to pay damages and ongoing royalties and obtain one or more licenses from third parties, or be prohibited from selling certain products or services. We may not be able to obtain these licenses on acceptable or commercially reasonable terms, if at all,
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or these licenses may be non-exclusive, which could result in our competitors gaining access to the same intellectual property. In addition, we could encounter delays in product or service introductions while we attempt to develop alternative products or services to avoid infringing third-party patents or proprietary rights. Defense of any lawsuit or failure to obtain any of these licenses could prevent us from commercializing products or services, and the prohibition of sale of any of our technologies could materially affect our business and our ability to gain market acceptance for our technologies.
Furthermore, because of the substantial amount of discovery required in connection with intellectual property litigation, there is a risk that some of our confidential information could be compromised by disclosure during this type of litigation. In addition, during the course of this kind of litigation, there could be public announcements of the results of hearings, motions or other interim proceedings or developments. If securities analysts or investors perceive these results to be negative, it could have a substantial adverse effect on the price of our common stock.
In addition, our agreements with some of our partners, suppliers or other entities with whom we do business require us to defend or indemnify these parties to the extent they become involved in infringement claims, including the types of claims described above. We could also voluntarily agree to defend or indemnify third parties in instances where we are not obligated to do so if we determine it would be important to our business relationships. If we are required or agree to defend or indemnify third parties in connection with any infringement claims, we could incur significant costs and expenses that could adversely affect our business, operating results or financial condition.
Obtaining and maintaining our patent protection depends on compliance with various required procedures, document submissions, fee payments and other requirements imposed by governmental patent agencies, and our patent protection could be reduced or eliminated for non-compliance with these requirements.
Periodic maintenance fees, renewal fees, annuity fees and various other governmental fees on issued United States and most foreign patents and/or applications will be due to be paid to the USPTO and various governmental patent agencies outside of the United States at several stages over the lifetime of the patents and/or applications in order to maintain such patents and patent applications. We have systems in place to remind us to pay these fees, and we engage an outside service to pay such fees due to patent agencies. The USPTO and various non-U.S. governmental patent agencies require compliance with a number of procedural, documentary, fee payment and other similar provisions during the patent application process. We employ reputable law firms and other professionals to help us comply, and in many cases, an inadvertent lapse can be cured by payment of a late fee or by other means in accordance with the applicable rules. However, there are situations in which non-compliance 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 failure to respond to official actions within prescribed time limits, non-payment of fees and failure to properly legalize and submit formal documents. In such an event, if we or any future licensors fail to maintain the patents and patent applications covering technologies our competitors may be able to enter the market with similar or identical products or technology without infringing our patents and this circumstance would have a material adverse effect on our business.
Patent terms may be inadequate to protect our competitive position on our technology for an adequate amount of time.
Patents have a limited lifespan. In the United States, if all maintenance fees are timely paid, the natural expiration of a patent is generally 20 years from its earliest U.S. non-provisional filing date. Various extensions may be available, but the life of a patent, and the protection it affords, is limited. Even if patents covering our platform or technologies are obtained, once the patent life has expired, we may be open to competition from others. If our platform or technologies require
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extended development and/or regulatory review, patents protecting our platform or technologies might expire before or shortly after we are able to successfully commercialize them. As a result, our owned and licensed patent portfolio may not provide us with sufficient rights to exclude others from commercializing processes or technologies similar or identical to ours.
Some of our jointly owned intellectual property has been discovered through government funded programs and thus may be subject to federal regulations such as “march-in” rights, certain reporting requirements and a preference for U.S.-based companies, and compliance with such regulations may limit our exclusive rights and our ability to contract with non-U.S. manufacturers.
The United States federal government retains certain rights in inventions produced with its financial assistance under the Bayh-Dole Act. The federal government retains a “nonexclusive, nontransferable, irrevocable, paid-up license” for its own benefit. The Bayh-Dole Act also provides federal agencies with “march-in rights”. March-in rights allow the government, in specified circumstances, to require the contractor or successors in title to the patent to grant a “nonexclusive, partially exclusive, or exclusive license” to a “responsible applicant or applicants” if it determines that (1) adequate steps have not been taken to commercialize the invention and achieve practical application of the government-funded technology, (2) government action is necessary to meet public health or safety needs, (3) government action is necessary to meet requirements for public use under federal regulations or (4) we fail to meet requirements of federal regulations. If the patent owner refuses to do so, the government may grant the license itself. Some of our jointly owned or licensed patents are subject to the provisions of the Bayh-Dole Act. If our licensors fail to comply with the regulations of the Bayh-Dole Act, they could lose title to any patents subject to such regulations, which could affect our license rights under the patents and our ability to stop others from using or commercializing similar or identical technology and products, or limit patent protection for our technology and products.
Risks Related to This Offering and Our Common Stock
Our share price may be volatile, and you may be unable to sell your shares at or above the offering price.
The market price of our common stock is likely to be volatile and could be subject to wide fluctuations in response to many risk factors listed in this section, and others beyond our control, including:
actual or anticipated fluctuations in our financial condition and operating results, including fluctuations in our quarterly and annual results;
the termination of partnership agreements by our partners or announcements that our partners will cease developing a product originating from our platform;
the introduction of new technologies or enhancements to existing technology by us or others in our industry;
our inability to establish additional partnerships;
departures of key personnel;
announcements of significant acquisitions, strategic partnerships, joint ventures or capital commitments by us or our competitors;
our failure to meet the estimates and projections of the investment community or that we may otherwise provide to the public;
changes in the regulatory landscape that subject us to additional regulatory and legal requirements;
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publication of research reports about us or our industry, or biologic drug discovery or cell line development in particular, or positive or negative recommendations or withdrawal of research coverage by securities analysts;
release of unfavorable publicity about us, our partners, our competitors, or the biopharmaceutical industry, including through press coverage or social media;
changes in the market valuations of similar companies;
overall performance of the equity markets;
sales of our common stock by us or our stockholders in the future;
trading volume of our common stock;
disputes or other developments relating to proprietary rights, including patents, litigation matters and our ability to obtain patent protection for our technologies;
significant lawsuits, including patent or stockholder litigation;
the impact of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic on our business;
general political and economic conditions; and
other events or factors, many of which are beyond our control.
In addition, the stock market in general, and the Nasdaq Global Market and technology and life sciences companies in particular, have experienced extreme price and volume fluctuations that have often been unrelated or disproportionate to the operating performance of these companies. Broad market and industry factors may negatively affect the market price of our common stock, regardless of our actual operating performance. If the market price of our common stock after this offering does not exceed the initial public offering price, you may not realize any return on your investment in us and may lose some or all of your investment. In the past, securities class action litigation has often been instituted against companies following periods of volatility in the market price of a company’s securities. This type of litigation, if instituted, could result in substantial costs and a diversion of management’s attention and resources, which would harm our business, financial condition and results of operations.
We identified a material weakness in our internal control over our financial reporting process. If we are unable to remediate this material weakness, we may not be able to accurately or timely report our financial condition or results of operations.
While we and our independent registered public accounting firm did not and were not required to perform an audit of our internal control over financial reporting, in connection with the audits of our 2019 and 2020 consolidated financial statements, we and our independent registered public accounting firm identified control deficiencies in the design and operation of our internal control over financial reporting that constituted a material weakness. 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 a company’s annual or interim financial statements will not be prevented or detected on a timely basis. We identified a material weakness in our internal control over our financial statement close process specifically related to an insufficient complement of accounting and finance personnel with the necessary U.S. GAAP technical expertise to timely identify and account for complex or non-routine transactions.
These control deficiencies could result in a misstatement of our accounts or disclosures that would result in a material misstatement of our financial results that would not be prevented or detected, and accordingly, we determined that these control deficiencies constitute a material weakness.
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We are working to remediate the material weakness and are taking steps to strengthen our internal control over financial reporting through the hiring of additional finance and accounting personnel with the requisite technical knowledge and skills. With the additional personnel, we intend to take appropriate and reasonable steps to remediate this material weakness through the implementation of appropriate segregation of duties, formalization of accounting policies and controls and retention of appropriate expertise for complex accounting transactions. We will not be able to fully remediate these control deficiencies until these steps have been completed and have been operating effectively for a sufficient period of time. The hiring of additional finance and accounting personnel and the implementation of improvements to our accounting and proprietary systems and controls may be costly and time consuming and the cost to remediate may impair our results of operations in the future.
We cannot assure you that the measures we have taken to date will be sufficient to remediate the material weakness we identified or avoid the identification of additional material weaknesses in the future. If the steps we take do not remediate the material weakness in a timely manner, there could continue to be a reasonable possibility that this material weakness or other control deficiencies could result in a material misstatement of our annual or interim financial statements that would not be prevented or detected on a timely basis. If we fail to remediate our material weakness, identify future material weaknesses in our internal control over financial reporting or fail to meet the demands that will be placed upon us as a public company, including the requirements of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, as amended (Sarbanes-Oxley Act), we may be unable to accurately report our financial results or report them within the timeframes required by law or stock exchange regulations. Failure to comply with Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act could also potentially subject us to sanctions or investigations by the SEC or other regulatory authorities. If additional material weaknesses exist or are discovered in the future, and we are unable to remediate any such material weakness, our reputation, results of operations and financial condition could suffer.
If we fail to establish and maintain proper and effective internal control over financial reporting, our operating results and our ability to operate our business could be harmed.
Ensuring that we have adequate internal financial and accounting controls and procedures in place so that we can produce accurate financial statements on a timely basis is a costly and time-consuming effort that needs to be re-evaluated frequently. Our internal control over financial reporting is a process designed to provide reasonable assurance regarding the reliability of financial reporting and the preparation of financial statements in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles. In connection with this offering, we intend to begin the process of documenting, reviewing and improving our internal controls and procedures for compliance with Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, which will require annual management assessment of the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting. We have begun recruiting additional finance and accounting personnel with certain skill sets that we will need as a public company.
Implementing any appropriate changes to our internal controls may distract our officers and employees, entail substantial costs to modify our existing processes, and take significant time to complete. These changes may not, however, be effective in maintaining the adequacy of our internal controls, and any failure to maintain that adequacy, or consequent inability to produce accurate financial statements on a timely basis, could increase our operating costs and harm our business. In our efforts to maintain proper and effective internal control over financial reporting, we may discover new significant deficiencies or material weaknesses in our internal control over financial reporting, which we may not successfully remediate on a timely basis or at all. Any failure to remediate our existing any new significant deficiencies or material weaknesses identified by us or to implement required new or improved controls, or difficulties encountered in their implementation, could cause us to fail to meet our reporting obligations or result in material misstatements in our financial statements. If we identify one or more material weaknesses in the future, it could result in an adverse reaction in the financial markets due to a loss of confidence in the reliability of our financial statements, which may harm the market price of our common stock.
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We are in the process of identifying key business metrics to evaluate our business, measure our performance, identify trends affecting our business, formulate financial projections and make strategic decisions, and any such metrics may not accurately reflect all aspects of our business needed to make such evaluations and decisions, in particular as our business continues to grow.
In addition to our financial results, we expect to review a number of operating and financial metrics, including number of programs under contract, the trend of potential downstream revenue terms (milestones and royalties) of the portfolio, the performance of the portfolio in probability of success in achieving clinical milestones as compared to historical averages and the performance of the portfolio in the time taken to achieve clinical milestones, to evaluate our business, measure our performance, identify trends affecting our business, formulate financial projections and make strategic decisions. To date, we have only entered into partnerships for 10 programs with respect to which we have or are positioned to negotiate royalty- and milestone-bearing licenses. Accordingly, we do not presently have sufficient information to make accurate predictions regarding our potential revenue and financial performance.
Any metrics that we may identify may not accurately reflect all aspects of our business and we anticipate that these metrics may change or may be substituted for additional or different metrics as our business grows and as we introduce new solutions. If we fail to review other relevant information or change or substitute the key business metrics we review as our business grows, our ability to accurately formulate financial projections and make strategic decisions may be compromised and our business, financial results and future growth prospects may be adversely impacted.
If you purchase our common stock in this offering, you will incur immediate and substantial dilution in the book value of your shares.
The initial public offering price is expected to be substantially higher than the net tangible book value per share of common stock. Investors purchasing shares of common stock in this offering will pay a price per share that substantially exceeds our net tangible book value per share after this offering. Based on the initial public offering price of $     per share, and after deducting the underwriting discounts and commissions and estimated offering expenses payable by us, investors purchasing shares of common stock in this offering will incur immediate dilution of $     per share as of March 31, 2021, representing the difference between our pro forma as adjusted net tangible book value per share, after giving effect to this offering, and the initial public offering price. Further, investors purchasing shares of common stock in this offering will contribute approximately       % of the total amount invested by stockholders since our inception but will own only approximately      % of the total number of shares of common stock outstanding after this offering.
This dilution is due to our investors who purchased shares prior to this offering having paid substantially less when they purchased their shares than the price offered to the public in this offering. To the extent that outstanding stock options or warrants are exercised, there will be further dilution to new investors. As a result of the dilution to investors purchasing shares of common stock in this offering, investors may receive significantly less than the purchase price paid in this offering, if anything, in the event of our liquidation. For a further description of the dilution that you will experience immediately after this offering, see the section of this prospectus titled “Dilution.”
A significant portion of our total outstanding shares are restricted from immediate resale but may be sold into the market in the near future. This could cause the market price of our common stock to drop significantly, even if our business is doing well.
Sales of a substantial number of shares of our common stock in the public market could occur at any time. These sales, or the perception in the market that the holders of a large number of shares intend to sell their shares, could result in a decrease in the market price of our common stock.
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Immediately after this offering, we will have outstanding                 shares of common stock based on the number of shares outstanding as of March 31, 2021. This includes the shares that we are selling in this offering, which may be resold in the public market immediately without restriction, unless purchased by our affiliates. Of the remaining shares,                  shares are currently restricted as a result of securities laws, 180-day market stand-off provisions in agreements with us or 180-day lock-up agreements with the underwriters, but will be able to be sold after the offering as described in the section of this prospectus entitled “Shares Eligible for Future Sale.” Moreover, after this offering, holders of an aggregate of up to            shares of our common stock issuable upon the conversion of shares of our redeemable convertible preferred stock and the holder of our outstanding warrant to purchase             shares of our common stock, will have rights, subject to some conditions, to require us to file registration statements covering their shares or to include their shares in registration statements that we may file for ourselves or other stockholders as described in the section of this prospectus entitled “Description of Capital Stock—Registration Rights.” We also intend to register all shares of common stock that we may issue under our equity compensation plans. Once we register these shares, they can be freely sold in the public market, subject to volume limitations applicable to affiliates and the market stand-off provisions and lock-up agreements described in the section of this prospectus entitled “Underwriting.”
Future sales and issuances of our common stock or rights to purchase common stock, including pursuant to the adoption of our 2021 Plan and 2021 ESPP, could result in additional dilution of the percentage ownership of our stockholders and could cause our share price to fall.
We expect that significant additional capital will be needed in the future to continue our planned operations, including expanded technology development activities, and costs associated with operating as a public company. To raise capital, we may sell common stock, convertible securities or other equity securities in one or more transactions at prices and in a manner we determine from time to time. If we sell common stock, convertible securities or other equity securities, investors may be materially diluted by subsequent sales. Such sales may also result in material dilution to our existing stockholders, and new investors could gain rights, preferences, and privileges senior to the holders of our common stock, including common stock sold in this offering.
Pursuant to our new 2021 Plan and 2021 ESPP, which will become effective upon the effectiveness of the registration statement of which this prospectus forms a part, our management is authorized to grant stock options to our employees, directors and consultants.
Initially, the aggregate number of shares of our common stock that may be issued pursuant to share awards under the 2021 Plan and 2021 ESPP will be                  shares. The number of shares of common stock reserved for issuance under the 2021 Plan and 2021 ESPP shall be cumulatively increased on January 1, 2022 and each January 1 thereafter by     % of the total number of shares of common stock outstanding on December 31 of the preceding calendar year or a lesser number of shares determined by our board of directors. Unless our board of directors elects not to increase the number of shares available for future grant each year, our stockholders will experience additional dilution, which could cause our share price to fall.
We may allocate the net proceeds from this offering in ways that you and other stockholders may not approve.
Our management will have broad discretion in the application of the net proceeds from this offering, including for any of the purposes described in the section titled “Use of Proceeds.” Because of the number and variability of factors that will determine our use of the net proceeds from this offering, their ultimate use may vary substantially from their currently intended use. Our management might not apply our net proceeds in ways that ultimately increase the value of your investment, and the failure by our management to apply these funds effectively could harm our business. Pending their use, we may invest the net proceeds from this offering in short- and intermediate-term, interest-bearing obligations, investment-grade instruments, certificates of
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deposit or direct or guaranteed obligations of the U.S. government. These investments may not yield a favorable return to our stockholders. If we do not invest or apply the net proceeds from this offering in ways that enhance stockholder value, we may fail to achieve expected results, which could cause our stock price to decline.
We do not intend to pay dividends on our common stock, so any returns will be limited to the value of our common stock.
We currently anticipate that we will retain future earnings for the development, operation, expansion and continued investment into our business and do not anticipate declaring or paying any cash dividends for the foreseeable future. In addition, we may enter into agreements that prohibit us from paying cash dividends without prior written consent from our contracting parties, or which other terms prohibiting or limiting the amount of dividends that may be declared or paid on our common stock. Any return to stockholders will therefore be limited to the appreciation of their common stock, which may never occur.
Our principal stockholders and management own a significant percentage of our shares and will be able to exert significant influence over matters subject to stockholder approval.
Based on the number of shares outstanding on a fully diluted basis as of March 31, 2021, our executive officers, directors, and 5% stockholders will beneficially own approximately       % of our common stock. Non-executive employees will beneficially own an additional         % of our common stock on a fully diluted basis. After the sale and issuance of                  shares in this offering, our executive officers, directors, and 5% stockholders will beneficially own approximately    % of our common stock (including any shares purchased by our executive officers, directors and 5% stockholders in this offering). Therefore, after this offering, these stockholders will have the ability to influence us through this ownership position. These stockholders may be able to determine all matters requiring stockholder approval. For example, these stockholders may be able to control elections of directors, amendments of our organizational documents or approval of any merger, sale of assets or other major corporate transaction. This may prevent or discourage unsolicited acquisition proposals or offers for our common stock that you may feel are in your best interest as one of our stockholders.
Future sales of our common stock in the public market could cause our share price to fall.
Sales of a substantial number of shares of our common stock in the public market after this offering, or the perception that these sales might occur, could depress the market price of our common stock and could impair our ability to raise capital through the sale of additional equity securities. Based on the number of shares of common stock outstanding as of March 31, 2021, upon the closing of this offering, we will have                 shares of common stock outstanding, assuming no exercise of our outstanding options.
All of the common stock sold in this offering will be freely tradable without restrictions or further registration under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (Securities Act), except for any shares held by our affiliates as defined in Rule 144 under the Securities Act. The remaining                   shares of common stock outstanding after this offering, based on shares outstanding as of March 31, 2021, will be restricted as a result of securities laws, lock-up agreements or other contractual restrictions that restrict transfers for at least 180 days after the date of this prospectus, subject to certain extensions.
The underwriters may, in their sole discretion, release all or some portion of the shares subject to lock-up agreements with the underwriters prior to expiration of the lock-up period. See also the section of this prospectus captioned “Shares Eligible for Future Sale.” For more information regarding the lock-up agreements with the underwriters see the section of this prospectus captioned “Underwriting.”
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The holders of                      shares of common stock, or        % based on shares outstanding on an as-converted basis as of March 31, 2021, will be entitled to rights with respect to registration of such shares under the Securities Act pursuant to a registration rights agreement between such holders and us. See “Certain Relationships and Related Party Transactions—Agreements with Stockholders” below. If such holders, by exercising their registration rights, sell a large number of shares, they could adversely affect the market price for our common stock. If we file a registration statement for the purpose of selling additional shares to raise capital and are required to include shares held by these holders pursuant to the exercise of their registration rights, our ability to raise capital may be impaired. We intend to file a registration statement on Form S-8 under the Securities Act to register             shares of common stock for issuance under the 2021 Plan, the 2020 Plan and the 2021 ESPP. Our 2021 Plan and the 2021 ESPP will provide for automatic increases in the shares reserved for issuance under the plans which could result in additional dilution to our stockholders. Once we register the shares under these plans, they can be freely sold in the public market upon issuance and vesting, subject to a 180-day lock-up period and other restrictions provided under the terms of the applicable plan and/or the option agreements entered into with option holders.
No public market for our common stock currently exists, and an active trading market may not develop or be sustained following this offering.
Prior to this offering, there has been no public market for our common stock. An active trading market may not develop following the closing of this offering or, if developed, may not be sustained. The lack of an active market may impair your ability to sell your shares at the time you wish to sell them or at a price that you consider reasonable. The lack of an active market may also reduce the fair market value of your shares. An inactive market may also impair our ability to raise capital to continue to fund operations by selling shares and may impair our ability to acquire other companies or technologies by using our shares as consideration. The initial public offering price was determined by negotiations between us and the underwriters and may not be indicative of the future prices of our common stock.
Provisions in our corporate charter documents and under Delaware law could make an acquisition of us more difficult and may prevent attempts by our stockholders to replace or remove our current management.
Provisions in our amended and restated certificate of incorporation and our amended and restated bylaws that will become effective upon the closing of this offering may discourage, delay or prevent a merger, acquisition or other change in control of us that stockholders may consider favorable, including transactions in which stockholders might otherwise receive a premium for their shares. These provisions could also limit the price that investors might be willing to pay in the future for shares of our common stock, thereby depressing the market price of our common stock. In addition, these provisions may frustrate or prevent any attempts by our stockholders to replace or remove our current management by making it more difficult for stockholders to replace members of our board of directors. Because our board of directors is responsible for appointing the members of our management team, these provisions could in turn affect any attempt by our stockholders to replace current members of our management team. Among others, these provisions include that:
our board of directors has the right to expand the size of our board of directors and to elect directors to fill a vacancy created by the expansion of the board of directors or the resignation, death or removal of a director, which prevents stockholders from being able to fill vacancies on our board of directors;
our board of directors is divided into three classes, Class I, Class II and Class III, with each class serving staggered three-year terms, which may delay the ability of stockholders to change the membership of a majority of our board of directors;
our stockholders may not act by written consent, which forces stockholder action to be taken at an annual or special meeting of our stockholders;
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a special meeting of stockholders may be called only by the chair of the board of directors, the chief executive officer, or a majority of the board of directors, which may delay the ability of our stockholders to force consideration of a proposal or to take action, including the removal of directors;
our amended and restated certificate of incorporation prohibits cumulative voting in the election of directors, which limits the ability of minority stockholders to elect director candidates;
our board of directors may alter our bylaws without obtaining stockholder approval;
the required approval of the holders of at least 75% of the voting power of all of the then outstanding shares of voting stock to adopt, amend or repeal our bylaws or repeal the provisions of our amended and restated certificate of incorporation regarding the election and removal of directors;
stockholders must provide advance notice and additional disclosures in order to nominate individuals for election to the board of directors or to propose matters that can be acted upon at a stockholders’ meeting, which may discourage or deter a potential acquiror from conducting a solicitation of proxies to elect the acquiror’s own slate of directors or otherwise attempting to obtain control of our company; and
our board of directors is authorized to issue shares of preferred stock and to determine the terms of those shares, including preferences and voting rights, without stockholder approval, which could be used to significantly dilute the ownership of a hostile acquiror.
Moreover, because we are incorporated in Delaware, we are governed by the provisions of Section 203 of the Delaware General Corporation Law, which prohibits a person who owns in excess of 15% of our outstanding voting stock from merging or combining with us for a period of three years after the date of the transaction in which the person acquired in excess of 15% of our outstanding voting stock, unless the merger or combination is approved in a prescribed manner.
Our amended and restated certificate of incorporation will provide that the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware will be the exclusive forum for certain disputes between us and our stockholders and that the federal district courts of the United States will be the exclusive forum for certain actions under federal securities laws, which could limit our stockholders’ ability to obtain a favorable judicial forum for disputes with us or our directors, officers or employees.
Our amended and restated certificate of incorporation that will become effective upon the closing of this offering specifies that, unless we consent in writing to the selection of an alternative forum, the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware will be the sole and exclusive forum for most legal actions involving actions brought against us by stockholders; provided that, if and only if the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware dismisses any such action for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, such action may be brought in another state or federal court sitting in the State of Delaware. Our amended and restated certificate of incorporation will also provide that the federal district courts of the United States of America will be the exclusive forum for the resolution of any complaint asserting a cause of action against us or any of our directors, officers, employees or agents and arising under the Securities Act. The choice of forum provisions will not apply to suits brought to enforce any liability or duty created by the Exchange Act or any other claim for which the federal courts have exclusive jurisdiction.
We believe these provisions may benefit us by providing increased consistency in the application of Delaware law and federal securities laws by chancellors and judges, as applicable, particularly experienced in resolving corporate disputes, efficient administration of cases on a more expedited schedule relative to other forums and protection against the burdens of multi-forum litigation. These choice of forum provisions may limit a stockholder’s ability to bring a claim in a judicial forum
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that it finds favorable for disputes with us or any of our directors, officers, other employees or stockholders, which may discourage lawsuits with respect to such claims or make such lawsuits more costly for stockholders, although our stockholders will not be deemed to have waived our compliance with federal securities laws and the rules and regulations thereunder. There is uncertainty as to whether a court would enforce such provisions, and the enforceability of similar choice of forum provisions in other companies’ charter documents has been challenged in legal proceedings. While the Delaware courts have determined that such choice of forum provisions are facially valid, a stockholder may nevertheless seek to bring a claim in a venue other than those designated in the exclusive forum provisions, and there can be no assurance that such provisions will be enforced by a court in those other jurisdictions. If a court were to find these types of provisions to be inapplicable or unenforceable, and if a court were to find the exclusive forum provision in our amended and restated certificate of incorporation to be inapplicable or unenforceable in an action, we may incur additional costs associated with resolving the dispute in other jurisdictions, which could materially adversely affect our business.
Our ability to use our net operating losses and certain other tax attributes may be limited.
Under Sections 382 and 383 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the Code) if a corporation undergoes an “ownership change,” generally defined as a cumulative change of more than 50 percentage points (by value) in its equity ownership by certain stockholders over a rolling three-year period, the corporation’s ability to use its pre-change NOL carryforwards and other pre-change tax attributes (such as research tax credits) to offset its post-change taxable income or taxes may be limited. We have experienced at least one ownership change in the past, and we may experience ownership changes in the future as a result of shifts in our stock ownership (some of which shifts are outside our control), including in connection with this offering. As a result, if we earn net taxable income, our ability to use our pre-change NOL carryforwards to offset such taxable income may be subject to limitations. Similar provisions of state tax law may also apply to limit our use of accumulated state tax attributes. As a result, even if we attain profitability, we may be unable to use a material portion of our NOL carryforwards and other tax attributes, which could adversely affect our future cash flows.
General Risk Factors
If securities or industry analysts do not publish research or publish inaccurate or unfavorable research about our business, our share price and trading volume could decline.
The trading market for our common stock will depend in part on the research and reports that securities or industry analysts publish about us or our business. Securities and industry analysts do not currently, and may never, publish research on our company. If no securities or industry analysts commence coverage of our company, the trading price for our common stock would likely be negatively impacted. In the event securities or industry analysts initiate coverage, if one or more of the analysts who cover us downgrades our common stock or publishes inaccurate or unfavorable research about our business, our share price may decline. If one or more of these analysts ceases coverage of our company or fails to publish reports on us regularly, demand for our stock could decrease, which might cause our share price and trading volume to decline.
Unfavorable U.S. or global economic conditions could adversely affect our business, financial condition or results of operations.
Our results of operations could be adversely affected by general conditions in the global economy and financial markets. The most recent global financial crisis caused extreme volatility and disruptions in the capital and credit markets. A severe or prolonged economic downturn could result in a variety of risks to our business, including weakened demand for our technologies and our ability to raise additional capital when needed on favorable terms, if at all. A weak or declining
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economy could strain our partners, possibly resulting in supply disruption, or cause delays in their payments to us. Any of the foregoing could harm our business and we cannot anticipate all of the ways in which the current economic climate and financial market conditions could adversely impact our business.
Raising additional capital may cause dilution to our existing stockholders, restrict our operations or require us to relinquish rights to our technologies.
We may seek additional capital through a combination of public and private equity offerings, debt financings, strategic partnerships and alliances and licensing arrangements. To the extent that we raise additional capital through the sale of equity or convertible debt securities, your ownership interest will be diluted, and the terms may include liquidation or other preferences that adversely affect your rights as a stockholder. Any incurrence of indebtedness would result in increased fixed payment obligations and could involve certain restrictive covenants, such as limitations on our ability to incur additional debt, limitations on our ability to acquire or license intellectual property rights and other operating restrictions that could adversely impact our ability to conduct our business. If we raise additional funds through strategic partnerships and alliances and licensing arrangements with third parties, we may have to relinquish valuable rights to our technologies or grant licenses on terms unfavorable to us.
Our employees, consultants and commercial partners 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 of fraud or other misconduct by our employees, consultants, advisors, and partners. Misconduct by these parties could include intentional failures to comply with the applicable laws and regulations in the United States and abroad, report financial information or data accurately or disclose unauthorized activities to us. These laws and regulations may restrict or prohibit a wide range of pricing, discounting and other business arrangements. Such misconduct could result in legal or regulatory sanctions and cause serious harm to our reputation. It is not always possible to identify and deter employee misconduct, and any other 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. If any such actions are instituted against us, and we are not successful in defending ourselves or asserting our rights, those actions could result in the imposition of significant civil, criminal and administrative penalties, which could have a significant impact on our business. Whether or not we are successful in defending against such actions or investigations, we could incur substantial costs, including legal fees and divert the attention of management in defending ourselves against any of these claims or investigations.
Our insurance policies are expensive and protect us only from some business risks, which leaves us exposed to significant uninsured liabilities.
We do not carry insurance for all categories of risk that our business may encounter and our policies have limits and significant deductibles. Some of the policies we currently maintain include general liability, property, umbrella and directors’ and officers’ insurance.
Any additional insurance coverage we acquire in the future, may not be sufficient to reimburse us for any expenses or losses we may suffer. Moreover, insurance coverage is becoming increasingly expensive and in the future we may not be able to maintain insurance coverage at a reasonable cost or in sufficient amounts to protect us against losses. A successful liability claim or series of claims in which judgments exceed our insurance coverage could adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects, including preventing or limiting the use of our platform to generate products.
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We also expect that operating as a public company will make it more difficult and more expensive for us to obtain director and officer liability insurance, and we may be required to accept reduced policy limits and coverage or incur substantially higher costs to obtain the same or similar coverage. As a result, it may be more difficult for us to attract and retain qualified people to serve on our board of directors, our board committees or as executive officers. We do not know if we will be able to maintain existing insurance with adequate levels of coverage. Any significant uninsured liability may require us to pay substantial amounts, which would adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.
Security breaches, loss of data and other disruptions could compromise sensitive information related to our business or prevent us from accessing critical information and expose us to liability, which could adversely affect our business and our reputation.
In the ordinary course of our business, we generate and store sensitive data, including research data, intellectual property and proprietary business information owned or controlled by ourselves or our employees, partners and other parties. We manage and maintain our applications and data utilizing a combination of on-site systems and cloud-based data centers. We utilize external security and infrastructure vendors to manage parts of our data centers. These applications and data encompass a wide variety of business-critical information, including research and development information, commercial information and business and financial information. We face a number of risks relative to protecting this critical information, including loss of access risk, inappropriate use or disclosure, accidental exposure, unauthorized access, inappropriate modification and the risk of our being unable to adequately monitor and audit and modify our controls over our critical information. This risk extends to the third party vendors and subcontractors we use to manage this sensitive data or otherwise process it on our behalf. Further, to the extent our employees may work remotely, additional risks may arise as a result of depending on the networking and security put into place by the employees. The secure processing, storage, maintenance and transmission of this critical information are vital to our operations and business strategy, and we devote significant resources to protecting such information. Although we take reasonable measures to protect sensitive data from unauthorized access, use or disclosure, no security measures can be perfect and our information technology and infrastructure may be vulnerable to attacks by hackers or infections by viruses or other malware or breached due to employee erroneous actions or inactions by our employees or contractors, malfeasance or other malicious or inadvertent disruptions. Any such breach or interruption could compromise our networks and the information stored there could be accessed by unauthorized parties, publicly disclosed, lost or stolen. Any such access, breach, or other loss of information could result in legal claims or proceedings. Unauthorized access, loss or dissemination could also disrupt our operations and damage our reputation, any of which could adversely affect our business.
Additionally, although we maintain cybersecurity insurance coverage, we cannot be certain that such coverage will be adequate for data security liabilities actually incurred, will cover any indemnification claims against us relating to any incident, will continue to be available to us on economically reasonable terms, or at all, or that any insurer will not deny coverage as to any future claim. The successful assertion of one or more large claims against us that exceed available insurance coverage, or the occurrence of changes in our insurance policies, including premium increases or the imposition of large deductible or co-insurance requirements, could adversely affect our reputation, business, financial condition and results of operations.
We are an emerging growth company, and the reduced reporting requirements applicable to emerging growth companies could 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
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Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 reduced disclosure obligations regarding executive compensation in this prospectus and our periodic reports and proxy statements, exemptions from the requirements of holding nonbinding advisory votes on executive compensation and stockholder approval of any golden parachute payments not previously approved, and an exemption from compliance with the requirement of the Public Accounting Oversight Board regarding the communication of critical audit matters in the auditor’s report on the financial statements. We could be an emerging growth company for up to five years following the year in which we complete this offering, although circumstances could cause us to lose that status earlier. We will remain an emerging growth company until the earlier of (1) the last day of the fiscal year (a) following the fifth anniversary of the date of the closing of this offering, (b) in which we have total annual gross revenue of at least $1.07 billion or (c) in which we are deemed to be a large accelerated filer, which requires the market value of our common stock that are held by non-affiliates to exceed $700.0 million as of the prior June 30th, and (2) the date on which we have issued more than $1.0 billion in non-convertible debt during the prior three-year period.
In addition, the JOBS Act provides that an emerging growth company can take advantage of an extended transition period for complying with new or revised accounting standards. This allows an emerging growth company to delay the adoption of certain accounting standards until those standards would otherwise apply to private companies. We have elected to use this extended transition period for complying with new or revised accounting standards that have different effective dates for public and private companies until the earlier of the date we (i) are no longer an emerging growth company or (ii) affirmatively and irrevocably opt out of the extended transition period provided in the JOBS Act. As a result, our financial statements may not be comparable to companies that comply with new or revised accounting pronouncements as of public company effective dates.
We cannot predict if investors will find our common stock less attractive because we may rely on the reporting exemptions and the extended transition period for complying with new or revised accounting standards. 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 share price may be more volatile.
We will incur significant increased costs as a result of operating as a public company, and our management will be required to devote substantial time to new compliance initiatives.
As a public company, we will incur significant legal, accounting, insurance and other expenses that we did not incur as a private company. We will be subject to the reporting requirements of the Exchange Act, which will require, among other things, that we file with the SEC annual, quarterly and current reports with respect to our business and financial condition. In addition, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, as well as rules subsequently adopted by the SEC, and the Nasdaq Global Market 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 (Dodd-Frank Act) was enacted. There are significant corporate governance and executive compensation related provisions in the Dodd-Frank Act that require the SEC to adopt additional rules and regulations in these areas, such as “say-on-pay” and proxy access. The JOBS Act permits emerging growth companies to implement many of these requirements over a longer period and up to five years from the pricing of this offering. We intend to take advantage of the reduced reporting requirements available to emerging growth companies under the JOBS Act, but we cannot guarantee that we will not be required to implement the more stringent requirements sooner than budgeted or planned and thereby incur unexpected expenses. Stockholder activism, the current political environment and the current high level 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.
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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 decrease our net income or increase our net loss and may require us to reduce costs in other areas of our business. limit our investments in business expansion, or increase the technology development fees and other payment terms we negotiate with partners. 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.
Pursuant to Section 404, in our second annual report due to be filed with the SEC after becoming a public company, we will be required to furnish a report by our management on our internal control over financial reporting. To achieve compliance with Section 404 within the prescribed period, we will be engaged in a process to document and evaluate our internal control over financial reporting, which is both costly and challenging. In this regard, we will need to continue to dedicate internal resources, potentially engage outside consultants, adopt a detailed work plan to assess and document the adequacy of internal control over financial reporting, continue steps to improve control processes as appropriate, validate through testing whether such controls are functioning as documented, and implement a continuous reporting and improvement process for internal control over financial reporting. Despite our efforts, there is a risk that we will not be able to conclude, within the prescribed timeframe or at all, that our internal control over financial reporting is effective as required by Section 404. In addition, investors’ perceptions that our internal controls are inadequate or that we are unable to produce accurate financial statements on a timely basis may harm the market price of our stock.
We or our partners may be adversely affected by natural or man-made disasters or other business interruptions, such as cybersecurity attacks, and our business continuity and disaster recovery plans, or those of our partners, may not adequately protect us from the effects of a serious disaster.
Natural and man-made disasters and other events beyond our control could severely disrupt our operations, or those of our partners, and have a material adverse impact on our business, results of operations, financial condition and prospects. If a natural disaster, power outage, cybersecurity attack or other event occurred that prevented us from using all or a significant portion of our headquarters, damaged critical infrastructure, such as our laboratory facilities or those of our partners, limited our or our partners’ ability to access or use our respective digital information systems or that otherwise disrupted our respective operations, it may be difficult or, in certain cases, impossible for us or our partners to continue our respective businesses for a substantial period of time. The disaster recovery and business continuity plans we and our partners currently have in place are limited and are unlikely to prove adequate in the event of a serious disaster or similar event. Our cybersecurity liability insurance may not cover any or all damages, depending on the severity and extent, we or our partners could sustain based on any breach of our respective computer security protocols or other cybersecurity attack. We may incur substantial expenses as a result of the limited nature of our respective disaster recovery and business continuity plans, which could have a material adverse impact on our business.
Our results of operations and financial condition could be materially adversely affected by changes in accounting principles.
The accounting for our business is subject to change based on the evolution of our business model, interpretations of relevant accounting principles, enforcement of existing or new regulations and
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changes in policies, rules, regulations and interpretations, of accounting and financial reporting requirements of the SEC or other regulatory agencies. Adoption of a change in accounting principles or interpretations could have a significant effect on our reported results of operations and could affect the reporting of transactions completed before the adoption of such change. It is difficult to predict the impact of future changes to accounting principles and accounting policies over financial reporting, any of which could adversely affect our results of operations and financial condition and could require significant investment in systems and personnel.
If our estimates or judgments relating to our critical accounting policies prove to be incorrect or financial reporting standards or interpretations change, our results of operations could be adversely affected.
The preparation of financial statements in conformity with generally accepted accounting principles in the United States (U.S. GAAP) requires management to make estimates and assumptions that affect the amounts reported in the consolidated financial statements and accompanying notes. We base our estimates on historical experience, known trends and events, and various other factors that we believe to be reasonable under the circumstances, as provided in “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Critical Accounting Policies and Estimates.” The results of these estimates form the basis for making judgments about the carrying values of assets and liabilities that are not readily apparent from other sources. Significant assumptions and estimates used in preparing our consolidated financial statements include the estimated variable consideration included in the transaction price in our contracts with partners, stock-based compensation, purchase price allocations for recent acquisitions, and valuation of our common stock. Our results of operations may be adversely affected if our assumptions change or if actual circumstances differ from those in our assumptions, which could cause our results of operations to fall below the expectations of securities analysts and investors, resulting in a decline in the trading price of our common stock.
Additionally, we regularly monitor our compliance with applicable financial reporting standards and review new pronouncements and drafts thereof that are relevant to us. As a result of new standards, changes to existing standards and changes in their interpretation, we might be required to change our accounting policies, alter our operational policies, and implement new or enhance existing systems so that they reflect new or amended financial reporting standards, or we may be required to restate our published financial statements. Such changes to existing standards or changes in their interpretation may have an adverse effect on our reputation, business, financial position, and profit.
Our disclosure controls and procedures may not prevent or detect all errors or acts of fraud.
Upon completion of this offering, we will become subject to certain reporting requirements of the Exchange Act. Our disclosure controls and procedures are designed to reasonably assure that information required to be disclosed by us in reports we file or submit under the Exchange Act is accumulated and communicated to management, recorded, processed, summarized, and reported within the time periods specified in the rules and forms of the SEC. We believe that any disclosure controls and procedures or 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. 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. 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 or insufficient disclosures due to error or fraud may occur and not be detected.
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Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements
This prospectus contains forward-looking statements, within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, concerning our business, operations and financial performance and condition, as well as our plans, objectives and expectations for our business operations and financial performance and condition that are based on our management’s belief and assumptions and on information currently available to our management. Although we believe that the expectations reflected in these forward-looking statements are reasonable, these statements relate to our strategy, future operations, future financial position, future revenue, projected costs, prospects, plans, objectives of management and expected market growth, and involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause our actual results, levels of activity, performance or achievements to be materially different from any future results, levels of activity, performance or achievements expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements in this prospectus include, but are not limited to, statements about:
our expectations regarding our further development of, successful application of, and the rate and degree of market acceptance of, our Integrated Drug Creation Platform;
our expectations regarding the markets for our services and technologies, including the growth rate of the biologics and next-generation biologics markets;
our ability to attract new partners and enter into technology development agreements that contain milestone and royalty obligations in favor of us;
the potential to receive revenue for the achievement of milestones and royalties under agreements for sales of products originating from our integrated drug creation platform;
our ability to enter into license agreements with the partners in our existing Active Programs for which our partners don’t have current milestone and royalty obligations;
our ability to manage and grow our business by expanding our relationships with existing partners or introducing our Integrated Drug Creation Platform to new partners;
our expectations regarding our current and future partners continued development of biologic drugs generated utilizing our platform;
our estimates of our expenses, ongoing losses, future revenue, capital requirements and our need for or ability to obtain additional funding before we can expect to generate any revenue;
our estimates of the sufficiency of our cash resources;
our ability to establish or maintain collaborations, partnerships or strategic relationships;
our ability to provide our partners with a full biologic drug discovery and cell line development solution from target to IND-ready, including non-standard amino acid incorporation capabilities;
our ability to obtain and maintain intellectual property protection for our platform, products and technologies, the duration of such protection and our ability to operate our business without infringing on the intellectual property rights of others;
our ability to attract, hire and retain key personnel and to manage our future growth effectively;
our expectations regarding use of the proceeds from this offering;
our financial performance;
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the volatility of the trading price of our common stock;
our competitive position and the development of and projections relating to our competitors or our industry;
the potential impact of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic on our business or operations;
the impact of laws and regulations;
our expectations regarding the time during which we will be an emerging growth company under the JOBS Act; and
our expectations about market trends.
In some cases, you can identify forward-looking statements by terminology such as “may,” “will,” “should,” “expects,” “intends,” “plans,” “anticipates,” “believes,” “estimates,” “predicts,” “potential,” “continue” or the negative of these terms or other comparable terminology. These statements are only predictions. You should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements because they involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors, which are, in some cases, beyond our control and which could materially affect results. Factors that may cause actual results to differ materially from current expectations include, among other things, those listed under “Risk Factors” and elsewhere in this prospectus. If one or more of these risks or uncertainties occur, or if our underlying assumptions prove to be incorrect, actual events or results may vary significantly from those implied or projected by the forward-looking statements. No forward-looking statement is a guarantee of future performance. You should read this prospectus and the documents that we reference in this prospectus and have filed with the SEC as exhibits to the registration statement, of which this prospectus is a part, completely and with the understanding that our actual future results may be materially different from any future results expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements.
The forward-looking statements in this prospectus represent our views as of the date of this prospectus. 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 assume no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements 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 prospectus.
In addition, statements that “we believe” and similar statements reflect our beliefs and opinions on the relevant subject. These statements are based upon information available to us as of the date of this prospectus, and while we believe such information forms a reasonable basis for such statements, such information may be limited or incomplete, and our statements should not be read to indicate that we have conducted an exhaustive inquiry into, or review of, all potentially available relevant information. These statements are inherently uncertain and you are cautioned not to rely unduly upon these statements.
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Market and Industry Data and Forecasts
We obtained the industry, market and competitive position data used throughout this prospectus from our own internal estimates and research, as well as from industry and general publications and surveys, governmental agencies and publicly available information, including aggregated publicly available data from EvaluatePharma® [April, 2021] Evaluate Ltd. (Evaluate Pharma data). Internal estimates are derived from publicly available information released by industry analysts and third-party sources, our internal research and our industry experience, and are based on assumptions made by us based on such data and our knowledge of our industry and market, which we believe to be reasonable. In some cases, we do not expressly refer to the sources from which these data are derived. In that regard, when we refer to one or more sources of this type of data in any paragraph, you should assume that other data of this type appearing in the same paragraph is derived from the same sources, unless otherwise expressly stated or the context otherwise requires. In addition, while we believe the industry, market and competitive position data included in this prospectus is reliable and based on reasonable assumptions, such data involve risks and uncertainties and are subject to change based on various factors, including those discussed in “Risk Factors.” These and other factors could cause results to differ materially from those expressed in the estimates made by the independent parties or by us.
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Use of Proceeds
We estimate that the net proceeds from our issuance and sale of                shares of our common stock in this offering will be approximately $           million, or approximately $               million if the underwriters exercise in full their option to purchase           additional shares, assuming an initial public offering price of $         per share, the midpoint of the price range set forth on the cover page of this prospectus, and after deducting estimated underwriting discounts and commissions and estimated offering expenses payable by us.
Each $1.00 increase or decrease in the assumed initial public offering price of $        per share, the midpoint of the price range set forth on the cover page of this prospectus, would increase or decrease, as applicable the net proceeds to us from this offering by approximately $        million, assuming the number of shares offered by us, as set forth on the cover page of this prospectus, remains the same and after deducting estimated underwriting discounts and commissions and estimated offering expenses payable by us. Each increase or decrease of 1.0 million shares in the number of shares offered by us, as set forth on the cover page of this prospectus, would increase or decrease, as applicable, our net proceeds from this offering by approximately $           million, assuming the assumed initial public offering price to the public remains the same, and after deducting estimated underwriting discounts and commissions and estimated offering expenses payable by us. We do not expect that a change in the initial price to the public or the number of shares by these amounts would have a material effect on the uses of the proceeds from this offering, although it may accelerate the time at which we will need to seek additional capital.
The principal purpose of this offering is to obtain additional capital to support our operations and growth, create a public market for our common stock, and enable access to the public equity markets for us and our stockholders.
As of March 31, 2021, we had cash and cash equivalents of $180.8 million. We currently expect to use our net proceeds from this offering, together with our existing cash and cash equivalents, to further our investment in expanding our Integrated Drug Creation Platform’s capabilities, continued growth of our business development organization and activities, and for general corporate purposes, including working capital, capital expenditures, and operating expenses. We may also use a portion of the remaining net proceeds, if any, to acquire complementary businesses, products, services or technologies, including scientific expertise, although we have no binding agreements or commitments to do so at this time.
Based on our current plans, we believe that the net proceeds from this offering, together with our existing cash and cash equivalents, will be sufficient to fund our operating expenses and capital expenditure requirements at least through                 . We have based this estimate on assumptions that may prove to be wrong, and we could use our available capital resources sooner than we currently expect.
The expected use of net proceeds from this offering represents our intentions based upon our present plans and business conditions. We cannot specify with certainty all of the particular uses for the net proceeds to be received upon the closing of this offering. Due to uncertainties inherent in the product development process, it is difficult to estimate the exact amounts of the net proceeds that will be used for any particular purpose. We may use our existing cash and cash equivalents and the future payments, if any, generated from any future collaboration agreements to fund our operations, either of which may alter the amount of net proceeds used for a particular purpose. In addition, the amount, allocation and timing of our actual expenditures will depend upon numerous factors, including the results of our research and development efforts as well as our interactions with regulatory authorities. Accordingly, we will have broad discretion in using these proceeds.
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Pending the uses described above, we plan to invest the net proceeds of this offering in short- term, interest-bearing obligations, investment-grade instruments, certificates of deposit or direct or guaranteed obligations of the U.S. government.
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Dividend Policy
We have never declared or paid any cash dividends on our capital stock. We do not anticipate paying any dividends on our capital stock in the foreseeable future. We currently intend to retain all available funds and any future earnings to fund the development and growth of our business. Any future determination to declare dividends will be subject to the discretion of our board of directors and will depend on various factors, including applicable laws, our results of operations, financial condition, future prospects and any other factors deemed relevant by our board of directors. In addition, under our loan and security agreement with Bridge Bank we are prohibited from declaring and issuing dividends without the Lenders consent. Investors should not purchase our common stock with the expectation of receiving cash dividends.
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Capitalization
The following table sets forth our cash and cash equivalents and total capitalization as of March 31, 2021:
on an actual basis;
on a pro forma basis to give effect to (i) the conversion of all outstanding shares of our redeemable convertible preferred stock as of March 31, 2021 into an aggregate of 14,099,936 shares of our common stock immediately prior to the completion of this offering; (ii) the issuance of                shares of common stock upon the conversion of all outstanding principal and accrued interest on the Convertible Notes upon the completion of this offering, assuming an initial public offering price per share of $      , the midpoint of the price range set forth on the cover of this prospectus, and assuming that the offering is completed on                 , 2021, (iii) the consummation of the Totient Acquisition (other than the potential payment of the additional $15.0 million for achievement of certain milestones) and (iv) the filing and effectiveness of our amended and restated certificate of incorporation immediately prior to the completion of this offering; and
on a pro forma as adjusted basis to give effect to (i) the pro forma adjustments described above, and (ii) the issuance and sale of               shares of our common stock in this offering at an assumed initial public offering price of $       per share, the midpoint of the price range set forth on the cover page of this prospectus, after deducting estimated underwriting discounts and commissions, and estimated offering expenses payable by us.
You should read this information together with our financial statements and related notes appearing elsewhere in this prospectus and the information set forth under the heading “Selected
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Financial Data” and “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations.”
As of March 31, 2021
ActualPro Forma
Pro Forma As
Adjusted(1)
(unaudited)
(in thousands, except share and per
share data)
Cash and cash equivalents$180,756 $
Convertible Notes$125,000 
Long-Term Debt, including current portion5,055 
Redeemable convertible preferred stock, $0.0001 par value; 14,099,936 shares authorized; 14,006,929 issued and outstanding; liquidation preference of $217,023, actual; no redeemable convertible preferred stock, pro forma and pro forma as adjusted161,377 
Other stockholders' (deficit) equity:
Common stock, $0.0001 par value; 22,000,000 shares authorized; 5,934,236 shares issued and outstanding, actual;          shares authorized, issued and outstanding, pro forma;          shares authorized, issued and outstanding, pro forma as adjusted— 
Preferred stock, $0.0001 par value per share; no shares authorized, issued or outstanding, actual;                 shares authorized, no shares issued or outstanding, pro forma and pro forma as adjusted— — 
Additional paid-in capital2,524 
Accumulated deficit(101,027)
Total stockholders' (deficit) equity(98,503)
Total capitalization$192,929 $
(1)Each $1.00 increase or decrease in the assumed initial public offering price of $        per share, the midpoint of the price range set forth on the cover page of this prospectus, would increase or decrease, as applicable, each of pro forma as adjusted cash and cash equivalents, additional paid-in capital, total stockholders’ (deficit) equity, and total capitalization by approximately $       million, assuming that the number of shares offered by us, as set forth on the cover page of this prospectus, remains the same. We may also increase or decrease the number of shares we are offering. Each increase or decrease of 1.0 million in the number of shares we are offering would increase or decrease, as applicable, each of pro forma as adjusted cash and cash equivalents, additional paid-in capital, total stockholders’ (deficit) equity, and total capitalization by approximately $        million, assuming the assumed initial public offering price per share, as set forth on the cover page of this prospectus, remains the same. The pro forma as adjusted information is illustrative only, and we will adjust this information based on the actual initial public offering price and other terms of this offering determined at pricing.
The number of shares of common stock issued and outstanding pro forma and pro forma as adjusted in the table above is based on 5,934,236 shares of common stock outstanding as of March 31, 2021, and reflects (i) 14,099,636 shares of our common stock issuable upon the conversion of all outstanding shares of our redeemable convertible preferred stock immediately prior to the completion of this offering; (ii) the issuance of                  shares of common stock upon the conversion of all outstanding principal and accrued interest on the Convertible Notes upon the completion of this offering, assuming an initial public offering price per share of $                 , the midpoint of the price range set forth on the cover of this prospectus, and assuming that the offering is completed on                       , 2021; and (iii) the consummation of the Totient Acquisition (other than the potential payment of the additional $15.0 million for achievement of certain milestones), and excludes:
1,625,055 shares of our common stock issuable upon the exercise of options outstanding as of March 31, 2021, with a weighted-average exercise price of $3.63 per share;
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765,881 shares of our common stock issuable upon the exercise of options granted after March 31, 2021, with a weighted-average exercise price of $14.78 per share;
31,126 shares of our common stock issuable upon exercise of stock appreciation rights granted after March 31, 2021, with a weighted-average exercise price of $16.40 per share;
93,007 shares of our common stock issuable upon the exercise of warrants to purchase common stock outstanding as of March 31, 2021, with a weighted-average exercise price of $1.00 per share;
545,639 shares of our common stock reserved for future issuance under our 2020 Plan as of March 31, 2021;
                  shares of our common stock reserved for future issuance under our 2021 Plan, which will become available for issuance upon the effectiveness of the registration statement of which this prospectus is a part, as well as any future increases in the number of shares of our common stock reserved for issuance under the 2021 Plan; and
                   shares of our common stock reserved for future issuance under our 2021 ESPP, which will become available for issuance upon the effectiveness of the registration statement of which this prospectus is a part, as well as any future increases in the number of shares of our common stock reserved for issuance under the 2021 ESPP.
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Dilution
If you invest in our common stock in this offering, your ownership interest will be diluted to the extent of the difference between the initial public offering price per share of our common stock and the pro forma as adjusted net tangible book (deficit) value per share of our common stock immediately after this offering.
Our historical net tangible book (deficit) value per share is determined by dividing our total tangible assets less our total liabilities and redeemable convertible preferred stock, which are not included within stockholders’ deficit by the number of shares of common stock outstanding. Our historical net tangible book (deficit) value as of March 31, 2021 was ($101.8 million), or $(18.19) per share.
Our pro forma net tangible book (deficit) value as of March 31, 2021 was $            million, or $         per share. Our pro forma net tangible book (deficit) value per share represents the amount of our total tangible assets reduced by the amount of our total liabilities and divided by the total number of shares of our common stock outstanding as of March 31, 2021, assuming (i) the conversion of all outstanding shares of our redeemable convertible preferred stock as of March 31, 2021 into an aggregate of 14,006,929 shares of common stock immediately prior to the completion of this offering; (ii) the issuance of              shares of common stock upon the conversion of all outstanding principal and accrued interest on the Convertible Notes upon the completion of this offering, assuming an initial public offering price per share of $        , the midpoint of the price range set forth on the cover of this prospectus, and assuming that the offering is completed on                    , 2021; and (iii) the consummation of the Totient Acquisition (other than the potential payment of the additional $15.0 million for achievement of certain milestones).
Our pro forma as adjusted net tangible book (deficit) value represents our pro forma net tangible book (deficit) value, plus the effect of the sale of shares of common stock in this offering at an assumed initial public offering price of $         per share, the midpoint of the price range set forth on the cover page of this prospectus, after deducting estimated underwriting discounts and commissions and estimated offering expenses payable by us. Net tangible book value dilution per share to new investors represents the difference between the amount per share paid by purchasers of shares of common stock in this offering and the pro forma as adjusted net tangible book value per share of common stock immediately after completion of this offering. After giving effect to our sale of shares of common stock in this offering at an assumed initial public offering price of $       per share, the midpoint of the price range set forth on the cover page of this prospectus, and after deducting estimated underwriting discounts and commissions and estimated offering expenses payable by us, our pro forma as adjusted net tangible book value as of March 31, 2021 would have been $       million, or $        per share. This represents an immediate increase in net tangible book value of $      per share to existing stockholders and an immediate dilution in net
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tangible book value of $       per share to purchasers of common stock in this offering, as illustrated in the following table:
Assumed initial public offering price per share$
Historical net tangible book value (deficit) per share as of March 31, 2021
$(18.19)
Pro forma increase in net tangible book value (deficit) per share as of March 31, 2021
$— 
Pro forma net tangible book value per share as of March 31, 2021
$— 
Increase in pro forma net tangible book value per share attributable to new investors participating in this offering$— 
Pro forma as adjusted net tangible book value per share after this offering$— 
Dilution per share to new investors participating in this offering$
If the underwriters’ option to purchase additional shares from us is exercised in full, the pro forma as adjusted net tangible book value per share after this offering would be $      per share, the increase in pro forma as adjusted net tangible book value per share to existing stockholders would be $       per share and the dilution to new investors purchasing shares in this offering would be $        per share.
Each $1.00 increase (decrease) in the assumed public offering price of $     per share, the midpoint of the price range set forth on the cover page of this prospectus, would increase (decrease) our pro forma as adjusted net tangible book value by $       million, or $        per share, and dilution per share to investors in this offering by $     per share, assuming that the number of shares offered by us, as set forth on the cover of this prospectus, remains the same and after deducting estimated underwriting discounts and commissions and estimated offering expenses payable by us. We may also increase or decrease the number of shares we are offering. An increase (decrease) of 1,000,000 in the number of shares we are offering would increase (decrease) our pro forma as adjusted net tangible book value by approximately $       million, or approximately $        per share and would increase or decrease, as applicable, dilution per share to investors in this offering by approximately $        per share, assuming the assumed initial public offering price per share remains the same and after deducting estimated underwriting discounts and commissions and estimated offering expenses payable by us.
If the underwriters’ option to purchase additional shares from us is exercised in full, the pro forma as adjusted net tangible book value per share after this offering would be $      per share, the increase in pro forma as adjusted net tangible book value per share to existing stockholders would be $       per share and the dilution to new investors purchasing shares in this offering would be $        per share.
The following table shows, as of March 31, 2021, on a pro forma as adjusted basis (but before deducting underwriting discounts and commissions and estimated offering expenses payable by us), the differences between the existing stockholders and the purchasers of shares in this offering with respect to the number of shares purchased from us, the total consideration paid, which includes net proceeds received from the issuance of common and redeemable convertible preferred stock, cash
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received from the exercise of stock options, and the value of any stock issued for services and the average price paid per share (in thousands, except per share amounts and percentages):
 Shares purchasedTotal considerationAverage price
per share
 NumberPercentAmountPercent
Existing stockholders before this offering%%$
New investors participating in this offering$
Totals100 %100 %
The foregoing tables and calculations (other than the historical net tangible book value calculations) are based on 5,934,236 shares of common stock outstanding as of March 31, 2021 and also reflects (i) the conversion of the outstanding shares of our redeemable convertible preferred stock as of March 31, 2021 into an aggregate of 14,006,929 shares of our common stock immediately prior to the completion of this offering; (ii) the issuance of                  shares of common stock upon the conversion of all outstanding principal and accrued interest on the Convertible Notes upon the completion of this offering, assuming an initial public offering price per share of $        , the midpoint of the price range set forth on the cover of this prospectus, and assuming that the offering is completed on                  , 2021; and (iii) the consummation of the Totient Acquisition (other than the potential payment of the additional $15.0 million for achievement of certain milestones), and excludes:
1,625,055 shares of our common stock issuable upon the exercise of options outstanding as of March 31, 2021, with a weighted-average exercise price of $3.63 per share;
765,881 shares of our common stock issuable upon the exercise of options granted after March 31, 2021, with a weighted-average exercise price of $14.78 per share;
31,126 shares of our common stock issuable upon exercise of stock appreciation rights granted after March 31, 2021, with a weighted-average exercise price of $16.40 per share;
93,007 shares of our common stock issuable upon the exercise of warrants to purchase common stock outstanding as of March 31, 2021, with a weighted-average exercise price of $1.00 per share;
545,639 shares of our common stock reserved for future issuance under our 2020 Plan as of March 31, 2021;
            shares of our common stock reserved for future issuance under our 2021 Plan, which will become available for issuance upon the effectiveness of the registration statement of which this prospectus is a part, as well as any future increases in the number of shares of our common stock reserved for issuance under the 2021 Plan; and
            shares of our common stock reserved for future issuance under our 2021 ESPP, which will become available for issuance upon the effectiveness of the registration statement of which this prospectus is a part, as well as any future increases in the number of shares of our common stock reserved for issuance under the 2021 ESPP.
To the extent that any outstanding options are exercised, new options are issued under our stock-based compensation plans or we issue additional shares of common stock or convertible debt in the future, there will be further dilution to investors participating in this offering.
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Selected Consolidated Financial Data
The following selected consolidated statements of operations and comprehensive loss data for the years ended December 31, 2019 and 2020 and the selected consolidated balance sheet data as of December 31, 2019 and 2020 have been derived from our audited consolidated financial statements appearing elsewhere in this prospectus, and the following selected consolidated statements of operations and comprehensive loss data for the three months ended March 31, 2021 and 2020 and the selected consolidated balance sheet data as of March 31, 2021 have been derived from our unaudited consolidated financial statements appearing elsewhere in this prospectus, in each case, except for the pro forma and pro forma adjusted data. We have prepared the unaudited interim financial statement data on the same basis as our audited financial statements and, in the opinion of management, these financial statements reflect all adjustments, consisting only of normal recurring adjustments, that are necessary for the fair presentation of our unaudited interim financial statements. You should read the following summary consolidated financial data together with the “Summary Consolidated Financial Data” and “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” sections of this prospectus and our consolidated financial statements and the related notes appearing elsewhere in this prospectus. Our historical
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results are not necessarily indicative of the results that may be expected in any future periods, and our interim results are not necessarily indicative of results that may be expected for the full year.
For the Years Ended
December 31,
Three Months Ended
March 31,
2019202020202021
(in thousands, except for share and per share data)
Consolidated Statements of Operations Data:
Revenues
Technology development revenue$2,044 $4,117 $525 $940 
Collaboration revenue16 663 47 123 
Total revenues2,060 4,780 572 1,063 
Operating expenses
Research and development4,311 11,448 1,907 7,050 
Selling, general and administrative3,523 5,502 971 4,685 
Depreciation and amortization491 1,131 184 476 
Total operating expenses8,325 18,081 3,062 12,211 
Operating loss(6,265)(13,301)(2,490)(11,148)
Other income (expense)
Interest expense, net(268)(634)(98)(455)
Other expense(51)(418)(70)164 
Total other expense, net(319)(1,052)(168)(291)
Loss before income taxes(6,584)(14,353)(2,658)(11,439)
Income tax benefit— — — 477 
Net loss and other comprehensive loss(6,584)(14,353)(2,658)(10,962)
Adjustment of redeemable convertible preferred units and stock(17,286)(34,336)(11,154)— 
Cumulative undeclared preferred stock dividends— (780)— (995)
Net loss attributable to common stockholder and unitholders$(23,870)$(49,469)$(13,812)$(11,957)
Net loss per share attributable to common stockholder and unitholders:
Basic and diluted
$(5.18)$(10.55)$(3.00)$(2.33)
Weighted-average common shares and units outstanding:
Basic and diluted
4,606,505 4,691,020 4,606,505 5,140,648 
Pro forma net loss per share attributable to common stockholders and unitholders:
Basic and Diluted(1)
Pro forma weighted-average common shares and units outstanding:
Basic and Diluted(1)
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March 31December 31,
202120202019
(in thousands)
Consolidated Balance Sheet Data:
Cash and cash equivalents$180,756 $69,867 $13,086 
Working capital(2)
167,953 63,139 10,181 
Total assets222,833 88,569 19,471 
Total liabilities159,959 21,564 7,867 
Redeemable convertible preferred stock161,377 156,433 52,763 
Accumulated deficit(101,027)(90,065)(41,376)
Total equity(98,503)(89,428)(41,159)
(1)See the subsection titled “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations— Pro Forma Information” for an explanation of the calculations of our basic and diluted pro forma net loss per share, and the weighted-average number of shares outstanding used in the computation of the per share amounts.
(2)We define working capital deficit as current assets less current liabilities. See our financial statements appearing elsewhere in this prospectus.
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Unaudited Pro Forma Condensed Combined Financial Information
On June 4, 2021, we entered into a merger agreement with Totient, Inc. (“Totient”), under which, at the effective time, our wholly owned entity, or Merger Sub, merged with Totient, with Merger Sub surviving as our wholly owned subsidiary.
Pursuant to the merger agreement, at closing, Totient stockholders will receive $55.0 million in cash, of which $40.0 million in cash was paid at closing, subject to customary purchase price adjustments and escrow restrictions, and $15.0 million in cash shall be paid upon the achievement of expected milestones, and 669,743 shares of our Common Stock, of which a portion vest immediately and the remainder are subject to a stock restriction agreement.
The following unaudited pro forma condensed combined financial information of Absci and Totient is presented to illustrate the estimated effects of the acquisition, which estimated effects are collectively referred to as adjustments or transaction accounting adjustments.
The unaudited pro forma condensed statements of operations and comprehensive loss for the year ended December 31, 2020, and the three months ended March 31, 2021 combine our historical consolidated statements of operation and other comprehensive loss with Totient’s, after giving effect to the acquisition as if it had occurred on January 1, 2020. The unaudited pro forma condensed combined balance sheet as at March 31, 2021 combines our historical consolidated balance sheet with Totient’s as of March 31, 2021, after giving effect to the acquisition as if it had occurred on March 31, 2021.
These unaudited pro forma condensed combined statements of operations and comprehensive loss and unaudited pro forma condensed combined balance sheet are collectively referred to in this section as the pro forma financial information.
The unaudited pro forma financial information should be read in conjunction with the accompanying notes in this section. In addition, the pro forma financial information is derived from and should be read in conjunction with the following historical consolidated financial statements and accompanying notes of Absci and Totient in this section:
our audited consolidated financial statements as of and for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2020 and the related notes;
our unaudited condensed consolidated financial statements as of and for the three months ended March 31, 2021 and the related notes;
audited consolidated financial statements of Totient as of and for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2020 and the related notes; and
unaudited condensed consolidated financial statements of Totient as of and for the three months ended March 31, 2021 and the related notes.
The pro forma financial information has been prepared by us in accordance with Regulation S-X Article 11, Pro Forma Financial Information, as amended by the final rule, Release No. 33-10786, which is referred to herein as Article 11. The pro forma financial information is based on various adjustments and assumptions and is not necessarily indicative of what our consolidated statements of operations and comprehensive loss or consolidated balance sheet actually would have been had the merger been completed as of the dates indicated or will be for any future periods. The pro forma financial information does not purport to project our future financial position or operating results following the completion of the merger. The pro forma financial information does not include adjustments to reflect any potential revenue, synergies or dis-synergies, or cost savings that
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may be achievable in connection with the merger, or the associated costs that may be necessary to achieve such revenues, synergies or cost savings.
We and Totient prepared the respective financial statements in accordance with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles, or U.S. GAAP. The acquisition will be accounted for using the acquisition method of accounting.
The pro forma adjustments are preliminary, based upon available information as of the date of this prospectus, and prepared solely for the purpose of this pro forma financial information. These adjustments are based on preliminary estimates and will be different from the adjustments that may be determined based on final acquisition accounting, and these differences could be material. The pro forma adjustments are based on preliminary estimates of the consideration to be paid in the merger, and of the fair values of assets acquired and liabilities assumed. The estimated fair values assigned in this unaudited pro forma financial information are preliminary and represent our current best estimate of fair value and are subject to revision.
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Unaudited Pro Forma Condensed Combined Balance Sheet as of March 31, 2021
Historical
Absci
Historical
Totient
(Note 6)
Transaction
Accounting
Adjustment
(In thousands)NotesCombined
ASSETS
Current assets:
Cash and cash equivalents$180,756 $1,650 $(50,313)[6A]
[6B]
$132,093 
Receivables under development arrangements1,040 — — 1,040 
Prepaid expenses and other current assets3,548 54 60 [6B]3,662 
Total current assets185,344 1,704 (50,253)136,795 
Operating lease right-of-use assets7,610 392 (41)[6B]7,961 
Property and equipment - net21,623 139 (12)[6B]21,750 
Intangibles2,410 — 50,500 [6B]52,910 
Goodwill1,055 — 19,111 [6B]20,166 
Restricted cash4,367 — 23,000 [6A]27,367 
Other assets424 — 47 [6B]471 
TOTAL ASSETS$222,833 $2,235 $42,352 $267,420 
LIABILITIES, REDEEMABLE CONVERTIBLE PREFERRED STOCK AND UNITS AND OTHER STOCKHOLDERS' AND MEMBERS' DEFICIT
Current liabilities:
Accounts payable$8,449 $170 $(147)[6B]$8,472 
Accrued expenses2,432 211 7,089 [6B]9,732 
Current portion of long-term debt917 34,767 (34,767)[6D]917 
Current portion of operating lease obligations1,121 222 (17)[6B]1,326 
Current portion of financing lease obligations2,069 — — 2,069 
Deferred revenue2,403 — — 2,403 
Other current liabilities— — 8,000 [6C]8,000 
Total current liabilities17,391 35,370 (19,842)32,919 
Convertible promissory notes125,000 — — 125,000 
Long-term debt - net of current portion4,138 425 (425)[6B]4,138 
Operating lease obligations - net of current portion9,192 196 (51)[6B]9,337 
Finance lease obligations - net of current portion2,537 — — 2,537 
Contingent Consideration— — 10,600 [6C]10,600 
Deferred income tax liability156 — 12,751 [6B]12,907 
Other long-term liabilities1,545 1,843 (1,779)[6B]1,609 
TOTAL LIABILITIES159,959 37,834 1,254 199,047 
Commitments (See Note 6)
Redeemable convertible preferred stock161,377 — — 161,377 
OTHER STOCKHOLDERS' AND MEMBERS' DEFICIT
Common stock— — — — 
Additional paid-in capital2,524 4,257 2,112 [6F]8,893 
Accumulated deficit(101,027)(39,856)38,986 [6E]
[6F]
(101,897)
TOTAL OTHER STOCKHOLDERS' AND MEMBERS' DEFICIT(98,503)(35,599)41,098 (93,004)
TOTAL LIABILITIES, REDEEMABLE CONVERTIBLE PREFERRED STOCK AND UNITS AND OTHER STOCKHOLDERS' AND MEMBERS' DEFICIT$222,833 $2,235 $42,352 $267,420 
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Unaudited Pro Forma Condensed Combined Statements of Operations and Comprehensive Loss for the Year Ended December 31, 2020
Historical
Absci
Historical
Totient
(Note 6)
Transaction
Accounting
Adjustment
NotesCombined
(In thousands, except for share and per share data)
Revenues
Technology development revenue$4,117 $— $— $4,117 
Collaboration revenue663 — — 663 
Total revenues4,780 — — 4,780 
Operating expenses
Research and development11,448 2,430 621 [7A]14,499 
Selling, general and administrative5,502 1,248 3,667 [7A]
[7B]
[7C]
10,417 
Depreciation and amortization1,131 22 2,681 [7D]
[7E]
3,834 
Total operating expenses18,081 3,700 6,969 28,750 
Operating loss(13,301)(3,700)(6,969)(23,970)
Other income (expense)
Interest expense(634)(12)(646)
Other income (expense), net(418)(1,299)1,369 [7F](348)
Total other expense, net(1,052)(1,311)1,369 (994)
Net loss and other comprehensive loss(14,353)(5,011)(5,600)(24,964)
Adjustment of redeemable preferred units and stock(34,336)— — (34,336)
Cumulative undeclared preferred stock dividends(780)— — (780)
Net loss applicable to common stockholders and unitholders$(49,469)$(5,011)$(5,600)$(60,080)
Net loss per share, basic and diluted (Note 10)$(10.55)$(11.68)
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Unaudited Pro Forma Condensed Combined Statements of Operations and Comprehensive Loss for the Three Months Ended March 31, 2021
Historical
Absci
Historical
Totient
(Note 6)
Transaction
Accounting
Adjustment
NotesCombined
(In thousands, except for share and per share data)
Revenues
Technology development revenue$940 $— $— $940 
Collaboration revenue123 — — 123 
Total revenues1,063 — — 1,063 
Operating expenses
Research and development7,050 2,190 — 9,240 
Selling, general and administrative4,685 549 461 [8A]5,695 
Depreciation and amortization476 670 [8B]
[8C]
1,153 
Total operating expenses12,211 2,746 1,131 16,088 
Operating loss(11,148)(2,746)(1,131)(15,025)
Other income (expense)
Interest expense(455)(3)(458)
Other income (expense), net164 (19,717)19,892 [8D]339 
Total other expense, net(291)(19,720)19,892 (119)
Loss before income taxes(11,439)(22,466)18,761 (15,144)
Income tax benefit477 — — 477 
Net loss and other comprehensive loss(10,962)(22,466)18,761 (14,667)
Adjustment of redeemable preferred units and stock— — — — 
Cumulative undeclared preferred stock dividends(995)— — (995)
Net loss applicable to common stockholders and unitholders$(11,957)$(22,466)$18,761 $(15,662)
Net loss per share, basic and diluted (Note 10)$(2.33)$(2.73)
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Notes to Unaudited Pro Forma Condensed Combined Financial Statements
Note 1—Description of the Transaction
On June 4, 2021, the Company entered into a merger agreement with Totient, Inc. (“Totient”), under which, at the effective time, a wholly owned entity, or Merger Sub, merged with Totient, with Merger Sub surviving as a wholly owned subsidiary of Absci.
Pursuant to the merger agreement, at closing, Totient shareholders will receive $55.0 million in cash, of which $40.0 million in cash was paid at closing, subject to customary purchase price adjustments and escrow restrictions, and $15.0 million in cash shall be paid upon the achievement of expected milestones, and 669,743 shares of Absci Common Stock. All common stock issued is unrestricted, except for those shares granted to certain members of management, of which 25% of the shares issued will vest upon the closing of the Transaction and the remaining 75% will vest over 2.5 years in installments each six months subject to their continuing service relationships with the Company.
Note 2—Basis of Presentation
The pro forma financial information was prepared accounting for the acquisition using the acquisition method of accounting in accordance with Accounting Standards Codification (“ASC”) Topic 805, “Business Combinations,” which is referred to as ASC 805, and is derived from the Company’s and Totient’s audited and unaudited historical financial statements.
The pro forma financial information has been prepared in accordance with Article 11. The pro forma financial information is not necessarily indicative of what the Company’s consolidated statements of operations or consolidated balance sheet would have been had the acquisition been completed as of the dates indicated or will be for any future periods. The pro forma financial information does not purport to project our future financial position or results of operations following the completion of the acquisition. The pro forma financial information reflects pro forma adjustments management believes are necessary to present fairly our pro forma results of operations and financial position following the closing of the acquisition as of and for the periods indicated. The pro forma adjustments are based on currently available information and assumptions management believes are, under the circumstances and given the information available at this time, reasonable, and reflective of adjustments necessary to report our financial condition and results of operations as if the acquisition was completed.
The acquisition method of accounting uses the fair value concepts defined in ASC 820, “Fair Value Measurements and Disclosures,” which is referred to as ASC 820. Fair value is defined in ASC 820 as “the price that would be received to sell an asset or paid to transfer a liability in an orderly transaction between market participants at the measurement date.” Fair value measurements can be highly subjective and can involve a high degree of estimation.
The determination of the fair value of the identifiable assets and liabilities of Totient and the allocation of the estimated consideration to these identifiable assets and liabilities is preliminary and is pending finalization of various estimates, inputs and analyses.
Since this pro forma financial information has been prepared based on preliminary estimates of consideration and fair values attributable to the acquisition, the actual amounts eventually recorded for the purchase accounting, including the identifiable intangibles and goodwill, may differ materially from the information presented.
At this preliminary stage, the estimated identifiable finite-life intangible assets include the monoclonal antibody library and the developed software platform, including the related methods
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patent. Goodwill represents the excess of the estimated purchase price over the estimated fair value of Totient’s identifiable assets acquired and liabilities assumed, including the fair value of the estimated identifiable finite assets and liabilities described above. Goodwill will not be amortized but will be subject to periodic impairment testing. The goodwill balance shown in the pro forma financial information is preliminary and subject to change as a result of the same factors affecting both the estimated consideration and the estimated fair value of identifiable assets and liabilities acquired. The goodwill balance represents the combined company’s expectations of the strategic opportunities available to it as a result of the acquisition, as well as other synergies that will be derived from the acquisition. Goodwill also reflects the requirement to record deferred tax balances for the difference between the assigned values and the tax bases of assets acquired and liabilities assumed in the business combination. Goodwill is not deductible for tax purposes.
Upon consummation of the acquisition and the completion of a formal valuation study, the fair value of the acquired assets and liabilities assumed will be updated, including the estimated fair value and useful lives of the identifiable intangible assets and allocation of the excess purchase price, if any, to goodwill. The calculation of goodwill and other identifiable intangible assets could be materially impacted by changing fair value measurements caused by the volatility in the current market environment. Under ASC 805, transaction costs related to the acquisition are expensed in the period they are incurred. Total transaction related costs incurred by us and Totient in connection with the acquisition subsequent to March 31, 2021 are estimated to be $0.9 million. The total amount is reflected as a transaction adjustment in the unaudited condensed combined statement of operations for the year ended December 31, 2020. These costs are non-recurring.
The pro forma financial information does not reflect the following items:
the impact of any potential revenues, benefits or synergies that may be achievable in connection with the merger or related costs that may be required to achieve such revenues, benefits or synergies; and
changes in cost structure or any restructuring activities as such changes, if any, have yet to be determined.
Note 3—Conforming Accounting Policies and reclassifications
At the current time, the Company is not aware of any material differences in accounting policies that would have a material impact on the pro forma financial information.
Accounting policies that were assessed but deemed to have an immaterial impact to the pro forma financial information include:
      •    ASU No. 2016-13, Financial Instruments—Credit Losses (Topic 326): Measurement of Credit Losses on Financial Instruments, which is referred to as ASC 326. Totient’s historical financial statements used to derive the pro forma financial information do not reflect the adoption of ASC 326. For the purposes of the pro forma financial information, the Company has not adjusted Totient’s adoption of ASC 326 to January 1, 2020 as the estimated impact on the pro forma financial information would be immaterial.
Certain historical balances on the pro forma balance sheet and pro forma statements of operations and comprehensive loss for the periods presented have been reclassified to conform to Absci’s presentation. The Company will continue to review Totient’s accounting policies during its integration to determine if there are any additional material differences that require reclassification of Totient’s expenses, assets or liabilities to conform to our accounting policies and classifications. As a result of that review, the Company may identify further differences between the accounting policies of the two companies that, when conformed, could have a material impact on the pro forma financial information.
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Note 4— Preliminary Estimated Purchase Price
The estimated preliminary purchase price is calculated as follows:
Estimated purchase price consideration (in thousands)Estimated Fair Value
Estimated cash payment to Totient stockholders$35,368 (i)
Estimated stock payment to Totient stockholders6,369 (ii)
Estimated cash payment contingent on achieving specified milestone10,600 (iii)
Total$52,337 
(i)Pursuant to the merger agreement, the initial purchase price includes $40 million of cash adjusted for the agreed upon working capital value which includes the payment of Totient’s transaction and other expenses as well as payments to Totient stock option holders for the cancellation and extinguishment of Totient stock options.
(ii)Pursuant to the merger agreement, 669,740 common shares issued in payment to Totient stockholders with 388,349 vesting immediately and therefore included in the purchase price consideration. The remaining 281,391 shares will vest ratably, every six months over five equal installments of a 2 1/2-year service period and will be expensed over the service period. These shares are subject to a stock restriction agreement that requires certain key Totient executives to maintain a continued service relationship throughout the service period.
(iii)Represents the estimated fair value of the contingent consideration that is payable upon the achievement of the milestone of Absci entering into one or more definitive commercialization agreements, or technology partnering or licensing agreements, or collaboration agreements, with third parties using, or related to, Totient’s technology, a target discovered or identified by using Totient’s technology, or a peptide, protein complex or amino acid sequence assembled using Totient’s technology, including any Totient product or enabled product, pursuant to which (a) Absci is entitled to receive at least $2 million in aggregate upfront cash or equity payments (provided, that the minimum upfront payment under any individual agreement shall be $1 million) and (b) an option for a license or a license or similar right is granted to the third party; or (ii) First Commercial Sale of a Totient product or enabled product. These values are based on the most recent estimate of the fair value available and will be updated as we obtain more information.
Note 5—Preliminary Fair Value Estimate of Purchase Price Allocation to Assets Acquired and Liabilities
The table below outlines the initial allocation of the preliminary estimated consideration to the identifiable assets and liabilities acquired by us as of June 4, 2021.
Estimated purchase price consideration (in thousands)$52,337 
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Preliminary Purchase Price Adjustment
(In thousands, except for share and units, and per share and per units data)
ASSETS
Current assets:
Cash and cash equivalents$1,757 
Prepaid expenses and other current assets.113 
Total current assets1,870 
Right of Use Asset351 
Property and equipment, net127 
Goodwill19,111 (i)
Intangible assets50,500 (ii)
Other Assets47 
TOTAL ASSETS$72,006 
Current liabilities:
Accounts payable23 
Short Term Lease Liability206 
Accrued expenses6,480 
Total current liabilities6,709 
Operating lease obligations145 
Deferred income tax liability12,751 
Other long-term liabilities64 
TOTAL LIABILITIES$19,669 
Fair value of net identifiable assets acquired and liabilities assumed$52,337 
(i)Goodwill represents the excess of the estimated purchase price over the estimated fair value of Totient’s identifiable assets acquired and liabilities assumed. Goodwill also reflects the requirement to record deferred tax balances for the difference between the assigned values and the tax bases of assets acquired and liabilities assumed in the business combination. Goodwill is not deductible for tax purposes.
(ii)The estimated fair value of and useful lives of the intangible assets acquired is as follows:
Estimated fair value (in thousands)(a)
Estimated useful lives (in years)(b)
Monoclonal antibody library $43,300 20 
Developed software platform and the related methods patents7,200 15 
Total$50,500 
(a)The estimated fair values were categorized within Level 3 of the fair value hierarchy and were determined using an income-based approach, which was based on the present value of the future estimated after-tax cash flows attributable to each intangible asset. The significant assumptions inherent in the development of the values, from the perspective of a market participant, include the amount and timing of projected future cash flows (including revenue, regulatory success and profitability), and the discount rate selected to measure the risks inherent in the future cash flows, which was between 20%-24%. These fair values are based on the most recent estimate of the fair value available and will be updated as we obtain more information.
(b)The estimate of the useful life was based on an analysis of the expected use of the asset by us, any legal, regulatory or contractual provisions that may limit the useful life, the effects of obsolescence, competition and other relevant economic factors, and consideration of the expected cash flows used to measure the fair value of the intangible asset.
The Company has not yet fully completed the analysis to assign fair values to all assets acquired and liabilities assumed, and therefore the purchase price allocation is preliminary. The remaining items include the finalization of working capital adjustments, income taxes, valuation of identifiable intangible assets and contingent consideration liability, and the resulting impact to goodwill. The preliminary purchase price allocation will be subject to further refinement as the Company
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continues to refine its estimates and assumptions based on information available at the acquisition date. These refinements may result in material changes to the estimated fair value of assets acquired and liabilities assumed. The purchase price allocation adjustments can be made throughout the end of the Company’s measurement period, which is not to exceed one year from the acquisition date.
Note 6—Adjustments to the Unaudited Pro Forma Condensed Combined Balance Sheet
          [6A] To reflect the estimated cash payment to Totient stockholders of $50.4 million as described in Note 4, of which $23.0 million is held in escrow as restricted cash.
          [6B] To reflect the recognition of goodwill and other purchase price adjustments as part of the purchase price allocation as described in Note 5.
          [6C] To reflect the recognition of the liabilities related to the $8.0 million for the deferred cash payment as part of the consideration held in escrow, due in one year, and the fair value of the contingent consideration due based on the achievement of certain milestones, as described in Note 4 above.
          [6D] To reflect Totient’s convertible notes that were converted to Totient common stock prior to the acquisition and subsequently exchanged for cash and Absci common stock as part of the acquisition.
          [6E] To reflect the transaction costs estimated to be incurred subsequent to March 31, 2021 to complete the acquisition of Totient of $0.9 million.
          [6F] To eliminate Totient’s historical stockholders’ equity.
Note 7—Adjustments to the Unaudited Pro Forma Condensed Combined Statement of Income (Loss) for the Year Ended December 31, 2020
          [7A] To reflect the acceleration of SAR and Employee Stock Ownership Plan awards due to preexisting change in control provisions of $0.6 million in Research and development expense and $1.0 million in Selling, general and administrative expense.
          [7B] To reflect the transaction costs estimated to be incurred to complete the acquisition of Totient of $0.9 million.
          [7C] To reflect the vesting of incremental Absci common shares issued to Totient shareholders
          [7D] To reflect the incremental straight-line depreciation related to the increase in fair value of the property, plant and equipment consistent with Absci’s accounting policy.
          [7E] To reflect the incremental straight-line amortization related to the acquisition of the monoclonal antibody library and developed software platform and the related methods patents over a period of 20 years and 15 years, respectively, as outlined in Note 5 above.
          [7F] To reverse the mark-to-market adjustment of the convertible notes issued by Totient as at December 31, 2020.
Note 8—Adjustments to the Unaudited Pro Forma Condensed Combined Statement of Income (Loss) for the Three Months Ended March 31, 2021
          [8A]To reflect the vesting of incremental Absci common shares issued to Totient shareholders
          [8B] To reflect the incremental straight-line depreciation related to the increase in fair value of the property, plant and equipment consistent with Absci’s accounting policy.
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          [8C] To reflect the incremental straight-line amortization related to the acquisition of the monoclonal antibody library and developed software platform and the related methods patents over a period of 20 years and 15 years, respectively, as outlined in Note 5 above.
          [8D] To reverse the mark-to-market adjustment of the convertible notes issued by Totient as at March 31, 2021.
Note 9 — Loss Per Share
The pro forma combined basic and diluted loss per share presented below for the year ended December 31, 2020 and the three months ended March 31, 2021, is determined by using the weighted average number of common shares and dilutive common share equivalents outstanding during the period. We have excluded the effect to earnings per share related to the Absci Convertible Notes and other potentially dilutive instruments because including them would have been anti-dilutive.
(in thousands, except for share and per share amounts)Year Ended December 31, 2020Three Months Ended March 31, 2021
Pro forma net loss$(60,080)$(15,662)
Pro forma basic and diluted weighted-average shares outstanding5,145,233 5,727,666 
Pro forma basic and diluted loss per share$(11.68)$(2.73)
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Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations
You should read the following discussion and analysis of our financial condition and results of operations together with the section entitled “Selected Financial Data” and our consolidated financial statements and related notes included elsewhere in this prospectus. This discussion and other parts of this prospectus contain forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties, such as our plans, objectives, expectations, intentions and beliefs. Our actual results could differ materially from those discussed in these forward-looking statements. Factors that could cause or contribute to such differences include, but are not limited to, those identified below and those discussed in the section entitled “Risk Factors” included elsewhere in this prospectus.
Overview
With our AI-powered Integrated Drug Creation Platform we enable the creation of novel protein-based drugs (biologics) by unifying biologic drug discovery and cell line development into one simultaneous process. We leverage proprietary synthetic biology technologies and deep learning AI to predict, identify, design, construct, screen, select and scale production of novel biologic drug candidates. We believe our approach delivers disruptive efficiency, but more importantly enables our partners to create novel and human/AI-designed new-to-nature biologics (next-generation biologics).
While next-generation biologics have exciting medical potential and are a rapidly growing field of drug development, because their protein architectures (scaffolds or modalities) are biologically foreign, they present challenges for conventional biologic discovery and cell line development methods. These methods typically involve a linear series of steps to screen and select desired molecular parts and reformat them into their final protein scaffold, and subsequent laborious and often unsuccessful generation of a suitable manufacturing cell line. We are transforming the biologic discovery and cell line development process by rapidly screening up to billions of drug candidates in the desired final protein scaffold that goes into patients and in the scalable manufacturing cell line that scales up for clinical and commercial manufacturing.
We believe our platform integrates a fragmented set of processes and bypasses the molecular reformatting and cell line development challenges that can lead to inefficiencies and failures. To accomplish this, we use proprietary high-throughput single cell assays that can evaluate billions of drug sequence variants, each within its production cell line, for target binding affinity, protein quality, and production level (titer). We also harness the large datasets we generate to train and refine our deep learning models which guide our protein and cell line designs, and enable in silico optimization of multiple attributes.
We believe our platform is the only commercially available solution that allows for high-throughput screening for simultaneous biologic drug discovery and cell line development for next-generation biologics. With our recent acquisition of Totient, we are expanding our platform to include identification of disease- and tissue-specific targets and fully human antibodies as enhancements to our Discovery applications. We believe our unique approach to biologic drug creation has the potential to significantly accelerate preclinical development timelines and expand therapeutic possibilities for the biopharmaceutical industry.
Our goal is to become the partner of choice for biologic drug discovery and cell line development. As a technology development company, we generate biologic drug candidates and production cell lines for our partners to develop; we do not conduct or sponsor preclinical validation studies or clinical trials, or seek regulatory approvals for drug candidates. Our business model is to establish partnerships with biopharmaceutical companies and use our platform for rapid creation of next-generation biologic drug candidates and production cell lines. Our partners are responsible for all
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preclinical and clinical testing of biologics generated using our platform, and our goal is to become the partner of choice for biologic drug discovery and cell line development.
We expect our partnerships to provide us with the opportunity to participate in the future success of the biologics generated utilizing our platform, through milestone payments as well as royalties on sales by our partners of any approved products. We aim to assemble economic interests in a diversified portfolio of partners’ next-generation biologic drug candidates across multiple indications.
We currently have drug candidates in nine Active Programs (across seven current partners’ preclinical or clinical pipelines) for which we have negotiated, or expect to negotiate upon completion of certain technology development activities, license agreements with potential downstream milestone payments and royalties. Eight of the Active Programs are focused on developing production cell lines for drug candidates that our partners (including Merck, Astellas, Alpha Cancer Technologies, and other undisclosed biotechnology companies) are developing (five preclinical, one Phase 1, one Phase 3, and one animal health), reflecting the 2018 commercial launch of our Cell Line Development (CLD) applications. We have one Discovery program under way, focused on lead optimization with Astellas, which we signed shortly after our December 2020 expansion of our platform to include our initial Discovery applications. We define Active Programs as programs that are subject to ongoing technology development activities intended to determine if the program can be pursued by our partner for future clinical development, as well as any program for which our partner obtains and maintains a license to our technolo