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UNITED STATES

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

Washington, D.C. 20549

 

FORM 10-K

 

(Mark One)

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

For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2019

OR

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

                       For the transition period from                     to

Commission File Number 001-38503

 

Iterum Therapeutics plc

(Exact name of Registrant as specified in its Charter)

 

 

Ireland

98-1283148

(State or other jurisdiction of

incorporation or organization)

(I.R.S. Employer
Identification No.)

Block 2 Floor 3, Harcourt Centre,

Harcourt Street,

Dublin 2, Ireland

(Address of principal executive offices)

 

Not applicable

(Zip Code)

 

(+353) 1 903-8920

(Registrant’s telephone number, including area code)

 

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

Title of each class

 

Trading Symbol(s)

 

Name of each exchange on which registered

Ordinary Shares, $0.01 par value per share

 

ITRM

 

The Nasdaq Stock Market LLC

 

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

Indicate by check mark if the Registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act. YES  NO 

Indicate by check mark if the Registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Act. YES  NO 

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

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

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, smaller reporting company, or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company,” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.

 

Large accelerated filer

 

  

Accelerated filer

 

 

 

 

 

Non-accelerated filer

 

  

Smaller reporting company

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Emerging growth company

 

 

If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act.  

 

Indicate by check mark whether the Registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Act). YES  NO 


The aggregate market value of the voting and non-voting common equity held by non-affiliates of the Registrant, based on the closing price of the Registrant’s ordinary shares, $0.01 par value per share, on the Nasdaq Global Market on June 28, 2019, the last business day of the Registrant’s most recently complete second fiscal quarter was $36,871,186.

The number of shares of Registrant’s ordinary shares outstanding as of February 29, 2020 was 14,868,973.     

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Table of Contents

 

 

 

Page

PART I

 

 

Item 1.

Business

1

Item 1A.

Risk Factors

35

Item 1B.

Unresolved Staff Comments

82

Item 2.

Properties

82

Item 3.

Legal Proceedings

83

Item 4.

Mine Safety Disclosures

83

 

 

 

PART II

 

 

Item 5.

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

84

Item 7.

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

86

Item 7A.

Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk

98

Item 8.

Financial Statements and Supplementary Data

99

Item 9.

Changes in and Disagreements With Accountants on Accounting and Financial Disclosure

129

Item 9A.

Controls and Procedures

129

Item 9B.

Other Information

129

 

 

 

PART III

 

 

Item 10.

Directors, Executive Officers and Corporate Governance

130

Item 11.

Executive Compensation

132

Item 12.

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

142

Item 13.

Certain Relationships and Related Transactions, and Director Independence

146

Item 14.

Principal Accounting Fees and Services

151

 

 

 

PART IV

 

 

Item 15.

Exhibits, Financial Statement Schedules

152

Item 16

Form 10-K Summary

155

 


 

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SPECIAL NOTE REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS AND INDUSTRY DATA

This Annual Report on Form 10-K contains forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties. All statements other than statements of historical facts contained in this Annual Report are forward-looking statements. In some cases, you can identify forward-looking statements by words such as “anticipate,” “believe,” “contemplate,” “continue,” “could,” “estimate,” “expect,” “intend,” “may,” “plan,” “potential,” “predict,” “project,” “seek,” “should,” “target,” “will,” “would,” or the negative of these words or other comparable terminology. These forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, statements about:

 

our use of cash reserves;

 

the initiation, timing, progress and results of our preclinical studies and clinical trials, and our research and development programs;

 

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

 

our ability to advance product candidates into, and successfully complete, clinical trials;

 

the potential advantages of our product candidates;

 

the timing or likelihood of regulatory filings and approvals;

 

the commercialization of our product candidates, if approved;

 

our ability to draw down our second term loan with Silicon Valley Bank;

 

our manufacturing plans;

 

our sales, marketing and distribution capabilities and strategy;

 

market acceptance of any product we successfully commercialize;

 

the pricing, coverage and reimbursement of our product candidates, if approved;

 

the implementation of our business model, strategic plans for our business and product candidates;

 

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

 

our ability to enter into strategic arrangements, collaborations and/or commercial partnerships in the United States and other territories and the potential benefits of such arrangements;

 

our estimates regarding expenses, capital requirements and needs for additional financing;

 

our expectations regarding how far into the future our cash on hand will fund our ongoing operations;

 

our financial performance; and

 

developments relating to our competitors and our industry.

These forward-looking statements are subject to a number of risks, uncertainties and assumptions, including those described in “Risk Factors” and elsewhere in this Annual Report. Moreover, we operate in a very competitive and rapidly changing environment, and new risks emerge from time to time. It is not possible for our management to predict all risks, nor can we assess the impact of all factors on our business or the extent to which any factor, or combination of factors, may cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in any forward-looking statements we may make. In light of these risks, uncertainties and assumptions, the forward-looking events and circumstances discussed in this Annual Report may not occur and actual results could differ materially and adversely from those anticipated or implied in the forward-looking statements.

You should not rely upon forward-looking statements as predictions of future events. Although we believe that the expectations reflected in the forward-looking statements are reasonable, we cannot guarantee that the future results, levels of activity, performance or events and circumstances reflected in the forward-looking statements will be achieved or occur. We undertake no obligation to update publicly any forward-looking statements for any reason after the date of this Annual Report to conform these statements to new information, actual results or to changes in our expectations, except as required by law.

 

You should read this Annual Report and the documents that we have filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, or SEC, as exhibits to this Annual Report with the understanding that our actual future results, levels of activity, performance, and events and circumstances may be materially different from what we expect.

 

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This Annual Report also contains industry, market and competitive position data from our own internal estimates and research as well as industry and general publications and research surveys and studies conducted by third parties. Industry publications, studies, and surveys generally state that they have been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, although they do not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of such information. Our internal data and estimates are based upon information obtained from trade and business organizations and other contacts in the markets in which we operate and our management’s understanding of industry conditions. While we believe that each of these studies and publications is reliable, we have not independently verified market and industry data from third-party sources. While we believe our internal company research is reliable and the market definitions are appropriate, neither such research nor these definitions have been verified by any independent source. The industry in which we operate is subject to a high degree of uncertainty and risks due to various factors, including those described in the section titled “Risk Factors.”

 

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 Annual Report, 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 investors are cautioned not to unduly rely upon these statements.

 

 

 

 

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PART I

Item 1. Business.

Overview

We are a pharmaceutical company dedicated to developing and commercializing sulopenem to be potentially the first and only oral and intravenous (IV) branded penem available globally. Penems, including thiopenems and carbapenems, belong to a class of antibiotics more broadly defined as ß-lactam antibiotics, the original example of which was penicillin, but which now also includes cephalosporins. Sulopenem is a potent, thiopenem antibiotic delivered intravenously which is active against bacteria that belong to the group of organisms known as gram-negatives and cause urinary tract and intra-abdominal infections. We have also successfully developed sulopenem in an oral tablet formulation, sulopenem etzadroxil-probenecid. Both sulopenem product candidates have the potential to be important new treatment alternatives to address growing concerns related to antibacterial resistance without the known toxicities of some of the most widely used antibiotics, specifically fluoroquinolones. We see two distinct opportunities for our sulopenem program: patients at elevated risk for treatment failure in the community setting suffering from uncomplicated urinary tract infections (uUTI) and hospitalized patients suffering from complicated, antibiotic-resistant infections. During the third quarter of 2018, we initiated all three clinical trials in our Phase 3 development program, which includes: a Phase 3 uUTI, clinical trial, known as Sulopenem for Resistant Enterobacteriaceae (SURE) 1, comparing oral sulopenem to oral ciprofloxacin in women with uUTI, a Phase 3 complicated urinary tract infection (cUTI), clinical trial known as SURE 2, comparing IV sulopenem followed by oral sulopenem to IV ertapenem followed by oral ciprofloxacin in adults with cUTI, and a Phase 3 complicated intra-abdominal infection (cIAI) clinical trial known as SURE 3, comparing IV sulopenem followed by oral sulopenem to IV ertapenem followed by a combination of oral ciprofloxacin and oral metronidazole in adults with cIAI. We designed one Phase 3 clinical trial in each indication based on our end of Phase 2 meeting with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and feedback from the European Medicines Agency (EMA). We are conducting these three Phase 3 clinical trials under Special Protocol Assessment (SPA) agreements from the FDA. We completed enrollment in our uUTI and cUTI clinical trials in the fourth quarter of 2019 and expect to produce topline data around the end of the first quarter of 2020. If these data are positive, we expect to have an opportunity to file two new drug applications (NDAs), one for oral sulopenem and one for IV sulopenem, around mid-2020, which we expect would enable potential FDA approval in the first half of 2021. In December 2019, we announced that sulopenem did not meet the primary endpoint of statistical non-inferiority compared to the control therapy for the cIAI trial; however, we believe the secondary supporting analyses and safety data support the potential of sulopenem in the treatment of multi-drug resistant infections. EMA Scientific Advice received by us, consistent with the existing Guidance for this indication, supports an endpoint assessed earlier than the primary study endpoint and a non-inferiority margin of -12.5%.

In November 2015, we acquired an exclusive, worldwide license under certain patents and know-how to develop and commercialize sulopenem and its oral prodrug, sulopenem etzadroxil, from Pfizer Inc. (Pfizer). Pfizer conducted Phase 1 and Phase 2 clinical trials of sulopenem delivered intravenously in Japan in over 1,450 patients with a variety of hospital and community acquired infections. These clinical trials documented a treatment effect in the indications studied and provided preliminary insights into the safety profile for sulopenem, which will continue to be assessed with additional clinical trials. Pfizer subsequently developed sulopenem into a prodrug formulation, sulopenem etzadroxil, to enable oral delivery. Once this prodrug is absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract, the etzadroxil ester is immediately cleaved off and the active moiety, sulopenem, is released into the bloodstream. We have further enhanced this prodrug formulation with the addition of probenecid to extend sulopenem’s half-life and enhance its antibacterial potential. Probenecid is a pharmacokinetic enhancer that has been safely and extensively used globally for decades. The oral dose of sulopenem etzadroxil-probenecid has been combined in a single bilayer tablet, which we refer to as oral sulopenem. We refer to sulopenem delivered intravenously as sulopenem and, together with oral sulopenem, as our sulopenem program.

The treatment of urinary tract and intra-abdominal infections has become more challenging because of the development of resistance by pathogens responsible for these diseases. There are approximately 13.5 million emergency room and office visits for symptoms of urinary tract infections (UTIs) and approximately 21 million uUTIs in the United States annually. Based on market research, physicians estimated that approximately 35% of these patients are at elevated risk for treatment failure. Proper antibiotic treatment of drug-resistant infections in this group is particularly important due to the risks associated with treatment failure. Elevated risk patients were defined in the research as patients with recurrent UTIs, elderly patients, patients who have a suspected or confirmed drug-resistant infection, patients with comorbidities (e.g., Diabetes mellitus) or that are immunocompromised, patients that have had a recent hospitalization, patients with a history of prior antibiotic failure and patients in a long-term care setting. Treatment failures pose significant clinical and economic challenges to the healthcare system. There are also approximately 3.6 million patients with cUTI and approximately 350,000 patients with cIAI that require antibiotic therapy every year in the United States.

Growing antibiotic resistance to E. coli, the primary cause of UTIs, has complicated the choice of treatment alternatives in both the community and hospital settings, reducing effective treatment choices for physicians. In addition, the Infectious Diseases Society

 

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of America and European Society for Microbiology and Infectious Diseases recommend against empiric use, or prescribing without results from a bacterial culture, of fluoroquinolones for uUTIs in their 2010 Update to the International Clinical Practice Guidelines for the Treatment of Acute Uncomplicated Cystitis and Pyelonephritis in Women. Similarly, the FDA in its November 2015 Advisory Committee meeting stated that the risk of serious side effects caused by fluoroquinolones generally outweighs the benefits for patients with uUTIs and other uncomplicated infections. Subsequently, the FDA mandated labeling modifications for fluoroquinolone antibiotics directing healthcare professionals to reserve fluoroquinolones for patients with no other treatment alternatives. In December 2018, the FDA further warned that fluoroquinolone antibiotics could cause aortic aneurysm and dissection in certain patients, especially older persons. In October 2018, the EMA’s pharmacovigilance risk assessment committee recommended restrictions on the use of broad-spectrum antibiotics, fluoroquinolones and quinolones, following a review of side effects that were reported to be “disabling and potentially long-lasting.” The committee further stated that fluoroquinolones and quinolones should only be used to treat infections where an antibiotic is essential, and others cannot be used.

None of the most commonly used oral antibiotics for treatment of uUTIs were initially approved by the FDA within the last two decades. We believe oral sulopenem will be an important empiric treatment option for elevated risk uUTI patients because of its potency against resistant pathogens, as well as its spectrum of antibacterial activity. In addition, oral sulopenem will allow patients who develop an infection with a resistant pathogen but are stable enough to be treated in the community, to avoid the need for an IV catheter and even hospitalization. The primary endpoint of our uUTI Phase 3 clinical trial is designed to demonstrate non-inferiority in patients with ciprofloxacin-susceptible pathogens but also provides an opportunity to demonstrate superiority to ciprofloxacin for oral sulopenem in patients with ciprofloxacin-resistant pathogens.

In the hospital setting, the lack of effective oral stepdown options results in the potential for lengthy hospital stays or insertion of a peripherally inserted central catheter (PICC) to facilitate administration of IV antibiotics, even for some patients with relatively straightforward infections. Our sulopenem program may enable faster discharges, providing cost-saving advantages for the hospital and mitigating the risk of catheter-related infection for patients. Based on potency, safety and formulation advantages, we believe our sulopenem program is uniquely positioned to address unmet medical needs for patients suffering from uncomplicated and complicated infections in both the community and hospital settings.

If the FDA approves oral sulopenem and sulopenem, we plan to seek a commercial partner and/or build a commercial infrastructure to launch both product candidates in the United States. Data from an ongoing epidemiology study to quantify quinolone resistance by zip code, in addition to data from our clinical trials and available prescriber data, will inform our initial targeted sales force as to where the medical need for a new, effective therapy for UTIs is highest in the community and hospital settings. Outside of the United States, we are evaluating our options to maximize the value of our sulopenem program.

We expect to register two suppliers and validate at least one supplier for the manufacture of the active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) at the time of our planned regulatory filings in the United States. We will initially rely on a single third-party facility to manufacture all of our sulopenem tablets. In the future, given the importance of oral sulopenem to our potential commercial results, we will consider establishing additional sources.

Our patent portfolio for sulopenem contains one exclusively licensed U.S. patent directed to composition of matter of sulopenem etzadroxil which is projected to expire in 2029, subject to potential extension to 2034 under the Drug Price Competition and Patent Term Restoration Act of 1984 or, the Hatch-Waxman Act and three exclusively licensed foreign patents. Our patent portfolio also contains two U.S. and international patent applications, one addressing the effect of probenecid on the plasma concentrations of sulopenem after multi-day dosing and the second related to a method of preparing a bilayer tablet composed of sulopenem etzadroxil and probenecid which resulted in an increase in the amount of sulopenem in the blood relative to dosing each agent in a separate formulation. Any U.S. or foreign patent issuing from the pending applications is projected to expire in 2039, excluding any additional term for patent adjustments or patent term extensions. In addition, the FDA has designated sulopenem and oral sulopenem as Qualified Infectious Disease Products (QIDP) for the indications of uUTI, cUTI, cIAI, community-acquired bacterial pneumonia, acute bacterial prostatitis, gonococcal urethritis, and pelvic inflammatory disease pursuant to the Generating Antibiotic Incentives Now Act (the GAIN Act). Fast track designation for these seven indications in both the oral and intravenous formulations has also been granted. QIDP status makes sulopenem and oral sulopenem eligible to benefit from certain incentives for the development of new antibiotics provided under the GAIN Act. Further, QIDP status could add five years to any regulatory exclusivity period that we may be granted. QIDP status for other indications is also possible given the coverage of gram-negative and gram-positive bacteria by sulopenem, pending submission of additional documentation and acceptance by the FDA. Fast track status provides an opportunity for more frequent meetings with the FDA, more frequent written communication related to the clinical trials, eligibility for accelerated approval and priority review and the potential for a rolling review. None of our licensed patents cover the IV formulation of sulopenem.  

 

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Sulopenem Program, Clinical and Regulatory Status

We pursued three initial indications for oral sulopenem and sulopenem in three Phase 3 clinical trials. We designed these Phase 3 clinical trials based on extensive in vitro microbiologic surveillance data, Phase 1 pharmacokinetic data from healthy volunteers as well as population pharmacokinetic data from patients, animal models in relevant disease settings, Phase 2 data from a program performed with sulopenem by Pfizer in Japan in the early 1990s, and regulatory feedback from the FDA at our end-of-Phase 2 meeting, all supported by an advanced commercial manufacturing program which provided clinical supplies.

In the third quarter of 2018 we initiated all three Phase 3 clinical trials, which are being conducted under SPA agreements from the FDA and completed enrollment in the fourth quarter of 2019. Topline data from our cIAI trial readout in the fourth quarter of 2019 and showed that the primary endpoint was narrowly missed. However, other key secondary efficacy analyses support the potential of sulopenem in the treatment of multi-drug resistant infections. Topline data from our cUTI and uUTI trials is expected around the end of the first quarter of 2020.  If these data are positive, we expect to have an opportunity to file two NDAs, one for oral sulopenem and one for IV sulopenem, around mid-2020.  Further, the QIDP designation of sulopenem and oral sulopenem provides for a six-month review period following the acceptance of our filings, starting typically at Day 60, which we expect would enable potential FDA approval in the first half of 2021. In preparation for a potential NDA filing, we recently gained alignment with FDA at a pre-NDA meeting regarding the filing package required for submission of our chemistry, manufacturing and controls (CMC) program.

Our Strategy

Our strategy is to develop and commercialize our sulopenem program for multiple indications, and in the long term to build a market-leading anti-infective business. The key elements of this strategy include the following:

 

Complete sulopenem clinical development in three initial indications. Conduct single Phase 3 clinical trials in each of our three initial indications: uUTI, cUTI and cIAI. All three clinical trials were initiated in the third quarter of 2018 and completed enrollment by the end of 2019. Topline data from our cIAI trial readout in the fourth quarter of 2019 and showed that the primary endpoint was narrowly missed. However, other key secondary efficacy analyses support the potential of sulopenem in the treatment of multi-drug resistant infections. Topline data on our cUTI and uUTI trials is expected around the end of the first quarter of 2020. Each of these trials is being conducted under a SPA agreement with the FDA.

 

Obtain regulatory approval for oral sulopenem and sulopenem in the United States and subsequently in the European Union. We designed our Phase 3 clinical program based on extensive discussions with the FDA, including our end-of-Phase 2 meeting in July 2017, and considered scientific advice received from the EMA to meet the regulatory filing requirements in the European Union. If our remaining Phase 3 clinical trials in cUTI and uUTI are successful, we plan to submit NDAs for both oral sulopenem and sulopenem to the FDA around mid-2020 and subsequently submit a Marketing Authorization Application (MAA) to the EMA in the second half of 2020.

 

Maximize commercial potential of our sulopenem program. If approved, we intend to seek a commercial partner and/or directly commercialize our sulopenem program in the United States with a targeted sales force across the community and hospital settings. Outside of the United States, we are evaluating our options to maximize the value of our sulopenem program.

 

Pursue the development of oral sulopenem and sulopenem in additional indications. In the future, we may pursue development of our sulopenem program in additional indications in adults and children, including community acquired bacterial pneumonia, bacterial prostatitis, diabetic foot infection and bone and joint infection, as well as new formulations to support these indications.

 

Build a portfolio of differentiated anti-infective products. We intend to enhance our product pipeline through strategically in-licensing or acquiring clinical stage product candidates or approved products for the community and/or hospital and acute care markets. We believe that our focus on acute care in both the community and hospital markets will make us an attractive partner for companies seeking to out-license products or product candidates in our areas of focus.

The Medical Need

Urinary Tract and Intra-Abdominal Infections

UTIs are among the most common bacterial infections encountered in the ambulatory setting. A UTI occurs when one or more parts of the urinary system (kidneys, ureters, bladder or urethra) become infected with a pathogen (most frequently, bacteria). While many UTIs are not considered life-threatening, if the infection reaches the kidneys, serious illness, and even death, can occur. UTI diagnoses are stratified between either complicated or uncomplicated infections. uUTI refers to the invasion of a structurally and functionally normal urinary tract by a nonresident infectious organism (e.g., acute cystitis), and is diagnosed and commonly treated in an outpatient setting with an oral agent. Conversely, cUTIs, including acute pyelonephritis, are defined as a UTI ascending from the bladder accompanied by local and systemic signs and symptoms, including fever, chills, malaise, flank pain, back pain, and/or costo-

 

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vertebral angle pain or tenderness, that occur in the presence of a functional or anatomical abnormality of the urinary tract or in the presence of catheterization, with treatment typically initiated by IV therapy in a hospital setting.

cIAIs have similar challenges to those of cUTIs. These complicated infections extend from a gastrointestinal source, such as the appendix or the colon, into the peritoneal space and can be associated with abscess formation.

Antimicrobial Resistance is Increasing

E. coli is growing increasingly resistant to many classes of antibiotics, which is especially problematic for patients suffering from UTIs because E. coli is the primary cause of those infections. The market-leading antibiotics, fluoroquinolones (e.g., Cipro, Levaquin) and trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (e.g., Bactrim, Septra), currently have E. coli resistance rates over 20% nationally. In 2015, approximately 75% of oral prescriptions for UTIs written in the United States were for fluoroquinolones or trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole. In hospitals, fluoroquinolones have greater than 30% resistance to E. coli in approximately half the states in the United States, and have greater than 25% resistance rates in nearly 80% of the states. Between 2000 and 2009 the prevalence of extended spectrum ß-lactamases (ESBL)-producing E. coli and ESBL-producing K. pneumoniae more than doubled from 3.3% to 8.0% and from 9.1% to 18.6%, respectively. During the same timeframe, hospitalizations caused by ESBL-producing organisms increased by about 300%. The national resistance rate of E. coli to cephalosporins was estimated to be approximately 13% for the combined years of 2011 to 2015.

We have further delineated the prevalence of bacterial resistance to antibiotics used to treat UTIs in the United States. Based on urine culture results obtained at the zip code level from outpatient UTIs, we concluded that the prevalence of resistance of Enterobacteriaceae to quinolone antibiotics is over 20% in a significant portion of the country. In addition, in 2015, 25 states identified as high prevalence for E. coli resistance produced approximately 75% of all UTI prescriptions in the United States.

Geographic prevalence of quinolone non-susceptible Enterobacteriaceae by zip code in outpatient
urine cultures.

 

 

 

Numbers represent hospital centers from which data were derived

As antibiotic resistance leads to increased costs of treatment and increased morbidity, as well as increased mortality, there is an urgent unmet medical need for antimicrobial agents that can be utilized in community and hospital infections. The antimicrobial class of penems has the potential to address many of the relevant resistance issues associated with ß-lactam antibiotics because of a targeted spectrum of antibacterial activity and intrinsic stability against hydrolytic attack by many ß-lactamases, including ESBL and AmpC enzymes.

There is a Significant Population at Risk

There are approximately 13.5 million emergency room and office visits for symptoms of UTIs and approximately 21 million uUTIs in the United States annually. Based on market research, physicians estimated that approximately 35% of these patients are at elevated risk for treatment failure. Proper antibiotic treatment of drug-resistant infections in this group is particularly important due to

 

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the consequences associated with treatment failure. Elevated risk patients were defined in the research as patients with recurrent UTIs, elderly patients, patients who have a suspected or confirmed drug-resistant infection, patients with comorbidities (e.g., Diabetes mellitus) or that are immunocompromised, patients that have had a recent hospitalization, patients with a history of prior antibiotic failure and patients in a long-term care setting.

There are also approximately 3.6 million patients with cUTI and approximately 350,000 patients with cIAI that require antibiotic therapy every year in the United States.

Limited Treatment Options

In addition to worsening antibiotic resistance, many of the antibiotics currently used for first-line empiric oral treatment of uUTIs, such as nitrofurantoin and trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, suffer from significant safety and tolerability concerns. Pulmonary fibrosis and diffuse interstitial pneumonitis have been observed in patients treated with nitrofurantoin, which is contraindicated in pregnant women after 38 weeks of gestation and newborn children due to hemolytic anemia and in patients with poor renal function. Trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole is associated with fatal hypersensitivity reactions, embryofetal toxicity, hyperkalemia, gastrointestinal disturbances and rashes, including rare cases of Stevens-Johnson Syndrome. In addition, some antibiotics, such as nitrofurantoin and fosfomycin, have poor tissue penetration. While fluoroquinolones are now the most widely used antibiotic class in treating community and hospital gram-negative infections, the Infectious Diseases Society of America and the European Society for Microbiology and Infectious Diseases now recommend against empiric use of fluoroquinolones for uUTIs in their 2010 Update to the International Clinical Practice Guidelines for the Treatment of Acute Uncomplicated Cystitis and Pyelonephritis in Women as they “have a propensity for collateral damage and should be reserved for important uses other than acute cystitis and thus should be considered alternative antimicrobials for acute cystitis.” Similarly, the FDA in its November 2015 Advisory Committee meeting stated that the risk of serious side effects caused by fluoroquinolones generally outweighs the benefits for patients with uUTIs and other uncomplicated infections. Serious side effects associated with fluoroquinolones include tendon rupture, tendinitis, and worsening symptoms of myasthenia gravis and peripheral neuropathy. Subsequently, the FDA mandated labeling modifications for fluoroquinolones antibiotics directing healthcare professionals to reserve fluoroquinolones for patients with no other treatment alternatives. In December 2018 the FDA further warned that fluoroquinolone antibiotics could cause aortic aneurysm and dissection in certain patients, especially older persons.  In October 2018, the EMA’s pharmacovigilance risk assessment committee recommended restrictions on the use of broad-spectrum antibiotics, fluoroquinolones and quinolones, following a review of side effects that were reported to be “disabling and potentially long-lasting”. The committee further stated that fluoroquinolones and quinolones should only be used to treat infections where an antibiotic is essential, and others cannot be used.

The limited oral antibiotic treatment options for patients with uUTIs can sometimes result in hospitalization to facilitate administration of IV antibiotics for patients whose infection progresses. In addition, some patients whose uUTI remains uncomplicated may require hospital admission for IV therapy. For patients with cUTIs, the lack of effective oral stepdown options, and the paucity of new treatment options, which is demonstrated by the fact that none of the most commonly used oral agents were initially approved by the FDA in the last two decades, results in the potential for lengthy hospital stays or insertion of a PICC to facilitate administration of IV antibiotics, even for some patients with relatively straightforward infections. Therefore, based both on the epidemiology described above and recent discussions with practicing clinicians and pharmacists, we believe there is a pressing need for a novel oral antibacterial therapy for UTI, both complicated and uncomplicated, that has potent activity against ESBL producing and quinolone resistant gram-negative organisms.

The Challenge of Developing Antibiotics

Antibiotics work by targeting a critical function of the bacteria and rendering it non-functional. These critical functions include the ability to make proteins, to replicate further, and to build protective envelopes against the harsh external environment. These functions are coded in the bacteria’s DNA, which is copied over to each generation. Occasionally errors are made in the copying; typically, these errors kill off the progeny but can sometimes actually help them survive under specific circumstances, namely when threatened by an antibiotic.

Bacterial mutations, these changes in DNA coding, allow the organism to adapt their protein structures so as to prevent target-specific antibiotics from working. Over time, subsequent generations of bacteria retain these mutations and even develop additional mutations making them resistant to multiple classes of antibiotics and generating what is known as multi-drug resistant (MDR) pathogens. Furthermore, bacteria have also developed mechanisms that allow them to pass these genetic mutations directly to other nearby bacteria, even those from a different species. As there are a limited number of antibiotic classes available today, there is a concern that eventually we will not have any antibiotics to treat patients who develop an infection caused by these MDR bacteria. We continue to need new antibiotics that stay one step ahead of these mutating bacteria in order to protect against the infections that they cause.

 

5


The Solution to Rising Resistance

The solution to the problem of resistance is based on strategies to use those antibiotics only when patients really need them, limiting the number of opportunities for the bacteria to develop these mutations, and to continue efforts aimed at the discovery and development of new and effective antibacterial agents.

These new agents will need to:

 

kill the organisms responsible for the actual infection;

 

target a specific bacterial function and overcome the existing resistance mechanisms around that function;

 

be powerful enough to require a minimal amount of drug to kill the organism at the site of infection; and

 

be delivered to a patient in a manner which is safe, tolerable and convenient.

For the last thirty years, the penem class of antibiotics, including carbapenems such as imipenem, meropenem, doripenem and ertapenem, have been potent and reliable therapeutic options for patients with serious infections. Their spectrum of activity includes those pathogens responsible for infections such as those in the intra-abdominal space, urinary tract, and respiratory tract with a potency as good or better than any other antibiotic class, targeting the cell wall of bacteria, a critical element of bacterial defense. Resistance to the class, generally caused by organisms which have acquired a carbapenemase, is rarely, if ever, seen in the community setting and is primarily localized to patients with substantial healthcare exposures, particularly recent hospitalizations. These drugs are generally very well tolerated. Their limitation is the requirement to be delivered intravenously, restricting their utility to hospitalized patients.

Our Sulopenem Program

Our sulopenem program has the potential to offer a solution to the problem of antibiotic resistance and the limitations of existing agents. Sulopenem has in vitro activity against gram-negative organisms with resistance to one or more established antibiotics and can be delivered in an oral formulation. If a UTI occurs in the community setting, oral sulopenem can be provided as a tablet, offering an option for care of those with a culture proven or suspected MDR pathogen, potentially avoiding the need for hospitalization. If a patient requires hospitalization for an infection due to a resistant organism, treatment can be initiated intravenously with sulopenem and once the infection begins to improve, stepped down to oral sulopenem, potentially enabling the patient to leave the hospital.

Potential Advantages of Oral Sulopenem and Sulopenem

We are developing our sulopenem program to offer patients and clinical care providers a new option to treat drug-resistant gram-negative infections with confidence in its antimicrobial activity, and the flexibility to treat patients in the community while getting those hospitalized back home.

Sulopenem’s differentiating characteristics include:

 

Activity as an oral agent and favorable pharmacokinetic profile. Sulopenem is the active moiety with antibacterial activity. Oral sulopenem is a prodrug specifically selected among many other prodrug candidates because it enables the absorption of sulopenem from the gastrointestinal tract. It is this oral agent, sulopenem etzadroxil, combined with probenecid that we believe meets an urgent medical need to allow patients with resistant pathogens to be treated safely in the community, as well as allowing hospitalized patients to continue their treatment at home. Oral sulopenem is sufficiently absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract to allow the parent compound, sulopenem, to achieve adequate exposure in the tissues and, as demonstrated in animal models, to significantly reduce the burden of offending pathogens. Based on pharmacokinetic modeling and supported by prior clinical data from Japan, we believe dosing of the oral agent twice daily will provide tissue exposure sufficient to resolve clinical infection.

 

Targeted spectrum of activity against relevant pathogens without pressure on other incidental gram-negative organisms. Sulopenem is active against the pathogens that are most likely to cause infection of the urinary and gastrointestinal tract, including E. coli, K. pneumoniae, P. mirabilis and B. fragilis. Like ertapenem, sulopenem is not active against certain gram-negative organisms such as Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Acinetobacter baumannii. These organisms are not typically seen in community UTIs and are infrequently identified in UTIs in the hospital, except when patients have had an indwelling urinary catheter for an extended duration. As a result, we believe the targeted spectrum of sulopenem is less likely to put pressure on those pathogens which could otherwise have led to carbapenem resistance.

 

Activity against multidrug resistant pathogens. Bacteria are accumulating resistance mechanisms to multiple classes of antibiotics within the same organism, and, as a consequence, physicians are losing confidence in existing antibiotics as

 

6


 

empiric therapy before culture results become available. Sulopenem is active against organisms that have multiple resistance mechanisms and can help avoid some of the consequences of ineffective antibiotic therapy.

 

Documented safety and tolerability profile. Adverse event data collected as part of the Japanese Phase 2 development program conducted by Pfizer with the IV formulation provided preliminary insights into the safety profile for sulopenem, which will continue to be assessed with additional clinical trials. Data is also available for the oral formulation collected in healthy volunteers in the Phase 1 program conducted by us that is consistent with a well-tolerated regimen and similar to the adverse event profile observed with the IV formulation. One additional adverse event identified with the oral prodrug is loose stools, which were considered of mild severity and were self-limited, as seen with other broad spectrum oral antibiotics with activity against the anaerobic flora of the gastrointestinal tract. In the Japanese program, one patient reported a serious adverse event related to sulopenem of a transient elevation in liver function tests. The patient died due to metastatic lung cancer. Other serious adverse events recorded in patients receiving sulopenem in the Japanese program, which were not related by the investigator to sulopenem, included myocardial infarction with respiratory failure and progression of underlying ovarian carcinoma, in both cases resulting in death. For each of these patients, sulopenem was not determined to be the cause of death.   In the recently completed cIAI Phase 3 clinical trial, among the 668 patients treated, treatment-related adverse events were observed in 6.0% and 5.1% of patients on sulopenem and ertapenem, respectively, with the most commonly reported drug-related adverse event being diarrhea, which was observed in 4.5% and 2.4% of patients on sulopenem and ertapenem, respectively. Discontinuations from treatment were uncommon for both regimens occurring in 1.5% of patients on sulopenem and 2.1% of patients on ertapenem. Serious adverse events unrelated to study treatment were seen in 7.5% of patients on sulopenem and 3.6% of patients on ertapenem.

 

Availability of an IV formulation. Sulopenem is expected to be available intravenously. Patients sick enough to require hospitalization may not be good candidates for initial oral therapy given potential uncertainties around the ability to absorb drugs due to diminished gastrointestinal and target tissue perfusion in patients with compromised cardiovascular status associated with sepsis or reduced gastrointestinal motility. An IV and oral formulation will enable the conduct of clinical registration trials in a manner consistent with typical clinical practice, allow for confidence in the initiation of therapy in seriously ill patients and, if approved, offer both important formulations as therapeutic options.

 

Advanced manufacturing program. The synthetic pathway for sulopenem, initially defined in the 1980s, has now evolved through its third iteration, incorporating improvements in yield and scalability. We expect to register two different contract manufacturing organizations to manufacture the API for oral sulopenem and sulopenem. One manufacturer has completed process validation for oral sulopenem to date providing sufficient API for commercial launch if oral sulopenem is approved for marketing. We will initially rely on a single third-party facility to manufacture all of our sulopenem tablets. In the future, given the importance of sulopenem to our potential commercial results, we will consider establishing additional sources.

Market Opportunity for Oral Sulopenem and Sulopenem

Based upon the clinical evidence to date in eradicating key pathogens, coupled with unmet medical needs, if approved, we expect the commercial opportunity for oral sulopenem and sulopenem to be substantial with initial focus on the following areas:

 

treating uUTI with an oral formulation in community treatment settings;

 

treating cUTI with initiation of IV therapy in the hospital; and

 

treating cUTI with an oral formulation upon discharge from hospital to complete therapy in the community setting.

Acute cystitis remains one of the most common indications for prescribing antimicrobials to otherwise healthy women, resulting in as many as 13.5 million office or emergency room visits in the United States annually, according to a review published in 2015. Up to 50% of all women experience one episode by 32 years of age. In addition, there are approximately 3.6 million patients a year in the United States for the more serious cases of cUTI.

In the United States, E. coli resistance presently exceeds 20% for fluoroquinolones, trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole and ampicillin. Our market research indicated that physicians identified the lack of effective oral agents for these more difficult drug-resistant infections as a key unmet need in their practice. Physicians are particularly concerned by drug-resistant infections in the 35% of patients considered to be at elevated risk for treatment failure, as they pose significant potential clinical and economic challenges to the healthcare system when initial therapy is unsuccessful.

Given the growing prevalence of bacterial resistance that has rendered existing oral therapies ineffective, coupled with the FDA mandating new safety labeling changes to enhance warnings limiting fluoroquinolone use in uncomplicated infections due to the association with disabling and potentially permanent side effects, physicians are seeking new alternatives to safely and effectively treat their patients.

 

7


We believe oral sulopenem’s value proposition will aid physicians in the community setting to address the unmet need for a safe and effective oral uUTI therapy to treat the growing number of patients with suspected or confirmed resistant pathogen(s). In addition, we believe our sulopenem program will offer a compelling value proposition to hospitals by enabling the transition of patients from IV therapy in the inpatient setting to an oral therapy in the community.

Oral Sulopenem and Sulopenem Clinical Development Program

The following graphic provides an overview of the past development of sulopenem etzadroxil and sulopenem by Pfizer and Iterum.

Discovery, Development, and Regulatory History of Sulopenem and Sulopenem Etzadroxil, by year

 

The objective of our sulopenem program is to deliver to patients an oral and IV formulation of sulopenem approved in the United States and Europe for the treatment of infections due to resistant gram-negative pathogens. Sulopenem’s spectrum of activity, the availability of an oral agent delivered in a convenient dosing schedule and the evolving safety profile supported its further development for the target indications of uUTI, cUTI and cIAI. Oral sulopenem is the oral prodrug metabolized to sulopenem, its therapeutically active form, combined with probenecid.

Both sulopenem and oral sulopenem have received QIDP designation status for the indications of uUTI, cUTI and cIAI as well as for community-acquired bacterial pneumonia, acute bacterial prostatitis, gonococcal urethritis, and pelvic inflammatory disease. Fast track designation for these seven indications in both the oral and intravenous formulations has also been granted. QIDP designation status for other indications is also possible given the coverage of gram-negative and gram-positive bacteria by sulopenem, pending submission of additional documentation and acceptance by the FDA. We have received feedback on the development program in an end of Phase 2 meeting with the FDA, which provided guidance on the size of the safety database, the nonclinical study requirements, the design of the Phase 1 and Phase 3 clinical trials, the pediatric development plan, as well as support for the proposed CMC development activities through production of commercial supplies. The Phase 3 clinical trials for treatment of cIAI, cUTI and uUTI have received SPA agreements with the FDA. All three Phase 3 clinical trials were initiated in the third quarter of 2018 and completed enrollment by the end of 2019.  Topline data for the cUTI and uUTI trials is expected around the end of the first quarter of 2020, and, if these data are positive, we expect to have the opportunity to file two NDAs, one for oral sulopenem and one for IV sulopenem, around mid-2020. In December 2019, we announced that sulopenem did not meet the primary endpoint of statistical non-inferiority compared to the control therapy for the cIAI trial; however, we believe the secondary supporting analyses and safety data support the potential of sulopenem in the treatment of multi-drug resistant infections.   EMA Scientific Advice received by us, consistent with the existing Guidance for this indication, supports an endpoint assessed earlier than the primary study endpoint and a non-inferiority margin of -12.5%. We also have an agreement with the FDA on a pediatric study plan. Development work on pediatric formulations is ongoing, and we plan to commence Phase 1 trials in children in 2020.  

Microbiology Surveillance Data

Sulopenem has demonstrated potent in vitro activity, as defined by its minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC), against nearly all genera of Enterobacteriaceae, in anaerobes such as Bacteroides, Prevotella, Porphyromonas, Fusobacterium and Peptostreptococcus, gram-positive organisms including methicillin-susceptible staphylococci, Streptococcus pyogenes and Streptococcus pneumoniae, as well as other community respiratory pathogens such as Haemophilus influenzae and Moraxella catarrhalis. The MIC is a measure used to describe the results of an in vitro assay in which a fixed number of a strain of bacteria are

 

8


added to a 96-well plate and increasing concentrations of antibiotic are sequentially added to the wells. The concentration of antibiotic which inhibits growth of the bacteria in a well is considered the MIC. When looking across a collection of many strains of a species of bacteria, the MIC90 is the lowest concentration of antibiotic at which 90% of the strains are inhibited. Sulopenem lacks in vitro activity (MIC90 16 µg/mL) against the oxidative non-fermenting pathogens such as Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Acinetobacter baumanii, Burkholderia cepacia, and Stenotrophomonas maltophilia. Given its lack of potency against Pseudomonas aeruginosa, its use in treatment of infections caused by pathogenic Enterobacteriaceae should not select for pseudomonas resistant to carbapenems, as can occur with imipenem and meropenem. For various species of enterococci, the MIC90 values were 4 to 64 µg/mL. Methicillin-resistant staphylococci also have high MIC values.

The table below highlights the MIC50 and MIC90 of key target pathogens collected by International Health Management Associates (IHMA) between 2013 and 2015 responsible for the infections that will be studied in our Phase 3 program.

 

Organism Class

 

N

 

 

MIC50
(µg/mL)

 

 

MIC90
(µg/mL)

 

E. coli

189

 

0.015

 

0.03

ESBL negative

169

 

0.015

 

0.03

ESBL positive

20

 

0.03

 

0.06

Klebsiella spp.

124

 

0.03

 

0.06

ESBL negative

108

 

0.03

 

0.06

ESBL positive

16

 

0.03

 

0.25

P. mirabilis

14

 

0.12

 

0.25

E. aerogenes

57

 

0.06

 

0.25

C. koseri

60

 

0.03

 

0.03

S. marcescens

55

 

0.12

 

0.50

Gram-negative anaerobes

125

 

0.12

 

0.25

Staphylococcus saprophyticus

31

 

0.25

 

0.25

 

A comparison of the in vitro activity of sulopenem relative to other carbapenems, as well as to currently prescribed oral agents for UTI, is provided below. The activity of sulopenem at slightly higher doses was very similar to that of ertapenem and meropenem, which are currently commercially available. In addition, sulopenem is noted to have potent in vitro activity against relevant organisms that are resistant to fluoroquinolones and trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole and are ESBL positive. The prevalence of resistance for the existing generic antibiotics, now exceeding 20% for many pathogens, underscores the challenge of treating patients with uUTI in an outpatient setting or releasing patients from the hospital with a cUTI or cIAI on a reliable stepdown oral therapy.

 

 

 

E. coli
N=189

 

K. pneumoniae
N=65

 

P. mirabilis
N=19

 

Penem Class:

 

MIC90
(µg/mL)

 

% S

 

MIC90
(µg/mL)

 

% S

 

MIC90
(µg/mL)

 

% S

 

Sulopenem

0.06

*

0.12

*

0.25

*

Ertapenem

0.015

100

0.12

97

0.03

100

Meropenem

0.03

100

0.06

97

0.12

100

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oral Agents Currently on Market:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nitrofurantoin

16

97

≥ 64

23

≥ 64

0

Fosfomycin

8

98

128

86

64

95

Ciprofloxacin

≥ 2

77

1

91

≥ 2

74

Trimethoprim-Sulfamethoxazole

≥ 32

74

≥ 32

86

≥ 32

58

Amoxicillin-Clavulanate

16

76

≥ 16

80

≥ 16

74

 

N = bacterial samples; each product candidate was tested using the same sample size

 

% S =

percentage susceptible, meaning the proportion of the number of isolates tested that had a MIC below the FDA defined
susceptibility breakpoint; boxed values signify a percentage susceptible below 80%, which is the threshold for concern for
use of an antibiotic before a culture is available

 

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*

Susceptibility breakpoints are established by the FDA and documented in product labeling based on the antibacterial agent treatment efficacy in Phase 3 clinical trials associated with a specific MIC. As such, susceptibility breakpoints have not yet been determined for sulopenem.

Animal Models

Sulopenem reduced the bacterial burden in the bladder and tissues of infected animals in a uUTI model in both diabetic and normal C3H/HeN mice using a MDR ST131 E. coli, a strain which is ESBL positive and resistant to fluoroquinolones and trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole. Sulopenem was highly efficacious and remarkably robust in its reduction in bacterial burden, leading to complete resolution of bacteriuria in all or most of the animals in both study arms with the high dose treatment regimen also reducing bacterial burden in bladder tissue and the kidney.

Non-clinical Pharmacology

Metabolic clearance is primarily characterized by hydrolysis of the ß-lactam ring. Sulopenem does not inhibit the major cytochrome P450 isoforms suggesting a low potential for drug interactions at therapeutic concentrations. It is predominantly excreted in the urine. Plasma protein binding for sulopenem is low at approximately 11%.

Phase 1 Program

The table below outlines the Phase 1 clinical trials that have been conducted with sulopenem etzadroxil and sulopenem.

 

Protocol

 

Year

 

Dose (mg), other medication

 

Subjects on

sulopenem or

sulopenem

etzadroxil

 

Treatment

(Days)

 

Sulopenem (CP-70,429)—Phase 1 Single Dose Clinical Trials

A109001

1987

1000 mg

6

1

Japanese PK

 

250 mg, 500 mg, 1000 mg

18

1

A7371007

2007

400 mg, 800 mg, 1600 mg, 2400 mg, 2800 mg, placebo

24

1

IT001-105                              

2018

366 mg IV                                                                                  

34

1

Sulopenem (CP-70,429)—Phase 1 Multiple Dose Clinical Trials

Japanese PK

 

500 mg, 1000 mg

12

5

Japanese PK

 

1000 mg

6

5

A1091001

2009

800 mg, 1200 mg, 1600 mg, 2000 mg, placebo

40

14

IT001-103

2019

1000 mg

15

2

IT001-104

2019

1000 mg

10

3

IT001-105                              

2018

1000 mg                                                                                  

12

3

 

 

 

 

 

Sulopenem etzadroxil (PF-03709270)—Phase 1 Single Dose Clinical Trials

A8811001

2007

400 mg, 600 mg, 1000 mg, 2000 mg, placebo

9

1

A8811006

2008

2000 mg

4

1

A8811007

2007

600 mg, probenecid

4

1

A8811008

2008

1200 mg, probenecid

24

1

A8811018

2008

1000 mg, 1200 mg, probenecid, aluminum hydroxide, pantoprazole

17

1

A8811003

2008

2000 mg, 4000 mg, 6000 mg, 8000 mg, placebo

11

1

IT001-101

2017

500 mg, 1000 mg, probenecid

48

1

IT001-102

2017

500 mg, probenecid

13

1

   Sulopenem etzadroxil (PF-03709270)—Phase 1 Multiple Dose Clinical Trials

A8811003

2008

2000 mg, 1200 mg, probenecid, placebo

18

10

A8811015

2009

500 mg, 1000 mg, 1500 mg, probenecid, placebo, Augmentin

48

7

IT001-101

2017

500 mg, probenecid

64

7

IT001-103

2019

Bilayer tablet, 500 mg

47

2

IT001-104

2019

Bilayer tablet, 500 mg

19

3

IT001-105

2018

500 mg, bilayer tablet

34

2

Sulopenem (CP-70,429), Sulopenem etzadroxil (PF-03709270)—Phase 1 Renal Impairment Clinical Trial

A8811009

2010

200mg, 800 mg sulopenem or 1000 mg sulopenem etzadroxil

29

1

 

 

 

 

 

 

10


Protocol

 

Year

 

Dose (mg), other medication

 

Subjects on

sulopenem or

sulopenem

etzadroxil

 

Treatment

(Days)

 

 

 

Total

566

 

Note: Total number reflects the sum of patients exposed to a specific formulation and dosing duration and will overestimate the number of subjects exposed as some subjects received more than one formulation in a study.

Oral Sulopenem

We have designed oral sulopenem to include probenecid, a pharmacokinetic enhancer that delays the excretion through the kidneys of sulopenem and other ß-lactam antibiotics and has been extensively used for this purpose and the treatment of gout. It enables us to maximize the antibacterial potential of any given dose of oral sulopenem.

We conducted three Phase 1 clinical trials, IT001-101, IT001-102 and IT001-105, in healthy volunteers, in part to select the prodrug and explore various doses of probenecid combined with 500 mg of sulopenem etzadroxil. Findings from these clinical trials are consistent with those from other pharmacokinetic studies that employed different total doses of sulopenem etzadroxil. Specifically, the AUC (area under the curve, a measure of total exposure) and Cmax (maximum plasma concentration) are generally dose-proportional, and the concomitant use of probenecid increases the plasma exposure of sulopenem with any dose with which it was studied.

The mean total sulopenem exposures in the urine after a single 500 mg dose in IT001-101 exceeded the MIC90 for the entire twice-daily dosing interval in the 32 healthy volunteers who received 500 mg of sulopenem etzadroxil, as illustrated in the graph below. In a urine antibacterial assay, urine collected at two hours post-dose was bactericidal for numerous strains of E. coli and K. pneumoniae, including a strain of K. pneumoniae that was resistant to meropenem and imipenem, with a sulopenem MIC of 16 µg/mL.

Mean total sulopenem exposure in urine after single 500 mg dose of sulopenem etzadroxil with or without probenecid

 

 

In IT001-102, we evaluated sulopenem etzadroxil administered with and without probenecid in a randomized cross-over trial in healthy volunteers in a fasted state. Subjects receiving sulopenem etzadroxil in a powder-in-a-bottle formulation co-administered with

 

11


a separate tablet of probenecid demonstrated an increase in the time over MIC (of a 12 hour dosing interval) and AUC of sulopenem, as shown in the table below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sulopenem Parameter (Day 1)

Treatment

N

 

Descriptive
Statistic

 

Cmax
(ng/mL)

 

 

AUC0-¥
(hr*ng/mL)

 

 

T>MIC
(0.5 µg/mL)
[hr]

 

 

T>MIC
(0.5 µg/mL)
[%]

 

500 mg Sulopenem etzadroxil

10

 

Mean

 

1928

 

3871

 

2.8

 

23.3

500 mg Sulopenem etzadroxil

+ 500 mg probenecid

11

 

Mean

 

1929

 

4964

 

3.6

 

30.2

 

N = number of subjects; Cmax = maximum plasma concentration; AUC0-¥ = area under the curve from the initiation of dosing extrapolated
through infinite time

In addition, results from IT001-101 demonstrated that food increases the mean AUC and mean time over MIC (0.5 µg/mL) of 500 mg sulopenem etzadroxil dosed with 500 mg probenecid on Day 1 by 62% and 68%, respectively.

In IT001-105 we studied the bioavailability of sulopenem etzadroxil/probenecid in our planned commercial formulation of a bilayer tablet. The absolute bioavailability of the bilayer tablet was approximately 40% in a fasted state and 64% in the fed state. A graph of the sulopenem plasma concentrations in the patients in this trial is provided below.

A Phase 1 drug interaction study with itraconazole demonstrated no interaction.  We plan to conduct an additional drug interaction study with valproic acid to support our NDAs. Other Phase 1 clinical trials may be added as the needs of the program dictate.

Sulopenem, IV Formulation

Doses of sulopenem up to 2800 mg as a single IV dose and 2000 mg BID, or twice daily, of sulopenem as IV over fourteen days were studied in three Phase 1 clinical trials in healthy adults, one study in patients with renal insufficiency in the United States and two Phase 1 clinical trials in Japan. Results from these pharmacokinetic studies with various IV doses of sulopenem delivered over various durations established dose proportionality among the regimens with regard to AUC and maximal plasma concentrations (Cmax). A representative analysis of pharmacokinetic parameters, a subset of study A1091001, is described in the table below.

 

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N

 

 

Dose
(mg)

 

 

Infusion

duration (h)

Cmax
(µg/mL)

 

 

AUC 0-¥
(µg hr/mL)

 

 

T1/2
(h)

 

 

CLtotal
(mL/min/kg)

 

Day 1

8

 

800

 

3

 

7.27

 

22.4

 

0.83

 

 

 

8

 

1200

 

1

 

32.5

 

42.3

 

1.04

 

 

 

8

 

1200

 

2.5

 

16.6

 

41.9

 

1.12

 

 

Day 14

5

 

800

 

3

 

8.97

 

26.5

 

0.89

 

15.4

 

6

 

1200

 

1

 

30.7

 

41.4

 

1.05

 

14.7

 

6

 

1200

 

2.5

 

13.5

 

34.6

 

1.01

 

18.8

 

N = number of subjects; Cmax = maximum plasma concentration; AUC0-¥ = area under the curve from the initiation of dosing extrapolated
through infinite time; T½ = half-life; CLtotal = clearance (only measured on Day 14)

A single dose cross-over design study of 1000 mg of sulopenem infused over 3 hours was given to fasting healthy adults in our IT001-105 Phase 1 clinical trial.  Pharmacokinetic parameters observed in this trial are described in the table below.

 

 

N

 

 

Dose
(mg)

 

 

Infusion
duration (h)

 

 

Cmax
(µg/mL)

 

 

AUC 0-¥
(µg hr/mL)

 

 

T1/2
(h)

 

Day 1

12

 

1000

 

3

 

9.15

 

28.9

 

1.65



Modeling and Dose Selection

Based on in vitro susceptibility data from surveillance studies, pharmacokinetics gathered from Phase 1 clinical trials, and population pharmacokinetic data from patients, we performed modeling to help choose the doses for the Phase 3 program. The MIC90 for all Enterobacteriaceae potentially involved in the target indications was 0.25 µg/mL and for the weighted distribution of pathogens most likely to be associated with the indication was 0.06 µg/mL. We have performed modeling both for the weighted distribution of MICs expected in the clinical trials as well as at a fixed MIC of 0.5 µg/mL. Data obtained from animal experiments confirmed that, similar to carbapenems and lower than that for other ß-lactams, the %Tfree >MIC required for bacteriostasis is approximately 10–19%, depending on the dosing regimen; we have used 17% in our models. Based on the outputs from those models, the IV dose of sulopenem being studied in the ongoing Phase 3 clinical trials is 1000 mg sulopenem delivered over 3 hours once a day. The oral dose being studied is 500 mg of sulopenem etzadroxil given with 500 mg of probenecid in a single bilayer tablet twice daily.

 

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Japanese Clinical Data

Pfizer’s affiliate in Japan conducted extensive clinical development of sulopenem in over 1,450 patients in Phase 1 and Phase 2 clinical trials in Japan in patients with skin infections, respiratory tract infections, gynecologic infections, cUTI and intra-abdominal infections.

Phase 2 clinical trials conducted by Pfizer in Japan, 1991-1993

 

Study #

 

Description

 

Sulopenem Dose

 

Comparator

 

N

 

91-002

Multiple infections in:

Internal medicine

Surgery: includes cIAI

Urology: pyelonephritis cystitis

250 mg IV BID

500 mg IV BID

None

108

 

 

 

 

 

92-002

Multiple infections in:

Internal medicine

Surgery: includes cIAI

Urology: pyelonephritis cystitis

250 mg IV BID

500 mg IV BID

None

961

 

 

 

 

 

91-002

92-002

Population-Pharmacokinetics (only)

250 mg IV BID

500 mg IV BID

N/A

216

 

 

 

 

 

93-001

Respiratory Tract Infection

250 mg IV BID

500 mg IV BID

Cefotiam IV

75

 

 

 

 

 

93-002

cUTI

250 mg IV BID

500 mg IV BID

Imipenem IV

114

 

 

 

 

 

Total

 

 

 

1474

 

A treatment effect in small Phase 2 clinical trials was observed in a number of infections including skin infections, respiratory tract infections, gynecologic infections and, most relevant to the targeted indications being pursued in our Phase 3 program, cUTI and cIAI. The data from these clinical trials may not be directly comparable to data from clinical trials that would be conducted today or the data that we anticipate from our Phase 3 program for a variety of reasons, including that the protocols were designed for different purposes and as a consequence had different enrollment and efficacy evaluation criteria. While these data are not required for approval of our intended indications, we believe these results support our decision to develop sulopenem for our targeted indications and informed our dose selection.

In 1993, Pfizer Japan conducted 93-002, a randomized clinical trial in subjects with cUTI, comparing 250 mg twice daily and 500 mg twice daily of sulopenem administered intravenously to an intravenously-delivered imipenem-cilastatin, also given twice daily.

The trial enrolled patients who were hospitalized, with an underlying disease of the urinary tract and with evidence of pyuria, measured by ≥ 5 WBC/hpf (white blood cells per high power field, a measure of inflammation in the urinary tract) at baseline. Study therapy was administered for five days and was open-label with respect to sulopenem versus the comparator but was blinded as to the sulopenem dose. Efficacy was assessed by the investigator based on subjective and objective criteria, as shown below.

 

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The criteria for patient enrollment in the Phase 2 clinical trial 93-002 are different than those currently established by the FDA in guidelines for Phase 3 cUTI registrational trials published in 2015. In addition to an Intent-to-Treat (ITT) analysis, which includes all randomized patients, of the investigator’s assessment of overall efficacy based on the original inclusion criteria, a post hoc analysis was also performed by Iterum of the investigator’s assessment of overall efficacy in the population of patients that met enrollment criteria consistent with current FDA guidance, such as baseline urinalysis with >10 WBC/hpf and a urine culture which grew >105 susceptible organisms, as shown below. ITT analyses are performed in the population of all randomized patients. Success, as determined by the investigator and specified in the protocol, was judged for each patient based on resolution of symptoms, pyuria and bacteriuria.

 

Investigator Assessment of Overall Efficacy

Sulopenem
(CP 70,429)
250 mg BID IV
n/N (%)

 

 

Sulopenem
(CP 70,429)
500 mg BID IV
n/N (%)

 

 

Comparator
n/N (%)

 

ITT

 

 

 

 

 

Success

33/36 (91.7)

 

36/38 (94.7)

 

32/39 (82.1)

Failure

2/36 (5.6)

 

2/38 (5.3)

 

2/39 (5.1)

Indeterminant

1/36 (2.8)

 

0

 

5/39 (12.8)

Difference vs. comparator (95% CI)

9.6 (-6.6, 25.9)

 

12.7 (-2.1, 28.4)

 

 

Clinically Evaluable using FDA inclusion criteria (post hoc)

 

 

 

 

 

Success

19/20 (95.0)

 

22/22 (100.0)

 

16/16 (100.0)

Failure

1/20 (5.0)

 

0

 

0

Difference vs. comparator (95% CI)

-5.0 (-24.0, 15.3)

 

0 (-15.2, 19.8)

 

 

 

One patient received a dose other than 250 mg or 500 mg IV BID.

The results of a subset analysis that included patients from clinical trials conducted in 1991 and 1992, 91-002 and 92-002, with a diagnosis that fit the FDA’s definition of cIAIs are provided below, based on the investigator’s assessment of clinical response at the end of therapy in the ITT and clinically evaluable populations. Success, as determined by the investigator and specified in the protocol, was judged for each patient based on resolution of cIAI signs and symptoms and improvement in relevant laboratory tests.

 

Investigator Assessment of Outcome

Sulopenem
(CP 70,429)
250 mg BID IV
n/N (%)

 

 

Sulopenem
(CP 70,429)
500 mg BID IV
n/N (%)

 

ITT

 

 

 

Success

14/15 (93.3)

 

78/88 (88.6)

Failure

1/15 (6.7)

 

4/88 (4.5)

Indeterminant

 

 

6/88 (6.8)

Clinically Evaluable

 

 

 

Success

14/15 (93.3)

 

77/81 (95.1)

Failure

1/15 (6.7)

 

4/81 (4.9)

 

Three patients received a dose other than 250 mg or 500 mg IV BID.

We used the data collected in these studies to inform the design of the cUTI regimens.

The results of a Phase 2 clinical trial conducted in 1993 in hospitalized patients with community acquired pneumonia (CAP), 93-001, are provided below, including the investigator’s assessment of clinical response at the end of therapy in the ITT and clinically and bacteriologically evaluable populations with the bacteriologically evaluable population meaning the clinically evaluable patients who had a baseline pathogen and follow up microbiology data to allow an assessment of bacteriological efficacy. Success, as determined by the investigator and specified in the protocol, was judged for each patient based on resolution of the signs and symptoms of pneumonia, and improvement in radiologic findings and other relevant tests.

 

 

15


 Investigator Response at End of Treatment

Sulopenem
CP 70,429
250 mg BID IV
n/N (%)

 

 

Sulopenem
CP 70,429
500 mg BID IV
n/N (%)

 

 

Comparator
n/N (%)

 

ITT

 

 

 

 

 

Success

19/26 (73.1)

 

17/23 (73.9)

 

22/25 (88.0)

Failure

4/26 (15.4)

 

3/23 (13.0)

 

2/25 (8.0)

Indeterminant

3/26 (11.5)

 

3/23 (13.0)

 

1/25 (4.0)

Difference vs. comparator (95% CI)

-14.9 (-36.7, 7.7)

 

-14.1 (-37.1, 8.8)

 

 

Clinically Evaluable

 

 

 

 

 

Success

18/20 (90.0)

 

15/17 (88.2)

 

20/20 (100.0)

Failure

2/20 (10.0)

 

2/17 (11.8)

 

 

Difference vs. comparator (95% CI)

-10.0 (-30.4, 7.3)

 

-11.8 (-34.7, 5.8)

 

 

Bacteriologically Evaluable

 

 

 

 

 

Success

8/8 (100.0)

 

5/6 (83.3)

 

9/9 (100.0)

Failure

 

1/6 (16.7)

 

Difference vs. comparator (95% CI)

0.0 (-33.8, 31.2)

 

-16.7 (-57.6, 18.1)

 

 

 

Phase 2 Clinical Trial with sulopenem and sulopenem etzadroxil

In 2009, Pfizer initiated a Phase 2, randomized, double-blind, double-dummy clinical trial in hospitalized patients with CAP comparing two regimens of IV sulopenem followed by sulopenem etzadroxil to ceftriaxone IV followed by amoxicillin-clavulanate. The sulopenem regimens were a single 600 mg IV dose of sulopenem followed by 1000 mg BID of sulopenem etzadroxil or a 600 mg of sulopenem for a minimum of four doses followed by 1000 mg BID of sulopenem etzadroxil. The clinical trial was terminated early for business reasons after 33 of 250 planned total patients were enrolled and treated. Clinical response rates at the test-of-cure visit (7–14 days after end of therapy) of the ITT patients were similar on each regimen (9/10, 9/11 and 7/12, on sulopenem single IV dose, sulopenem multidose IV and ceftriaxone, respectively). Treatment-emergent adverse events were reported in six subjects each in the sulopenem groups and eight subjects in the ceftriaxone group. The most common treatment-emergent adverse event was diarrhea, reported by a total of six subjects (two in each treatment group). Treatment related diarrhea was reported by one subject following sulopenem single dose IV, and by a further two subjects following ceftriaxone. There was one treatment-related serious adverse event in the ceftriaxone group. There were no deaths reported in this clinical trial.

Phase 3 Clinical Trials

Based on FDA Guidance from February 2015 (Complicated Intra-Abdominal Infections: Developing Drugs for Treatment. Guidance for Industry; Complicated Urinary Tract Infections: Developing Drugs for Treatment. Guidance for Industry) and on recently conducted studies by other sponsors, we negotiated SPA agreements for cUTI, cIAI and uUTI. All three Phase 3 clinical trials were initiated in the third quarter of 2018, and completed enrollment by the end of 2019. Oral sulopenem alone is being studied for the treatment of outpatients with uUTI, while oral sulopenem and sulopenem are being studied for the treatment of cUTI.  Oral sulopenem and sulopenem were also studied for the treatment of cIAI. A brief overview of the comparator agents, sample size, timing of efficacy assessments and duration of oral and IV dosing is provided in the graphic below. Non-inferiority in these clinical trials is defined by the lower limit of the confidence interval in the treatment difference of no more than -10%. The uUTI clinical trial is also testing for superiority in the subset of patients with ciprofloxacin resistant pathogens at baseline. An open-label noncomparative treatment study of oral ciprofloxacin 250 mg twice daily for three days in uUTI patients was conducted to help characterize certain sample size assumptions as well as enable study logistics for this Phase 3 clinical trial. Patients in the cUTI and cIAI clinical trials received five days of sulopenem IV or comparator and then stepped down to two to five additional days of oral treatment with either oral sulopenem or ciprofloxacin.

In the Phase 3 cIAI trial, clinical outcome at the test-of-cure visit was noted as cure for those patients who are alive, have resolution in signs and symptoms of the index infection and for whom no new antibiotics or interventions for treatment failure were required. The primary endpoint was clinical response on Day 28 in the micro-MITT population. The micro-MITT population consists of those randomized patients who received a dose of study drug and had a gram-negative organism isolated from their infection site. In this population, the difference in outcomes was 4.7% with a 95% confidence interval on that difference of -10.3% to 1.0%. Non-inferiority for the primary endpoint required that the lower limit of the difference in the outcome rates be >-10%:

 

 

16


 

Sulopenem

Ertapenem

Difference

(95% Confidence Interval)

Test of Cure

 

 

 

microMITT

85.5%

90.2%

-4.7% (-10.3, 1.0)

MITT

87.2%

90.0%

-2.9% (- 7.7, 2.0)

Clinically Evaluable

93.5%

95.7%

-2.0% (-5.7, 1.7)

Microbiologically Evaluable

92.5%

95.5%

-3.0% (-7.5, 1.4)

End of Treatment

 

 

 

microMITT

83.5%

85.3%

-1.8% (- 8.1, 4.5)

MITT

83.7%

85.4%

-1.7% (-7.1, 3.8)

Clinically Evaluable

89.4%

90.0%

-0.7% (-5.6, 4.3)

Microbiologically Evaluable

88.5%

88.9%

-0.4% (-6.3, 5.4)

 

In the uUTI and cUTI trials, clinical outcome at the test-of-cure visit will be noted as cure for patients who are alive and who demonstrate resolution of the symptoms of uUTI or cUTI, as applicable, present at trial entry (and no new symptoms) such that no new antibiotics are required, as well as the demonstration that the bacterial pathogen(s) found at trial entry are reduced to <103 CFU/mL on urine culture on Day 12 or Day 21, respectively. Topline results for the two remaining trials are expected around the end of the first quarter of 2020.

Patients with an organism resistant to ciprofloxacin in the cUTI and cIAI clinical trials were allowed to substitute amoxicillin-clavulanate for the stepdown oral therapy. Patients getting ciprofloxacin in the cIAI trial also received metronidazole. Patients who received oral sulopenem were encouraged, but not required, to dose with food.

 

Safety Profile of Oral Sulopenem and Sulopenem

Sulopenem is a thiopenem and a member of the class of ß-lactam antibiotics, a class from which numerous safe and well tolerated antibiotics have been available for over thirty years. Adverse event data collected as part of the Japanese Phase 2 development program with the IV formulation conducted by Pfizer provided preliminary insights into the safety profile for sulopenem, which will continue to be assessed with additional clinical trials. We view the clinical safety profile of sulopenem established by the Japanese data as also relevant and supportive of oral sulopenem because it metabolizes to the active metabolite, sulopenem, in plasma. A summary of the adverse event data from the Japanese program is provided below.

 

 

Sulopenem

 

 

 

 

 

250 mg BID
(N = 296)

 

 

500 mg BID
(N = 867)

 

 

Miscellaneous*
(N = 247)

 

 

Comparators
(N = 64)

 

Total
(N = 1474)

No. of patients who experienced at least one:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Adverse Event

14 (4.7)

 

35 (4.0)

 

1 (0.4)

 

3 (4.7)

 

53 (3.6)

Drug-Related Adverse Event

9 (3.0)

 

22 (2.5)

 

1 (0.4)

 

3 (4.7)

 

35 (2.4)

Serious Adverse Event

2 (0.7)

 

1 (0.1)

 

—  

 

1 (1.6)

 

4 (0.3)

Drug-Related Serious Adverse Event

1 (0.3)

 

—  

 

—  

 

1 (1.6)

 

2 (0.1)

SAE Leading to Death

2 (0.7)

 

1 (0.1)

 

—  

 

1 (1.6)

 

4 (0.3)

 

17


 

Sulopenem

 

 

 

 

 

250 mg BID
(N = 296)

 

 

500 mg BID
(N = 867)

 

 

Miscellaneous*
(N = 247)

 

 

Comparators
(N = 64)

 

Total
(N = 1474)

AE Leading to Premature Discontinuation of Study Drug

8 (2.7)

 

16 (1.8)

 

—  

 

2 (3.1)

 

26 (1.8)

SAE Leading to Premature Discontinuation of Study Drug

1 (0.3)

 

—  

 

—  

 

—  

 

1 (0.1)

 

*   Miscellaneous doses include patients receiving a total daily dose of 250 mg, 750 mg, 1500 mg or 2000 mg, including
     patients receiving a single dose of sulopenem in the population PK sub-study.

Common adverse events occurring in more than one patient on a sulopenem regimen included diarrhea (0.7%), pyrexia (0.5%) and rash (1.0%). The most common adverse event leading to discontinuation was rash (0.7%). Clinically significant laboratory test abnormalities were infrequent. Elevations in serum aminotransferases occurred in approximately 4% of patients.

Data is also available for the oral formulation collected in healthy volunteers in the Phase 1 program conducted by Pfizer and Iterum that is consistent with the adverse event profile observed with the IV formulation. One additional adverse event of interest identified with the oral prodrug, as further assessed in detail in clinical trial IT001-101, is loose stool/diarrhea, which was considered of mild severity and self-limited, as seen with other broad spectrum oral antibiotics with activity against the anaerobic flora of the gastrointestinal tract. During the seven-day dosing interval, the incidence of diarrhea, defined as having three or more episodes of loose stool in one day or having two or more episodes of loose stool per day for two consecutive days, peaked at 13% on Day 3 and fell to 2% by Day 7, with no patient discontinuing their dosing due to this event. For patients who took their dose with food, the peak incidence was 9%, dropping again to 3% by Day 4, similar to placebo. Some patients also identified a mild change in the odor of their urine after dosing with either the oral or IV formulations, as can be seen with other ß-lactam antibiotics.

In the cIAI trial, among 668 treated patients, treatment-related adverse events were observed in 6.0% and 5.1% of patients on sulopenem and ertapenem, respectively, with the most commonly reported drug-related adverse event being diarrhea, which was observed in 4.5% and 2.4% of patients on sulopenem and ertapenem, respectively. Discontinuations from treatment were uncommon for both regimens, occurring in 1.5% of patients on sulopenem and 2.1% of patients on ertapenem.  Serious adverse events unrelated to study treatment were seen in 7.5% of patients on sulopenem and 3.6% of patients on ertapenem.

We have received a waiver from the FDA for the requirement of performing a thorough QT interval study given the lack both of any significant preclinical findings and signals in Phase 1 clinical trials during which intensive electrocardiogram monitoring was performed. The EMA in written scientific advice also agreed that a QT interval study is not warranted. A preclinical study of the hydrolysis product of etzadroxil (2-ethylbutyric acid) has been performed in which no effect on plasma carnitine in rats was identified, while a significant effect of a different prodrug moiety, pivoxil, was observed. No reports of seizures, seen with some members of the carbapenem class, were noted in preclinical studies or clinical trials.

 Pfizer License Agreement

In November 2015, we and our wholly owned subsidiary, Iterum Therapeutics International Limited, entered into a license agreement with Pfizer (the Pfizer License), pursuant to which we acquired from Pfizer an exclusive, royalty-bearing license under certain patent rights and know-how to develop, manufacture and commercialize sulopenem and related compounds, including, among others, sulopenem etzadroxil and three other sulopenem prodrugs, globally for the treatment, diagnosis and prevention of infectious diseases and infections in humans. The licensed patents include two U.S. patents, one of which covers the composition of matter of sulopenem etzadroxil, one patent in Japan, one patent in Hong Kong and one patent in Mexico. None of the licensed patents cover the IV formulation of sulopenem. All patents directed to the compound sulopenem expired prior to us entering into the Pfizer License. Pursuant to the Pfizer License, our exclusive license from Pfizer includes certain know-how, data and regulatory documents that will support the development of sulopenem. We have the right to grant development or commercialization sublicenses to third parties, provided that we (1) obtain Pfizer’s prior written consent in connection with such sublicense, (2) enter into a written sublicense agreement consistent with the terms and conditions of the Pfizer License and (3) include Pfizer as a third-party beneficiary under such sublicense. As between Pfizer and us, we own all right, title and interest in any intellectual property rights that are developed by us or our sublicensees in connection with the Pfizer License.

Under the Pfizer License, we have sole responsibility for and control over the development, regulatory approval, manufacture and commercialization of licensed products worldwide, including bearing all costs and expenses associated therewith. We are obligated to use commercially reasonable efforts to develop and seek regulatory approval for one licensed product in the United States and in at least one country out of any of France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain or the United Kingdom (Major Market Countries) and, if deemed appropriate by us in our exercise of commercially reasonable efforts, for a second licensed product in the United States or at least one Major Market Country. In addition, we must use commercially reasonable efforts to commercialize a licensed product in the United States and each Major Market Country in which we have received regulatory approval for such product.

 

18


Under the Pfizer License, we have paid Pfizer a one-time nonrefundable upfront fee of $5.0 million and a total of $15.0 million in clinical milestones based on first patient dosed in our Phase 3 clinical trials with sulopenem etzadroxil and sulopenem IV and are obligated to pay Pfizer potential future regulatory milestone payments, as well as potential sales milestones upon achievement of net sales ranging from $250.0 million to $1.0 billion for each product type (sulopenem etzadroxil and other prodrugs, and sulopenem and other non-prodrugs). We are obligated to pay Pfizer royalties ranging from a single-digit to mid-teens percentage of marginal net sales of each licensed product. Pfizer also received 381,922 of our Series A preferred shares (which converted to ordinary shares in connection with our initial public offering) at a value of $15.71 per share as additional payment for the licensed rights. In addition, if we sublicense or assign any of our rights to any licensed products to a third party, and we receive in connection with such transaction a threshold amount of at least a low nine figure dollar amount over a specified period of time, we will be obligated to pay Pfizer an additional one-time payment of a low eight figure dollar amount.

At our cost and expense, we are responsible for the prosecution and maintenance of the licensed patents worldwide, using specific legal counsel in various jurisdictions as set forth in the Pfizer License. If we elect to forgo prosecution or maintenance of a licensed patent, we must notify Pfizer and Pfizer has the right to continue prosecution and maintenance of such licensed patent and the exclusive license granted to us under such licensed patent will become a non-exclusive and non-sublicensable license. Subject to certain consultation rights granted to Pfizer, we have the first right, but not the obligation, to enforce the licensed patents at our cost and expense. If we elect to enforce any licensed patent, we may not enter into a settlement agreement that would: (1) adversely affect the validity, enforceability or scope of any of the licensed patents, (2) give rise to any liability for Pfizer, (3) admit non-infringement of any of the licensed patents or (4) otherwise impair Pfizer’s rights in any of the licensed patents or licensed know-how without the prior written consent of Pfizer.

The Pfizer License continues in effect until the expiration of all royalty terms thereunder, unless earlier terminated. Upon such expiration, the Pfizer License shall become non-exclusive, fully-paid, royalty free, perpetual and irrevocable. The royalty term for each licensed product in each country begins as of the first commercial sale of such licensed product in such country and lasts until the later of (1) the expiration of the applicable licensed patents in such country, (2) the expiration of regulatory or data exclusivity for such licensed product in such country and (3) fifteen years after the first commercial sale of such licensed product in such country. Pursuant to the terms of the Pfizer License, each party has the right to terminate the Pfizer License upon the other party’s (1) material breach of the Pfizer License that remains uncured after 60 days (or, if the breach cannot be cured in 60 days, up to 150 days) of receipt of notice or (2) insolvency. In addition, we have the unilateral right to terminate the Pfizer License for convenience by providing 90 days’ written notice to Pfizer.

Intellectual Property

We strive to protect the proprietary technology that we believe is important to our business, including seeking and maintaining rights in patents intended to cover our product candidates and compositions, their methods of use and processes for their manufacture and any other inventions that are commercially important to the development of our business. However, we do not currently own any patents and rely heavily on the Pfizer License for intellectual property rights that are important or necessary for the development of oral sulopenem and the IV formulation of sulopenem. In addition, we do not license any patent rights that cover the IV formulation of sulopenem and all patent rights covering the compound sulopenem expired prior to us entering into the Pfizer License. We also rely, in some circumstances, on trade secrets to protect aspects of our business that are not amenable to, or that we do not consider appropriate for, patent protection.

Our success will significantly depend on our ability to obtain and maintain patent and other proprietary protection for commercially important technology and inventions and know-how related to our business, defend and enforce our in-licensed patents and patents we may own in the future, preserve the confidentiality of our trade secrets and operate without infringing the valid and enforceable patents and other proprietary rights of third parties. We also rely on know-how and continuing technological innovation to develop and maintain our proprietary position.

Intellectual Property Relating to Oral Sulopenem

As noted above, our patent portfolio for sulopenem contains one exclusively licensed U.S. patent from Pfizer directed to composition of matter of sulopenem etzadroxil, which is projected to expire in 2029, subject to potential extension under the Hatch-Waxman Act to 2034 and three exclusively licensed foreign patents from Pfizer also related to oral sulopenem. Our patent portfolio also contains two U.S. and International patent applications, one addressing the effect of probenecid on the plasma concentrations of sulopenem after multi-dosing and the second related to a method of preparing a bilayer tablet composed of sulopenem etzadroxil and probenecid which resulted in an increase in the amount of sulopenem in the blood relative to dosing each agent in a separate formulation.  Any U.S. or foreign patents issuing from the pending applications is projected to expire in 2039, excluding any additional term for patent adjustments or patent term extensions.  The FDA has designated sulopenem and oral sulopenem as QIDPs for the indications of uUTI, cUTI and cIAI as well as community-acquired bacterial pneumonia, acute bacterial prostatitis, gonococcal urethritis, and pelvic inflammatory disease. Fast track designation for these seven indications in both the oral and intravenous

 

19


formulations has also been granted. QIDP status makes sulopenem eligible to benefit from certain incentives for the development of new antibiotics provided under the GAIN Act. Further, QIDP status could add five years to any other regulatory exclusivity period that may be granted. QIDP status for other indications is also possible given the coverage of gram-negative and gram-positive bacteria by sulopenem, pending submission of additional documentation and acceptance by the FDA. Patent term adjustments or patent term extensions could result in later expiration dates. Fast track status provides an opportunity for more frequent meetings with the FDA, more frequent written communication related to the clinical trials, eligibility for accelerated approval and priority review and the potential for a rolling review.

Patent Term and Patent Term Extensions

The term of individual patents depends upon the legal term for patents in the countries in which they are obtained. In most countries, including the United States, the patent term is 20 years from the earliest filing date of a non-provisional patent application. In the United States, a patent’s term may be lengthened by patent term adjustment, which compensates a patentee for administrative delays by the United States Patent and Trademark Office in examining and granting a patent, or may be shortened if a patent is terminally disclaimed over an earlier filed patent. The term of a patent that covers a drug, biological product or medical device approved pursuant to a pre-market approval may also be eligible for patent term extension when FDA approval is granted, provided statutory and regulatory requirements are met. The length of the patent term extension is related to the length of time the drug is under regulatory review while the patent is in force. The Hatch-Waxman Act permits a patent term extension of up to five years beyond the expiration date set for the patent. Patent extension cannot extend the remaining term of a patent beyond a total of 14 years from the date of product approval, only one patent applicable to each regulatory review period may be granted an extension and only those claims reading on the approved drug are extended. Similar provisions are available in Europe and other foreign jurisdictions to extend the term of a patent that covers an approved drug.

Trade Secrets

We rely, in some circumstances, on trade secrets to protect our unpatented technology. However, trade secrets can be difficult to protect. We seek to protect our trade secrets and proprietary technology and processes, in part, by entering into non-disclosure and confidentiality agreements with our employees, consultants, scientific advisors, suppliers, contractors and other third parties. We also seek to preserve the integrity and confidentiality of our data and trade secrets by maintaining physical security of our premises and physical and electronic security of our information technology systems. While we have confidence in these individuals, organizations and systems, agreements or security measures may be breached and our trade secrets and other proprietary information may be disclosed. We may not have adequate remedies for any breach and could lose our trade secrets and other proprietary information through such a breach. In addition, our trade secrets may otherwise become known or be independently discovered by competitors. To the extent that our consultants, contractors or collaborators use intellectual property owned by others in their work for us, disputes may arise as to the rights in related or resulting trade secrets, know-how and inventions. For more information regarding the risks related to our intellectual property, see the section titled “Risk Factors—Risks Related to our Intellectual Property.”

Competition

The pharmaceutical industry is characterized by intense competition and rapid innovation. Our potential competitors include large pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, specialty pharmaceutical companies and generic drug companies. Many of our potential competitors have greater financial, technical and human resources than we do, as well as greater experience in the discovery and development of product candidates, obtaining FDA and other regulatory approvals of products and the commercialization of those products. Accordingly, our potential competitors may be more successful than us in obtaining FDA approved drugs and achieving widespread market acceptance. We anticipate that we will face intense and increasing competition as new drugs enter the market and advanced technologies become available. Finally, the development of new treatment methods for the diseases we are targeting could render our product candidates non-competitive or obsolete.

We believe the key competitive factors that will affect the development and commercial success of oral sulopenem and sulopenem, if approved, will be efficacy, coverage of drug-resistant strains of bacteria, safety and tolerability profile, reliability, convenience of oral dosing, price, availability of reimbursement from governmental and other third-party payors and susceptibility to drug resistance.

If approved, oral sulopenem could compete with several oral antibiotics currently in clinical development, including gepotidacin from GlaxoSmithKline, tebipenem pivoxil from Spero Therapeutics, Inc., delafloxacin from Melinta Therapeutics, Inc., pivmecillinam from Utility Therapeutics Limited, and ETX0282CPDP (a novel ß-lactamase inhibitor combined with cefpodoxime proxetil) from Entasis Therapeutics Holdings Inc.

We also expect that oral sulopenem, if approved, would compete with future and current generic versions of marketed oral antibiotics such as levofloxacin, ciprofloxacin, nitrofurantoin, fosfomycin, amoxicillin-clavulanate, cephalexin and trimethoprim-

 

20


sulfamethoxazole. If approved, we believe that oral sulopenem would compete effectively against these compounds on the basis of sulopenem’s potential:

 

broad range of activity against a wide variety of resistant and MDR gram-negative bacteria;

 

low probability of drug resistance;

 

favorable safety and tolerability profile;

 

convenient oral dosing regimen and opportunity to step down from IV-administered therapy; and

 

use as a monotherapy treatment for resistant and MDR gram-negative infections.

If approved, sulopenem would compete with several IV-administered product candidates marketed for the treatment of gram-negative infections, including Avycaz from Allergan plc and Pfizer, Vabomere from Melinta Therapeutics, Inc., Zerbaxa from Merck & Co., Zemdri from Cipla, Xerava from Tetraphase Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Recarbrio from Merck & Co, and recently, Fetroja from Shionogi & Co., Ltd.  In addition, Nabriva Therapeutics plc’s Contepo is an IV-administered product candidate in late-stage clinical development intended to treat gram-negative infections and Allecra Therapeutics recently announced that its IV administered product candidate cefepime-enmetazobactam met the EMA and FDA primary endpoint in its Phase 3 clinical trial for the treatment of cUTIs.

If approved, we believe that sulopenem would compete effectively and potentially occupy an earlier place in treatment against these compounds on the basis of sulopenem’s potential, including that sulopenem:

 

allows physicians to stay in the same molecule with stepdown therapy to oral sulopenem;

 

has a convenient once a day dosing over a three-hour infusion period;

 

has a broad spectrum activity against a wide variety of resistant and MDR gram-negative bacteria;

 

has a low probability of drug resistance; and

 

has a favorable safety and tolerability profile.

Government Regulation and Product Approval

Government authorities in the United States, at the federal, state and local level, and in other countries, extensively regulate, among other things, the research, development, clinical trials, testing, manufacture, including any manufacturing changes, authorization, pharmacovigilance, adverse event reporting, recalls, packaging, storage, recordkeeping, labeling, advertising, promotion, distribution, marketing, sales, import and export of pharmaceutical products and product candidates such as those we are developing. The processes for obtaining regulatory approvals in the United States and in other countries, along with subsequent compliance with applicable statutes and regulations, require the expenditure of substantial time and financial resources.

United States Government Regulation

In the United States, the FDA regulates drugs under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FDCA) and implementing regulations. The process of obtaining regulatory approvals and the subsequent compliance with appropriate federal, state, local and foreign statutes and regulations requires the expenditure of substantial time and financial resources. The failure to comply with the applicable United States requirements at any time during the product development process, approval process or after approval, may subject an applicant to a variety of administrative or judicial sanctions, such as the FDA’s refusal to approve pending NDAs, withdrawal of an approval, imposition of a clinical hold, issuance of warning letters, product recalls, product seizures, total or partial suspension of production or distribution, injunctions, fines, refusals of government contracts, restitution, disgorgement or civil and/or criminal penalties.

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

 

completion of preclinical laboratory tests, animal studies and formulation studies in compliance with good laboratory practices (GLP) regulations;

 

submission to the FDA of an investigational new drug (IND) application which must become effective before human clinical trials may begin;

 

approval by an independent institutional review board (IRB) at each clinical site before each trial may be initiated;

 

performance of adequate and well-controlled human clinical trials in accordance with good clinical practices (GCPs) to establish the safety and efficacy of the proposed drug product for each indication;

 

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submission to the FDA of an NDA;

 

satisfactory completion of an FDA advisory committee review, if applicable;

 

satisfactory completion of an FDA pre-approval inspection of the manufacturing facility or facilities at which the product is produced to assess compliance with current good manufacturing practices (cGMP), and to assure that the facilities, methods and controls are adequate to preserve the drug’s identity, strength, quality and purity;

 

satisfactory completion of FDA audits of clinical trial sites to assure compliance with GCPs and the integrity of clinical data;

 

payment of user fees and securing FDA review and approval of the NDA; and

 

commitment to comply with any post-approval requirements, including the potential requirement to implement a Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS), and the potential requirement to conduct post-approval studies.

Preclinical Studies

Preclinical studies include laboratory evaluation of product chemistry, toxicity and formulation, as well as animal studies to assess potential safety and efficacy. Preclinical tests intended for submission to the FDA to support the safety of a product candidate must be conducted in compliance with GLP regulations and the United States Department of Agriculture’s Animal Welfare Act. A drug sponsor must submit the results of the preclinical tests, together with manufacturing information, analytical data and any available clinical data or literature, among other things, to the FDA as part of an IND. Some preclinical testing may continue even after the IND is submitted. An IND automatically becomes effective 30 days after receipt by the FDA, unless before that time the FDA raises concerns or questions related to one or more proposed clinical trials and places the clinical trial on a clinical hold. In such a case, the IND sponsor and the FDA must resolve any outstanding concerns before the clinical trial can begin. As a result, submission of an IND may not result in the FDA allowing clinical trials to commence.

Following commencement of a clinical trial under an IND, the FDA may also place a clinical hold or partial clinical hold on that trial. Clinical holds are imposed by the FDA whenever there is concern for patient safety and may be a result of new data, findings, or developments in clinical trials, nonclinical studies, and/or CMC. A clinical hold is an order issued by the FDA to the sponsor to delay a proposed clinical investigation or to suspend an ongoing investigation. A partial clinical hold is a delay or suspension of only part of the clinical work requested under the IND. For example, a specific protocol or part of a protocol is not allowed to proceed, while other protocols may do so. Following issuance of a clinical hold or partial clinical hold, an investigation may only resume after the FDA has notified the sponsor that the investigation may proceed. The FDA will base that determination on information provided by the sponsor correcting the deficiencies previously cited or otherwise satisfying the FDA that the investigation can proceed.

Clinical Trials

Clinical trials involve the administration of the investigational product to human subjects under the supervision of qualified investigators in accordance with GCP requirements, which include the requirement that all research subjects provide their informed consent in writing for their participation in any clinical trial along with the requirement to ensure that the data and results reported from the clinical trials are credible and accurate. Clinical trials are conducted under protocols detailing, among other things, the objectives of the trial, the criteria for determining subject eligibility, the dosing plan, the parameters to be used in monitoring safety, the procedure for timely reporting of adverse events, and the effectiveness criteria to be evaluated. A protocol for each clinical trial and any subsequent protocol amendments must be submitted to the FDA as part of the IND. In addition, an IRB at each institution participating in the clinical trial must review and approve the plan for any clinical trial before it commences at that institution. Information about, and results from, certain clinical trials must be submitted within specific timeframes to the National Institutes of Health for public dissemination on their www.clinicaltrials.gov website.

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

Phase 1: The drug is initially introduced into healthy human subjects or patients with the target disease or condition and tested for safety, dosage tolerance, absorption, metabolism, distribution, excretion and, if possible, to gain an early indication of its effectiveness. During Phase 1 clinical trials, sufficient information about the investigational drug’s pharmacokinetics and pharmacological effects may be obtained to permit the design of well-controlled and scientifically valid Phase 2 clinical trials.

Phase 2: The drug is administered to a larger, but still limited patient population to identify possible adverse effects and safety risks, to preliminarily evaluate the efficacy of the product for specific targeted indications and to determine dosage tolerance and optimal dosage. Phase 2 clinical trials are typically well-controlled and closely monitored.

 

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Phase 3: The drug is administered to an expanded patient population, generally at geographically dispersed clinical trial sites, in well-controlled clinical trials to generate enough data to statistically evaluate the efficacy and safety of the product for approval, to establish the overall risk-benefit profile of the product, and to provide adequate information for the labeling of the product. Phase 3 clinical trials usually involve a larger number of participants than a Phase 2 clinical trial.

Progress reports detailing the results of the clinical trials must be submitted at least annually to the FDA and more frequently if serious adverse events occur. Phase 1, Phase 2 and Phase 3 clinical trials may not be completed successfully within any specified period, or at all. Results from one trial may not be predictive of results from subsequent trials. Furthermore, the FDA or the sponsor may suspend or terminate a clinical trial at any time on various grounds, including a finding that the research subjects are being exposed to an unacceptable health risk. Similarly, an IRB can suspend or terminate approval of a clinical trial at its institution if the clinical trial is not being conducted in accordance with the IRB’s requirements or if the drug has been associated with unexpected serious harm to patients.

Information about clinical trials must be submitted within specific timeframes to the National Institutes of Health for public dissemination on its ClinicalTrials.gov website.   Similar requirements for posting clinical trial information are present in the European Union (EudraCT) website: https://eudract.ema.europa.eu/ and other countries, as well.

Expanded Access to an Investigational Drug for Treatment Use

 

Expanded access, sometimes called “compassionate use,” is the use of investigational new drug products outside of clinical trials to treat patients with serious or immediately life-threatening diseases or conditions when there are no comparable or satisfactory alternative treatment options. The rules and regulations related to expanded access are intended to improve access to investigational drugs for patients who may benefit from investigational therapies. FDA regulations allow access to investigational drugs under an IND by the company or the treating physician for treatment purposes on a case-by-case basis for: individual patients (single-patient IND applications for treatment in emergency settings and non-emergency settings); intermediate-size patient populations; and larger populations for use of the drug under a treatment protocol or Treatment IND Application.

 

On December 13, 2016, the 21st Century Cures Act established (and the 2017 Food and Drug Administration Reauthorization Act later amended) a requirement that sponsors of one or more investigational drugs for the treatment of a serious disease(s) or condition(s) make publicly available their policy for evaluating and responding to requests for expanded access for individual patients. Although these requirements were rolled out over time, they have now come into full effect. This provision requires drug and biologic companies to make publicly available their policies for expanded access for individual patient access to products intended for serious diseases. Sponsors are required to make such policies publicly available upon the earlier of initiation of a Phase 2 or Phase 3 study; or 15 days after the drug or biologic receives designation as a breakthrough therapy, fast track product, or regenerative medicine advanced therapy. 

 

In addition, on May 30, 2018, the Right to Try Act, was signed into law. The law, among other things, provides a federal framework for certain patients to access certain investigational new drug products that have completed a Phase I clinical trial and that are undergoing investigation for FDA approval. Under certain circumstances, eligible patients can seek treatment without enrolling in clinical trials and without obtaining FDA permission under the FDA expanded access program. There is no obligation for a drug manufacturer to make its drug products available to eligible patients as a result of the Right to Try Act, but the manufacturer must develop an internal policy and respond to patient requests according to that policy.

Marketing Approval

Assuming successful completion of the required clinical testing, the results of the preclinical studies and clinical trials, together with detailed information relating to the product’s chemistry, manufacture, controls and proposed labeling, among other things, are submitted to the FDA as part of an NDA requesting approval to market the product for one or more indications. In most cases, the submission of an NDA is subject to a substantial application user fee. Under federal law, the submission of most NDAs is subject to an application user fee, which for federal fiscal year 2020 is $2,942,965 for an application requiring clinical data. The sponsor of an approved NDA is also subject to an annual program fee, which for fiscal year 2020 is $325,424. On January 14, 2020, FDA granted us a small business waiver of the application fee in respect of our NDA for IV sulopenem based on its determination that we meet the statutory requirements of the FDCA.  The waiver is contingent on the marketing application for IV sulopenem being received by FDA within one year from the grant date.  Under the Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA) guidelines that are currently in effect, the FDA has a goal of ten months from the date of “filing” of a standard NDA for a new molecular entity to review and act on the submission. This review typically takes twelve months from the date the NDA is submitted to the FDA because the FDA has approximately two months to make a “filing” decision. Furthermore, the FDA is not required to complete its review within the established ten-month timeframe and may extend the review process by issuing requests for additional information or clarification.

 

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In addition, under the Pediatric Research Equity Act of 2003, as amended and reauthorized, certain NDAs or supplements to an NDA must contain data that are adequate to assess the safety and effectiveness of the drug for the claimed indications in all relevant pediatric subpopulations, and to support dosing and administration for each pediatric subpopulation for which the product is safe and effective. The FDA may, on its own initiative or at the request of the applicant, grant deferrals for submission of some or all pediatric data until after approval of the product for use in adults or full or partial waivers from the pediatric data requirements.

The FDA also may require submission of a REMS plan to mitigate any identified or suspected serious risks. The REMS plan could include medication guides, physician communication plans, assessment plans, and elements to assure safe use, such as restricted distribution methods, patient registries, or other risk minimization tools.

The FDA conducts a preliminary review of all NDAs within the first 60 days after submission, before accepting them for filing, to determine whether they are sufficiently complete to permit substantive review. The FDA may request additional information rather than accept an NDA for filing. In this event, the application must be resubmitted with the additional information. The resubmitted application is also subject to review before the FDA accepts it for filing. Once the submission is accepted for filing, the FDA begins an in-depth substantive review. The FDA reviews an NDA to determine, among other things, whether the drug is safe and effective and whether the facilities in which it is manufactured, processed, packaged or held meet standards designed to assure the product’s continued safety, quality and purity.

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

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

The FDA generally accepts data from foreign clinical trials in support of an NDA if the trials were conducted under an IND. If a foreign clinical trial is not conducted under an IND, the FDA nevertheless may accept the data in support of an NDA if the study was conducted in accordance with GCPs and the FDA is able to validate the data through an on-site inspection, if deemed necessary. The testing and approval process for an NDA requires substantial time, effort and financial resources, and each may take several years to complete. Data obtained from preclinical and clinical testing are not always conclusive and may be susceptible to varying interpretations, which could delay, limit or prevent regulatory approval. The FDA may not grant approval on a timely basis, or at all.

After evaluating the NDA and all related information, including the advisory committee recommendation, if any, and inspection reports regarding the manufacturing facilities and clinical trial sites, the FDA may issue an approval letter, or, in some cases, a complete response letter. A complete response letter generally contains a statement of specific conditions that must be met before the NDA and may require additional clinical or preclinical testing in order for FDA to reconsider the application. Even with submission of this additional information, the FDA ultimately may decide that the application does not satisfy the regulatory criteria for approval. If and when those conditions have been met to the FDA’s satisfaction, the FDA will typically issue an approval letter. An approval letter authorizes commercial marketing of the drug with specific prescribing information for specific indications.

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

Special FDA Expedited Review and Approval Programs

The FDA has various programs that are intended to expedite or simplify the process for the development and FDA review of drugs that are intended for the treatment of serious or life threatening diseases or conditions and demonstrate the potential to address unmet medical needs. The purpose of these programs is to provide important new drugs to patients earlier than under standard FDA review procedures.

 

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To be eligible for a fast track designation, the FDA must determine, based on the request of a sponsor, that a product is intended to treat a serious or life threatening disease or condition and demonstrates the potential to address an unmet medical need, or if the drug qualifies as a QIDP under the GAIN Act. We obtained a QIDP designation for sulopenem and oral sulopenem for the indications of cUTI, uUTI and cIAI in 2016 and 2017, respectively, and the indications of community-acquired bacterial pneumonia, acute bacterial prostatitis, gonococcal urethritis, and pelvic inflammatory disease in 2019 and fast track designation for these seven indications in both the oral and intravenous formulations has also been granted. The FDA will determine that a product will fill an unmet medical need if it will provide a therapy where none exists or provide a therapy that may be potentially superior to existing therapy based on efficacy or safety factors. Fast track designation provides additional opportunities for interaction with the FDA’s review team and may allow for rolling review of NDA components before the completed application is submitted, if the sponsor provides a schedule for the submission of the sections of the NDA, the FDA agrees to accept sections of the NDA and determines that the schedule is acceptable, and the sponsor pays any required user fees upon submission of the first section of the NDA. The FDA may decide to rescind the fast track designation if it determines that the qualifying criteria no longer apply.

The FDA may give a priority review designation to drugs that offer major advances in treatment for a serious condition or provide a treatment where no adequate therapy exists. Most products that are eligible for fast track designation are also likely to be considered appropriate to receive a priority review. A priority review means that the goal for the FDA to review an application is six months, rather than the standard review of ten months under current PDUFA guidelines. These six and ten month review periods are measured from the “filing” date for NDAs for new molecular entities.   The FDA will automatically give a priority review designation for the first application submitted in respect of a product for which a QIDP designation was granted, such as sulopenem and oral sulopenem.

Even if a product qualifies for one or more of these programs, the FDA may later decide that the product no longer meets the conditions for qualification or decide that the time period for FDA review or approval will not be shortened.

Post-Approval Requirements

Drugs manufactured or distributed pursuant to FDA approvals are subject to pervasive and continuing regulation by the FDA, including, among other things, requirements relating to recordkeeping, periodic reporting, product sampling and distribution, advertising and promotion and reporting of adverse experiences with the product. After approval, most changes to the approved product label, such as adding new indications or other labeling claims, are subject to prior FDA review and approval. There also are continuing, annual program user fee requirements for any marketed products, as well as new application fees for supplemental applications with clinical data.

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

In addition, drug manufacturers and other entities involved in the manufacture and distribution of approved drugs are required to register their establishments with the FDA and state agencies and are subject to periodic unannounced inspections by the FDA and these state agencies for compliance with cGMP requirements. Changes to the manufacturing process are strictly regulated and often require prior FDA approval before being implemented. FDA regulations also require investigation and correction of any deviations from cGMP and impose reporting and documentation requirements upon the sponsor and any third-party manufacturers that the sponsor may decide to use. Accordingly, manufacturers must continue to expend time, money, and effort in the area of production and quality control to maintain cGMP compliance.

The FDA strictly regulates the marketing, labeling, advertising and promotion of drug products that are placed on the market. A product cannot be commercially promoted before it is approved, and approved drugs may generally be promoted only for their approved indications. Promotional claims must also be consistent with the product’s FDA-approved label, including claims related to safety and effectiveness. The FDA and other federal agencies also closely regulate the promotion of drugs in specific contexts such as direct-to-consumer advertising, industry-sponsored scientific and education activities, and promotional activities involving the Internet and social media.

Once an approval is granted, the FDA may withdraw the approval if compliance with regulatory requirements and standards is not maintained or if problems occur after the product reaches the market.

Later discovery of previously unknown problems with a product, including adverse events of unanticipated severity or frequency, or with manufacturing processes or failure to comply with regulatory requirements, may result in mandatory revisions to the approved labeling to add new safety information; imposition of post-market studies or clinical trials to assess new safety risks; or imposition of distribution or other restrictions under a REMS program. Other potential consequences of regulatory non-compliance include, among other things:

 

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

 

interruption of production processes, including the shutdown of manufacturing facilities or production lines or the imposition of new manufacturing requirements;

 

fines, warning letters or other enforcement letters or holds on post-approval clinical trials;

 

refusal of the FDA to approve pending NDAs or supplements to approved NDAs, or suspension or revocation of product license approvals;

 

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

 

injunctions or the imposition of civil or criminal penalties.

In addition, the distribution of prescription pharmaceutical products is subject to the Prescription Drug Marketing Act (PDMA), which regulates the distribution of drugs and drug samples at the federal level, and sets minimum standards for the registration and regulation of drug distributors by the states. Both the PDMA and state laws limit the distribution of prescription pharmaceutical product samples and impose requirements to ensure accountability in distribution.

Exclusivity and Approval of Competing Products

Hatch-Waxman Exclusivity

Market and data exclusivity provisions under the FDCA can delay the submission or the approval of certain applications for competing products. The FDCA provides a five-year period of non-patent data exclusivity within the United States to the first applicant to gain approval of an NDA for a new chemical entity. A drug is a new chemical entity if the FDA has not previously approved any other new drug containing the same active moiety, which is the molecule or ion responsible for the activity of the drug substance. We believe that our product candidates are new chemical entities. During the exclusivity period, the FDA may not accept for review an abbreviated new drug application (ANDA), or a 505(b)(2) NDA, submitted by another company that references the previously approved drug. However, an ANDA or 505(b)(2) NDA may be submitted after four years if it contains a certification of patent invalidity or non-infringement. The FDCA also provides three years of marketing exclusivity for an NDA, 505(b)(2) NDA, or supplement to an existing NDA or 505(b)(2) NDA if new clinical investigations, other than bioavailability studies, that were conducted or sponsored by the applicant, are deemed by the FDA to be essential to the approval of the application or supplement. Three-year exclusivity may be awarded for changes to a previously approved drug product, such as new indications, dosages, strengths or dosage forms of an existing drug. This three-year exclusivity covers only the conditions of use associated with the new clinical investigations and, as a general matter, does not prohibit the FDA from approving ANDAs or 505(b)(2) NDAs for generic versions of the original, unmodified drug product. Five-year and three-year exclusivity will not delay the submission or approval of a full NDA; however, an applicant submitting a full NDA would be required to conduct or obtain a right of reference to all of the preclinical studies and adequate and well-controlled clinical trials necessary to demonstrate safety and effectiveness.

Qualified Infectious Disease Product Exclusivity

Under the GAIN Act, the FDA may designate a product as a QIDP. In order to receive this designation, a drug must qualify as an antibiotic or antifungal drug for human use intended to treat serious or life-threatening infections, including those caused by either (i) an antibiotic or antifungal resistant pathogen, including novel or emerging infectious pathogens, or (ii) a so-called “qualifying pathogen” found on a list of potentially dangerous, drug-resistant organisms established and maintained by the FDA. A sponsor must request such designation before submitting a marketing application. We obtained QIDP designation for sulopenem and oral sulopenem for the indications of cUTI, uUTI and cIAI in 2016 and 2017, respectively, as well as for the indications of community-acquired bacterial pneumonia, acute bacterial prostatitis, gonococcal urethritis, and pelvic inflammatory disease in 2019. Fast track designation for these seven indications in both the oral and intravenous formulations has also been granted.

Upon approving an application for a QIDP, the FDA will extend by an additional five years any regulatory exclusivity period awarded, such as a five-year exclusivity period awarded for a new molecular entity. This extension is in addition to any pediatric exclusivity extension awarded, and the extension will be awarded only to a drug first approved on or after the date of enactment.

The GAIN Act provisions prohibit the grant of an exclusivity extension where the application is a supplement to an application for which an extension is in effect or has expired, is a subsequent application for a specified change to an approved product or is an application for a product that does not meet the definition of QIDP based on the uses for which it is ultimately approved.

 

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Pediatric Exclusivity

Pediatric exclusivity is another type of non-patent marketing exclusivity in the United States and, if granted, provides for the attachment of an additional six months of marketing protection to the term of any existing regulatory exclusivity, including the non-patent and orphan exclusivity. This six-month exclusivity may be granted if an NDA or biologics license application sponsor submits pediatric data that fairly respond to a written request from the FDA for such data. The data does not need to show the product to be effective in the pediatric population studied; rather, if the clinical trial is deemed to fairly respond to the FDA’s request, the additional protection is granted. If reports of requested pediatric studies are submitted to and accepted by the FDA within the statutory time limits, whatever statutory or regulatory periods of exclusivity or patent protection cover the product are extended by six months. This is not a patent term extension, but it effectively extends the regulatory period during which the FDA cannot approve another application.

Regulation Outside of the United States

In addition to regulations in the United States, we will be subject to a variety of regulations governing clinical trials and commercial sales and distribution of our products outside of the United States. Whether or not we obtain FDA approval for a product, we must obtain approval by the comparable regulatory authorities of other countries or economic areas, such as the European Union, before we may commence clinical trials or market products in those countries or areas. The approval process and requirements governing the conduct of clinical trials, product authorization, pricing and reimbursement vary greatly from place to place, and the time may be longer or shorter than that required for FDA approval.

In April 2014, the European Union adopted a new Clinical Trials Regulation (EU) No 536/2014, which is set to replace the current Clinical Trials Directive 2001/20/EC. The new legislation aims at simplifying and streamlining the approval of clinical trials in the European Union. Under the new coordinated procedure for the approval of clinical trials, the sponsor of a clinical trial to be conducted in more than one EU Member State will only be required to submit a single application for approval of a clinical trial to a reporting EU Member State. The Clinical Trials Regulation also aims to streamline and simplify the rules on safety reporting for clinical trials. As of January 1, 2020, the website of the European Commission reported that the implementation of the new Clinical Trials Regulation was dependent on the development of a fully functional clinical trials portal and database, which would be confirmed by an independent audit, and that the new legislation would come into effect six months after the European Commission publishes a notice of this confirmation. The website indicated that the audit was expected to commence in December 2020.

Under European Union regulatory systems, a company may submit marketing authorization applications either under a centralized or decentralized procedure. The centralized procedure is compulsory for medicinal products produced by biotechnology or those medicinal products containing new active substances for specific indications such as the treatment of AIDS, cancer, neurodegenerative disorders, diabetes, viral diseases and designated orphan medicines, and optional for other medicines which are highly innovative. Under the centralized procedure, a marketing application is submitted to the EMA where it will be evaluated by the Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use and a favorable opinion typically results in the grant by the European Commission of a single marketing authorization that is valid for all European Union member states within 67 days of receipt of the opinion. The initial marketing authorization is valid for five years, but once renewed is usually valid for an unlimited period. The decentralized procedure provides for approval by one or more “concerned” member states based on an assessment of an application performed by one member state, known as the “reference” member state. Under the decentralized approval procedure, an applicant submits an application, or dossier, and related materials to the reference member state and concerned member states. The reference member state prepares a draft assessment and drafts of the related materials within 120 days after receipt of a valid application. Within 90 days of receiving the reference member state’s assessment report, each concerned member state must decide whether to approve the assessment report and related materials. If a member state does not recognize the marketing authorization, the disputed points are eventually referred to the European Commission, whose decision is binding on all member states.

Brexit and the Regulatory Framework in the United Kingdom

On June 23, 2016, the electorate in the United Kingdom voted in favor of leaving the European Union, commonly referred to as Brexit.  Following protracted negotiations, the United Kingdom left the European Union on January 31, 2020.  Under the withdrawal agreement, there is a transitional period until December 31, 2020 (extendable up to two years).  Discussions between the United Kingdom and the European Union have so far mainly focused on finalizing withdrawal issues and transition agreements but have been extremely difficult to date. To date, only an outline of a trade agreement has been reached.  Much remains open but the Prime Minister has indicated that the United Kingdom will not seek to extend the transitional period beyond the end of 2020.  If no trade agreement has been reached before the end of the transitional period, there may be significant market and economic disruption.  The Prime Minister has also indicated that the United Kingdom will not accept high regulatory alignment with the European Union.

Since the regulatory framework for pharmaceutical products in the United Kingdom covering the quality, safety, and efficacy of pharmaceutical products, clinical trials, marketing authorization, commercial sales, and distribution of pharmaceutical products is derived from European Union directives and regulations, Brexit could materially impact the future regulatory regime that applies to

 

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products and the approval of product candidates in the United Kingdom. Any delay in obtaining, or an inability to obtain, any marketing approvals, as a result of Brexit or otherwise, may force us to restrict or delay efforts to seek regulatory approval in the United Kingdom for our product candidates, which could significantly and materially harm our business.

 

General Data Protection Regulation

The collection, use, disclosure, transfer, or other processing of personal data regarding individuals in the EU, including personal health data, is subject to the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which became effective on May 25, 2018. The GDPR is wide-ranging in scope and imposes numerous requirements on companies that process personal data, including requirements relating to processing health and other sensitive data, obtaining consent of the individuals to whom the personal data relates, providing information to individuals regarding data processing activities, implementing safeguards to protect the security and confidentiality of personal data, providing notification of data breaches, and taking certain measures when engaging third-party processors. The GDPR also imposes strict rules on the transfer of personal data to countries outside the European Union, including the United States, and permits data protection authorities to impose large penalties for violations of the GDPR, including potential fines of up to €20 million or 4% of annual global revenues, whichever is greater.  The GDPR also confers a private right of action on data subjects and consumer associations to lodge complaints with supervisory authorities, seek judicial remedies, and obtain compensation for damages resulting from violations of the GDPR.  Compliance with the GDPR will be a rigorous and time-intensive process that may increase the cost of doing business or require companies to change their business practices to ensure full compliance.

Pharmaceutical Coverage and Reimbursement

Sales of drug products depend, in part, on the availability and extent of coverage and reimbursement by third-party payors, such as government health programs, including Medicare and Medicaid, commercial insurance and managed healthcare organizations. Obtaining coverage and reimbursement approval for a drug product from third-party payors is a time-consuming and costly process that can require the provision of supporting scientific, clinical and cost effectiveness data for the use of drug products to the payor. There may be significant delays in obtaining such coverage and reimbursement for newly approved drug products, and coverage may be more limited than the purposes for which the drug product is approved by the FDA or similar regulatory authorities outside of the United States. Moreover, eligibility for coverage and reimbursement does not imply that a drug product will be paid for in all cases or at a rate that covers operating costs, including research, development, intellectual property, manufacture, sale and distribution expenses. Reimbursement rates may vary according to the use of the drug product and the clinical setting in which it is used, may be based on reimbursement levels already set for lower cost drug products and may be incorporated into existing payments for other services.

There is significant uncertainty related to the insurance coverage and reimbursement of newly approved drug products. In the United States, third-party payors often rely upon Medicare coverage policy and payment limitations in setting their own reimbursement policies, but also have their own methods and approval process apart from Medicare coverage and reimbursement determinations. It is difficult to predict what third-party payors will decide with respect to coverage and reimbursement for new drug products. An inability to promptly obtain coverage and adequate reimbursement rates from third-party payors for any approved drug products could have a material adverse effect on a pharmaceutical manufacturer’s operating results, ability to raise capital needed to commercialize drug products and overall financial condition.

Reimbursement may impact the demand for, and/or the price of, any drug product which obtains marketing approval. Even if coverage is obtained for a given drug product by a third-party payor, the resulting reimbursement payment rates may not be adequate or may require co-payments that patients find unacceptably high. Patients who are prescribed medications for the treatment of their conditions, and their prescribing physicians, generally rely on third-party payors to reimburse all or part of the costs associated with those medications. Patients are unlikely to use a drug product, and physicians may be less likely to prescribe a drug product, unless coverage is provided and reimbursement is adequate to cover all or a significant portion of the cost of the drug product. Therefore, coverage and adequate reimbursement is critical to new drug product acceptance. Coverage decisions may depend upon clinical and economic standards that disfavor new drug products when more established or lower cost therapeutic alternatives are already available or subsequently become available.

The containment of healthcare costs has become a priority of federal and state governments, and the prices of drugs have been a focus in this effort. The U.S. government, state legislatures and foreign governments have shown significant interest in implementing cost-containment programs, including price controls, restrictions on coverage and reimbursement, and requirements for substitution of generic drug products. Adoption of price controls and cost-containment measures, and adoption of more restrictive policies in jurisdictions with existing controls and measures, could further limit a pharmaceutical manufacturer’s net revenue and results.

In addition, it is expected that the increased emphasis on managed care and cost containment measures in the United States by third-party payors will continue and place further pressure on pharmaceutical pricing and coverage. Coverage policies and third-party

 

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reimbursement rates may change at any time. Even if favorable coverage and reimbursement status is attained for one or more drug products that gain regulatory approval, less favorable coverage policies and reimbursement rates may be implemented in the future.

In addition, in some foreign countries, the proposed pricing for a drug must be approved before it may be lawfully marketed. The requirements governing drug pricing vary widely from country to country. For example, in the EU, the sole legal instrument at the EU level governing the pricing and reimbursement of medicinal products is Council Directive 89/105/EEC (the Price Transparency Directive). The aim of the Price Transparency Directive is to ensure that pricing and reimbursement mechanisms established in the EU Member States are transparent and objective, do not hinder the free movement of and trade in medicinal products in the EU, and do not hinder, prevent or distort competition on the market. The Price Transparency Directive does not provide any guidance concerning the specific criteria on the basis of which pricing and reimbursement decisions are to be made in individual EU Member States, nor does it have any direct consequence for pricing or reimbursement levels in individual EU Member States. The EU Member States are free to restrict the range of medicinal products for which their national health insurance systems provide reimbursement, and to control the prices and/or reimbursement levels of medicinal products for human use. An EU Member State may approve a specific price or level of reimbursement for the medicinal product, or alternatively adopt a system of direct or indirect controls on the profitability of the company responsible for placing the medicinal product on the market, including volume-based arrangements, caps and reference pricing mechanisms.

Health Technology Assessment (HTA) of medicinal products is becoming an increasingly common part of the pricing and reimbursement procedures in some EU Member States, including the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy and Sweden. The HTA process in the EU Member States is governed by the national laws of these countries. HTA is the procedure according to which the assessment of the public health impact, therapeutic impact, and the economic and societal impact of use of a given medicinal product in the national healthcare systems of the individual country is conducted. HTA generally focuses on the clinical efficacy and effectiveness, safety, cost, and cost-effectiveness of individual medicinal products as well as their potential implications for the healthcare system. Those elements of medicinal products are compared with other treatment options available on the market. The outcome of HTA regarding specific medicinal products will often influence the pricing and reimbursement status granted to these medicinal products by the competent authorities of individual EU Member States. The extent to which pricing and reimbursement decisions are influenced by the HTA of the specific medicinal product vary between EU Member States. A negative HTA of one of our products by a leading and recognized HTA body, such as the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence in the United Kingdom, could not only undermine our ability to obtain reimbursement for such product in the EU Member State in which such negative assessment was issued, but also in other EU Member States. For example, EU Member States that have not yet developed HTA mechanisms could rely to some extent on the HTA performed in countries with a developed HTA framework, such as the United Kingdom, when adopting decisions concerning the pricing and reimbursement of a specific medicinal product.

Other Healthcare Laws

Healthcare providers, physicians and third-party payors play a primary role in the recommendation and prescription of drug product candidates which obtain marketing approval. In addition to FDA restrictions on marketing of pharmaceutical products, pharmaceutical manufacturers are exposed, directly, or indirectly, through customers, to broadly applicable fraud and abuse and other healthcare laws and regulations that may affect the business or financial arrangements and relationships through which a pharmaceutical manufacturer can market, sell and distribute drug products. Such laws include, without limitation:

 

the federal Anti-Kickback Statute, which prohibits, among other things, persons or entities from knowingly and willfully soliciting, receiving, offering or paying any remuneration (including any kickback, bribe or rebate), directly or indirectly, overtly or covertly, in cash or in kind, in return for either the referral of an individual, or the purchase, leasing, furnishing or arranging for the purchase, lease or order of a good, facility, item or service reimbursable under a federal healthcare program, such as the Medicare and Medicaid programs. This statute has been interpreted to apply to arrangements between pharmaceutical manufacturers on the one hand, and prescribers, purchasers and formulary managers on the other hand. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, as amended by the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act, (ACA) amended the intent requirement of the federal Anti-Kickback Statute, such that a person or entity no longer needs to have actual knowledge of this statute or specific intent to violate it;

 

the federal false claims and civil monetary penalty laws, including the federal False Claims Act, which prohibits, among other things, individuals or entities from knowingly presenting, or causing to be presented, claims for payment or approval from Medicare, Medicaid or other government payors that are false or fraudulent. In addition, the ACA provides, and recent government cases against pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers support the view, that federal Anti-Kickback Statute violations and certain marketing practices, including off-label promotion, may implicate the federal False Claims Act. Further, pharmaceutical manufacturers can be held liable under the federal False Claims Act even when they do not submit claims directly to government payors if they are deemed to “cause” the submission of false or fraudulent claims. Criminal prosecution is also possible for making or presenting a false, fictitious or fraudulent claim to the federal government;

 

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the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), which, among other things, imposes criminal liability for executing or attempting to execute a scheme to defraud any healthcare benefit program, including private third-party payors, knowingly and willfully embezzling or stealing from a healthcare benefit program, willfully obstructing a criminal investigation of a healthcare offense, and creates federal criminal laws that prohibit knowingly and willfully falsifying, concealing or covering up a material fact or making any materially false, fictitious or fraudulent statements or representations, or making or using any false writing or document knowing the same to contain any materially false, fictitious or fraudulent statement or entry in connection with the delivery of, or payment for, benefits, items or services;

 

HIPAA, as amended by the Health Information Technology and Clinical Health Act of 2009 (HITECH) and its implementing regulations, which impose certain requirements relating to the privacy, security, transmission and breach reporting of individually identifiable health information upon certain health plans, healthcare clearinghouses and healthcare providers and their respective business associates that perform services for them that involve individually identifiable health information. HITECH also created new tiers of civil monetary penalties, amended HIPAA to make civil and criminal penalties directly applicable to business associates, and gave state attorneys general new authority to file civil actions for damages or injunctions in U.S. federal courts to enforce the federal HIPAA laws and seek attorneys’ fees and costs associated with pursuing federal civil actions;

 

the federal physician payment transparency requirements, sometimes referred to as the “Physician Payments Sunshine Act,” and its implementing regulations, which require certain manufacturers of drugs, devices, biologics and medical supplies for which payment is available under Medicare, Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (with certain exceptions) to report annually to the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) information related to payments or other transfers of value made to physicians (defined to include doctors, dentists, optometrists, podiatrists and chiropractors) and teaching hospitals, as well as ownership and investment interests held by physicians and their immediate family members;

 

state and foreign law equivalents of each of the above federal laws, such as anti-kickback and false claims laws, that may impose similar or more prohibitive restrictions, and may apply to items or services reimbursed by non-governmental third-party payors, including private insurers; and

 

state and foreign laws that require pharmaceutical companies to implement compliance programs, comply with the pharmaceutical industry’s voluntary compliance guidelines and the relevant compliance guidance promulgated by the federal government, or to track and report gifts, compensation and other remuneration provided to physicians and other healthcare providers, state and local laws that require the registration of pharmaceutical sales representatives, and other federal, state and foreign laws that govern the privacy and security of health information or personally identifiable information in certain circumstances, including state health information privacy and data breach notification laws which govern the collection, use, disclosure, and protection of health-related and other personal information, many of which differ from each other in significant ways and often are not pre-empted by HIPAA, thus requiring additional compliance efforts.

Because of the breadth of these laws and the narrowness of their exceptions and safe harbors, it is possible that business activities can be subject to challenge under one or more of such laws. The scope and enforcement of each of these laws is uncertain and subject to rapid change in the current environment of healthcare reform, especially in light of the lack of applicable precedent and regulations. Federal and state enforcement bodies have recently increased their scrutiny of interactions between healthcare companies and healthcare providers, which has led to a number of investigations, prosecutions, convictions and settlements in the healthcare industry.

Ensuring that business arrangements with third parties comply with applicable healthcare laws and regulations is costly and time consuming. If business operations are found to be in violation of any of the laws described above or any other applicable governmental regulations a pharmaceutical manufacturer may be subject to penalties, including civil, criminal and administrative penalties, damages, fines, disgorgement, individual imprisonment, exclusion from governmental funded healthcare programs, such as Medicare and Medicaid, contractual damages, reputational harm, diminished profits and future earnings, additional reporting obligations and oversight if subject to a corporate integrity agreement or other agreement to resolve allegations of non-compliance with these laws, and curtailment or restructuring of operations, any of which could adversely affect a pharmaceutical manufacturer’s ability to operate its business and the results of its operations.

 

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Healthcare Reform

In the United States, there have been, and continue to be, a number of legislative and regulatory changes and proposed changes to the healthcare system that could affect the future results of pharmaceutical manufacturers’ operations. In particular, there have been and continue to be a number of initiatives at the federal and state levels that seek to reduce healthcare costs. Most recently, ACA, which was enacted in March 2010, includes measures to significantly change the way healthcare is financed by both governmental and private insurers. Among the provisions of the ACA, of greatest importance to the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry are the following:

 

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

 

an increase in the statutory minimum rebates a manufacturer must pay under the Medicaid Drug Rebate Program to 23.1% and 13% of the average manufacturer price for most branded and generic drugs, respectively, and capped the total rebate amount for innovator drugs at 100% of the Average Manufacturer Price (AMP);

 

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

 

extension of manufacturers’ Medicaid rebate liability to covered drugs dispensed to individuals who are enrolled in Medicaid managed care organizations;

 

expansion of eligibility criteria for Medicaid programs by, among other things, allowing states to offer Medicaid coverage to additional individuals and by adding new mandatory eligibility categories for individuals with income at or below 133% of the federal poverty level, thereby potentially increasing manufacturers’ Medicaid rebate liability;

 

a new Medicare Part D coverage gap discount program, in which manufacturers must agree to offer 50% (and 70% commencing on 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;

 

expansion of the entities eligible for discounts under the Public Health program;

 

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

 

establishment of a Center for Medicare Innovation at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to test innovative payment and service delivery models to lower Medicare and Medicaid spending; and

 

implementation of the federal physician payment transparency requirements, sometimes referred to as the “Physician Payments Sunshine Act.”

Since enactment of the ACA, there have been, and continue to be, numerous legal challenges and Congressional actions to repeal and replace provisions of the law. For example, with enactment of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, which was signed by President Trump on December 22, 2017, Congress repealed the “individual mandate.” The repeal of this provision, which requires most Americans to carry a minimal level of health insurance, became effective in 2019.  Additionally, the 2020 federal spending package permanently eliminated, effective January 1, 2020, the ACA-mandated “Cadillac” tax on high-cost employer-sponsored health coverage and medical device tax and, effective January 1, 2021, also eliminates the health insurer tax.  Further, the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, among other things, amended the ACA, effective January 1, 2019, to increase from 50 percent to 70 percent the point-of-sale discount that is owed by pharmaceutical manufacturers who participate in Medicare Part D and to close the coverage gap in most Medicare drug plans, commonly referred to as the “donut hole.”  Congress may consider other legislation to replace elements of the ACA during the next Congressional session.

Other legislative changes have been proposed and adopted in the United States since the ACA was enacted. For example, the Budget Control Act of 2011, among other things, created measures for spending reductions by Congress. A Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, tasked with recommending a targeted deficit reduction of at least $1.2 trillion for the years 2012 through 2021, was unable to reach required goals, thereby triggering the legislation’s automatic reduction to several government programs. This includes aggregate reductions of Medicare payments to providers of up to 2% per fiscal year, which went into effect in April 2013 and due to subsequent legislative amendments to the statute, including the BBA, will remain in effect through 2027 unless additional Congressional action is taken. In January 2013, President Obama signed into law the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, which, among other things, further reduced Medicare payments to several providers, including hospitals, imaging centers and cancer treatment centers, and increased the statute of limitations period for the government to recover overpayments to providers from three to five years. Further, there has been heightened governmental scrutiny in the United States of pharmaceutical pricing practices in light of the rising cost of prescription drugs and biologics. Such scrutiny has resulted in several recent Congressional inquiries and proposed and enacted federal and state legislation designed to, among other things, bring more transparency to product pricing, review

 

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the relationship between pricing and manufacturer patient programs, and reform government program reimbursement methodologies for products.

Further, there has been heightened governmental scrutiny in the United States of the manner in which manufacturers set prices for their marketed products in light of the rising cost of prescription drugs and biologics. Such scrutiny has resulted in several recent Congressional inquiries and proposed and enacted federal and state legislation designed to, among other things, bring more transparency to drug pricing, review the relationship between pricing and manufacturer patient programs, and reform government program reimbursement methodologies for drug products. These new laws and initiatives may result in additional reductions in Medicare and other healthcare funding, as well as limit the amounts that federal and state governments will pay for healthcare products and services, which could result in reduced demand for our product candidates or additional pricing pressures, all of which could have a material adverse effect on our future customers and accordingly, our financial operations.

Additionally, the Trump administration released a “Blueprint” to lower drug prices and reduce out of pocket costs of drugs that contains additional proposals to increase manufacturer competition, increase the negotiating power of certain federal healthcare programs, incentivize manufacturers to lower the list price of their products and reduce the out of pocket costs of drug products paid by consumers. Under this blueprint for action, the Trump administration indicated that HHS will: take steps to end the gaming of regulatory and patent processes by drug makers to unfairly protect monopolies; advance biosimilars and generics to boost price competition; evaluate the inclusion of prices in drug makers’ ads to enhance price competition; speed access to and lower the cost of new drugs by clarifying policies for sharing information between insurers and drug makers; avoid excessive pricing by relying more on value-based pricing by expanding outcome-based payments in Medicare and Medicaid; work to give Part D plan sponsors more negotiation power with drug makers; examine which Medicare Part B drugs could be negotiated for a lower price by Part D plans, and improving the design of the Part B Competitive Acquisition Program; update Medicare’s drug-pricing dashboard to increase transparency; prohibit Part D contracts that include “gag rules” that prevent pharmacists from informing patients when they could pay less out-of-pocket by not using insurance; and require that Part D plan members be provided with an annual statement of plan payments, out-of-pocket spending, and drug price increases.

HHS has already started the process of soliciting feedback on some of these measures and, at the same, is immediately implementing others under its existing authority. Although a number of these, and other potential proposals, will require authorization through additional legislation to become effective, Congress and the Trump administration have each indicated that it will continue to seek new legislative and/or administrative measures to control drug costs. In addition, on December 23, 2019, the Trump Administration published a proposed rulemaking that, if finalized, would allow states or certain other non-federal government entities to submit importation program proposals to the FDA for review and approval. Applicants would be required to demonstrate their importation plans pose no additional risk to public health and safety and will result in significant cost savings for consumers.  At the same time, the FDA issued draft guidance that would allow manufacturers to import their own FDA-approved drugs that are authorized for sale in other countries (multi-market approved products).

In addition, the CMS has proposed regulations that would give states greater flexibility in setting benchmarks for insurers in the individual and small group marketplaces, which may have the effect of relaxing the essential health benefits required under the ACA for plans sold through such marketplaces. On November 30, 2018, CMS announced a proposed rule that would amend the Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D prescription drug benefit regulations to reduce out of pocket costs for plan enrollees and allow Medicare plans to negotiate lower rates for certain drugs. Among other things, the proposed rule changes would allow Medicare Advantage plans to use pre authorization (PA) and step therapy (ST) for six protected classes of drugs, with certain exceptions, permit plans to implement PA and ST in Medicare Part B drugs; and change the definition of “negotiated prices” while a definition of “price concession” in the regulations. It is unclear whether these proposed changes we be accepted, and if so, what effect such changes will have on our business. Litigation and legislation over the ACA are likely to continue, with unpredictable and uncertain results.

In addition, on December 14, 2018, a U.S. District Court judge in the Northern District of Texas ruled that the individual mandate portion of the ACA is an essential and inseverable feature of the ACA, and therefore because the mandate was repealed as part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the remaining provisions of the ACA are invalid as well. The Trump administration and CMS have both stated that the ruling will have no immediate effect, and on December 30, 2018 the same judge issued an order staying the judgment pending appeal. The Trump Administration recently represented to the Court of Appeals considering this judgment that it does not oppose the lower court’s ruling.  On July 10, 2019, the Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit heard oral argument in this case.  On December 18, 2019, that court affirmed the lower court’s ruling that the individual mandate portion of the ACA is unconstitutional and it remanded the case to the district court for reconsideration of the severability question and additional analysis of the provisions of the ACA. On January 21, 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to review this decision on an expedited basis.  Litigation and legislation over the ACA are likely to continue, with unpredictable and uncertain results.

At the state level, individual states are increasingly aggressive in passing legislation and implementing regulations designed to control pharmaceutical and biological product pricing, including price or patient reimbursement constraints, discounts, restrictions on

 

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certain product access and marketing cost disclosure and transparency measures, and, in some cases, designed to encourage importation from other countries and bulk purchasing. In addition, regional health care authorities and individual hospitals are increasingly using bidding procedures to determine what pharmaceutical products and which suppliers will be included in their prescription drug and other health care programs. These measures could reduce the ultimate demand for our products, once approved, or put pressure on our product pricing. We expect that additional state and federal healthcare reform measures will be adopted in the future, any of which could limit the amounts that federal and state governments will pay for healthcare products and services, which could result in reduced demand for our product candidates or additional pricing pressures.

Commercialization Strategy and Organization

Given our stage of development, we have not yet established a commercial organization or distribution capabilities. If approved, we intend to commercialize our sulopenem program in the United States with a commercial partner and/or on our own with a targeted sales force across the community and hospital settings.

Prior to receiving approval, we plan to establish a health resources group to familiarize doctors in the community setting with the rising rate of resistance of pathogens to the current oral therapies for UTI. If approved, we will direct our health resources group to promote antibiotic stewardship, particularly of oral sulopenem, by educating physicians in the community setting about patients for whom sulopenem may be an appropriate treatment option. In the hospital setting, we believe our sulopenem program will support stewardship efforts in the hospital focused on reduction in treatment length-of-stay by providing a safe and effective oral therapy that can be completed in an outpatient setting. Our health resources group will also work with hospitals, provider organizations and payors to demonstrate that the use of sulopenem may reduce the length of a patients’ hospital stay or avoid hospital admission altogether, which we believe would lower the total cost of treatment of cUTI, and in some cases uUTI when inappropriate therapy leads to higher hospitalization rates or poor clinical outcomes for elevated risk patients. In addition, we expect that our health resources group will also work with doctors in the infectious disease field to answer questions regarding sulopenem’s clinical results and its pharmacokinetic profile, conduct medical education events regarding the emerging science and build awareness of sulopenem.

If the FDA approves oral sulopenem and sulopenem, we plan to build a commercial infrastructure to launch both product candidates in the United States. We expect that our commercial infrastructure, led by highly-experienced management personnel, would be comprised of a targeted sales force, an internal marketing and health resources group, as well as a managed markets group focused on reimbursement activities with third-party payors and a specialty distribution team. We also plan to have in place a patient and healthcare practitioner support group to assist with information requests, reimbursement logistics and assistance, and provide educational materials where appropriate. To ensure successful execution of these critical activities, we may need to hire personnel to fill some of these functions in advance of the anticipated approval date. Further, if we choose to engage with a commercial partner in the United States, we would expect to reach a broader percentage of the market for sulopenem.

We expect to direct our sales and marketing efforts toward the community and hospital practitioner settings that account for a substantial majority of the potential market for oral sulopenem and sulopenem across geographies with the highest prevalence of bacterial resistance to fluoroquinolones. Based on an ongoing market survey data of outpatient urine cultures of Enterobacteriaceae and quinolone resistance by zip code, we estimate that our initial sales force could successfully target key customers including top hospitals and emergency room clinics, as well as specialty and primary care practices in the community setting. As access for, and awareness of, our sulopenem program increases, we would plan to broaden our target audience and geography by increasing the number of sales representatives to capture a larger percentage of the market.

We are focusing our initial commercial efforts on the U.S. market, which we believe represents the largest market opportunity for our sulopenem program. We are currently evaluating our commercialization strategy outside the United States and believe that Europe and Asia represent significant opportunities because of rising rates of ESBL and quinolone resistance in these geographies, which in many countries exceeds the United States’ resistance rate.

Manufacturing

We do not currently own or operate manufacturing facilities for the production of any of our product candidates. We currently rely on four third-party contract manufacturers for all of our required raw materials, drug substance, and finished drug product for our preclinical research and clinical trials. As of February 29, 2020, we had a 9-person team dedicated to managing the relationships with these manufacturers and the manufacturing process. Due to the complex and critical nature of drug manufacturing, we have employed a dual sourcing strategy in order to register two suppliers and validate at least one supplier for both sulopenem APIs at the time of submitting our NDAs, with each supplier capable of producing commercial scale quantities under cGMP conditions. We also intend to have a third-party manufacturer to produce the oral sulopenem bilayer tablets. In the future, given the importance of our oral formulation, we plan to pursue additional sources to manufacture tablets. We plan to use another third party to manufacture the IV vials. Potential additional sources to manufacture IV vials have also been identified.

 

 

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Employees

As of February 29, 2020, we had 44 employees, including a total of nine employees with M.D., Pharm.D. or Ph.D. degrees. 32 employees were primarily engaged in research and development activities, with the rest providing administrative, business and operations support. None of our employees are represented by labor unions or covered by collective bargaining agreements. We consider our employee relations to be good.

Our Corporate Information

We were incorporated under the laws of the Republic of Ireland in June 2015 as a limited company and re-registered as a public limited company on March 20, 2018. Our principal executive offices are located at Block 2 Floor 3, Harcourt Centre, Harcourt Street, Dublin 2, Ireland, and our telephone number is (+353) 1 903-8920.

Available Information

We maintain a website with the address www.iterumtx.com. We make available free of charge through our website our Annual Report on Form 10-K, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, Current Reports on Form 8-K and amendments to those reports filed or furnished pursuant to Sections 13(a) and 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the Exchange Act). We make these reports available through our website as soon as reasonably practicable after we electronically file such reports with, or furnish such reports to, the SEC. You can review our electronically filed reports, proxy and information statements and other information that we file with the SEC on the SEC’s web site at http://www.sec.gov. We also make available, free of charge on our website, the reports filed with the SEC by our executive officers, directors and 10% stockholders pursuant to Section 16 under the Exchange Act as soon as reasonably practicable after copies of those filings are provided to us by those persons. The information contained on, or that can be accessed through, our website is not a part of or incorporated by reference in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

 

 

 


 

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Item 1A. Risk Factors.

Careful consideration should be given to the following risk factors, in addition to the other information set forth in this Annual Report on Form 10-K and in other documents that we file with the SEC, in evaluating our company and our business. Investing in our ordinary shares involves a high degree of risk. If any of the events described in the following Risk Factors and the risks described elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K actually occur, our business, financial condition, results of operations and future growth prospects could be materially and adversely affected. In these circumstances, the market price of our ordinary shares could decline, and you may lose all or part of your investment.

Risks Related to Our Financial Position and Capital Requirements

We have incurred net losses in each year since our inception and anticipate that we will continue to incur significant losses unless we successfully commercialize our sulopenem program.

We are a clinical-stage pharmaceutical company with a limited operating history. We have not generated any product revenue and have incurred net losses in each year since our inception in 2015. As of December 31, 2019, we had an accumulated deficit of $234.9 million. Our product candidates, oral sulopenem and sulopenem (together, the sulopenem program), are in clinical development, and have not been approved for sale and we may never have our product candidates approved for commercialization. We have financed our operations to date primarily with proceeds from the sale of preferred shares and ordinary shares, through a private placement (the Private Placement) of our ordinary shares, being the subscription for ordinary shares by our supplier and, more recently, through a private placement pursuant to which our wholly owned subsidiary, Iterum Therapeutics Bermuda Limited (Iterum Bermuda), sold units consisting of (i) 6.500% Exchangeable Senior Subordinated Notes due 2025 (Exchangeable Notes); and (ii) Limited Recourse Royalty-Linked Subordinated Notes (RLNs), to certain existing and new investors. In April 2018, we entered into a secured credit facility with Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) and made an initial drawdown of $15.0 million. We have devoted substantially all of our financial resources and efforts to research and development, including preclinical and clinical development, for our sulopenem program.

We expect to continue to incur significant expenses and increasing operating losses as we conduct our ongoing and planned clinical trials of oral sulopenem and sulopenem, seek marketing approval for such product candidates in target territories if clinical trials are successful, and pursue the development of our sulopenem program in additional indications through preclinical and clinical development. Our expenses will also increase substantially if and as we:

 

conduct additional clinical trials for oral sulopenem and sulopenem, which include our planned Phase 1 clinical trials related to pediatric indications;

 

initiate other studies as part of our sulopenem program, some of which may be required for regulatory approval of our product candidates;

 

establish a sales, marketing and distribution infrastructure to commercialize oral sulopenem and sulopenem in the United States if we obtain marketing approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and we choose to commercialize directly in the United States;

 

establish manufacturing and supply chain capacity sufficient to provide commercial quantities of oral sulopenem and sulopenem, if we obtain marketing approval;

 

pursue the development of our sulopenem program in additional indications;

 

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

 

hire additional clinical, scientific and commercial personnel;

 

add operational, financial and management information systems and personnel, including personnel to support our product development and planned future commercialization efforts, as well as to support our ongoing transition to a public reporting company; and

 

acquire or in-license other product candidates or technologies.

We will require additional capital to fund our operations, and there is substantial doubt about our ability to continue as a going concern for a period of one year from the date of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.  If we fail to obtain financing when needed or on acceptable terms, we may not be able to complete the development and commercialization of our sulopenem program.

Developing pharmaceutical products is a time-consuming, expensive and uncertain process that takes years to complete. We expect that our expenses will increase substantially as we complete our clinical trials of oral sulopenem and sulopenem, seek marketing approval for such product candidates if clinical trials are successful, and pursue the development of our sulopenem program in additional indications through preclinical and clinical development. If we obtain marketing approval for oral sulopenem, sulopenem

 

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or any future product candidate, we expect to incur significant commercialization expenses related to product sales, marketing, distribution and manufacturing. Some of these expenses may be incurred in advance of marketing approval, and could be substantial.

We believe that our existing cash and cash equivalents as of December 31, 2019, together with the net proceeds of approximately $46.7 million that we received in January 2020 from the sale of the Exchangeable Notes and the RLNs (together, the Securities), will not enable us to fund our operating expenses and capital expenditure requirements for at least the next twelve months from the date of filing this Annual Report on Form 10-K, assuming that our planned programs and expenditures continue and that we do not reduce or eliminate some or all of our research and development programs or commercialization efforts. This condition raises substantial doubt about our ability to continue as a going concern.

We will be required to obtain further funding through public or private equity offerings, debt financings, collaborations and licensing arrangements or other sources. Adequate additional financing may not be available to us on acceptable terms, or at all. Although we have successfully raised capital in the past, there is no assurance that we will be successful in obtaining sufficient funding on terms acceptable to us to fund continuing operations, if at all. Our failure to raise capital as and when needed would have a negative effect on our financial condition and our ability to develop and commercialize our sulopenem program and otherwise pursue our business strategy and we may be unable to continue as a going concern.

Because of the numerous risks and uncertainties associated with research, development and commercialization of pharmaceutical product candidates, we are unable to estimate the exact amount of our working capital requirements. Changing circumstances could cause us to consume capital significantly faster than we currently anticipate, and we may need to spend more than currently expected because of circumstances beyond our control. Our future funding requirements, both short-term and long-term, will depend on many factors, including:

 

the timing and costs of our ongoing clinical trials of oral sulopenem and sulopenem, including our two ongoing Phase 3 clinical trials;

 

the initiation, progress, timing, costs and results of preclinical studies and clinical trials of other potential product candidates and of our current product candidates in additional indications;

 

the amount of funding that we receive under government awards that we have applied for or may apply for in the future;

 

the number and characteristics of product candidates that we pursue;

 

the outcome, timing and costs of seeking regulatory approvals;

 

the costs of commercialization activities for oral sulopenem and sulopenem and other product candidates if we receive marketing approval, including the costs and timing of establishing product sales, marketing, distribution and manufacturing capabilities;

 

the receipt of marketing approval and revenue received from any potential commercial sales of oral sulopenem and sulopenem;

 

the terms and timing of any future collaborations, licensing or other arrangements that we may establish;

 

the amount and timing of any payments we may be required to make, or that we may receive, in connection with the licensing, filing, prosecution, defense and enforcement of any patents or other intellectual property rights, including milestone and royalty payments and patent prosecution fees that we are obligated to pay pursuant to an exclusive license agreement with Pfizer Inc. (Pfizer) (the Pfizer License) or other future license agreements;

 

the amount and timing of any payments we are obligated to make in connection with the RLNs;

 

the costs of preparing, filing and prosecuting patent applications, maintaining and protecting our intellectual property rights and defending against any intellectual property related claims;

 

the costs of operating as a public company; and

 

the extent to which we in-license or acquire other products and technologies.

Provisions in the Private Placement documents may deter or prevent us from raising additional capital to fund our operations.

Provisions in the agreements we entered into in connection with the Private Placement may deter or prevent us from raising additional capital to fund our operations as and when needed. For example, the indenture governing the Exchangeable Notes (the EN Indenture) contains negative covenants prohibiting Iterum Bermuda, as well as us and our wholly owned subsidiaries and their subsidiaries (the Guarantors), who guaranteed Iterum Bermuda’s obligations under the Securities, from, among other things, incurring any indebtedness that is not permitted by the EN Indenture and entering into transactions with significant shareholders (as defined in

 

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the EN Indenture). In addition, the indenture governing the RLNs (the RLN Indenture) contains negative covenants prohibiting Iterum Bermuda and the Guarantors from, among other things, selling, transferring or assigning certain assets and taking other actions outside the ordinary course of business that would reasonably be expected to reduce the amount of payments under the RLNs.

In addition, pursuant to the terms of an investor rights agreement we entered into in connection with the Private Placement (the 2020 Investor Rights Agreement), for so long as Sarissa Capital Offshore Master Fund LP, Sarissa Capital Catapult Fund LLC and Sarissa Capital Hawkeye Fund LP (collectively with their affiliates, Sarissa) own 10% of our outstanding ordinary shares on a fully diluted basis, Sarissa has a right of first offer with respect to our future proposed equity financings up to that portion of such new securities which equals Sarissa’s then-percentage ownership of our outstanding ordinary shares on a fully diluted basis, subject to specified exceptions for certain exempt issuances and pursuant to specified procedures.  These and other provisions in the Private Placement documents could deter or prevent us from raising additional capital.  Our failure to raise capital as and when needed would have a negative effect on our financial condition and our ability to develop and commercialize our sulopenem program and otherwise pursue our business strategy and we may be unable to continue as a going concern.

We are substantially dependent on the success of our two product candidates, oral sulopenem and sulopenem, and if we are unable to achieve and sustain profitability, the market value of our ordinary shares will likely decline.

Our ability to become and remain profitable depends on our ability to generate revenue. To date, we have invested substantially all of our efforts and financial resources in the development of oral sulopenem and sulopenem, which are currently our two product candidates in development. Our prospects, including our ability to finance our operations and generate revenue from product sales, will currently depend entirely on the development and commercialization of our sulopenem program.

We do not expect to generate significant revenue unless and until we obtain marketing approval for, and commercialize, oral sulopenem and sulopenem. Our ability to generate future revenue from product sales will require us to be successful in a range of challenging clinical and commercial activities, including:

 

enrolling and successfully completing our two ongoing Phase 3 clinical trials and enrolling and successfully completing our planned Phase 1 clinical trials related to pediatric indications;

 

applying for and obtaining marketing approval for oral sulopenem and sulopenem;

 

protecting and maintaining our rights to our intellectual property portfolio related to our sulopenem program;

 

establishing and maintaining supply and manufacturing relationships with third parties that can support clinical development and can provide adequate commercial quantities of oral sulopenem and sulopenem, if approved;

 

establishing sales, marketing and distribution capabilities to effectively market and sell oral sulopenem and sulopenem, or entering into collaboration arrangements for the commercialization of oral sulopenem and sulopenem where we choose not to commercialize directly ourselves; and

 

obtaining market acceptance of oral sulopenem and sulopenem as viable treatment options.

Because of the numerous risks and uncertainties associated with developing pharmaceutical products, we are unable to predict the extent of any future losses or when, or if, we will become profitable. We may never succeed in any or all of these activities and, even if we do, we may never generate revenue that is significant or large enough to achieve profitability. Our expenses could increase if we are required by the FDA, the European Medicines Agency (EMA), or any comparable foreign regulatory authority, to perform different studies or studies in addition to those currently expected, or if there are any delays in completing our clinical trials, including delays or expense associated with increasing the sample size of any study, or with the development of our sulopenem program or any future product candidates. Even if oral sulopenem or sulopenem are approved for commercial sale, we anticipate incurring significant costs associated with the commercial launch of oral sulopenem and sulopenem.  Where we enter into collaboration arrangements with third-party collaborators for commercialization of product candidates, our product revenues or the profitability of these product revenues to us would likely be lower than if we were to directly market and sell products in those markets.

Our failure to become and remain profitable would decrease the value of our company and could impair our ability to raise capital, maintain our research and development efforts, expand our business or continue our operations. A decline in the value of our company could cause our shareholders to lose all or part of their investment.

Our indebtedness imposes certain operating and other restrictions on us and could adversely affect our ability to raise additional capital.

On April 27, 2018, our subsidiaries, Iterum Therapeutics International Limited, Iterum Therapeutics US Holding Limited and Iterum Therapeutics US Limited (Borrowers), entered into a loan and security agreement (Loan Agreement) with SVB pursuant to

 

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which SVB agreed to lend the Borrowers up to $30.0 million in two term loans. $15.0 million of the secured credit facility was funded on closing and the other $15.0 million was available at our option upon the satisfaction of certain draw requirements, however, we did not satisfy the second draw conditions before the deadline of October 31, 2019. Obligations under the secured credit facility are secured by substantially all of our existing and future assets and the existing and future assets of our subsidiaries, including intellectual property. Our secured credit facility imposes operating and other restrictions on us. Such restrictions affect, and in many respects limit or prohibit, our ability to, among other things, dispose of certain assets, pay dividends and incur additional indebtedness. Failure to make payments or comply with these and other terms and covenants under our secured credit facility could result in an event of default, which could lead to an acceleration of amounts due and foreclosure upon and/or sale or other liquidation of all of our and our subsidiaries’ assets, including intellectual property. Any of the foregoing would have a material adverse effect on our operations and financial condition. In addition, this indebtedness and the security interests granted to secure it could make it more difficult for us to raise additional capital to fund our operations.

 

In addition, the EN Indenture and the RLN Indenture each contain affirmative and negative covenants which impose operating and other restrictions on us, including, among other things, incurring any indebtedness that is not permitted by the EN Indenture or amending the terms of any subordinated indebtedness, entering into strategic transactions or transferring any material assets and undergoing a change of control transaction (subject to certain exceptions, including in the case of a change of control transaction, a transaction in which each holder of an outstanding Exchangeable Note receives cash consideration of at least 300% of the outstanding principal amount of such Exchangeable Note).  Failure to comply with these terms could result in an event of default which could lead, among other things, to an acceleration of amounts due under the EN Indenture and the obligation to pay default interest.  Moreover, obtaining a consent to a waiver of these terms is subject to a veto right of the holders of 30% of the outstanding Exchangeable Notes, in the case of the EN Indenture, and 30% of the outstanding RLNs, in the case of the RLN Indenture, and in each case which must include Sarissa so long as Sarissa and its affiliates own at least 10% of the outstanding Exchangeable Notes or RLNs, respectively.  This veto right could make it more difficult for us to obtain a waiver than would otherwise be the case. In addition, the rate at which the Exchangeable Notes are exchangeable for our ordinary shares is subject to adjustment, including pursuant to anti-dilution protections.  This indebtedness could make it more difficult for us to raise additional capital to fund our operations.

Servicing our indebtedness will require a significant amount of cash, and we may not have sufficient cash flow from our business to pay our indebtedness.

Our ability to make payments of the principal of, to pay interest and special interest on or to refinance our term loan and the Exchangeable Notes, or to make cash payments, if we so elect, in connection with any exchange of Exchangeable Notes depends on our future performance, which is subject to economic, financial, competitive and other factors beyond our control. Our business may not generate cash flow sufficient to service our term loan, the Exchangeable Notes or other indebtedness and make necessary capital expenditures. If we are unable to generate such cash flow, we may be required to adopt one or more alternatives, such as selling assets, restructuring indebtedness or obtaining additional equity capital on terms that may be onerous or highly dilutive. Our ability to refinance our term loan, the Exchangeable Notes or other indebtedness will depend on the capital markets and our financial condition at such time. We may not be able to engage in any of these activities or engage in these activities on desirable terms, which could result in a default on our debt obligations.

Despite our current debt levels, we may still incur substantially more debt or take other actions that would intensify the risks discussed above.

Despite our current consolidated debt levels, we and our subsidiaries may be able to incur substantial additional debt in the future, subject to the restrictions contained in our current and future debt instruments, some of which may be secured debt. While the Loan Agreement and the EN Indenture restrict our ability to incur additional indebtedness, including secured indebtedness, both allow for certain additional indebtedness and any such restrictions may be waived. In addition, if the Loan Agreement matures or is repaid, we may not be subject to similar restrictions under the terms of any subsequent indebtedness. If new debt is added to our current debt levels, the related risks that we now face could intensify.

We may not have the ability to raise the funds necessary to settle exchanges of the Exchangeable Notes in cash or to repurchase the Exchangeable Notes upon a fundamental change, and the Loan Agreement and our future debt may limit our ability to pay cash upon exchange or repurchase of the Exchangeable Notes.

Holders of the Exchangeable Notes will have the right to require us to repurchase all or a portion of their notes upon the occurrence of a fundamental change at specified repurchase prices.  In addition, upon exchange of the Exchangeable Notes, unless we elect to deliver solely ordinary shares to settle such exchange (other than paying cash in lieu of delivering any fractional share), we would be required to make specified cash payments in respect of the Exchangeable Notes being exchanged.  However, we may not have enough available cash or be able to obtain financing at the time we are required to make repurchases of Exchangeable Notes

 

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surrendered therefor or to pay cash with respect to Exchangeable Notes being exchanged. In addition, our ability to repurchase or to pay cash upon exchange of the Exchangeable Notes may be limited by law, regulatory authority, the Loan Agreement and future indebtedness.

Our failure to repurchase Exchangeable Notes at a time when the repurchase is required by the EN Indenture or to pay cash upon exchange of the Exchangeable Notes as required by the EN Indenture would constitute a default under the EN Indenture. A default under the EN Indenture or a fundamental change itself could also lead to a default under the Loan Agreement and other agreements governing our future indebtedness. If the payment of the related indebtedness were to be accelerated after any applicable notice or grace periods, we may not have sufficient funds to repay the indebtedness and repurchase the Exchangeable Notes or to pay cash upon exchange of the Exchangeable Notes.

The exchange feature of the Exchangeable Notes may adversely affect our financial condition and operating results.

On or after January 21, 2021 and prior to the earlier of (i) the close of business on the scheduled trading day immediately preceding a mandatory exchange notice for the Exchangeable Notes, which would be triggered by the occurrence of any of certain mandatory exchange trigger events specified in the EN Indenture, and (ii) the close of business on the second scheduled trading day immediately preceding the interest record date, holders of Exchangeable Notes will be entitled to exchange the Exchangeable Notes at any time during at their option.  If one or more holders elect to exchange their Exchangeable Notes, unless we elect to satisfy our exchange obligation by delivering solely ordinary shares (other than paying cash in lieu of delivering any fractional share), we would be required to settle a portion or all of our exchange obligation in cash, which could adversely affect our liquidity. In addition, even if holders do not elect to exchange their Exchangeable Notes, the relevant accounting rules are complex and, depending on how we are required to treat the Exchangeable Notes under applicable accounting rules, our liabilities could be significantly impacted.

We have a limited operating history and no history of commercializing pharmaceutical products, which may make it difficult to evaluate the prospects for our future viability.

We began operations in November 2015. Since our inception, we have devoted substantially all of our financial resources and efforts to organizing and staffing our company, business planning, raising capital, planning for potential commercialization, and research and development, including preclinical and clinical development, for our sulopenem program. While the members of our development team have successfully developed and registered other antibiotics in past roles at different companies, our company has limited experience and has not yet demonstrated an ability to successfully complete a large-scale, pivotal clinical trial, obtain marketing approval, manufacture a commercial scale product (or arrange for a third party to do so on our behalf), or conduct sales and marketing activities necessary for successful product commercialization. Consequently, predictions about our future success or viability may not be as accurate as they could be if we had a longer operating history or a history of successfully developing and commercializing pharmaceutical products.

Assuming we obtain marketing approval for oral sulopenem and sulopenem, we will need to transition from a company with a research and development focus to a company capable of supporting commercial activities whether we choose to commercialize product candidates directly ourselves or seek to commercialize them through third-party collaboration arrangements. We may encounter unforeseen expenses, difficulties, complications and delays, and may not be successful in such a transition.

Raising additional capital may cause dilution to our shareholders, restrict our operations or require us to relinquish rights to our technologies or product candidates.

Unless and until we can generate a substantial amount of revenue from our sulopenem program or future product candidates, we expect to finance our future cash needs through equity offerings, debt financings, collaboration agreements, other third-party funding, strategic alliances, licensing arrangements, marketing and distribution arrangements or government funding. In addition, in connection with the Private Placement, we agreed to undertake an offering of subscription rights to purchase additional Securities (the Rights Offering) to all of our other shareholders. We may also be required to issue ordinary shares upon exchange of the Exchangeable Notes upon the terms and conditions specified therein, which would result in additional dilution to our shareholders. We may also seek additional capital due to favorable market conditions or strategic considerations, even if we believe that we have sufficient funds for our current or future operating plans. We filed a universal shelf registration statement on Form S-3 (Registration No. 333-232569) with the SEC, which was declared effective on July 16, 2019, and pursuant to which we registered for sale up to $150.0 million of any combination of our ordinary shares, preferred shares, debt securities, warrants and/or units from time to time and at prices and on terms that we may determine.

Our issuance of additional securities, whether equity or debt, or the possibility of such issuance, may cause the market price of our ordinary shares to decline, and our shareholders may not agree with our financing plans or the terms of such financings. To the extent that we raise additional capital through the sale of ordinary shares, convertible securities or other equity securities, the ownership interests of our then existing shareholders may be materially diluted, and the terms of these securities could include

 

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liquidation or other preferences and antidilution protections that could adversely affect the rights of our then existing shareholders. Further debt financing, if available, would result in increased fixed payment obligations and may involve agreements that include restrictive covenants that limit our ability to take specific actions, such as incurring additional debt, making capital expenditures or declaring dividends, which could adversely affect our ability to conduct our business. In addition, securing additional financing would require a substantial amount of time and attention from our management and may divert a disproportionate amount of their attention away from day-to-day activities, which may adversely affect our management’s ability to oversee the development of our product candidates.

If we raise additional funds through collaborations, strategic alliances or marketing, distribution or licensing arrangements with third parties, we may have to relinquish valuable rights to our technologies, future revenue streams or product candidates or grant licenses on terms that may not be favorable to us.

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

Because we have limited financial resources, we have focused our sulopenem development program on the specific indications of uncomplicated urinary tract infections (uUTI), complicated urinary tract infections (cUTI) and complicated intra-abdominal infections (cIAI), all of which are focused on what we believe to be the most pressing near-term medical needs, in terms of both their potential for marketing approval and commercialization. As a result, we may forego or delay pursuit of opportunities with other potential product candidates or developing our sulopenem program in other indications that may prove to have greater commercial potential.

Our resource allocation decisions may cause us to fail to capitalize on viable commercial products or profitable market opportunities. Our spending on current and future research and development programs and product candidates for specific indications may not yield any commercially viable product candidates. If we do not accurately evaluate the commercial potential or target market for a particular product candidate, we may relinquish valuable rights to that product candidate through collaboration, licensing or other royalty arrangements in cases in which it would have been more advantageous for us to retain sole development and commercialization rights to the product candidate.

We have broad discretion in the use of our funds and may not use them effectively.

We have broad discretion in the application of our available funds and could spend the funds in ways that do not improve our results of operations or enhance the value of our ordinary shares. Our failure to apply these funds effectively could result in financial losses that could have a material adverse effect on our business, cause the price of our ordinary shares to decline and delay the development of our product candidates. Pending their use, we may invest funds in a manner that does not produce income or that loses value.

Risks Related to Clinical Development and Commercialization

We are heavily dependent on the success of our sulopenem program, and our ability to develop, obtain marketing approval for and successfully commercialize oral sulopenem and sulopenem. If we are unable to obtain marketing approvals for oral sulopenem or sulopenem, or if thereafter we fail to commercialize oral sulopenem or sulopenem or experience significant delays in doing so, our business will be materially harmed.

We currently have no products approved for sale and have invested substantially all of our efforts and financial resources in the development of our sulopenem program as the first and only oral and intravenous (IV) branded penem available globally. Our near-term prospects are substantially dependent on our ability to develop, obtain marketing approval for and successfully commercialize oral sulopenem and sulopenem. The success of our sulopenem program will depend on several factors, including the following:

 

successful enrollment in, and completion of, clinical trials, including completion of our two ongoing Phase 3 clinical trials of oral sulopenem and sulopenem;

 

clinical trial results with safety, tolerability and efficacy profiles that are satisfactory to the FDA or any comparable foreign regulatory authority;

 

timely completion of any additional clinical trials and non-clinical studies conducted to support the filing for regulatory approvals of our sulopenem program, if required by the FDA or any comparable foreign regulatory authority;

 

receipt of marketing approvals from applicable regulatory authorities;

 

establishment and maintenance of arrangements with third-party manufacturers to obtain commercial supply at a scale sufficient to meet anticipated demand and at a cost appropriate for our commercialization;

 

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acquisition and maintenance of patent, trade secret and other intellectual property protection and regulatory exclusivity, both in the United States and internationally, including our ability to maintain our license agreement with Pfizer;

 

protection of our rights in our intellectual property portfolio;

 

launch of commercial sales of oral sulopenem and sulopenem, if approved, whether alone or in collaboration with others;

 

the effectiveness of our own or any future collaborators’ marketing, sales and distribution strategy and operations;

 

acceptance of oral sulopenem and sulopenem, if approved, by patients, physicians and the medical community at large;

 

our ability to obtain and sustain coverage and an adequate level of reimbursement by third-party payors;

 

the prevalence, frequency and severity of adverse side effects of oral sulopenem and sulopenem;

 

the availability, perceived advantages, relative cost and relative efficacy of alternative and competing therapies; and

 

an acceptable safety profile of oral sulopenem and sulopenem following approval.

Many of these factors are beyond our control, including clinical development, the regulatory submission process, potential threats to our intellectual property rights, manufacturing and the impact of competition. If we are unable to develop, receive marketing approval for, or successfully commercialize oral sulopenem and sulopenem, or if we experience delays as a result of any of these factors or otherwise, our business could be materially harmed.

Our company has no experience in obtaining regulatory approval for a drug.

Our company has never obtained regulatory approval for, or commercialized, a drug. We must complete extensive preclinical and clinical trials to demonstrate the safety and efficacy of our product candidates in humans before we will be able to obtain these approvals. To gain approval to market a product candidate, we must provide the FDA and foreign regulatory authorities with non-clinical, clinical and chemistry, manufacturing, and controls (CMC) data that adequately demonstrates the safety and efficacy of the product for the intended indication(s) applied for in the new drug application (NDA) or other respective regulatory filing. It is possible that the FDA may refuse to accept any or all of our planned NDAs for substantive review or may conclude after review of our data that our application is insufficient to obtain regulatory approval for any current or future product candidates. If the FDA does not approve any of our planned NDAs, it may require that we conduct additional costly clinical, non-clinical or manufacturing validation studies before it will reconsider our applications. Depending on the extent of these or any other FDA-required studies, approval of any NDA or other application that we submit may be significantly delayed, possibly for several years, or may require us to expend more resources than we have available.

Any failure or delay in obtaining regulatory approvals would prevent us from commercializing oral sulopenem and sulopenem, generating revenues and achieving and sustaining profitability. It is also possible that additional studies, if performed and completed, may not be considered sufficient by the FDA to approve any NDA or other application that we submit. If any of these outcomes occur, we may be forced to abandon the development of our product candidates, which would materially adversely affect our business and could potentially cause us to cease operations. We face similar risks for our applications in other countries.

If clinical trials of oral sulopenem, sulopenem or any other product candidate that we may advance to clinical trials fail to demonstrate safety and efficacy to the satisfaction of the FDA or comparable foreign regulatory authorities, or do not otherwise produce favorable results, we may incur additional costs or experience delays in completing, or ultimately be unable to complete, the development and commercialization of oral sulopenem, sulopenem or any other product candidate.

We may not commercialize, market, promote, or sell any product candidate in the United States without obtaining marketing approval from the FDA or in other countries without obtaining approvals from comparable foreign regulatory authorities, such as the EMA, and we may never receive such approvals. Clinical testing is expensive, difficult to design and implement, can take many years to complete and is inherently uncertain as to outcome. We have not previously submitted an NDA to the FDA or similar applications to comparable foreign regulatory authorities for any of our product candidates.

Our business currently depends entirely on the successful development, regulatory approval and commercialization of our sulopenem program. The clinical development of our sulopenem program, or any future product candidates, is susceptible to the risk of failure inherent at any stage of drug development, including failure to demonstrate efficacy in a clinical trial or across a broad population of patients, the occurrence of severe adverse events, failure to comply with protocols or applicable regulatory requirements, and determination by the FDA or any comparable foreign regulatory authority that a drug product is not approvable. A number of companies in the pharmaceutical industry, including biotechnology companies, have suffered significant setbacks in clinical trials, even after promising results in earlier non-clinical studies or clinical trials. The results of preclinical and other non-clinical studies and/or early clinical trials of our product candidates or future product candidates may not be predictive of the results of later-stage

 

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clinical trials and interim results of a clinical trial do not necessarily predict final results. Notwithstanding any promising results in early non-clinical studies or clinical trials, we cannot be certain that we will not face similar setbacks.

For example, we present data from clinical trials conducted by Pfizer Japan in the 1990s. The data from those clinical trials is not directly comparable to data from clinical trials that would be conducted today or the data that we anticipate from our Phase 3 program for a variety of reasons, including that protocols were designed for different purposes and as a consequence had different enrollment and efficacy evaluation criteria. For example, while a subjective investigator assessment of outcome is typically included in all cUTI protocols and was performed in the Japanese program, more structured endpoints are required as part of current FDA guidelines for registrational trials. Current FDA guidelines define the primary efficacy outcome based on both clinical and microbiological success. The structured endpoint in the Japanese program assessed outcome based on resolution of pyuria and microbiologic outcome. In addition, the pathogens isolated in the course of a clinical trial will vary depending on the types of patients enrolled, the geographic location of the sites that contribute to the study and the year in which the study is performed. While the organisms seen in the Japanese study are similar to those we anticipate in the Phase 3 program, we expect the frequency distribution of these pathogens may be different. Furthermore, adverse event reports can vary by geographic region and we may see a different adverse event rate and different types of events in patients that we study in the Phase 3 program relative to the experience in Japan.

In addition, preclinical and clinical data are often susceptible to varying interpretations and analyses. Although data from Phase 1 and Phase 2 clinical trials of oral sulopenem and sulopenem provides support for the overall safety profile of the product candidates, many companies that believed their product candidates performed satisfactorily in preclinical studies and clinical trials have nonetheless failed to obtain marketing approval for the product candidates. Even if we believe that the results of our clinical trials warrant marketing approval, the FDA or comparable foreign regulatory authorities may disagree and may not grant marketing approval of our product candidates.

In some instances, there can be significant variability in safety and/or efficacy results between different clinical trials of the same product candidate due to numerous factors, including changes in trial procedures set forth in protocols, differences in the size and type of the patient populations, adherence to the dosing regimen and other trial protocols and the rate of dropout among clinical trial participants, among others. It is possible that even if one or more of our product candidates has a beneficial effect, that effect will not be detected during clinical evaluation as a result of one of the factors listed or otherwise. Conversely, as a result of the same factors, our clinical trials may indicate an apparent positive effect of a product candidate that is greater than the actual positive effect, if any. Similarly, in our clinical trials, we may fail to detect toxicity of or intolerability of our product candidates or may determine that our product candidates are toxic or not well tolerated when that is not in fact the case. In the case of our clinical trials, results may differ on the basis of the type of bacteria with which patients are infected. We cannot assure our shareholders that any ongoing clinical trials that we are conducting or other clinical trials that we may conduct will demonstrate consistent or adequate efficacy and safety to obtain regulatory approval to market our product candidates.

We may encounter unforeseen events prior to, during, or as a result of, clinical trials that could delay or prevent us from obtaining regulatory approval for oral sulopenem, sulopenem or any of our other product candidates, including:

 

although we are conducting our Phase 3 clinical trials pursuant to Special Protocol Assessment (SPA) agreements, the FDA or other comparable foreign regulatory authorities may ultimately disagree as to the design or implementation of our Phase 3 clinical trials or other clinical trials;

 

we may not reach agreement on acceptable terms with all clinical trial sites, the terms of which can be subject to extensive negotiation and may vary significantly among different trial sites;

 

clinical trials of our product candidates may produce unfavorable or inconclusive results;

 

we may decide, or regulators may require us, to conduct additional clinical trials or abandon product development programs;

 

our third-party contractors, including those manufacturing our product candidates or conducting clinical trials on our behalf, may fail to comply with regulatory requirements or meet their contractual obligations to us in a timely manner, or at all;

 

the FDA, the local National Health Authorities or institutional review boards may not authorize us or our investigators to commence a clinical trial or conduct a clinical trial at a prospective trial site;

 

we may have to suspend or terminate clinical trials of a product candidate for various reasons, including non-compliance with regulatory requirements or a finding that the participants are being exposed to unacceptable health risks, undesirable side effects or other unexpected characteristics of the product candidate;

 

the FDA or comparable foreign regulatory authorities may fail to approve the manufacturing processes or facilities of third-party manufacturers with which we enter into agreement for clinical and commercial supplies; or

 

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the supply or quality of our product candidates or other materials necessary to conduct clinical trials of our product candidates may be insufficient or inadequate.

If we are required to conduct additional clinical trials or other testing of oral sulopenem, sulopenem or any other product candidate beyond the clinical trials and testing that we contemplate, if we are unable to successfully complete clinical trials or other testing of our product candidates, if the results of these clinical trials or tests are unfavorable or are only modestly favorable or if there are safety concerns associated with oral sulopenem, sulopenem or any other product candidate, we may:

 

incur additional unplanned costs;

 

be delayed in obtaining marketing approval for our product candidates;

 

not obtain marketing approval at all;

 

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

 

obtain approval with labeling that includes significant use or distribution restrictions or significant safety warnings, including boxed warnings;

 

be subject to additional post-marketing testing or other requirements; or

 

be required to remove the product from the market after obtaining marketing approval.

Our failure to successfully initiate and complete clinical trials of our product candidates and to demonstrate the efficacy and safety necessary to obtain regulatory approval to market any of our product candidates would significantly harm our business. We cannot assure our shareholders that our ongoing Phase 3 clinical trials will be completed on schedule, if at all, or that we will not need to restructure our clinical trials. Significant clinical trial delays also could shorten any periods during which we may have the exclusive right to commercialize our product candidates or allow our competitors to bring products to market before we do and impair our ability to successfully commercialize our product candidates, which may harm our business and results of operations. In addition, many of the factors that cause, or lead to, delays of clinical trials may ultimately lead to the denial of regulatory approval of oral sulopenem, sulopenem or any other product candidate.

If we experience delays or difficulties in the enrollment of patients in clinical trials, clinical development activities could be delayed or otherwise adversely affected.

The timely completion of clinical trials in accordance with their protocols depends, among other things, on our ability to enroll a sufficient number of patients who remain in the study until its conclusion. While enrollment has completed for all three of our Phase 3 clinical trials, we may not be able to initiate, continue or complete other clinical trials of oral sulopenem, sulopenem or any other product candidate that we develop if we are unable to locate and enroll a sufficient number of eligible patients to participate in clinical trials as required by the FDA or comparable foreign regulatory authorities, such as the EMA. Patient enrollment is a significant factor in the timing of clinical trials, and is affected by many factors, including:

 

the size and nature of the patient population;

 

the severity of the disease under investigation;

 

the proximity of patients to clinical sites;

 

the eligibility criteria for participation in the clinical trial;

 

the number of sites at which we conduct the trial and the speed at which we are able to open such sites;

 

the prevalence of antibiotic resistance to pathogens where we conduct the clinical trial;

 

the accuracy of certain estimates and assumptions upon which the design of the protocols are predicated;

 

our ability to recruit clinical trial investigators with appropriate experience;

 

competing clinical trials and clinicians’ and patients’ perceptions as to the potential advantages and risks of the product candidate being studied in relation to other available therapies, including any new drugs that may be approved for the indications that we are investigating;

 

our ability to obtain and maintain patient consents; and

 

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

 

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In addition, we may face competition in enrolling suitable patients as a result of other companies conducting clinical trials for antibiotic product candidates that are intended to treat similar infections, resulting in slower than anticipated enrollment in our clinical trials. Enrollment delays in our clinical trials may result in increased development costs for oral sulopenem and sulopenem, or slow down or halt our product development for oral sulopenem and sulopenem.

Our inability to enroll a sufficient number of patients for our clinical trials would result in significant delays or might require us to abandon one or more clinical trials altogether. Enrollment delays in our clinical trials may result in increased development costs for our product candidates, slow down or halt our product candidate development and approval process and jeopardize our ability to seek and obtain the marketing approval required to commence product sales and generate revenue, which would cause the value of our company to decline and limit our ability to obtain additional financing if needed. Furthermore, we rely on and expect to continue to rely on contract research organizations (CROs) and clinical trial sites to ensure the proper and timely conduct of our clinical trials, and we have limited influence over their performance.

Success in non-clinical testing and early clinical trials does not ensure that later clinical trials will be successful, and we cannot assure our shareholders that any of our ongoing clinical trials or any other clinical trials that we may conduct will demonstrate consistent or adequate efficacy and safety to obtain regulatory approval to market our sulopenem program in any indication.

Our ongoing Phase 3 clinical trials of oral sulopenem and sulopenem are subject to a number of specific risks arising from our clinical program and the design of such clinical trials.

We have not previously completed Phase 3 clinical trials of oral sulopenem or sulopenem in the indications uUTI and cUTI, and we have not documented to the satisfaction of regulators that these treatments are effective in treating uUTIs and cUTIs in humans. Although we believe that oral sulopenem and sulopenem have the potential to treat uUTIs and cUTIs in humans based on the results of prior preclinical studies and clinical trials, the results of these preclinical studies and clinical trials are not necessarily predictive of the results of our ongoing Phase 3 clinical trials, and we cannot guarantee that oral sulopenem and sulopenem will demonstrate the expected efficacy in clinical trial patients. For example, while we believe that that sulopenem has the potential to treat cIAIs in humans based on the results of prior preclinical studies and clinical trials, sulopenem did not meet the primary FDA endpoint of statistical non-inferiority compared to the control therapy in our Phase 3 cIAI clinical trial.  While we believe the secondary supporting analyses and safety data support the potential of sulopenem in the treatment of multi-drug resistant infections, we cannot guarantee that these supporting analyses are indicative of efficacy of sulopenem in treating cIAIs or that they will support any data from our ongoing Phase 3 uUTI and cUTI clinical trials indicating efficacy of oral sulopenem or sulopenem in those indications.  We also cannot guarantee that the projections made from the pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic models that we developed from non-clinical and clinical oral sulopenem and sulopenem studies will be validated in these clinical trials.

Other companies in the pharmaceutical industry have frequently suffered significant setbacks in later clinical trials, even after achieving promising results in earlier non-clinical studies or clinical trials.

Serious adverse events or undesirable side effects or other unexpected properties of oral sulopenem, sulopenem or any other product candidate may be identified during development or after approval that could delay, prevent or cause the withdrawal of regulatory approval, limit the commercial potential, or result in significant negative consequences following marketing approval.

Serious adverse events or undesirable side effects caused by, or other unexpected properties of, our product candidates could cause us, an institutional review board (IRB), or regulatory authorities to interrupt, delay or halt our clinical trials and could result in a more restrictive label, the imposition of distribution or use restrictions or the delay or denial of regulatory approval by the FDA or comparable foreign regulatory authorities. If oral sulopenem, sulopenem or any of our other product candidates is associated with serious or unexpected adverse events or undesirable side effects, the FDA or the IRBs at the institutions in which our studies are conducted, could suspend or terminate our clinical trials or the FDA or comparable foreign regulatory authorities could order us to cease clinical trials or deny approval of our product candidates for any or all targeted indications. Treatment-related side effects could also affect patient recruitment or the ability of enrolled patients to complete the clinical trial or result in potential product liability claims. Any of these occurrences may harm our business, financial condition and prospects significantly.

While the active pharmaceutical ingredient in the bilayer tablet is sulopenem etzadroxil, the combination product with probenecid has not yet been tested extensively in patients. In the cIAI trial, among 668 treated patients, treatment-related adverse events were observed in 6.0% and 5.1% of patients on sulopenem and ertapenem, respectively, with the most commonly reported drug-related adverse event being diarrhea, which was observed in 4.5% and 2.4% of patients on sulopenem and ertapenem, respectively. Discontinuations from treatment were uncommon for both regimens, occurring in 1.5% of patients on sulopenem and 2.1% of patients on ertapenem. Serious adverse events unrelated to study treatment were seen in 7.5% of patients on sulopenem and 3.6% of patients on ertapenem.  While we believe these results support  a positive safety and tolerability profile for sulopenem, in future trials there may be unforeseen serious adverse events or side effects that differ from those seen in the cIAI Phase 3 trial, in Phase 1 normal healthy volunteers with oral sulopenem or  the prior post-marketing experience with probenecid. There may also be

 

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unexpected adverse events associated with probenecid that have not been seen to date. We may alos see higher rates of adverse events than were reported in the clinical trials Pfizer conducted in Japan.

To date, sulopenem and sulopenem etzadroxil have generally been well tolerated in clinical trials conducted in healthy subjects and patients. During the development of oral sulopenem and sulopenem, patients have experienced drug-related side effects including diarrhea, temporary increases in hepatic enzymes, allergic reactions, and rash. In the Japanese program, one patient reported a serious adverse event related to sulopenem of a transient elevation in liver function tests. The patient died due to metastatic lung cancer. Other serious adverse events recorded in patients receiving sulopenem in the Japanese program, which were not considered by the investigator to be related to sulopenem, included myocardial infarction with respiratory failure and progression of underlying ovarian carcinoma, in both cases resulting in death. For each of these patients, sulopenem was not determined to be the cause of death. If unexpected adverse events occur in any of our clinical trials, we may need to abandon development of our product candidates, or limit development to lower doses or to certain uses or subpopulations in which the undesirable side effects or other unfavorable characteristics are less prevalent, less severe or more acceptable from a risk-benefit perspective. Many compounds that initially showed promise in clinical or earlier stage testing are later found to cause undesirable or unexpected side effects that prevent further development of the compound.

Undesirable side effects or other unexpected adverse events or properties of oral sulopenem, sulopenem or any of our other product candidates could arise or become known either during clinical development or, if approved, after the approved product has been marketed. If such an event occurs during development, our clinical trials could be suspended or terminated and the FDA or comparable foreign regulatory authorities could order us to cease further development of, or could deny approval of, oral sulopenem, sulopenem or other product candidates. If such an event occurs after such product candidates are approved, a number of potentially significant negative consequences may result, including:

 

regulatory authorities may withdraw the approval of such product;

 

we may be required to recall a product or change the way such product is administered to patients;

 

regulatory authorities may require additional warnings on the label or impose distribution or use restrictions;

 

regulatory authorities may require one or more post-marketing studies;

 

regulatory authorities may require the addition of a “black box” warning;

 

we may be required to implement a Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS), including the creation of a medication guide outlining the risks of such side effects for distribution to patients;

 

we could be sued and held liable for harm caused to patients;

 

our product may become less competitive; and

 

our reputation may suffer.

Any of these events could prevent us from achieving or maintaining market acceptance of the affected product candidate, if approved, or could substantially increase commercialization costs and expenses, which could delay or prevent us from generating revenue from the sale of our products and harm our business and results of operations.

Even if a product candidate does obtain regulatory approval, it may never achieve the market acceptance by physicians, patients, hospitals, third-party payors and others in the medical community that is necessary for commercial success, and the market opportunity may be smaller than we estimate.

Even if we obtain FDA or other regulatory approvals and are able to launch oral sulopenem, sulopenem or any other product candidate commercially, the product candidate may not achieve market acceptance among physicians, patients, hospitals (including pharmacy directors) and third-party payors and, ultimately, may not be commercially successful. For example, physicians are often reluctant to switch their patients from existing therapies even when new and potentially more effective or convenient treatments enter the market. Moreover, many antibiotics currently exist for the pathogens underlying uUTI, cUTI and cIAI. While many of those pathogens are resistant to certain drugs in the market, the selection is broad, and individual physicians’ prescribing patterns vary widely and are affected by resistance rates in their geographies, whether their patients are at elevated risk, the ability of patients to afford branded drugs and concerns regarding generating resistance with specific classes of antibiotics.

Efforts to educate the medical community and third-party payors on the benefits of our product candidates may require significant resources and may not be successful. If oral sulopenem, sulopenem or any other product candidate that we develop does not achieve an adequate level of market acceptance, we may not generate significant product revenues and, therefore, we may not

 

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become profitable. Market acceptance of any product candidate for which we receive approval depends on a number of factors, including:

 

the efficacy and safety of the product candidate as demonstrated in clinical trials as compared to alternative treatments;

 

the potential and perceived advantages and disadvantages of the product candidates, including cost and clinical benefit relative to alternative treatments;

 

relative convenience and ease of administration;

 

the clinical indications for which the product candidate is approved;

 

the willingness of physicians to prescribe the product;

 

the willingness of hospital pharmacy directors to purchase the product for their formularies;

 

acceptance by physicians, patients, operators of hospitals and treatment facilities and parties responsible for coverage and reimbursement of the product;

 

the availability of coverage and adequate reimbursement by third-party payors and government authorities;

 

the effectiveness of our sales and marketing efforts or those of collaborators, where we choose not to commercialize directly ourselves;

 

the strength of marketing and distribution support;

 

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

 

whether the product is designated under physician treatment guidelines as a first-line therapy or as a second- or third-line therapy for particular infections;

 

the approval of other new products for the same indications;

 

the timing of market introduction of the approved product as well as competitive products;

 

adverse publicity about the product or favorable publicity about competitive products;

 

the emergence of bacterial resistance to the product; and

 

the rate at which resistance to other drugs in the target infections grows.

In addition, the potential market opportunity for oral sulopenem and sulopenem is difficult to estimate. Our estimates of the potential market opportunity are predicated on several key assumptions such as industry knowledge and publications, third-party research reports and other surveys. While we believe that our internal assumptions are reasonable, these assumptions involve the exercise of significant judgment on the part of our management, are inherently uncertain and the reasonableness of these assumptions has not been assessed by an independent source. If any of the assumptions proves to be inaccurate, then the actual market for oral sulopenem and sulopenem could be smaller than our estimates of the potential market opportunity. If the actual market for oral sulopenem and sulopenem is smaller than we expect, or if the product fails to achieve an adequate level of acceptance by physicians, health care payors, patients, hospitals and others in the medical community, our product revenue may be limited and it may be more difficult for us to achieve or maintain profitability.

We currently have no commercial organization. If we are unable to establish sales, marketing and distribution capabilities or enter into sales, marketing and distribution agreements with third parties, we may not be successful in commercializing oral sulopenem, sulopenem or any other product candidate if such product candidate is approved.

If we are unable to establish sales, marketing and distribution capabilities or enter into sales, marketing and distribution agreements with third parties, we may not be successful in commercializing oral sulopenem, sulopenem or any other product candidate if such product candidate is approved.

We are currently evaluating our commercialization strategy in the United States and other territories. We are focusing our initial commercial efforts on the United States market, which we believe represents the largest market opportunity for our sulopenem program. We currently do not have a sales, marketing or distribution infrastructure and we have no experience in the sales, marketing or distribution of pharmaceutical products. To achieve commercial success for any approved product, we must either build our marketing, sales, distribution, managerial and other non-technical capabilities, or make arrangements to outsource those functions to third parties.  If oral sulopenem and sulopenem receive regulatory approval, we intend to build a commercial organization and recruit a targeted sales force with technical expertise, an internal marketing and health resource group, as well as a managed markets group

 

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focused on reimbursement activities with third-party payors and a specialty distribution team to ensure pharmacy-level stocking and, where we choose not to commercialize directly ourselves, we will seek to commercialize oral sulopenem and sulopenem through collaboration arrangements. The development of sales, marketing and distribution capabilities will require substantial resources, will be time-consuming and could delay any product launch. If the commercial launch of a product candidate for which we recruit a sales force and establish marketing and distribution capabilities is delayed or does not occur for any reason, we would have prematurely or unnecessarily incurred these commercialization costs. This may be costly, and our investment would be lost if we cannot retain or reposition our sales and marketing personnel. In addition, we may not be able to hire a sales force in the United States that is sufficient in size or has adequate expertise in the medical markets that we intend to target. If we are unable to establish a sales force and marketing and distribution capabilities, our operating results may be adversely affected. Any failure or delay in the development of our internal sales, marketing and distribution capabilities would adversely impact the commercialization of our product candidates.

Factors that may inhibit our efforts to commercialize our products directly include:

 

our inability to recruit and retain adequate numbers of effective sales and marketing personnel;

 

our inability to identify the best territories to target based on resistance statistics and prescribers within those territories;

 

the inability of a health resources group to obtain access to educate physicians regarding the attributes of our future products;

 

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

 

unforeseen costs and expenses associated with creating an independent sales and marketing organization.

For those countries in which we choose not to commercialize directly ourselves, which may include the United States, we intend to use collaborators that have direct sales forces and established distribution systems to assist with the commercialization of oral sulopenem, sulopenem and any other product candidate. As a result of entering into arrangements with third parties to perform sales, marketing and distribution services, our product revenues or the profitability of these product revenues to us would likely be lower than if we were to directly market and sell products in those markets.

Furthermore, we may be unsuccessful in entering into the necessary arrangements with third parties or may be unable to do so on terms that are favorable to us. In addition, we likely would have little control over such third parties, and any of them might fail to devote the necessary resources and attention to sell and market our products effectively.

If we do not establish sales and marketing capabilities successfully, either on our own or in collaboration with third parties, we will not be successful in commercializing our product candidates.

We face substantial competition from other pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies and our business may suffer if we fail to compete effectively.

The development and commercialization of new drug products is highly competitive. We face competition from major pharmaceutical companies, specialty pharmaceutical companies and biotechnology companies worldwide with respect to oral sulopenem, sulopenem and other product candidates that we may seek to develop and commercialize in the future. There are a number of pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies that currently market and sell products or are pursuing the development of product candidates for the treatment of multi-drug resistant infections. Potential competitors also include academic institutions, government agencies and other public and private research organizations. Our competitors may succeed in developing, acquiring or licensing technologies and drug products that are more effective or less costly than oral sulopenem, sulopenem or any other product candidates that we may develop, which could render our product candidates obsolete and noncompetitive.

There are a variety of available oral therapies marketed for the treatment of multi-drug resistant infections that we would expect would compete with oral sulopenem and sulopenem, such as levofloxacin, ciprofloxacin, nitrofurantoin, fosfomycin, amoxicillin-clavulanate, cephalexin and trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole. Many of the available therapies are well established and widely accepted by physicians, patients and third-party payors. Insurers and other third-party payors may also encourage the use of generic products, for example in the fluoroquinolone class. If oral sulopenem or sulopenem is approved, the pricing may be at a significant premium over other competitive products that are generic. This may make it difficult for oral sulopenem or sulopenem to compete with these products.

There are also a number of oral product candidates in clinical development by third parties that are intended to treat UTIs. Some mid- to late-stage product candidates include gepotidacin from GlaxoSmithKline, tebipenem pivoxil from Spero Therapeutics, Inc., delafloxacin from Melinta Therapeutics, Inc., pivmecillinam from Utility Therapeutics Limited, and ETX0282CPDP (a novel ß-lactamase inhibitor combined with cefpodoxime proxetil) from Entasis Therapeutics Holdings Inc. If our competitors obtain marketing

 

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approval from the FDA or comparable foreign regulatory authorities for their product candidates more rapidly than us, it could result in our competitors establishing a strong market position before we are able to enter the market.

There are several IV-administered products marketed for the treatment of infections resistant to first-line therapy for gram-negative infections, including Avycaz from Allergan plc and Pfizer, Vabomere from Melinta Therapeutics, Inc., Zerbaxa from Merck & Co., Zemdri from Cipla, Xerava from Tetraphase Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Recarbrio from Merck & Co, and recently, Fetroja from Shionogi & Co., Ltd.  In addition, Nabriva Therapeutics plc’s Contepo is an IV-administered product candidate in late-stage clinical development intended to treat resistant gram-negative infections and Allecra Therapeutics recently announced that its IV administered product candidate cefepime-enmetazobactam met the EMA and FDA primary endpoint in its phase 3 clinical trial for the treatment of cUTIs.

Many of our competitors have significantly greater financial resources and expertise in research and development, manufacturing, preclinical testing, conducting clinical trials, obtaining regulatory approvals and marketing approved products than we do. Mergers and acquisitions in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries may result in even more resources being concentrated among a smaller number of our competitors. Smaller and other early stage companies may also prove to be significant competitors, particularly through collaborative arrangements with large and established companies. These third parties compete with us in recruiting and retaining qualified scientific, management and sales and marketing personnel, establishing clinical trial sites and patient registration for clinical trials, as well as in acquiring technologies complementary to, or necessary for, our programs.

In July 2012, the Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act was passed, which included the Generating Antibiotics Incentives Now Act (the GAIN Act). The GAIN Act is intended to provide incentives for the development of new, qualified infectious disease products (QIDP). One such incentive is that, once a product receives QIDP designation and completes the necessary clinical trials and is approved by the FDA, it will be given an additional five years of regulatory exclusivity regardless of whether it is protected by a patent, provided that it is already eligible for another type of regulatory exclusivity. The FDA has designated sulopenem and oral sulopenem as QIDPs for the indications of uUTI, cUTI, cIAI, community-acquired bacterial pneumonia, acute bacterial prostatitis, gonococcal urethritis, and pelvic inflammatory disease. Fast track designation for these seven indications in both the oral and intravenous formulations has also been granted. In December 2016, the Cures Act was passed, providing additional support for the development of new infectious disease products. These incentives may result in more competition in the market for new antibiotics, and may cause pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies with more resources than we have to shift their efforts towards the development of product candidates that could be competitive with oral sulopenem, sulopenem and our other product candidates.

Even if we are able to commercialize oral sulopenem, sulopenem or any other product candidate, the product may become subject to unfavorable pricing regulations, or third-party payor coverage and reimbursement policies that could harm our business.

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

The commercial success of oral sulopenem and any future product candidates, if approved, will depend substantially, both in the United States and outside the United States, on the extent to which coverage and adequate reimbursement for the product and related treatments are available from government health programs, private health insurers and other third-party payors. If coverage is not available, or reimbursement is limited, we may not be able to successfully commercialize our product candidates. Even if coverage is provided, the approved reimbursement amount may not be high enough to allow us to establish or maintain pricing sufficient to realize a sufficient return on our investments. Government authorities and third-party payors, such as health insurers and managed care organizations, publish formularies that identify the medications they will cover and the related payment levels. The healthcare industry is focused on cost containment, both in the United States and elsewhere. Government authorities and third-party payors have attempted to control costs by limiting coverage and the amount of reimbursement for particular medications, which could affect our ability to sell our product candidates profitably.

In the United States, sales of our product candidates will depend, in part, on the availability and extent of coverage and reimbursement by third-party payors, such as government health programs, including Medicare and Medicaid, commercial insurance and managed healthcare organizations. There is no uniform coverage and reimbursement policy among third-party payors; however, private third-party payors often follow Medicare coverage policy and payment limitations in setting their own reimbursement rates. Obtaining coverage and reimbursement approval for a product candidate from third-party payors is a time-consuming and costly

 

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process that may require the provision of supporting scientific, clinical and cost effectiveness data for the use of such product candidate to the third-party payor. There may be significant delays in obtaining such coverage and reimbursement for newly approved products, and coverage may be more limited than the purposes for which the product candidate is approved by the FDA. Moreover, eligibility for coverage and reimbursement does not imply that a product candidate will be paid for in all cases or at a rate that covers operating costs, including research, development, intellectual property, manufacture, sales and distribution expenses. Reimbursement rates may vary according to the use of the product candidate and the clinical setting in which it is used, may be based on reimbursement levels already set for lower cost products and may be incorporated into existing payments for other services. It is difficult to predict what third-party payors will decide with respect to coverage and reimbursement for our product candidates.

We currently expect that sulopenem IV, if approved, will be administered in a hospital setting, and oral sulopenem, if approved, will be used in a community setting and possibly be administered in a hospital inpatient setting as well. In the United States, third-party payors generally reimburse hospitals a single bundled payment established on a prospective basis intended to cover all items and services provided to the patient during a single hospitalization. Hospitals bill third-party payors for all or a portion of the fees associated with the patient’s hospitalization and bill patients for any deductibles or co-payments. Because there is typically no separate reimbursement for drugs administered in a hospital inpatient setting, some of our target customers may be unwilling to adopt our product candidates in light of the additional associated cost. If we are forced to lower the price we charge for our product candidates, if approved, our gross margins may decrease, which would adversely affect our ability to invest in and grow our business.  Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently revised its reimbursement system for certain antibiotics in order to address challenges associated with antimicrobial resistance.  Based on the final rule published on August 2, 2019, CMS is finalizing an alternative new technology add-on payment pathway for certain breakthrough devices, and under this policy, a QIDP product will be considered new and will not need to demonstrate that it meets the substantial clinical improvement criterion.  Instead it will only need to meet the cost criterion.  CMS has also increased the new technology add-on payment percentage to 75 percent for an antimicrobial designated by the FDA as a QIDP. As this rule has only recently been implemented, we cannot at present assess its potential impact on sulopenem.

An inability to promptly obtain coverage and adequate payment rates from third-party payors for any approved product candidates that we develop could have a material adverse effect on our operating results, our ability to raise capital needed to commercialize products and our overall financial condition.

We cannot predict whether bacteria may develop resistance to oral sulopenem or sulopenem, which could affect their revenue potential.

We are developing oral sulopenem and sulopenem to treat drug-resistant bacterial infections. The bacteria responsible for these infections evolve quickly and readily transfer their resistance mechanisms within and between species. We cannot predict whether or when bacterial resistance to oral sulopenem and sulopenem may develop.

As with some commercially available carbapenems, oral sulopenem and sulopenem are not active against organisms expressing a resistance mechanism mediated by enzymes known as carbapenemases. Although occurrence of this resistance mechanism is currently uncommon, we cannot predict whether carbapenemase-mediated resistance will become widespread in regions where we intend to market sulopenem if it is approved. The use of carbapenems or penems in areas with drug-resistant infections or in countries with poor public health infrastructures, or the potentially extensive use of oral sulopenem or sulopenem outside of controlled hospital settings or in the community, could contribute to the rise of resistance. In addition, prescribers may be less likely to prescribe oral sulopenem and sulopenem if they are concerned about contributing to the rise of antibiotic resistance. If resistance to oral sulopenem or sulopenem becomes prevalent, or concerns about such resistance are strong, our ability to generate revenue from oral sulopenem and sulopenem could suffer.

We may be subject to costly product liability claims related to our clinical trials and product candidates and, if we are unable to obtain adequate insurance or are required to pay for liabilities resulting from a claim excluded from, or beyond the limits of our insurance coverage, a material liability claim could adversely affect our financial condition.

Because we conduct clinical trials with human patients, we face the risk that the use of our product candidates may result in adverse side effects to patients in our clinical trials. We face even greater risks upon any commercialization of our product candidates. Although we have product liability insurance, which covers our clinical trials for up to $10.0 million, our insurance may be insufficient to reimburse us for any expenses or losses we may suffer. We will need to increase our insurance coverage if and when we receive marketing approval for and begin selling oral sulopenem, sulopenem or any other product candidate. We do not know whether we will be able to continue to obtain product liability coverage and obtain expanded coverage if we require it, on acceptable terms, if at all.

We may not have sufficient resources to pay for any liabilities resulting from a claim excluded from, or beyond the limits of, our insurance coverage. Where we have provided indemnities in favor of third parties under our agreements with them, there is also a risk

 

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that these third parties could incur a liability and bring a claim under such indemnities. An individual may bring a product liability claim against us alleging that one of our product candidates or products causes, or is claimed to have caused, an injury or is found to be unsuitable for consumer use. Any product liability claim brought against us, with or without merit, could result in:

 

withdrawal of clinical trial volunteers, investigators, patients or trial sites;

 

the inability to commercialize our product candidates;

 

decreased demand for our product candidates;

 

regulatory investigations that could require costly recalls or product modifications;

 

loss of revenue;

 

substantial costs of litigation;

 

liabilities that substantially exceed our product liability insurance, which we would then be required to pay ourselves;

 

an increase in our product liability insurance rates or the inability to maintain insurance coverage in the future on acceptable terms, if at all;

 

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

 

damage to our reputation and the reputation of our products.

Our operations, including our use of hazardous materials, chemicals, bacteria and viruses, require us to comply with regulatory requirements and expose us to significant potential liabilities.

Our operations involve the use of hazardous materials, including chemicals, and may produce dangerous waste products. Accordingly, we, along with the third parties that conduct clinical trials and manufacture our products and product candidates on our behalf, are subject to federal, state, local and foreign laws and regulations that govern the use, manufacture, distribution, storage, handling, exposure, disposal and recordkeeping with respect to these materials. We are also subject to a variety of environmental and occupational health and safety laws. Compliance with current or future laws and regulations can require significant costs and we could be subject to substantial fines and penalties in the event of non-compliance. In addition, the risk of contamination or injury from these materials cannot be completely eliminated. In such event, we could be held liable for substantial civil damages or costs associated with the cleanup of hazardous materials.

If we experience a significant disruption in our information technology systems or breaches of data security, our business could be adversely affected.

We rely on information technology systems to keep financial records, capture laboratory data, maintain clinical trial data and corporate records, communicate with staff and external parties and operate other critical functions. Our information technology systems are potentially vulnerable to disruption due to breakdown, malicious intrusion and computer viruses or other disruptive events including, but not limited to, natural disaster. If we were to experience a prolonged system disruption in our information technology systems or those of certain of our vendors, it could delay or negatively impact the development and commercialization of our sulopenem program and any future product candidates or technology, which could adversely impact our business. Although we maintain offsite back-ups of our data, if operations at our facilities were disrupted, it may cause a material disruption in our business if we are not capable of restoring function on an acceptable timeframe. In addition, our information technology systems are potentially vulnerable to data security breaches—whether by employees or others—which may expose sensitive data to unauthorized persons. Such data security breaches could lead to the loss of trade secrets or other intellectual property or, could lead to the public exposure of personal information (including sensitive personal information) of our employees and others, any of which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations. Moreover, a security breach or privacy violation that leads to disclosure or modification of, personally identifiable information, could harm our reputation, compel us to comply with applicable European, and United States federal and/or state, breach notification laws, subject us to mandatory corrective action, require us to verify the correctness of database contents and otherwise subject us to litigation and liability under laws and regulations that protect personal data, resulting in increased costs or loss of revenue. In addition, a data security breach could result in loss of clinical trial data or damage to the integrity of that data. If we are unable to prevent such security breaches or privacy violations or implement satisfactory remedial measures, our operations could be disrupted, and we may suffer reputational damage, financial loss and other negative consequences because of lost or misappropriated information. In addition, these breaches and other inappropriate access can be difficult to detect, and any delay in identifying them may lead to increased harm of the type described above.

 

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Risks Related to Our Dependence on Third Parties

If we fail to comply with our obligations in our agreement with Pfizer, we could lose such rights that are important to our business.

We rely heavily on the Pfizer License pursuant to which we exclusively in-license certain patent rights and know-how related to sulopenem etzadroxil and certain know-how related to the IV formulation of sulopenem. The Pfizer License imposes diligence, development and commercialization timelines, milestone payments, royalties, insurance and other obligations on us, and we may enter into additional agreements, including license agreements, with other parties in the future which impose similar obligations.

The Pfizer License gives us exclusive worldwide rights to develop, manufacture, and commercialize sulopenem etzadroxil and sulopenem, or any other prodrug of sulopenem previously identified by Pfizer as well as the right to use relevant information and regulatory documentation developed by Pfizer to support any regulatory filing worldwide. In exchange for those rights, we are obligated to satisfy diligence requirements, including using commercially reasonable efforts to develop, obtain regulatory approval for and commercialize sulopenem etzadroxil and sulopenem by implementing a specified development plan and providing an update on progress on an annual basis. Under the Pfizer License, we paid Pfizer a one-time non-refundable upfront fee of $5.0 million, clinical milestone payments totaling $15.0 million, upon first patient dosing of oral sulopenem and sulopenem in a Phase 3 clinical trial, and are obligated to pay Pfizer milestone payments upon the achievement of other specified regulatory and sales milestones as well as royalties ranging from a single-digit to mid-teens percentage based on the amount of marginal net sales of each licensed product. Pfizer also received 381,922 of our Series A preferred shares (which converted to ordinary shares in connection with our IPO) as additional payment for the licensed rights.

If we fail to comply with our obligations to Pfizer under the Pfizer License, Pfizer may have the right to terminate the Pfizer License, in which event we would not be able to develop, obtain regulatory approval for, manufacture or market any product candidate that is covered by the Pfizer License, including sulopenem etzadroxil and sulopenem, which would materially harm our business, financial condition, results of operations and growth prospects. Any termination of the Pfizer License or reduction or elimination of our rights thereunder may result in our having to negotiate new or reinstated agreements with less favorable terms. Any termination of the Pfizer License would cause us to lose our rights to important intellectual property or technology.

We expect to depend on collaborations with third parties for the development and commercialization of oral sulopenem and sulopenem in certain territories. Our prospects with respect to those product candidates will depend in part on the success of those collaborations.

Although we are focusing our initial commercial efforts on the United States market, which we believe represents the largest market opportunity for our sulopenem program, we are also evaluating our commercialization strategy both within and outside the United States. For those countries in which we choose not to commercialize directly ourselves, we intend to seek to commercialize oral sulopenem and sulopenem through collaboration arrangements. In addition, we may seek third-party collaborators for development and commercialization of other product candidates in the United States and other territories. Our likely collaborators for any marketing, distribution, development, licensing or broader collaboration arrangements include large and mid-size pharmaceutical companies, regional and national pharmaceutical companies and biotechnology companies. We are not currently party to any such arrangements but plan to initiate discussions with potential commercial partners.   The EN Indenture and RLN Indenture each contain restrictions on entering into collaborations requiring consent of a portion of the holders of each of the Exchangeable Notes and RLNs.  There is no guarantee that consent will be forthcoming.

We may derive revenue from research and development fees, license fees, milestone payments and royalties under any collaborative arrangement into which we enter. Our ability to generate revenue from these arrangements will depend on our collaborators’ abilities to successfully perform the functions assigned to them in these arrangements. In addition, our collaborators may have the right to abandon research or development projects and terminate applicable agreements, including funding obligations, prior to or upon the expiration of the agreed upon terms. As a result, we can expect to relinquish some or all of the control over the future success of a product candidate that we license to a third party.

We face significant competition in seeking and obtaining appropriate collaborators. Collaborations involving our product candidates may pose a number of risks, including the following:

 

collaborators have significant discretion in determining the efforts and resources that they will apply to these collaborations;

 

collaborators may not perform their obligations as expected;

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

a collaborator with marketing and distribution rights to one or more products may not commit sufficient resources to the marketing and distribution of such product or products;

 

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

 

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

 

collaborators may infringe, misappropriate or otherwise violate the intellectual property rights of third parties, which may expose us to litigation and potential liability; and

 

collaborations may be terminated and, if terminated, may result in a need for additional capital to pursue further development or commercialization of the applicable product candidates.

Collaboration agreements may not lead to development or commercialization of product candidates in the most efficient manner or at all. If a collaborator of ours is involved in a business combination, it could decide to delay, diminish or terminate the development or commercialization of any product candidate licensed to it by us.

We rely on third parties to conduct our preclinical studies and our clinical trials. If these third parties do not successfully carry out their contractual duties or meet expected deadlines, we may be unable to obtain regulatory approval for or commercialize any of our product candidates. If they do not perform satisfactorily, our business may be materially harmed.

We do not independently conduct non-clinical studies that comply with good laboratory practice (GLP) requirements. We also do not have the ability to independently conduct clinical trials of any of our product candidates. We rely on third parties, such as CROs, clinical data management organizations, medical institutions, and clinical investigators to conduct our clinical trials of oral sulopenem and sulopenem and expect to rely on these third parties to conduct clinical trials of any potential product candidates. Any of these third parties may terminate their engagements with us at any time. If we need to enter into alternative arrangements, it would delay our product development activities.

Our reliance on these third parties for clinical development activities limits our control over these activities but we remain responsible for ensuring that each of our studies is conducted in accordance with the applicable protocol, legal, regulatory and scientific standards. For example, notwithstanding the obligations of a CRO for a clinical trial of one of our product candidates, we remain responsible for ensuring that each of our clinical trials is conducted in accordance with the general investigational plan and protocols for the clinical trial. While we will have agreements governing their activities, we control only certain aspects of their activities and have limited influence over their actual performance. The third parties with whom we contract for execution of our GLP studies and our clinical trials play a significant role in the conduct of these studies and clinical trials and the subsequent collection and analysis of data. Although we rely on these third parties to conduct our GLP-compliant non-clinical studies and clinical trials, we remain responsible for ensuring that each of our non-clinical studies and clinical trials are conducted in accordance with applicable laws and regulations, and our reliance on the CROs does not relieve us of our regulatory responsibilities. The FDA and regulatory authorities in other jurisdictions also require us to comply with standards, commonly referred to as good clinical practices (GCPs), for conducting, monitoring, recording and reporting the results of clinical trials to assure that data and reported results are accurate and that the trial subjects are adequately informed of the potential risks of participating in clinical trials. The FDA enforces these GCPs through periodic inspections of trial sponsors, principal investigators, clinical trial sites and institutional review boards. If we or our third-party contractors fail to comply with applicable GCPs, the clinical data generated in our clinical trials may be deemed unreliable and the FDA may require us to perform additional clinical trials before approving our product candidates, which would delay the regulatory approval process. We cannot assure our shareholders that, upon inspection, the FDA will determine that any of our clinical trials comply with GCPs. We are also required to register clinical trials and post the results of completed clinical trials on a government-sponsored database, ClinicalTrials.gov, within certain timeframes. Failure to do so can result in fines, adverse publicity and civil and criminal sanctions.

 

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Furthermore, the third parties conducting clinical trials on our behalf are not our employees, and except for remedies available to us under our agreements with such contractors, we cannot control whether or not they devote sufficient time and resources to our ongoing development programs. These contractors may also have relationships with other commercial entities, including our competitors, for whom they may also be conducting clinical trials or other drug development activities, which could impede their ability to devote appropriate time to our clinical programs. If these third parties do not successfully carry out their contractual duties, meet expected deadlines or conduct our clinical trials in accordance with regulatory requirements or our stated protocols, we may not be able to obtain, or may be delayed in obtaining, marketing approvals for our product candidates. If that occurs, we may not be able to, or may be delayed in our efforts to, successfully commercialize our product candidates. In such an event, our financial results and the commercial prospects for oral sulopenem, sulopenem or other product candidates could be harmed, our costs could increase and our ability to generate revenue could be delayed, impaired or foreclosed.

We also rely on other third parties to store and distribute drug supplies for our clinical trials. Any performance failure on the part of our distributors could delay clinical development or marketing approval of our product candidates or commercialization of any resulting products, producing additional losses and depriving us of potential product revenue.

We contract with third parties for the manufacture of preclinical and clinical supplies of oral sulopenem and sulopenem and expect to continue to do so in connection with any future commercialization and for any future clinical trials and commercialization of our product candidates and potential product candidates. This reliance on third parties increases the risk that we will not have sufficient quantities of our product candidates or such quantities at an acceptable cost, which could delay, prevent or impair our development or commercialization efforts.

We do not have the internal infrastructure or capability to manufacture oral sulopenem and sulopenem for use in the conduct of our preclinical research or clinical trials. We rely on third-party contract manufacturers to manufacture supplies of oral sulopenem and sulopenem, and we expect to rely on third-party contract manufacturers to manufacture commercial quantities of any product candidate that we commercialize following approval for marketing by applicable regulatory authorities, if any. Reliance on third-party manufacturers entails risks, including:

 

manufacturing delays if our third-party manufacturers give greater priority to the supply of other products over our product candidates or otherwise do not satisfactorily perform according to the terms of their agreement with us;

 

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

 

the possible breach of the manufacturing agreement by the third party;

 

the failure of the third-party manufacturer to comply with applicable regulatory requirements; and

 

the possible misappropriation of our proprietary information, including our trade secrets and know-how.

We currently rely on a small number of third-party contract manufacturers for all of our required raw materials, drug substance and finished product for our preclinical research and clinical trials. We do not have long-term agreements with any of these third parties. We also do not have any current contractual relationships for the manufacture of commercial supplies of any of our product candidates although negotiations are well advanced. If any of our existing manufacturers should become unavailable to us for any reason, we may incur delays in identifying or qualifying replacements.

We will enter into agreements with third-party contract manufacturers for the commercial production of oral sulopenem and sulopenem. This process is difficult and time consuming and we may face competition for access to manufacturing facilities as there are a limited number of contract manufacturers operating under current Good Manufacturing Practices, or cGMPs, that are capable of manufacturing our product candidates. Consequently, we may not be able to reach agreement with third-party manufacturers on satisfactory terms, which could delay our commercialization.

Third-party manufacturers are required to comply with cGMPs and similar regulatory requirements outside the United States. Facilities used by our third-party manufacturers must be approved by the FDA after we submit an NDA and before potential approval of the product candidate. Similar regulations apply to manufacturers of our product candidates for use or sale in countries outside of the United States. We have no direct control over the ability of our third-party manufacturers to maintain adequate quality control, quality assurance and qualified personnel, and are completely dependent on our third-party manufacturers for compliance with the applicable regulatory requirements for the manufacture of our product candidates. If our manufacturers cannot successfully manufacture material that conforms to the strict regulatory requirements of the FDA and any applicable regulatory authority, they will not be able to secure the applicable approval for their manufacturing facilities. If these facilities are not approved for commercial manufacture, we may need to find alternative manufacturing facilities, which could result in delays in obtaining approval for the applicable product candidate. In addition, our manufacturers are subject to ongoing periodic unannounced inspections by the FDA and corresponding state and foreign agencies for compliance with cGMPs and similar regulatory requirements. Failure by any of our manufacturers to comply with applicable cGMPs or other regulatory requirements could result in sanctions being imposed on us,

 

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including fines, injunctions, civil penalties, delays, suspensions or withdrawals of approvals, operating restrictions, interruptions in supply and criminal prosecutions, any of which could significantly and adversely affect supplies of our product candidates and have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

We and our third-party suppliers also continue to refine and improve the manufacturing process, certain aspects of which are complex and unique, and we may encounter difficulties with new or existing processes, particularly as we seek to significantly increase our capacity to commercialize oral sulopenem and sulopenem. Our reliance on contract manufacturers also exposes us to the possibility that they, or third parties with access to their facilities, will have access to and may appropriate our trade secrets or other proprietary information.

As drug candidates are developed through non-clinical studies to late-stage clinical trials towards approval and commercialization, it is common that various aspects of the development program, such as manufacturing methods, methods of making drug formulations, and drug formulations, are altered along the way in an effort to optimize processes and results. Such changes carry the risk that they will not achieve these intended objectives. Any of these changes could cause our drug candidates to perform differently and affect the results of clinical trials or other future clinical trials conducted with the altered materials. Such changes may also require additional testing, FDA notification or FDA approval. This could delay completion of clinical trials, require the conduct of bridging clinical trials or the repetition of one or more clinical trials, increase clinical trial costs, delay approval of our drug candidates and jeopardize our ability to commence sales and generate revenue.

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

Risks Related to Our Intellectual Property

We rely heavily on the Pfizer License for the patent rights and know-how required to develop and commercialize oral sulopenem and the know-how required to develop the IV formulation of sulopenem.

We currently do not own any patents and rely heavily on the Pfizer License for intellectual property rights that are important or necessary for the development of oral sulopenem and sulopenem. We do not own or license any patent rights that cover the IV formulation of sulopenem. In addition, all patents directed to the compound sulopenem expired prior to us entering into the Pfizer License. Licenses to additional third-party intellectual property, technology and materials that may be required for the development and commercialization of our sulopenem program or any other product candidates or technology may not be available at all or on commercially reasonable terms. In that event, we may be required to expend significant time and resources to redesign our sulopenem program and any other product candidates or technology we may obtain in the future or to develop or license replacement technology, all of which may not be feasible on a technical or commercial basis. If we are unable to do so, we may be unable to develop or commercialize oral sulopenem or sulopenem or other future product candidates or technologies, which could materially harm our business, financial condition, results of operations and growth prospects.

Under the Pfizer License, and we expect under certain of our future license agreements, we are responsible for prosecution and maintenance of the licensed patents and for bringing any actions against any third party for infringing on such patents. In addition, the Pfizer License requires, and we expect certain of our future license agreements would also require, us to meet certain development thresholds to maintain the license, including establishing a set timeline for developing and commercializing products. In addition, such license agreements are complex, and certain provisions in such agreements may be susceptible to multiple interpretations. The resolution of any contract interpretation disagreement that may arise could narrow what we believe to be the scope of our rights to the relevant intellectual property or technology, or increase what we believe to be our financial or other obligations under the relevant agreement, either of which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and growth prospects. Disputes may arise regarding intellectual property subject to the Pfizer License or any of our future license agreements, including:

 

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

 

the extent to which our technology and processes infringe, misappropriate or otherwise violate any intellectual property of the licensor that is not subject to the licensing agreement;

 

the sublicensing of patent and other rights under the license agreement;

 

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

 

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

 

the priority of invention of patented technology.

 

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In spite of our best efforts, Pfizer and any potential future licensors might conclude that we have materially breached our license agreements and might therefore terminate the relevant license agreements, thereby removing our ability to develop and commercialize products and technology covered by such license agreements. If any of our inbound license agreements are terminated, or if the underlying patents fail to provide the intended exclusivity, competitors would have the freedom to seek regulatory approval of, and to market, products identical to ours. This could have a material adverse effect on our competitive position, business, financial condition, results of operations and growth prospects.

If we are unable to obtain and maintain patent protection or other intellectual property rights for oral sulopenem or our other technology and product candidates, or if the scope of the patent protection or intellectual property rights we obtain is not sufficiently broad, we may not be able to successfully develop or commercialize oral sulopenem or any other product candidates or technology or otherwise compete effectively in our markets.

We rely upon a combination of patents, trademarks, trade secret protection, confidentiality agreements and other proprietary rights to protect the intellectual property related to our development programs and product candidates. Our success depends, in part, on obtaining and maintaining patent protection and successfully enforcing these patents and defending them against third-party challenges in the United States and other countries. If we or our licensors are unable to obtain or maintain patent protection with respect to oral sulopenem or any other product candidates or technology we develop, our business, financial condition, results of operations and growth prospects could be materially harmed.

We have sought to protect our proprietary position by in-licensing patents in the United States and abroad related to oral sulopenem. The patent prosecution process is expensive and time-consuming, and we and our licensors may not be able to file and prosecute all necessary or desirable patent applications at a reasonable cost or in a timely manner or in all jurisdictions. It is also possible that we will fail to identify patentable aspects of our research and development output before it is too late to obtain patent protection. Moreover, although we control prosecution of the patents we have licensed from Pfizer related to our sulopenem program, we may not always have the right to control the preparation, filing and prosecution of patent applications, or to maintain, enforce or defend the patents, covering technology that we may license from third parties. Therefore, these patents and patent applications may not be prosecuted, maintained, enforced or defended in a manner consistent with the best interests of our business.

If any patent applications we may own or in-license in the future with respect to our development programs or product candidates fail to issue, if their breadth or strength of protection is threatened or if they fail to provide meaningful exclusivity for our current and future product candidates, it could dissuade companies from collaborating with us to develop product candidates and threaten our ability to commercialize products. Any such outcome could materially harm our competitive position, business, financial condition, results of operations and growth prospects.

The patent position of pharmaceutical companies generally is highly uncertain, involves complex legal and factual questions and has in recent years been the subject of much litigation. In addition, the laws of countries outside the United States may not protect our rights to the same extent as the laws of the United States. For example, EU patent law restricts the patentability of methods of treatment of the human body more than U.S. law does. In addition, publications of discoveries in scientific literature often lag behind the actual discoveries, patent applications in the United States and other jurisdictions remain confidential for a period after filing, and some remain so until issued. Therefore, we cannot know with certainty whether we were the first to make the inventions claimed in the patents or pending patent applications we currently own, license or may own or license in the future, or that we were the first to file for patent protection of such inventions. As a result, the issuance, scope, validity, enforceability and commercial value of our patent rights are highly uncertain. There is no assurance that all potentially relevant prior art relating to our patent rights has been found, and such prior art could potentially invalidate one or more of the patents we currently license or may own or license in the future or prevent a patent from issuing from one or more pending patent applications we own or may own or license in the future. There is also no assurance that prior art of which we are aware, but which we do not believe affects the validity or enforceability of a claim in our patent rights, may, nonetheless, ultimately be found to affect the validity or enforceability of a claim. Even if patents do successfully issue and even if such patents cover our current and future product candidates, third parties may challenge their ownership, validity, enforceability or scope, which may result in such patents being narrowed, invalidated or held unenforceable, which could allow third parties to commercialize our technology or products and compete directly with us, without payment to us, or result in our inability to manufacture or commercialize products without infringing third-party patent rights. Any successful opposition to these patents or any other patents owned by us in the future or licensed to us could deprive us of rights necessary for the successful commercialization of any product candidates that we may develop. Furthermore, even if they are unchallenged, our patents rights may not adequately protect our product candidates and technology, provide exclusivity for our product candidates, prevent others from designing around our claims or provide us with a competitive advantage. Any of these outcomes could impair our ability to prevent competition from third parties. Changes in either the patent laws or interpretation of the patent laws in the United States or other countries may diminish the value of our patent rights or narrow the scope of our patent protection.

We cannot offer any assurances about whether any issued patents will be found invalid and unenforceable or will be challenged by third parties. Any successful challenge or opposition to patents owned by or licensed to us could deprive us of rights necessary for

 

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the successful commercialization of any product candidates that we may develop. Further, if we encounter delays in regulatory approvals, the period of time during which we could market a product candidate under patent protection could be reduced.

Furthermore, our patent rights may be subject to a reservation of rights by one or more third parties. For example, certain research we conducted was funded in part by the U.S. government. As a result, the U.S. government may have certain march-in rights to patents and technology arising out of such research, if any. When new technologies are developed with government funding, the government generally obtains certain rights in any resulting patents, including a non-exclusive license authorizing the government to use the invention. These rights may permit the government to disclose our confidential information to third parties and to exercise march-in rights to use or allow third parties to use our licensed technology. The government can exercise its march-in rights if it determines that action is necessary because we fail to achieve practical application of the government-funded technology, to alleviate health or safety needs, to meet requirements of federal regulations or to give preference to U.S. industry. In addition, our rights in such inventions may be subject to certain requirements to manufacture products embodying such inventions in the United States. Any exercise by the government of such rights could harm our competitive position, business, financial condition, results of operations and growth prospects.

We may not identify relevant third-party patents or may incorrectly interpret the relevance, scope or expiration of a third party patent which might adversely affect our ability to develop and market our product candidates.

We cannot guarantee that any of our or our licensors’ patent searches or analyses, including but not limited to the identification of relevant patents, the scope of patent claims or the expiration of relevant patents, are complete or thorough, nor can we be certain that we have identified each and every third-party patent and pending application in the United States and abroad that is relevant to or necessary for the commercialization of our product candidates in any jurisdiction. For example, U.S. applications filed before November 29, 2000 and certain U.S. applications filed after that date that will not be filed outside the United States remain confidential until patents issue. Patent applications in the United States and elsewhere are published approximately 18 months after the earliest filing for which priority is claimed, with such earliest filing date being commonly referred to as the priority date. Therefore, patent applications covering our product candidates could have been filed by others without our knowledge. Additionally, pending patent applications that have been published can, subject to certain limitations, be later amended in a manner that could cover our product candidates or the use of our product candidates. The scope of a patent claim is determined by an interpretation of the law, the written disclosure in a patent and the patent’s prosecution history. Our interpretation of the relevance or the scope of a patent or a pending application may be incorrect, which may negatively impact our ability to market our product candidates. We may incorrectly determine that our product candidates are not covered by a third-party patent or may incorrectly predict whether a third party’s pending application will issue with claims of relevant scope. Our determination of the expiration date of any patent in the United States or abroad that we consider relevant may be incorrect, which may negatively impact our ability to develop and market our product candidates. Our failure to identify and correctly interpret relevant patents may negatively impact our ability to develop and market our product candidates.

The patent protection for our product candidates may expire before we are able to maximize their commercial value which may subject us to increased competition and reduce or eliminate our opportunity to generate product revenue.

Patents have a limited lifespan. In the United States, if all maintenance fees are paid timely, 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. The patents for our product candidates have varying expiration dates and, if these patents expire, we may be subject to increased competition and we may not be able to recover our development costs. For example, our licensed U.S. patent claim for a composition of matter patent for oral sulopenem is due to expire in 2029, subject to potential extension to 2034 under the Drug Price Competition and Patent Term Restoration Act of 1984 (referred to as the Hatch-Waxman Act). Given the amount of time required for the development, testing and regulatory review of new product candidates, patents protecting such product candidates might expire before or shortly after such product candidates are commercialized. As a result, our patent rights may not provide us with sufficient rights to exclude others from commercializing product candidates similar or identical to ours.

The FDA designated sulopenem and oral sulopenem as QIDPs for the indications of uUTI, cUTI, cIAI, community-acquired bacterial pneumonia, acute bacterial prostatitis, gonococcal urethritis, and pelvic inflammatory disease. Fast track designation for these seven indications in both the oral and intravenous formulations has also been granted. QIDP status provides the potential for a more rapid review cycle for an NDA and could add five years to any regulatory exclusivity period that we may be granted.  However, that does not guarantee that we will receive any regulatory exclusivity or that any such exclusivity will be for a period sufficient to provide us with any commercial advantage. Moreover, we do not own or license any patent directed to the compound sulopenem.

Depending upon the timing, duration and conditions of FDA marketing approval of our product candidates, one or more of the U.S. patents we currently license may be eligible for limited patent term extension under the Hatch-Waxman Act, and similar legislation in the European Union. The Hatch-Waxman Act permits a patent term extension of up to five years for a patent covering an approved product as compensation for effective patent term lost during product development and the FDA regulatory review process.

 

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A patent term extension cannot extend the remaining term of a patent beyond a total of 14 years from the date of product approval, only one patent may be extended and only those claims covering the approved drug, a method for using it or a method for manufacturing it may be extended. We may not receive an extension if we fail to apply within applicable deadlines, fail to apply prior to expiration of the relevant patents or otherwise fail to satisfy applicable requirements and the length of the extension could be less than we request. To the extent we wish to pursue patent term extension based on a patent that we in-license from Pfizer or another third party, we would need the cooperation of Pfizer or the third party. Moreover, similar extensions may be available in some of the larger economic territories but may not be available in all of our markets of interest.

If we are unable to obtain patent term extension/restoration or some other exclusivity, or the term of any such extension is less than we request, the period during which we can enforce our exclusive rights for that product will be shortened and our competitors may obtain approval to market competing products sooner. As a result, we could be subject to increased competition and our opportunity to establish or maintain product revenue could be substantially reduced or eliminated. Furthermore, we may not have sufficient time to recover our development costs prior to the expiration of our U.S. and non-U.S. patent rights. If this occurs, our competitors may take advantage of our investment in development and trials by referencing our clinical and preclinical data and launch their product earlier than might otherwise be the case. Any of the foregoing would materially harm our business, financial condition, results of operations and growth prospects.

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