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UNITED STATES

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

Washington, D.C. 20549

 

FORM 10-K

 

(Mark One)

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

For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2021

OR

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

Commission File Number: 001-39856

 

CULLINAN ONCOLOGY, INC.

(Exact name of Registrant as specified in its Charter)

 

 

Delaware

81-3879991

(State or other jurisdiction of

incorporation or organization)

(I.R.S. Employer

Identification No.)

One Main Street

Suite 520

Cambridge, MA

02142

(Address of principal executive offices)

(Zip Code)

Registrant’s telephone number, including area code: (617) 410-4650

 

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

 

Title of each class

 

Trading

Symbol(s)

 

Name of each exchange on which registered

Common Stock, par value $0.0001 per share

 

CGEM

 

The Nasdaq Global Select Market

 

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

Indicate by check mark if the Registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act. YesNo

Indicate by check mark if the Registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Act. YesNo

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. YesNo

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). YesNo

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

 

Large accelerated filer

 

 

Accelerated filer

 

 

 

 

 

 

Non-accelerated filer

 

 

Smaller reporting company

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Emerging growth company

 

 

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

Indicate by check mark whether the Registrant has filed a report on and attestation to its management’s assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 U.S.C. 7262(b)) by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its audit report.

Indicate by check mark whether the Registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act). YesNo

The aggregate market value of the voting and non-voting stock held by non-affiliates of the Registrant as of June 30, 2021 was $717,444,028 based on the closing price of the Registrant's shares of common stock on the Nasdaq Global Select Market on such date.

The number of shares of the Registrant’s common stock outstanding as of March 1, 2022 was 44,608,613.

DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE

The Registrant intends to file a definitive proxy statement pursuant to Regulation 14A in connection with its 2022 Annual Meeting of Stockholders within 120 days of the end of the Registrant’s fiscal year ended December 31, 2021. Portions of such proxy statement are incorporated by reference into Part III of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

 

 

 


 

Table of Contents

 

 

 

 

Page

PART I

 

 

Item 1.

Business

1

Item 1A.

Risk Factors

58

Item 1B.

Unresolved Staff Comments

114

Item 2.

Properties

114

Item 3.

Legal Proceedings

114

Item 4.

Mine Safety Disclosures

114

 

 

 

PART II

 

 

Item 5.

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

115

Item 6.

Reserved

115

Item 7.

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

116

Item 7A.

Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk

130

Item 8.

Financial Statements and Supplementary Data

130

Item 9.

Changes in and Disagreements with Accountants on Accounting and Financial Disclosure

130

Item 9A.

Controls and Procedures

130

Item 9B.

Other Information

130

 

 

 

PART III

 

 

Item 10.

Directors, Executive Officers and Corporate Governance

131

Item 11.

Executive Compensation

131

Item 12.

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

131

Item 13.

Certain Relationships and Related Transactions, and Director Independence

131

Item 14.

Principal Accounting Fees and Services

131

 

 

 

PART IV

 

 

Item 15.

Exhibits, Financial Statement Schedules

132

Item 16

Form 10-K Summary

132

 

 

 

 

 


 

SPECIAL NOTE REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

This Annual Report on Form 10-K contains forward-looking statements which are made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”). These statements involve risks, uncertainties, and other factors that may cause actual results, levels of activity, performance or achievements to be materially different from the information expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements. All statements, other than statements of historical facts, contained in this Annual Report on Form 10-K, including statements regarding our strategy, future operations, future financial position, future revenue, projected costs, prospects, plans and objectives of management and expected market growth are forward-looking statements. The words “anticipate,” “believe,” “continue,” “could,” “estimate,” “expect,” “intend,” “may,” “plan,” “potential,” “predict,” “project,” “should,” “target,” “would” and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements, although not all forward-looking statements contain these identifying words.

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

the success, cost and timing of our clinical development of our product candidates, including CLN-081, CLN-049 and CLN-619;
the initiation, timing, progress, results and cost of our research and development programs and our current and future preclinical and clinical studies, including statements regarding the timing of initiation and completion of studies or trials and related preparatory work, the period during which the results of the trials will become available, and our research and development programs;
our ability to initiate, recruit and enroll patients in and conduct our clinical trials at the pace that we project;
our ability to obtain and maintain regulatory approval of our product candidates, and any related restrictions, limitations or warnings in the label of any of our product candidates, if approved;
our ability to compete with companies currently marketing or engaged in the development of treatments that our product candidates are designed to target;
our reliance on third parties to conduct our clinical trials and to manufacture drug substance for use in our clinical trials;
the size and growth potential of the markets for oncology diseases and any of our current product candidates or other product candidates we may identify and pursue, and our ability to serve those markets;
our ability to identify and advance through clinical development any additional product candidates;
the commercialization of our current product candidates and any other product candidates we may identify and pursue, if approved, including our ability to successfully build a specialty sales force and commercial infrastructure to market our current product candidates and any other product candidates we may identify and pursue;
the expected benefits of our hub-and-spoke business model, including our ability to identify research priorities and apply a risk-mitigated strategy to efficiently discover and develop product candidates;
our ability to retain and recruit key personnel;
our ability to obtain and maintain adequate intellectual property rights;
our expectations regarding government and third-party payor coverage and reimbursement;
our estimates of our expenses, ongoing losses, capital requirements and our needs for or ability to obtain additional financing;
the potential benefits of strategic collaboration agreements, our ability to enter into strategic collaborations or arrangements, and our ability to attract collaborators with development, regulatory and commercialization expertise;
our financial performance;
developments and projections relating to our competitors or our industry;
the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic, including mitigation efforts and economic effects, on any of the foregoing or other aspects of our business operations, including but not limited to our preclinical studies and future clinical trials; and
other risks and uncertainties, including those listed under the section titled “Risk Factors.”

 


 

You should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements because they involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors, which are, in some cases, beyond our control and which could materially affect results. Factors that may cause actual results to differ materially from current expectations include, among other things, those listed under “Risk Factors” and elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. If one or more of these risks or uncertainties occur, or if our underlying assumptions prove to be incorrect, actual events or results may vary significantly from those implied or projected by the forward-looking statements. 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 or implied by any forward-looking statements we may make. No forward-looking statement is a guarantee of future performance.

You should read this Annual Report on Form 10-K and the documents that we reference herein and have filed or incorporated by reference as exhibits hereto completely and with the understanding that our actual future results may be materially different from what we expect. We do not assume any obligation to update any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as required by law.

This Annual Report on Form 10-K also contains estimates, projections and other information concerning our industry, our business and the markets for our product candidates. Information that is based on estimates, forecasts, projections, market research or similar methodologies is inherently subject to uncertainties and actual events or circumstances may differ materially from events and circumstances that are assumed in this information. Unless otherwise expressly stated, we obtained this industry, business, market and other data from our own internal estimates and research as well as from reports, research surveys, studies, and similar data prepared by market research firms and other third parties, industry, medical and general publications, government data and similar sources. While we are not aware of any misstatements regarding any third-party information presented in this Annual Report on Form 10-K, their estimates, in particular, as they relate to projections, involve numerous assumptions, are subject to risks and uncertainties and are subject to change based on various factors, including those discussed under the section titled “Risk Factors” and elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

 

 

 


 

Summary of the Material and Other Risks Associated with Our Business

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

We are early in our development efforts and are substantially dependent on our lead product candidates, CLN-081, CLN-049 and CLN-619. If we are unable to advance these or any of our other product candidates through clinical development, or to obtain regulatory approval and ultimately commercialize any such product candidates, either by ourselves or with or by third parties or if we experience significant delays in doing so, our business will be materially harmed.
Difficulty in enrolling patients could delay or prevent clinical trials of our product candidates, and ultimately delay or prevent regulatory approval.
Interim, “topline” and preliminary data from our clinical trials that we announce or publish may change as more patient data become available and are subject to confirmation, audit and verification procedures that could result in material changes in the final data.
Our product candidates may cause undesirable side effects or have other properties that delay or prevent their regulatory approval, limit their commercial potential or result in significant negative consequences following any potential marketing approval.
Our limited operating history may make it difficult for you to evaluate the success of our business to date and to assess our future viability.
We have incurred significant losses since inception and we expect to incur losses over the next several years and may not be able to achieve or sustain revenues or profitability in the future.
We will require substantial additional funding to develop and commercialize our product candidates and identify and invest in new product candidates. If we are unable to raise capital when needed, we would be compelled to delay, reduce or eliminate our product development programs or other operations.
We may not be successful in our efforts to use our differentiated hub-and-spoke business model to build a pipeline of product candidates with commercial value.
Our subsidiaries are party to certain agreements that provide our licensors, collaborators or other shareholders in our subsidiaries with rights that could delay or impact the potential sale of our subsidiaries or could impact the ability of our subsidiaries to sell assets, or enter into strategic alliances, collaborations or licensing arrangements with other third parties.
Our ability to realize value from our subsidiaries may be impacted if we reduce our ownership to a minority interest or otherwise cede control to other investors through contractual agreements or otherwise.
A single or limited number of subsidiaries may comprise a large proportion of our value.
Our reliance on a central team consisting of a limited number of employees presents operational challenges that may adversely affect our business.
We face substantial competition, which may result in others discovering, developing or commercializing products before or more successfully than we do.
If we are unable to obtain and maintain patent and other intellectual property protection for our current and future product candidates and technology, or if the scope of intellectual property protection obtained is not sufficiently broad, our competitors could develop and commercialize products and technology similar or identical to ours, and our ability to commercialize CLN-081, CLN-049 and CLN-619, or any other product candidates or technology may be adversely affected.
We currently rely and expect to continue to rely on the outsourcing of the majority of our development functions to third parties to conduct our preclinical studies and clinical trials. If these third parties do not properly and successfully carry out their contractual duties or meet expected deadlines, we may not be able to obtain regulatory approval of or commercialize our product candidates.
COVID-19 has and may continue to adversely impact our business, including our preclinical studies and clinical trials and our ability to source drug supply.

 


 

We are highly dependent on our key personnel and anticipate hiring new key personnel. If we are not successful in attracting and retaining highly qualified personnel, we may not be able to successfully implement our business strategy.
 

 


 

PART I

Item 1. Business.

Overview

We are a biopharmaceutical company focused on developing a diversified pipeline of targeted therapeutic candidates across multiple modalities in order to bring important medicines to cancer patients. Our strategy is to source innovation through both internal discovery efforts and external collaborations, focusing on advanced stage assets with novel technology platforms and differentiated mechanisms. Before we advance a product candidate into clinical development, we evaluate its potential for anti-tumor activity as a single agent as well as its ability to generate an immune system response or to inhibit oncogenic drivers. Using this strategy, we have efficiently developed or in-licensed a portfolio of product candidates that currently includes eight distinct programs.

Our pipeline currently includes three clinical-stage candidates and five preclinical programs. We are evaluating our lead candidate, CLN-081, in a Phase 1/2a trial in patients with non-small cell lung cancer, or NSCLC, harboring epidermal growth factor receptor, or EGFR, exon 20 insertion mutations who have previously received platinum-based chemotherapy. In December 2021, we presented efficacy and safety data from this trial that we believe supports CLN-081’s differentiated clinical profile. In January 2022, we announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, or the FDA, granted CLN-081 Breakthrough Therapy Designation, or BTD. Our two other clinical stage programs include CLN-049, a bispecific T cell-engaging antibody targeting FLT3 and CD3 that is in an ongoing clinical trial for patients with relapsed or refractory acute myeloid leukemia, or r/r AML; and CLN-619, a monoclonal antibody that stabilizes a unique tumor cell surface target, MICA/MICB, to promote an antitumor response via activation of both natural killer (NK) cells and certain T cells. CLN-619 is in an ongoing clinical trial for patients with advanced solid tumors. Both CLN-049 and CLN-619 demonstrated compelling antitumor activity preclinically in multiple in vivo models and we believe that both programs have first-in-class potential. Our preclinical pipeline includes two programs in investigational new drug application, or IND, enabling studies, CLN-617 and CLN-978, and three programs in research.

In order to advance and grow our portfolio, we adhere to our Cullinan Oncology approach, which is guided by the following core elements:

Platform technology diversification to mitigate overall risk and maximize optionality
Capital allocation strategy based on risk-adjusted potential, including staged funding to pre-specified scientific and clinical results
Internal development capabilities complemented by external business development
Disciplined asset evaluation and selection with emphasis on structural and mechanistic differentiation; and
Focus on translational medicine and product candidates with in vivo single agent activity.
 

Our Pipeline

Our pipeline includes oncology product candidates and programs that are intentionally diversified by mechanism, technology platform, modality and stage of development. We rigorously assess each of our programs to justify continued investment and determine proper capital allocation. When certain programs do not meet our de-risking criteria for advancement, we terminate those programs and preserve our capital and resources to invest in programs with greater potential. As a result, our pipeline will continue to be dynamic.

We believe that each program candidate has differentiating design features or mechanisms of action, as well as first- and/or best-in-class potential. We currently hold worldwide development and commercialization rights to each of our product candidates, except for CLN-081, where Japan and Greater China rights have been partnered. Our current pipeline is summarized in the diagram below:

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https://cdn.kscope.io/fa17c82cedb5580aa518d9cd78f01e88-img65927005_0.jpg 

 

Our Strategy

We are advancing a broad and deep pipeline of targeted oncology product candidates, including multiple clinical stage programs, that span a range of cancer indications and diverse technology platforms. Our focused approach is to select and advance molecules with first- and/or best-in-class potential that activate the immune system or target key oncogenic drivers and have the promise of single agent efficacy. The key elements of our strategy are to:

Build a pipeline of differentiated oncology product candidates that are diversified by mechanism, therapeutic approach, modality and stage of development. We seek to mitigate risk by maintaining a diversified portfolio of uncorrelated product candidates and programs, and by intentionally carrying a portfolio mix such that some programs are directed toward novel targets, while others focus on more validated pathways. For the latter programs, we seek drug candidates with mechanisms or formats that we believe will be responsible for differentiating tolerability, ease of administration, efficacy or a combination thereof. Importantly, before we advance a product candidate into clinical development, we evaluate its ability to generate an immune system response or to inhibit oncogenic drivers as a single agent in vivo.
Expand our pipeline through research collaborations, business development, and internally designed programs. Our founders and management team are leaders in oncology drug discovery, clinical development and business development and commercial operations. Their proven track records and longstanding relationships in the life sciences industry provide us with access to ideas and assets from around the world. In addition, their experiences and deep understanding of molecular oncology and cancer immunotherapy also enable us to translate novel concepts into internally designed product candidates. We are actively evaluating external collaboration and in-licensing opportunities as well as internal development opportunities to continue to expand our pipeline.

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Advance our lead product candidate, CLN-081, toward potential regulatory approval for the targeted treatment of NSCLC patients with EGFRex20ins mutations. As of December 2021, we had enrolled 73 patients across five dosing levels in our ongoing Phase 1/2a trial. We intend to leverage CLN-081’s BTD to support our ongoing discussions with the FDA and to provide a CLN-081 regulatory update by the end of the first quarter of 2022.
Establish clinical proof-of-concept for CLN-049 and CLN-619 in patients with hematological malignancies and solid tumors, respectively. Both CLN-049 and CLN-619 have strong potential for clinical differentiation. CLN-049’s target, FLT3, is expressed frequently on AML cells and leukemic blasts but minimally on healthy blood cells, which differentiates FLT3 from other tumor surface antigens identified in AML, such as CD33 and CD123. Furthermore, by targeting extracellular FLT3, regardless of mutant or wild type status, we believe CLN-049 has the potential to reach a broader patient population than existing small molecule FLT3 kinase inhibitors acting on the intracellular domain, which are limited to a subset of approximately 25% of AML patients with FLT3 mutations. CLN-619’s target, MICA/B, is expressed by a broad range of tumor types across both solid tumors and hematological malignancies. Furthermore, the MICA/B receptor, NKG2D, is expressed in both innate and adaptive effector cell populations. Finally, CLN-619 facilitates an antitumor immune response through multiple modes of action, including inhibition of MICA/B shedding, ADCC mediation, enhancement of NKG2D receptor binding, and prevention of decoy NKG2D by shed MICA/B. We intend to provide a clinical update on both programs by mid 2023.
Continue to advance and evolve our pipeline with a goal of advancing one product candidate into the clinic and one program into IND-enabling studies each year. In addition to our three clinical stage product candidates, we have five additional preclinical programs that are designed with the goal of addressing limitations of approved oncology therapies. For example, we believe CLN-617 is the only single agent immunotherapy in development combining IL-2 and IL-12 with a collagen-binding domain to enhance retention of cytokines within the tumor microenvironment. Another of our research programs, CLN-978, is a half-life extended, humanized, single-chain T cell engaging antibody that we believe has the potential to improve on some of the shortcomings of the approved CD3/CD19 bispecific T cell engager, blinatumomab, and to compete with CD19-targeted CAR-T cell therapies. We expect to submit INDs for CLN-617 and CLN-978 by the end of the first half of 2023.
Evaluate strategic opportunities to accelerate development timelines and maximize the value of our portfolio. We intend to maximize the value for each of our programs by opportunistically leveraging the existing infrastructure of other companies or internally pursuing later-stages of development and commercialization. Our subsidiaries hold the worldwide rights to our product candidates, except for CLN-081. Our licensor, Taiho Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd., or Taiho Pharma, retains rights in Japan and we sublicensed Greater China rights to Zai Lab (Shanghai) Co., Ltd., or Zai Lab. Our business model provides us with the flexibility to efficiently pursue various types of transactions and collaborations with third parties at the subsidiary level. It also enables us to preserve resources for continued internal investment upon successful achievements of development milestones. We have made and will continue to make decisions regarding each of our subsidiaries and programs with the overarching aim of maximizing both patient benefit and shareholder value.

Our Structure

We have historically established distinct subsidiaries for externally sourced programs to execute our strategy of building a diversified oncology company in a capital efficient manner. Our holding company, Cullinan Oncology, Inc., or Cullinan, provides all capital, human resources, and other services to each subsidiary via a shared services agreement. Each subsidiary holds the exclusive rights to intellectual property, or IP, for any of our product candidates and programs that was sourced externally. This structure enables us to keep licensors economically incentivized at the program level through our ability to offer equity and access to potential cash milestones and royalty payments. Further, because each subsidiary is a separate legal entity that holds all of the assets related to the development candidate, including the relevant intellectual property, and has no employees, fixed assets, or overhead costs, we have flexibility both to raise capital at either the parent or subsidiary level and to pursue subsidiary-level licenses or stock sales.

In the figure below, we have listed each subsidiary’s product candidate as well as any relevant licensors or shareholders. Cullinan’s ownership, as of December 31, 2021, as a percentage of fully-diluted shares outstanding is listed below
.

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Our Structure

https://cdn.kscope.io/fa17c82cedb5580aa518d9cd78f01e88-img65927005_1.jpg 

Note: The Company owned 45% of Cullinan MICA as of December 31, 2021.

The structure of our financing arrangements with each subsidiary enables us to increase our economic ownership when we provide additional capital. Further information about our subsidiaries, including ownership and governance, is included in the “Management’s Discussion and Analysis” section of this Annual Report.

Our structure was designed to (i) enhance operational efficiency, (ii) maintain an optimal cost structure, (iii) attract leading collaborators and licensors and (iv) promote asset flexibility, as further described below.

Enhance operational efficiency: We centralize all employees and services at our holding company and allocate resources to subsidiaries as needed. We empower managers to access these resources and make program-level decisions in order to increase productivity and speed. We believe this model enables a flexible organizational structure that can achieve scale through the addition of programs without increasing burdensome bureaucracy or redundant infrastructure.
Maintain an optimal cost structure: We have a relatively small number of employees and have built a network of trusted external service providers, choosing to leverage their infrastructure and expertise as needed instead of embarking on capital-intensive lab, manufacturing and equipment expenditures. As of December 31, 2021, we had 31 full time employees and three consultants working on eight active programs. By reducing overhead costs, we believe we can increase the likelihood that we can generate a return on invested capital.
Attract leading collaborators and licensors: Each of our subsidiaries has its own capitalization and governance, enabling us to keep collaborators and licensors economically incentivized at the program level. We believe that the experienced leadership team and shared services at our holding company differentiate us from other potential licensees.
Promote asset flexibility: Each subsidiary holds the relevant intellectual property of its product candidates or programs and has none of its own employees, fixed assets, or overhead costs. This allows us to efficiently pursue various subsidiary-level transactions, such as stock or asset sales, licensing transactions, strategic partnerships, co-development arrangements, or spin-outs. It also provides us with the flexibility to terminate programs with minimal costs if results do not meet our de-risking criteria for advancement.

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Our Programs

CLN-081

Our lead product candidate, CLN-081, is an orally available small molecule designed as a next generation, irreversible EGFR inhibitor in development for the treatment of NSCLC patients harboring EGFR exon 20 insertion mutations. In January 2022, we announced that the FDA granted Breakthrough Therapy Designation to CLN-081. The molecule was designed with a unique chemical scaffold to bind to the active site exon 20 insertion mutant EGFR, inhibiting mutant activity while sparing wild type EGFR activity. In preclinical studies, CLN-081 demonstrated high selectivity for cells with EGFR exon 20 insertion mutations, while relatively sparing cells expressing wild type EGFR. CLN-081 displayed potent antitumor activity in in vitro and in vivo models of exon 20 insertion mutant EGFR NSCLC.

We licensed worldwide rights, excluding Japan, to CLN-081 from Taiho Pharma in 2018 and initiated a Phase 1/2a dose escalation and expansion trial in previously treated, adult NSCLC patients with EGFRex20ins mutations. In December 2021, we provided a clinical update that included safety and efficacy data from 73 evaluable patients enrolled across five dose levels, ranging from 30 to 150mg BID. At the 100mg BID dose, we observed the following efficacy highlights:

14 of 36 (39%) response evaluable patients achieved a confirmed partial response.
35 of 36 (97%) response evaluable patients achieved a best response of partial response or stable disease.
The estimated median duration of response was greater than 15 months and an estimated median progression free survival that was 12 months in the initial cohort of phase 1 patients (n=13); follow-up is ongoing for the patients enrolled in the Phase 2a cohort (n=23).

We also observed a favorable safety and tolerability profile at the 100mg BID dose level, as evidenced by the lack of Grade 3 or greater treatment-related adverse events, or TRAEs, of rash or diarrhea, which are associated with EGFR TKIs therapies. EGFR-associated TRAEs have been manageable with conventional supportive care, and the implementation of systematic GI prophylaxis has not been required. As seen with other EGFR TKIs, a case of Grade 3 treatment-related pneumonitis has been observed at the 100mg BID dose, although the patient had recently undergone treatment with checkpoint inhibitor therapy and had a concurrent presence of a significant hydropneumothorax, not related to treatment, in the contralateral lung. We believe that the totality of CLN-081’s data at the 100mg BID dose reflects its differentiated clinical profile.

We sublicensed CLN-081 development rights in Greater China to Zai Lab in exchange for an upfront fee, milestones and royalties. The licensing agreement provided Zai Lab with an exclusive license to research, develop, commercialize and manufacture CLN-081 and products which contain CLN-081 in Greater China. See the section of this Annual Report titled “Business - License Agreements — Zai License Agreement” for more information.

Background on NSCLC and EGFR mutations

Lung cancer is by far the leading cause of cancer deaths among both men and women, comprising almost 25% of all cancer deaths. Each year, more people die of lung cancer than of colon, breast, and prostate cancers combined. The American Cancer Society estimated that, in 2022, there will be approximately 236,740 new cases of lung cancer and approximately 130,180 deaths from lung cancer in the United States. The most common subtype of lung cancer is NSCLC, which represents approximately 80% to 85% of all lung cancers.

EGFR is a receptor tyrosine kinase, or RTK, that normally functions to trigger cell division when growth factors bind to the receptor. Oncogenic mutations in the tyrosine kinase domain can induce growth factor independent activation of EGFR, resulting in uncontrolled cell growth and proliferation. Ultimately, these aberrant signals can contribute to the development of NSCLC. EGFR mutations are present in approximately 15% to 25% of U.S. and Western European NSCLC patients and approximately 30% to 50% of Asian NSCLC patients. Given its important role and prevalence in cancer, mutant EGFR is a critical target in lung cancer therapy. Exon 19 deletion and exon 21 L858R substitution mutations, collectively referred to as classical EGFR mutations, are the most common and account for over 75% of EGFR mutations in NSCLC. Multiple EGFR inhibitors, including gefitinib, erlotinib, afatinib, and osimertinib, target these common mutations and have been approved as first-line therapies, thus validating mutant EGFR as a target for the treatment of NSCLC.

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Exon 20 insertions, which account for 7% to 13% of all EGFR mutations in NSCLC patients, are the most prevalent after the classical EGFR mutations. We estimate an incidence of approximately 2,000 to 5,000 NSCLC patients in the U.S. and approximately 1,000 to 3,000 patients in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom with EGFRex20ins mutations. Preclinical studies have shown that exon 20 insertions, as well as classical EGFR mutations, have the characteristics of oncogenic driver mutations, which are responsible for both tumorigenesis and the progression of cancer. However, in contrast to classical EGFR mutations, exon 20 insertions do not sensitize the kinase domain to treatment with approved EGFR inhibitors.

Currently, there are two targeted therapies with accelerated approval for NSCLC patients with EGFRex20ins mutations whose disease has progressed on or after platinum-based chemotherapy: amivantamab-vmjw (Rybrevant) and mobocertinib (Exkivity). Despite these accelerated approvals, we believe significant unmet need remains for NSCLC patients with EGFRex20ins mutations. Specifically, we believe there is an opportunity for an oral therapy with strong selectivity for mutant vs. wild type EGFR, which could potentially lead to an improved safety and tolerability profile, especially with respect to treatment related adverse events such as rash, diarrhea, and infusion site reactions, as well as cardiovascular events.

CLN-081

CLN-081 is a small molecule that was designed as an irreversible EGFR inhibitor with a novel pyrrolopyrimidine scaffold, which is unique among the therapies in development that are targeting EGFRex20ins mutations. CLN-081 is designed to fit into the ATP-binding site of EGFR where it covalently modifies C797, thereby forming a durable drug-protein linkage that irreversibly inhibits the mutant receptor. In preclinical studies, CLN-081 demonstrated high selectivity and inhibition of EGFR in cells expressing mutant EGFR proteins, with substantially less inhibition in cells expressing wild type EGFR.

The selectivity index of CLN-081 versus competing EGFR inhibitors was evaluated in vitro as measured by the ratio of the half-maximal growth inhibition, or IC50, value of cells expressing wild type EGFR versus cells expressing exon 20 insertion mutant EGFR. As shown below, CLN-081 demonstrated the highest selectivity index among a panel of EGFR targeted therapies, suggesting that CLN-081 may be capable of achieving clinically relevant inhibition of EGFR with exon 20 insertion mutations with relative sparing of wild type EGFR.

CLN-081 Demonstrated Superior Selectivity

Across Multiple EGFRex20ins Mutations

 

https://cdn.kscope.io/fa17c82cedb5580aa518d9cd78f01e88-img65927005_2.jpg 

Preclinical Data

Multiple preclinical studies, including IND-enabling studies, of CLN-081 have been completed, which supported the submission and acceptance of our IND by the FDA in the second quarter of 2019. In vivo activity of CLN-081 was evaluated in multiple EGFRex20ins mutation-driven tumor models, including three of the most common insertion mutations as shown in the figure below. In all three mouse models, doses of 200 milligrams per kilogram, or mpk, of CLN-081 achieved persistent tumor regression with no body weight loss over five percent. In comparison, 20mpk of afatinib induced only modest tumor growth inhibition in these models. The results of these common insertion mutation models are summarized below.

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Tumor Reduction Observed in Mice With CLN-081 Treatment vs. Afatinib or Vehicle in Multiple EGFRex20ins Mutant NSCLC Models

 

 

 

 

NCI-H1975 xenograft
(EGFR D770 N771insSVD)

NIH/3T3 allografts
(EGFR H773 V774insNPH)

Lung cancer PDX
(EGFR V769 D770insASV)

 

 

 

https://cdn.kscope.io/fa17c82cedb5580aa518d9cd78f01e88-img65927005_3.jpg 

https://cdn.kscope.io/fa17c82cedb5580aa518d9cd78f01e88-img65927005_4.jpg 

https://cdn.kscope.io/fa17c82cedb5580aa518d9cd78f01e88-img65927005_5.jpg 

In another preclinical study, the antitumor activity and impact on body weight of CLN-081 was compared to that of poziotinib, which, at the time, was the most advanced EGFRex20ins inhibitor in clinical development. Antitumor activity and body weight change were measured in mice bearing a xenografts tumor as shown below. Comparable tumor growth suppression was observed in the mice treated with 1mpk of poziotinib as those treated with 100mpk of CLN-081. Notably, poziotinib treatment led to body weight loss in all mice. In contrast, mice treated with CLN-081 with doses up to 200mpk showed no significant body weight loss. We believe these results illustrate the potential selectivity and potential therapeutic window for CLN-081.

CLN-081 Inhibited Tumor Growth and Avoided Weight Loss in NSCLC with EGFRex20ins Mutations

 

 

 

NCI-H1975 xenograft
(EGFR D770 N771insSVD)

Corresponding body-weight change in mice

 

 

https://cdn.kscope.io/fa17c82cedb5580aa518d9cd78f01e88-img65927005_6.jpg 

https://cdn.kscope.io/fa17c82cedb5580aa518d9cd78f01e88-img65927005_7.jpg 

Clinical Development

We initiated our ongoing Phase 1/2a trial of CLN-081 in the fourth quarter of 2019. This first-in-human, open-label, multi-center trial is designed to evaluate the safety and tolerability, pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, and preliminary efficacy of CLN-081 in adult NSCLC patients with EGFRex20ins mutations. The trial included two major components: dose escalation and cohort expansion. Dose escalation began with a single patient accelerated titration design, and transitioned to 3+3 decision rules upon the first occurrence of a Grade 2 or greater TRAE, which occurred at the 100 mg BID dose level. This trial had a flexible, adaptive design that allowed for further expansion of any given cohort at the discretion of the Sponsor gated by acceptable safety and pre-specified efficacy criteria. Cohorts could be expanded to 6, then 13, then 36 patients gated by these criteria. We expanded cohorts at the 65, 100, and the 150 mg BID dose levels, including enrollment up to the maximum of 36 patients at the 100 mg BID dose level which has been completed. Although we expanded enrollment at 150 mg BID dose level, we subsequently discontinued enrollment after 11 patients had been enrolled, based on assessment of the overall clinical profile at this dose level. We have enrolled patients across sites in the U.S., the Netherlands, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Taiwan, and we plan to initiate additional sites, including in China.

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As of December 2021, 73 patients across five dose escalation cohorts, including cohorts at 30, 45, 65, 100, and 150 mg BID dose levels, received at least one dose of CLN-081. The patient population in our trial is heavily pre-treated, with a median of two prior systemic therapies and 66% of patients having received two or more prior therapies at study entry (i.e. 3rd line of therapy or greater). Further, 37% of patients have received prior treatment with an EGFR inhibitor, including 5% that have received prior treatment with poziotinib or Exkivity, that target Exon20ins mutations. Over half (53%) of the patients received prior treatment with a checkpoint inhibitor.

Safety and Pharmacokinetic Data

The following table provides a summary of treatment related safety and tolerability events, including rash and diarrhea, which are toxicities related to inhibition of WT EGFR, as well as laboratory abnormalities including anemia and transaminase elevations across the 100 mg and 150 mg BID dose levels for comparison, as well as the overall safety population in our ongoing Phase 1/2a trial. We believe that this safety and tolerability profile compares favorably to other EGFR exon 20 inhibitors, in particular with respect to the incidence and severity of diarrhea.

 

https://cdn.kscope.io/fa17c82cedb5580aa518d9cd78f01e88-img65927005_8.jpg 

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In the 39 safety evaluable patients who have been treated at the dose of 100 mg BID, no patients have experienced Grade 3 or greater treatment related rash or diarrhea. At this dose level, 72% and 34% of patients have experienced treatment-related rash and diarrhea, respectively, of either Grade 1 or 2 severity; however, the ratio of patients who experience Grade 1 versus Grade 2 events is approximately 3:1 for both rash and diarrhea. Both events have been manageable with conventional supportive care, and implementation of systematic GI prophylaxis has not been required for diarrhea management. As has been seen with other EGFR TKI, a case of G3 treatment-related pneumonitis has been observed at this dose, although the patient had recent treatment with checkpoint inhibitor therapy and the concurrent presence of a significant hydropneumothorax, not related to treatment, in the contralateral lung.

Key observations in 11 safety evaluable patients at the 150 mg BID dose level included treatment-related Grade 3 diarrhea in two patients, Grade 3 rash in one patient, and two patients with Grade 3 and Grade 4 transaminitis. In addition, one patient who was off treatment with CLN-081 for more than three weeks because of progressive disease was reported as having G3 treatment-related pneumonitis; the patient had a concurrent Pneumocystis jiroveci infection. In addition, an increase in rates of dose reduction and dose discontinuation were observed among patients treated at the 150 mg BID compared to the 100 mg BID dose level. These observations informed our decision to discontinue further enrollment of patients at 150 mg BID, after 11 patients.

Preliminary pharmacokinetic, or PK, data demonstrated a near dose-dependent trend in exposure, as measured by unbound area under the curve, or AUC, and Cmax values. Furthermore, the target unbound AUC required to achieve tumor regression in preclinical studies was reached starting at the initial dose of 30 mg BID. Notable features of the CLN-081 PK profile include sustained PK exposure over GI50 for EGFRex20ins mutations for eight hours post dose, limited interpatient heterogeneity and limited exposure above the GI50 for WT EGFR at doses at or below 100 mg BID. Consistent with the clinical safety profile at 100 mg BID dose compared with the 150 mg BID dose, at the 150mg BID dose, we observed CLN-081 concentrations above WT EGFR GI50 ratios for approximately four hours.

Efficacy Data

The following table summarizes best response characteristics for response-evaluable patients treated at the 100 mg BID (N=36) and 150 mg BID (N=11) BID dose levels as well as the overall population across dose levels in aggregate (N=70) as of a December 13, 2021 data cutoff. Among patients treated at 100 mg BID at the data cutoff, 14 patients achieved a confirmed response, indicating a 39% confirmed overall response rate (cORR). This cORR was higher than the 27% cORR among 11 patients at the 150mg BID dose cohort. At the 100mg BID dose cohort, 35 of 36 (97%) patients experienced a best response of stable disease or partial response, including confirmed or unconfirmed responses.

https://cdn.kscope.io/fa17c82cedb5580aa518d9cd78f01e88-img65927005_9.jpg 

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Below are additional efficacy analyses for the 36 patients treated at the 100mg BID dose cohort, including a swimmer’s chart (A), a waterfall chart with percentage best change from baseline (B), and a spider plot with percentage change in target lesions over time (C). We have also included estimated response duration and progression free survival from patients treated in the Phase 1 cohort (n=13) at 100mg BID (D). Patients in the trial have their initial tumor imaging performed after approximately six weeks of treatment, and then every nine weeks thereafter. Based on these analyses, we believe that CLN-081 has shown substantial antitumor activity with broad EGFR exon 20 variant coverage; a rapid onset of action; and encouraging response quality as measured by duration of response and progression-free survival.

(A) Preliminary Efficacy Results from Ongoing Phase 1/2a Trial of CLN-081

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(B) Best Response % Change from Baseline (target lesion)

 

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* Progressive disease due to progression of non-target lesions.

 

(C) Percentage Change in Sum of Target Lesions from Baseline

 

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(D) Estimated Median Duration of Response, Median Progression Free Survival, and Disease Control Rate from the Phase 1 100mg BID Cohort

https://cdn.kscope.io/fa17c82cedb5580aa518d9cd78f01e88-img65927005_13.jpg 

CLN-049

Our second clinical-stage oncology product candidate, CLN-049, is a humanized bispecific antibody that we are developing for the treatment of AML. We are currently evaluating CLN-049 in a clinical trial in adult patients with r/r AML. CLN-049 is designed to simultaneously bind to FLT3 on the extracellular domain of target leukemic cells and to CD3 on T cells, triggering the T cells to kill the target cancer cells. FLT3 is a validated proto-oncogene and several kinase inhibitors targeting mutant FLT3 are approved for the treatment of r/r AML, but are limited to approximately 25% of the AML population with FLT3 mutations. By targeting FLT3 on the extracellular domain, CLN-049 has the potential to address up to approximately 80% of AML patients. Preclinically, we have observed that CLN-049 led to highly potent FLT3-dependent killing of leukemic cells in vitro at a wide range of FLT3 expression levels on AML cells regardless of FLT3 mutational status. In preclinical studies, treatment with CLN-049, even at low doses, led to survival benefit in an AML xenograft model and complete elimination of leukemic blasts in mouse models implanted with AML cell lines or primary patient leukemic cells.

Background on Acute Myeloid Leukemia and FLT3

The American Cancer Society estimates that, in 2022, there will be approximately 20,000 newly diagnosed patients with AML and approximately 11,500 deaths from AML in the U.S. AML is a complex hematologic malignancy characterized by uncontrolled proliferation of malignant immature myeloid blast cell populations. These blasts may completely infiltrate and replace the bone marrow, resulting in major disruption of normal hematopoiesis and pancytopenia, very high numbers of circulating blasts in the peripheral blood, and infiltration of visceral organs as well as the skin. In addition, patients with AML may be susceptible to bleeding complications due to thrombocytopenia and experience complications from treatment with cytotoxic chemotherapy. These patients may also be severely immuno-compromised secondary to their disease and experience prolonged periods of neutropenia and lymphopenia. As a result, these patients are often susceptible to life-threatening infections that also contribute to severe morbidity and mortality.

Despite advancements in the treatment of AML, there continues to be a high unmet need in these patients. Eligible newly diagnosed patients are typically treated with intensive induction chemotherapy, which may include continuous infusion of cytarabine with an anthracycline, in an attempt to achieve a complete remission. The majority of patients that experience complete remission undergo hematopoietic stem cell transplantation, or HSCT. Despite aggressive first-line combination chemotherapy, the recent approvals of multiple targeted small molecules for molecularly defined AML patient subsets, and the use of HSCT in patients with a suitable matched donor, the prognosis of patients with AML remains extremely poor. Although 60% to 85% of younger adult patients achieve complete remissions, patients older than 60 years of age have inferior complete response rates of 40% to 60%. In addition, approximately 40% of all patients relapse following HSCT.

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FLT3, or FMS-like tyrosine kinase 3, is a Class III RTK with a well-recognized and essential role in hematopoiesis. In healthy individuals, expression of FLT3 is restricted to a subpopulation of hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells, or HSPCs, inducing their proliferation and differentiation into monocytes, dendritic cells, B cells, and T cells. FLT3 has been identified as a proto-oncogene and plays a key role in promoting leukemic cell proliferation and survival. Several small molecule kinase inhibitors targeting FLT3 mutations are in development or have been approved for the treatment of AML. However, these product candidates and approved therapies only address approximately 25% of AML patients who have intracellular FLT3 genetic mutations but do not address the larger subset of patients with extracellular expression of FLT3 on the surface of cancer cells.

Studies have shown that FLT3 is expressed by FACS staining on AML blasts in approximately 80% of AML patients, regardless of an oncogenic driver mutation. In one study, leukemic bulk cells from 318 newly diagnosed or relapsed AML patients were evaluated for cell surface FLT3 protein expression, and 78% were found positive for FLT3, as shown in the figure below. This broad expression of FLT3 in AML patients suggests that targeting FLT3 with a biologic agent, namely a T cell engaging bispecific antibody that recruits T cells to kill tumor cells expressing FLT3 on the cell surface, could address a larger AML patient population than the targeted small molecule inhibitors targeting mutated version of the intracellular signaling domain of FLT3 that are approved or in development. Compared to other tumor surface antigens identified in AML, such as CD33 and CD123, FLT3 expression is generally restricted to a subpopulation of bone marrow HSPCs and circulating dendritic cells. FLT3 plays a key role in driving leukemogenesis and malignant progression of AML, promoting leukemic cell proliferation and survival. We believe that the expression of FLT3 on the surface of leukemic blasts in most AML patients and its role as a known oncogenic driver make it an attractive therapeutic target for a T cell engager approach.

Approximately 80% of AML Patients Show Positive Cell Surface FLT3 Protein Expression

 

https://cdn.kscope.io/fa17c82cedb5580aa518d9cd78f01e88-img65927005_14.jpg 

CLN-049

CLN-049 is a humanized bispecific antibody construct comprised of two FLT3-binding domains, an Fc-silenced humanized IgG1 backbone, and CD3-binding single-chain Fv domains, or scFvs, fused to the C-terminus of the antibody’s heavy chain. In multiple preclinical studies, CLN-049 has demonstrated the ability to redirect T cells to lyse FLT3-expressing AML cells in vitro and potent antitumor activity in vivo. By targeting extracellular FLT3, regardless of mutant or wild type status, we believe CLN-049 has the potential to address up to approximately 80% of AML patients, a broader patient population than existing small molecule FLT3 kinase inhibitors acting on the intracellular domain, which are limited to a subset of approximately 25% of AML patients with FLT3 mutations.

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Preclinical Data

Given the observed variability in FLT3 expression levels among patients, we characterized the killing potential of CLN-049 across multiple cell lines expressing differing levels of FLT3 on the cell surface. As shown in the figures below, CLN-049 was observed to mediate robust target-dependent cell killing in vitro across all AML cell lines tested. Importantly, we observed that the EC50 value, i.e., the drug concentration at which 50% of target cells are killed, was in the sub-nM range and did not seem to be dependent on the number of FLT3 receptor molecules found on AML target cells. In particular, we observed potent target cell killing even when those cells expressed fewer than 100 copies of the FLT3 receptor per cell. We also observed potent redirected lysis of AML cell lines with WT or mutant FLT3 expression. Based on these results, we believe CLN-049 may effectively kill AML target cells with even low levels of FLT3 expression, regardless of WT or mutant origin, which could potentially translate into deeper and more durable responses in the clinic and may allow us to treat a larger subset of AML patients.

CLN-049 Demonstrated Killing of Target Cells Expressing a Range of FLT3, in vitro

 

 

https://cdn.kscope.io/fa17c82cedb5580aa518d9cd78f01e88-img65927005_15.jpg 

 

CLN-049 Demonstrated Killing of Target Cells Expressing WT and Mutant FLT3, in vitro

 

 

 

https://cdn.kscope.io/fa17c82cedb5580aa518d9cd78f01e88-img65927005_16.jpg 

 

FLT3 is not widely expressed on normal immune cells, but rather is restricted to certain hematopoietic stem cell precursors in the bone marrow and dendritic cell subsets in the periphery. As shown in the figure below, a recent study found that the expression level of FLT3 transcript was significantly higher on AML cells compared to normal tissues.

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FLT3 Transcript Level is Higher on AML Cells Than on Normal Human Solid Tissues

 

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Importantly, we observed that CLN-049 treatment in vitro did not lead to a significant reduction in CD34+ bone marrow cells, as shown in the figure below, supporting our hypothesis that CLN-049 preferentially kills FLT3-expressing leukemic cells while sparing normal cells.

CLN-049 Treatment Did Not Result in Significant Killing of Normal CD34+ Bone Marrow Cells In Vitro

 

https://cdn.kscope.io/fa17c82cedb5580aa518d9cd78f01e88-img65927005_18.jpg 

CLN-049 has two CD3-binding arms that can potentially crosslink CD3 on T cells, which may result in target cell-independent T cell activation and systemic cytokine-related toxicities. In preclinical studies, we examined whether CLN-049 can lead to spurious T cell activation in the absence of target cells. As shown below, incubation of purified human T cells with CLN-049 in the absence of target-expressing cells did not induce T cell activation markers CD25 and CD69 on either CD4+ or CD8+ T cells as opposed to positive control anti-CD3 antibodies OKT3 and UCHT1 (CLN-049 parental anti-CD3 antibody) that induced T cell activation.

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CLN-049 Did Not Trigger the Upregulation of Activation Marker CD69 On Purified Human CD4+ or

CD8+ T Cells in the Absence of FLT3 Expressing Target Cells

 

https://cdn.kscope.io/fa17c82cedb5580aa518d9cd78f01e88-img65927005_19.jpg 

The potential efficacy of CLN-049 was evaluated in a humanized mouse model where a human AML cell line was implanted systemically. As shown in the figure below, CLN-049 controlled AML leukemic burden in the engrafted human PBMC (DHC23) mice and led to the extension of the animals’ survival in a dose-dependent manner. We believe CLN-049 effected this result by redirecting the T cells in the human PBMC population to kill the target AML cells.

Dose-dependent Effect of CLN-049 on the Survival of Mice with Disseminated Leukemic AML Cells

 

https://cdn.kscope.io/fa17c82cedb5580aa518d9cd78f01e88-img65927005_20.jpg 

The anti-leukemic activity of CLN-049 was also evaluated using patient-derived AML blasts and PBMCs in a disseminated humanized mouse model. As shown in the figure below, treatment with CLN-049 resulted in a significant reduction in the overall leukemic burden in the bone marrow of both the primary AML blast (left panel) and ALL blast model (right panel). In contrast, a control T cell engaging bispecific antibody having the same format as CLN-049 but containing a non-specific target-binding domain did not impact the leukemic burden as compared to untreated control.

CLN-049 Demonstrated Anti-Leukemic Activity in Humanized Mouse Models with Primary AML and ALL Cells

 

 

https://cdn.kscope.io/fa17c82cedb5580aa518d9cd78f01e88-img65927005_21.jpg 

To further evaluate the safety of CLN-049 in vivo, CLN-049 was administered in a humanized mouse model inoculated with human PBMC. This study was specifically designed to test possible off-target effects of CLN-049. As shown in the figure below, the administration of CLN-049 did not cause meaningful body weight loss in the treated mice, with the overall body weight profiles being comparable to those of the control group. In contrast, administration of a bivalent cross-linking anti-CD3 antibody, the parental CD3 antibody UCHT1 from which the scFv domains of CLN-049 were derived, led to significant body weight loss (left panel) and the release of the cytokine interferon gamma in serum (right panel), as shown below.

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Effect of CLN-049 on Body Weight and Cytokine Release in Humanized Mice

 

 

https://cdn.kscope.io/fa17c82cedb5580aa518d9cd78f01e88-img65927005_22.jpg 

This result further supports our hypothesis that, in vivo, the two CD3 binding domains in CLN-049 cannot cross-link CD3 and therefore CLN-049 does not activate T cells in the absence of human FLT3-expressing target cells.

In December 2021, we initiated a Phase 1 clinical trial evaluating a single ascending dose of CLN-049 in r/r AML patients. The study is designed to primarily evaluate the PK and safety of the intravenous administration of CLN-049.

CLN-619

Our third clinical stage product candidate, CLN-619, is a MICA/B-targeted, humanized IgG1 monoclonal antibody that we intend to initially develop for the treatment of solid tumors. CLN-619 was designed to promote an antitumor response through multiple mechanisms of action, including inhibition of MICA/B shedding, ADCC mediation, enhancement of NKG2D receptor binding, and prevention of decoy NKG2D by shed MICA/B. The MICA/B receptor, NKG2D, is expressed in both innate and adaptive immune cell populations. Although several companies have disclosed preclinical MICA/B targeting programs, we are unaware of any clinical stage, antibody-based programs engaging this target, implying CLN-619 has first-in-class potential. In multiple in vivo preclinical tumor models, CLN-619 administration as a single agent was associated with antitumor activity and reduced levels of serum MICA/B.

We believe CLN-619 has the potential to become a novel backbone agent for immuno-oncology therapy given the broad expression of MICA/B across tumor types and the biological rationale for combining CLN-619 with other agents. We are currently evaluating CLN-619 in an ongoing clinical trial for patients with advanced solid tumors. The trial design includes parallel evaluation of CLN-619 as a monotherapy and in combination with checkpoint inhibitor therapy modules.

Background on NKG2D and MICA/B

NKG2D is a key activating receptor on NK cells responsible for cytolysis upon binding to ligands expressed on target cells. NKG2D is also expressed on other types of immune cells, including CD8+ ß T cells, natural killer T, or NKT, cells, and T cells, and can prime such cells for activation and enhance their antitumor activity as a co-activating receptor. Healthy cells do not normally express ligands of NKG2D, but will do so in response to cellular stress, such as oxygen or nutrient deprivation, radiation, viral infection, or oncogenic transformation. As illustrated below, there are eight NKG2D ligands in humans: MICA and MICB; UL16 binding protein, or ULBP 1, 2, and 3; and Retinoic Acid Early Transcript, or RAET, 1E, 1G, and 1L (also known as ULBP 4, 5, and 6). All NKG2D ligands comprise an 12 extracellular major histocompatibility complex, or MHC, Class I-like superdomain that functionally interacts with the homo-dimeric NKG2D receptor.

Overview of NKG2D Ligands

 

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MICA/B proteins are broadly recognized by NK cells,  T cells, and CD8+ ß T cells via the NKG2D receptor. The engagement between the NKG2D receptor and MICA/B proteins triggers the effector cytolytic responses of NK cells and  T cells against tumor cells expressing MICA/B. In the case of CD8+ ß T cells, effector responses mediated by the T cell receptor are enhanced by NKG2D-MICA/B interactions. NKG2D-mediated stimulation also results in the induction of cytokines, which further promotes the recruitment and the proliferation of immune cells and bolsters the immune response.

To evade potential cytotoxic destruction by NK cells and T cells, tumor cells expressing MICA/B have adopted shedding of MICA/B from their cell surface as a key evasion mechanism. The MICA/B alpha-3 domain contains a stretch of amino acids that allows for protease cleavage of an extracellular portion of MICA/B and subsequent release from the cell surface, thereby reducing the ability of MICA/B to interact with NKG2D and resulting in decreased NKG2D-mediated killing of tumor cells. This mechanism also concomitantly increases the amount of circulating serum MICA/B, or sMICA/B. Soluble NKG2D ligands have also been shown to contribute to an immunosuppressive microenvironment. The mechanisms underlying this biology are illustrated below. Below, Panel A shows the normal mechanism by which tumor-associated ligands of NKG2D, such as MICA/B, can induce tumor cell killing. Panel B shows how tumor cells, through the proteolytic cleavage of MICA/B, can escape immune surveillance and immune cell-mediated killing.

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Role of NKG2D Ligands, MICA/B, in Immune Cell-Mediated Killing of Tumor Cells

 

 

Panel A

Panel B

 

https://cdn.kscope.io/fa17c82cedb5580aa518d9cd78f01e88-img65927005_24.jpg 

Given that proteolytic shedding of NKG2D ligands is an important immune escape mechanism, soluble levels of NKG2D ligands, such as sMICA, in a patient’s serum may serve as an important indicator of prognosis. Several studies have shown that cancer patients with high levels of sMICA have a significantly worse prognosis than those patients with low levels of sMICA. The prognostic role of sMICA has been observed across patients with multiple distinct tumor types, including melanoma, NSCLC, pancreatic cancer, colorectal cancer, hepatocellular carcinoma, and multiple myeloma. Across 19 studies that included more than 2,500 patients, a meta-analysis showed that high sMICA levels were associated with poor prognosis of patients with high statistical significance.

Conversely, multiple studies have shown that the levels of sMICA in healthy individuals are low, usually less than 100 pg/mL, as compared to cancer patients who have high levels of sMICA that can exceed 1,000 pg/mL. However, in the majority of cancer patients, sMICA levels are usually between 100 to 1,000 pg/mL, as shown in the figure below. This data suggests that levels of sMICA/B in a patient’s serum may have the potential to be used as a biomarker to evaluate the therapeutic effectiveness of antibodies designed to block proteolytic cleavage of MICA/B from the tumor cell surface.

In the figure below, Panel A compares the levels of sMICA in normal healthy individuals to those with benign disease and those with cancer. Panel B shows sMICA levels in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma, or HCC, induced by hepatitis B virus, or HBV, relative to healthy controls. Panel C shows sMICA levels in healthy controls, or HC, compared to patients with chronic hepatitis, or CH, liver cirrhosis, or LC, or HCC.

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Three Independent Studies Demonstrate Elevated Levels of sMICA in Cancer Patients

 

 

 

 

Panel A

Panel B

Panel C

 

 

 

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https://cdn.kscope.io/fa17c82cedb5580aa518d9cd78f01e88-img65927005_26.jpg 

https://cdn.kscope.io/fa17c82cedb5580aa518d9cd78f01e88-img65927005_27.jpg 

In a study of 60 patients with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma and different serum levels of MICA, patients in the high serum MICA level group (>1 ng/ml) exhibited poorer survival than patients in the low serum MICA group (1 ng/ml). The results suggest that higher serum MICA levels relate to poor prognosis in advanced hepatocellular carcinoma.

Kaplan Meier Curve of Hepatocellular Carcinoma Patients with Different Serum Levels of MICA

 

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An analysis of the expression of the NKG2D ligands in The Cancer Genome Atlas, or TCGA, shows that MICA and MICB are the two ligands for NKG2D that are most frequently expressed across a wide range of tumor types. In the results of the TCGA analysis shown below, the red shading indicates high expression levels of NKG2D ligands and blue shading indicates low expression levels. We believe the positive expression profile of MICA/B in many tumor types provides attractive development opportunities across a wide range of indications.

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Expression of NKG2D Ligands Across Multiple Tumor Types

 

 

https://cdn.kscope.io/fa17c82cedb5580aa518d9cd78f01e88-img65927005_29.jpg 

Data generated via analysis of TCGA database by Monoceros Biosystems.

CLN-619

CLN-619 is a MICA/B-targeted humanized IgG1 antibody with an antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity-, or ADCC-, competent Fc gamma 1 domain capable of mediating effector cell functions through binding to Fc gamma receptors on cytotoxic innate immune cells.

We believe CLN-619 may affect antitumor activity through a multi-pronged mechanism of action. First, we believe that CLN-619 may shield the proteolytic cleavage sites of MICA and MICB on cancer cells from proteases commonly found in the tumor microenvironment (noted as “1” in the figure below). This mechanism would enable the accumulation of MICA/B on the surface of cancer cells and the reduction of shed soluble MICA/B circulating in the serum. In preclinical studies, treatment with parental CLN-619 clones resulted in increased cell surface expression and reduced serum levels of MICA/B in various tumor cell lines, while CLN-619 treatment in vivo led to reduced serum levels of MICA/B. Elevated expression of MICA/B on the surface of cancer cells is expected to enhance killing of cancer cells by NK cells via binding of their NKG2D to MICA/B. MICA/B also interacts with NKG2D expressed on gamma delta T cells and NKT cells, where NKG2D can play the role of a co-activating receptor, lowering the threshold for T cell-mediated cancer cell lysis. Second, CLN-619 has a human IgG1 backbone with a wild-type Fc gamma domain, which allows it to engage NK cells by binding to their Fc gamma receptor III/CD16/A, leading to ADCC (noted as “2” in the figure below). In preclinical studies, treatment with CLN-049 was shown to induce ADCC in vitro. Third, our preliminary preclinical data suggests that CLN-619 may have the potential to enhance the binding of MICA/B to NKG2D receptors on NK cells or other immune cells to provide for improved cancer cell lysis (noted as “3” in the figure below). Finally, by preventing the shedding of MICA/B, CLN-619 can potentially prevent the decoy of NKG2D by shed MICA/B circulating in serum (noted as “4” in the figure below). We believe that all of these mechanisms may be acting in a coordinated and unique manner to engage NK cells, which could result in the cancer cell lysis observed in the preclinical studies described below.

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Three CLN-619 Modes of Action

 

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Preclinical Data

The key mechanistic underpinning of CLN-619’s antitumor activity is its ability to stabilize and prevent the shedding of MICA/B expressed on the surface of cancer cells. In preclinical studies, CLN-619 prevented shedding across a variety of cancer cell lines. In a representative hepatoma PLC/PRF/5 cell line, soluble MICA in the supernatant decreased, and correspondingly, surface MICA levels increased, in a dose-dependent manner, following treatment with CLN-619. CLN-619 was more potent than other antibody candidates (Ab1 and Ab2) in preventing MICA shedding as shown in the figure below.

Parental Clone of CLN-619 Reduced Serum MICA and Increased Surface MICA Levels in Hepatoma

PLC/PRF/5 Cell Lines

 

https://cdn.kscope.io/fa17c82cedb5580aa518d9cd78f01e88-img65927005_31.jpg 

CLN-619 also demonstrated the ability to enhance NK cell-mediated killing of MICA/B expressing cancer cells in vitro. In an ADCC reporter bioassay, the parental clone of CLN-619, which has antibody variable region sequences from a mouse hybridoma from which CLN-619 was derived, induced ADCC in a dose-dependent and MICA/B binding-dependent manner, as shown in the figure below, where killing activity was measured by the relative luminescence units, or RLU. Such ADCC activity was abrogated when mutations in the Fc region were introduced into h3F9-DANA, which eliminated the binding to FcRIIIa on NK cells that is key to mediating ADCC. An isotype control also failed to trigger ADCC, demonstrating the requirement of MICA/B target engagement.

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Parental Clone of CLN-619 Induced ADCC In Vitro

 

https://cdn.kscope.io/fa17c82cedb5580aa518d9cd78f01e88-img65927005_32.jpg 

In an in vitro assay using human NK-92 cells and PLC/PRF/5 cancer cells, the parental clone of CLN-619 enhanced the killing of MICA/B-specific cancer cells by NK cells. As shown in the figure below, the parental clone of CLN-619, at both low and high effector to target, or E:T, ratios, significantly enhanced the extent of target cell killing compared to a control antibody.

In Vitro Assay Using Human NK-92 Cells and PLC/PRF/5 Cancer Cells

 

https://cdn.kscope.io/fa17c82cedb5580aa518d9cd78f01e88-img65927005_33.jpg 

The antitumor activity of CLN-619 was further evaluated in multiple mouse tumor models. In a representative PLC/PRF/5 liver cancer xenograft model, CLN-619 treatment as a single agent resulted in tumor regression at all doses tested, as shown in the left panel of the figure below. In addition, the body weight profiles of treatment groups were comparable to the control group. Importantly, near complete suppression of MICA shedding as measured by soluble MICA levels in the serum was observed, as shown in the right panel of the figure below.

CLN-619 Demonstrated Tumor Regression and Reduced Serum MICA Levels in a PLC/PRF/5 Liver Cancer Xenograft Model

 

https://cdn.kscope.io/fa17c82cedb5580aa518d9cd78f01e88-img65927005_34.jpg 

Similarly, in a representative lung cancer xenograft model, CLN-619 treatment as a single agent resulted in tumor growth inhibition at all doses tested, as shown in the left panel of the figure below. We also observed near complete suppression of MICA shedding at all doses tested as measured by soluble MICA serum levels, as shown in the right panel of the figure below.

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CLN-619 Demonstrated Tumor Growth Inhibition and Reduced Serum MICA Levels

in a HCC1534 Lung Cancer Xenograft Model

https://cdn.kscope.io/fa17c82cedb5580aa518d9cd78f01e88-img65927005_35.jpg 

Clinical Development Plan

We are currently evaluating CLN-619 in a clinical trial in patients with advanced solid tumors. The trial design includes initial evaluation of CLN-619 as a monotherapy and in combination with checkpoint inhibitor therapy in dose escalation cohorts. Upon establishing a recommended phase 2 dose, or RP2D, the trial design includes several expansion cohorts to evaluate the preliminary efficacy of CLN-619 as both a monotherapy and in combination with checkpoint inhibitor therapy in patients with multiple solid tumor types. In addition, we will collect and analyze biomarkers, including sMICA, to inform the future development of CLN-619.

CLN-617

CLN-617 is a fusion protein uniquely combining, in a single agent, two potent antitumor cytokines, IL-2 and IL-12, with a collagen-binding domain for the treatment of solid tumors. The combination of IL-2 and IL-12 therapeutic administration has previously been shown to synergistically enhance T and NK cell functions in vitro and mediated pronounced therapeutic activity in preclinical tumor models, even in well-established mouse models with primary and/or metastatic tumors. For nearly five decades, clinical researchers have studied the powerful role cytokines play in stimulating an immune response to cancer. However, severe toxicities associated with systemic cytokine administration and a short serum half-life have hindered their clinical development and broader commercial uptake. Despite numerous advancements in protein engineering, delivery and targeting mechanisms, there are currently only two FDA-approved cytokine-based cancer therapies, with the most recent approval occurring over twenty years ago.

We have included multiple differentiating features in CLN-617’s design in order to address the historical limitations of cytokine-based therapy. First, the structure of CLN-617 contains a collagen-binding domain that is designed to enable the retention of cytokines in the local tumor microenvironment following intratumoral administration. Collagen binding may help minimize the systemic dissemination and associated toxicities of IL-2 and IL-12 and prolong their immunostimulatory antitumor activity. Second, we believe that CLN-617 is the only product candidate to our knowledge that co-delivers IL-2 and IL-12 proteins, functionally enabling synergistic T and NK cell activation. Third, CLN-617’s construct uses wild type cytokines, which potentially reduces immunogenicity risk associated with engineered cytokines. Finally, unlike other intratumoral cytokine-based therapies, CLN-617 does not rely on viral or nucleic acid for in situ expression and activity.

In preclinical studies, murine surrogates of CLN-617 demonstrated robust single agent antitumor activity in both injected and non-injected contralateral tumors without inducing systemic toxicity, as measured by reduction in body weight. Given the broad expression of collagen across multiple tumor types and the well-validated antitumor activity of cytokine-based therapies, we believe CLN-617 may have utility across a broad range of solid tumors. We believe that CLN-617 is a first-in-class opportunity given it is the only anti-cancer product candidate we are aware of that is designed to co-deliver IL-2 and IL-12 cytokines and retain them in the tumor microenvironment. We are currently advancing CLN-617 through IND-enabling studies and expect to submit an IND by the end of the first half of 2023.

The collagen-binding retention technology used in CLN-617 is based on technology that originated in the laboratory of Professor Dane Wittrup at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, or MIT. We have further developed and refined this technology to create our AMBER platform, which we believe represents a novel platform with the potential to broaden the therapeutic window of cytokines and other immunostimulatory agents, with substantially reduced systemic toxicity.

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Preclinical Data

We have generated a variety of multifunctional AMBER-based constructs containing both IL-2 and IL-12 fused to various collagen-binding domains, and we refer to the murine surrogates of these constructs as AMBER-m1, AMBER-m2, AMBER-m3, AMBER-m4, etc. While Professor Wittrup’s foundational study focused on lumican, we evaluated collagen-binding domains with different affinities including other proteins that bind to collagen in the tumor microenvironment to enhance retention of the cytokines.

Our murine surrogate AMBER constructs have been assessed for productivity, product quality, and bioactivity. We tested the bioactivity of both IL-2 and IL-12 cytokines by measuring proliferation of respective cell lines in response to IL-2 and IL-12. We compared our constructs with collagen-binding domains to native cytokines in the presence and absence of collagen. As shown below, cytokine activity, measured by optical density, or OD, is maintained in the multifunctional AMBER-m1 and AMBER-m2 constructs and activity is comparable in both the absence and presence of collagen.

In AMBER Constructs, Cytokine Activity Was Fully Retained after Fusion to Collagen-Binding Domain

 

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Based on these results, we further assessed the antitumor activity and tolerability of AMBER-m2 in vivo in C57BL/6 mice bearing B16F10 tumors. We compared intratumoral administration of AMBER-m2 to a combination of MSA-IL2 and IL12-MSA, which lack collagen-binding domains. As expected, treatment with MSA-IL2 and IL12-MSA led to systemic toxicity, as measured by reduction in body weight (left panel of figure below). In contrast, AMBER-m2 exhibited single-agent antitumor activity without inducing systemic toxicity, as measured by survival (right panel of figure below). Based on these results, we believe that AMBER-m2, which is presumably retained in the tumor microenvironment, may have the potential to mitigate the systemic toxicity associated with IL-2 and IL-12 therapy, thus potentially improving the therapeutic index while delivering antitumor activity.

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Antitumor Activity and Tolerability of MSA-IL2 + IL12-MSA or AMBER

 

https://cdn.kscope.io/fa17c82cedb5580aa518d9cd78f01e88-img65927005_37.jpg 

In the experiments above, body weight changes are no longer recorded following animal death, accounting for the difference in days duration between the left and right figures for the MSA-IL2 + IL12-MSA treated animals.

We hypothesized that in addition to mediating local antitumor activity, AMBER-m2 may be capable of generating responses against non-injected contralateral tumors due to the induction of systemic immunity, also known as an abscopal effect. To test our hypothesis, we utilized C57BL/6 mice bearing two B16F10 tumors: an ipsilateral tumor that was directly injected with AMBER-m2 and a contralateral tumor that was implanted 10 days later and never treated with AMBER-m2. Tumor control was observed in both the treated and untreated distal tumors, thus demonstrating an abscopal effect.

AMBER-m2 Inhibits Tumor Growth in Both Injected (Ipsilateral) and Uninjected (Contralateral)

B16F10 Tumors, Providing Evidence for an Abscopal Effect

 

 

https://cdn.kscope.io/fa17c82cedb5580aa518d9cd78f01e88-img65927005_38.jpg 

We have also evaluated the dose responsiveness of AMBER-m2 in the B16F10 model. Increasing dose levels of AMBER-m2 led to increased tumor growth control (left panel of figure below), and all doses did so without inducing significant body weight loss (right panel of figure below). Notably, the highest tested dose of 1,000 pmol is an equivalent dose of 6.4 mpk of body weight, which translates to 0.7 mpk of IL-2 and 2.3 mpk of IL-12. In comparison, only 100 pmol of MSA-IL2 and IL12-MSA led to lethal body weight loss.

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Impact of AMBER-m2 on Tumor Growth and Body Weight in the B16F10 Model

 

 

https://cdn.kscope.io/fa17c82cedb5580aa518d9cd78f01e88-img65927005_39.jpg 

We have also evaluated our AMBER murine constructs in the CT26 and MC38 syngeneic mouse models. As shown in the left panel below, treatment with AMBER-m4 led to statistically significant survival increases relative to control and anti-PD1 arms in the MC38 model. Subsequently, we re-injected tumors into animals that achieved a complete response following treatment with AMBER-m4. As shown in the right panel below, nine out of ten mice previously treated with AMBER-m4 rejected the newly injected tumors. Similar results were achieved in the CT26 syngeneic model.

Impact of AMBER-m4 on Survival and Tumor Re-Challenge in the MC38 Model

 

https://cdn.kscope.io/fa17c82cedb5580aa518d9cd78f01e88-img65927005_40.jpg 

 

In addition, preclinical results show the synergistic effect of combining a checkpoint inhibitor with AMBER murine constructs. Below is an example of combination treatment with anti-PD1 and one of our AMBER constructs in the MC38 model.

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Impact of AMBER-m2 as Monotherapy or in Combination

with Anti-PD1 on Tumor Growth in the MC38 Model

https://cdn.kscope.io/fa17c82cedb5580aa518d9cd78f01e88-img65927005_41.jpg 

Based on the results of our preclinical studies, we believe that the inclusion of a collagen-binding domain by our AMBER platform has the potential to allow for the safe retention of high levels of cytokines in the tumor microenvironment. While remarkable progress has been made in the treatment of cancer with the adoption of checkpoint inhibitors, including pembrolizumab, ipilimumab, and nivolumab, only a fraction of patients with solid tumors respond to these therapies. We believe a well-tolerated agent that can deliver the functional synergies of IL-2 and IL-12 has the potential to treat a broad range of solid tumors, including those that are not responsive to checkpoint inhibitors.

CLN-978

CLN-978 is a half-life extended, humanized, single-chain bispecific antibody designed to simultaneously engage CD19 on cancer cells and CD3 on T cells, triggering redirected T cells to lyse the target cancer cells. In addition, CLN-978 has a human serum albumin, or HSA, binding domain designed to prolong its serum half-life. CLN-978, referred to as NexGem in the figures below, mediated CD19-dependent target cell lysis in vitro on target cell lines with a range of CD19 target expression levels. In preclinical in vivo studies, treatment with NexGem, at extremely low and infrequent doses, led to inhibition of tumor growth and tumor regression in a human CD3 transgenic syngeneic lymphoma mouse model. We intend to initially evaluate CLN-978 as a novel treatment for B-cell malignancies, and are currently undertaking IND-enabling pharmacology, pharmacokinetic, and safety studies.

We designed CLN-978 based on a BiTE-like format using tandemly arranged scFvs for CD19 and CD3, similar to blinatumomab. In addition, we incorporated a third domain in the form of a single-domain antibody, or VHH, for binding to HSA. We believe that binding of CLN-978 to albumin has the potential to extend its serum half-life, potentially addressing limitations related to blinatumomab’s dosing regimen. An illustration of the CLN-978 structure is shown in the following figure.

Design of CLN-978, a CD19/CD3-bispecific T Cell Engager with Extended Serum Half-life

 

 

https://cdn.kscope.io/fa17c82cedb5580aa518d9cd78f01e88-img65927005_42.jpg 

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We have collaborated with Adimab LLC to generate antibody-derived binding domains specific for CD19, CD3, and HSA with optimized biophysical and biochemical properties, tailored binding affinities as well as other parameters that are key to developability, manufacturability and preclinical testing of drug candidates. In multiple head-to-head preclinical comparison studies, NexGem has demonstrated improved activity compared to blinatumomab both in terms of redirecting of T cells to lyse CD19-expressing cells in vitro and enhanced tumor growth inhibition in vivo. Although comparative data from preclinical studies must be interpreted with caution and we may not observe the same differential effect in clinical trials, we believe these preclinical results support further evaluation of CLN-978 for its potential to improve upon the clinical efficacy observed with blinatumomab and for its potential to offer a more convenient dosing profile. In addition to convenience, we believe the ability to target cells with low CD19 expression would potentially enable us to address patients that are not yet adequately addressed by blinatumomab, such as those with CD19-low non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma or those patients that progress following CAR-T therapy.

We expect the properties of CLN-978 may facilitate our efforts on manufacturing processes and IND-enabling studies, as we believe they will enable us to leverage standard cell line development and purification technologies for GMP manufacturing and conventional non-human primate models for GLP toxicology assessment. We are currently advancing CLN-978 through IND-enabling studies and expect to submit an IND by the end of the first half of 2023.

Preclinical Data

Our NexGem candidates incorporate a CD19 binding domain that was engineered to achieve 100x enhanced binding affinity to CD19 compared to blinatumomab as measured using plasmon resonance, which we believe may contribute to improved cytolytic potency in an in vitro model. As shown in the figure below, NexGem outperformed blinatumomab in the cell lines evaluated as measured by both the EC50 value of redirected cell lysis and the maximum percentage of lysis. Notably, the relative improvement in cytolytic potency of CLN-978 as compared to blinatumomab was the highest in target cells expressing relatively low levels of CD19. We believe this observation supports our hypothesis that CLN-978 may have the potential to more adequately address the patient population with lower levels of CD19 expression and/or patients in which CD19 expression is downregulated as a resistance mechanism to CD19-targeted therapies. It was also shown that the robust lysis of target cells was dependent on CD19 expression, as the EMT6 parental cell line, which lacks CD19 expression, was not susceptible to lysis at any of the drug concentrations tested.

Comparison of NexGem Versus Blinatumomab in vitro Cytotoxicity Assays

 

 

https://cdn.kscope.io/fa17c82cedb5580aa518d9cd78f01e88-img65927005_43.jpg 

NexGem has also demonstrated antitumor activity in vivo compared to blinatumomab in a human CD3 transgenic model, where the mice were implanted with a syngeneic tumor engineered to express human CD19. As shown in the figure below, NexGem outperformed blinatumomab in tumor growth inhibition at every dose level tested. Furthermore, at the 0.1 mg/kg dose level, NexGem treatment resulted in a complete response in 40% of mice compared to only 10% of mice treated with blinatumomab.

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Antitumor Activity of NexGem Versus Blinatumomab In a Human CD3 Transgenic Mouse Model Bearing Human CD19 Expressing Syngeneic Tumors

 

https://cdn.kscope.io/fa17c82cedb5580aa518d9cd78f01e88-img65927005_44.jpg 

Our Other Preclinical Programs

In addition to the programs described above, we are actively developing three additional preclinical oncology programs: Jade, Opal and a discovery collaboration with Mt Sinai to develop HPK1 degraders.

We are developing our Jade program as part of an ongoing collaboration with the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, a world leader in finding self-reactive, human T cells of high affinity. Our goal is to develop a TCR-T cell therapy targeting a novel senescence and cancer-related protein. We are collaborating with Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center to search for and optimize naturally occurring TCRs against this target.

For our Opal program, we are exploring a construct that combines checkpoint inhibition and immune co-stimulatory receptor activation in a single protein. We are evaluating various single-chain fusion protein formats using an affinity optimized PD-1 extracellular domain and a single-chain 4-1BBL designed to preferentially activate the 4-IBB/CD137 pathway on T cells inside tumors. We believe that the combination of these natural binding elements could potentially drive synergistic antitumor immune mobilization while reducing the toxicity often associated with untargeted co-stimulatory immune agonists. We are designing our lead construct such that the activation of the co-stimulatory receptor is dependent on the binding to immune checkpoint ligands, which have generally higher expression levels in tumor tissues compared to normal tissues. We also believe that our approach has the potential to demonstrate advantages over antibody-based bispecific constructs that typically require selection of format specific epitopes and appropriate affinities for target binding.

HPK1 (MAP4K1) is a T cell specific kinase that negatively regulates T cell activation and TCR signaling. HPK1-/- T cells produce elevated levels of pro-inflammatory TH1 cytokines, including IFNg, TNFa and CCL3. We are collaborating with Mt. Sinai to optimize and develop HPK1 protein degraders with best- and/or first-in-class potential. We believe that a degrader approach may control tumor growth more effectively compared to inhibiting HPK1 kinase activity. The Mt. Sinai team includes, Dr. Steven Burakoff, who validated HPK1 as an immuno-oncology target and Dr. Jian Jin, an expert in degrader chemistry. We have an exclusive option for any intellectual property that arises from this collaboration.

Competition

The biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries are characterized by the rapid evolution of technologies and understanding of disease etiology, intense competition and a strong emphasis on intellectual property. We believe that our differentiated business model, approach, scientific capabilities, know-how and experience provide us with competitive advantages. However, we face, and will continue to face, competition from companies focused on more traditional therapeutic modalities, such as small molecule inhibitors. We expect substantial competition from multiple sources, including major pharmaceutical, specialty pharmaceutical, and existing or emerging biotechnology companies, academic research institutions, governmental agencies and public and private research institutions worldwide. Many of our competitors, either alone or through collaborations, 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. Smaller or early-stage companies may also prove to be significant competitors, particularly through collaborative arrangements with large and established companies. These companies also compete with us in recruiting and retaining qualified scientific and management personnel, establishing clinical trial sites and recruiting patients in clinical trials, as well as in acquiring technologies complementary to, or necessary for, our programs. As a result, our competitors may discover, develop, license or commercialize products before or more successfully than we do.

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We also face competition more broadly across the oncology market for cost-effective and reimbursable cancer treatments. The most common methods of treating patients with cancer are surgery, radiation and drug therapy, including chemotherapy, hormone therapy, biologic therapy, such as monoclonal and bispecific antibodies, immunotherapy, cell-based therapy and targeted therapy, or a combination of any such methods. There are a variety of available drug therapies marketed for cancer. In many cases, these drugs are administered in combination to enhance efficacy. While our product candidates, if any are approved, may compete with these existing drugs and other therapies, to the extent they are ultimately used in combination with or as an adjunct to these therapies, our product candidates may not be competitive with them. Some of these drugs are branded and subject to patent protection, and others are available on a generic basis. Insurers and other third-party payors may also encourage the use of generic products or specific branded products. As a result, we may face challenges in obtaining market acceptance of, and gaining significant share of the market for, any of our product candidates that we successfully introduce to the market. In addition, many companies are developing new oncology therapeutics, and we cannot predict what the standard of care will be as our product candidates progress through clinical development.

With respect to our lead product candidate, CLN-081, we are aware of other EGFR inhibitors that have accelerated approval or are in clinical development for the treatment of NSCLC patients harboring EGFRex20ins mutations. In May 2021, Rybrevant (amivantimab), an EGFR/cMET bispecific antibody that was developed and is now marketed by Johnson & Johnson obtained accelerated approval from the FDA for adult patients with locally advanced or metastatic NSCLC with EGFRex20ins mutations whose disease has progressed on or after platinum-based chemotherapy. Additionally, in September 2021, Exkivity (mobocertinib), which was developed and is now marketed by Takeda Pharmaceuticals, Inc., obtained accelerated approval from the FDA for adult patients with locally advanced or metastatic NSCLC with EGFRex20ins mutations whose disease has progressed on or after platinum-based chemotherapy. We believe that the most advanced clinical stage program is DZD9008 from Dizal Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. Other clinical-stage EGFR ex20ins TKI programs include poziotinib from Spectrum Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Black Diamond’s Therapeautics, Inc., BDTX-189, Oric Pharmaceuticals, Inc.’s ORIC-114 (Voronoi, Inc., in People’s Republic of China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan) and Blueprint Medicine Corporation’s LNG-451.

With respect to CLN-049, we are aware of several companies that are developing bispecifics for the treatment of AML, including those targeting CD3 and CD33 (Amgen Inc., or Amgen and Amphivena Therapeutics, Inc.), CD123 (Macrogenics, Inc. and Xencor, Inc.), and CCL1/CLEC12A (Merus N.V. and Genentech, Inc.). These agents are limited to a subset of AML blasts that express CD33, CD123, and CCL1, whereas multiple published studies have demonstrated that FLT3 is expressed in approximately 80% of AML blasts. Amgen is developing a bispecific T cell engager targeting FLT3 for AML. There are also several targeted small molecule therapies approved for the treatment of r/r or first-line AML, including for AML with FLT3 mutations, such as Astellas Pharma Inc.’s XOSPATA (gilteritinib) and Novartis International AG’s RYDAPT (midostaurin). We are also aware of other small molecules that are approved or in development for AML patients with FLT3 mutations, including IDH inhibitors, such as TIBSOVO (ivosidenib) by Servier Pharmaceuticals and IDHIFA (enasidenib) by Agios Pharmaceuticals, BCL2 inhibitors, such as VENCLEXTA (ventoclax) by AbbVie, and hedgehog pathway inhibitors, such as DAURISMO (glasdegib) by Pfizer.

With respect to CLN-619, we are aware of several companies that are developing cancer therapies targeting MICA/B as a monotherapy and/or in combination with other agents, including: Fate Therapeutics, Inc., Innate Pharma, Inc. (in collaboration with AstraZeneca Inc.), CanCure LLC, Genentech Inc., Novartis International AG, or Novartis, and Bristol-Myers Squibb Company, or Bristol-Myers Squibb. To our knowledge, none of them has entered clinical development.

With respect to CLN-617, we are not aware of any other drug candidates currently under development that integrate both IL-2 and IL-12 into a single multi-functional construct and stimulate the immune system in a tumor-specific manner. We are aware of several companies actively developing clinical-stage programs as either individual IL-2 or IL-12 therapies, including: Nektar Therapeutics, Inc., Alkermes plc, Sanofi, Philogen S.p.A., Roche AG, Apeiron Biologics AG and Dragonfly Therapeutics Inc.

With respect to our CLN-978 program, we are aware of a number of companies developing product candidates that target CD19 or other tumor antigens relevant to B-cell ALL and NHL using immune cells or other cytotoxic modalities. These mainly include immune cell redirecting therapeutics (e.g., T cell engagers), adoptive cellular therapies (e.g., CAR-Ts) and antibody drug conjugates. Companies developing cell therapies or antibodies targeting CD19 include Morphosys AG, Novartis, Gilead Sciences Inc., Bristol-Myers Squibb, Allogene Therapeutics Inc., Nkarta Inc. and Amgen.

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If our competitors develop and commercialize drugs that are safer, more effective, have fewer or less severe side effects, are more convenient to administer, are less expensive or with a more favorable label than our product candidates, we could see a reduction or elimination in our commercial opportunity. Our competitors also may obtain FDA or other regulatory approval for their drugs more rapidly than we may obtain approval for ours, which could result in our competitors establishing a strong market position before we are able to enter the market. The key competitive factors affecting the success of all of our product candidates, if approved, are likely to be their efficacy, safety, convenience, price, the level of generic competition and the availability of reimbursement from government and other third-party payors.

License Agreements

Taiho License Agreement

In February 2019, our partially-owned subsidiary Cullinan Pearl Corp., or Cullinan Pearl, entered into a License and Collaboration Agreement, or the Taiho License Agreement, with Taiho Pharma. Pursuant to the Taiho License Agreement, Cullinan Pearl obtained an exclusive, royalty-bearing worldwide license (excluding Japan) to develop, manufacture, commercialize and, subject to certain limitations, sublicense CLN-081 and products containing CLN-081, for use worldwide outside Japan, under the licensed patent rights and know-how.

Under the Taiho License Agreement, Cullinan Pearl agreed to conduct all development activities in accordance with a target product profile and a development plan intended to generate data to seek regulatory approval of CLN-081 from the FDA and European Medicines Agency, or EMA, and make such data available to Taiho Pharma for use to seek regulatory approval in Japan. Certain of these development activities require using commercially reasonable efforts. Cullinan Pearl must disclose experimental data, results or similar know-how to Taiho Pharma and grant a non-exclusive, royalty free, worldwide license, with the right to sublicense, to Taiho Pharma to develop, manufacture and commercialize CLN-081 and its products in Japan. Cullinan Pearl, and in certain cases Taiho Pharma, are obligated to provide progress reports to each other on development efforts before and, for so long as such party is developing a licensed product, after the first commercial sale of CLN-081. Taiho Pharma also has right of negotiation with Cullinan Pearl in the event Cullinan Pearl decides to commence negotiations with or if Cullinan Pearl receives a bona fide term sheet from a third-party regarding the license, sale, assignment, transfer or material disposition of rights with respect to the licensed product.

As partial consideration for the license, Cullinan Pearl paid an initial, non-refundable, non-creditable license fee of $2.5 million and issued Taiho Pharma 1,860,000 shares of Cullinan Pearl common stock. In addition, Cullinan Pearl is obligated to pay non-refundable, non-creditable research and development, regulatory and sales milestone payments upon the occurrence of certain milestone events in an aggregate amount of up to $154.5 million for development, regulatory and sales milestones. Each milestone is payable only once. No milestones have been achieved to date under the Taiho License Agreement.

Furthermore, on a country-by-country and product-by-product basis, Cullinan Pearl is required to pay running mid-single digit to low tens digits royalty percentages of annual aggregate net sales worldwide outside Japan, during the royalty term (such royalty term determined on a product-by-product and country-by-country basis), subject to certain offsets, deductions or reductions related to loss or impairment of exclusivity in the territory. Such royalty obligations will expire on a country-by-country and product-by-product basis upon the latest of (a) the expiration of the last patent which covers a product in such country, (b) the expiration of the applicable exclusivity granted by a regulatory authority and (c) ten years following the first commercial sale of the product in such country.

In the event (i) Taiho Pharma does not exercise its right of negotiation with respect to a licensed product or (ii) Taiho Pharma does exercise its right of negotiation, but the parties do not consummate a transaction, then at the time Cullinan Pearl enters into a subsequent transaction with a third-party for (a) less than all or less than substantially all of Cullinan Pearl’s rights in a licensed product, Cullinan Pearl is obligated to pay Taiho Pharma a mid-single digit percentage of revenue from such transactions or (b) all or substantially all of Cullinan Pearl’s rights in a licensed product, Cullinan Pearl is obligated to pay Taiho Pharma a low single digit percentage of revenue from such transactions, provided, however, that such payment under (b) shall not be required following the consummation of an initial public offering of Cullinan Pearl meeting certain requirements.

In December 2020, Cullinan Pearl entered into a license agreement, or the Zai License Agreement, with Zai Lab. Pursuant to the terms of the Taiho License Agreement, we are obligated to pay Taiho a mid-teen percentage of the $20.0 million upfront payment received from Zai Lab, as well as a mid-teen percentage of potential future milestone revenue received from Zai Lab under the Zai License Agreement. In the first quarter of 2021, Zai Lab paid the upfront fee to Cullinan Pearl and Cullinan Pearl recorded the corresponding transaction payment due to Taiho Pharma within research and development expenses.

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Either party may terminate the Taiho License Agreement upon a material breach by the other party or bankruptcy of the other party. Cullinan Pearl may terminate the Taiho License Agreement at any time and for any commercially reasonable justification. Unless earlier terminated, the Taiho License Agreement continues in effect on a product-by-product basis until it expires upon the expiration of all applicable royalty terms with respect to all products in all countries worldwide.

Zai License Agreement

In December 2020, Cullinan Pearl entered into the Zai License Agreement with Zai Lab. Pursuant to the Zai License Agreement, Cullinan Pearl granted Zai Lab an exclusive, royalty-bearing license to research, develop, commercialize and manufacture CLN-081 and products containing CLN-081 in the field in China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan, or collectively, the Territory. Cullinan Pearl has also granted Zai Lab the right to grant sublicenses in multiple tiers in accordance with the Zai License Agreement, under the licensed technology and any improvements discovered or created during the term, to exploit the products in the field in the Territory.

Cullinan Pearl retained (i) all rights under the licensed technology to fulfill its obligations under the Zai License Agreement, (ii) the exclusive rights to exploit the licensed compound and products outside the Territory, (iii) the non-exclusive rights under the licensed technology to conduct global studies in accordance with the Zai License Agreement and (iv) the non-exclusive rights to manufacture or have manufactured the licensed compound or product in the Territory, solely to support (x) the manufacture, development and commercialization of the licensed compound and products outside of the Territory and (y) the manufacture, development and commercialization of the product by Zai Lab in the Territory.

Pursuant to the terms of the Zai License Agreement, Zai Lab shall use commercially reasonable efforts to develop the products in the field in the Territory, including the conduct of all development activities of the products in the field in the Territory in accordance with the development plan.

As partial consideration for the license and rights, Zai Lab paid will pay Cullinan Pearl an upfront, one-time, irrevocable, non-refundable, non-creditable license fee of $20.0 million within 40 days of the execution of the Zai License Agreement. In addition, Zai Lab is obligated to pay Cullinan Pearl non-refundable, non-creditable research and development, regulatory and sales milestone payments upon the occurrence of certain milestone events in an aggregate amount of up to $211.0 million. Each milestone is payable only once. No milestones have been achieved to date under the Zai License Agreement.

Furthermore, on a region-by-region and product-by-product basis, Zai Lab is required to pay tiered royalties from high single digit to low teen digit royalty percentages on annual aggregate net sales of all future products in the Territory in a calendar year, during the royalty term (such royalty term determined on a product-by-product and region-by-region basis), subject to certain offsets, deductions or reductions related to the expiration of the last-to-expire valid claim in such region, such time as generic competition with respect to such product occurs in such region or in connection with obtaining a license for any patents owned or controlled by a third-party in order to commercialize the licensed product; provided, however, that the royalties due to Cullinan Pearl shall not be reduced by more than fifty percent (50%). Such royalty obligations will be payable on a region-by-region and product-by-product basis from the first commercial sale of the applicable product in such region until the latest of (a) the date the last-to-expire valid claim in such region expires and (b) the tenth anniversary following the first commercial sale of such product in such region. Upon the expiration of the royalty terms, the licenses granted by Cullinan Pearl to Zai Lab in such region with respect to such product in the field shall become fully paid-up, perpetual, irrevocable and sublicensable in multiple tiers.

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Either party may terminate the agreement on a region-by-region basis or in its entirety upon a material breach by the other party or bankruptcy of the other party. Zai Lab may terminate the Zai License Agreement in its entirety or on a product-by-product basis at any time and for any or no reason, provided, however, that Zai Lab will terminate the Zai License Agreement upon prior written notice to Cullinan Pearl if it determines that it shall discontinue all development and commercialization activities with respect to the products. Furthermore, Cullinan Pearl may terminate the Zai License Agreement in its entirety, if Zai Lab or its affiliates commence a legal, administrative or other action challenging the validity, enforceability or scope of any licensed patent or patent (other than the licensed patent) owned or controlled by Cullinan Pearl and its affiliates. In addition, if no active development activities have been conducted by Zai Lab and its affiliates or a permitted sublicensee within 10 months of the execution of the Zai License Agreement and such inactivity is not caused by a serious adverse event or serious adverse drug reaction, a force majeure event or Cullinan Pearl’s failure to supply sufficient quantities of clinical supply product, then Zai Lab will be deemed to have abandoned development for the product and Cullinan Pearl shall have the right to terminate the Zai License Agreement upon written notice, unless Zai Lab has cured such abandonment within 60 days of such written notice. The agreement may also be terminated by mutual written agreement. Unless earlier terminated, the Zai License Agreement continues in effect on a product-by-product basis until the expiration of all applicable royalty terms with respect to all products in any region in the territory.

DKFZ/Tübingen License Agreement

In August 2020, our partially owned subsidiary Cullinan Florentine Corp., or Cullinan Florentine, entered into an Exclusive License Agreement, or the DKFZ/Tübingen License Agreement, with Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum, or DKFZ, Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen, Faculty of Medicine, or University of Tübingen, and Universitätsmedizin Gesellschaft für Forschung und Entwicklung mbH, Tübingen, or UFE. Pursuant to the DKFZ/Tübingen License Agreement, DKFZ and University of Tübingen, collectively referred to as the Licensor, granted to Cullinan Florentine an exclusive (even as to Licensor, UFE and its and their affiliates), worldwide, milestone- and royalty-bearing, license under certain licensed patent rights, applications, technical information and know-how, with the right to grant sublicenses through multiple tiers to research, develop, commercialize or otherwise exploit licensed products, itself and through its affiliates and third parties, within the field. Cullinan Florentine has the sole right, but not the obligation, to prosecute and maintain all licensed patent rights worldwide, provided that Licensor may take over or continue such prosecution and maintenance if Cullinan Florentine elects to cease the prosecution or maintenance of a licensed patent right.

Under the DKFZ/Tübingen License Agreement, Cullinan Florentine is obligated to achieve certain regulatory and research and development performance benchmarks, or collectively, the Performance Benchmarks, by certain specified dates, or collectively, the Performance Dates. If a Performance Benchmark is not achievable by the applicable Performance Date, Cullinan Florentine may extend the Performance Date for any single Performance Benchmark by a mid-single digit amount of months by providing written notice to Licensor and paying a non-refundable, non-creditable extension fee per each such extension. Cullinan Florentine may extend the Performance Date for any single Performance Benchmark up to a low single digit amount of times, provided that Cullinan Florentine may only request an extension a mid-single digit amount of times. If Cullinan Florentine is unable to seek a further extension per the preceding sentence, then Cullinan Florentine may seek a further extension by providing written notice to Licensor and any such extension shall be subject to the prior written approval of the Licensor, such approval not to be unreasonably withheld or delayed. As of December 31, 2021, Cullinan Florentine has met the first performance benchmark to create a master cell bank.

Cullinan Florentine paid to Licensor an upfront non-refundable, non-creditable option exercise fee of $600,000 and, as partial consideration for the licenses, has issued 758,246 and 348,682 shares of its common stock to DKFZ and University of Tübingen, respectively, who together own 5.19% of Cullinan Florentine’s fully diluted shares outstanding as of December 31, 2021. DKFZ and UFE were also granted the right to appoint one representative to the board of directors of Cullinan Florentine for so long as DFKZ and UFE in aggregate hold a mid-double digit percentage of shares of Cullinan Florentine common stock issued pursuant to the DFKZ/Tubingen License Agreement or until a financing threshold representing the aggregate investment in Cullinan Florentine is reached.

Additionally, Cullinan Florentine shall pay certain non-refundable, non-creditable milestone payments to Licensor upon the occurrence of certain clinical and regulatory events by a licensed product, whether triggered by Cullinan Florentine, its affiliates or sublicensees. Each milestone payment is paid one time only up to an aggregate of $28.0 million. No milestones have been achieved to date under the DKFZ/Tübingen License Agreement.

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Furthermore, Cullinan Florentine is required to pay running low to mid-single digit royalty percentage on net sales of each licensed product on a country-by-country and product-by-product basis during the royalty term, subject to certain offsets or reductions. The aggregate, worldwide royalties due to Licensor for net sales of any licensed product in a calendar year shall not be reduced to an amount less than low to mid-single digit percentages. Such royalty obligations will expire on a country-by-country and product-by-product basis upon the later of (a) the expiration of the last valid claim of a patent which covers a product in such country and (b) a low double digit anniversary following the first commercial sale of a product in such country. Under certain conditions upon a first change in control, Cullinan Florentine shall pay a non-refundable, non-creditable mid-single digit percent of sale proceeds, provided, however, that such payment shall not be required following consummation of an initial public offering of Cullinan Florentine.

Either party may terminate the agreement upon a material breach by the other party or insolvency of the other party. Cullinan Florentine may terminate the DKFZ/Tübingen License Agreement for any or no reason after the first filing of an investigational new drug application or clinical trial agreement, or CTA, by providing prior written notice. Licensor may terminate the agreement by providing prior written notice, if Cullinan Florentine or any of its affiliates challenges the validity of certain patent rights. Unless earlier terminated, the DKFZ/Tübingen License Agreement continues on a perpetual basis.

MIT Exclusive Patent License Agreement

In December 2019, our partially-owned subsidiary Cullinan Amber Corp., or Cullinan Amber, entered into an Exclusive Patent License Agreement, or the MIT License Agreement, with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, or MIT. Pursuant to the MIT License Agreement, MIT granted to Cullinan Amber an exclusive, worldwide, milestone-, equity- and royalty-bearing license under certain licensed patent rights and applications, with the right to grant sublicenses through three tiers (so long as Cullinan Amber remains an exclusive licensee of the patent rights in the field worldwide) to develop, make, have made, use, sell, have sold, offer to sell, lease, and import licensed products containing specific fusion proteins in the field of diagnosis, prognosis, prophylaxis or treatment of cancer in humans or other animals. MIT shall prepare, file, prosecute and maintain all of the patent rights, and Cullinan Amber shall cooperate with the prosecution, provide comments on patent prosecution documents, and pay all fees and costs relating to such prosecution and maintenance.

Cullinan Amber paid MIT an upfront license issue fee of $50,000 and shall reimburse MIT for certain documented, out-of-pocket expenses incurred by MIT in connection with the preparation, filing, prosecution, maintenance and defense of the patent rights. As of December 31, 2021, Cullinan Amber has reimbursed MIT for $0.1 million in connection with out-of-pocket expenses incurred by MIT in connection with the preparation, filing, prosecution, maintenance and defense of patent rights. In addition, as partial consideration, Cullinan Amber has issued 200,066 shares of common stock of Cullinan Amber to MIT, which owns five percent (5%) of Cullinan Amber’s fully diluted shares outstanding as of December 31, 2021. The MIT License Agreement also provides for anti-dilution adjustments, requiring Cullinan Amber to issue MIT additional shares to ensure the shares issued to MIT do not equal less than the mid-single digit percentage amount until a financing threshold representing the aggregate investment in Cullinan Amber is reached. MIT was also granted participation rights, up to a low double-digit percentage of the securities issued, in any proposed financings of Cullinan Amber. Cullinan Amber is also responsible for paying non-refundable, creditable annual license maintenance fees in an increasing amount over a certain number of years of the license and a fixed amount subsequent to this period of time. In addition, MIT granted to Cullinan Amber an exclusive option to amend the definition of field to include expansion fields, and each such amendment would trigger the payment to MIT of an amendment fee and cause an amendment, to be negotiated upon exercise of the option, to Cullinan Amber’s financial obligations with respect to the licensed products to reflect the additional rights and value being added.

Additionally, Cullinan Amber shall pay certain non-refundable, non-creditable milestone payments to MIT upon the achievement by itself or its sublicensees of certain clinical and regulatory milestones in an aggregate amount up to $7.0 million for each distinct licensed product. Each milestone payment is paid one time only up to a certain payment amount, except there are separate milestone payments payable for a second and third indication of a licensed product in an aggregate amount up to $5.5 million per product. Cullinan Amber shall also pay to MIT certain one-time milestone payments for the achievement of certain commercial milestones based on the calculation of net sales across all licensed products in all indications in an aggregate amount up to $12.5 million. No milestones have been achieved to date under the MIT License Agreement.

Under certain conditions upon a change in control, Cullinan Amber is required to pay a specified change in control fee and Cullinan Amber’s clinical and regulatory milestone payments shall be increased by a certain low three-digit percentage amount.

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Furthermore, Cullinan Amber is required to pay a running mid-single digit royalty percentage on net sales of all licensed products for each reporting period, subject to certain offsets or reductions. The royalties due to MIT for net sales of all licensed products shall not be reduced by more than fifty percent (50%). Cullinan Amber is also required to share any income from sublicensing the licensed products, with the percentage to be determined by the clinical phase of the licensed product, no greater than low-to-mid double-digit percentages. Such royalty obligations will expire on a country-by-country and product-by-product basis upon the expiration or abandonment of all issued patents and filed patent applications within the patent rights.

Under the MIT License Agreement, MIT must notify Cullinan Amber of certain patentable inventions conceived and reduced to practice during a certain period of time, or Improvements, and Cullinan Amber has the option to acquire rights to those improvements upon MIT’s approval of a business and development plan, not to be unreasonably withheld, for a specified fee. In addition to this specified fee, Cullinan Amber’s financial obligations with respect to the Improvements may be amended to reflect the value being added, such as by adding an upfront fee, maintenance fees, and milestone payments.

Cullinan Amber may voluntarily terminate the MIT License Agreement for any reason after providing written notice within a specified period of time in advance, provided that all amounts due to MIT have been paid. MIT has the right to terminate the MIT License Agreement upon written notice to Cullinan Amber if Cullinan Amber ceases to carry out its business related to the MIT License Agreement. Either party may terminate the MIT License Agreement upon a material breach by the other party. Unless earlier terminated, the MIT License Agreement shall remain in effect until the expiration or abandonment of all issued patents and the filed patent application within the patent rights.

Adimab Collaboration Agreement

In November 2018, we entered into a Collaboration Agreement, or the Adimab Collaboration Agreement, with Adimab, LLC, or Adimab. Pursuant to the Adimab Collaboration Agreement, we selected a single-digit number of biological targets against which Adimab used its proprietary platform technology to discover and/or optimize antibodies based upon mutually agreed upon research plans. Under the Adimab Collaboration Agreement, we have the ability to select a specified low single-digit number of additional biological targets against which Adimab will provide additional antibody discovery and optimization services.

During the research term and evaluation term for a given research program with Adimab, we have a non-exclusive worldwide license under Adimab’s technology to perform certain research activities and to evaluate the program antibodies to determine whether we want to exercise its option to obtain a royalty-free, fully paid, non-exclusive license under Adimab’s background patent rights to exploit such antibodies sublicensable through multiple tiers, or the Adimab Option. In the event we exercise the Adimab Option, we will pay an option fee for each target subject to certain adjustments.

Under the Adimab Collaboration Agreement, we paid a one-time, non-creditable, non-refundable technology access fee. We are also required to pay an annual access fee and research funding fees in connection with Adimab’s full-time employees’ compensation for performance of Adimab’s obligations under the Adimab Collaboration Agreement. We are also obligated to make certain research delivery, clinical and sales milestone payments to Adimab in an aggregate amount of up to $15.8 million for each product, on a product-by-product basis, subject to certain reductions and discounts.

Furthermore, we are obligated to pay certain royalty payments on a product-by-product basis at a low single-digit percentage of annual aggregate worldwide net sales. Such royalty obligations will expire on a country-by-country and product-by-product basis upon the later of (a) a certain low double-digit number of years after the first commercial sale of such product in such country and (b) the expiration of the last issued and not expired, permanently revoked, or invalid claim within a program patent covering such product as defined in the agreement.

We may terminate the Adimab Collaboration Agreement at any time, for any reason, upon a specified period advance written notice. The term of the Adimab Collaboration Agreement expires upon the last research program’s evaluation term in the event no Adimab Option is exercised or, in the event an Adimab Option is exercised, after the royalty term thereof expires at the later of a specified period or invalid patent coverage of the relevant product.

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Intellectual Property

Our intellectual property is critical to our business and we strive to protect it, including by obtaining, maintaining, defending, and enforcing patents and other intellectual property, in the United States and internationally, for our proprietary therapeutic molecules, technology, improvements, platforms, product candidates and components thereof, novel biological discoveries, new therapeutic approaches and potential indications, and other inventions that are important to our business. For our product candidates, generally we initially pursue patent protection covering compositions of matter, methods of use, and methods of production. Throughout the development of our product candidates, we will seek to identify additional means of obtaining patent protection that would potentially enhance commercial success, including improvement to pharmaceutical formulations, methods of use and production.

As of December 31, 2021, our patent portfolio includes 10 patent families, including both patent applications we own, and issued patents and patent applications exclusively in-licensed from external technology originators in a respective field. Specifically, we have exclusively in-licensed at least 2 issued US patents, 38 patents issued in foreign jurisdictions, and 129 patent applications pending worldwide. Our earliest issued patents are expected to expire in 2034. Later patents, that may issue from our pending patent applications, are expected to expire between 2037 and 2041, excluding any patent term adjustments or extensions, if applicable, that may be available. As to the patent term extension to restore patent term effectively lost following patent grant but during the FDA regulatory review process, the restoration period cannot be longer than five years and the total patent term including the restoration period must not exceed 14 years following FDA approval.

Our portfolio related to our CLN-081 product candidate includes five patent families directed to compositions, and methods of using such compositions therapeutically. The first family, which is in-licensed from Taiho Pharma, covers compositions with claims directed to our CLN-081 product candidate. This patent family includes issued patents in the U.S., major European countries and China, and such patents are expected to expire in 2034, excluding any patent term adjustments or extensions, if applicable. Within this family, patent application were filed in Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Hong Kong, Macau, European Patent Office, Austria, Belgium, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Germany, Denmark, Spain, Finland, France, United Kingdom, Greece, Hungry, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Sweden, Turkey, Indonesia, India, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Malaysia, Philippines, Russian Federation, Singapore, Thailand, Taiwan, United States of America, and Vietnam. Three families, also in-licensed from Taiho Pharma, include both issued patents and pending patent applications with claims directed to methods of using the CLN-081 product candidate in treating additional diseases where we believe CLN-081 has potential to be active. The first of these three families, titled “Selective Inhibitor of Exon20 Insertion Mutant EGFR”, is expected to expire in 2037, excluding any patent term adjustments or extensions, if applicable, that may be available. Within this family, patent applications have so far been filed in Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, European Patent Office, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Philippines, Russian Federation, Singapore, Thailand, United States of America, Vietnam, South Africa, and Taiwan. The second of these three families, titled “Selective Inhibitor of Exon 18 and Exon 21 Mutant EGFR”, is expected to expire in 2038, excluding any patent term adjustments or extensions, if applicable, that may be available. Within this family, patent applications have so far been filed in Australia, Canada, China, European Patent Office, Israel, Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, and United States of America. The third of these three families, titled “L718 and/or L792 mutant type treating resistance EGFR inhibitor”, is expected to expire in 2039, excluding any patent term adjustments or extensions, if applicable, that may be available. An international application has been filed under this family. We own a fifth application, which is directed to certain methods of use and dosing protocols. This family is expected to expire in 2041, excluding any patent term adjustments or extensions, if applicable, that may be available. A PCT application and an application in Taiwan have been filed under this family.

We, through our subsidiary Cullinan MICA, own three patent families related to our CLN-619 product candidate, including patent families directed to compositions, and methods of using such compositions therapeutically. The family of patent applications with claims directed to CLN-619 compositions, if issued, are expected to expire in 2039, excluding any patent term adjustments or extensions, if applicable. For the first of these patent families, patent applications have so far been filed in Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, European Patent Office, India, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Philippines, Russian Federation, Singapore, Thailand, United States of America, Vietnam and South Africa. A family of patent applications with claims directed to additional anti-MICA antibody compositions, if issued, are expected to expire in 2039, excluding any patent term adjustments or extensions, if applicable. Patent applications have so far been filed for this family in Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, European Patent Office, India, Israel, Japan, Korea, Mexico, New Zealand, Russian Federation, United States of America, South Africa and Hong Kong. A patent family with claims directed to additional anti-MICA antibody compositions and methods of use, if issued, is expected to expire in 2043, excluding any patent term adjustments or extensions, if applicable. A United States provisional application has been filed under this family.

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Our portfolio related to our CLN-049 product candidate includes one patent family, in-licensed from the University of Tubingen, directed to compositions, and methods of using such compositions therapeutically. This family of patent applications contain claims directed to CLN-049 compositions, which, if issued, are expected to expire in 2039, excluding any patent term adjustments or extensions, if applicable. Patent applications have so far been filed for this family in the United States, Europe, China, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Indonesia, Israel, India, Mexico, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, South Korea, Vietnam, South Africa, Russia, Japan, Malaysia and Hong Kong.

Our portfolio related to our CLN-617 product candidate and Cullinan Amber program includes two patent families. The first family was in-licensed from MIT, directed to compositions, and methods of using such compositions therapeutically. This family of patent applications contain claims covering Cullinan Amber related compositions, which, if issued, are expected to expire in 2039, excluding any patent term adjustments or extensions, if applicable. An international application has been filed under this family. The second family is a PCT application owned by Cullinan Amber, which is directed to certain compositions, and methods of using such compositions therapeutically. This family contains claims covering additional Cullinan Amber related compositions, which, if issued, are expected to expire in 2041, excluding any patent term adjustments or extensions, if applicable.

Individual patents extend for varying periods depending on the date of filing of the patent application or the date of patent issuance and the legal term of patents in the countries in which they are obtained. Generally, patents issued for regularly filed applications in the United States are granted a term of 20 years from the earliest effective non-provisional filing date. In addition, in certain instances, a patent term can be extended to recapture a portion of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, or the USPTO, review period in issuing the patent as well as a portion of the term effectively lost as a result of the FDA regulatory review period.

Manufacturing

We do not own or operate, and currently have no plans to establish, any Good Manufacturing Practice, or GMP, manufacturing facilities. We rely, and expect to continue to rely, on third parties for the manufacture of our product candidates for preclinical and clinical testing, as well as for commercial manufacture if any of our product candidates obtain marketing approval. We also rely, and expect to continue to rely, on third parties to package, label, store and distribute our investigational product candidates and, if marketing approval is obtained, our commercial products. We believe this strategy allows us to maintain a more efficient infrastructure by eliminating the need for us to invest in our own manufacturing facilities, equipment and personnel while also enabling us to focus our expertise and resources on the development of new product candidates.

We receive material from our contract manufacturing organizations, or CMOs, for preclinical testing. We receive clinical supply material manufactured in compliance with current Good Manufacturing Practice requirements, or cGMPs, and we conduct audits before and during the trial, in cooperation with a CMO, to ensure compliance with the mutually agreed process descriptions and cGMP regulations.

Our lead product candidate, CLN-081, is a small molecule that is manufactured in synthetic processes from available starting materials. The chemistry appears amenable to scale-up and does not currently require unusual equipment in the manufacturing process. We generally expect to rely on third parties for the manufacture of companion diagnostics, which are assays or tests that identify an appropriate patient population for CLN-081. Depending on the technology solutions we choose, we may rely on multiple third parties to manufacture and sell a single test.

To date, we have obtained drug substance, or DS, for CLN-049 and CLN-619, our most advanced biologic candidates, from single-source third-party contract manufacturers, WuXi Biologics, WuXi, and Abzena, respectively. While any reduction or halt in supply of DS from these contract manufacturers could limit our ability to develop our product candidates until we find a qualified replacement contract manufacturer, we have procured sufficient DS to initiate our planned clinical studies for both CLN-049 and CLN-619. WuXi has also supplied CLN-049 drug product, or DP, and we have procured sufficient CLN-049 DP for our planned clinical studies. We have engaged a separate contract manufacturer to produce CLN-619 DP, Vetter, which has manufactured sufficient DP to initiate our planned clinical studies. We intend to put in place agreements under which our third-party contract manufacturers will generally provide us with necessary quantities of DS and DP on a project-by-project basis, based on our projected development and commercial supply needs.

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Our CLN-049 and CLN-619 product candidates are manufactured from a vial of a master cell bank, or MCB, from the respective production cell lines. We have one MCB for each program that was produced and tested in accordance with cGMPs and applicable regulations. For CLN-049, the MCB is stored in one location, and we are making plans to store at a second location. The research cell bank, or RCB, for CLN-049 is stored at a different location from the MCB. For CLN-619, the MCB is stored at two independent sites, and the RCB is stored at a separate location from the RCB locations. We intend to produce working cell banks for each product candidate later in product development. It is possible that we could lose multiple cell banks from multiple locations and have our manufacturing severely impacted by the need to replace the cell banks. However, we believe we have adequate backup should any particular cell bank be lost in a catastrophic event.

Governmental Regulation

United States Food and Drug Administration Regulation

The United States Food and Drug Administration, or FDA, and other U.S. regulatory authorities at federal, state and local levels, as well as in foreign countries, extensively regulate, among other things, the research, development, testing, manufacture, quality control, safety, efficacy, import, export, labeling, packaging, storage, distribution, record keeping, approval, advertising, promotion, marketing, post-approval monitoring and post-approval reporting of drugs and biologics such as those we are developing. We, along with our vendors, collaboration partners, clinical research organizations, or CROs, clinical trial investigators, and CMOs will be required to navigate the various preclinical, clinical, manufacturing and commercial approval requirements of the governing regulatory agencies of the countries in which we wish to conduct studies or seek approval of our product candidates. The process of obtaining regulatory approvals of drugs and ensuring subsequent compliance with appropriate United States federal, state, local and foreign statutes and regulations requires the expenditure of substantial time and financial resources. Failure to comply with the applicable regulatory requirements at any time during the product development process or post-approval may subject an applicant to delays in development or approval, as well as administrative and judicial sanctions.

In the United States, the FDA regulates drugs under the FDCA, and biologics under the FDCA and the Public Health Service Act, or PHSA, and their implementing regulations. Both drugs and biologics are also subject to other federal, state and local statutes and regulations. Our product candidates are early-stage and have not been approved by the FDA for marketing in the United States.

Our product candidates must be approved for therapeutic indications by the FDA before they may be marketed in the United States. For our drug product candidates regulated under the FDCA, such as CLN-081, FDA must approve a New Drug Application, or NDA. For our biologic product candidates regulated under the FDCA and PHSA, such as CLN-049 and CLN-619, FDA must approve a Biologics License Application, or BLA. The process is similar and generally involves the following:

completion of extensive preclinical studies in accordance with applicable regulations, including studies conducted in accordance with Good Laboratory Practice, or GLP, requirements;
submission to the FDA of an Investigational New Drug, or IND application which must become effective before clinical trials may begin and must be updated annually and when certain changes are made;
approval by an Institutional Review Board, or IRB, or independent ethics committee at each clinical trial site before each trial may be initiated;
performance of adequate and well-controlled clinical trials in accordance with Good Clinical Practice, or GCP, requirements and other clinical trial-related regulations to establish the safety and efficacy of the investigational product for each proposed indication;
preparation and submission to the FDA of an NDA or BLA;
payment of user fees for FDA review of the NDA or BLA, unless waived;
a determination by the FDA within 60 days of its receipt of an NDA or BLA to file the application for review;
satisfactory completion of one or more FDA pre-approval inspections of the manufacturing facility or facilities where the product will be produced to assess compliance with current Good Manufacturing Practices, or cGMPs to assure that the facilities, methods and controls are adequate to ensure and preserve the drug or biological product’s identity, strength, quality and purity;
satisfactory completion of any FDA audits of the clinical trial sites that generated the data in support of the NDA or BLA; and

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

Preclinical and Clinical Trials

Before testing any drug or biologic in humans, the product candidate must undergo rigorous preclinical testing. Preclinical studies include laboratory evaluations of chemistry, formulation and stability, as well as in vitro and animal studies to assess safety and in some cases to establish the rationale for therapeutic use. The conduct of preclinical studies is subject to federal and state regulations and requirements, including GLP requirements for safety and toxicology studies. In the United States, the results of the preclinical studies, together with manufacturing information and analytical data must be submitted to the FDA as part of an IND.

An IND is a request for authorization from the FDA to administer an investigational product to humans and must become effective before clinical trials may begin. The central focus of an IND submission is on the general investigational plan and the protocol(s) for clinical studies. The IND also includes results of animal and in vitro studies assessing the toxicology, pharmacokinetics, pharmacology and pharmacodynamic characteristics of the product; chemistry, manufacturing and controls information; and any available human data or literature to support the use of the investigational product. In the United States, the IND automatically becomes effective 30 days after receipt by the FDA, unless the FDA, within the 30-day time period, raises concerns or questions about the conduct of the clinical trial, including concerns that human research subjects will be exposed to unreasonable health risks and imposes a clinical hold. In such a case, the IND sponsor and the FDA must resolve any outstanding concerns before the clinical trial can begin. Some long-term preclinical testing may continue after the IND is submitted. Accordingly, submission of an IND may or may not result in FDA authorization to begin a trial.

The clinical stage of development involves the administration of the product candidate to healthy volunteers or patients under the supervision of qualified investigators, generally physicians not employed by or under the trial sponsor’s control, in accordance with GCP requirements, which include the requirements that all research subjects provide their informed consent for their participation in any clinical trial. Clinical trials are conducted under protocols detailing, among other things, the objectives of the clinical trial, dosing procedures, subject selection and exclusion criteria and the parameters and criteria to be used in monitoring safety and evaluating effectiveness, including stopping rules that assure a clinical study will be stopped if certain adverse events should occur. Each protocol, and any subsequent amendments to the protocol, must be submitted to the FDA as part of the IND. Furthermore, each clinical trial must be reviewed and approved by an IRB, either centrally or at each institution at which the clinical trial will be conducted, to ensure that the risks to individuals participating in the clinical trials are minimized and are reasonable related to the anticipated benefits. The IRB also approves the informed consent form that must be provided to each clinical trial subject or his or her legal representative and must monitor the clinical trial until completed.

The FDA may, at any time during the initial 30-day IND review period or while clinical trials are ongoing under the IND, impose a partial or complete clinical hold based on concerns for patient safety and/or noncompliance with regulatory requirements. This order issued by the FDA would delay a proposed clinical study or cause suspension of an ongoing study until all outstanding concerns have been adequately addressed, and the FDA has notified the company that investigations may proceed. Imposition of a clinical hold could cause significant delays or difficulties in completing planned clinical studies in a timely manner. In addition, the IRB, or the sponsor may suspend or discontinue a clinical trial at any time on various grounds, including a finding that the subjects are being exposed to an unacceptable health risk. Some studies also include oversight by an independent group of qualified experts organized by the clinical study sponsor, known as a data safety monitoring board, which provides authorization for whether or not a study may move forward at designated check points based on access to certain data from the study and may halt the clinical trial if it determines that there is an unacceptable safety risk for subjects or other grounds, such as no demonstration of efficacy. There also are requirements governing the reporting of ongoing clinical trials and completed clinical trials to public registries. In the United States, information about applicable clinical trials, including clinical trials results, must be submitted within specific timeframes for publication on the www.clinicaltrials.gov website.

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

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

Phase 1—Phase 1 clinical trials involve initial introduction of the investigational product in a limited population of healthy human volunteers or patients with the target disease or condition in the case of some products for severe or life-threatening diseases. These studies are typically designed to test the safety, dosage tolerance, absorption, metabolism and distribution of the investigational product in humans, evaluate the side effects associated with increasing doses, and, if possible, to gain early evidence of effectiveness.
Phase 2—Phase 2 clinical trials typically involve administration of the investigational product to a limited patient population with a specified disease or condition to evaluate the preliminary efficacy, optimal dosages and dosing schedule and to identify possible adverse side effects and safety risks. Multiple Phase 2 clinical trials may be conducted to obtain information prior to beginning larger and more expensive Phase 3 clinical trials.
Phase 3—Phase 3 clinical trials typically involve administration of the investigational product to an expanded patient population to further evaluate dosage, to provide substantial evidence of clinical efficacy and to further test for safety, generally at multiple geographically dispersed clinical trial sites. These clinical trials are intended to establish the overall risk/benefit ratio of the investigational product and to provide an adequate basis for product approval. Generally, two adequate and well-controlled Phase 3 clinical trials are required by the FDA for approval of an NDA or BLA.

Post-approval trials, sometimes referred to as Phase 4 clinical trials, may be conducted after initial marketing approval. These trials are used to gain additional experience from the treatment of patients in the intended therapeutic indication and are commonly intended to generate additional safety data regarding use of the product in a clinical setting. In certain instances, the FDA may mandate the performance of Phase 4 clinical trials as a condition of approval of an NDA or BLA. Failure to exhibit due diligence with regard to conducting required Phase 4 clinical trials could result in withdrawal of approval for products.

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

Concurrent with clinical trials, companies usually complete additional animal studies and must also develop additional information about the drug or biological characteristics of the product candidate and finalize a process for manufacturing the drug product in commercial quantities in accordance with cGMP requirements. The manufacturing process must be capable of consistently producing quality batches of the product candidate and manufacturers must develop, among other things, methods for testing the identity, strength, quality and purity of the final drug product. Additionally, appropriate packaging must be selected and tested, and stability studies must be conducted to demonstrate that the product candidate does not undergo unacceptable deterioration over its shelf life and to identify appropriate storage conditions for the product candidate.

Expanded Access

Expanded access, sometimes called “compassionate use,” is the use of investigational 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. FDA regulations allow access to investigational products under an IND by the company or the treating physician for treatment purposes on a case-by-case basis for the following groups: 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 investigational product under a treatment protocol or treatment IND application.

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There is no requirement for a company to provide expanded access to its investigational product. However, if a company decides to make its investigational product available for expanded access, FDA reviews each request for expanded access and determines if treatment may proceed. Expanded access may be appropriate when all of the following criteria apply: the patient has a serious or immediately life-threatening disease or condition, and there is no comparable or satisfactory alternative therapy to diagnose, monitor, or treat the disease or condition; the potential benefit justifies the potential risks of the treatment and the potential risks are not unreasonable in the context of the disease or condition to be treated; and providing the investigational product for the requested use will not interfere with the initiation, conduct, or completion of clinical investigations that could support marketing approval of the expanded access use or otherwise compromise the potential development of the expanded access use.

In addition, on May 30, 2018, the Right to Try Act was signed into law. The law, among other things, provides an additional mechanism for patients with a life-threatening condition who have exhausted approved treatments and are unable to participate in clinical trials to access certain investigational products that have completed a Phase I clinical trial, are the subject of an active IND, and are undergoing investigation for FDA approval. Unlike the expanded access framework described above, Right to Try does not require FDA to review or approve requests for use of the investigational product. There is no obligation for a company to make its investigational products available to eligible patients under the Right to Try Act.

Under the FDCA, sponsors of one or more investigational products for the treatment of a serious disease or condition must make publicly available their policy for evaluating and responding to requests for expanded access for individual patients. 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 investigational drug or biologic receives designation as a breakthrough therapy, fast track product, or regenerative medicine advanced therapy. There is no obligation for a sponsor to make its investigational products available to eligible patients as a result of the Right to Try Act, but the sponsor must develop an internal policy and respond to patient requests according to that policy.

FDA Marketing Application Review and Approval Process

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 United States FDA as part of an NDA or BLA requesting approval to market the product for one or more indications. An NDA is a request for approval to market a new drug for one or more specified indications, and a BLA is a request for approval to market a new biologic for one or more specified indications. The NDA or BLA must include all relevant data available from pertinent preclinical studies and clinical studies, including negative or ambiguous results as well as positive findings, together with detailed information relating to the product’s chemistry, manufacturing, controls, and proposed labeling, among other things. Data may come from company-sponsored clinical trials intended to test the safety and efficacy of a product’s use or from a number of alternative sources, including studies initiated by investigators. To support marketing approval, the data submitted must be sufficient in quality and quantity to establish the safety and efficacy of the investigational drug, or the safety, purity and potency of the investigational biologic, to the satisfaction of the FDA. FDA approval of an NDA or BLA must be obtained before a drug or biologic may be marketed in the United States.

In addition, under the Pediatric Research Equity Act, or PREA, certain NDAs and BLAs and certain supplements to an NDA or BLA must contain data to assess the safety and effectiveness of the drug or biological product candidate for the claimed indications in all relevant pediatric subpopulations and to support dosing and administration for each pediatric subpopulation for which the product is safe and effective. The Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act requires that a sponsor who is planning to submit a marketing application or supplement to an application for a drug or biological product that includes a new active ingredient or clinically active component, new indication, new dosage form, new dosing regimen or new route of administration submit an initial Pediatric Study Plan within 60 days after an end-of-Phase 2 meeting or as may be agreed between the sponsor and FDA. Unless otherwise required by regulation, PREA does not apply to a drug or biological product for an indication for which orphan designation has been granted.

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In the United States, the FDA reviews all submitted NDAs and BLAs to ensure they are sufficiently complete to permit substantive review before it accepts them for filing and may request additional information rather than accepting the NDA or BLA for filing. The FDA makes a decision on accepting an NDA or BLA for filing within 60 days of receipt, and such decision could include a refusal to file by the FDA. The FDA may refuse to file any BLA that it deems incomplete or not properly reviewable at the time of submission and may request additional information. In this event, the BLA must be resubmitted with the additional information. The resubmitted application also is 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 of the application. The FDA reviews an NDA or BLA to determine, among other things, whether the product is safe and effective and whether the facility in which it is manufactured, processed, packaged or held meets standards, including cGMP requirements, designed to assure and preserve the product’s identity, strength, quality and purity. Under the goals and polices agreed to by the FDA under the Prescription Drug User Fee Act, or PDUFA, the FDA targets ten months, from the filing date, in which to complete its initial review of an original NDA or BLA and respond to the applicant, and six months from the filing date of an original NDA or BLA filed for priority review. The FDA does not always meet its PDUFA goal dates for standard or priority NDAs or BLAs, and the review process is often extended by FDA requests for additional information or clarification.

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

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

Before approving an NDA or BLA, the FDA typically will inspect the facility or facilities where the product is manufactured. The FDA will not approve an application unless it determines that the manufacturing processes and facilities are in compliance with cGMP requirements and adequate to assure consistent production of the product within required specifications. Additionally, before approving an NDA or BLA, the FDA may inspect one or more clinical trial sites to assure compliance with GCP and other requirements and the integrity of the clinical data submitted to the FDA. To assure GMP and GCP compliance, an applicant must incur significant expenditure of time, money and effort in the areas of training, record keeping, production, and quality control.

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

Even if the FDA approves a product, depending on the specific risk(s) to be addressed, the FDA may limit the approved indications for use of the product, require that contraindications, warnings or precautions be included in the product labeling, require that post-approval studies, including Phase 4 clinical trials, be conducted to further assess a product’s safety or efficacy 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 risk evaluation and mitigation strategy, or REMS, which can materially affect the potential market and profitability of the product. REMS can include medication guides, communication plans for healthcare professionals, and elements to assure safe use, or ETASU. ETASU can include, but are not limited to, special training or certification for prescribing or dispensing, dispensing only under certain circumstances, special monitoring, and the use of patent registries. 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.

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Orphan Drug Designation and Exclusivity

Under the Orphan Drug Act, the FDA may grant orphan drug designation, or ODD, to a drug or biologic intended to treat a rare disease or condition, defined as a disease or condition with either a patient population of fewer than 200,000 individuals in the United States, or a patient population of greater than 200,000 individuals in the United States when there is no reasonable expectation that the cost of developing and making available the drug or biologic in the United States will be recovered from sales in the United States of that drug or biologic. ODD must be requested before submitting an NDA or BLA. After the FDA grants ODD, the generic identity of the therapeutic agent and its potential orphan use are disclosed publicly by the FDA. The granting of ODD does not convey any advantage in or shorten the duration of the regulatory review and approval process.

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

A designated orphan drug may not receive orphan drug exclusivity if it is approved for a use that is broader than the indication for which it received ODD. In addition, orphan drug exclusive marketing rights in the United States may be lost if the FDA later determines that the request for designation was materially defective or if the manufacturer is unable to assure sufficient quantities of the product to meet the needs of patients with the rare disease or condition.

Expedited Development and Review Programs

The FDA maintains several programs intended to facilitate and expedite development and review of new drugs and biologics to address unmet medical needs in the treatment of serious or life-threatening diseases or conditions. These programs include Fast Track designation, Breakthrough Therapy designation, priority review and accelerated approval. Fast Track designation, Breakthrough Therapy designation, priority review and accelerated approval do not change the standards for approval but may expedite the development or approval process.

A new drug or biologic is eligible for Fast Track designation if it is intended to treat a serious or life-threatening disease or condition and demonstrates the potential to address unmet medical needs for such disease or condition. Fast track designation applies to the combination of the product and the specific indication for which it is being studied. Fast Track designation provides increased opportunities for sponsor interactions with the FDA during preclinical and clinical development, in addition to the potential for rolling review once a marketing application is filed, meaning that the FDA may initiate review of sections of a Fast Track product’s application before the application is complete upon satisfaction of certain conditions.

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

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

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The FDA may grant accelerated approval to a product intended to treat a serious or life-threatening disease or condition that generally provides a meaningful therapeutic advantage to patients over available treatments, and demonstrates an effect on a surrogate endpoint that is reasonably likely to predict clinical benefit or on a clinical endpoint that can be measured earlier than irreversible morbidity or mortality, or IMM, that is reasonably likely to predict an effect on IMM or other clinical benefit, taking into account the severity, rarity, or prevalence of the condition and the availability or lack of alternative treatments.

For drugs granted accelerated approval, the FDA generally requires sponsors to conduct, in a diligent manner, adequate and well-controlled post-approval confirmatory studies to verify and describe the product’s clinical benefit. Failure to conduct required post-approval studies with due diligence, failure to confirm a clinical benefit during the post-approval studies, or dissemination of false or misleading promotional materials would allow the FDA to withdraw the product approval on an expedited basis. All promotional materials for product candidates approved under accelerated approval are subject to prior review by the FDA unless FDA informs the applicant otherwise.

FDA Approval or Clearance of Companion Diagnostics

In August 2014, the FDA issued final guidance clarifying the requirements that will apply to the development and approval of therapeutic products intended for use with in vitro companion diagnostics. According to the guidance, for novel drugs and biologics, a companion diagnostic device and its corresponding therapeutic should be approved or cleared contemporaneously by the FDA for the use indicated in the therapeutic product’s labeling. Approval or clearance of the companion diagnostic device will ensure that the device has been adequately evaluated and has adequate performance characteristics in the intended population. In July 2016, the FDA issued a draft guidance intended to assist sponsors of the therapeutic products and in vitro companion diagnostic devices on issues related to co-development of the products.

Under the FDCA, in vitro diagnostics, including companion diagnostics, are regulated as medical devices. In the United States, the FDCA and its implementing regulations, and other federal and state statutes and regulations govern, among other things, medical device design and development, preclinical and clinical testing, premarket clearance or approval, registration and listing, manufacturing, labeling, storage, advertising and promotion, sales and distribution, export and import, and post-market surveillance. Unless an exemption applies, diagnostic tests require marketing clearance or approval from the FDA prior to commercial distribution.

The FDA previously has required in vitro companion diagnostics intended to select the patients who will respond to a product candidate to obtain pre-market approval, or PMA, simultaneously with approval of the therapeutic product candidate. The PMA process, including the gathering of clinical and preclinical data and the submission to and review by the FDA, can take several years or longer. It involves a rigorous premarket review during which the applicant must prepare and provide the FDA with reasonable assurance of the device’s safety and effectiveness and information about the device and its components regarding, among other things, device design, manufacturing and labeling. PMA applications are subject to an application fee.

A clinical trial is typically required for a PMA application and, in a small percentage of cases, the FDA may require a clinical study in support of a 510(k) submission. A manufacturer that wishes to conduct a clinical study involving the device is subject to the FDA’s investigational device exemption, or IDE, regulation. The IDE regulations distinguish between significant and non-significant risk device studies and the procedures for obtaining approval to begin the study differ accordingly. Also, some types of studies are exempt from the IDE regulations. A significant risk device presents a potential for serious risk to the health, safety, or welfare of a subject. Significant risk devices are devices that are substantially important in diagnosing, curing, mitigating, or treating disease or in preventing impairment to human health. Studies of devices that pose a significant risk require both FDA and an IRB approval prior to initiation of a clinical study. Many companion diagnostics are considered significant risk devices due to their role in diagnosing a disease or condition. Non-significant risk devices are devices that do not pose a significant risk to the human subjects. A non-significant risk device study requires only IRB approval prior to initiation of a clinical study.

After a device is placed on the market, it remains subject to significant regulatory requirements. Medical devices may be marketed only for the uses and indications for which they are cleared or approved. Device manufacturers must also establish registration and device listings with the FDA.

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In the United States, device manufacturers are also subject to FDA’s medical device reporting regulations, which require that a manufacturer report to the FDA if a device it markets may have caused or contributed to a death or serious injury, or has malfunctioned and the device or a similar device that it markets would be likely to cause or contribute to a death or serious injury, if the malfunction were to recur, and FDA’s correction and removal reporting regulations, which require that manufacturers report to the FDA corrections or removals if undertaken to reduce a risk to health posed by the device or to remedy a violation of the FDCA that may present a risk to health. A medical device manufacturer’s manufacturing processes and those of its suppliers are required to comply with the applicable portions of the Quality System Regulation, which covers the methods and documentation of the design, testing, production, processes, controls, quality assurance, labeling, packaging and shipping of medical devices. Domestic facility records and manufacturing processes are subject to periodic unscheduled inspections by the FDA. The FDA also may inspect foreign facilities that export products to the United States.

Post-Approval Requirements for Drugs and Biologics in the United States

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

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

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

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

restrictions on the marketing or manufacturing of the product, complete withdrawal of the product from the market or product recalls;
safety alerts, Dear Healthcare Provider letters, press releases or other communications containing warnings or other safety information about the product;
mandated modification of promotional materials and labeling and issuance of corrective information;

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fines, warning letters, or untitled letters;
holds on clinical trials;
refusal of the FDA to approve applications or supplements to approved applications, or suspension or revocation of product approvals;
product recall, seizure or detention, or refusal to permit the import or export of products;
injunctions or the imposition of civil or criminal penalties; and
consent decrees, corporate integrity agreements, debarment or exclusion from federal healthcare programs.

United States Patent Term Restoration and Marketing Exclusivity

Depending upon the timing, duration and specifics of FDA approval of our future product candidates, some of our United States patents may be eligible for limited patent term extension under the Drug Price Competition and Patent Term Restoration Act of 1984, commonly referred to as the Hatch-Waxman Amendments. The Hatch-Waxman Amendments permit restoration of the patent term of up to five years as compensation for patent term lost during the FDA regulatory review process. Patent-term restoration, however, cannot extend the remaining term of a patent beyond a total of 14 years from the product’s approval date and only those claims covering such approved drug product, a method for using it or a method for manufacturing it may be extended. The patent-term restoration period is generally one-half the time between the effective date of an IND and the submission date of an NDA or BLA plus the time between the submission date of an NDA or BLA and the approval of that application, except that the review period is reduced by any time during which the applicant failed to exercise due diligence. Only one patent applicable to an approved drug is eligible for the extension and the application for the extension must be submitted prior to the expiration of the patent. The USPTO, in consultation with the FDA, reviews and approves the application for any patent term extension or restoration. In the future, we may apply for restoration of patent term for our currently owned or licensed patents to add patent life beyond its current expiration date, depending on the expected length of the clinical trials and other factors involved in the filing of the relevant NDA or BLA.

Regulatory exclusivity provisions under the FDCA also can delay the submission or the approval of certain applications. The FDCA provides a five-year period of non-patent marketing 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 action of the drug substance. During the exclusivity period, the FDA may not accept for review an ANDA, or a 505(b)(2) NDA submitted by another company for another version of such drug where the applicant does not own or have a legal right of reference to all the data required for approval. However, an application may be submitted after four years if it contains a certification of patent invalidity or non-infringement.

The FDCA also provides three years of exclusivity for an NDA, 505(b)(2) NDA or supplement to an existing 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, for example, new indications, dosages or strengths of an existing drug. This three-year exclusivity covers only the conditions of use associated with the new clinical investigations and does not prohibit the FDA from approving ANDAs for drugs containing the original active agent for other conditions of use. 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.

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

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United States Biosimilars and Exclusivity

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, as amended by the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010, or collectively, the ACA, signed into law in 2010, includes a subtitle called the Biologics Price Competition and Innovation Act, or BPCIA, which created an abbreviated approval pathway for biological products that are biosimilar to or interchangeable with an FDA-licensed reference biological product. The FDA has issued several guidance documents outlining an approach to review and approval of biosimilars in the United States. Biosimilarity, which requires that there be no clinically meaningful differences between the biological product and the reference product in terms of safety, purity, and potency, can be shown through analytical studies, animal studies, and a clinical study or studies. Interchangeability requires that a product is biosimilar to the reference product and the product must demonstrate that it can be expected to produce the same clinical results as the reference product in any given patient and, for products that are administered multiple times to an individual, the biologic and the reference biologic may be alternated or switched after one has been previously administered without increasing safety risks or risks of diminished efficacy relative to exclusive use of the reference biologic.

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

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

Other United States Regulatory Matters

Manufacturing, sales, promotion and other activities of product candidates following product approval, where applicable, or commercialization are also subject to regulation by numerous regulatory authorities in the United States in addition to the FDA, which may include the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, or CMS, other divisions of the Department of Health and Human Services, or HHS, the Department of Justice, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the Federal Trade Commission, the Occupational Safety & Health Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency and state and local governments and governmental agencies.

Other Healthcare Laws in the United States

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

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The federal Anti-Kickback Statute, which prohibits, among other things, persons and entities from knowingly and willfully soliciting, offering, paying, receiving or providing any remuneration (including any kickback, bride, or certain rebate), directly or indirectly, overtly or covertly, in cash or in kind, to induce or reward, or in return for, either the referral of an individual for, or the purchase, order or recommendation of, any good or service, for which payment may be made, in whole or in part, under a federal healthcare program such as Medicare and Medicaid; a person or entity need not have actual knowledge of the federal Anti-Kickback Statute or specific intent to violate it in order to have committed a violation. On December 2, 2020, OIG published further modifications to the federal Anti-Kickback Statute. Under the final rules, OIG added safe harbor protections under the Anti-Kickback Statute for certain coordinated care and value-based arrangements among clinicians, providers, and others, although the portion of the rule eliminating safe harbor protection for certain rebates related to the sale or purchase of a pharmaceutical product from a manufacturer to a plan sponsor under Medicare Part D was delayed to January 2026 under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. Implementation of the this change and new safe harbors for point-of-sale reductions in price for prescription pharmaceutical products and pharmacy benefit manager service fees are currently under review by the Biden administration and may be amended or repealed. We continue to evaluate what effect, if any, these rules will have on our business;
The federal civil and criminal false claims laws, including the civil False Claims Act, or FCA, which prohibit individuals or entities from, among other things, knowingly presenting, or causing to be presented, to the federal government, claims for payment or approval that are false, fictitious or fraudulent; knowingly making, using, or causing to be made or used, a false statement or record material to a false or fraudulent claim or obligation to pay or transmit money or property to the federal government; or knowingly concealing or knowingly and improperly avoiding or decreasing an obligation to pay money to the federal government;
Manufacturers can be held liable under the FCA even when they do not submit claims directly to government payors if they are deemed to “cause” the submission of false or fraudulent claims. In addition, the government may assert that a claim that includes items or services resulting from a violation of the federal Anti-Kickback Statute constitutes a false or fraudulent claim for purposes of the civil False Claims Act. The FCA also permits a private individual acting as a “whistleblower” to bring actions on behalf of the federal government alleging violations of the FCA and to share in any monetary recovery;
The federal civil monetary penalties laws, which impose civil fines for, among other things, the offering or transfer or remuneration to a Medicare or state healthcare program beneficiary if the person knows or should know it is likely to influence the beneficiary’s selection of a particular provider, practitioner, or supplier of services reimbursable by Medicare or a state health care program, unless an exception applies;
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, or HIPAA, imposes criminal and civil liability for knowingly and willfully executing a scheme, or attempting to execute a scheme, to defraud any healthcare benefit program, including private payors, knowingly and willfully embezzling or stealing from a healthcare benefit program, willfully obstructing a criminal investigation of a healthcare offense, or falsifying, concealing or covering up a material fact or making any materially false statements in connection with the delivery of or payment for healthcare benefits, items or services. Similar to the federal Anti-Kickback Statute, a person or entity need not have actual knowledge of the statute or specific intent to violate it in order to have committed a violation;
HIPAA, as amended by the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act of 2009, or HITECH, and their respective implementing regulations, imposes, among other things, specified requirements on covered entities and their business associates relating to the privacy and security of individually identifiable health information including mandatory contractual terms and required implementation of technical safeguards of such information. HITECH also created new tiers of civil monetary penalties, amended HIPAA to make civil and criminal penalties directly applicable to business associates in some cases, and gave state attorneys general new authority to file civil actions for damages or injunctions in federal courts to enforce the federal HIPAA laws and seek attorneys’ fees and costs associated with pursuing federal civil actions;
The Physician Payments Sunshine Act, enacted as part of the ACA, imposed new annual reporting requirements for certain manufacturers of drugs, devices, biologics, and medical supplies for which payment is available under Medicare, Medicaid, or the Children’s Health Insurance Program, for certain payments and “transfers of value” provided to physicians (defined to include doctors, dentists, optometrists, podiatrists and chiropractors), physician assistants, nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, certified registered nurse anesthetists and teaching hospitals, as well as ownership and investment interests held by physicians and their immediate family members. In addition, many states also require reporting of payments or other transfers of value, many of which differ from each other in significant ways, are often not pre-empted, and may have a more prohibitive effect than the Sunshine Act, thus further complicating compliance efforts; and

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

In addition, pharmaceutical manufacturers may also be subject to United States federal and state consumer protection and unfair competition laws and regulations, which broadly regulate marketplace activities and that potentially harm consumers.

The distribution of drugs and biological products is subject to additional requirements and regulations, including extensive record-keeping, licensing, storage and security requirements intended to prevent the unauthorized sale of pharmaceutical products.

The full scope and enforcement of each of these laws is uncertain and subject to rapid change in the current environment of healthcare reform. Federal and state enforcement bodies have continued to increase their scrutiny of interactions between healthcare companies and healthcare providers, which has led to a number of investigations, prosecutions, convictions and settlements in the healthcare industry. It is possible that governmental authorities will conclude that our business practices do not comply with current or future statutes, regulations or case law involving applicable fraud and abuse or other healthcare laws and regulations. If our operations are found to be in violation of any of these laws or any other related governmental regulations that may apply to us, we may be subject to significant civil, criminal and administrative penalties, damages, fines, imprisonment, disgorgement, exclusion from government funded healthcare programs, such as Medicare and Medicaid, reputational harm, additional oversight and reporting obligations if we become subject to a corporate integrity agreement or similar settlement to resolve allegations of non-compliance with these laws and the curtailment or restructuring of our operations. If any of the physicians or other healthcare providers or entities with whom we expect to do business is found to be not in compliance with applicable laws, they may be subject to similar actions, penalties and sanctions. Ensuring business arrangements comply with applicable healthcare laws, as well as responding to possible investigations by government authorities, can be time- and resource-consuming and can divert a company’s attention from its business.

United States Coverage and Reimbursement

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

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In order to secure coverage and reimbursement for any product that might be approved for sale, a company may need to conduct expensive pharmacoeconomic studies in order to demonstrate the medical necessity and cost-effectiveness of the product, in addition to the costs required to obtain FDA or other comparable regulatory approvals. Factors payors consider in determining reimbursement are based on whether the product is a covered benefit under its health plan; safe, effective and medically necessary; appropriate for the specific patient; cost-effective; and neither experimental nor investigational. Additionally, companies may also need to provide discounts to purchasers, private health plans or government healthcare programs. Nonetheless, product candidates may not be considered medically necessary or cost effective. A decision by a third-party payor not to cover a product could reduce physician utilization once the product is approved and have a material adverse effect on sales, our operations and financial condition. Additionally, a third-party payor’s decision to provide coverage for a product does not imply that an adequate reimbursement rate will be approved. Further, one payor’s determination to provide coverage for a product does not assure that other payors will also provide coverage and reimbursement for the product, and the level of coverage and reimbursement can differ significantly from payor to payor.

The containment of healthcare costs has become a priority of federal, state and foreign governments, and the prices of products have been a focus in this effort. Governments have shown significant interest in implementing cost-containment programs, including price controls, restrictions on reimbursement and requirements for substitution of generic products. Adoption of price controls and cost-containment measures, and adoption of more restrictive policies in jurisdictions with existing controls and measures, could further limit a company’s revenue generated from the sale of any approved products. Coverage policies and third-party payor reimbursement rates may change at any time. Even if favorable coverage and reimbursement status is attained for one or more products for which a company or its collaborators receive regulatory approval, less favorable coverage policies and reimbursement rates may be implemented in the future.

Healthcare Reform

In the United States and some foreign jurisdictions, there have been, and likely will continue to be, a number of legislative and regulatory changes and proposed changes regarding the healthcare system directed at broadening the availability of healthcare, improving the quality of healthcare, and containing or lowering the cost of healthcare. For example, in March 2010, the United States Congress enacted the ACA, which, among other things, subjected biologic products to potential competition by lower-cost biosimilars; addressed a new methodology by which rebates owed by manufacturers under the Medicaid Drug Rebate Program are calculated for drugs that are inhaled, infused, instilled, implanted or injected; increased the minimum Medicaid rebates owed by most manufacturers under the Medicaid Drug Rebate Program; extended the Medicaid Drug Rebate program to utilization of prescriptions of individuals enrolled in Medicaid managed care organizations; subjected manufacturers to new annual fees and taxes for certain branded prescription drugs; created a new Medicare Part D coverage gap discount program, in which manufacturers must agree to offer 50% (increased to 70% pursuant to the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, effective as of January 1, 2019) point-of-sale discounts off negotiated prices of applicable brand drugs to eligible beneficiaries during their coverage gap period, as a condition for the manufacturer’s outpatient drugs to be covered under Medicare Part D; and provided incentives to programs that increase the federal government’s comparative effectiveness research.

Since its enactment, there have been numerous judicial, administrative, executive, and legislative challenges to certain aspects of the ACA, and we expect there will be additional challenges and amendments to the ACA in the future. Various portions of the ACA are currently undergoing legal and constitutional challenges in the United States Supreme Court and members of Congress have introduced several pieces of legislation aimed at significantly revising or repealing the ACA. The United States Supreme Court is expected to rule on a legal challenge to the constitutionality of the ACA in early 2021. The implementation of the ACA is ongoing, the law appears likely to continue the downward pressure on pharmaceutical pricing, especially under the Medicare program, and may also increase our regulatory burdens and operating costs. Litigation and legislation related to the ACA are likely to continue, with unpredictable and uncertain results.

Other legislative changes have been proposed and adopted in the United States since the ACA was enacted. In August 2011, the Budget Control Act of 2011, among other things, included aggregate reductions of Medicare payments to providers of 2% per fiscal year, which went into effect in April 2013 and, due to subsequent legislative amendments to the statute, will remain in effect through 2030 unless additional Congressional action is taken. These will be suspended from May 1, 2020 through March 31, 2022 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with a 1% reduction being reinstated from April 2022 through June 2022 and the full 2% reduction resuming thereafter, . In January 2013, the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 was signed into law, which, among other things, further reduced Medicare payments to several providers, including hospitals, imaging centers and cancer treatment centers, and increased the statute of limitations period for the government to recover overpayments to providers from three to five years.

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Moreover, payment methodologies may be subject to changes in healthcare legislation and regulatory initiatives. For example, in the United States, CMS may develop new payment and delivery models, such as bundled payment models. In addition, recently there has been heightened governmental scrutiny over the manner in which manufacturers set prices for their commercial products, which has resulted in several Congressional inquiries and proposed and enacted state and federal legislation designed to, among other things, bring more transparency to product pricing, review the relationship between pricing and manufacturer patient programs, and reform government program reimbursement methodologies for pharmaceutical products. On March 10, 2020, the Trump administration sent “principles” for drug pricing to Congress, calling for legislation that would, among other things, cap Medicare Part D beneficiary out-of-pocket pharmacy expenses, provide an option to cap Medicare Part D beneficiary monthly out-of-pocket expenses, and place limits on pharmaceutical price increases. Further, the Trump administration previously released a “Blueprint” to lower drug prices and reduce out of pocket costs of drugs that contained proposals to increase drug 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. HHS has already implemented certain measures. For example, in May 2019, CMS issued a final rule to allow Medicare Advantage Plans the option of using step therapy, a type of prior authorization, for Part B drugs beginning January 1, 2020. This final rule codified CMS’s policy change that was effective January 1, 2019. However, it is unclear whether the Biden administration will challenge, reverse, revoke or otherwise modify these executive and administrative actions. In addition, individual states in the United States have also increasingly passed legislation and implemented regulations designed to control pharmaceutical product pricing, including price or patient reimbursement constraints, discounts, restrictions on certain product access and marketing cost disclosure and transparency measures, and, in some cases, designed to encourage importation from other countries and bulk purchasing. In addition, it is possible that additional governmental action is taken to address the COVID-19 pandemic.

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

In the European Union, pricing and reimbursement schemes vary widely from country to country. Some countries provide that products may be marketed only after a reimbursement price has been agreed. Some countries may require the completion of additional studies that compare the cost-effectiveness of a particular product candidate to currently available therapies or so-called health technology assessments, in order to obtain reimbursement or pricing approval. For example, the European Union provides options for its member states to restrict the range of products for which their national health insurance systems provide reimbursement and to control the prices of medicinal products for human use. European Union member states may approve a specific price for a product or it may instead adopt a system of direct or indirect controls on the profitability of the company placing the product on the market. Other member states allow companies to fix their own prices for products but monitor and control prescription volumes and issue guidance to physicians to limit prescriptions. Recently, many countries in the European Union have increased the amount of discounts required on pharmaceuticals and these efforts could continue as countries attempt to manage healthcare expenditures, especially in light of the severe fiscal and debt crises experienced by many countries in the European Union. The downward pressure on healthcare costs in general, particularly prescription products, has become intense. As a result, increasingly high barriers are being erected to the entry of new products. Political, economic and regulatory developments may further complicate pricing negotiations, and pricing negotiations may continue after reimbursement has been obtained. Reference pricing used by various European Union member states, and parallel trade, i.e., arbitrage between low-priced and high-priced member states, can further reduce prices. There can be no assurance that any country that has price controls or reimbursement limitations for pharmaceutical products will allow favorable reimbursement and pricing arrangements for any products, if approved in those countries.

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

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

The distribution of pharmaceutical products is subject to additional requirements and regulations, including extensive record-keeping, licensing, storage and security requirements intended to prevent the unauthorized sale of pharmaceutical products.

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

Changes in regulations, statutes or the interpretation of existing regulations could impact our business in the future by requiring, for example: (i) changes to our manufacturing arrangements; (ii) additions or modifications to product labeling or packaging; (iii) the recall or discontinuation of our products; or (iv) additional record-keeping requirements. If any such changes were to be imposed, they could adversely affect the operation of our business.

European Drug Development

In the European Union, our future products also may be subject to extensive regulatory requirements. As in the United States, medicinal products can be marketed only if a marketing authorization from the competent regulatory agencies has been obtained.

Similar to the United States, the various phases of preclinical and clinical research in the European Union are subject to significant regulatory controls. Although the EU Clinical Trials Directive 2001/20/EC has sought to harmonize the EU clinical trials regulatory framework, setting out common rules for the control and authorization of clinical trials in the European Union, the EU Member States have transposed and applied the provisions of the Directive differently. This has led to significant variations in the Member State regimes. Under the current regime, before a clinical trial can be initiated it must be approved in each of the EU countries where the trial is to be conducted by two distinct bodies: the National Competent Authority, or NCA, and one or more Ethics Committees, or ECs. Under the current regime all suspected unexpected serious adverse reactions to the investigated drug that occur during the clinical trial have to be reported to the NCA and ECs of the Member State where they occurred.

The EU clinical trials legislation currently is undergoing a transition process mainly aimed at harmonizing and streamlining clinical-trial authorization, simplifying adverse-event reporting procedures, improving the supervision of clinical trials and increasing their transparency. In April 2014, the EU adopted a new Clinical Trials Regulation (EU) No 536/2014, which is set to replace the current Clinical Trials Directive 2001/20/EC. It is expected that the new Clinical Trials Regulation (EU) No 536/2014 will apply following confirmation of full functionality of the Clinical Trials Information System (CTIS), the centralized EU portal and database for clinical trials foreseen by the Regulation, through an independent audit, currently expected to occur in December 2021. The new Regulation will be directly applicable in all Member States (and so does not require national implementing legislation in each Member State), and aims at simplifying and streamlining the approval of clinical studies in the EU, for instance by providing for a streamlined application procedure via a single point and strictly defined deadlines for the assessment of clinical study applications.

We are in the process of applying to renew our status with EMA as a small and medium-sized enterprise, or SME. If we obtain SME status with EMA, it will provide access to administrative, regulatory and financial support, including fee reductions for scientific advice and regulatory procedures.

European Drug Marketing

Much like the Anti-Kickback Statue prohibition in the United States, the provision of benefits or advantages to physicians to induce or encourage the prescription, recommendation, endorsement, purchase, supply, order or use of medicinal products is also prohibited in the European Union. The provision of benefits or advantages to induce or reward improper performance generally is governed by the national anti-bribery laws of European Union Member States, and the Bribery Act 2010 in the U.K. Infringement of these laws could result in substantial fines and imprisonment. EU Directive 2001/83/EC, which is the EU Directive governing medicinal products for human use, further provides that, where medicinal products are being promoted to persons qualified to prescribe or supply them, no gifts, pecuniary advantages or benefits in kind may be supplied, offered or promised to such persons unless they are inexpensive and relevant to the practice of medicine or pharmacy. This provision has been transposed into the Human Medicines Regulations 2012 and so remains applicable in the UK despite its departure from the EU.

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Payments made to physicians in certain European Union Member States must be publicly disclosed. Moreover, agreements with physicians often must be the subject of prior notification and approval by the physician’s employer, his or her competent professional organization and/or the regulatory authorities of the individual EU Member States. These requirements are provided in the national laws, industry codes or professional codes of conduct, applicable in the EU Member States. Failure to comply with these requirements could result in reputational risk, public reprimands, administrative penalties, fines or imprisonment.

European Drug Review and Approval

In the European Economic Area, or EEA, which is comprised of the Member States of the European Union together with Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein, medicinal products can only be commercialized after obtaining a marketing authorization, or MA. There are two types of marketing authorizations.

The centralized MA is issued by the European Commission through the centralized procedure, based on the opinion of the Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use, or CHMP, of the EMA, and is valid throughout the entire territory of the EEA. The centralized procedure is mandatory for certain types of products, such as biotechnology medicinal products, orphan medicinal products, advanced-therapy medicinal products (gene-therapy, somatic cell-therapy or tissue-engineered medicines) and medicinal products containing a new active substance indicated for the treatment of HIV, AIDS, cancer, neurodegenerative disorders, diabetes, auto-immune and other immune dysfunctions and viral diseases. The centralized procedure is optional for products containing a new active substance not yet authorized in the EEA, or for products that constitute a significant therapeutic, scientific or technical innovation or which are in the interest of public health in the European Union. Under the centralized procedure, the maximum timeframe for the evaluation of a MA application by the EMA is 210 days, excluding clock stops, when additional written or oral information is to be provided by the applicant in response to questions asked by the CHMP. Clock stops may extend the timeframe of evaluation of a MA application considerably beyond 210 days. Where the CHMP gives a positive opinion, the EMA provides the opinion together with supporting documentation to the European Commission, who make the final decision to grant a marketing authorization, which is issued within 67 days of receipt of the EMA’s recommendation. Accelerated assessment might be granted by the CHMP in exceptional cases, when a medicinal product is expected to be of a major public health interest, particularly from the point of view of therapeutic innovation. The timeframe for the evaluation of a MA application under the accelerated assessment procedure is of 150 days, excluding stop-clocks, but it is possible that the CHMP may revert to the standard time limit for the centralized procedure if it determines that the application is no longer appropriate to conduct an accelerated assessment.
National MAs, which are issued by the competent authorities of the Member States of the EEA and only cover their respective territory, are available for products not falling within the mandatory scope of the centralized procedure. Where a product has already been authorized for marketing in a Member State of the EEA, this national MA can be recognized in other Member States through the mutual recognition procedure. If the product has not received a national MA in any Member State at the time of application, it can be approved simultaneously in various Member States through the decentralized procedure. Under the decentralized procedure, an identical dossier is submitted to the competent authorities of each of the Member States in which the MA is sought, one of which is selected by the applicant as the Reference Member State, or RMS. The competent authority of the RMS prepares a draft assessment report, a draft summary of the product characteristics, or SmPC, and a draft of the labeling and package leaflet, which are sent to the other Member States (referred to as the Concerned Member States, or CMSs) for their approval. If the Member States Concerned raise no objections, based on a potential serious risk to public health, to the assessment, SmPC, labeling, or packaging proposed by the RMS, the product is subsequently granted a national MA in all the Member States (i.e., in the RMS and the CMSs).

Under the procedures described above, before granting the MA, the EMA or the competent authorities of the Member States of the EEA make an assessment of the risk-benefit balance of the product on the basis of scientific criteria concerning its quality, safety and efficacy.

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

European Data and Marketing Exclusivity

In the EEA, innovative medicinal products (including both small molecules and biological medicinal products), sometimes qualify for eight years of data exclusivity upon marketing authorization and an additional two years of market exclusivity. The data exclusivity, if granted, prevents generic or biosimilar applicants from referencing the innovator’s preclinical and clinical trial data contained in the dossier of the reference product when applying for a generic or biosimilar marketing authorization, for a period of eight years from the date on which the reference product was first authorized in the EEA. During the additional two-year period of market exclusivity. During the additional two-year period of market exclusivity, a generic or biosimilar marketing authorization can be submitted, and the innovator’s data may be referenced, but no generic or biosimilar product can be marketed until the expiration of the market exclusivity period. The overall ten-year period will be extended to a maximum of 11 years if, during the first eight years of those ten years, the marketing authorization holder obtains an authorization for one or more new therapeutic indications which, during the scientific evaluation prior to their authorization, are determined to bring a significant clinical benefit in comparison with currently approved therapies.

European Orphan Designation and Exclusivity

In the EEA, the EMA’s Committee for Orphan Medicinal Products grants orphan drug designation to promote the development of products that are intended for the diagnosis, prevention or treatment of life-threatening or chronically debilitating conditions which either affect not more than 5 in 10,000 persons in the European Union community, or where it is unlikely that the development of the medicine would generate sufficient return to justify the necessary investment in its development. In each case, no satisfactory method of diagnosis, prevention or treatment must have been authorized (or, if such a method exists, the product in question would be of significant benefit to those affected by the condition).

In the EEA, orphan drug designation entitles a party to financial incentives such as reduction of fees or fee waivers and ten years of market exclusivity is granted following marketing approval for the orphan product. This period may be reduced to six years if, at the end of the fifth year, it is established that the orphan drug designation criteria are no longer met, including where it is shown that the product is sufficiently profitable not to justify maintenance of market exclusivity. During the period of market exclusivity, marketing authorization may only be granted to a “similar medicinal product” for the same therapeutic indication if: (i) a second applicant can establish that its product, although similar to the authorized product, is safer, more effective or otherwise clinically superior; (ii) the marketing authorization holder for the authorized product consents to a second orphan medicinal product application; or (iii) the marketing authorization holder for the authorized product cannot supply enough orphan medicinal product. A “similar medicinal product” is defined as a medicinal product containing a similar active substance or substances as contained in an authorized orphan medicinal product, and which is intended for the same therapeutic indication. Orphan drug designation must be requested before submitting an application for marketing approval. Orphan drug designation does not convey any advantage in, or shorten the duration of, the regulatory review and approval process.

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European Pediatric Investigation Plan

In the EEA, companies developing a new medicinal product must agree upon a pediatric investigation plan, or PIP, with the EMA’s Pediatric Committee, or PDCO, and must conduct pediatric clinical trials in accordance with that PIP, unless a waiver applies. The PIP sets out the timing and measures proposed to generate data to support a pediatric indication of the drug for which marketing authorization is being sought. The PDCO can grant a deferral of the obligation to implement some or all of the measures of the PIP until there are sufficient data to demonstrate the efficacy and safety of the product in adults. Further, the obligation to provide pediatric clinical trial data can be waived by the PDCO when this data is not needed or appropriate because the product is likely to be ineffective or unsafe in children, the disease or condition for which the product is intended occurs only in adult populations, or when the product does not represent a significant therapeutic benefit over existing treatments for pediatric patients. Products that are granted a marketing authorization with the results of the pediatric clinical trials conducted in accordance with the PIP (even where such results are negative) are eligible for six months’ supplementary protection certificate extension (if any is in effect at the time of approval). In the case of orphan medicinal products, a two year extension of the orphan market exclusivity may be available. This pediatric reward is subject to specific conditions and is not automatically available when data in compliance with the PIP are developed and submitted.

Brexit and the Regulatory Framework in the United Kingdom

In June 2016, the electorate in the UK voted in favor of leaving the EU (commonly referred to as “Brexit”). Thereafter, in March 2017, the country formally notified the EU of its intention to withdraw pursuant to Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty and the UK formally left the EU on January 31, 2020. A transition period began on February 1, 2020, during which EU pharmaceutical law remained applicable to the UK, which ended on December 31, 2020. Since the regulatory framework in the UK covering the quality, safety and efficacy of medicinal products, clinical trials, marketing authorization, commercial sales and distribution of medicinal products is derived from EU Directives and Regulations, Brexit could materially impact the future regulatory regime which applies to products and the approval of product candidates in the UK, as UK legislation now has the potential to diverge from EU legislation. It remains to be seen how Brexit will impact regulatory requirements for product candidates and products in the UK in the long-term. The MHRA, the UK medicines and medical devices regulator, has recently published detailed guidance for industry and organizations to follow from January 1, 2021 now the transition period is over, which will be updated as the UK’s regulatory position on medicinal products evolves over time.

European Data Collection

The collection and use of personal health data in the European Economic Area, or the EEA, governed by the GDPR, which became effective May 25, 2018. The GDPR applies to any company established in the EEA and to companies established outside the EEA that process personal data in connection with the offering of goods or services to data subjects in the EU or the monitoring of the behavior of data subjects in the European Union. The GDPR enhances data protection obligations for data controllers of personal data, including stringent requirements relating to the consent of data subjects, expanded disclosures about how personal data is used, requirements to conduct privacy impact assessments for “high risk” processing, limitations on retention of personal data, special provisions for “sensitive information” including health and genetic information of data subjects, mandatory data breach notification and “privacy by design” requirements, and direct obligations on service providers acting as data processors. The GDPR also imposes strict rules on the transfer of personal data outside of the EEA to countries that do not ensure an adequate level of protection, like the U.S. Failure to comply with the requirements of the GDPR and the related national data protection laws of the EEA Member States may result in fines up to 20 million euros or 4% of a company’s global annual revenues for the preceding financial year, whichever is higher. Moreover, the GDPR grants data subjects the right to request deletion of personal information in certain circumstances, and claim material and non-material damages resulting from infringement of the GDPR. Given the breadth and depth of changes in data protection obligations, maintaining compliance with the GDPR, will require significant time, resources and expense, and we may be required to put in place additional mechanisms ensuring compliance with the new data protection rules. This may be onerous and adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations, and prospects.

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Corporate Information

Cullinan Pharmaceuticals, LLC was formed in September 2016 and was subsequently renamed Cullinan Oncology, LLC, or the LLC entity, in November 2017. The LLC entity’s, wholly-owned subsidiary, Cullinan Management, Inc., or the Corporation, was formed in September 2016.

Immediately before to our initial public offering, or IPO, in January 2021 we completed a reorganization with the LLC entity. Pursuant to a contribution agreement, where the LLC entity contributed all of the stock it owned of each of Cullinan Amber Corp., Cullinan Apollo Corp., Cullinan Florentine Corp., Cullinan MICA Corp. and Cullinan Amber Corp., Cullinan Pearl Corp., and Cullinan MICA Corp., or collectively, the Asset Subsidiaries, to the Corporation in exchange for the Corporation’s common stock, and as a result, the Asset Subsidiaries became subsidiaries of the Corporation, or the Contribution. The LLC entity then merged with and into the Corporation with the Corporation being the surviving entity of such merger, or the LLC Merger. As a result of the LLC Merger, the holders of existing units in the LLC entity exchanged those units for corresponding shares of capital stock of the Corporation.

On January 8, 2021, our common stock began trading on the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the symbol “CGEM.” On February 25, 2021, our corporate name was changed to Cullinan Oncology, Inc. Our principal executive offices are located at One Main Street, Suite 520, Cambridge, MA 02142 and our telephone number is (617) 410-4650.

We use various trademarks and trade names in our business, including, without limitation, our corporate name and logo. All other trademarks or trade names referred to in this Annual Report are the property of their respective owners. Solely for convenience, the trademarks and trade names in this Annual Report may be referred to without the ® and ™ symbols, but such references should not be construed as any indicator that their respective owners will not assert, to the fullest extent under applicable law, their rights thereto. We do not intend our use or display of other companies’ trademarks and trade names to imply a relationship with, or endorsement or sponsorship of us by, any other companies.

We are an “emerging growth company” as defined in the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act of 2012. We will remain an emerging growth company until the earlier of: (i) the last day of the fiscal year (a) following the fifth anniversary of the completion of the IPO, (b) in which we have total annual gross revenue of at least $1.07 billion, or (c) in which we are deemed to be a large accelerated filer, which means the market value of our common stock that is held by non-affiliates exceeds $700.0 million as of the prior June 30th, and (ii) the date on which we have issued more than $1.0 billion in non-convertible debt during the prior three-year period.

Employees

As of December 31, 2021, we had 31 full-time employees and three consultants. Twelve of our employees have M.D. or Ph.D. degrees. Within our workforce, 17 employees are engaged in research and development and 14 are engaged in business development, finance, legal, and general management and administration. None of our employees are represented by labor unions or covered by collective bargaining agreements. We consider our relationship with our employees to be good.

Available Information

Our corporate website address is https://www.cullinanoncology.com. Information contained on or accessible through our website is not a part of this Annual Report, and the inclusion of our website address in this Annual Report is an inactive textual reference only.

Our Annual Reports on Form 10-K, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, Current Reports on Form 8-K, including exhibits, proxy and information statements and amendments to those reports filed or furnished pursuant to Sections 13(a), 14, and 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, or the Exchange Act, are available through the “Investors” portion of our website free of charge as soon as reasonably practicable after we electronically file such material with, or furnish it to, the SEC. Information on our website is not part of this Annual Report on Form 10-K or any of our other securities filings unless specifically incorporated herein by reference. In addition, our filings with the SEC may be accessed through the SEC’s Electronic Data Gathering, Analysis and Retrieval system at http://www.sec.gov. All statements made in any of our securities filings, including all forward-looking statements or information, are made as of the date of the document in which the statement is included, and we do not assume or undertake any obligation to update any of those statements or documents unless we are required to do so by law.

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Item 1A. Risk Factors.

Investing in our common stock involves a high degree of risk. You should carefully consider the risks described below, as well as the other information in this Annual Report, including our consolidated financial statements and related notes appearing elsewhere in this Annual Report and the section of this Annual Report titled “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” before you make an investment decision. The risks described below are not the only risks that we face. The occurrence of any of the events or developments described below could harm our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects. As a result, the market price of our common stock could decline, and you may lose all or part of your investment in our common stock.

Additional risks and uncertainties not presently known to us or that we currently believe to be immaterial may adversely affect our business. See “Special Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements” In this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

Risks Related to the Development of Our Product Candidates

Our preclinical studies and clinical trials may fail to demonstrate adequately the safety and efficacy of any of our product candidates, which would prevent or delay development, regulatory approval, and commercialization.

Before obtaining regulatory approvals for the commercial sale of our product candidates, including CLN-081, CLN-049, and CLN-619, we must demonstrate the safety and efficacy of our investigational product candidates for use in each target indication through lengthy, complex, and expensive preclinical studies and clinical trials. If the results of our ongoing or future preclinical studies and clinical trials are inconclusive with respect to the safety and efficacy of our product candidates, if we do not meet the clinical endpoints with statistical and clinically meaningful significance, or if there are safety concerns associated with our product candidates, we may be prevented or delayed in obtaining marketing approval for such product candidates. In some instances, there can be significant variability in safety or efficacy results between different preclinical studies and 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, changes in and adherence to the clinical trial protocols and the rate of dropout among clinical trial participants.

In addition to our ongoing clinical trial of CLN-081, patients have been, and will likely continue to be, treated with CLN-081 under an expanded access or “compassionate use” program. To the extent the experiences of patients being treated in this program are inconsistent with or less favorable than the results of our ongoing or planned company-sponsored trials with CLN-081, it may negatively affect perceptions of CLN-081, our other product candidates, or our business. In addition, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, or the FDA, or foreign regulatory authorities may require us to obtain and submit additional clinical data due to these inconsistent or unfavorable results, which could delay clinical development or marketing approval of CLN-081 or potentially our other product candidates.

Our approach to the identification, discovery, and development targeted oncology and product candidates may never lead to marketable products.

The scientific evidence to support the feasibility of developing product candidates based on these discoveries is both preliminary and limited. The patient populations for certain of our product candidates are limited to those with specific target mutations, and we will need to screen and identify these patients with the targeted mutations. Successful identification of patients is dependent on several factors, including achieving certainty as to how specific genetic alterations and larger classes of mutations, such as EGFR exon 20 mutations, respond to our product candidates, and developing companion diagnostics to identify such genetic alterations. Furthermore, even if we are successful in identifying patients, we cannot be certain that the resulting patient populations for each mutation or class of mutations will be large enough to allow us to successfully obtain indications for each mutation type and to commercialize our products and achieve profitability. The FDA and other regulatory authorities may not agree with our approach to seek labeling for groups of related mutations, rather than individual mutations, and may require us to conduct additional trials and obtain separate approvals for each individual mutation, which may further affect our ability to successfully commercialize our products, if approved. In addition, even if our approach is successful in showing clinical benefit for tumors harboring certain targeted mutations, we may never successfully identify additional oncogenic mutations. Therefore, we do not know if our approach of treating patients with targeted oncology therapies will be successful, and if our approach is unsuccessful, our business will suffer.

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If we are unable to successfully validate, develop, and obtain regulatory approval for any required companion diagnostic tests for our product candidates or experience significant delays in doing so, we may fail to obtain approval or may not realize the full commercial potential of these product candidates.

In connection with the clinical development of our product candidates for certain indications, we need to develop or obtain access to in vitro companion diagnostic tests to identify patient subsets within a disease category who may derive benefit from our product candidates, as we are targeting certain genetically defined populations for our treatments. Such companion diagnostics may be used during our clinical trials and may be required in connection with the FDA approval of our product candidates. To be successful, we or our collaborators will need to address a number of scientific, technical, regulatory, and logistical challenges. Companion diagnostics are subject to regulation by the FDA, European Medicines Agency, or EMA, and other regulatory authorities as medical devices and require separate regulatory approval prior to commercialization.

Given our limited experience in developing and commercializing diagnostics, we may rely on third parties for the design, development, and manufacture of companion diagnostic tests for our product candidates that may require such tests. If we enter into such collaborative agreements, we will be dependent on the sustained cooperation and effort of our future collaborators in developing and obtaining approval for these companion diagnostics. We and our future collaborators may encounter difficulties in developing and obtaining approval for the companion diagnostics, including issues relating to selectivity/specificity, analytical validation, reproducibility, or clinical validation of companion diagnostics. We and our future collaborators also may encounter difficulties in developing, obtaining regulatory approval for, manufacturing, and commercializing companion diagnostics similar to those we face with respect to our product candidates themselves, including issues with achieving regulatory clearance or approval, production of sufficient quantities at commercial scale and with appropriate quality standards, and in gaining market acceptance. If we are unable to successfully develop companion diagnostics for these product candidates, or experience delays in doing so, the development of these therapeutic product candidates may be adversely affected or these product candidates may not obtain marketing approval or such approval may be delayed, and we may not realize the full commercial potential of any of these product candidates that obtain marketing approval. As a result, our business, results of operations, and financial condition could be materially harmed. In addition, a diagnostic company with whom we contract may decide to discontinue developing, selling or manufacturing the companion diagnostic test that we anticipate using in connection with development and commercialization of our product candidates or our relationship with such diagnostic company may otherwise terminate. We may not be able to enter into arrangements with another diagnostic company to obtain supplies of an alternative diagnostic test for use in connection with the development and commercialization of our product candidates or do so on commercially reasonable terms, which could adversely affect and/or delay the development or commercialization of our product candidates.

Preclinical and clinical development involves a lengthy and expensive process with an uncertain outcome, and results of earlier studies and trials may not be predictive of future preclinical studies or clinical trial results. If our preclinical studies and clinical trials are not sufficient to support regulatory approval of any of our product candidates, we may incur additional costs or experience delays in completing, or ultimately be unable to complete, the development of such product candidate.

Our preclinical studies and future clinical trials may not be successful. It is impossible to predict when or if any of our product candidates will prove effective and safe in humans or will receive regulatory approval. Before obtaining marketing approval from regulatory authorities for the sale of any product candidate, we must complete preclinical studies and then conduct extensive clinical trials to demonstrate the safety and efficacy of our product candidates in humans. A failure of one or more clinical trials can occur at any stage of testing. The outcome of preclinical development testing and early clinical trials may not be predictive of the success of later clinical trials, and interim results of a clinical trial do not necessarily predict final results. A number of companies in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries have suffered significant setbacks in later stage clinical trials even after achieving promising results in earlier stage clinical trials. Moreover, preclinical and clinical data are often susceptible to varying interpretations and analyses, and many companies that have believed their product candidates performed satisfactorily in preclinical studies and clinical trials have nonetheless failed to obtain marketing approval of their product candidates.

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Additionally, some of the clinical trials we conduct may be open-label in study design and may be conducted at a limited number of clinical sites on a limited number of patients. An “open-label” clinical trial is one where both the patient and investigator know whether the patient is receiving the investigational product candidate or either an existing approved drug or placebo. Most typically, open-label clinical trials test only the investigational product candidate and sometimes may do so at different dose levels. Open-label clinical trials are subject to various limitations that may exaggerate any therapeutic effect, as patients in open-label clinical trials are aware when they are receiving treatment. Open-label clinical trials may be subject to a “patient bias” where patients perceive their symptoms to have improved merely due to their awareness of receiving an experimental treatment. Moreover, patients selected for early clinical studies often include the most severe sufferers and their symptoms may have been bound to improve notwithstanding the new treatment. In addition, open-label clinical trials may be subject to an “investigator bias” where those assessing and reviewing the physiological outcomes of the clinical trials are aware of which patients have received treatment and may interpret the information of the treated group more favorably given this knowledge. Given that our Phase 1/2a clinical trial of CLN-081 includes an open-label dosing design, the results from this clinical trial may not be predictive of future clinical trial results with this or other product candidates for which we conduct an open-label clinical trial when studied in a controlled environment with a placebo or active control.
Moreover, principal investigators for our current and future clinical trials may serve as scientific advisors or consultants to us from time to time and receive compensation in connection with such services. Under certain circumstances, we may be required to report some of these relationships to the FDA or comparable foreign regulatory authorities. The FDA or comparable foreign regulatory authority may conclude that a financial relationship between us and a principal investigator has created a conflict of interest or otherwise affected interpretation of the study. The FDA or comparable foreign regulatory authority may therefore question the integrity of the data generated at the applicable clinical trial site and the utility of the clinical trial itself may be jeopardized. This could result in a delay in approval, or rejection, of our marketing applications by the FDA or comparable foreign regulatory authority, as the case may be, and may ultimately lead to the denial of marketing approval of one or more of our product candidates.

If a sufficient number of our product candidates generally prove to be ineffective, unsafe or commercially unviable, our entire pipeline may have little, if any, value, which would have a material and adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.

We may encounter substantial delays in preclinical and clinical trials, or may not be able to conduct or complete preclinical or clinical trials on the expected timelines, if at all.

We may experience delays in initiating or completing preclinical studies or clinical trials, including as a result of delays in obtaining, or failure to obtain, the FDA’s clearance to initiate clinical trials under future investigational new drug applications, or INDs. Additionally, we cannot be certain that preclinical studies or clinical trials for our product candidates will not require redesign, enroll an adequate number of subjects on time, or be completed on schedule, if at all. We may experience numerous adverse or unforeseen events during, or as a result of, preclinical studies and clinical trials that could delay or terminate our trials, or delay or prevent our ability to receive marketing approval or commercialize our product candidates, including:

we may receive feedback from regulatory authorities that requires us to modify the design or implementation of our preclinical studies or clinical trials, including our ability to commence a clinical trial;
we may fail or be delayed in reaching agreement on acceptable terms with prospective contract research organizations, or CROs, and clinical trial sites, the terms of which can be subject to extensive negotiation and may vary significantly among different CROs and clinical trial sites;
we may be unable to add or be delayed in adding a sufficient number of clinical trial sites and obtaining institutional review board, or IRB, or independent ethics committee approval at each clinical trial site;
preclinical studies or clinical trials of our product candidates may fail to show safety or efficacy or otherwise produce negative or inconclusive results, and we may decide, or regulators may require us, to conduct additional preclinical studies or clinical trials or abandon our research efforts for our other product candidates;
preclinical studies or clinical trials of our product candidates may not produce differentiated or clinically significant results across tumor types or indications;
the number of patients required for clinical trials of our product candidates may be larger than we anticipate, enrollment in these clinical trials may be slower than we anticipate or participants may drop out of our clinical trials or fail to return for post-treatment follow-up at a higher rate than we anticipate;

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our third-party contractors may fail to comply with regulatory requirements, fail to maintain adequate quality controls or be unable to provide us with sufficient product supply to conduct and complete preclinical studies or clinical trials of our product candidates in a timely manner, or at all;
we or our investigators might have to suspend or terminate clinical trials of our product candidates for various reasons, including non-compliance with regulatory requirements, a finding that our product candidates have undesirable side effects or other unexpected characteristics or a finding that the participants are being exposed to unacceptable health risks;
the cost of clinical trials of our product candidates may be greater than we anticipate, for example, if we experience delays or challenges in identifying patients with the mutations required for our clinical trials, we may have to reimburse sites for genetic sequencing costs in order to encourage sequencing of additional patients;
we may experience difficulties in having subjects complete a clinical trial or return for post-treatment follow-up;
clinical trial sites may deviate from clinical trial protocol or drop out of a clinical trial;
we may be unable to obtain or be delayed in obtaining sufficient product supply of product candidate for use in preclinical studies or clinical trials from third-party suppliers;
the quality of our product candidates or other materials necessary to conduct preclinical studies or clinical trials of our product candidates may be insufficient or inadequate, and any transfer of manufacturing activities may require unforeseen manufacturing or formulation changes;
reports from clinical testing of other therapies may raise safety or efficacy concerns about our product candidates;
regulators may revise the requirements for approving our product candidates, or such requirements may not be as we anticipate; and
future collaborators may conduct clinical trials in ways they view as advantageous to them but that are suboptimal for us.

If we are required to conduct additional preclinical studies or clinical trials or other testing of our product candidates beyond those that we currently contemplate, if we are unable to successfully complete clinical trials of our product candidates or other testing, if the results of these studies, trials or tests are not positive or are only moderately positive or if there are safety concerns, our business and results of operations may be adversely affected and we may incur significant additional costs.

We could also encounter delays if a clinical trial is suspended or terminated by us, by the IRBs, or ethics committees of the institutions in which such clinical trials are being conducted, by the data safety monitoring board, if any, for such clinical trial or by the FDA or other regulatory authorities. Such authorities may suspend, place on clinical hold, or terminate a clinical trial due to a number of factors, including failure to conduct the clinical trial in accordance with regulatory requirements or our clinical trial protocols, inspection of the clinical trial operations or trial site by the FDA or other regulatory authorities, unforeseen safety issues or adverse side effects, failure to demonstrate a benefit from the product candidates, changes in governmental regulations or administrative actions or lack of adequate funding to continue the clinical trial.

We are early in our development efforts and are substantially dependent on our lead product candidates, CLN-081, CLN-049 and CLN-619. If we are unable to advance these or any of our other product candidates through clinical development, or to obtain regulatory approval and ultimately commercialize any such product candidates, either by ourselves or with or by third parties or if we experience significant delays in doing so, our business will be materially harmed.

We are early in our development efforts. Our lead program, CLN-081, is in a Phase 1/2a clinical trial. In December 2021, we initiated Phase 1 clinical trials for CLN-049 and CLN-619. Our ability to generate product revenues, which we do not expect will occur for many years, if ever, will depend heavily on the successful clinical development and eventual commercialization of CLN-081, CLN-049, and CLN-619, and one or more of our other product candidates, if approved. The success of our product candidates will depend on several factors, including the following:

sufficiency of our financial and other resources to complete the necessary preclinical studies and clinical trials;
successful completion of preclinical studies;

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regulator acceptance of and maintenance of INDs or comparable foreign applications that allow commencement and continuation of our planned clinical trials or future clinical trials;
successful initiation of clinical trials;
successful patient enrollment in and completion of clinical trials;
positive results from our preclinical data and clinical trials that support a demonstration of safety and effectiveness and an acceptable risk-benefit profile for our product candidates that are satisfactory to the FDA or any foreign regulatory authority for marketing approval in the intended population;
receipt of marketing approvals for our product candidates and any companion diagnostics from applicable regulatory authorities;
the extent of any required post-marketing approval commitments to applicable regulatory authorities;
obtaining and maintaining patent and trade secret protection and regulatory exclusivity for our product candidates;
making arrangements with third-party manufacturers, or establishing manufacturing capabilities, for both clinical and commercial supplies of our product candidates, if any product candidates are approved;
establishing sales, marketing, and distribution capabilities and launching commercial sales of our products, if and when approved, whether alone or in collaboration with others;
acceptance of our products, if and when approved, by patients, the medical community and third-party payors;
effectively competing with other cancer therapies;
obtaining and maintaining third-party coverage and adequate reimbursement; and
maintaining a continued acceptable safety, tolerability, and efficacy profile of our products following approval.

If we do not succeed in one or more of these factors in a timely manner or at all, we could experience significant delays in our ability to successfully commercialize product candidates, or be unable to commercialize product candidates at all. If we are unable to advance our preclinical stage product candidates to clinical development, successfully complete clinical trials for our product candidates, obtain regulatory approval, and ultimately commercialize our product candidates, our business will be materially harmed.

There is no guarantee that the results obtained in current preclinical studies or our ongoing clinical trials of CLN-81 in EGFR exon 20 insertion mutation non-small-cell lung carcinoma, or NSCLC, patients, CLN-049 in patients with relapsed or refractory acute myeloid leukemia, or r/r AML, or CLN-619 in patients with solid tumors will be sufficient to obtain regulatory approval or marketing authorization for such product candidates. For example, the FDA may require us to complete trials in addition to our ongoing Phase 1/2a trial prior to granting regulatory approval. Although we believe our product candidates and programs are uncorrelated, negative results in the development process of one product candidate could impact other product candidates or programs. For each of our product candidates, antitumor activity may be different in each of the different tumor types we plan on evaluating in our clinical trials. Even as we build clinical experience with our product candidates, we may need to further discuss or meet with the FDA to agree on the optimal patient population, study design, and size for each trial in order to obtain regulatory approval, any of which may require significant additional resources and delay the timing of our clinical trials and ultimately the approval, if any, of any of our product candidates.

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Difficulty in enrolling patients could delay or prevent clinical trials of our product candidates, and ultimately delay or prevent regulatory approval.

Identifying and qualifying patients to participate in clinical trials of our product candidates is critical to our success. The timing of completion of our clinical trials depends in part on the speed at which we can recruit patients to participate in testing our product candidates, and we may experience delays in our clinical trials if we encounter difficulties in enrollment. We may not be able to initiate or continue clinical trials for our product candidates if we are unable to locate and enroll a sufficient number of eligible patients to participate in these trials as required by the FDA or similar regulatory authorities outside the United States, or as needed to provide appropriate statistical power for a given trial. In particular, because we are focused on patients with specific genetic mutations for the development of CLN-081, our ability to enroll eligible patients may be limited or enrollment may be slower than we anticipate due to the small eligible patient population. For our Phase 1 trial evaluating CLN-049 in r/r AML patients, our ability to enroll eligible patients may be limited or enrollment may be slower than we anticipate due to enrollment criteria and the single ascending dose design. In addition, our ability to enroll patients has been delayed and may continue to be significantly delayed by the evolving COVID-19 pandemic.
 

In addition to the potentially small populations, the eligibility criteria of our planned clinical trials will further limit the pool of available study participants as we will require that patients have specific characteristics, such as a certain severity or stage of disease progression, to include them in a study. Additionally, the process of finding eligible patients may prove costly. We also may not be able to identify, recruit, and enroll a sufficient number of patients to complete our clinical studies because of the perceived risks and benefits of the product candidate under study, the availability and efficacy of competing therapies and clinical trials, the proximity and availability of clinical study sites for prospective patients, the availability of genetic sequencing information for patient tumors so that we can identify patients with the targeted genetic mutations, and the patient referral practices of physicians. If patients are unwilling to participate in our studies for any reason, the timeline for recruiting patients, conducting studies, and obtaining regulatory approval of potential products may be delayed.

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

the proximity of patients to clinical trial sites;
the design of the clinical trial;
our ability to recruit clinical trial investigators with the appropriate competencies and experience;
our ability to obtain and maintain patient consents;
our ability to enroll a diverse patient base in our clinical trials to meet FDA recommended guidance;
reporting of the preliminary results of any of our clinical trials;
the risk that patients enrolled in clinical trials will drop out of the clinical trials before clinical trial completion; and
factors we may not be able to control, such as current or potential pandemics that may limit patients, principal investigators or staff or clinical site availability (e.g., the COVID-19 pandemic).

In addition, our clinical trials will compete with other clinical trials for product candidates that are in the same therapeutic areas as our product candidates, and this competition will reduce the number and types of patients available to us because some patients who might have opted to enroll in our clinical trials may instead opt to enroll in a clinical trial being conducted by one of our competitors. Since the number of qualified clinical investigators is limited, we expect to conduct some of our clinical trials at the same clinical trial sites that some of our competitors use, which will reduce the number of patients who are available for our clinical trials at such clinical trial sites. Moreover, because certain of our product candidates represent a departure from more commonly used methods for cancer treatment and because certain of our product candidates have not been tested in humans before, potential patients and their doctors may be inclined to use conventional therapies, such as chemotherapy, rather than enroll patients in any future clinical trial of our product candidates.

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

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

From time to time, we may publicly disclose preliminary or topline data from our preclinical studies and clinical trials, which is based on a preliminary analysis of then-available data, and the results and related findings and conclusions are subject to change following a more comprehensive review of the data related to the particular study or trial. We also make assumptions, estimations, calculations, and conclusions as part of our analyses of data, and we may not have received or had the opportunity to fully and carefully evaluate all data. As a result, the topline or preliminary results that we report may differ from future results of the same studies, or different conclusions or considerations may qualify such results, once additional data have been received and fully evaluated. Topline data also remain subject to audit and verification procedures that may result in the final data being materially different from the preliminary data we previously published. From time to time, we may also disclose interim data from our clinical trials. Interim data from clinical trials are subject to the risk that one or more of the clinical outcomes may materially change as patient enrollment and treatment continues and more patient data become available or as patients from our clinical trials continue other treatments for their disease. Adverse differences between preliminary or interim data and final data could significantly harm our business prospects and our ability to obtain approval for, and commercialize, our product candidates may be harmed. Further, disclosure of interim data by us or by our competitors could result in volatility in the price of our common stock.

We may not be able to file INDs or IND amendments to commence additional clinical trials on the timelines we expect, and even if we are able to, the FDA or foreign regulatory authorities may not permit us to proceed.

We submitted our INDs for CLN-081 in May 2019 and for both CLN-049 and CLN-619 in May 2021, which are all currently in effect. However, we may not be able to file future INDs for our other product candidates on the timelines we expect. Additionally, we may experience manufacturing delays or other delays with IND-enabling studies, or the FDA or other regulatory authorities may require additional preclinical studies that we did not anticipate. Moreover, we cannot be sure that submission of an IND will result in the FDA allowing clinical trials to begin, or that, once begun, issues will not arise that result in a decision by us, by IRBs or independent ethics committees, or by the FDA or other regulatory authorities to suspend or terminate clinical trials, including as a result of a clinical hold. Additionally, even if the FDA or other regulatory authorities agree with the design and implementation of the clinical trials set forth in an IND, we cannot guarantee that they will not change their requirements or expectations in the future. These considerations also apply to new clinical trials we may submit as amendments to existing INDs or to a new IND. Any failure to file INDs on the timelines we expect or to obtain regulatory approvals for our trials may prevent us from completing our clinical trials or commercializing our products on a timely basis, if at all.

We intend to develop CLN-619 and potentially other product candidates in combination with other therapies, which exposes us to additional risks.

We intend to develop CLN-619 and potentially other product candidates in combination with one or more approved or unapproved therapies to treat cancer or other diseases. Even if any product candidate we develop were to receive marketing approval for use in combination with other approved therapies, the FDA, the EMA, or comparable foreign regulatory authorities outside of the United States could still revoke approval of the therapy used in combination with our product. If the therapies used in combination with our product candidates are replaced as the standard of care for the indications, we choose for any of our product candidates, the FDA, EMA or comparable foreign regulatory authorities may require us to conduct additional clinical trials. The occurrence of any of these risks could result in our own products, if approved, being removed from the market or being less successful commercially.

Further, we will not be able to market and sell any product candidate we develop in combination with an unapproved cancer therapy for a combination indication if that unapproved therapy does not ultimately obtain marketing approval either alone or in combination with our product. In addition, unapproved cancer therapies face the same risks described with respect to our product candidates currently in development and clinical trials, including the potential for serious adverse effects, delay in their clinical trials and lack of FDA approval.

If the FDA, EMA or comparable foreign regulatory authorities do not approve these other products or revoke their approval of, or if safety, efficacy, quality, manufacturing or supply issues arise with, the products we choose to evaluate in combination with our product candidate we develop, we may be unable to obtain approval of or market such combination therapy.

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Our product candidates may cause undesirable side effects or have other properties that delay or prevent their regulatory approval, limit their commercial potential or result in significant negative consequences following any potential marketing approval.

Our product candidates may cause undesirable side effects. Additionally, the administration process or related procedures also can cause adverse side effects. Adverse events that occur in our trials may cause us, or cause the FDA, the EMA or other regulatory authorities, or IRBs to order us to halt, delay or amend preclinical development or clinical development of our product candidates and could result in more restrictive labelling or the denial of regulatory approval of our product candidates for any or all targeted indications. Even if serious adverse events are unrelated to study treatment, such occurrences could affect patient enrollment or the ability of enrolled patients to complete the trial. In addition, if any of our product candidates are tested or used in combination with other drugs, such as our plans to potentially use CLN-619 in combination with other agents, these combinations may have additional side effects, which could be more severe than those caused by either therapy alone.

Furthermore, clinical trials by their nature utilize a sample of the potential patient population. With a limited number of patients and limited duration of exposure, rare and severe side effects of our product candidates or those of our competitors may only be uncovered when a significantly larger number of patients have been exposed to the drug. For example, while we believe that CLN-081 has demonstrated a manageable tolerability profile thus far, there can be no assurance that it or any of our other product candidates will not cause more severe side effects in a greater proportion of patients.

Moreover, if we elect, or are required, to delay, suspend or terminate any clinical trial of any of our product candidates, the commercial prospects of such product candidates or our other product candidates may be harmed, and our ability to generate product revenues from any of these product candidates may be delayed or eliminated. Any of these occurrences may harm our ability to develop other product candidates and may harm our business, financial condition, results of operations, and prospects significantly.

If our product candidates receive marketing approval and we or others identify undesirable side effects caused by such product candidates (or any other similar drugs or biologics) after such approval, a number of potentially significant negative consequences could result, including:

regulatory authorities may withdraw or limit their approval of such product candidates;
regulatory authorities may require the addition of labeling statements, such as a “boxed” warning or a contraindication;
we may be required to change the way such product candidates are distributed or administered, conduct additional clinical trials or change the labeling of the product candidates;
regulatory authorities may require a Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy, or REMS, plan to mitigate risks, which could include medication guides, physician communication plans, or elements to assure safe use, such as restricted distribution methods, patient registries, and other risk minimization tools;
we may be subject to regulatory investigations and government enforcement actions;
we may decide to remove such product candidates from the marketplace;
we could be sued and held liable for injury caused to individuals exposed to or taking our product candidates; and
our reputation may suffer.

We believe that any of these events could prevent us from achieving or maintaining market acceptance of the affected product candidates and could substantially increase the costs of commercializing our product candidates, if approved, and significantly impact our ability to successfully commercialize our product candidates and generate revenues.

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Since the number of patients that have been and will be dosed in our Phase 1/2a clinical trial of CLN-081, and our Phase 1 clinical trials of CLN-049 and CLN-619, and those that we plan to dose in future clinical trials, is small, the results from such clinical trials, once completed, may be less reliable than results achieved in larger clinical trials, which may hinder our efforts to obtain regulatory approval for our product candidates.

The preliminary results of clinical trials with smaller sample sizes, such as our Phase 1/2a clinical trial of CLN-081 and our Phase 1 clinical trials of CLN-049 and CLN-619, can be disproportionately influenced by various biases associated with the conduct of small clinical trials, such as the potential failure of the smaller sample size to accurately depict the characteristics of the broader patient population, which limits the ability to generalize the results across a broader community, thus making the clinical trial results less reliable than clinical trials with a larger number of patients. As a result, there may be less certainty that such product candidates would achieve a statistically significant effect in any future clinical trials. Further, the FDA or other regulatory authorities may require us to conduct additional and larger trials than we may plan to support applications for marketing authorization. If we conduct any future clinical trials of CLN-081, CLN-049, or CLN-619 or of our other product candidates, we may not achieve a positive or statistically significant result or the same level of statistical significance, if any, that we might have anticipated based on prior results.

We are currently conducting and may in the future conduct clinical trials for product candidates outside the United States, and the FDA and comparable foreign regulatory authorities may not accept data from such trials.

We are evaluating CLN-081 in a Phase 1/2a trial that includes centers located inside and outside of the United States. We may also in the future choose to conduct one or more additional clinical trials outside the United States, including in Europe and Australia. The acceptance of study data from clinical trials conducted outside the United States or another jurisdiction by the FDA or comparable foreign regulatory authority may be subject to certain conditions or may not be accepted at all. If data from foreign clinical trials are intended to serve as the basis for marketing approval in the United States, the FDA will generally not approve the application on the basis of foreign data alone unless (i) the data are applicable to the United States population and United States medical practice, and (ii) the trials were performed by clinical investigators of recognized competence and pursuant to good clinical practice, or GCP, regulations. Additionally, the FDA’s clinical trial requirements, including sufficient size of patient populations and statistical powering, must be met. Many foreign regulatory authorities have similar approval requirements. In addition, foreign trials are subject to the applicable local laws of the foreign jurisdictions where the trials are conducted. We would need to conduct additional trials if the FDA or any comparable foreign regulatory authority does not accept data from trials conducted outside of the United States or the applicable foreign jurisdiction, which could be costly and time-consuming, and which may result in product candidates that we may develop not receiving approval for commercialization in the United States or any such foreign jurisdiction.

Risks Related to Our Financial Condition and Capital Requirements

Our limited operating history may make it difficult for you to evaluate the success of our business to date and to assess our future viability.

We began substantive operations in 2017. Our operations to date have been limited to organizing and staffing our company, business planning, raising capital for us and our subsidiaries, filing patent applications, identifying and acquiring and investing in potential product candidates, undertaking clinical trials, building our intellectual property portfolio, and establishing arrangements and collaborating with third parties for identification, discovery and research activities, preclinical studies, clinical trials, and the manufacture of initial quantities of our product candidates and component materials. We have not yet demonstrated our ability to successfully conduct late-stage clinical trials, complete any clinical trials, obtain marketing approvals, manufacture a commercial-scale product or arrange for a third party to do so on our behalf, or conduct sales, marketing, and distribution activities necessary for successful product commercialization.

Consequently, any predictions you make about our future success or viability may not be as accurate as they could be if we had a longer operating history.

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We have incurred significant losses since inception, and we expect to incur losses over the next several years and may not be able to achieve or sustain revenues or profitability in the future.

Investment in biopharmaceutical product development is a highly speculative undertaking and entails substantial upfront capital expenditures and significant risk that any potential product candidate will fail to demonstrate adequate efficacy or an acceptable safety profile, gain regulatory approval, and become commercially viable. We are still in the early stages of development of our product candidates. We have no products approved for commercial sale and have not generated any revenue from product sales to date, and we continue to incur significant research and development and other expenses related to our ongoing operations. We have financed our operations primarily through the sale of equity securities.

We have incurred significant net losses in each period since we began substantive operations. For the years ended December 31, 2021 and 2020, we reported net losses $67.5 million and $59.5 million, respectively. As of December 31, 2021, we had an accumulated deficit of $158.9 million. We expect to continue to incur significant losses for the foreseeable future, and we expect these losses to increase substantially if and as we:

continue our research and development efforts and submit investigational new drug applications, or INDs, for our product candidates;
conduct preclinical studies and clinical trials for our current and future product candidates;
take temporary measures to help minimize the risk of COVID-19 to our employees;
experience any delays or encounter any issues with any of the above, including but not limited to failed studies, complex results, safety issues, or other regulatory challenges;
develop the necessary processes, controls, and manufacturing capabilities to obtain marketing approval for our product candidates and to support manufacturing on a commercial scale;
seek regulatory approvals for any product candidates that successful complete clinical trials, if any;
hire and retain additional personnel, such as non-clinical, clinical, pharmacovigilance, quality assurance, regulatory affairs, manufacturing, distribution, legal, compliance, medical affairs, finance, general and administrative, commercial, and scientific personnel;
establish a sales, marketing, and distribution infrastructure and scale-up manufacturing capabilities, whether alone or with third parties, to commercialize any product candidates for which we may obtain regulatory approval; and
develop, maintain, expand, and protect our intellectual property portfolio.

Because of the numerous risks and uncertainties associated with developing pharmaceutical product candidates, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic, we are unable to predict the extent of any future losses or when we will become profitable, if at all. Even if we succeed in commercializing one or more of our product candidates, we will continue to incur substantial research and development and other expenditures to develop and seek regulatory approval for additional product candidates or additional indications. We may encounter unforeseen expenses, difficulties, complications, delays, and other unknown factors that may adversely affect our business. The size of our future net losses will depend, in part, on the rate of future growth of our expenses and our ability to generate revenue. Our prior losses and expected future losses have had and will continue to have an adverse effect on our stockholders’ equity and working capital.

We have not generated any revenue from the sale of our product candidates and may never be profitable.

Our ability to become profitable depends upon our ability to generate revenue. In the first quarter of 2021, we recognized $18.9 million of license revenue from our license agreement with Zai Lab Shanghai Company, Limited. To date, we have not generated any other license or collaboration revenue or any sale from any of our product candidates. We do not expect to generate significant sales revenue or commercial revenue from the sale or license of one or more of our preclinical programs or product candidates unless or until we successfully complete clinical development and obtain regulatory approval of, and then successfully commercialize, at least one of our product candidates or, alternatively, enter into agreements with third parties for the purchase, collaboration, or license of one of our product candidates. We are currently advancing CLN-081, CLN-049 and CLN-619 in clinical development, but most of our product candidates are in the preclinical stages of development and will require additional preclinical studies. All of our product candidates will require additional clinical development, regulatory review and approval, substantial investment, access to sufficient commercial manufacturing capacity, and significant marketing efforts before we can generate any revenue from product sales. Our ability to generate revenue depends on a number of factors, including, but not limited to:

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timely completion of our preclinical studies and clinical trials, which may be significantly slower or cost more than we currently anticipate and will depend substantially upon the performance of third-party contractors;
our ability to complete IND-enabling studies and successfully submit INDs or comparable applications for our product candidates;
whether we are required by the FDA or similar foreign regulatory authorities to conduct additional clinical trials or other studies beyond those planned to support the approval and commercialization of our product candidates or any future product candidates;
our ability to timely seek and obtain regulatory and marketing approvals for any of our product candidates or any future product candidates for which we complete clinical trials, and such regulatory authorities’ acceptance of our tumor-agnostic development strategy (i.e., our pursuit of approval based on a biomarker rather than a specific cancer indication);
the prevalence, duration, and severity of potential side effects or other safety issues experienced by patients receiving our product candidates or future product candidates;
the willingness of physicians, operators of clinics, and patients to utilize or adopt any of our product candidates or future product candidates over alternative or more conventional therapies, such as chemotherapy;
the actual and perceived availability, cost, risk profile, and side effects, and efficacy of our product candidates, if approved, relative to existing and future alternative cancer therapies and competitive product candidates and technologies;
our ability and the ability of third parties with whom we contract to manufacture adequate clinical and commercial supplies of our product candidates or any future product candidates, remain in good standing with regulatory authorities and develop, validate, and maintain commercially viable manufacturing processes that are compliant with current good manufacturing practices, or cGMP;
our ability to successfully develop a commercial strategy and thereafter commercialize our product candidates or any future product candidates in the United States and internationally, if approved for marketing, reimbursement, sale, and distribution in such countries and territories, whether alone or in collaboration with others;
patient demand for our product candidates and any future product candidates, if approved; and
our ability to establish and enforce intellectual property rights in and for our product candidates or any future product candidates.

Many of the factors listed above are beyond our control and could cause us to experience significant delays or prevent us from obtaining regulatory approvals or commercializing our product candidates. Even if we are able to commercialize our product candidates, we may not achieve profitability soon after generating product sales, if ever. If we are unable to generate sufficient revenue through the commercial sale of our product candidates or any future product candidates, or from agreements with third parties for the purchase, collaboration, or license of one or more of our product candidates, we may be unable to continue operations without continued funding.

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We will require substantial additional funding to develop and commercialize our product candidates and identify and invest in new product candidates. If we are unable to raise capital when needed, we would be compelled to delay, reduce, or eliminate our product development programs or other operations.

The development of pharmaceutical products is capital intensive. We are currently advancing CLN-081, CLN-049 and CLN-619 in clinical development and making further investments in our preclinical programs. We expect our expenses to increase in parallel with our ongoing activities, as described above under the risk factor entitled “We have incurred significant losses since inception, and we expect to incur losses over the next several years and may not be able to achieve or sustain revenues or profitability in the future.” Accordingly, we will need to obtain substantial additional funding in connection with our continuing operations, which may include raising funding by one or more of our subsidiaries that could dilute our equity interest in the subsidiary. We have estimated our current additional funding needs based on assumptions that may prove to be wrong. Changing circumstances may cause us to consume capital significantly faster than we currently anticipate, and we may need to spend more money than currently expected because of circumstances beyond our control. We cannot be certain that additional funding will be available on acceptable terms, or at all. Until such time, if ever, as we can generate substantial product revenue, we expect to finance our operations through a combination of public or private equity offerings, debt financings, governmental funding, collaborations, strategic partnerships, and alliances, or marketing, distribution, or licensing arrangements with third parties, either by Cullinan Oncology, Inc., or Cullinan, or by one or more of our subsidiaries. If we or our subsidiaries are unable to raise capital when needed or on attractive terms, we or the applicable subsidiary would be forced to delay, reduce, or eliminate our identification, discovery, and preclinical or clinical development programs, or any future commercialization efforts.

We had cash and cash equivalents and short-term investments of $290.5 million and long-term investments of $140.4 million as of December 31, 2021. We believe that, based upon our current operating plan, our existing capital resources will be sufficient to fund our anticipated operations through 2024. Our future capital requirements will depend on many factors, including:

the scope, progress, results, and costs of drug discovery, laboratory testing, manufacturing and preclinical and clinical development for our current and future product candidates;
the extent to which we enter into additional collaboration arrangements with regard to product discovery or acquire or in-license products or technologies;
our ability to establish additional discovery collaborations on favorable terms, if at all;
the costs, timing, and outcome of regulatory review of our product candidates;
the costs of future commercialization activities, including product sales, marketing, manufacturing, and distribution, for any of our product candidates for which we receive marketing approval;
revenue, if any, received from commercial sales of our product candidates, should any of our product candidates receive marketing approval, or from licensing or collaboration agreements pursuant to which we may receive milestone, royalty, or other revenue from third parties developing or commercializing our product candidates; and
the costs of preparing, filing, and prosecuting patent applications, maintaining and enforcing our intellectual property rights and defending intellectual property-related claims.

If we or our subsidiaries engage in acquisitions or strategic partnerships, this may increase our or their capital requirements, dilute our or their stockholders, cause us or them to incur debt or assume contingent liabilities, and subject us or them to other risks.

We intend to engage in various acquisitions and strategic partnerships in the future, including licensing or acquiring products, intellectual property rights, technologies, or businesses, carried out either by Cullinan or by one or more of our wholly- or partially-owned subsidiaries, including a newly-formed subsidiary formed for the purpose of such transaction. Any acquisition or strategic partnership may entail numerous risks to us or the applicable subsidiary, including:

increased operating expenses and cash requirements;
the assumption of indebtedness or contingent liabilities;
the issuance of equity securities which would result in dilution;
assimilation of operations, intellectual property, products, and product candidates of an acquired company, including difficulties associated with integrating new personnel;

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the diversion of financial and managerial resources from our existing product programs and initiatives in pursuing such an acquisition or strategic partnership;
retention of key employees, the loss of key personnel, and uncertainties in our ability to maintain key business relationships;
risks and uncertainties associated with the other party to such a transaction, including the prospects of that party and their existing products or product candidates and regulatory approvals;
our inability to generate revenue from acquired intellectual property, technology, and/or products sufficient to meet our objectives or even to offset the associated transaction and maintenance costs;
risk of conducting research and development activities in new therapeutic areas or treatment modalities in which we have little to no experience;
successfully negotiating a proposed acquisition, in-license or investment in a timely manner and at a price or on terms and conditions favorable to us;
successfully combining and integrating a potential acquisition into our existing business to fully realize the benefits of such acquisition;
the impact of regulatory reviews on a proposed acquisition, in-license or investment; and
the outcome of any legal proceedings that may be instituted with respect to the proposed acquisition, in-license or investment.

If we fail to properly evaluate potential acquisitions, in-licenses, investments or other transactions associated with the creation of new research and development programs or the maintenance of existing ones, we might not achieve the anticipated benefits of any such transaction, we might incur costs in excess of what we anticipate, and management resources and attention might be diverted from other necessary or valuable activities.

Risks Related to Our Corporate Structure

We may not be successful in our efforts to use our differentiated hub-and-spoke business model to build a pipeline of product candidates with commercial value.

A key element of our strategy is to use our differentiated hub-and-spoke business model to form or seek strategic alliances, create joint ventures or collaborations, or enter into licensing arrangements with third parties for programs, product candidates, technologies or intellectual property that we believe are novel, employ differentiated mechanisms of action, are more advanced in development than competitors, or have a combination of these attributes. We face significant competition in seeking appropriate strategic partners and licensing and acquisition opportunities, and the negotiation process is time-consuming and complex. We may not be successful in our efforts in building a pipeline of product candidates for the treatment of various cancers through acquisitions, licensing or through internal development or in progressing these product candidates through clinical development. Although we analyze whether we can replicate scientific results observed prior to our acquisition or investment in a product candidate, we may not be successful in doing so after our investment. Our differentiated hub-and-spoke business model is evolving and may not succeed in building a pipeline of product candidates. For example, we may not be successful in identifying additional genetic mutations which are oncogenic and which can be “basketed” into a group that is large enough to present a sufficient commercial opportunity or that is druggable with one chemical compound.

Additionally, pursuing additional in-licenses or acquisitions of development-stage assets or programs, which entails additional risk to us. While we believe our hub-and-spoke model offers an attractive platform for these transactions and for potential partners, our model is unique and we may not be able to attract or execute transactions with licensors or collaborators who may choose to partner with companies that employ more traditional licensing and collaboration approaches. Identifying, selecting, and acquiring promising product candidates requires substantial technical, financial and human resources expertise. Efforts to do so may not result in the actual acquisition or license of a successful product candidate, potentially resulting in a diversion of our management’s time and the expenditure of our resources with no resulting benefit. For example, if we are unable to identify programs that ultimately result in approved products, we may spend material amounts of our capital and other resources evaluating, acquiring, and developing products that ultimately do not provide a return on our investment. We have terminated programs and expect to terminate programs in the future if they do not meet our criteria for advancement.

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Our subsidiaries are party to certain agreements that provide our licensors, collaborators or other shareholders in our subsidiaries with rights that could delay or impact the potential sale of our subsidiaries or could impact the ability of our subsidiaries to sell assets, or enter into strategic alliances, collaborations or licensing arrangements with other third parties.

Each of our subsidiaries licenses intellectual property from third parties and several, including our partially-owned subsidiary Cullinan Pearl Corp., or Cullinan Pearl, and Cullinan MICA Corp., or Cullinan MICA, have raised capital from third party investors. These third parties have certain rights that could delay collaboration, licensing or other arrangement with another third party, and the existence of these rights may adversely impact the ability to attract an acquirer or partner. These rights include rights of negotiation and fees payable upon a sale of assets or change of control of a subsidiary that are contained in license agreements, as well as rights such as drag-along rights in agreements with shareholders of the subsidiary.

For example, Cullinan Pearl is party to a license agreement, or the Taiho Agreement, with Taiho Pharmaceuticals, Inc., or Taiho, pursuant to which Taiho has a right of negotiation that requires Cullinan Pearl to negotiate in good faith with Taiho prior to proceeding with a transaction to license, sell, assign, transfer or otherwise dispose of a majority of the assets of Cullinan Pearl to a third party, or any transaction with respect to any of the rights licensed from Taiho to Cullinan Pearl. While Cullinan Pearl is not obligated to enter into a transaction with Taiho, the right of negotiation could delay a potential sale or adversely impact our ability to attract a partner or acquirer and could negatively impact prospects for a larger company to acquire Cullinan Pearl or its assets or enter into a collaboration or licensing transaction that would benefit us. Further, Cullinan Pearl must pay Taiho a percentage of the proceeds from the sale, assignment or transfer of less than all or substantially all of Cullinan Pearl’s assets. In addition, our partially-owned subsidiaries Cullinan Florentine Corp., or Cullinan Florentine, and Cullinan Amber Corp., or Cullinan Amber, will also owe licensors a success fee in the event of a sale or other disposition of the majority of its assets. These fees will reduce the net proceeds we receive from any such sale or disposition of assets.

We have also entered into investor rights and voting agreements with third party investors, which may delay or impact our ability to sell our equity interests in or the assets of our partially-owned subsidiaries. For example, we would need to comply with certain notice and other provisions, such as a drag-along provision in the event of sale of the subsidiary, which may delay or prevent a specific transaction or make transacting with our subsidiaries and us less attractive to third parties.

We may form additional subsidiaries and enter into similar agreements with future partners or investors, or our subsidiaries may enter into further agreements, that in each case may contain similar provisions or other terms that are not favorable to us.

Our ability to realize value from our subsidiaries may be impacted if we reduce our ownership to a minority interest or otherwise cede control to other investors through contractual agreements or otherwise.

In the event that any of our subsidiaries require additional capital and its respective board of directors authorizes the transaction, our equity interest in our subsidiaries may be further reduced to the extent such additional capital is obtained from third party investors rather than from us. However, such transactions would still need to be approved by the board of directors of our respective subsidiary over which we maintain full or, in the case of Cullinan MICA, majority control. For example, in the event Cullinan MICA were to undertake a transaction that could lead to further dilution of our interest, such action would still be subject to protective provisions requiring the consent of a majority in interest of the then-outstanding shares of Series A Senior Preferred Stock, or the Protective Voting Rights, including, among other things, any authorization, designation, recapitalization or issuance of any new class or series of stock or any other securities convertible into equity securities of Cullinan MICA. Cullinan currently holds a majority of the Series A Senior Preferred Stock. These Protective Voting Rights give holders of Series A Senior Preferred voting control over any actions that would result in redemptions of equity securities.

However, if we do not wish to or cannot provide additional capital to any of our subsidiaries, we may approve of an issuance of equity by a subsidiary that dilutes our ownership and may lose control over the subsidiary. In addition, if the affairs of such minority-owned subsidiaries such as Cullinan MICA were to be conducted in a manner detrimental to our interests or intentions, our business, reputation, and prospects may be adversely affected. For example, other shareholders of Cullinan MICA could take actions without our consent, including that a majority of shareholders could demand a registration of their shares beginning in April 2025 and such a liquidity event by the other shareholders could have an adverse impact on our investment in the subsidiary.

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A single or limited number of subsidiaries may comprise a large proportion of our value.

A large proportion of our value may at any time reside in one or two of our subsidiaries, including intellectual property rights and the value ascribed to the product candidate or program that it is developing. Our consolidated financial condition and prospects may be materially diminished if the clinical development or potential commercialization prospects of a subsidiary’s product candidate or program or one or more of the intellectual property rights held by a specific subsidiary becomes impaired. Furthermore, a large proportion of our consolidated revenue may at any time be derived from one, or a small number of, licensed technologies, and termination or expiration of licenses to these technologies would likely have a material adverse effect on our consolidated revenue. Any material adverse impact on the value of a particular subsidiary, including its intellectual property rights or the clinical development of its product candidate or program, could have a material adverse effect on our consolidated business, financial condition, results of operations or prospects.

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 and managerial resources, we must focus on a limited number of research programs and product candidates and on specific indications. As a result, we may forego or delay pursuit of opportunities with other product candidates or for other indications that later prove to have greater commercial potential or fail to recognize or acquire assets that may be more promising than those we acquire. 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 identification, discovery, and preclinical development programs and product candidates for specific indications may not yield any commercially viable products.

Our reliance on a central team consisting of a limited number of employees presents operational challenges that may adversely affect our business.

As of December 31, 2021, we had 31 full-time employees upon which we rely for various administrative, research and development, and other support services shared among our other operating subsidiaries. We also have three consultants who we rely on for research and development, business development, and other services. While we believe this structure enables us to reduce certain infrastructure costs, the small size of our centralized team may limit our ability to devote adequate personnel, time, and resources to support the operations of all of our subsidiaries, including their research and development activities, and the management of financial, accounting, and reporting matters. Given that our employees and management are primarily incentivized at the parent company level, these employees and management team members may not be sufficiently incentivized to maximize the overall value of our entire organization. If our centralized team fails to provide adequate administrative, research and development, or other services across our entire organization, our business, financial condition, and results of operations could be harmed.

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Some of our officers and directors currently serve, and in the future may serve, as directors or officers of our subsidiaries, and, as a result, have and may continue to have, fiduciary and other duties to our subsidiaries causing conflicts of interest with respect to their duties to us and their duties to our subsidiaries and in determining how to devote themselves to our affairs and the affairs of our subsidiaries. Our subsidiaries’ partners may also disagree with the sufficiency of resources that we provide to each subsidiary.

Certain of our officers are also directors and/or officers of one or more of our subsidiaries and, as a result, have fiduciary or other duties both to us and our subsidiaries. The conflicts of interest that arise from such duties could interfere with the management of our subsidiaries and their programs and product candidates, or result in disagreements with our subsidiaries’ partners. For example, an individual who is both a director of one of our subsidiaries and a director of Cullinan owes fiduciary duties to the subsidiary and to the Company as a whole, and such individual may encounter circumstances in which his or her decision or action may benefit the subsidiary while having a detrimental impact on the Company, or vice versa, or on another subsidiary, including one for which he or she also serves as a director. Further, our officers and directors who are also officers and directors of our subsidiaries will need to allocate his or her time to responsibilities owed to Cullinan and each of the subsidiaries for which he or she serves as an officer or director, and will make decisions on behalf of one entity that may negatively impact others. In addition, while most of our subsidiaries have waived any interest or expectation of corporate opportunities that is presented to, or acquired, created or developed by, or which otherwise comes into possession of any director or officer who is also a director or officer of Cullinan disputes could arise between us and our subsidiary’s partners regarding a conflict of interest. These partners also may disagree with the amount and quality of resources that our officers and employees devote to the subsidiary they are invested in. Any such disputes or disagreements could distract our management, interfere with our relations with our partners, and take significant time to resolve, which could disrupt the development of our product candidates, delay our potential commercialization efforts, result in increased costs or make it less likely that other third parties will choose to partner with us in the future.

Risks Related to Potential Commercialization

Even if we obtain regulatory approval of our product candidates, the products may not gain market acceptance among physicians, patients, hospitals, cancer treatment centers, and others in the medical community.

The use of targeted oncology medicines as a potential cancer treatment is a recent development and may not become broadly accepted by physicians, patients, hospitals, cancer treatment centers, and others in the medical community. Various factors will influence whether our product candidates are accepted in the market, including:

the clinical indications for which our product candidates are licensed;
physicians, hospitals, cancer treatment centers, and patients considering our product candidates as a safe and effective treatment;
the potential and perceived advantages of our product candidates over alternative treatments;
the prevalence and severity of any side effects caused by our product candidates;
the prevalence and severity of any side effects for other precision medicines and public perception of other precision medicines;
product labeling or product insert requirements of the FDA or other regulatory authorities;
limitations or warnings contained in the labeling approved by the FDA;
the timing of market introduction of our product candidates as well as competitive products;
the cost of treatment in relation to alternative treatments;
the availability of adequate coverage, reimbursement and pricing by third-party payors and government authorities;
the willingness of patients to pay out-of-pocket in the absence of coverage by third-party payors and government authorities;
relative convenience and ease of administration, including as compared to alternative treatments and competitive therapies; and
the effectiveness of our sales and marketing efforts.

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If our product candidates are licensed but fail to achieve market acceptance among physicians, patients, hospitals, cancer treatment centers or others in the medical community, we will not be able to generate significant revenue.

Even if our product candidates achieve market acceptance, we may not be able to maintain that market acceptance over time if new products or technologies are introduced that are more favorably received than our products, are more cost effective or render our products obsolete.

We face substantial competition, which may result in others discovering, developing or commercializing products before or more successfully than we do.

The biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries are characterized by the rapid evolution of technologies and understanding of disease etiology, intense competition, and a strong emphasis on intellectual property. We face, and will continue to face, competition from companies focused on more traditional therapeutic modalities, such as small molecule inhibitors. We believe that our differentiated business model, approach, scientific capabilities, know-how, and experience provide us with competitive advantages. However, we expect substantial competition from multiple sources, including major pharmaceutical, specialty pharmaceutical, and existing or emerging biotechnology companies, academic research institutions, governmental agencies, and public and private research institutions worldwide. Many of our competitors, either alone or through collaborations, 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. Smaller or early-stage companies may also prove to be significant competitors, particularly through collaborative arrangements with large and established companies. These companies also compete with us in recruiting and retaining qualified scientific and management personnel, establishing clinical trial sites and recruiting patients in clinical trials, as well as in acquiring technologies complementary to, or necessary for, our programs. As a result, our competitors may discover, develop, license or commercialize products before or more successfully than we do.

Product candidates that we successfully develop and commercialize will compete with existing therapies and new therapies that may become available in the future. We expect that CLN-081 will compete against small molecule EGFR inhibitor Exkivity (TAK-788) from Takeda Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and EGFR/cMET bispecific antibody Rybrevant from Johnson & Johnson. CLN-081 may also compete against EGFR inhibitors poziotinib from Spectrum Pharmaceuticals, Inc. BDTX-189 from Black Diamond Therapeutics, Inc. and DZD-9008 from Dizal Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd., as well as other molecules in preclinical development. CLN-081 may also compete with a number of agents in preclinical development for EGFR exon 20. We expect that CLN-049 will compete against bispecifics for the treatment of AML, including those targeting CD3 and CD33 (Amgen Inc., or Amgen, and Amphivena Therapeutics, Inc.), CD123 (Macrogenics, Inc. and Xencor, Inc.), FLT3 (Amgen), and CCL1/CLEC12A (Merus N.V. and Genentech, Inc.). We expect that CLN-619 will compete against cancer therapies targeting MICA/B as a monotherapy and/or in combination with other agents, including: Innate Pharma, Inc. (in collaboration with AstraZeneca Inc.), CanCure LLC, Genentech Inc., Fate Therapeutics, Inc. and Bristol Myers Squibb Company.

If our product candidates, including CLN-081, CLN-049, and CLN-619, are approved for their currently proposed target indication, they will likely compete with the competitor products mentioned above and with other products that are currently in development. The key competitive factors affecting the success of all of our product candidates, if approved, are likely to be their efficacy, safety, convenience, price, the level of generic competition, and the availability of reimbursement from government and other third-party payors. Our competitors may obtain patent protection or other intellectual property rights that limit our ability to develop or commercialize our product candidates. The availability of reimbursement from government and other third-party payors will also significantly affect the pricing and competitiveness of our products. Our competitors may also obtain FDA or other regulatory approval for their products more rapidly than we may obtain approval for ours, which could result in our competitors establishing a strong market position before we are able to enter the market. If our competitors develop and commercialize drugs that are safer, more effective, have fewer or less severe side effects, are more convenient to administer, are less expensive or with a more favorable label than our product candidates, we could see a reduction or elimination in our commercial opportunity. For additional information regarding our competition, see the section of this Annual Report titled “Business—Competition.”

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The insurance coverage and reimbursement status of newly-approved products is uncertain. Our product candidates may become subject to unfavorable pricing regulations, third-party coverage and reimbursement practices, or healthcare reform initiatives, which would harm our business. Failure to obtain or maintain adequate coverage and reimbursement for new or current products could limit our ability to market those products and decrease our ability to generate revenue.

The regulations that govern marketing approvals, pricing, coverage, and reimbursement for new drugs vary widely from country to country. In the United States, recently enacted legislation may significantly change the approval requirements in ways that could involve additional costs and cause delays in obtaining approvals. 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, and negatively impact the revenue 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 any product candidates we may develop obtain marketing approval.

In the United States and markets in other countries, patients generally rely on third-party payors to reimburse all or part of the costs associated with their treatment. Adequate coverage and reimbursement from governmental healthcare programs, such as Medicare and Medicaid, and commercial payors is critical to new product acceptance. Our ability to successfully commercialize our product candidates will depend in part on the extent to which coverage and adequate reimbursement for these products and related treatments will be available from government health administration authorities, private health insurers and other organizations. Government authorities and other third-party payors, such as private health insurers and health maintenance organizations, decide which medications they will pay for and establish reimbursement levels. The availability of coverage and extent of reimbursement by governmental and private payors is essential for most patients to be able to afford treatments such as gene therapy products. Sales of these or other product candidates that we may identify will depend substantially, both domestically and abroad, on the extent to which the costs of our product candidates will be paid by health maintenance, managed care, pharmacy benefit and similar healthcare management organizations, or reimbursed by government health administration authorities, private health coverage insurers and other third-party payors. If coverage and adequate reimbursement is not available, or is available only to limited levels, we may not be able to successfully commercialize our product candidates. Even if coverage is provided, the approved reimbursement amount may not be high enough to allow us to establish or maintain pricing sufficient to realize a sufficient return on our investment.

Reimbursement by a third-party payor may depend upon a number of factors, including, but not limited to, the third-party payor’s determination that use of a product is:

a covered benefit under its health plan;
safe, effective and medically necessary;
appropriate for the specific patient;
cost-effective; and
neither experimental nor investigational.

A primary trend in the United States healthcare industry and elsewhere is cost containment. Governmental authorities and other third-party payors have attempted to control costs by limiting coverage and the amount of reimbursement for particular medications. In many countries, the prices of medical products are subject to varying price control mechanisms as part of national health systems. In general, the prices of medicines under such systems are substantially lower than in the United States. Other countries allow companies to fix their own prices for medicines, but monitor and control company profits. Additional foreign price controls or other changes in pricing regulation could restrict the amount that we are able to charge for our product candidates. Accordingly, in markets outside the United States, the reimbursement for products may be reduced compared with the United States and may be insufficient to generate commercially reasonable revenues and profits.

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There is also significant uncertainty related to the insurance coverage and reimbursement of newly approved products and coverage may be more limited than the purposes for which the medicine is approved by the FDA or comparable foreign regulatory authorities. In the United States, the principal decisions about reimbursement for new medicines are typically made by Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, or the CMS, an agency within the United States Department of Health and Human Services or HHS. CMS decides whether and to what extent a new medicine will be covered and reimbursed under Medicare and private payors tend to follow CMS to a substantial degree. No uniform policy of coverage and reimbursement for products exists among third-party payors and coverage and reimbursement levels for products can differ significantly from payor to payor. As a result, the coverage determination process is often a time consuming and costly process that may require us to provide scientific and clinical support for the use of our products to each payor separately, with no assurance that coverage and adequate reimbursement will be applied consistently or obtained in the first instance. It is difficult to predict what CMS will decide with respect to reimbursement for fundamentally novel products such as ours. Reimbursement agencies in Europe may be more conservative than CMS. For example, a number of cancer drugs have been approved for reimbursement in the United States and have not been approved for reimbursement in certain European countries. Moreover, eligibility for reimbursement does not imply that any drug will be paid for in all cases or at a rate that covers our costs, including research, development, manufacture, sale, and distribution. Interim reimbursement levels for new drugs, if applicable, may also not be sufficient to cover our costs and may not be made permanent. Reimbursement rates may vary according to the use of the drug and the clinical setting in which it is used, may be based on reimbursement levels already set for lower cost drugs and may be incorporated into existing payments for other services. Our inability to promptly obtain coverage and profitable payment rates from both government-funded and private payors for any approved products we may develop could have a material adverse effect on our operating results, our ability to raise capital needed to commercialize product candidates, and our overall financial condition.

Net prices for drugs may be reduced by mandatory discounts or rebates required by government healthcare programs or private payors and by any future relaxation of laws that presently restrict imports of drugs from countries where they may be sold at lower prices than in the United States. Our inability to promptly obtain coverage and profitable reimbursement rates third-party payors for any approved products 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.

Increasingly, third-party payors are requiring that drug companies provide them with predetermined discounts from list prices and are challenging the prices charged for medical products. We cannot be sure that reimbursement will be available for any product candidate that we commercialize and, if reimbursement is available, the level of reimbursement. Reimbursement may impact the demand for, or the price of, any product candidate for which we obtain marketing approval. In order to obtain reimbursement, physicians may need to show that patients have superior treatment outcomes with our products compared to standard of care drugs, including lower-priced generic versions of standard of care drugs. We expect to experience pricing pressures in connection with the sale of any of our product candidates due to the trend toward managed healthcare, the increasing influence of health maintenance organizations and additional legislative changes. The downward pressure on healthcare costs in general, particularly prescription drugs and surgical procedures and other treatments, has become very intense. As a result, increasingly high barriers are being erected to the entry of new products.

Additionally, we may develop companion diagnostic tests for use with our product candidates. We, or our collaborators, may be required to obtain coverage and reimbursement for these tests separate and apart from the coverage and reimbursement we seek for our product candidates, once approved. Even if we obtain regulatory approval or clearance for such companion diagnostics, there is significant uncertainty regarding our ability to obtain coverage and adequate reimbursement for the same reasons applicable to our product candidates. Medicare reimbursement methodologies, whether under Part A, Part B, or clinical laboratory fee schedule may be amended from time to time, and we cannot predict what effect any change to these methodologies would have on any product candidate or companion diagnostic for which we receive approval. Our inability to promptly obtain coverage and adequate reimbursement from both third-party payors for the companion diagnostic tests that we develop and for which we obtain regulatory approval could have a material and adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.

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Healthcare legislative measures aimed at reducing healthcare costs may have a material adverse effect on our business and results of operations.

The United States and many foreign jurisdictions have enacted or proposed legislative and regulatory changes affecting the healthcare system that could prevent or delay marketing approval of our product candidates or any future product candidates, restrict or regulate post-approval activities and affect our ability to profitably sell a product for which we obtain marketing approval. Changes in regulations, statutes or the interpretation of existing regulations could impact our business in the future by requiring, for example: (i) changes to our manufacturing arrangements; (ii) additions or modifications to product labeling; (iii) the recall or discontinuation of our products; or (iv) additional record-keeping requirements. If any such changes were to be imposed, they could adversely affect the operation of our business.

In the United States, there have been and continue to be a number of legislative initiatives to contain healthcare costs. For example, in March 2010, the Affordable Care Act, or ACA, was passed, which substantially changed the way healthcare is financed by both governmental and private insurers, and significantly impacted the United States pharmaceutical industry. The ACA, among other things, subjects biological products to potential