If third parties claim that intellectual property used by us infringes upon their intellectual property, commercialization of our product candidates and our operating profits could be adversely affected.
There is a substantial amount of litigation, both within and outside the United States, involving patent and other intellectual property rights in the biopharmaceutical industry. We may, from time to time, be notified of claims that we are infringing upon patents, trademarks, copyrights, or other intellectual property rights owned by third parties, and we cannot provide assurances that other companies will not, in the future, pursue such infringement claims against us or any third-party proprietary technologies we have licensed. Any such claims could also be expensive and time consuming to defend and divert management’s attention and resources, and could delay or prevent us from commercializing our product candidates. Our competitive position could suffer as a result. Although we have reviewed certain third-party patents and patent filings that we believe may be relevant to our product candidates, we have not conducted a freedom-to-operate search or analysis for our product candidates, and we may not be aware of patents or pending or future patent applications that, if issued, would block us from commercializing our product candidates. Thus, we cannot guarantee that our product candidates, or our commercialization thereof, do not and will not infringe any third party’s intellectual property.
If we do not obtain patent term extension in the United States under the Hatch-Waxman Act and in foreign countries under similar legislation, thereby potentially extending the term of our marketing exclusivity of our product candidates, our business may be materially harmed.
Depending on the timing, duration and specifics of FDA marketing approval of our product candidates, if any, one of the U.S. patents covering each of such approved product(s) or the use thereof may be eligible for up to five years of patent term restoration under the Hatch-Waxman Act. The Hatch-Waxman Act allows a maximum of one patent to be extended per FDA approved product. Patent term extension also may be available in certain foreign countries upon regulatory approval of our product candidates, including by the EMA in the EU or the PMDA in Japan. Nevertheless, we may not be granted patent term extension either in the United States or in any foreign country because of, for example, failing to apply within applicable deadlines, failing to apply prior to expiration of relevant patents or otherwise failing to satisfy applicable requirements. Moreover, the term of extension, as well as the scope of patent protection during any such extension, afforded by the governmental authority could be less than we request. In addition, if a patent we wish to extend is owned by another party and licensed to us, we may need to obtain approval and cooperation from our licensor to request the extension.
If we are unable to obtain patent term extension or restoration, or the term of any such extension is less than we request, the period during which we will have the right to exclusively market our product will be shortened and our competitors may obtain approval of competing products following our patent expiration, and our revenue could be reduced, possibly materially.
Risks Related to Our Business and Industry
If we fail to attract and keep senior management and key scientific and regulatory affairs personnel, we may be unable to successfully develop our product candidates, conduct our clinical trials and commercialize our product candidates.
We are highly dependent on members of our executive management, particularly Silviu Itescu, our Chief Executive Officer. Dr. Itescu was an early pioneer in the study and clinical development of stem cell therapeutics and is globally recognized in the field of regenerative medicine. The loss of the services of Dr. Itescu or any other member of the executive management team could impede the achievement of our research, development and commercialization objectives. We do not maintain “key person” insurance for any of our executives or other employees.
Recruiting and retaining qualified scientific, clinical, manufacturing, regulatory affairs, sales and marketing personnel will also be critical to our success. We may not be able to attract and retain these personnel on acceptable terms given the competition among numerous pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies for similar personnel. We also experience competition for the hiring of scientific and clinical personnel from universities and research institutions. In addition, we rely on consultants and advisors, including scientific and clinical advisors, to assist us in formulating our research and development and commercialization strategy. Our consultants and advisors may be employed by employers other than us and may have commitments under consulting or advisory contracts with other entities that may limit their availability to us.
Our employees, principal investigators, consultants and collaboration partners may engage in misconduct or other improper activities, including noncompliance with laws and regulatory standards and requirements and insider trading.
We are exposed to the risk of employee fraud or other misconduct. Misconduct by employees could include failures to comply with FDA regulations, to provide accurate information to the FDA, to comply with manufacturing standards we have established, to comply with federal and state healthcare fraud and abuse laws and regulations, to report financial information or data accurately or to disclose unauthorized activities to us. In particular, sales, marketing and business arrangements (including arrangements with