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ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
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Amphastar Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Table of Contents
SPECIAL NOTE ABOUT FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS
This Annual Report on Form 10-K, or Annual Report, contains “forward-looking statements” that involve substantial risks and uncertainties. In some cases, you can identify forward-looking statements by the following words: “may,” “might,” “will,” “could,” “would,” “should,” “expect,” “intend,” “plan,” “anticipate,” “believe,” “estimate,” “predict,” “project,” “potential,” “continue,” “ongoing” or the negative of these terms or other comparable terminology, although not all forward-looking statements contain these identifying words. Forward-looking statements relate to future events or future financial performance or condition and involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual results, levels of activity, performance or achievement to differ materially from those expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, statements about:
|●||our expectations regarding the sales and marketing of our products;|
|●||our expectations regarding our manufacturing and production and the integrity of our supply chain for our products, including the risks associated with our single source suppliers;|
|●||the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and related responses of business and governments to the pandemic on our operations and personnel, and on commercial activity and demand across our business operations and results of operations;|
|●||interruptions to our manufacturing and production as a result of natural catastrophic events or other causes beyond our control such as power disruptions or widespread disease outbreaks, such as the COVID-19 pandemic;|
|●||global, national and local economic and market conditions, specifically with respect to geopolitical uncertainty, and the COVID-19 pandemic;|
|●||the timing and likelihood of U.S. Food and Drug Administration, or FDA, approvals and regulatory actions on our product candidates, manufacturing activities and product marketing activities;|
|●||our ability to advance product candidates in our platforms into successful and completed clinical trials and our subsequent ability to successfully commercialize our product candidates;|
|●||our ability to compete in the development and marketing of our products and product candidates;|
|●||our expectations regarding the business expansion plans for our Chinese subsidiary, ANP;|
|●||the potential for adverse application of environmental, health and safety and other laws and regulations on our operations;|
|●||our expectations for market acceptance of our new products and proprietary drug delivery technologies, as well as those of our active pharmaceutical ingredient, or API, customers;|
|●||the potential for our marketed products to be withdrawn due to patient adverse events or deaths, or if we fail to secure FDA approval for products subject to the Prescription Drug Wrap-Up program;|
|●||our expectations in obtaining insurance coverage and adequate reimbursement for our products from third-party payers;|
|●||the amount of price concessions or exclusion of suppliers adversely affecting our business;|
|●||our ability to establish and maintain intellectual property protection for our products and our ability to successfully defend our intellectual property in cases of alleged infringement;|
|●||the implementation of our business strategies, product development strategies and technology utilization;|
|●||the potential for exposure to product liability claims;|
|●||future acquisitions, divestitures or investments, including the anticipated benefits of such acquisitions, divestitures or investments;|
|●||our ability to expand internationally;|
|●||economic and industry trends and trend analysis;|
|●||our ability to remain in compliance with laws and regulations that currently apply or become applicable to our business both in the United States and internationally;|
|●||the impact of trade tariffs, export or import restrictions, or other trade barriers;|
|●||the impact of Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (as amended) and other legislative and regulatory healthcare reforms in the countries in which we operate including the potential for drug price controls;|
|●||the impact of global and domestic tax reforms, including the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, or the Tax Act, as amended by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, or the CARES Act;|
|●||the timing for completion and the validation of the new construction at our ANP and Amphastar facilities;|
|●||the timing and extent of share buybacks; and|
|●||our financial performance expectations, including our expectations regarding our backlog, revenue, cost of revenue, gross profit or gross margin, operating expenses, including changes in research and development, sales and marketing and general and administrative expenses, and our ability to achieve and maintain future profitability.|
You should read this Annual Report and the documents that we reference elsewhere in this Annual Report completely and with the understanding that our actual results may differ materially from what we expect as expressed or implied by our forward-looking statements. In light of the significant risks and uncertainties to which our forward-looking statements are subject, you should not place undue reliance on or regard these statements as a representation or warranty by us or any other person that we will achieve our objectives and plans in any specified timeframe, or at all. In particular, the extent of COVID-19’s impact on our business will depend on several factors, including the severity, duration and extent of the pandemic, all of which continue to evolve and remain uncertain at this time. We discuss many of these risks and uncertainties in greater detail in this Annual Report, particularly in Item 1A. “Risk Factors.” These forward-looking statements represent our estimates and assumptions only as of the date of this Annual Report regardless of the time of delivery of this Annual Report, and such information may be limited or incomplete, and our statements should not be read to indicate that we have conducted an exhaustive inquiry into, or review of, all potentially available relevant information. Except as required by law, we undertake no obligation to update or revise publicly any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise after the date of this Annual Report.
Unless expressly indicated or the context requires otherwise, references in this Annual Report to “Amphastar,” “the Company,” “we,” “our,” and “us” refer to Amphastar Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and our subsidiaries.
Item 1. Business.
We are a bio-pharmaceutical company that focuses primarily on developing, manufacturing, marketing and selling technically-challenging generic and proprietary injectable, inhalation, and intranasal products, as well as insulin active pharmaceutical ingredient, or insulin API, products. We currently manufacture and sell over 20 products, the overwhelming majority of which are prescription pharmaceuticals. Since December 2018, we have sold our patented Primatene Mist® using a new hydrofluoroalkanes, or HFA, formulation as our sole over-the-counter product.
We are currently developing a portfolio of 13 generic abbreviated new drug applications, or ANDAs or NDAs, three biosimilar insulin product candidates and four proprietary product candidates, which are in various stages of development and target a variety of indications. Five ANDAs and one NDA are currently on file with the FDA.
For the years ended December 31, 2020, 2019, and 2018, we recorded net revenues of $349.8 million, $322.4 million, and $294.7 million, respectively. We recorded net income of $1.4 million and $48.9 million for the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019, respectively. For the year ended December 31, 2018, we recorded a net loss of $5.7 million.
Our largest products by net revenues currently include Primatene Mist®, enoxaparin sodium injection, phytonadione, lidocaine jelly and sterile solution, epinephrine injection, and naloxone hydrochloride injection. In the fourth quarter of 2018, we launched our over-the-counter product Primatene Mist®. In July 2019, we began a national digital, radio, and television campaign for our over-the-counter product Primatene Mist®, which will continue throughout 2021. During the second quarter of 2020, we launched our epinephrine injection, USP 30mg/30mL multiple-dose vial product. In December 2020, the FDA granted approval of our glucagon for injection emergency kit, 1mg, and we launched this product in the first quarter of 2021.
Our multiple technological capabilities enable the development of technically challenging products with limited competition. These capabilities include characterizing complex molecules, analyzing and synthesizing peptides and proteins, conducting immunogenicity studies, engineering particles and improving drug delivery through sustained-release technology. These technological capabilities have enabled us to produce bioequivalent versions of complex drugs and support the development and manufacture of a broad range of dosage formulations, including solutions, emulsions, suspensions and lyophilized products, as well as products administered via pre-filled syringes, vials, nasal sprays, metered-dose inhalers, or MDIs, and dry powder inhalers, or DPIs.
Our primary strategic focus is to develop and commercialize products with high technical barriers to market entry. We are specifically focused on products that:
|●||leverage our proprietary research and development capabilities;|
|●||require raw materials or APIs for which we believe we have a competitive advantage in sourcing, synthesizing, or manufacturing; and/or|
|●||improve upon an existing drug’s formulation with respect to drug delivery, safety and/or efficacy.|
Not all of our products will include all of these characteristics. Moreover, we may opportunistically develop and commercialize product candidates with lower technical barriers to market entry if, for example, our existing supply chain and manufacturing infrastructure allow us to pursue a specific product candidate in a competitive and cost-effective manner.
To complement our internal growth and expertise, we have made several strategic acquisitions of companies, products and technologies. These acquisitions collectively have strengthened our core injectable and inhalation product technology infrastructure by providing additional manufacturing, marketing, and research and development capabilities, including the ability to manufacture raw materials, APIs and other components for our products.
In March 2020, the World Health Organization declared the outbreak of a novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, as a pandemic, which continues to spread throughout the world, including locations where we operate, such as the United States, China and France. We have been actively monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact globally. Currently, our production facilities in all of our locations continue to operate as they had prior to the COVID-19 pandemic with few changes, other than for enhanced safety measures intended to prevent the spread of the virus.
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, during the first half of 2020, sales of Primatene Mist® and certain hospital products increased, while sales of certain products frequently used in elective procedures, such as Cortrosyn® and lidocaine products, decreased. During the second half of 2020, sales of these products returned to levels closer to those experienced prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Also, some of our ongoing clinical trials have experienced short-term interruptions in the recruitment of patients due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as hospitals prioritize their resources towards the COVID-19 pandemic and governments impose travel restrictions. Additionally, some clinical trials experienced increased expenses due to new protocols to protect participants from COVID-19.
It is not possible at this time to estimate the complete impact that COVID-19 could have on our business, including our customers and suppliers, as the impact will depend on future developments, which are highly uncertain and cannot be predicted. Infections may resurge or become more widespread and the limitation on our ability to travel and timely sell and distribute our products, as well as any closures or supply disruptions, may be extended for longer periods of time, all of which would have a negative impact on our business, financial condition and operating results.
The COVID-19 pandemic has and will continue to adversely affect global economies and financial markets, resulting in an economic downturn that could affect demand for our products and impact our operating results. Even after the COVID-19 pandemic has subsided, we may continue to experience an adverse impact to our business as a result of the continued global economic impact of the pandemic. We cannot anticipate all of the ways in which health epidemics such as COVID-19 could adversely impact our business. We will continue to monitor the impact of COVID-19 on all aspects of our business. See Item 1A, “Risk Factors” for further discussion of the possible impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our business.
We primarily target products with high technical barriers to market entry, with a particular focus on the injectable and inhalation markets. We also manufacture and sell certain APIs.
|●||Injectable market. Based on a December 2020 IQVIA National Sales Perspective Report, the U.S. injectable drug market in 2020 was over $228 billion. Our generic development portfolio is targeting opportunities in over $20 billion of this market. The injectable market requires highly technical manufacturing capabilities and compliance with strict current Good Manufacturing Practice, or cGMP, requirements, which create high barriers to market entry. Due to these high barriers to market entry, there are a limited number of companies with the technology and experience needed to manufacture injectable products. There have also been a number of quality issues over the past several years that have disrupted the ability of certain injectable manufacturers to produce sufficient product quantity to meet market demand. As such, the supply of injectables has been constrained, even as demand for injectable products has continued to increase.|
|●||Inhalation market. Based on a December 2020 IQVIA National Sales Perspective Report, the U.S. inhalation drug market in 2020 was approximately $27.0 billion. Our generic development portfolio is targeting opportunities in over $8 billion of this market. Inhalation drug therapy is used extensively to treat respiratory conditions such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The MDI is the most widely used device to deliver inhalation therapies. It uses pressurized gas, historically chlorofluorocarbons, or CFCs, and more recently HFAs, to release its dose when the patient activates the device. The DPI, which does not rely on a propellant, is also widely used. As in the case of injectables, there are significant technical barriers to manufacturing inhalation products. The evolution of inhalation delivery technologies from nebulizers and CFCs to HFAs and DPIs has required manufacturers of inhalation products to re-formulate their products, which in many cases may require technical engineering capabilities, additional regulatory approvals and modified delivery devices. Additionally, the development of generic HFA and DPI products requires bioequivalence studies for FDA approval.|
We have built our company by integrating the following capabilities and strengths that we believe enable us to compete effectively in the pharmaceutical industry:
|●||Robust portfolio of products and product candidates. We have over 20 commercial products and over 20 product candidates at different stages of development. We also continue to develop our product candidates, which represent our longer-term growth opportunities.|
|●||Advanced technical capabilities and multiple delivery technologies. We have developed multiple advanced technical capabilities that we incorporate into the development of our products and product candidates, including characterization of complex molecules, peptide and protein analysis and synthesis, immunogenicity studies, particle engineering and sustained-release technology. In addition, we apply these capabilities across our injectable, inhalation and intranasal delivery technologies. Our injectable delivery technologies enable us to develop and manufacture generic and proprietary injectables in normal solution, lyophilized, suspension, jelly and emulsion forms, as well as in pre-filled syringes. Our inhalation technologies cover a variety of delivery methods, including DPIs and HFA formulations of MDIs. These technical capabilities form the foundation of our strategy to develop products with high barriers to market entry targeting a wide range of indications.|
|●||Vertically integrated infrastructure. We are a vertically integrated company with the demonstrated ability to advance a product candidate from the research and development stage through commercialization. Our capabilities include strong research and development expertise, sophisticated pharmaceutical engineering capabilities, comprehensive manufacturing capabilities (including the ability to synthesize and manufacture our own API), a strict quality assurance system, extensive regulatory and clinical experience and established marketing and distribution relationships. We believe our vertical integration allows us to achieve better operating efficiencies, accelerated product development and internal control over product quality.|
|●||Experienced management team with deep scientific expertise. Our management team has a successful track record in product development, project management, quality assurance, acquisitions and sales and marketing, as well as established relationships with our key customers, partners and suppliers. Our research and development leadership has deep expertise in areas including pharmaceutical formulation, process development, in vivo and in vitro studies, analytical chemistry, physical chemistry, drug delivery and clinical research. We believe that our scientific and technical expertise, coupled with our management team’s business, legal, regulatory, and business development experience will enable us to successfully expand our position with respect to our current products and establish a meaningful market position for our product candidates.|
Our goal is to be an industry leader in the development, manufacturing and marketing of technically challenging injectable and inhalation pharmaceutical products. To achieve this goal, we are pursuing the following key strategies:
|●||Diversify our revenues by commercializing our product candidates. Assuming we are successful in developing and obtaining regulatory approvals, we plan to commercialize our product candidates and thereby diversify our sources of revenues. We have over 20 product candidates in various stages of development, including 13 generic ANDAs or NDAs, three biosimilar product candidates and four proprietary product candidates. We also expect to expand our internal sales and marketing capabilities and, in some cases, enter into strategic alliances with other pharmaceutical companies, to drive market penetration for our product candidates.|
|●||Focus on high-margin generic product opportunities. We believe that we have significant opportunities for growth driven by our technical expertise in the development of generic product candidates with high technical barriers to market entry. We believe that if these product candidates are commercialized, they are likely to face less competition than less technically challenging generic products, which may enable us to earn higher margins for a longer period of time. We believe that generic competition for these products is likely to be limited because of challenges in product development, manufacturing or sourcing of raw materials or APIs.|
|●||Develop proprietary products. We currently have four proprietary product candidates at various stages of development targeting a broad range of indications. We believe that proprietary products tend to face less competition than generic products due to market exclusivity, intellectual property protection and other barriers to entry. For these reasons, we believe that our proprietary products will provide us with the opportunity for higher margins and long-term revenue growth.|
|●||Leverage our vertically integrated infrastructure to drive operational efficiencies. We believe our vertically integrated infrastructure provides significant benefits including better operating efficiencies, accelerated product development and internal control over product quality. Our ability to manufacture our own API allows us to develop products that other companies may not focus on due to the uncertainty of API supply. In addition, our vertically integrated infrastructure, including our research and development capabilities, allows us to conduct technically challenging studies in-house. We believe this vertically integrated infrastructure has led, and will continue to lead, to a competitive portfolio of products and product candidates.|
|●||Target and integrate acquisitions of pharmaceutical companies, products and technologies. We have a demonstrated ability to identify, acquire and integrate pharmaceutical companies, products and technologies to complement our internal product development capabilities. Companies we have acquired include (1) International Medication Systems, Limited or IMS, (2) Armstrong Pharmaceuticals, Inc. or Armstrong, (3) Nanjing Puyan Pharmaceutical Technology Co., Ltd. (which we renamed Amphastar Nanjing Pharmaceuticals Co., Ltd.), or ANP, (4) Nanjing Letop Medical Technology Co. Ltd. (which we renamed Nanjing Letop Fine Chemistry Co. Ltd., or Letop, (5) Merck’s API Manufacturing Business in Éragny-sur-Epte, France, in connection with which, we established our French subsidiary, Amphastar France Pharmaceuticals, S.A.S., or AFP, and (6) International Medication Systems (UK) Limited, or IMS UK. Products we have acquired include Cortrosyn® and Epinephrine Mist, as well as trade names such as Primatene®. We believe that our scientific and managerial expertise and our integration experience have improved the quality of the product lines and companies that we have acquired, which has had, and we|
|believe will continue to have, a positive effect on our results of operations. For example, in 2018, we received approval from the FDA for the manufacture of semi-purified heparin at our Chinese subsidiary, ANP. We plan to have ANP manufacture API for certain other products and product candidates.|
Our Technical Capabilities
We develop, manufacture, market and sell generic and proprietary products that utilize injectable, inhalation and intranasal delivery systems. We also manufacture and sell insulin API.
|●||Injectable. Our injectable product technologies enable us to develop and manufacture generic and proprietary injectables in liquid, lyophilized, suspension and emulsion forms, as well as the use of pre-filled syringes to facilitate the safety and conveniences to users. We have multiple injectable manufacturing facilities that include aseptic filling lines dedicated to the sterile production of injectable products. Additionally, we maintain compliance with cGMP regulations, which has enabled us to obtain regulatory approvals and support commercial supply.|
|●||Inhalation and Intranasal. We are focused on developing a broad range of generic and proprietary inhalation and intranasal products utilizing a variety of delivery technologies. We have expertise in formulating HFA-based MDIs and DPIs as well as packaging our inhalation drugs in blister packs and other forms which can be used for loading our products into a variety of inhalation devices. As with our injectable products, we maintain compliance with cGMP regulations, which we believe will enable us to obtain regulatory approvals and support commercial supply. Additionally, we have extensive formulation and clinical experience in developing complex formulations that can be administered by intranasal delivery.|
We have advanced capabilities that enable us to focus on developing technically challenging products.
|●||Characterization of complex molecules. Characterization of complex molecules includes a determination of physicochemical properties, biological activity, immunochemical properties and purity. Such characterization is important in the development of a generic product that is considered the same as a reference drug product, which in turn allows the generic drug developer to demonstrate such “sameness” to the FDA, which ultimately allows for interchangeability with the reference drug product. Complex drugs typically have large molecules composed of a mixture of molecules that differ very slightly from one another. These slight variances make such complex molecules difficult to characterize. We have developed analytical tools that have enabled us to characterize complex molecules in our products and product candidates. We believe that we have the technology to develop a variety of additional analytical tools that will enable us to characterize other complex molecules, including peptide and protein-based products.|
|●||Immunogenicity. The ability of an antigen to elicit immune responses is called immunogenicity. Unwanted immunogenicity, which is strongly linked with peptide and protein drug products, occurs when a patient mounts an undesired immune response against a drug therapy. As a result, the FDA has signaled that they may require immunogenicity studies as part of the new pathway for biosimilars and biogenerics. In the past, the FDA has required these studies in connection with the approval of products with complex molecules. We have gained expertise in immunogenicity by performing immunogenicity studies in connection with the FDA approval process for our enoxaparin product. We believe that our experience in conducting these difficult immunogenicity studies will be of primary importance in our future efforts to develop complex molecules, biosimilar and biogeneric product candidates.|
|●||Peptide and protein product development and production. The development of peptide and protein drug products utilizes our characterization technology and immunogenicity studies, synthetic capabilities, as well as recombinant DNA, or rDNA, API manufacturing technology. We have experience in the use of rDNA manufacturing technology, which includes the genetic engineering of host cells, fermentation to promote cell culture growth and isolation and purification of the desired protein from the cell culture. Testing is required to ensure that only the desired protein is included in the finished product through each step. We believe that this technology will allow us to develop protein and peptide drug products. We received the first-ever FDA approval of a generic version of Glucagon for Injection Emergency Kit. The FDA determined our approved peptide product to be bioequivalent and therapeutically equivalent to the reference listed drug, which has rDNA origin.|
|●||Particle engineering. Particle engineering is important in the field of pulmonary drug delivery as there is a direct relationship between the properties of a particle and its absorption by the lungs. We believe our expertise and our technology, which is applicable to both particle engineering and physical chemistry, allows us to engineer the size, shape, surface smoothness and distribution of particles to develop inhalation products that are more easily dispersed through targeted areas. We believe this expertise will allow us to formulate difficult to disperse inhalation products as well as demonstrate to the FDA the sameness to the reference listed drugs.|
|●||Sustained-release. We have developed technology aimed at improving drug delivery through sustained-release injectable products. The purpose of our sustained-release technology is to create products that require less dosing frequency, which we believe can lead to the diminishing of fluctuations of drug concentrations in a patient’s bloodstream that would otherwise require more frequent dosing. We plan to use our sustained-release technology to develop both generic and proprietary products.|
|●||Novel formulation. We have the capability to develop novel formulation to enhance drug delivery. For certain intranasal medications, novel formulation might be required to increase the drug’s absorption rate to be able to deliver the medication in a safe and efficacious manner. We plan to use our novel formulation with our intranasal epinephrine product.|
Finished Pharmaceutical Products
Our Marketed Products
We currently manufacture and sell over 20 products in our finished pharmaceutical product segment. The following is a description of products in our existing portfolio.
Primatene Mist®, an over-the-counter epinephrine inhalation product, is indicated for the temporary relief of mild symptoms of intermittent asthma. We developed an HFA version of Primatene Mist® to replace the over-the-counter CFC formulation of our Primatene Mist® product which was withdrawn for environmental reasons under the Montreal Protocol.
Enoxaparin is a difficult to manufacture injectable form of low molecular weight heparin that is used as an anticoagulant, which is indicated for multiple indications, including the prevention and treatment of deep vein thrombosis. Enoxaparin is difficult to produce in part because the API is not easily obtained or manufactured. We manufacture the API for our enoxaparin product and perform all subsequent manufacturing of the finished product in-house.
Glucagon for Injection Emergency Kit
Glucagon for injection is a difficult to manufacture injectable product. We received the first-ever FDA approval of a generic version of rDNA Glucagon in the fourth quarter of 2020. Using dedicated process and sophisticated characterization technology, we demonstrated to the FDA that our highly purified synthetic peptide product is bioequivalent and therapeutically equivalent to the reference listed drug, or RLD, which is an rDNA product. Glucagon for injection emergency kit is indicated for the treatment of severe hypoglycemia and for use as a diagnostic aid.
We sell two versions of naloxone injections indicated for the emergency treatment of known or suspected opioid overdose.
Other Marketed Products
Other finished pharmaceutical products that we currently market include the following:
|●||Cortrosyn® (cosyntropin for injection), a lyophilized powder that is indicated for use as a diagnostic agent in the screening of patients with adrenocortical insufficiency;|
|●||Amphadase®, a bovine-sourced hyaluronidase injection that is used as an adjuvant in subcutaneous fluid administration for achieving hydration, to increase absorption and dispersion of other injected drugs, and in subcutaneous urography for improving absorption of radiopaque agents;|
|●||Epinephrine injection, indicated for emergency treatment of allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis, and to increase mean arterial blood pressure in adult patients with hypotension associated with septic shock|
|●||Lidocaine jelly, a local anesthetic product used primarily for urological procedures;|
|●||Lidocaine topical solution, a local anesthetic used for a variety of procedures;|
|●||Phytonadione injection, an injection of Vitamin K1 that is used for newborn babies;|
|●||Our portfolio of emergency syringe products, including critical care drugs such as atropine, calcium chloride, dextrose, epinephrine, lidocaine, and sodium bicarbonate, that are provided in pre-filled syringes and are designed for emergency use in hospital settings;|
|●||Morphine injection in prefilled syringe, pain management product indicated for use with Patient Controlled Analgesia (PCA) pumps;|
|●||Lorazepam injection, a sedative used prior to surgery and medical procedures;|
|●||Procainamide, indicated for the treatment of documented ventricular arrhythmias;|
|●||Neostigmine methylsulfate injection, a cholinesterase inhibitor used in the treatment of myasthenia gravis and to reverse the effects of muscle relaxants such as gallamine and tubocurarine;|
|●||Medroxyprogesterone acetate injectable suspension, indicated for the prevention of pregnancy; and|
|●||Isoproterenol hydrochloride injection, indicated for multiple uses including mild or transient episodes of heart block that do not require electric shock or pacemaker therapy.|
Our Product Candidates
We seek to develop product candidates with high technical barriers to competitive market entry that leverage our technical capabilities and other competitive advantages. We are focused on both generic and proprietary product candidates in the injectable, inhalable and intranasal markets. Our pipeline products are in various stages of development, with a number of these candidates still in the early stages of development. We currently have over 20 product candidates in our pipeline, including 13 generic ANDAs, three biosimilar product candidates and four proprietary product candidates.
The following table summarizes our technical capabilities needed for the generic ANDAs, biosimilar product candidates and proprietary products in development.
The development, regulatory approval for and commercialization of our product candidates are subject to numerous risks. See “Risk Factors” for additional information.
Generic Product Candidates
We generally employ a strategy of developing generic product candidates that possess a combination of factors that present technical barriers to competition, including difficult formulations, which require complex characterizations, difficult manufacturing requirements and/or limited availability of raw materials. We believe that such factors will make these product candidates less susceptible to competition and pricing pressure. We currently have 13 generic ANDAs and three biosimilar product candidates at various development stages that leverage our various technical capabilities, including:
|●||injectable technologies, which include various delivery methods and sizes of pre-filled syringes, vials in solution, suspension and lyophilized forms;|
|●||inhalation technologies, which include MDIs and DPIs; and|
|●||sophisticated analytical technologies, including characterization and immunogenicity studies for complex molecules, particle engineering, sustained-release technology, peptide, protein and DNA analysis and synthesis.|
Proprietary Product Candidates
Our integrated technical skills and expertise provide a strong basis for the development of proprietary drug candidates. These skills include new chemical entity assessment, peptide and protein synthesis technology, complex formulation development, characterization analysis and immunogenicity studies, among others.
With respect to our proprietary pipeline strategy, we currently have four proprietary drug candidates at various development stages that leverage our various technical capabilities. The following paragraph summarizes our proprietary product candidates for which NDAs have been filed with the FDA.
Intranasal naloxone, a prescription naloxone nasal spray product candidate, is intended to be used for the emergency treatment of known or suspected opioid overdose, as manifested by respiratory and/or central nervous system depression.
We filed an NDA for Naloxone Hydrochloride Nasal Spray in April 2016. In February 2017, we received a Complete Response Letter, or CRL, from the FDA, which identified four primary issues that need to be addressed prior to approval of our NDA. The four issues are comprised of (1) improving on our human factor validation study, (2) modifying the delivery accuracy verification method, (3) improving our standards of device reliability, and (4) adjusting the volume per actuation to account for pediatric use down to birth. We have worked with the FDA to resolve these issues, most recently in 2020 with a Face-to-Face Meeting in which a clear pathway for addressing these issues was created. We intend to continue to work with the FDA to address their concerns described in the CRL and have received an extension on our response to the CRL. However, there can be no guarantee that our response to the CRL will result in timely approval of intranasal naloxone or approval at all.
Intranasal epinephrine, a prescription epinephrine nasal spray product candidate, is intended to be used for emergency treatment of allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis to stinging insects, allergen immunotherapy, foods, drugs and other allergens.
Other Proprietary Product Candidates
In addition to intranasal naloxone and intranasal epinephrine, we have two other proprietary product candidates in development. These product candidates incorporate multiple indications utilizing a wide variety of our technical capabilities.
We began to manufacture and sell two API products, RHI API and porcine insulin API, as a result of our acquisition of Merck Sharpe & Dohme’s, or Merck’s, API manufacturing business in Éragny-sur-Epte, France, or the Merck API Transaction, in April 2014. The purpose of the acquisition was to enhance our vertical integration strategy as we target certain finished products for the injectable insulin market. However, we continue to sell RHI API to third parties, which helps fund our vertical integration strategy, including the ongoing technology transfer and supply arrangement between Merck and AFP.
Supply Agreement with MannKind Corporation
On July 31, 2014, we entered into a supply agreement with MannKind Corporation, or MannKind, or the Supply Agreement, pursuant to which we agreed to manufacture for and supply to MannKind certain quantities of RHI API for use in MannKind’s product Afrezza®. Under the Supply Agreement, MannKind agreed to purchase annual minimum quantities of RHI API in an aggregate amount of approximately $146.0 million, over five years from calendar years 2015 through 2019.
The MannKind agreement was amended several times between 2014 and 2019. In August 2019, we amended the Supply Agreement with MannKind whereby MannKind’s aggregate total commitment of RHI API under the Supply Agreement was modified and extended for an additional two years through 2026, which timeframe would have previously lapsed after calendar year 2024. As a result of this amendment, MannKind paid us an amendment fee of $2.75 million, which we recognized in net revenues in our consolidated statement of operations for the year ended December 31, 2019.
For the years ended December 31, 2020, 2019 and 2018, sales of RHI API to MannKind totaled $4.9 million, $4.4 million and $8.1 million, which fulfilled the 2020, 2019 and 2018 commitment of RHI API under the amended Supply Agreement, respectively.
Research and Development
As of December 31, 2020, we had 354 employees dedicated to research and development with expertise in areas such as pharmaceutical formulation, process development, toxicity studies, analytical, synthetic and physical chemistry, drug delivery, device development, equipment and engineering, clinical research statistical analysis, etc. Our focus on developing products with high barriers to market entry requires a significant investment in research and development, including clinical development. In particular, developing proprietary products that are reformulations of existing proprietary compounds often requires clinical trials to gain regulatory approval, and we have a team dedicated to designing and managing clinical trials. We have successfully completed several clinical trials for some of our product candidates and are in the process of planning clinical trials for other product candidates under development.
A significant portion of our customer shipments in any fiscal year relate to orders received and shipped in that fiscal year, generally resulting in low product backlog relative to total shipments at any time. We had no significant backlog as of December 31, 2020 and 2019. Historically, our backlog has not been a meaningful indicator of our ability to achieve any particular level of overall revenue or financial performance.
Manufacturing and Facilities
Our manufacturing facilities are located in Rancho Cucamonga and South El Monte, California; Canton, Massachusetts; Éragny-sur-Epte, France; and Nanjing, China. We own or lease a total of 60 buildings at six locations in the United States, France and China, that comprise 1.9 million square feet of manufacturing, research and development, distribution, packaging, laboratory, office and warehouse space. Our facilities are regularly inspected by the FDA in connection with our product approvals, and we believe that all of our facilities are being operated in material compliance with the FDA’s cGMP regulations.
We continue to expand our facility in Nanjing, China, and expect further significant investment in this facility.
Our API manufacturing business in Éragny-sur-Epte, France, which we acquired in April 2014, manufactures porcine insulin API and RHI API, and we expect to continue the current site activities. We have completed a project to modify our current facility in France to increase our internal manufacturing capabilities so that we can take over the manufacture of inclusion bodies, which are our RHI API’s starting material. The project was completed in 2020 with a cost of $40.1 million.
We believe that our current manufacturing capacity is adequate for the near term. In 2019 we completed a project to increase production and modernize the facilities at our South El Monte, California plant. The project cost was $14.9 million. In February 2020, the FDA approved our supplemental ANDA to transfer production of Sodium Bicarbonate into this facility and we have begun manufacturing operations there.
Raw Material and Other Suppliers
We depend on suppliers for raw materials, APIs and other components that are subject to stringent FDA requirements. In some cases, we obtain raw materials, components or APIs used in certain of our products from single sources. Currently, we obtain API for certain of our other marketed products from single sources. If we experience difficulties acquiring sufficient quantities of required materials or products from our existing suppliers, or if our suppliers are found to be non-compliant with the FDA’s quality system regulation, or QSR, cGMPs or other applicable laws or regulations, we would be required to find alternative suppliers. Obtaining the required regulatory approvals to use alternative suppliers may be a lengthy and uncertain process during which we could lose sales. If our primary suppliers become unable or unwilling to perform, we could experience protracted delays or interruptions in the supply of materials that would ultimately delay our manufacture of products for commercial sale, which could materially and adversely affect our development programs, commercial activities, operating results and financial condition.
If our suppliers encounter problems during manufacturing, establishing additional or replacement suppliers for these materials may take a substantial period of time, as suppliers must be approved by the FDA. Further, a significant portion of our raw materials may be available only from foreign sources, which are subject to the risks of doing business abroad. For example, heparin USP is the starting material for the production of the API in our enoxaparin product. We have established a supply chain for heparin that originates in China and have implemented validated technology processes designed to screen and test incoming starting material, which include methods currently required by the FDA. However, the FDA has required companies importing heparin to test imported heparin using specific screening methods to detect certain contaminants and it has increased its scrutiny of Chinese facilities that produce heparin for the U.S. market. For example, in August 2008, the FDA inspected two facilities in China belonging to suppliers in our heparin supply chain and issued warning letters, one of which needed to be resolved as a precondition to approving the ANDA for our enoxaparin product candidate in September 2011. In 2018, we received approval from the FDA for the manufacture of semi-purified heparin at ANP.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture, or USDA, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, or APHIS, and the Veterinary Services regulates the importation of animals and animal-derived materials into the U.S. A USDA veterinary permit is required for importation of materials derived from animals or exposed to animal-source materials. Some of our raw materials sourced from foreign sources are subject to import regulations and permit requirements, including from the USDA. Recently, USDA enhanced its African swine fever, or ASF, surveillance efforts, including placing restrictions on the importation of pork products from affected countries, such as China, where the first cases of ASF were reported in August 2018. While ASF does not affect human health, it is a highly contagious and deadly disease to pig populations. We anticipate that our current supply of heparin USP in the United States is useable and sufficient for our manufacturing needs for the foreseeable future, and we are evaluating the use of heparin USP produced at our ANP facility. If we are unable to import raw materials, rely upon existing supplies of raw materials or manufacture raw materials in sufficient amounts for our manufacturing needs, we may be required to find alternative suppliers or sources of such materials, which would require prior FDA approval for such alternative suppliers or sources of such materials, which would disrupt or delay the manufacturing of our products.
We plan to have ANP manufacture APIs and starting materials for APIs for certain other products and product candidates, including isoproterenol and hyaluronidase, which ANP currently manufactures for Amphastar.
Sales and Marketing
Our products are primarily marketed and sold to institutions such as hospitals, long-term care facilities, alternate care sites, clinics, and doctors’ offices. Additionally, we also sell to retail pharmacies. Most institutional customers are members of one or more group purchasing organizations, which negotiate collective purchasing agreements on behalf of their members. These facilities purchase products through specialty distributors and wholesalers. We have relationships with the major group purchasing organizations in the United States. We also have relationships with major specialty distributors, wholesalers and retailers who distribute pharmaceutical products nationwide.
The following table provides information regarding the percentage of our net revenues that is derived from each of our major customers and partners:
% of Net Revenues
Cardinal Health, Inc.
Our marketing department is responsible for establishing and maintaining contracts and relationships with the group purchasing organizations, distributors, retailers, wholesalers and, occasionally, directly with hospitals or long-term care facilities. One or more of our proprietary product candidates may require deployment of a sales force either directly or through a strategic partner.
The majority of our marketed products are generic products. We face and will face significant competition for our products and product candidates from pharmaceutical companies that focus on the generic injectable and inhalation markets such as Pfizer, Inc., Sagent Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Akorn, Inc., Sandoz Inc., Viatris Inc., Fresenius Kabi USA, Nexus Pharmaceuticals, Apotex Corp, Amneal Biosciences, American Regent Inc., Hikma Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc., Par Pharmaceuticals, Cipla USA Inc., Meitheal Pharmaceuticals, Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories, Inc., Sun Pharmaceuticals, Inc., and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. Competition in the generic pharmaceutical industry has increased as producers of branded products have entered the business by creating generic drug subsidiaries, purchasing generic drug companies, or licensing their products to generic manufacturers prior to patent expiration and/or as their patents expire. Therefore, our competitors also include the innovator companies of our generic drug products. For example, enoxaparin is currently marketed by Sanofi S.A., or Sanofi, under the brand name Lovenox®. Sanofi also markets its authorized generic enoxaparin product through its subsidiary, Winthrop, Fresenius Kabi USA, Apotex Corp., and Meithael Pharmaceuticals, Inc. also market a generic version of enoxaparin. Other companies may have filed an ANDA with the FDA for its generic version of enoxaparin. The presence of these current and prospective competitive products may have an adverse effect on our market share, revenue and gross profit from our enoxaparin product.
Similarly, we will face significant competition for our proprietary product candidates. Our competitors vary depending upon product categories, and within each product category, upon dosage strengths and drug-delivery systems. Based on total assets, annual revenues and market capitalization, we are smaller than many of our national and international competitors with respect to both our generic and proprietary products and product candidates. Many of our competitors have been in business for a longer period of time, have a greater number of products on the market and have greater financial and other resources than we do. It is also possible that developments by our competitors will make our generic or proprietary products and product candidates noncompetitive or obsolete.
For pharmaceutical companies, the most important competitive factors are scope of product line, ability to timely develop new products and relationships with group purchasing organizations, retailers, wholesalers and customers. Sales of generic pharmaceutical products tend to follow a pattern based on regulatory and competitive factors. As patents for brand-name products and related exclusivity periods expire, the first generic pharmaceutical manufacturer to receive regulatory approval for generic versions of products is typically able to achieve significant market penetration and higher margins. As competing generic manufacturers receive regulatory approval on the same products, market size, revenue and gross profit typically decline. The level of market share and price will be affected, which will in turn affect the
revenue and gross profit attributable to a particular generic pharmaceutical product. This impact is normally related to the number of competitors in that product’s market and the timing of that product’s regulatory approval. We must develop and introduce new products in a timely and cost-effective manner and identify products with significant barriers to market entry in order to grow our business.
In the United States
Our operations and many of the products manufactured or sold by the company are subject to extensive regulation by a number of government agencies, both within and outside the United States. In the United States, the federal agencies that regulate the company’s facilities, operations, employees, products (including their manufacture, sale, import and export) and services include: the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the Drug Enforcement Agency, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Occupational Health & Safety Administration, the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Labor, the Department of Defense, Customs and Border Protection, the Department of Commerce, the Department of Treasury and others. International government agencies also regulate public health, product registration, manufacturing, environmental conditions, exports, imports, and other aspects of the company’s global operations and products.
Pharmaceutical companies and their prescription brand and generic pharmaceutical products are subject to extensive pre- and post-market regulation by the FDA under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, or FFDCA, the Public Health Service Act of 1944, or PHSA, and regulations implementing those statutes, with regard to the testing, manufacturing, safety, efficacy, labeling, storage, record-keeping, advertising and promotion of such products, and by comparable agencies and laws in foreign countries. For many drugs (drugs falling within the definition of “new drug” in the FFDCA), FDA approval is required before the product can be marketed in the United States. All applications for FDA approval must contain, among other things, comprehensive and scientifically reliable information relating to pharmaceutical formulation, stability, manufacturing, processing, packaging, labeling and quality control. These applications must also contain data and information related to safety, effectiveness, bioavailability and/or bioequivalence.
Many of our activities are subject to the jurisdiction of other federal regulatory and enforcement departments and agencies, such as the Department of Health and Human Services, or HHS, Office of the Inspector General, or OIG, the Federal Trade Commission (which also has the authority to regulate the advertising of consumer healthcare products, including over-the-counter drugs), the Department of Justice, the Drug Enforcement Administration, or DEA, the Veterans Administration, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Securities and Exchange Commission, or SEC. Individual states, acting through their attorneys general, have become active as well, seeking to regulate the marketing of prescription drugs under state consumer protection and false advertising laws.
FDA Approval and Regulatory Considerations
Prescription generic and branded pharmaceutical products are subject to extensive regulation by the FDA under the FFDCA and PHSA and regulations implementing those statutes, with regard to the testing, manufacturing, safety, efficacy, labeling, storage, record-keeping, advertising and promotion of such products, and regulation by other state, federal and foreign agencies under the laws that they enforce. For many drugs (drugs falling within the definition of “new drug” in the FFDCA), including the drugs in our current drug portfolio, FDA approval is required before marketing in the U.S. Applications for FDA drug approval must generally contain, among other things, information relating to pharmaceutical formulation, stability, manufacturing, processing, packaging, labeling, quality control and either safety and effectiveness or bioequivalence. There are two drug approval processes under the FFDCA — an ANDA approval process for generic drugs and an NDA approval process for new drugs that cannot be approved in ANDAs. For drugs that are “biological products” within the meaning of the PHSA, there are two different approval processes — a biological license application, or BLA, approval process for original biological products and a biosimilar application approval process for biosimilar products that are approved based on their similarity to biologicals that were previously approved in BLAs.
The ANDA Approval Process
Our pipeline generic drug product candidates cannot be lawfully marketed unless we obtain FDA approval. The Drug Price Competition and Patent Term Restoration Act of 1984, commonly known as “the Hatch-Waxman Act,” established abbreviated FDA approval procedures for drugs that are shown to be bioequivalent to drugs previously approved by the FDA through its NDA process, which are commonly referred to as the “innovator” or “reference” drugs. Approval to market and to distribute these bioequivalent drugs is obtained by filing an ANDA with the FDA. An ANDA is a comprehensive submission that contains, among other things, data and information pertaining to the API, drug product formulation, specifications, stability, analytical methods, manufacturing process validation data, quality control procedures and bioequivalence. Rather than demonstrating safety and effectiveness, an ANDA applicant must demonstrate that its product is bioequivalent to an approved reference drug. In certain situations, an applicant may submit an ANDA for a product with a strength or dosage form that differs from a reference drug based upon FDA approval of an ANDA Suitability Petition. The FDA will approve an ANDA Suitability Petition if it finds that the product does not raise questions of safety and efficacy requiring new clinical data. ANDAs generally cannot be submitted for products that are not bioequivalent to the referenced drug or that are labeled for a use that is not approved for the reference drug. Applicants seeking to market such products can submit an NDA under Section 505(b)(2) of the FFDCA with supportive data from clinical trials.
The Generic Drug User Fee Act, or GDUFA, was enacted by Congress in 2012 and was reauthorized as GDUFA II in 2017. GDUFA is designed to provide funding to the FDA to expedite timelines for the FDA’s review of ANDA applications. GDUFA funding is intended to increase the ability of the FDA to perform critical program functions and to reduce costs. Under the GDUFA, the FDA has specific goals for reviewing ANDA applications. For example, as part of GDUFA II, the goal of the FDA is to complete the review of 90% of original ANDA applications within 10 months from filing of the ANDA. Under the previous GDUFA authorization, the average time for sponsors to obtain FDA approval of ANDAs was 32-34 months post-filing.
Upon approval of an NDA or ANDA, the FDA lists the product in a publication entitled “Approved Drug Products with Therapeutic Equivalence Evaluations,” which is commonly known as the “Orange Book.” In the case of an NDA, the FDA also lists patents identified by the NDA applicant as claiming the drug or an approved method of using the drug. Any applicant who files an ANDA must certify to the FDA with regard to each relevant patent that (1) no patent information has been submitted to the FDA; (2) the patent has expired; (3) the listed patent has not expired, but will expire on a particular date and approval is sought after patent expiration; or (4) the patent is invalid or will not be infringed upon by the manufacture, use or sale of the drug product for which the ANDA is submitted. This last certification is known as a Paragraph IV certification. A notice of the Paragraph IV certification must be provided to each owner of the patent that is the subject of the certification and to the holder of the approved NDA to which the ANDA refers. If the NDA holder submits the patent information to the FDA prior to submission of the ANDA and the NDA holder or patent owner(s) sues the ANDA applicant for infringement within 45 days of its receipt of the certification notice, the FDA is prevented from approving that ANDA until the earlier of 30 months from the receipt of the notice of the Paragraph IV certification, the expiration of the patent or such shorter or longer period as may be ordered by a court. This prohibition is generally referred to as the 30-month stay. An ANDA applicant that is sued for infringement may file a counterclaim to challenge the listing of the patent or information submitted to the FDA about the patent.
Generally, the ANDA applicant that (1) files a substantially complete ANDA using a Paragraph IV certification on the first day prior to any other ANDA applicant filing an application with such a certification, based on the same reference drug and (2) provides appropriate notice to the NDA holder, and all patent owner(s) for a particular generic product, the applicant may be awarded a delay in the approval of other subsequently filed ANDAs with Paragraph IV certifications based on the same reference drug. This statutory delay is commonly referred to as 180-day exclusivity. A substantially complete ANDA is one that contains all the information required by the statute and the FDA’s regulations, including the results of any required bioequivalence studies. The FDA may refuse to accept the filing of an ANDA that is not substantially complete or may determine during substantive review of the ANDA that additional information, such as an additional bioequivalence study, is required to support approval. Such a determination may affect an applicant’s first to file status and eligibility for 180-day exclusivity. The Medicare Prescription Drug Improvement and Modernization Act of 2003, or the MMA, provides that the 180-day exclusivity delay ends 180 days after the first commercial marketing of the ANDA product. This exclusivity may be forfeited under a number of different circumstances, including: (1) failure to market within certain prescribed periods of time following certain events related to submission of the application, approval of the application, court decisions and settlements and patent withdrawals from the Orange Book; (2) an
amendment or withdrawal of the Paragraph IV certification or certifications upon which the exclusivity was based; (3) failure to obtain tentative approval within certain prescribed time periods (30, 36, or 40 months after submission of the ANDA); (4) an agreement with the NDA holder, patent owner or another ANDA applicant that is determined by a court or the FTC to violate provisions of antitrust laws; (5) withdrawal of the ANDA; or (6) expiration of patent or patents upon which exclusivity is based. The 180-day exclusivity provisions described above were passed in the MMA, and do not apply where the first ANDA with a Paragraph IV certification submitted for the reference drug was filed before December 8, 2003.
ANDA approvals can be delayed by exclusivities awarded to the holder of the NDA for the reference drug. The FFDCA provides five-year exclusivity to the first applicant to gain approval of an NDA for a new chemical entity, or NCE, meaning that the FDA has not previously approved any other drug containing the same active moiety. This exclusivity generally prohibits the submission of an ANDA for any drug product containing the same active moiety during the five-year exclusivity period. However, submission of an ANDA with a Paragraph IV certification is permitted after four years, and if a patent infringement lawsuit is brought within 45 days after such certification, FDA approval of the ANDA is delayed until 7.5 years after the NCE approval date. The FFDCA also provides three-year exclusivity for the approval of new and supplemental NDAs for product changes that require new clinical investigations (other than bioavailability studies) that were conducted or sponsored by the applicant. These changes include, among other things, new indications, dosage forms, routes of administration or strengths of an existing drug and new uses.
ANDA approvals can also be delayed by orphan drug exclusivity, pediatric exclusivity and exclusivity for certain new antibiotic drugs. The FDA may grant orphan drug designation to a drug intended to treat a rare disease or condition, which is generally a disease or condition that affects fewer than 200,000 individuals in the U.S. or more than 200,000 individuals in the U.S. and for which there is no reasonable expectation that the cost of developing and making available in the U.S. a drug for this type of disease or condition will be recovered from sales in the U.S. for that drug. Seven-year orphan drug exclusivity is available to a product that has orphan drug designation and that receives the first FDA approval for the indication for which the drug has such designation. Orphan drug exclusivity prevents approval of another application for the same drug, for the same orphan indication, for a period of seven years, regardless of whether the application is a full NDA or an ANDA, except in limited circumstances, such as a showing of clinical superiority to the product with orphan exclusivity. Pediatric exclusivity, if granted, provides an additional six months to an existing exclusivity or statutory delay in approval resulting from a patent certification. This six-month exclusivity, which runs from the end of other exclusivity protection or patent delay, may be granted based on the voluntary completion of a pediatric study in accordance with an FDA-issued written request for such a study. The FFDCA also provides exclusivity for certain antibiotic drugs for serious or life-threatening infections that FDA designates as “qualified infectious disease products.” This exclusivity extends other exclusivities for the same drug by five years, but does not extend patent-related delays in approval.
In 2017, the FDA Reauthorization Act of 2017, or FDARA, was passed, which created a new pathway to allow the FDA to expedite the development and review of an ANDA for a drug that is designated as a Competitive Generic Therapy, or CGT. To qualify for the designation, the FDA must confirm that the ANDA is for a generic drug in which there is inadequate generic competition. Inadequate generic competition is defined to mean, that there is not more than one approved drug in the active section of the Orange Book.
Once assigned CGT designation by the FDA, the FDA may take various actions to help expedite the development and review process. This includes priority granting and expediting review during Product Development and Pre-Submission Meetings, Mid-Review Cycle Meetings and provide for a more coordinated review of ANDA’s with CGT.
As part of the FDARA, a new type of 180-day marketing exclusivity period for ANDA applicants with CGT designation has been created. Broadly, this exclusivity applies when the ANDA applicant is considered as the first approved applicant, and there is no other exclusivity period eligibility.
Many of our ANDAs on file and many of the products that we are developing qualify for CGT. Having a generic product designated as CGT provides for certain actions which the FDA may take in order to expedite the development and review of an ANDA.
The NDA Approval Process
The NDA approval process is generally far more demanding than the ANDA process, depending on whether the applicant is submitting a “full NDA” containing all of the data and information required for approval of a new drug or a “Section 505(b)(2) NDA” which is a more limited submission that is generally utilized for modifications to previously approved products.
The Prescription Drug User Fee Act, or PDUFA, was enacted by Congress in 1992. It authorizes the FDA to collect fees from companies that produce certain new human drug and biological products. The fees collected are designed to play an important role in expediting the new drug approval process. Like GDUFA, PDUFA must be reauthorized every 5 years. It is currently authorized as PDUFA VI through September of 2022. As part of the PDUFA, the FDA has specific goals for reviewing NDA/BLA applications. For example, as part of PDUFA VI, the goal of the FDA is to complete the review of 90% of original NDAs that are not new molecular entities within 10 months of the date of filing the NDA.
The Full NDA
The approval process for a full NDA generally involves:
|●||completion of preclinical laboratory and animal testing to demonstrate safety, in compliance with the FDA’s good laboratory practice, or GLP, regulations;|
|●||submission to the FDA of an investigational new drug application, or IND, for human clinical testing that must satisfy the FDA and become effective before human clinical trials may begin;|
|●||performance of adequate and well-controlled human clinical trials to establish the efficacy of the proposed drug product for each intended use;|
|●||satisfactory completion of an FDA pre-approval inspection of the facility or facilities at which the product is produced to assess compliance with the FDA’s cGMP regulations; and|
|●||submission to and approval by the FDA of an NDA.|
Before human clinical trials can begin on a new drug, the results of preclinical tests, together with manufacturing information and analytical data, must be submitted to the FDA as part of an IND and the FDA must permit the IND to become effective. Each clinical trial under an IND must be reviewed and approved by an independent Institutional Review Board, or IRB. Human clinical trials are typically conducted in three sequential phases that may overlap. These phases generally include:
|●||Phase 1, during which the drug is introduced into healthy human subjects, or on occasion, patients and is tested for safety, stability, dose tolerance and metabolism;|
|●||Phase 2, during which the drug is introduced into a limited patient population to determine the efficacy of the product in specific targeted indications, to determine dosage tolerance and optimal dosage and to identify possible adverse effects and safety risks; and|
|●||Phase 3, during which the clinical trial is expanded to a larger and more diverse patient group at geographically dispersed clinical trial sites to further evaluate the drug and ultimately to demonstrate effectiveness.|
The IND sponsor, the FDA or the IRB may suspend a clinical trial at any time for various reasons, including failure to follow appropriate ethical trial protocols, failure to provide adequate protections for trial participants or a belief that the subjects are being exposed to an unacceptable health risk.
The results of preclinical animal studies and human clinical studies, together with other detailed information (e.g., relating to pharmaceutical formulation, stability, manufacturing, processing, packaging, labeling, quality control) are submitted to the FDA in the NDA.
The Section 505(b)(2) NDA
For modifications to products previously approved by the FDA, an applicant may file an NDA under Section 505(b)(2) of the FFDCA. This section permits the filing of an NDA where some or all of the data required for approval comes from studies not conducted by or for the applicant and for which the applicant has not obtained a right of reference. Under this section, an applicant may rely on the approval of another NDA or on studies published in the scientific literature. The applicant may be required to conduct additional studies or provide additional information to fully demonstrate the safety and effectiveness of its modification to the approved product.
Where a Section 505(b)(2) applicant relies on the FDA’s approval of another NDA, the applicant is required to submit the same types of patent certifications as are required for an ANDA. As in the case of an ANDA, a Paragraph IV certification challenging one or more of the patents listed for the reference drug will require notice to the patent owner(s) and NDA holder and will permit a patent infringement suit that may result in a 30-month stay in the approval of the Section 505(b)(2) NDA. The approval of a Section 505(b)(2) NDA may also be delayed by the NCE, three-year, orphan drug, pediatric and new antibiotic exclusivities that are applicable to ANDAs as discussed above.
The Biosimilar Application Approval Process
The BPCIA, passed by Congress in 2010, amended the PHSA to create an abbreviated approval pathway for follow-on biologics. This approval pathway is available for “biosimilar” products, which are products that are highly similar to biologics that have been approved in BLAs under the PHSA notwithstanding minor differences in clinically inactive components. A biosimilar application must contain information demonstrating (1) biosimilarity to the reference product, (2) sameness of strength, dosage form, route of administration and mechanism(s) of action with the reference product (where known), (3) approval of the reference product for the indication(s) proposed for the biosimilar product and (4) appropriate manufacturing facilities. FDA will approve the application based on a finding of biosimilarity or interchangeability with the reference product. A finding of biosimilarity must be based on (1) a demonstration that the products are “highly similar” notwithstanding minor differences in clinically inactive components, (2) animal studies, including an assessment of toxicity, and (3) a clinical study or studies (including an assessment of immunogenicity and pharmacokinetics or pharmacodynamics) sufficient to show the safety, purity and potency of the proposed product for one or more “appropriate” conditions of use for which licensure is sought and for which the reference product is licensed, unless FDA waives a specific requirement. The definition of “biosimilar” requires that there be no clinically meaningful differences between the biosimilar and reference product with regard to safety, purity and potency.
An applicant with a pending or approved biosimilar application may seek an FDA determination that its product is interchangeable with the reference drug. In addition to demonstrating biosimilarity to the reference product, the biosimilar applicant must demonstrate that its product can be expected to yield the same clinical result as the reference product in any given patient. If the biosimilar product may be administered more than once to a patient, the applicant must demonstrate that the risk in terms of safety or diminished efficacy of alternating or switching between the biosimilar and reference products is not greater than the risk of continued administration of the reference product. The PHSA provides that a determination of interchangeability means that the biosimilar product may be substituted for the reference product without the intervention of the health care provider who prescribed the reference product. The first biosimilar determined to be interchangeable with a particular reference product for any condition of use is protected by an exclusivity that delays an FDA determination of interchangeability with regard to any other biosimilar application. The exclusivity delays the subsequent interchangeability determination until the earlier of: (1) one year after the first commercial marketing of the first interchangeable product; (2) 18 months after resolution of a patent infringement suit based on a final court decision regarding all of the patents in the litigation or dismissal of the litigation with or without prejudice; (3) 42 months after approval of the first interchangeable biosimilar biological product, if an expedited patent action was commenced against the applicant under section 351(l)(6) and the litigation is still pending; or (4) 18 months after approval of the first interchangeable product if the reference product sponsor did not sue the biosimilar applicant for infringement under the patent resolution provisions of the PHSA.
The PHSA provides a number of exclusivity protections for reference products that may delay submission and approval of biosimilar applications. The PHSA delays submission of a biosimilar application until four years after the date on which the reference product was first licensed and delays final approval of a biosimilar application until 12 years after the first licensure of the reference product. The first-licensure requirement precludes an additional period of exclusivity for a supplement to the original application for the reference product. It also precludes exclusivity for an entirely new BLA in certain circumstances. A new BLA submitted by a sponsor or manufacturer of a previously approved biologic
would not be protected by exclusivity for (1) a non-structural change that results in a new indication, route of administration, dosing schedule, dosage form, delivery system, delivery device or strength or (2) a structural change that does not result in a change in safety, purity or potency. As in the case of NDAs approved under the FFDCA, BLAs may be entitled to orphan exclusivity and to pediatric exclusivity.
The BPCIA amended the definition of biological product to include proteins (other than synthetic polypeptides). Applications for biological products, including proteins, must now be approved under the PHSA rather than under the FFDCA. The BPCIA provides a grandfather exception for biologics falling within a product class for which FDA has approved an application under the FFDCA. Applications for approval of these types of proteins may be submitted under the FFDCA until March 23, 2020, unless there is a biological product licensed under the PHSA that could serve as a reference product for a biosimilar application.
Under the PHSA, patents are not listed in the Orange Book and companies submitting biosimilar applications are not required to submit patent certifications. Patent disputes are resolved outside of the FDA regulatory process. The biosimilar applicant must share the contents of its biosimilar application and information on its manufacturing processes with counsel for the company holding the BLA for the reference drug. The biosimilar applicant and BLA holder must exchange information about relevant patents and seek agreement on patents to be litigated under an expedited litigation procedure.
The BLA Approval Process
The BLA approval process is similar to the Full NDA approval process and generally involves:
|●||completion of preclinical laboratory and animal testing in compliance with the FDA’s GLP regulations;|
|●||submission to the FDA of an IND for human clinical testing, which must satisfy FDA and become effective before human clinical trials may begin;|
|●||performance of adequate and well-controlled human clinical trials to establish the efficacy of the proposed drug product for each intended use;|
|●||satisfactory completion of an FDA pre-approval inspection of the facility or facilities at which the product is produced to assess compliance with the FDA’s cGMP regulations; and|
|●||submission to and approval by the FDA of a BLA.|
|●||A combination product is a product comprising of two or more regulated components (e.g., a drug and device) that are combined into a single product, co-packaged, or sold separately but intended for co-administration, as evidenced by the labeling for the products. A drug that is administered using an inhaler is an example of a combination drug/device product.|
|●||The FDA is divided into various Centers, which each have authority over a specific type of product. NDAs are reviewed by personnel within the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, or CDER, while device applications and premarket notifications are reviewed by the Center for Devices and Radiological Health, or CDRH. When reviewing a drug/device combination product, the FDA must assign a lead Center to review the product, based on the combination product's primary mode of action, or PMOA, which is the single mode of a combination product that provides the most important therapeutic action of the combination product. The Center that regulates that portion of the product that generates the PMOA becomes the lead evaluator. If there are two independent modes of action, neither of which is subordinate to the other, the FDA makes a determination as to which Center to assign the product based on consistency with other combination products raising similar types of safety and effectiveness questions or to the Center with the most expertise in evaluating the most significant safety and effectiveness questions raised by the combination product.|
|●||When evaluating an application, a lead Center may consult other Centers and apply the standards that would be applicable but still retain complete reviewing authority, or it may collaborate with another Center, by which the Center assigns review of a specific section of the application to another Center, delegating its review authority for that section. Typically, the FDA requires a single marketing application submitted to the Center selected to be the lead evaluator, although the agency has the discretion to require separate applications to more than one Center. One reason to submit multiple applications is if the applicant wishes to receive some benefit that accrues only from approval under a particular type of application, like new drug product exclusivity. If multiple applications are submitted, each may be evaluated by a different lead Center.|
|●||Our inhalers and prefilled syringes, which deliver a specific drug, are regulated by the FDA as combination products. We believe the combination products will be regulated by the FDA as a drug (and not a device) because the primary mode of action of the combination will be a drug action. As such, we will need to submit a marketing application to the CDER for our inhalers or prefilled syringes that deliver a specific drug. CDRH will provide input to CDER on the device aspects of the combination. We can provide no assurance that any of our combination products will be approved by FDA in a timely fashion, if at all.|
|●||Like their constituent products—e.g., drugs and devices—combination products are highly regulated and subject to a broad range of post marketing requirements including cGMPs, adverse event reporting, periodic reports, labeling and advertising and promotion requirements and restrictions, market withdrawal and recall.|
FDA Action on an Application for Approval
If applicable statutory or regulatory requirements are not satisfied, the FDA may deny approval of an NDA, ANDA, BLA, or biosimilar application, or the FDA may require additional data or information. After approval of the application, the FDA may suspend or withdraw the approval based on various criteria, including new information related to safety or effectiveness or failure to comply with post-approval requirements. In addition, the FDA may in some instances require post-marketing studies on approved products and may take actions to limit marketing of the product based on the results of those studies.
The new drug and biological product approval processes may take years, and the time may vary substantially based upon the type of application and the type, complexity and novelty of the product or disease. Government regulation may delay or prevent marketing of potential products for a considerable period of time and impose costly procedures upon a manufacturer’s activities. Success in early stage clinical trials does not assure success in later stage clinical trials. Data obtained from clinical activities are not always conclusive and may be subject to varying interpretations that could delay, limit or prevent regulatory approval. Even if a product receives regulatory approval, later discovery of previously unknown problems with a product may result in restrictions on the product or complete withdrawal of the product from the market.
Manufacturing (cGMP) Requirements
We and our suppliers are required to comply with applicable FDA manufacturing requirements contained in the FDA’s cGMP regulations. These cGMP regulations require among other things, quality control and quality assurance as well as the corresponding maintenance of records and documentation. The manufacturing facilities for our products must meet cGMP requirements to the satisfaction of the FDA before the FDA will approve our products and we must continue to meet these requirements after our products are approved. We and our suppliers are subject to periodic inspections of facilities by the FDA and other authorities to assess our compliance with applicable regulations.
Other Regulatory Requirements
Maintaining substantial compliance with appropriate federal, state and local statutes and regulations requires the expenditure of substantial time and financial resources. Drug manufacturers are required to register their establishments with the FDA and certain state agencies. After approval, the FDA and these state agencies conduct periodic unannounced inspections to ensure continued compliance with ongoing regulatory requirements.
In addition, 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 FDA review and approval. The FDA may require post-approval testing and surveillance programs to monitor safety and effectiveness of approved products that have been commercialized. Any drug products manufactured or distributed pursuant to FDA approvals are subject to continuing regulation by the FDA, including:
|●||reporting of adverse experiences with the drug;|
|●||providing the FDA with updated safety and efficacy information;|
|●||reporting on advertisements and promotional labeling;|
|●||drug sampling and distribution requirements; and|
|●||complying with electronic record and signature requirements.|
In addition, the FDA strictly regulates labeling, advertising, promotion and other types of information on products that are placed on the market. There are numerous regulations and policies that govern various means for disseminating information to health-care professionals, as well as consumers, including industry sponsored scientific and educational activities, information provided to the media and information provided over the Internet. Drugs may be promoted only for the approved indications and in accordance with the provisions of the approved label.
FDA Enforcement Authority
The FDA has very broad enforcement authority and the failure to comply with applicable regulatory requirements can result in administrative or judicial sanctions being imposed on us or on the manufacturers and distributors of our approved products, including warning letters, refusals of government contracts, clinical holds, civil penalties, injunctions (which may in some circumstances involve restitution, disgorgement or profits, recalls and/or total or partial suspension of production or distribution), seizure of products, withdrawal of approvals, refusal to approve pending applications and criminal prosecution of the company and company officials that may result in fines and incarceration. The FDA has authority to inspect manufacturing facilities as well as other facilities in which drug products are held, packaged or stored, to determine compliance with cGMP and other requirements under the FDCA. The FDA and other agencies actively enforce the laws and regulations prohibiting the promotion of off-label uses, and a company that is found to have improperly promoted off-label uses may be subject to significant liability. In addition, even after regulatory approval is obtained, later discovery of previously unknown problems with a product may result in restrictions on the product or even complete withdrawal of the product from the market.
We are also subject to various laws and regulations regarding laboratory practices, the experimental use of animals and the use and disposal of hazardous or potentially hazardous substances in connection with our research. In each of these areas, as above, the FDA has broad regulatory and enforcement powers, including the ability to levy fines and civil penalties, suspend or delay issuance of approvals, seize or recall products and withdraw approvals, any one or more of which could have a materially adverse effect on us.
In December 2020, our IMS facility in South El Monte, California was subject to an inspection by the DEA. The inspection was routine as part of the DEA surveillance program. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, much of the inspection was performed off-site, by DEA inspectors (i.e. a “paper inspection”). The DEA has completed the inspection, including a thorough review of the requested documents and has found the facility to be in compliance.
Foreign Regulatory Requirements
Outside the United States, our ability to market a product is contingent upon receiving marketing authorization from the appropriate regulatory authorities. The requirements governing marketing authorization, pricing and reimbursement vary widely from country to country. At present, foreign marketing authorizations are applied for at a national level, although within the European Union registration procedures are available to companies wishing to market a product in more than
one European Union member state. The regulatory authority generally will grant marketing authorization if it is satisfied that we have presented it with adequate evidence of safety, quality and efficacy.
Prescription Drug Wrap-Up
When Congress passed the FFDCA in 1938, it required that “new drugs” be approved based on their safety. In 1962, Congress amended the FFDCA to require that sponsors demonstrate that new drugs are effective, as well as safe, in order to receive FDA approval. We refer to these provisions as the “1962 Amendments.” The 1962 Amendments also required the FDA to conduct a retrospective evaluation of the efficacy of the drug products that the FDA approved between 1938 and 1962 on the basis of safety alone. The FDA contracted with the National Academy of Science/National Research Council, or the NAS/NRC, to make an initial evaluation of the efficacy of many of these drug products. The FDA’s administrative implementation of the NAS/NRC reports was called the Drug Efficacy Study Implementation, or DESI.
Drugs that were not subject to applications approved between 1938 and 1962 were not subject to DESI review. For a period of time, the FDA did not challenge the marketing of these drugs without approval. In 1984, however, spurred by serious adverse reactions to one of these products and concerns expressed by Congress, FDA undertook an assessment of the products under an initiative known as the “Prescription Drug Wrap-Up.” Most of these drugs contain active ingredients that were first marketed prior to the enactment of the FFDCA. Several of our marketed pharmaceutical products fall within this category.
The FDA has asserted that all drugs subject to the Prescription Drug Wrap-Up are on the market illegally unless they fall within two “grandfather” exceptions to the new drug definition. The first is a provision in the new drug definition exempting drugs that were on the market prior to the passage of the FFDCA and that contain the same representations concerning the conditions of use as they did prior to passage of the FFDCA. The 1962 Amendments also exempt drugs that were not new drugs prior to the passage of the 1962 Amendments and that have the same composition and labeling as they had prior to the passage of the 1962 Amendments. The FDA and the courts have interpreted these two exceptions very narrowly. Therefore, the FDA could commence enforcement action at any time regarding any or all of our unapproved prescription products. The FDA requested us to discontinue the manufacturing and distribution of our epinephrine injection, USP vial product, which has been marketed under the “grandfather” exception to the FDA’s “Prescription Drug Wrap-Up” program. We discontinued selling this product in the second quarter of 2017. In April 2020, the FDA granted approval of our Epinephrine Injection USP 30mg/30mL Multiple Dose Vial.
Additionally, the FDA granted approval of our ANDAs for calcium chloride injection, atropine sulfate injection, and Glucagon for injection emergency kit in May 2018, October 2020 and December 2020, respectively.
The FDA has adopted a risk-based enforcement policy that prioritizes enforcement of new drug requirements for these and other unapproved drugs that pose safety concerns, lack evidence of efficacy, prevent patients from pursuing effective therapies, are marketed fraudulently, violate other provisions of the FFDCA, such as cGMP requirements, or directly compete with approved drugs. The FDA has indicated that approval of an NDA for one drug within a class of drugs marketed without FDA approval may trigger agency enforcement of the new drug requirements. Once the FDA issues an approved NDA for one of the drug products at issue or completes the efficacy review for that drug product, it may require other manufacturers to also obtain approval for that same drug in order to continue marketing it in the United States. While the FDA generally provides sponsors a one-year grace period, the agency is not statutorily required to do so.
USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
USDA-APHIS regulates the importation of certain animals and animal-derived materials into the U.S. In particular, a USDA veterinary permit is required for importation of materials derived from animals or exposed to animal-source materials. Recently, USDA enhanced its ASF surveillance efforts, including restrictions on importation of pig-derived products from affected countries and testing for the ASF virus. While ASF does not affect human health, it is a highly contagious and deadly disease to local pig populations. ASF is currently widespread and endemic in various parts of Africa and Sardinia. In recent years, ASF has been reported in parts of the European Union and in China, where the first cases of ASF were reported in August 2018. Complying with additional requirements, such as additional analytical data and documentation of processing flow, may be required for obtaining an import permit for certain materials from affected countries. Changes made to suppliers or sources of raw materials for drug products will require prior FDA approval, which would disrupt or delay the manufacturing of our products.
Fraud and Abuse Laws
Because of the significant federal funding involved in Medicare and Medicaid, Congress and the states have enacted, and actively enforce, a number of laws to eliminate fraud and abuse in federal health care programs. Our business is subject to compliance with these laws.
Federal False Claims Act
The False Claims Act, or FCA, imposes liability on any person or entity that, among other things, knowingly presents, or causes to be presented, a false or fraudulent claim for payment by a federal health care program. The qui tam provisions of the FCA allow a private individual to bring actions on behalf of the federal government alleging that the defendant has submitted a false claim to the federal government and to share in any monetary recovery. In recent years, the number of suits brought against health care providers by private individuals has increased dramatically. In addition, various states have enacted false claims laws analogous to the FCA, and many of these state laws apply where a claim is submitted to any third-party payer and not merely a federal or other governmental health care program.
When an entity is determined to have violated the FCA, it may be required to pay up to three times the actual damages sustained by the government, plus civil penalties of between $11,665 and $23,331 for each separate instance of a false claim, subject to adjustment for inflation. There are many potential bases for liability under the FCA. Liability arises, primarily, when an entity knowingly submits, or causes another to submit, a false claim for reimbursement to the federal government. The federal government has used the FCA to assert liability on the basis of inadequate care, kickbacks and other improper referrals, and improper use of Medicare numbers when detailing the provider of services, in addition to the more predictable allegations of misrepresentations with respect to the services rendered. In addition, the federal government has prosecuted companies under the FCA in connection with off-label promotion of products. Our current and future activities relating to the reporting of wholesale or estimated retail prices of our products, the reporting of discount and rebate information and other information affecting federal, state and third-party reimbursement of our products, and the sale and marketing of our products may be subject to scrutiny under these laws. While we are unaware of any current matters, we are unable to predict whether we will be subject to actions under the False Claims Act or a similar state law, or the impact of such actions. However, the costs of defending such claims, as well as any sanctions imposed, could significantly affect our financial performance.
The Open Payment Act
The Physician Payment Sunshine Act, or the Open Payment Act, which was enacted as part of the Affordable Care Act, requires all pharmaceutical manufacturers that participate in Medicare, Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program to report annually to the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services payments or other transfers of value made in the previous year by that entity, or by a third party as directed by that entity, to covered recipients, including physicians and teaching hospitals, as defined by law, or to third parties on behalf of such covered recipients, as well as ownership and investment interests held by physicians and their immediate family members. The payments and transfer of value required to be reported include the cost of meals provided to a physician, travel reimbursements and other transfers of value provided as part of contracted services, including speaker programs, advisory boards, consultation services and clinical trial services. Effective January 1, 2022, these reporting obligations will extend to include payments and transfers of value made during the previous year to certain non-physician covered recipients, such as physician assistants, nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, certified registered nurse anesthetists & anesthesiologist assistants, and certified nurse-midwives. The statute requires the federal government to make reported information available to the public. Failure to comply with the reporting requirements can result in significant civil monetary penalties ranging from $1,176 to $11,766 for each payment or other transfer of value that is not reported (up to a maximum per annual report of $176,495) and from $11,766 to $107,664 for each knowing failure to report (up to a maximum per annual report of $1,176,638). Additionally, there are criminal penalties if an entity intentionally makes false statements in such reports. We are subject to the Open Payment Act and the information we disclose may lead to greater scrutiny, which may result in modifications to established practices and additional costs. Additionally, similar reporting requirements have also been enacted on the state level domestically, and an increasing number of countries worldwide either have adopted or are considering adopting similar laws requiring transparency of interactions with health care professionals.
The Anti-kickback Statute
As a life sciences company, we are subject to the federal anti-kickback statute, or AKS. The AKS prohibits payments or providing anything of “value” (remuneration) for the purpose of inducing or rewarding the referral or generation of healthcare business. The intent is to protect the independence and clinical judgment of providers. There are numerous exceptions, or safe harbors, the most notable of which are that it is permissible to provide a discount or rebate to a healthcare provider based upon volume, and that manufacturers can pay administrative fees to GPOs or buying groups.
As a result of the AKS, the company pays particular attention to interactions with healthcare providers and how it structures sales. Any and all discounts that are offered are appropriately disclosed and documented to promote compliance with the AKS.
Both consulting relationships with healthcare providers and educational and research activities with healthcare providers and teaching hospitals receive considerable enforcement scrutiny. As a result, the company also pays particular attention to these relationships.
We are subject to federal, state and local environmental laws and regulations, both U.S. and foreign, including those promulgated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Health and Human Services and the Air Quality Management District, which govern activities and operations that may have adverse environmental effects such as discharges to air, soil and water, as well as handling and disposal practices for solid and hazardous wastes. Because we own and operate real property, these laws impose strict liability for the costs of cleaning up, and for damages resulting from, sites of past spills, disposals or other releases of hazardous substances and materials. These laws and regulations may also require us to pay for the investigation and remediation of environmental contamination at properties operated by us and at off-site locations where we have arranged for the disposal of hazardous substances. If it is determined that our operations or facilities are not in compliance with current environmental laws, we could be subject to fines and penalties, the amount of which could be material.
The costs of complying with various applicable environmental requirements, as they now exist or as may be altered in the future, could adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations. For example, as a result of environmental concerns about the use of CFCs, the FDA issued a final rule on January 16, 2009 that required the phase-out of the CFC version of our Primatene® Mist product by December 31, 2011. This phase out caused us to halt sales of the CFC version of our Primatene® Mist product subsequent to December 31, 2011 and write off our inventory for the product, which had an adverse effect on our financial results.
We have made and will continue to make expenditures to comply with current and future U.S. and foreign environmental laws and regulations. We anticipate that we will incur additional capital and operating costs in the future to comply with existing environmental laws and new requirements arising from new or amended statutes and regulations. We cannot accurately predict the impact and costs that future regulations will impose on our business.
We also must comply with data protection and data privacy requirements such as HIPAA, GDPR, and the upcoming CPRA. Compliance with these laws, rules and regulations regarding privacy, security and protection of employee data could result in higher compliance and technology costs for us, as well as significant fines, penalties and damage to our global reputation and our brand as a result of non-compliance.
Our success depends on our ability to operate without infringing the patents and proprietary rights of third parties. However, we cannot determine with certainty whether patents or patent applications of other parties will have a materially adverse effect on our ability to make, use, or sell any products. A number of pharmaceutical companies, biotechnology companies, universities and research institutions may have filed patent applications or may have been granted patents that cover aspects of our, or our licensors’ products, product candidates, or other technologies.
With respect to our existing generic products and generic product candidates, we primarily rely on trade secrets, unpatented proprietary know-how and continuing technological innovation to protect our products and technologies,
especially where we do not believe patent protection is appropriate or obtainable. Although in some cases, we seek patent protection to preserve our competitive position, our current patent portfolio does not cover the majority of our existing products and product candidates. We own several U.S. and foreign patents covering processes and equipment used in the manufacture of a few of our products. The expiration dates of these patents range from 2021 to 2036. We also own several trademarks registered with the USPTO.
We own a U.S. patent covering the HFA version of Primatene Mist®: U.S. Patent Number 8,367,734, which was issued on February 5, 2013, and expires in January 2026. We have several patent applications that are currently pending. The majority of our significant products or product candidates are not covered by any U.S. or foreign patents related to formulations or compositions. Indeed, many of our products and product candidates are generic products, and therefore may not be eligible for patent protection. For example, our enoxaparin product is a generic product, and as such, our enoxaparin product is not covered by any U.S. or foreign patents. Other of our products, including Amphadase®, are based on compounds for which any applicable patents have expired, or which were not patented by Amphastar in the first instance because they are older compounds. As for the remainder of our product candidates that are not intended to be generic products, we may seek to obtain patent rights or rely on trade secret protection. In any case, the majority of our products and product candidates are not currently covered by any U.S. or foreign patents.
We may not be able to obtain patent or other forms of protection for inventions or other intellectual property developed by our officers, employees, or consultants because we might not have been the first to file or to invent the patentable technology or others may have independently developed similar or alternative technology.
Despite our efforts to protect our proprietary information through the use of confidentiality and non-disclosure agreements, unauthorized parties may copy aspects of our products or obtain and use information that we regard as proprietary. Other parties may also independently develop know-how or obtain unauthorized access to our technologies.
Intellectual property protection is highly uncertain and involves complex legal and factual questions. Our patents and those for which we have or will license rights may be challenged, invalidated, infringed or circumvented, and the rights granted in those patents may not provide proprietary protection or competitive advantages to us. We and our licensors may not be able to develop patentable products. Even if a patent application is filed, some or all of the patent claims may not be allowed, the patent itself may not issue, or in the event of issuance, the issued claims may not be sufficient to protect the technology owned by or licensed to us.
Third-party patent applications and patents could reduce the coverage of the patents licensed, or that may be licensed to, or owned by us. If patents containing competitive or conflicting claims are issued to third parties, we may be enjoined from the commercialization of products or be required to obtain licenses to these patents or to develop or obtain alternative technology. In addition, other parties may duplicate, design around or independently develop similar or alternative technologies to ours or those of our licensors.
Litigation may be necessary to enforce patents issued or licensed to us or to determine the scope or validity of another party’s proprietary rights. USPTO interference proceedings may be necessary if we and another party both claim to have invented the same subject matter. Even if we ultimately prevail, we could incur substantial costs and our management’s attention would be diverted if:
|●||litigation is required to defend against patent suits brought by third parties;|
|●||we participate in patent suits brought against or initiated by our licensors;|
|●||we initiate suits against third parties who are infringing on our patents; or|
|●||we participate in an interference or other similar USPTO proceeding.|
However, even if we pursue litigation or other action to protect our intellectual property rights, we may not prevail in any of these actions or proceedings.
As of December 31, 2020, we have 1,980 full-time employees in the United States, China, and France. Of these employees, 24 hold Ph.D.’s, and an additional 153 employees hold a master’s degree or other post-graduate degrees. We consider our employees’ intellectual capital to be an essential driver of our business and key to our future prospects. None of our U.S. employees is subject to a collective bargaining agreement or represented by a trade or labor union.
The following table summarizes our employees by category and location:
QA/QC and Regulatory Affairs
Sales and Marketing
General and administrative
Research and Development
Talent Acquisition and Retention
We recognize that our employees largely contribute to our success. To this end, we support business growth by seeking to attract and retain best-in-class talent. Our talent acquisition team uses internal and external resources to recruit highly skilled candidates globally. We continue to attract and retain superior talent as measured by our minimal turnover rate and high employee service tenure.
Our total rewards philosophy recognizes the contributions of our workforce by offering competitive compensation and benefit packages. We provide employees with compensation packages that include base salary, annual incentive bonuses, and long-term equity awards. We also offer comprehensive employee benefits, which vary by country and region, such as life and health insurance, health savings accounts, paid time off, an Employee Stock Purchase Program, and a 401(k) plan.
Health, Safety, and Wellness
Our employees’ health, safety, and wellness is a priority in which we have always invested and will continue to do so. We provide our employees and their families with access to various innovative, flexible, and convenient health and wellness programs. Program benefits are intended to provide protection and security, so employees can have peace of mind concerning events that may require time away from work or impact their financial well-being. These programs are highlighted regularly in our monthly human resources newsletters.
These investments and the prioritization of employee health, safety, and wellness took on particular significance in 2020 in light of COVID-19. To protect and support our essential team members, we implemented health and safety measures that included maximizing personal workspaces, changing shift schedules, providing personal protective equipment, or PPE, implementing heighted cleaning of high contact surfaces, and instituting mandatory screening before accessing buildings. We are monitoring this rapidly evolving situation and will continue to seek programs to educate and assist employees whenever possible.
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
We believe a diverse workforce is critical to our success. Our mission is to value differences in races, ethnicities, religions, nationalities, genders, ages, sexual orientations, as well as education, skill sets, and experience. We are focused on inclusive hiring practices, fair and equitable treatment, organizational flexibility, and training and resources.
We incorporated in California under the name Amphastar Pharmaceuticals, Inc. in 1996 and merged our California corporation into Amphastar Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a newly formed Delaware corporation, in 2004. Our corporate offices are located at 11570 6th Street, Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91730. Our telephone number is (909) 980-9484. Our Annual
Reports on Form 10-K, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, Current Reports on Form 8-K and amendments to those reports filed or furnished pursuant to Section 13(a) or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, are available free of charge as soon as reasonably practicable after we electronically file them with, or furnish them to, the SEC. You can access our filings with the SEC by visiting www.amphastar.com. The information that is contained on or that can be accessed through our website is not incorporated into this Annual Report on Form 10-K, and the inclusion of our website address is an inactive textual reference only. Additionally, copies of materials filed by us with the SEC may be accessed at the SEC’s website at www.sec.gov.
We use our website as a channel of distribution for important company information. Important information, including press releases, analyst presentations and financial information regarding us, as well as corporate governance information, is routinely posted and accessible on the “Investors” section of the website, which is accessible by clicking on the tab labeled “Investors” on our website home page. Information on or that can be accessed through our website is not part of this Annual Report on Form 10-K, and the inclusion of our website address is an inactive textual reference only.
Item 1A. Risk Factors.
Investing in our common stock involves a high degree of risk. You should carefully consider the risks and uncertainties described below, together with all of the other information contained in this Annual Report on Form 10-K, including our consolidated financial statements and the related notes thereto. Our future operating results may vary substantially from anticipated results due to a number of risks and uncertainties, many of which are beyond our control. The risks and uncertainties described below are not the only ones we face. Additional risks and uncertainties that we are unaware of, or that we currently believe are not material, may also become important factors that affect us. The following discussion highlights some of these risks and uncertainties and the possible impact of these risks on future results of operations. If any of the following risks occur, our business, financial condition or results of operations could be materially and adversely affected. In that case, the market value of our common stock could decline substantially and you could lose part or all of your investment.
Summary of Risk Factors
Our business is subject to numerous risks and uncertainties that you should consider before investing in our company, as fully described below. The principal factors and uncertainties that make investing in our company risky include, among others:
|●||our success depends on our ability to develop and/or acquire and commercialize additional pharmaceutical products;|
|●||our Primatene Mist®, lidocaine, phytonadione, and enoxaparin products collectively represent a significant portion of our net revenues; if the sales volume or pricing of our lidocaine, phytonadione, and enoxaparin products decline, or if we are unable to satisfy market demand for these products, they could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial position and results of operations;|
|●||our success depends on the integrity of our supply chain, including multiple single source suppliers, the disruption of which could negatively impact our business;|
|●||our ability to develop new products and additional revenue streams depends upon a variety of factors including being able to invest ongoing revenue and borrow funds or raise additional capital when needed;|
|●||we face significant competition in the pharmaceutical industry with respect to both our proprietary and generic drugs, which may result in others developing or commercializing products before or more successfully than we do, which could significantly limit our growth and materially and adversely affect our financial results;|
|●||health care providers may not be receptive to our products, particularly those that incorporate our proprietary drug delivery platforms;|
|●||sales of our products may be adversely affected by the continuing consolidation of our customer base;|
|●||our business may be adversely affected by the current COVID-19 pandemic or other epidemics;|
|●||we depend upon our key personnel, the loss of whom could adversely affect our operations. If we fail to attract and retain the talent required for our business, our business could be materially harmed;|
|●||because a portion of our manufacturing takes place in China, a significant disruption in the construction or operation of our manufacturing facility in China, political unrest in China, tariffs, impact of outbreaks of health epidemics, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, or changes in social, political, trade, health, economic, environmental, or climate-related conditions or in laws, regulations and policies governing foreign trade could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations;|
|●||we may be exposed to product liability claims and may not be able to obtain or maintain adequate product liability insurance;|
|●||our ability to enter the market with a generic product can hinge upon the success of litigation – challenging existing patents and negotiating favorable settlements or obtaining favorable results. Many variables can impact litigation and adverse rulings or unfavorable settlements could delay anticipated market entries and subject us to damages;|
|●||we are exposed to risks related to our international operations and failure to manage these risks may adversely affect our operating results and financial condition;|
|●||the FDA approval process is time-consuming and complicated, and we may not obtain the FDA approval required for a product within the timeline we desire, or at all; additionally, we may lose FDA approval and/or our products may become subject to foreign regulations;|
|●||the novel use of particle engineering or synthetic APIs for any of our product candidates, may not receive regulatory approval, and without regulatory approval we will not be able to market our product candidates;|
|●||if clinical studies for our product candidates are unsuccessful or significantly delayed, we will be unable to meet our anticipated development and commercialization timelines, which would have an adverse impact on our business;|
|●||if pharmaceutical companies are successful in limiting the use of generics through their legislative, regulatory and/or other efforts, our sales of generic products may suffer;|
|●||our success depends on our ability to detect, protect, and enforce our intellectual property;|
|●||we have a concentration in our ownership held by a few stockholders, which stockholders will be able to exert significant control over matters subject to stockholder approval.|
Risks Relating to Our Business and Industry
Our success depends on our ability to develop and/or acquire and commercialize additional pharmaceutical products.
Our financial results depend upon our ability to commercialize additional generic and proprietary pharmaceutical products, and whether our products are accepted by patients and physicians and are reimbursed by payers. Commercialization requires that we successfully and cost-effectively develop, test and manufacture or otherwise acquire both generic and proprietary products. All of our products must receive regulatory approval and meet (and continue to comply with) regulatory standards and requirements, including continued safety and efficacy standards. If health or safety concerns arise with respect to a product, we may be forced to withdraw it from the market and be exposed to greater liability, including product liability lawsuits. For example, as a result of environmental concerns over the use of chlorofluorocarbons, or CFCs, the FDA, issued a final rule on January 16, 2009, that required the phase-out of the CFC formulation of our Primatene Mist® product by December 31, 2011. As a result, in order to resume selling Primatene Mist® we had to develop a formulation of the product that uses hydrofluoroalkane, or HFA, as the propellant, and obtain FDA approval for the modified product, which took a significant amount of time and was not re-launched until
December 2018. There can be no guarantee that our investment in research and development activities will result in FDA approval or produce commercially viable new products.
The development and commercialization process, particularly with respect to our proprietary products, is time-consuming, costly and involves a high degree of business risk. Our products currently under development, if and when fully developed and tested, may not perform as we expect. Necessary regulatory approvals may not be obtained in a timely manner, if at all, and we may not be able to produce and market such products successfully and profitably. For example, we filed an ANDA, for our enoxaparin product in March 2003, but FDA approval was not granted until September 2011 due to delays caused largely by the FDA’s requirement that we perform immunogenicity studies and the receipt of an FDA warning letter and FDA Import Alert by the supplier of the starting material for our enoxaparin product. Following FDA approval, we became involved in litigation with Momenta Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and Sandoz Inc., which further delayed the commercial launch of our enoxaparin product until January 2012. Delays in any part of the process, or our inability to obtain regulatory approval of our products, including litigation with competitors and regulatory compliance of our suppliers and contractors, could adversely affect our operating results by restricting or delaying our introduction of new products, which could adversely impact our ability to market a prospective product. FDA and similar regulatory agencies may change or impose new regulatory requirements on our products, which could require us to perform additional studies, expand additional resources on regulatory compliance, or delay our commercialization plan. To the extent that we expend significant resources on research and development efforts and are not able, ultimately, to introduce successful new products as a result of those efforts, our business, financial position and results of operations may be materially and adversely affected, and the market value of our common stock could decline.
Our ability to introduce new generic products also depends upon our success in challenging patent rights held by third parties or in developing non-infringing products. Due to the emergence and development of competing products over time, our overall profitability depends on, among other things, our ability to introduce new products in a timely manner, to continue to manufacture products cost-effectively and to manage the life cycle of our product portfolio. If we are unable to cost-effectively maintain an adequate flow of successful generic and proprietary products and new indications and/or delivery methods for existing products sufficient to cover our substantial research and development costs and the decline in sales of older products that either become subject to generic competition, or are displaced by competing products or therapies, it could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations.
Our Primatene Mist®, lidocaine, phytonadione, and enoxaparin products collectively represent a significant portion of our net revenues. If the sales volume or pricing of our lidocaine, phytonadione, and enoxaparin products decline, or if we are unable to satisfy market demand for these products, they could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial position and results of operations.
Sales from our Primatene Mist® product represented 15%, 6%, and 1% of our total net revenues for the years ended December 31, 2020, 2019, and 2018, respectively. Sales from our lidocaine products represented 12%, 14%, and 15% of our total net revenues for the years ended December 31, 2020, 2019, and 2018, respectively. Sales from our phytonadione product represented 12%, 14%, and 14% of our total net revenues for the years ended December 31, 2020, 2019, and 2018, respectively, and sales of our enoxaparin product represented 14%, 13%, and 18% of our total net revenues for the years ended December 31, 2020, 2019, and 2018, respectively. We have experienced declining revenue from enoxaparin and some of our other existing products in the past and we may operate at a loss in the near term while continuing to invest in developing new products. If the sales volume or pricing of enoxaparin continues to decline, or if the sales volume or pricing of lidocaine and phytonadione declines, or if we are unable to satisfy market demand for these products, our business, financial position and results of operations could be materially and adversely affected, and the market value of our common stock could decline. For example, our enoxaparin product continues to see increased competition in the market, which could result in declining per unit prices as well as lower market share due to intense pricing competition in the pharmaceutical industry. We have experienced significant declines in the per unit pricing and gross margins attributable to our enoxaparin product since its commercial launch. Our Primatene Mist®, lidocaine, phytonadione, and enoxaparin products could be rendered obsolete or negatively impacted by numerous factors, many of which are beyond our control, including:
|●||decreasing average sales prices;|
|●||development by others of new pharmaceutical products that are more effective than ours;|
|●||entrance of new competitors into our markets;|
|●||loss of key relationships with suppliers, group purchasing organizations or end-user customers;|
|●||manufacturing or supply interruptions;|
|●||increase in material input costs;|
|●||changes in the prescribing practices of physicians;|
|●||changes in third-party reimbursement practices;|
|●||product liability claims; and|
|●||product recalls or safety alerts.|
Any factor adversely affecting the sale of these products may cause our revenues to decline, and we may not be able to achieve and maintain profitability.
We incurred losses for fiscal 2018 and we may operate at a loss in future years while continuing to invest in developing new products.
We recorded a net loss of $5.7 million for the year ended December 31, 2018. Although we achieved net income in the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019, we may incur operating and net losses and negative cash flow from operations in the future. Our business may generate operating losses if we do not successfully commercialize our product candidates, maintain sales of and profits from existing products, and generate sufficient revenues to support our level of operating expenses, especially as we continue our investment in developing new products. Because of the numerous risks and uncertainties associated with our commercialization efforts and future product development, we are unable to predict whether we will be able to maintain profitability.
Our ability to develop new products and additional revenue streams depends upon our ability to invest ongoing revenue, borrow funds or raise additional capital when needed.
Developing a single product in the pharmaceutical industry is a very expensive proposition with no certainty of regulatory clearance or commercial success. Considerable amounts are invested into the research and development process. Our research and development expense was $67.2 million, $68.9 million, and $57.6 million for the years ended December 31, 2020, 2019, and 2018, respectively. As noted elsewhere herein, ongoing revenue from current operations is a critical component of being able to adequately fund ongoing research and development efforts in our product pipeline. Likewise, the ability to borrow funds at an attractive rate is another factor in being able to fund research and development activities. Finally, being able to access the raise additional funds through the capital markets is another factor in being able to fund research and development. If any one, or all, of these sources become unavailable, our research and development projects may become delayed or negatively impacted.
Our success depends on the integrity of our supply chain, including multiple single source suppliers, the disruption of which could negatively impact our business.
Some of our products are the result of complex manufacturing processes, and some require highly specialized raw materials. Because our business requires outsourcing in some instances, we are subject to inherent uncertainties related to product safety, availability and security. For some of our key raw materials, components and API used in certain of our products, we have only a single, external source of supply, and alternate sources of supply may not be readily available.
For example, in 2009, we purchased heparin USP as the starting material for producing our enoxaparin product exclusively from a single source supplier and, in 2009, this supplier received a warning letter from the FDA and was the subject of an FDA Import Alert. The resulting shortage of heparin USP resulted in significant delays to the FDA approval process for our enoxaparin product. There are no guarantees our supplier will not receive warning letters in the future or that we will be able to replace this single source supplier with an alternate supplier on a commercially reasonable and timely basis, or at all, to prevent a shortage of heparin USP. Subsequently, we received FDA approval to make heparin USP from crude heparin using processes at our ANP and IMS facilities. In 2013, our single source supplier of epinephrine API for our Primatene Mist® product received a warning letter from the FDA, which our supplier has since addressed. In the future, it is possible that our suppliers will receive warning letters from the FDA and be unsuccessful in their efforts to address the issues raised in such warning letters on a timely basis, or at all, or may
discontinue production of raw materials, components or APIs used in our products or product candidates and would result in delays in commercialization and/or manufacturing of our products or product candidates if FDA approval for such products or product candidates is received. Furthermore, we may be unable to replace such supplier with an alternate supplier on a commercially reasonable and timely basis, or at all.
If we fail to maintain relationships with our current suppliers, we may not be able to complete development, commercialization or marketing of our products, which would have a material and adverse effect on our business. Third-party suppliers may not perform as agreed, may discontinue production, or may terminate their agreements with us. For example, because these third parties provide materials to a number of other pharmaceutical companies, they may experience capacity constraints or choose to prioritize one or more of their other customers over us. Any significant problem that our suppliers experience could delay or interrupt our supply of materials until the supplier cures the problem or until we locate, negotiate for, validate and receive FDA approval for an alternative source of supply, if one is available. In the near term, we do not anticipate that the FDA will approve alternative sources to back up our primary suppliers. Therefore, if our primary suppliers become unable or unwilling to manufacture or deliver materials, we could experience protracted delays or interruptions in the supply of materials. This would ultimately delay our manufacture of products for commercial sale, which could materially and adversely affect our development programs, commercial activities, operating results and financial condition.
Additionally, any failure by us to forecast demand for, or to maintain an adequate supply of, the raw material and finished product could result in an interruption in the supply of certain products and a decline in sales of that product.
Underutilization of our manufacturing capacity could negatively impact our gross margins.
We have invested significantly in our manufacturing capacity in order to vertically integrate our business, contain the costs of raw materials and reduce the risks imposed by relying on third-party single source suppliers. We currently own and operate facilities that manufacture raw materials and APIs for our products and product candidates and those of our customers and partners, including insulin API for MannKind. However, if market demand decreases or if market supply surpasses demand, whether because of macroeconomic factors, pharmaceutical industry volatility, or deficiencies specific to our customers, we may not be able to reduce manufacturing expenses or overhead costs proportionately. For example, a significant portion of our manufacturing capacity in our facility in Éragny-sur-Epte, France is utilized for the manufacturing of insulin API for MannKind, and a significant portion of our manufacturing capacity in Rancho Cucamonga is utilized for the manufacture of enoxaparin. In November 2016, we amended our supply agreement with MannKind, or the Supply Agreement and our option purchase agreement with MannKind, or the Option Agreement, to modify and extend the annual minimum purchase commitments under the Supply Agreement and the Option Agreement to cover calendar years 2014 through 2023. Additionally, in December 2018, we again amended our supply agreement with MannKind to modify and extend the annual minimum purchase commitments under the Supply Agreement and the Option Agreement to cover calendar years 2019 through 2024. In August 2019, we amended the Supply Agreement with MannKind to modify and extend the annual minimum purchase commitment under the Supply Agreement for an additional two years through 2026. While the aggregate total purchase commitment remains unchanged, the amendments to the Supply Agreement and the Option Agreement have resulted and will continue to result in reduced sales of API for MannKind on an annual basis.
If an increase in supply outpaces the increase in market demand, or if demand decreases, such as a further reduction in sales of insulin API for MannKind, the resulting oversupply could adversely impact our sales and result in the underutilization of our manufacturing capacity, high inventory levels, changes in revenue mix and rapid price erosion, which would lower our margins and adversely impact our financial results. In addition, in order to offset fixed manufacturing overhead costs and utilize our current facilities and personnel, it may at times be in our best interest to continue to produce and sell products that are not profitable in the near term, although this would negatively impact our gross margins.
Additionally, we are in the process of building significant capacity to make finished products at our ANP facility. This capacity is intended to be used to supply finished pharmaceutical products to China and other markets outside of the US. However, there is no guarantee that we will sell enough finished pharmaceutical products to take advantage of this new manufacturing capacity.
We face significant competition in the pharmaceutical industry with respect to both our proprietary and generic drugs, which may result in others developing or commercializing products before or more successfully than we do, which could significantly limit our growth and materially and adversely affect our financial results.
The majority of our marketed products are generic products. We face and will face significant competition for our products and product candidates from pharmaceutical companies that focus on the generic injectable and inhalation markets such as Pfizer, Inc., Sagent Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Akorn, Inc., Sandoz Inc., Viatris Inc., Fresenius Kabi USA, Nexus Pharmaceuticals, Apotex Corp., Amneal Biosciences, American Regent, Inc., Hikma Pharmaceuticals USA, Par Pharmaceuticals, Cipla USA Inc., Meitheal Pharmaceuticals, Dr, Reddy’s Laboratories, Inc. and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. Competition in the generic pharmaceutical industry has increased as producers of branded products have entered the business by creating generic drug subsidiaries, purchasing generic drug companies, or licensing their products to generic manufacturers prior to patent expiration and/or as their patents expire.
We face similar competition with respect to our over-the-counter product. Our product competes with other products that are owned and marketed by companies with much greater financial resources to reach consumers and market their products to influence end-customer buying decisions. There can be no assurance that we will be able to profitably market our over-the-counter product and money spent on such marketing efforts may reduce our ability to focus on and develop our pharmaceutical products.
Our business operates in the pharmaceutical industry, which is an industry characterized by intense competition. Many of our competitors have longer operating histories and greater financial, research and development, marketing and other resources than we do. Consequently, many of our competitors may be able to develop products and/or processes competitive with, or superior to, our own. For example, a competitor has received FDA approval for their intranasal naloxone product in the markets for which we are currently seeking approval. We are concentrating the majority of our efforts and resources on developing product candidates utilizing our proprietary technologies. The commercial success of products utilizing such technologies will depend, in large part, on the intensity of competition, labeling claims approved by the FDA for our products compared to claims approved for competitive products and the relative timing and sequence for commercial launch of new products by other companies that compete with our new products. If alternative technologies or other therapeutic approaches are adopted prior to our new product approvals, then the market for our new products may be substantially decreased, thus reducing our ability to generate future profits.
This intensely competitive environment requires an ongoing, extensive search for technological innovations and the ability to market products effectively, including the ability to communicate the effectiveness, safety and value of our products to healthcare professionals in private practice, group practices and managed care organizations. Our competitors vary depending upon product categories and, within each product category, upon dosage strengths and upon drug-delivery systems. Based on total assets, annual revenues and market capitalization, we are smaller than many of our national and international competitors with respect to both our generic and proprietary pharmaceutical products and product candidates. Many of our competitors have been in business for a longer period of time than us, have a greater number of products on the market and have greater financial and other resources than we do. Furthermore, recent trends in this industry are toward further market consolidation of large drug companies into a smaller number of very large entities, further concentrating financial, technical and market strength and increasing competitive pressure in the industry. If we directly compete with large entities for the same markets and/or products, their financial strength could prevent us from capturing a profitable share of those markets. Smaller companies may also prove to be significant competitors, particularly through collaborative arrangements with large and established companies. It is possible that developments by our competitors will make our products or technologies noncompetitive or obsolete.
If we fail to obtain exclusive marketing rights for our generic pharmaceutical products or fail to introduce these generic products on a timely basis, our revenues, gross margin and operating results may decline significantly.
The Hatch-Waxman amendments to the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, or FFDCA, provide for a period of 180 days of generic marketing exclusivity for any applicant that is first-to-file an ANDA containing a certification of invalidity, non-infringement or unenforceability related to a patent listed with respect to the corresponding brand drug, which we refer to as a Paragraph IV certification. The holder of an approved ANDA containing a Paragraph IV certification that is successful in challenging the applicable brand drug patent(s) is often able to price the applicable generic drug to yield relatively high gross margins during this 180-day marketing exclusivity period. ANDAs that contain Paragraph IV certifications challenging patents, however, generally become the subject of patent litigation that can be both lengthy and costly. There is no certainty that we will prevail in any such litigation, that we will be the first-to-file and granted the 180-day marketing exclusivity period or, if we are granted the 180-day marketing exclusivity
period, that we will not forfeit such period. Even where we are awarded marketing exclusivity, we may be required to share our exclusivity period with other ANDA applicants who submit Paragraph IV certifications. In addition, brand companies often authorize a generic version of the corresponding brand drug to be sold during any period of marketing exclusivity that is awarded, which reduces gross margins during the marketing exclusivity period. Brand companies may also reduce the price of their brand product to compete directly with generics entering the market, which similarly would have the effect of reducing gross margins. Furthermore, timely commencement of litigation by the patent owner imposes an automatic stay of ANDA approval by the FDA for 30 months, unless the case is decided in the ANDA applicant’s favor during that period. Finally, if the court’s decision is adverse to the ANDA applicant, the ANDA approval will be delayed until the challenged patent expires, and the applicant will not be granted the 180-day marketing exclusivity.
Accordingly, our revenues and future profitability are dependent, in large part, upon our ability or the ability of our development partners to file ANDAs with the FDA timely and effectively or to enter into contractual relationships with other parties that have obtained marketing exclusivity. We may not be able to develop and introduce successful products in the future within the time constraints necessary to be successful. If we or our development partners are unable to continue to timely and effectively file ANDAs with the FDA or to partner with other parties that have obtained marketing exclusivity, our revenues, gross margin and operating results may decline significantly, and our prospects and business may be materially adversely affected.
Our generic products face, and our generic product candidates will face, additional competitive pressures that are specific to the generic pharmaceutical industry.
With respect to our generic pharmaceutical business, revenues and gross profit derived from the sales of generic pharmaceutical products tend to follow a pattern based on certain regulatory and competitive factors. As patents and exclusivities protecting a brand name product expire, the first manufacturer to receive regulatory approval for a generic version of the product is generally able to achieve significant market penetration. Therefore, our ability to increase or maintain revenues and profitability in our generics business is largely dependent on our success in challenging patents and developing non-infringing formulations of proprietary products. As competing manufacturers receive regulatory approvals on generic products or as brand manufacturers launch generic versions of their products (for which no separate regulatory approval is required), market share, revenues and gross profit typically decline, often significantly and rapidly. Accordingly, the level of market share, revenue and gross profit attributable to a particular generic product normally is related to the number of competitors in that product’s market and the timing of that product’s regulatory approval and launch, in relation to competing approvals and launches. For example, enoxaparin is currently marketed by Sanofi, under the brand name Lovenox®. Sanofi also markets its authorized generic enoxaparin product through its subsidiary, Winthrop, Fresenius Kabi USA, Apotex Corp. and Meithael Pharmaceuticals, Inc. also either market or plan to market a generic version of enoxaparin. Other companies may have received FDA approval of enoxaparin but have not launched the product, while other companies have filed ANDAs for enoxaparin with the FDA. The presence of these current and prospective competitive products has had, and may continue to have, an adverse effect on our market share, revenue and gross profit from our enoxaparin product. Since the commercial launch of our enoxaparin product, we have experienced significant declines in sales volume, per unit pricing and gross margins attributable to this product. Consequently, we must continue to develop and introduce new generic products in a timely and cost-effective manner to maintain our revenues and gross margins. We may have fewer opportunities to launch significant generic products in the future, as the number and size of proprietary products that are subject to patent challenges is expected to decrease in the next several years compared to historical levels. Additionally, as new competitors enter the market, there may be increased pricing pressure on certain products, which may result in lower gross margins. In addition to our enoxaparin product, we have experienced pricing pressure on many of our other products, including medroxyprogesterone, and we expect this trend to continue in the future.
Competition in the generic drug industry has also increased due to the proliferation of authorized generic pharmaceutical products. “Authorized generics” are generic pharmaceutical products that are introduced by brand companies, either directly or through partnering arrangements with other generic companies. Authorized generics are equivalent to the brand companies’ brand name drugs, but are sold at relatively lower prices than the brand name drugs. An authorized generic product can be marketed during the 180-day exclusivity granted to the first manufacturer or manufacturers to submit an ANDA with a Paragraph IV certification for a generic version of the brand product. The sale of authorized generics adversely impacts the market share of a generic product that has been granted 180-day exclusivity. For example, with respect to our enoxaparin product, Sanofi currently markets an authorized generic enoxaparin product through its subsidiary, Winthrop. This is a significant source of competition for us because brand companies do not face any regulatory barriers to introducing authorized generics of their products. Because authorized generics may be sold during our exclusivity periods, if any, they can materially decrease the profits that we could otherwise receive as an exclusive
marketer of a generic alternative. Such actions have the effect of reducing the potential market share and profitability of our generic products and may inhibit us from developing and introducing generic pharmaceutical products corresponding to certain brand name drugs.
Such competition can also result from the entry of generic versions of another product in the same therapeutic class as one of our drugs, or in another competing therapeutic class, or from the compulsory licensing of our products by governments, or from a general weakening of intellectual property laws in certain countries around the world.
In addition, the goals established under the Generic Drug User Fee Act, and increased funding of the FDA’s Office of Generic Drugs, have led to more and faster generic approvals, and consequently increased competition for some of our products. The FDA has stated that it has established new steps to enhance competition, promote access and lower drug prices and is approving record-breaking numbers of generic applications. While these FDA improvements are expected to benefit our generic product pipeline, they will also benefit competitors that seek to launch products in established generic markets where we currently offer products.
If the market for a reference brand product, such as Lovenox®, significantly declines, sales or potential sales of our generic and biosimilar products and product candidates may suffer and our business would be materially impacted.
Proprietary products face competition on numerous fronts as technological advances are made or new products are introduced. As new products are approved that compete with the reference proprietary product to our generic products and generic or biosimilar product candidates, such as Lovenox®, which is the reference brand product for our enoxaparin product, sales of the reference brand products may be significantly and adversely impacted and may render the reference brand product obsolete. In addition, brand companies may pursue life cycle management strategies that also impact our generic products.
If the market for a reference brand product is impacted, we in turn may lose significant market share or market potential for our generic or biosimilar products and product candidates, and the value for our generic or biosimilar pipeline could be negatively impacted. As a result, our business, including our financial results and our ability to fund future discovery and development programs, would suffer.
Health care providers may not be receptive to our products, particularly those that incorporate our proprietary drug delivery platforms.
The commercial success of our products will depend on acceptance by health care providers and others that such products are clinically effective, affordable and safe. Our products utilizing our proprietary drug delivery technologies may not be accepted by health care providers and others. Factors that may materially affect market acceptance of our products include but are not limited to:
|●||the relative therapeutic advantages and disadvantages of our products compared to competitive products;|
|●||the relative timing of commercial launch of our products compared to competitive products;|
|●||the relative safety and efficacy of our products compared to competitive products;|
|●||the product labeling approved by the FDA for our products and for competing products;|
|●||the willingness of third-party payers to reimburse for our prescription products and the level of any reimbursement provided for our prescription products;|
|●||the willingness of pharmacy chains to stock our new products;|
|●||the willingness of consumers to pay for our products; and|
|●||legislative and regulatory efforts implemented by federal, state, or foreign governments to contain health care costs and prescription drug pricing, including measures that increase our reporting obligations to regulatory authorities and that impact how our customers purchase our drug products.|
Our products, if successfully developed and commercially launched, will compete with both currently marketed products and new products launched in the future by other companies. Health care providers may not accept or utilize some of our
products. Physicians and other prescribers may not be inclined to prescribe our prescription products unless our products demonstrate commercially viable advantages over other products currently marketed for the same indications. Pharmacy chains may not be willing to stock certain of our new products, and pharmacists may not recommend such products to consumers. Further, consumers may not be willing to purchase some of our products. If our products do not achieve market acceptance, we may not be able to generate significant revenues or become profitable.
If we are unable to maintain our group purchasing organization relationships, our revenues could decline and future profitability could be jeopardized.
Many of the existing and potential customers for our products have combined to form group purchasing organizations in an effort to lower costs. Group purchasing organizations negotiate pricing arrangements with medical supply manufacturers and distributors, and these negotiated prices are made available to a group purchasing organization’s affiliated hospitals and other members. Group purchasing organizations provide end-users access to a broad range of pharmaceutical products from multiple suppliers at competitive prices and, in certain cases, exercise considerable influence over the drug purchasing decisions of such end-users. Hospitals and other end-users contract with the group purchasing organization of their choice for their purchasing needs. We currently derive, and expect to continue to derive, our revenue from end-user customers that are members of group purchasing organizations. Maintaining our strong relationships with these group purchasing organizations will require us to continue to be a reliable supplier, offer a broad product line, remain price competitive, comply with FDA regulations and provide high-quality products. Although our group purchasing organization pricing agreements are typically multi-year in duration, most of them may be terminated by either party with 60 or 90 days’ notice. The group purchasing organizations with which we have relationships may have relationships with manufacturers that sell competing products, and such group purchasing organizations may earn higher margins from these competing products or combinations of competing products or may prefer products other than ours for other reasons. If we are unable to maintain our group purchasing organization relationships, sales of our products and revenue could decline.
Consolidation in the health care industry could lead to demands for price concessions or for the exclusion of some suppliers from certain of our markets, which could have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations.
Because health care costs have risen significantly, numerous initiatives and reforms by legislatures, regulators and third-party payers to curb these cost increases have resulted in a trend in the health care industry to consolidate product suppliers and purchasers. As the health care industry consolidates, competition among suppliers to provide products to purchasers has become more intense. This in turn has resulted and will likely continue to result in greater pricing pressures and the exclusion of certain suppliers from important market segments as group purchasing organizations and large single accounts continue to use their market power to influence product pricing and purchasing decisions. As the U.S. payer market concentrates further and as more drugs become available in generic form, biopharmaceutical companies may face greater pricing pressure from private third-party payers, who will continue to drive more of their patients to use lower cost generic alternatives. This drive towards generic alternatives could adversely affect sales of our proprietary products and increase competition among generic manufacturers.
Sales of our products may be adversely affected by the continuing consolidation of our customer base.
A significant proportion of our sales are made to relatively few U.S. wholesalers and group purchasing organizations. These customers are continuing to undergo significant consolidation. Sales to three of these customers for the years ended December 31, 2020, 2019, and 2018, respectively, accounted for approximately 62%, 71%, and 76% of our total net revenues, respectively. Such consolidation has provided and may continue to provide them with additional purchasing leverage, and consequently may increase the pricing pressures that we face.
Moreover, we are exposed to a concentration of credit risk as a result of this concentration among our customers. If one or more of our major customers experienced financial difficulties, the effect on us would be substantial. This could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Our net sales and quarterly growth comparisons may also be affected by fluctuations in the buying patterns of retail chains, major distributors and other trade buyers, whether resulting from seasonality, pricing, wholesaler buying decisions or other factors. In addition, because a significant portion of our U.S. revenues is derived from relatively few customers, any financial difficulties experienced by a single customer, or any delay in receiving payments from a single customer, could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
At the same time, the traditional model for distribution of pharmaceutical products is also undergoing disruption as a result of the entry or potential entry of new competitors and significant mergers among key industry participants. For example, Amazon.com has made initial moves to develop a pharmaceutical distribution business. Also, the consolidation resulting from the merger between CVS Health and Aetna, if completed, is expected to create a vertically integrated organization with increased control over the physician and pharmacy networks and, ultimately, over which medicines are sold to patients. In addition, several major hospital systems in the United States announced a plan to form a nonprofit company that will provide U.S. hospitals with a number of generic drugs. These changes to the traditional supply chain could lead to our customers having increased negotiation leverage and to additional pricing pressure and price erosion.
If our business partners do not fulfill their obligations with respect to our distribution or collaboration agreements, our revenues and our business will suffer.
Pursuant to certain distribution or collaboration agreements, the success of some of our products or product candidates also depends on the success of the collaboration with our business partners, who are responsible for certain aspects of researching, developing, marketing, distributing or commercializing our products or product candidates. If any such agreement were to be terminated in accordance with its terms, including due to a party’s failure to perform its obligations or responsibilities under the agreement, revenues could be delayed or diminished from these products and our revenues and/or profit share for these products could be adversely impacted.
We depend upon our key personnel, the loss of whom could adversely affect our operations. If we fail to attract and retain the talent required for our business, our business could be materially harmed.
We depend to a significant degree on our key management employees, including our Chief Executive Officer and Chief Science Officer, Jack Y. Zhang, and our Chief Operating Officer and Chief Scientist, Mary Z. Luo. The loss of services from any of these persons may significantly delay or prevent the achievement of our product development or business objectives. We do not carry key man life insurance on any key personnel. Competition among pharmaceutical companies for qualified employees is intense, and the ability to attract and retain qualified individuals is critical to our success. We have experienced attrition among our executive officers in the past, and any future loss of key members of our organization or any inability to continue to attract high-quality employees may delay or prevent the achievement of major business objectives. Our productivity may be adversely affected if we do not integrate or train our new employees quickly and effectively.
Competition for highly-skilled personnel is often intense, especially in Southern California, where we have a substantial presence and need for highly-skilled personnel. We may not be successful in attracting, integrating or retaining qualified personnel to fulfill our current or future needs. Also, to the extent we hire personnel from competitors, we may be subject to allegations that we have improperly solicited, or that they have divulged proprietary or other confidential information, or that their former employers own their inventions or work product.
Our business may be adversely affected by the current COVID-19 pandemic or other epidemics.
In March 2020, the World Health Organization declared the outbreak of a novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, as a pandemic, which continues to spread throughout the world, including locations where we operate, such as the United States, China and France. We have been actively monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact globally. In late January 2020, China implemented extensive curfews and travel restrictions to control the outbreak, and started easing these restrictions in March. In March 2020, France also implemented a stay-at-home order limiting movement and restricting travel. In March 2020, the Governors of the States of California and Massachusetts declared a health emergency and issued orders to close all nonessential businesses. As a bio-pharmaceutical company we are deemed to be an essential business. Since then, the government in the United States, China and France, have re-opened and re-imposed restrictions on travel and business as the pandemic recedes and grows.
Over the ensuring year, this contagious disease outbreak has continued to impact worldwide economic activity and financial markets. While two vaccines have received Emergency Use Authorization from the FDA, the COVID-19 pandemic remains a challenge to our business until it is abated. Mass and rapid production of the vaccines, for example, has placed increased pressure on the availability of supplies that are also used in our products, such as glass and needles. The COVID-19 pandemic is imposing additional burdens on our business to comply with regulations imposed by the State of California. The COVID-19 pandemic may also disrupt the operations of our customers, suppliers and partners for an indefinite period of time, including as a result of travel restrictions and/or business shutdowns, all of which could negatively impact our business and results of operations, including cash flows. Disruptions to our manufacturing partners
and suppliers could result in disruption to the production of our products and failure to satisfy demand. More generally, the outbreak of COVID-19 could adversely affect economies and financial markets globally and nationally, potentially leading to an economic downturn, which could decrease spending and adversely affect demand for our products and harm our business and results of operations. Even after the COVID-19 pandemic has subsided, we may continue to experience an adverse impact to our business as a result of its global economic impact, including any recession that has occurred or may occur in the future. Specifically, difficult macroeconomic conditions, increased and prolonged unemployment or a decline in business confidence as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, could have a continuing adverse effect on the demand for some of our products. The degree of impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our business will depend on several factors, such as the duration and the extent of the pandemic, as well as actions taken by governments, businesses, and consumers in response to the pandemic, all of which continue to evolve and remain uncertain at this time.
Some of our ongoing clinical trials have experienced short-term interruptions in the recruitment of patients due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as hospitals prioritize their resources toward the COVID-19 pandemic and governments impose travel restrictions. Additionally, protocols at certain clinical sites have changed which could slow down the pace of clinical trials and also increase the costs of conducting clinical Trials. These conditions may in turn delay spending and delay the results of these trials. Additionally, certain suppliers have delayed shipments to us in 2020. These delays may have been caused by manufacturing disruptions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. None of these delays caused delays in our manufacturing to date, but future delays could cause manufacturing disruptions at our factories.
As a result of the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, FDA has issued various COVID-19 related guidance documents applicable to biopharmaceutical manufacturers and clinical trial sponsors. For example, in March 2020, the FDA issued a guidance, which the FDA subsequently updated, on conducting clinical trials during the pandemic, which describes a number of considerations for sponsors of clinical trials impacted by the pandemic, including the requirement to include in the clinical trial report contingency measures implemented to manage the clinical trial, among others. The FDA also issued a guidance on good manufacturing practice considerations for responding to COVID-19 infection in employees in drug products manufacturing, and a guidance on review timelines for applicant responses to Complete Response Letters when a facility assessment is needed during the COVID-19 public health emergency. These and future guidance documents and regulatory requirements, including future legislation, may require us to develop and implement new policies and procedures, make significant adjustments to our clinical trials, or increase the amount time and resources needed for regulatory compliance, which may impact our clinical development plans and timelines.
It is not possible at this time to estimate the complete impact that the COVID-19 pandemic could have on our business, as the impact will depend on future developments, which are highly uncertain and cannot be predicted. Infections may resurge or become more widespread and the limitation on our ability to travel and timely sell and distribute our products, as well as any closures or supply disruptions, may be extended for longer periods of time, all of which would have a negative impact on our business, financial condition and operating results. We will continue to monitor the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on all aspects of our business.
We may be exposed to product liability claims and may not be able to obtain or maintain adequate product liability insurance.
Our business exposes us to potential product liability risks, which are inherent in the testing, manufacturing, marketing and sale of pharmaceutical products. Product liability claims might be made by patients, health care providers or others who sell or consume our products. These claims may be made even with respect to those products that possess regulatory approval for commercial sale.
Our reputation is the foundation of our relationships with physicians, patients, group purchasing organizations and other customers. If we are unable to effectively manage real or perceived issues that could negatively impact sentiments toward us, our business could suffer. Our customers may have a number of concerns about the safety of our products whether or not such concerns have a basis in generally accepted science or peer-reviewed scientific research. These concerns may be increased by negative publicity, even if the publicity is inaccurate. Any negative publicity, whether accurate or inaccurate, about the efficacy, safety or side effects of our products or product categories, whether involving us, a competitor or a reference drug, could materially reduce market acceptance of our products, cause consumers to seek alternatives to our products, result in product withdrawals and cause our stock price to decline. Negative publicity could also result in an increased number of product liability claims, whether or not these claims have a basis in scientific fact.
We currently maintain a $10.0 million product liability insurance policy, which covers Amphastar, IMS, Armstrong, and
AFP, products, but our insurance coverage is subject to deductibles and may not reimburse us or may not be sufficient to reimburse us for all expenses or losses we may suffer from any product liability claims. Moreover, insurance coverage is becoming increasingly expensive and, in the future, we may not be able to maintain insurance coverage at a reasonable cost or in sufficient amounts to protect us against losses. Large judgments have been awarded in class action lawsuits based on drug products that had unanticipated side effects. A successful product liability claim or series of claims brought against us could cause our stock price to fall and, if judgments exceed our insurance coverage, could decrease our cash and adversely affect our business.
If serious adverse events or deaths are identified relating to any of our products once they are on the market, we may be required to withdraw our products from the market, which would hinder or preclude our ability to generate revenues.
We are required to report to relevant regulatory authorities adverse events or deaths associated with our product candidates or approved products. Based on such events, regulatory authorities may withdraw their approvals of such products or take enforcement actions. We may be required to reformulate our products, and/or we may have to recall the affected products from the market and may not be able to reintroduce them into the market. Furthermore, our reputation in the marketplace may suffer and we may become the target of lawsuits, including class actions suits. Any of these events could harm or prevent sales of the affected products and could have a material adverse effect upon our business and financial condition.
Any acquisitions of technologies, products and businesses may be difficult to integrate, could adversely affect our relationships with key customers and/or could result in significant charges to earnings.
We plan to regularly review potential acquisitions of technologies, products and businesses complementary to our business. Acquisitions typically entail many risks and could result in difficulties in integrating operations, personnel, technologies and products. If we are not able to successfully integrate our acquisitions, we may not obtain the advantages and synergies that the acquisitions were intended to create, which may have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, financial condition and cash flows, our ability to develop and introduce new products and the market price of our stock. In addition, some acquisitions may require regulatory approvals before products may be sold by us, which may not be obtained on a timely basis, or at all. For example, in August 2016, our UK subsidiary acquired IMS UK. We are in the process of transferring the manufacturing of the purchased products to our facility in California. The transfer will require approval of the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency and other related agencies before the products can be sold by us. It is possible that the integration of some acquired technologies, information systems and data could increase our risk of experiencing a data security or privacy incident. In addition, in connection with acquisitions, we could experience disruption in our business, technology and information systems, customer or employee base, including diversion of management’s attention from our continuing operations. There is also a risk that key employees of companies that we acquire or key employees necessary to successfully commercialize technologies and products that we acquire may seek employment elsewhere, including with our competitors. Furthermore, there may be overlap between our products or customers and the companies that we acquire that may create conflicts in relationships or other commitments detrimental to the integrated businesses. If we are unable to successfully integrate technologies, products, businesses or personnel that we acquire, we could incur significant impairment charges or other adverse financial consequences.
Identifying, executing and realizing attractive returns on acquisitions is highly competitive and involves a high degree of uncertainty. We expect to encounter competition for potential target businesses from both strategic and financial buyers. Some of these competitors may be well established and have extensive experience in identifying and consummating business combinations. Some of these competitors may possess greater technical, human and other resources than us, and our financial resources may be relatively limited when contrasted with those of our competitors. We may lose acquisition opportunities if we do not match our competitors’ pricing, terms and structure criteria for such acquisitions. If we are forced to match these criteria to make acquisitions, we may not be able to achieve acceptable returns on our acquisitions or may bear substantial risk of capital loss. In addition, target companies may not be willing to sell assets at valuations which are attractive to us. Furthermore, the terms of our existing or future indebtedness may hinder or prevent us from making additional acquisitions of technologies, products or businesses. Because of these factors, we may not be able to consummate an acquisition on attractive terms, if at all.
We intend to conduct an extensive due diligence investigation for any business we consider acquiring. Intensive due diligence is often time consuming and expensive due to the operations, finance and legal professionals who may be involved in the due diligence process. Even if we conduct extensive due diligence on a target business which we acquire,
we may not identify all material issues that are present inside a particular target business. If our due diligence fails to discover or identify material issues relating to a target business, industry or the environment in which the target business operates, we may be forced to later write-down or write-off assets, restructure the target business’ operations or incur impairment or other charges that could result in losses to us.
Charges to earnings resulting from acquisitions could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial position and results of operations and could cause the market value of our common stock to decline.
Under U.S. generally accepted accounting principles, or GAAP, business combination accounting standards, we recognize the identifiable assets acquired, the liabilities assumed and any non-controlling interests in acquired companies generally at their acquisition date fair values and, in each case, separately from goodwill. Goodwill as of the acquisition date is measured as the excess amount of consideration transferred, which is also generally measured at fair value, and the net of the acquisition date amounts of the identifiable assets acquired and the liabilities assumed. Our estimates of fair value are based upon assumptions believed to be reasonable but which are inherently uncertain. After we complete an acquisition, the following factors could result in material charges and adversely affect our operating results and may adversely affect our cash flows:
|●||costs incurred to combine the operations of companies we acquire, such as transitional employee expenses and employee retention, redeployment or relocation expenses;|
|●||impairment of goodwill or intangible assets, including acquired in-process research and development;|
|●||amortization of intangible assets acquired;|
|●||a reduction in the useful lives of intangible assets acquired;|
|●||identification of or changes to assumed contingent liabilities, including, but not limited to, contingent purchase price consideration, income tax contingencies and other non-income tax contingencies, after our final determination of the amounts for these contingencies or the conclusion of the measurement period (generally up to one year from the acquisition date), whichever comes first;|
|●||charges to our operating results to eliminate certain duplicative pre-acquisition activities, to restructure our operations or to reduce our cost structure; and|
|●||charges to our operating results resulting from expenses incurred to effect the acquisition.|
A significant portion of these adjustments could be accounted for as expenses that will decrease our net income and earnings per share for the periods in which those costs are incurred. Such charges could cause a material adverse effect on our business, financial position and results of operations and could cause the market value of the common stock to decline.
We may evaluate asset dispositions and other transactions that may impact our results of operations, and we may not achieve the expected results from these transactions.
From time to time, we may enter into agreements to dispose of certain assets. However, we cannot assure you that we will be able to dispose of any such assets at any anticipated prices, or at all, or that any such sale will occur during any anticipated time frame. In addition, we may engage in business combinations, purchases of assets or contractual arrangements or joint ventures. Subject to the agreements governing our existing debt or otherwise, some of these transactions may be financed with our additional borrowings. We may suffer a loss of key employees, customers or suppliers, loss of revenues, increases in costs or other difficulties in connection with these transactions. Other transactions may advance future cash flows from some of our businesses, thereby yielding increased short-term liquidity, but consequently resulting in lower cash flows from these operations over the longer term. The failure to realize the expected long-term benefits of any one or more of these transactions could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition or results of operations.
Significant balances of intangible assets, including goodwill, are subject to impairment testing and may result in impairment charges, which may materially and adversely affect our results of operations and financial condition.
A significant amount of our total assets is related to goodwill and intangible assets. As of December 31, 2020, the value
of our goodwill and intangible assets net of accumulated amortization was $40.6 million. Goodwill and other intangible assets are tested for impairment annually when events occur or circumstances change that could potentially reduce the fair value of the reporting unit or intangible asset. Impairment testing compares the fair value of the reporting unit or intangible asset to its carrying amount. Any future goodwill or other intangible asset impairment, if any, would be recorded in operating income and could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations and financial condition.
Our outstanding loan agreements contain restrictive covenants that may limit our operating flexibility.
Our loan agreements are collateralized by substantially all of our presently existing and subsequently acquired personal property assets and subject us to certain affirmative and negative covenants, including limitations on our ability to transfer or dispose of assets, merge with or acquire other companies, make investments, pay dividends, incur additional indebtedness and liens and conduct transactions with affiliates. We are also subject to certain covenants that require us to maintain certain financial ratios and are required under certain conditions to make mandatory prepayments of outstanding principal. As a result of these covenants and ratios, we have certain limitations on the manner in which we can conduct our business, and we may be restricted from engaging in favorable business activities or financing future operations or capital needs until our current debt obligations are paid in full or we obtain the consent of our lenders, which we may not be able to obtain. We may not be able to generate sufficient cash flow or revenue to meet the financial covenants or pay the principal and interest on our debt, and in the past we have not been in compliance with certain financial covenants. In addition, upon the occurrence of an event of default, our lenders, among other things, can declare all indebtedness due and payable immediately, which would adversely impact our liquidity and reduce the availability of our cash flows to fund working capital needs, capital expenditures and other general corporate purposes. An event of default includes our failure to pay any amount due and payable under the loan agreements, the occurrence of a material adverse change in our business as defined in the loan agreements, our breach of any covenant in the loan agreements, subject to a grace period in some cases, or an involuntary insolvency proceeding. Additionally, a lender could exercise its lien on substantially all of our assets and our future working capital, borrowings or equity financing may not be available to repay or refinance any such debt.
Counterfeit versions of our products could harm our patients and reputation.
Our industry has been increasingly challenged by the vulnerability of distribution channels to illegal counterfeiting and the presence of counterfeit products in a growing number of markets and over the Internet. Counterfeit products are frequently unsafe or ineffective, and can be potentially life-threatening. To distributors and patients, counterfeit products may be visually indistinguishable from the authentic version. Reports of adverse reactions to counterfeit drugs or increased levels of counterfeiting could materially affect patient confidence in the authentic product, and harm the business of companies such as ours. Additionally, it is possible that adverse events caused by unsafe counterfeit products would mistakenly be attributed to the authentic product. If a product of ours was the subject of counterfeits, we could incur substantial reputational and financial harm in the longer term.
Our business and operations have been impacted in the past, and may be impacted in the future, in the event of system breach or failure.
We, our collaborators, third-party providers, distributors, customers and other contractors utilize information technology systems and networks, including internet-based system, to transmit, store and otherwise process electronic data in connection with our business activities, including our supply chain processes, operations and communications. This includes our clinical data and business proprietary information, Electronic Data Interchange, or EDI, on purchase orders, invoices, chargebacks, etc. We, and others on our behalf, also collect, transmit, store and otherwise process certain data relating to individuals, including about our personnel, business partners, and others, which may be subject to applicable data protection laws and regulations that require adoption of minimum information security standards. The cost of compliance with applicable data protection laws and regulations have increased and may increase in the future.
Despite our implementation of security measures to protect the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of the systems and data within our control from various threats (e.g., cyber-attack, insider threat, accidental disclosure, intellectual property theft and economic espionage, exploitable defects or bugs in our third-party providers’ systems, natural disaster, war, terrorism, telecommunications and electrical outage), risks remain, and our systems and networks and the systems and networks of third parties that support us and our services may be breached or disrupted due to these threats. Techniques used to sabotage or obtain unauthorized access to systems and networks are constantly evolving and, in some instances, are not identified until or after they are launched against a target. We and our third-party providers may be
unable to anticipate these techniques, discover threats and react in a timely manner, or implement adequate preventative or mitigating measures. Further, system breaches, malware, ransomware, computer hacking, and insider threats have become more prevalent, and experts have warned that the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in increased threats and malicious activity.
Potential legal (regulatory or contractual), financial, operational, and reputational harm may arise from the accidental or unlawful destruction, damage, loss, unavailability, alteration, impairment, misuse, unauthorized disclosure of, or unauthorized access to (i) our data, which is transmitted, stored or otherwise processed by us or by collaborators, third-party providers, distributors and other contractors on our behalf (a “data security incident”); and (ii) the systems upon which we rely for our operations (an “other event”). For example:
|●||The accidental or unlawful loss, unavailability or alteration of clinical trial data from completed or ongoing clinical trials for any of our product candidates could affect our ability to operate, result in delays in our development and regulatory approval efforts, and significantly increase our costs to recover or reproduce the data.|
|●||The size and complexity of our systems may make them potentially vulnerable to breakdown or interruption, whether due to computer viruses or other causes, which may result in the loss of key information or the impairment of production and other supply chain processes, adversely affecting our business.|
|●||Any data security incident or other event, either on its own or as a pattern, may require costly response and remediation efforts, trigger notification obligations under breach notification laws, result in litigation or adverse regulatory action arising from or related to such an incident or event, damage our reputation, and result in significant additional expense to implement further data protection measures. Integrating the systems and data of any acquired entity may increase these risks due to unforeseen threats and vulnerabilities.|
|●||Similarly, any data security incident or other event experienced by our collaborators, third-party providers, distributors and other contractors may hinder our product development, supply chain, other business operations, or our regulatory and contractual obligations to others and could also give rise to litigation or adverse regulatory action.|
We have experienced and may continue to experience cyberattacks of varying degrees from time to time. In the second quarter of 2020, we were subject to a cyber-event that resulted in a temporary disruption to some of our internal computer systems. In response to this incident, we engaged a third-party forensic expert to investigate, and determined that cyber criminals illegally obtained certain personal information of certain current and former employees. We notified affected individuals and regulators, as we deemed was required or appropriate. We have incurred costs to respond to this incident and may continue to incur costs to support our efforts to enhance our security measures.
There can be no assurance that we will be successful in preventing data security incidents or other events nor that we will be successful in mitigating their effects, despite the implementation of security measures for systems and data within our control. Similarly, there can be no assurance that our collaborators, third-party providers, distributors and other contractors will be successful in protecting our data on their systems or in protecting other systems upon which we may rely. Furthermore, breach notification laws are not consistent among jurisdictions, and compliance and other measures in the event of a widespread data security incident could result in a substantial cost and diversion of resources, distract management and technical personnel. Any such data security incident or other event could have a material adverse effect on our business and prospects.
Although we maintain cyber liability insurance coverage that may cover certain liabilities in connection with a security breach or other security incident, we cannot be certain our insurance coverage will be adequate for liabilities actually incurred, that insurance will continue to be available to us on commercially reasonable terms (if at all) or that any insurer will not deny coverage as to any future claim. The successful assertion of one or more large claims against us that exceed available insurance coverage, the occurrence of changes in our insurance policies, including premium increases or the imposition of large deductible or co-insurance requirements, or denials of coverage, could have a material adverse effect on our business, including our financial condition, results of operations and reputation
Risks Relating to Regulatory Matters
The FDA approval process is time-consuming and complicated, and we may not obtain the FDA approval required for a product within the timeline we desire, or at all. Additionally, we may lose FDA approval and/or our products may become subject to foreign regulations.
The development, testing, manufacturing, marketing and sale of generic and proprietary pharmaceutical products and biological products are subject to extensive federal, state and local regulation in the U.S. and other countries. Satisfaction of all regulatory requirements, which typically takes years for drugs that require regulatory approval in ANDAs, NDAs, biological license applications, or BLAs, or biosimilar applications is dependent upon the type, complexity and novelty of the product candidate and requires the expenditure of substantial resources for research (including qualification of suppliers and their supplied materials), development, in vitro and in vivo (including nonclinical and clinical trials) studies, manufacturing process development and commercial scale up. Some of our products are drug-device combination products that are regulated as drug products by the FDA, with consultation from the FDA’s Center for Device and Radiological Health. These combination products require the submission of drug applications to the FDA. All of our products are subject to compliance with the FFDCA and/or the Public Health Service Act, or PHSA, and with the FDA’s implementing regulations. Failure to adhere to applicable statutory or regulatory requirements by us or our business partners would have a material adverse effect on our operations and financial condition. In addition, in the event we are successful in developing product candidates for distribution and sale in other countries, we would become subject to regulation in such countries. Such foreign regulations and product approval requirements are expected to be time consuming and expensive as well.
We may encounter delays or agency rejections during any stage of the regulatory review and approval process based upon a variety of factors, including without limitation the failure to provide clinical data demonstrating compliance with the FDA’s requirements for safety, efficacy and quality. Those requirements may become more stringent prior to submission of our applications for approval or during the review of our applications due to changes in the law or changes in FDA policy or the adoption of new regulations. After submission of an application, the FDA may refuse to file the application, deny approval of the application or require additional testing or data. The FDA can convene an Advisory Committee to assist the FDA in examining specific issues related to the application. For example, we initially filed an NDA, for our Primatene Mist® product in July 2013, but FDA approval was not granted until November 2018 due to delays caused by the FDA’s requirement that we provide additional non-clinical information, label revision and follow-up studies (including label comprehension and behavioral/human factor studies), and that we make packaging and label revisions. Additionally, we received Complete Response Letters, or CRLs, from the FDA asking for more information before they could approve the ANDA for our epinephrine vial product. These CRLs have delayed the approval of this product.
Under various user fee enactments, the FDA has committed to timelines for its review of NDAs, ANDAs, BLAs and biosimilar applications. However, the FDA’s timelines described in its guidance on these statutes are flexible and subject to changes based on workload and other potential review issues that may delay the FDA’s review of an application. Further, the terms of approval of any applications may be more restrictive than our expectations and could affect the marketability of our products.
The FDA also has the authority to revoke or suspend approvals of previously approved products for cause, to debar companies and individuals from participating in the approval process for ANDAs, to request recalls of allegedly violative products, to seize allegedly violative products, to obtain injunctions that may, among other things, close manufacturing plants that are not operating in conformity with cGMP and stop shipments of potentially violative products and to prosecute companies and individuals for violations of the FFDCA. In the event that the FDA takes any such action relating to our products or product candidates, such actions would have a material adverse effect on our operations and financial condition.
Clinical failure can occur at any stage of clinical development. The results of earlier clinical trials are not necessarily predictive of future results and any product candidate we advance through clinical trials may not have favorable results in later clinical trials or receive regulatory approval.
Clinical failure can occur at any stage of our clinical development. Clinical trials may produce negative or inconclusive results, and we may decide, or regulators may require us, to conduct additional clinical trials or preclinical studies. In addition, data obtained from trials and studies are susceptible to varying interpretations, and regulators may not interpret our data as favorably as we do, which may delay, limit or prevent regulatory approval. Success in preclinical studies and
early clinical trials does not ensure that subsequent clinical trials will generate the same or similar results or otherwise provide adequate data to demonstrate the efficacy and safety of a product candidate. A number of companies in the pharmaceutical industry, including those with greater resources and experience than us, have suffered significant setbacks in Phase 3 clinical trials, even after seeing promising results in earlier clinical trials.
In addition, the design of a clinical trial can determine whether its results will support approval of a product and flaws in the design of a clinical trial may not become apparent until the clinical trial is well-advanced. Further, clinical trials of potential products often reveal that it is not practical or feasible to continue development efforts. If any of our product candidates are found to be unsafe or lack efficacy, we will not be able to obtain regulatory approval for them and our business would be harmed.
In some instances, there can be significant variability in safety and/or efficacy results between different trials of the same product candidate due to numerous factors, including changes in trial protocols, differences in composition of the patient populations, adherence to the dosing regimen and other trial protocols and the rate of dropout among clinical trial participants. Our clinical trials may not demonstrate consistent or adequate efficacy and safety to obtain regulatory approval to market our product candidates. If we are unable to bring any of our current or future product candidates to market, or to acquire any marketed, previously approved products, our ability to create long-term stockholder value will be limited.
If clinical studies for our product candidates are unsuccessful or significantly delayed, we will be unable to meet our anticipated development and commercialization timelines, which would have an adverse impact on our business.
Some of our new drug candidates must be approved in NDAs based on clinical studies demonstrating safety and/or effectiveness. For these types of studies, we rely on our investigational teams, who mainly are medical experts working in multicenter hospitals, to execute our study protocols with our product candidates. As a result, we have less control over our development program than if we were to perform the studies entirely on our own. Third parties may not perform their responsibilities according to our anticipated schedule. Delays in our development programs could significantly increase our product development costs and delay product commercialization.
The commencement of clinical trials on our product candidates may be delayed for several reasons, including but not limited to delays in demonstrating sufficient pre-clinical safety required to obtain regulatory clearance to commence a clinical trial, reaching agreements on acceptable terms with prospective contract research organizations, clinical trial sites and licensees, manufacturing and quality assurance release of a sufficient supply of a product candidate for use in our clinical trials, delays in recruiting sufficient subjects for a clinical trial and/or obtaining institutional review board approval to conduct a clinical trial at a prospective clinical site. Once a clinical trial has begun, it may be delayed, suspended or terminated by us or by regulatory authorities for a variety of reasons, including without limitation ongoing discussions with regulatory authorities regarding the scope or design of our clinical trials, a determination by us or regulatory authorities that continuing a trial presents an unreasonable health risk to participants, failure to conduct clinical trials in accordance with regulatory requirements, lower than anticipated recruitment or retention rate of patients in clinical trials, inspection of the clinical trial operations or trial sites by regulatory authorities, the imposition of a clinical hold by the FDA, lack of adequate funding to continue clinical trials and/or negative or unanticipated results of clinical trials.
Patient enrollment, a significant factor in the time required to complete a clinical study, is affected by many factors, including the size and nature of the study subject population, the proximity of patients to clinical sites, the eligibility criteria for the study, the design of the clinical study, competing clinical studies and clinicians’ and patients’ perceptions as to the potential advantages of the drug being studied in relation to available alternatives, including without limitation therapies being investigated by other companies. Further, completion of a clinical study and/or the results of a clinical study may be adversely affected by failure to retain subjects who enroll in a study but withdraw due to, among other things, adverse side effects, lack of efficacy, improvement in condition before treatment has been completed or for personal issues or who fail to return for or complete post-treatment follow-up.
Changes in governmental regulations and guidance relating to clinical studies may occur and we may need to amend study protocols to reflect these changes. Protocol amendments may require us to resubmit protocols to institutional review boards for reexamination or renegotiate terms with contract research organizations and study sites and investigators, all of which may adversely impact the costs or timing of or our ability to successfully complete a trial.
Clinical trials required by the FDA for approval of our products may not produce the results we need to move forward in
product development or to submit or obtain approval of an NDA. Success in pre-clinical testing and early phase clinical trials does not assure that late phase clinical trials will be successful. Even if the results of any future Phase 3 clinical trials are positive, we may have to commit substantial time and additional resources to conduct further pre-clinical and clinical studies before we can submit NDAs or obtain FDA approval for our product candidates.
Clinical trials are expensive and at times difficult to design and implement, in part because they are subject to rigorous regulatory requirements. Further, if participating subjects or patients in clinical studies suffer drug-related adverse reactions during the course of such trials, or if we or the FDA believes that participating patients are being exposed to unacceptable health risks, we may suspend the clinical trials. Failure can occur at any stage of the trials, and we could encounter problems that would cause us to abandon clinical trials and/or require additional clinical studies relating to a product candidate.
Even if our clinical trials and laboratory testing are completed as planned, their results may fail to provide support for approval of our products or for label claims that will make our products commercially viable.
Positive results in nonclinical testing and early phase clinical studies do not ensure that late phase clinical studies will be successful or that our product candidates will be approved by the FDA. To obtain FDA approval of our proprietary product candidates, we must demonstrate through nonclinical testing and clinical studies that each product is safe and effective for each proposed indication. Further, clinical study results frequently are susceptible to varying interpretations. Medical professionals, investors and/or regulatory authorities may analyze or weigh study data differently than we do. In addition, determining the value of clinical data typically requires application of assumptions and extrapolations to raw data. Alternative methodologies may lead to differing conclusions, including with respect to the safety or efficacy of our product candidates.
In addition, if we license rights to third parties to develop our product candidates in other geographic areas or for other indications, we may have limited control over nonclinical testing or clinical studies that may be conducted by such third-party licensees in those territories or for those indications. If data from third-party testing identifies a safety or efficacy concern, such data could adversely affect our or another licensee’s development of such product.
There is significant risk that our products could fail to show anticipated results in nonclinical testing and/or clinical studies and, as a result, we may elect to discontinue the development of a product for a particular indication or altogether. A failure to obtain requisite regulatory approvals or to obtain approvals of the scope requested may delay or preclude us from marketing our products or limit the commercial use of the products, and would have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
The novel use of particle engineering or synthetic APIs for any of our product candidates, may not receive regulatory approval, and without regulatory approval we will not be able to market our product candidates.
We are engaging in particle engineering for certain product candidates and there is no guarantee that we will obtain regulatory approval or, upon commercialization, market acceptance of these products.
The development of a product candidate and issues relating to its approval and marketing are subject to extensive regulations by the FDA in the U.S. and regulatory authorities in other countries, with regulations differing from country to country. We are not permitted to market our product candidates in the U.S. until we receive approval of an NDA from the FDA. NDA approvals may require extensive preclinical and clinical data and supporting information to establish the product candidate’s safety and effectiveness for each desired indication. NDAs must include significant information regarding the chemistry, manufacturing and controls for the product. Obtaining approval of an NDA is a lengthy, expensive and uncertain process, and we may not be successful in obtaining approval. If we submit an NDA to the FDA, the FDA must decide whether to accept or reject the submission for filing. Any submissions may not be accepted for filing and review by the FDA. Even if a product is approved, the FDA may limit the indications for which the product may be marketed, require extensive warnings on the product labeling or require additional expensive and time-consuming post-approval clinical trials or reporting as conditions of approval. Regulators of other countries and jurisdictions have their own procedures for approval of product candidates with which we must comply prior to marketing in those countries or jurisdictions. Obtaining regulatory approval for marketing of a product candidate in one country does not necessarily ensure that we will be able to obtain regulatory approval in any other country.
In addition, delays in approvals or rejections of marketing applications in the U.S. or other countries may be based upon many factors, including regulatory requests for additional analyses, reports, data, preclinical studies and clinical trials,
regulatory questions regarding different interpretations of data and results, changes in regulatory policy during the period of product development and the emergence of new information regarding our product candidates or other products. Also, regulatory approval for any of our product candidates may be withdrawn.
We also have plans to develop synthetic APIs. Our ongoing trials and studies may not be successful or regulators may not agree with our conclusions regarding the preclinical studies and clinical trials we have conducted to date or approve the use of such synthetic APIs.
If we are unable to obtain approval from the FDA or other regulatory agencies for our product candidates or synthetic APIs, we will not be able to market such product candidates and our ability to achieve profitability may be materially impaired.
A fast track designation by the regulatory agencies, even if granted for any of our product candidates, may not lead to a faster development or regulatory review or approval process and does not increase the likelihood that our product candidates will receive marketing approval.
We do not currently have fast track designation for any of our product candidates. If a drug is intended for the treatment of a serious or life-threatening condition and the drug demonstrates the potential to address unmet medical needs for this condition, the drug sponsor may apply for fast track designation. The FDA has broad discretion whether or not to grant this designation. Even if we believe a particular product candidate is eligible for this designation, we cannot assure you that the FDA would decide to grant it. Even if we do receive fast track designation, we may not experience a faster development process, review or approval compared to conventional procedures adopted by the FDA. In addition, the FDA may withdraw fast track designation if they believe that the designation is no longer supported by data from our clinical development program or if a competitor’s product candidate is approved. For example, we were granted a fast track designation for our intranasal naloxone product, but this designation was withdrawn after a competitor’s intranasal naloxone was approved. Many drugs that have received fast track designation have failed to obtain FDA approval.
The commercial success of our NDA product candidates will depend in significant measure on the scope of the indication(s) and claims that the FDA approves for such products.
The scientific foundation of our NDA product candidates will be based on our various proprietary technologies and the commercial success of these product candidates will depend in significant measure upon our ability to obtain FDA approval of labeling describing such products’ indication(s) and expected features or benefits. Failure to achieve FDA approval of product labeling containing adequate information on features or benefits will prevent or substantially limit our advertising and promotion of such features in order to differentiate our proprietary technologies from those products that already exist in the market. This failure would have a material adverse impact on our business.
Our ANDA products are also subject to FDA approval of their labeling and the labeling of the referenced drug products.
Even if we are able to obtain regulatory approval for our generic products, state pharmacy boards or state agencies may conclude that our products are not substitutable at the pharmacy level for the reference listed drug. If our generic products are not substitutable at the pharmacy level for their reference listed drugs, or if our drug products do not gain the acceptance of healthcare providers, payors, and patients, this could materially reduce sales of our products and our business would suffer.
Although the FDA may determine that a generic product is therapeutically equivalent to a brand product and indicate this therapeutic equivalence by providing it with an “A” rating in the FDA’s Orange Book, this designation is not binding on state pharmacy boards or state agencies. As a result, in states that do not deem our product candidates substitutable at the pharmacy level, physicians may be required to specifically prescribe our product or a generic product alternative in order for our product to be dispensed. Should this occur with respect to one of our generic product candidates, it could materially reduce sales in those states, which would substantially harm our business. Further, to the extent patients or their physicians are slow to adopt our generic products or do not consider our generic products as therapeutically equivalent, physicians may prescribe the branded products or otherwise instruct pharmacists to not substitute for our generic products, which would substantially harm our business.
Our investments in biosimilar products may not result in products that are approved by the FDA or other foreign regulatory authorities and, even if approved by such authorities, may not result in commercially successful products.
We plan to build on our existing platforms to produce biosimilar products in the future. In 2010, Congress amended the PHSA to create an abbreviated approval pathway for follow-on biologics. This approval pathway is available for “biosimilar” products, which are products that are highly similar to previously approved biologics notwithstanding minor differences in inactive components. The process for bringing a biosimilar product to market is uncertain and may be drawn out for an extended period of time. The FDA is in the process of publishing regulations governing this process and only 16 biosimilar applications have been approved as of December 31, 2018. Approval of biosimilar applications may be delayed by exclusivity on the BLA for the reference product for up to 12 years. Biosimilar applicants are also subjected to a patent resolution process that will require biosimilar applicants to share the contents of their application and information concerning its manufacturing processes with counsel for the company holding the BLA for the reference drug and to engage in a patent litigation process that could delay or prevent the commercial launch of a product for many years.
Biosimilar products are not presumed to be substitutable for the reference drug under the Biologics Price Competition and Innovation Act, or BPCIA. Biosimilar applicants must seek a separate FDA determination that they are “interchangeable” with the reference drug, meaning that they can be expected to produce the same clinical result in any given patient without an increase in risk due to switching from the brand product. None of the 16 biosimilar products that have been approved by the FDA have been approved as “interchangeable” and therefore, are not substitutable for the referenced drug. The statutory standards for determining biosimilarity and interchangeability are broad and uncertain, and the FDA has broad discretion to determine the nature and extent of product characterization, nonclinical testing and clinical testing on a product-by-product basis.
Products approved based on biosimilarity without an FDA determination of interchangeability may not be substitutable at the retail pharmacy level. Some states have passed laws limiting pharmacy substitution to biosimilar products that the FDA has determined to be interchangeable, as well as restrictions on the substitution of interchangeable biosimilar products. These restrictions include, among other things, requirements for informing the patient and the prescribing physician of the substitution or proposed substitution, authority for the prescribing physician and the patient to preclude substitution and recordkeeping requirements. There is no certainty that other states will not impose similar restrictions or that states will not impose further restrictions or preclude substitution of interchangeable biosimilar products entirely.
Our competitive advantage in this area will depend on our success in demonstrating to the FDA that platform technology provides a level of scientific assurance that facilitates determinations of interchangeability, reduces the need for expensive clinical or other testing and raises the scientific quality requirements for our competitors to demonstrate that their products are highly similar to a brand product. Our ability to succeed will depend in part on our ability to invest in new programs and develop data in a timeframe that enables the FDA to consider our approach as the FDA begins to implement the new law. BLA holders will develop strategies and precedents for delaying or impeding approvals of biosimilar products and determinations of interchangeability. For example, the lengthy 12-year exclusivity protection provides the BLA holder for the reference drug with an opportunity to develop and replace its original product with a modified product that may avoid a determination of interchangeability and that may qualify for an additional 12-year marketing exclusivity period, reducing the potential opportunity for substitution at the retail pharmacy level for interchangeable biosimilars. As brand and biosimilar companies gain greater understanding of and experience with the new regulatory pathway, we expect to see new and unexpected company strategies, FDA decisions and court decisions that will pose unexpected challenges that will prevent, delay or make more difficult biosimilar approvals.
In addition, the BPCIA was passed as part of the Affordable Care Act. If the Affordable Care Act is amended or is repealed with respect to the biosimilar approval pathway, our opportunity to develop biosimilars (including interchangeable biologics) could be materially impaired and our business could be materially and adversely affected.
Some of our products are used with drug delivery or companion diagnostic devices which have their own regulatory, manufacturing, reimbursement and other risks.
Some of our products or product candidates may be used in combination with a drug delivery device, such as an injector, inhaler or other delivery system. Although the drug delivery devices we currently use in our products and product candidates are provided by third parties, we have entered into collaboration agreements with various medical device manufacturers to develop drug delivery systems to be used for our pipeline products. These drug-device combination products are particularly complex, expensive and time-consuming to develop due to the number of variables involved in
the final product design, including ease of patient and doctor use, establishing clinical efficacy, reliability and cost of manufacturing, regulatory approval requirements and standards and other important factors. We will be responsible for any regulatory filings arising from this collaboration and, although we have significant in-house and external regulatory expertise, we have never prepared or submitted an NDA to the FDA for a drug-device combination product. Our product candidates intended for use with such drug delivery, or expanded indications that we may seek for our products used with such devices, may not be approved or may be substantially delayed in receiving approval if the devices do not gain and/or maintain their own regulatory approvals or clearances. Where approval of the drug product and device is sought under a single application, the increased complexity of the review process may delay approval.
Some of the drug delivery devices utilized in our products and product candidates are provided by single source unaffiliated third-party companies. We are dependent on the sustained cooperation and effort of those third-party companies both to supply the devices and to maintain regulatory compliance with the FDA quality system regulations applicable to medical device, and, in some cases, to conduct the studies required for approval or other regulatory clearance of the devices. We are also dependent on those third-party companies continuing to maintain such approvals or clearances once they have been received. Failure of third-party companies to supply the devices, to successfully complete studies on the devices in a timely manner, or to obtain or maintain required approvals or clearances of the devices could result in increased development costs, delays in or failure to obtain regulatory approval and delays in product candidates reaching the market or in gaining approval or clearance for expanded labels for new indications. We filed a Field Alert Report for enoxaparin in June 2013, as required by the FDA for certain quality issues with safety implications, because the product did not meet functionality criteria. The needle-shielding component was breaking during shipping, preventing correct administration of the medication. While the specific issues related to this Field Alert Report were resolved, we may experience similar issues in the future. In addition, loss of regulatory approval or clearance of a device that is used with our product may result in the removal of our product from the market.
The drug delivery devices used with our products are also subject to many of the same reimbursement risks and challenges to which our products are subject. A reduction in the availability of, or the coverage and/or reimbursement for, drug delivery devices used with our products could have a material adverse effect on our product sales, business and results of operations.
If branded pharmaceutical companies are successful in limiting the use of generics through their legislative, regulatory and/or other efforts, our sales of generic products may suffer.
Many pharmaceutical companies producing proprietary drugs have increasingly used state and federal legislative and regulatory means to delay, impede and/or prevent generic competition. These efforts have included but are not limited to the following:
|●||making changes to the formulation of their product and arguing that potential generic competitors must demonstrate bioequivalence and/or comparable abuse-resistance to the reformulated brand product;|
|●||pursuing new patents for existing products which may be granted immediately prior to the expiration of earlier patents, which could extend patent protection for additional years or otherwise delay the launch of generics;|
|●||selling the brand product as an authorized generic, either by the brand company directly, through an affiliate or by a marketing partner;|
|●||using the FDA’s Citizen Petition process to request amendments to FDA standards or otherwise delay generic drug approvals;|
|●||challenging FDA denials of Citizen Petitions in court and seeking injunctive relief to reverse approval of generic drug applications;|
|●||seeking changes to standards in the U.S. Pharmacopeia/National Formulary, which are compendial drug standards that are recognized by industry and, in some instances, are enforceable under the FFDCA;|
|●||attempting to use the legislative and regulatory process to have drugs reclassified or rescheduled by the DEA;|
|●||using the legislative and regulatory process to set standards and requirements for abuse deterrent formulations that are patented or that will otherwise impede or prevent generic competition;|
|●||seeking special patent-term extensions through amendments to non-related federal legislation;|
|●||engaging in initiatives to enact state legislation that would restrict the substitution of certain generic drugs, including products that we are developing;|
|●||entering into agreements with pharmacy benefit management companies that block the dispensing of generic products;|
|●||seeking patents on methods of manufacturing certain API;|
|●||settling patent lawsuits with generic companies in a manner that leaves the patent as an obstacle for approval of other companies’ generic drugs;|
|●||settling patent litigation with generic companies in a manner that avoids forfeiture of or otherwise protects or extends the exclusivity period;|
|●||providing medical education or other information to physicians, third-party payers and federal and state regulators that take the position that certain generic products are inappropriate for approval or for substitution after approval;|
|●||seeking state law restrictions on the substitution of generic and biosimilar products at the pharmacy level without the instruction or permission of a physician; and|
|●||seeking federal or state regulatory restrictions on the use of the same non-proprietary name as the reference brand product for a biosimilar or interchangeable biologic.|
If pharmaceutical companies or other third parties are successful in limiting the use of generic products through these or other means, our sales of generic products may decline. If we experience a material decline in generic product sales, our results of operations, financial condition and cash flows will suffer.
Our revenues may be adversely affected if we fail to obtain insurance coverage or adequate reimbursement for our products from third-party payers and administrators.
Our ability to successfully commercialize our products may depend in part on the availability of reimbursement for and insurance coverage of our prescription products from government health administration authorities, private health insurers and other third-party payers and administrators, including Medicaid and Medicare. Third-party payers and administrators, including state Medicaid programs and Medicare, have been challenging the prices charged for pharmaceutical products. Government and other third-party payers increasingly are limiting both coverage and the level of reimbursement for new drugs. Third-party insurance coverage may not be available to patients for some of our products candidates. The continuing efforts of government and third-party payers to contain or reduce the costs of health care may limit our commercial opportunity. If government and other third-party payers do not provide adequate coverage and reimbursement for certain of our products, health care providers may not prescribe them or patients may ask their health care providers to prescribe competing products with more favorable reimbursement.
Managed care organizations and other private insurers frequently adopt their own payment or reimbursement reductions. Consolidation among managed care organizations has increased the negotiating power of these entities. Private third-party payers, as well as governments, increasingly employ formularies to control costs by negotiating discounted prices in exchange for formulary inclusion. While these approaches generally favor generic products over brands, generic competition is stronger. Our existing products and our product candidates include proprietary products and generic products. Failure to obtain timely or adequate pricing or formulary placement for our products or obtaining such pricing or placement at unfavorable pricing could adversely impact revenue. In addition to formulary tier co-pay differentials, private health insurance companies and self-insured employers have been raising co-payments required from beneficiaries, particularly for proprietary pharmaceuticals and biotechnology products. Private health insurance companies also are increasingly imposing utilization management tools, such as requiring prior authorization for a proprietary product if a generic product is available or requiring the patient to first fail on one or more generic products
before permitting access to a proprietary medicine. We do not currently have any managed care organization agreements and do not intend to have managed care organization agreements in the future.
We must manufacture our drug products at our facilities in conformity with cGMP regulations; failure to maintain compliance with cGMP regulations may prevent or delay the manufacture or marketing of our products or product candidates and may prevent us from gaining approval of our products.
All of our products and product candidates for use in clinical studies must be manufactured, packaged, labeled and stored in accordance with cGMP. For our approved products, modifications, enhancements, or changes in manufacturing processes and sites may require supplemental FDA approval, which may be subject to a lengthy application process or which we may be unable to obtain.
All facilities of Amphastar and our subsidiaries are periodically subject to inspection by the FDA and other governmental entities, and operations at these facilities could be interrupted or halted if the FDA or another governmental entity deems such inspections as unsatisfactory. For example, our facilities in Rancho Cucamonga, CA, South El Monte, CA and Nanjing, China were all subject to FDA cGMP inspections during 2019. Products manufactured in our facilities must be made in a manner consistent with cGMP or similar standards in each territory in which we manufacture. Compliance with such standards requires substantial expenditures of time, money and effort in such areas as production and quality control to ensure full technical compliance. Failure to comply with cGMP or with other state, federal, or foreign requirements may result in unanticipated compliance expenditures, total or partial suspension of production or distribution, suspension of review of applications submitted for approval of our product candidates, termination of ongoing research, disqualification of data derived from studies on our products and/or enforcement actions such as recall or seizure of products, injunctions, civil penalties and criminal prosecutions of the company and company officials. Any suspension of production or distribution would require us to engage contract manufacturing organizations to manufacture our products or to accept a hiatus in marketing our products. Any contract manufacturing organization we engage will require time to learn our methods of production and to scale up to full production of our products in accordance with cGMP requirements. Any delays caused by the transfer of manufacturing to a contract manufacturing organization may have a material adverse effect on our results of operations. Additionally, any contract manufacturing organization that we engage will be subject to the same cGMP regulations as us, and any failure on their part to comply with FDA or other governmental regulations will result in similar consequences.
Our operations are subject to environmental, health and safety and other laws and regulations, with which compliance is costly and which exposes us to penalties for non-compliance.
Our business, products and product candidates are subject to federal, state and local laws and regulations relating to the protection of the environment, natural resources and worker health and safety and the use, management, storage and disposal of hazardous substances, waste and other regulated materials. Because we own and operate real property, various environmental laws also may impose liability on us for the costs of cleaning up and responding to hazardous substances that may have been released on our property, including releases unknown to us. These environmental laws and regulations also could require us to pay for environmental remediation and response costs at third-party locations where we dispose of or recycle hazardous substances. The costs of complying with these various environmental requirements, as they now exist or as may be altered in the future, could adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations. For example, as a result of environmental concerns about the use of CFCs, the FDA issued a final rule on January 16, 2009 that required the phase-out of the CFC version of our Primatene Mist® product by December 31, 2011. This phase out caused us to discontinue sales of the CFC version of our Primatene Mist® product subsequent to December 31, 2011 and write off our inventory for the product, which had an adverse effect on our financial results.
The Affordable Care Act and certain legislation and regulatory proposals may increase our costs of compliance and negatively impact our profitability over time.
In March 2010, former President Barack Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, as amended by the Health Care and Education Affordability Reconciliation Act, which we refer to collectively as the Affordable Care Act. The Affordable Care Act made extensive changes to the delivery of health care in the United States. We expect that the rebates, discounts, taxes and other costs resulting from the Affordable Care Act over time will have a negative effect on our expenses and profitability in the future. Furthermore, the Independent Payment Advisory Board created by the Affordable Care Act to reduce the per capita rate of growth in Medicare spending could potentially limit access to certain treatments or mandate price controls for our products. Moreover, expanded government investigative authority and increased disclosure obligations may increase the cost of compliance with new regulations and programs.
Since its enactment, there have been judicial and Congressional challenges to certain aspects of the Affordable Care Act, and we expect that there will be additional challenges and amendments to the Affordable Care Act in the future, which may result in the modification, repeal, or invalidation of all or certain provisions of the Affordable Care Act. Most recently, the Tax Act was enacted, which, among other things, removes penalties for not complying with the individual mandate to carry health insurance. On December 18, 2019, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit upheld the District Court ruling that the individual mandate was unconstitutional and remanded the case to the District Court to determine whether the remaining provisions of the ACA are invalid. On March 2, 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court granted the petitions for writs of certiorari to review this case and held oral arguments in November 2020. It is unclear how this decision, subsequent appeals, other efforts to repeal and replace the ACA, and healthcare measures of the incoming Administration will impact the ACA and our business. In addition, the Trump administration announced several executive orders related to prescription drug pricing in 2020. The FDA also released a final rule in September 2020 providing guidance for states to build and submit importation plans for drugs from Canada. We cannot predict what other health care programs and regulations will ultimately be implemented at the federal or state level or the effect of any future legislation or regulation in the United States may have on our business.
In addition, there have been a number of other legislative and regulatory proposals aimed at changing the pharmaceutical industry. For example, in November 2013, Congress passed the Drug Quality and Security Act, or the DQSA. The DQSA establishes federal pedigree tracking standards requiring drugs to be labeled and tracked at the lot level, preempts state drug pedigree requirements, and will eventually require all supply-chain stakeholders to participate in an electronic, interoperable prescription drug track and trace system. The DQSA also establishes new requirements for drug wholesale distributors and third party logistics providers, including licensing requirements in states that had not previously licensed such entities. As a result of these and other new proposals, we may determine to change our current manner of operation, provide additional benefits or change our contract arrangements, any of which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Former President Barack Obama also signed into law the Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act. The law and related agreements make several significant changes to the FFDCA and FDA’s processes for reviewing marketing applications that could have a significant impact on the pharmaceutical industry, including, among other things, the following:
|●||reauthorizes the Prescription Drug User Fee Act, which increases the amount of associated user fees, and, for certain types of applications, increases the expected time frame for FDA review of NDAs;|
|●||permanently reauthorizes and makes some revisions to the Best Pharmaceuticals for Children Act and the Pediatric Research Equity Act, which provide for pediatric exclusivity and mandated pediatric assessments for certain types of applications, respectively;|
|●||revises certain standards and requirements for FDA inspections of manufacturing facilities and the importation of drug products from foreign countries;|
|●||creates incentives for the development of certain antibiotic drug products;|
|●||modifies the standards for accelerated approval of certain new medical treatments;|
|●||expands the reporting requirements for potential and actual drug shortages;|
|●||requires the FDA to issue a report on, among other things, ensuring the safety of prescription drugs that have the potential for abuse;|
|●||requires the FDA to hold a public meeting regarding the potential rescheduling of drug products containing hydrocodone, which was held in October 2012; and|
|●||requires electronic submission of certain marketing applications following the issuance of final FDA regulations.|
The full impact on our business of the new laws is uncertain; however, we anticipate that it will have an adverse effect on our results of operations.
There has been heightened governmental scrutiny recently over the manner in which drug manufacturers set prices for their marketed products, which has resulted in several congressional inquiries and proposed and enacted federal and state 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 drug products. For example, at the federal level, the Trump administration released a “Blueprint” to lower drug prices and reduce out-of-pocket costs of prescription drugs that contains additional proposals to increase manufacturer competition, increase the negotiating power of certain federal healthcare programs, incentivize manufacturers to lower the list price of their products and reduce the out-of-pocket costs of drug products paid by consumers. Additionally, on January 31, 2019, HHS Office of Inspector General proposed modifications to federal Anti-Kickback Statute safe harbors which, among other things, may affect rebates paid by manufactures to Medicare Part D plan sponsors, Medicaid managed care organizations, and those entities’ pharmacy benefit managers, the purpose of which is to further reduce the cost of drug products to consumers. On October 9, 2019, HHS, OIG and CMS issued two proposed rules that set forth modifications to the Federal Anti-Kickback Statute, Civil Monetary Penalties Law and Physician Self-Referral Law (or the Stark Law) regulations to promote value-based and coordinated care arrangements, which were finalized in final rules published in December 2020. In particular, HHS finalized a regulation removing safe harbor protection for price reductions from pharmaceutical manufacturers to plan sponsors under Part D, either directly or through pharmacy benefit managers, unless the price reduction is required by law. The rule also creates a new safe harbor for price reductions reflected at the point-of-sale, as well as a safe harbor for certain fixed fee arrangements between pharmacy benefit managers and manufacturer. In December 2020, CMS issued a final rule that sets forth various changes to manufacturer price reporting under the Medicaid Drug Rebate Program and provisions relating to pharmacy benefit manager accumulator programs, Best Price reporting related to certain value-based purchasing arrangements, line extensions, and Average Manufacturer Price reporting for authorized generics.
At the state level, legislatures have increasingly passed legislation and implemented regulations designed to control pharmaceutical and biological product pricing, including price or patient reimbursement constraints, discounts, restrictions on certain product access and marketing cost disclosure and transparency measures, and, in some cases, designed to encourage importation from other countries and bulk purchasing.
Additionally, we encounter similar regulatory and legislative issues in most other countries. In the European Union, or EU, and some other international markets, the government provides health care at low cost to consumers and regulates pharmaceutical prices, patient eligibility or reimbursement levels to control costs for the government-sponsored health care system. This international system of price regulations may lead to inconsistent prices.
If significant additional reforms are made to the U.S. health care system, or to the health care systems of other markets in which we operate, those reforms could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial position and results of operations and could cause the market value of our common stock to decline.
Laws in the U.S., Europe, and other jurisdictions impose restrictive regulations addressing the collection, use, and other processing of personal information.
We also must comply with data protection and privacy requirements. Compliance with these laws, rules and regulations regarding privacy, security and protection of personal data and personal information, including about our personnel, business partners, and others, could result in higher compliance and technology costs for us. Significant fines, penalties, damages and harm to our global reputation and our brand could result from actual or perceived non-compliance.
We may collect, process, use or transfer personal information from individuals located in the European Union in connection with our business. The collection and use of personal data in the European Union are governed by the provisions of the General Data Protection Regulation ((EU) 2016/679), or the GDPR. This legislation imposes requirements relating to having legal bases for processing personal information relating to identifiable individuals and transferring such information outside of the European Economic Area, including to the United States, providing details to those individuals regarding the processing of their personal information, keeping personal information secure, having data processing agreements with third parties who process personal information, responding to individuals’ requests to exercise their rights in respect of their personal information, reporting security breaches involving personal data to the competent national data protection authority and affected individuals, appointing data protection officers, conducting data protection impact assessments and record-keeping. The GDPR imposes significant responsibilities and liabilities in relation to personal data that we process, and we may be required to put in place additional mechanisms designed to comply with the GDPR. Failure to comply with the requirements of the GDPR and related national data protection laws of the member states of the European Union may result in investigations, substantial fines, civil claims, and damages
being brought against us, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Further, the United Kingdom exited the EU effective January 31, 2020, subject to a transition period that ended December 31, 2020. Brexit has created uncertainty with regard to the regulation of data protection in the United Kingdom. The United Kingdom has implemented legislation that substantially implements the GDPR, and the European Commission and the United Kingdom government announced a EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement on December 24, 2020, providing for a temporary free flow of personal data between the EU and the United Kingdom, but it remains to be seen how the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the EU will impact the manner in which United Kingdom data protection laws or regulations will develop and how data transfers to and from the United Kingdom will be regulated and enforced by the UK Information Commissioner’s Office, EU data protection authorities, or other regulatory bodies in the longer term.
In addition, U.S. states are adopting new laws or amending existing laws, requiring attention to frequently changing regulatory requirements related to personal information. For example, California enacted the California Consumer Privacy Act, or the CCPA, on June 28, 2018, which took effect on January 1, 2020 and has been dubbed the first “GDPR-like” law in the United States. The CCPA gives California residents, among other things, expanded rights to access and require deletion of their personal information, opt out of certain personal information sharing, and receive detailed information about how their personal information is used. The CCPA also provides for civil penalties for violations, as well as a private right of action for data breaches that may increase data breach litigation. The CCPA will be expanded substantially on January 1, 2023 when the California Privacy Rights Act of 2020, or the CPRA, which was approved by California voters in November 2020, becomes fully operative. The CPRA will, among other things, give consumers the ability to limit use of information deemed to be sensitive, establish the California Privacy Protection Agency to implement and enforce the CPRA and impose administrative fines. Aspects of the CCPA and CPRA, and their interpretation and enforcement remain uncertain. The potential effects of the CCPA and CPRA are far-reaching and may require us to modify our data processing practices and policies and to incur substantial costs and expenses in an effort to comply.
Additionally, other jurisdictions are considering new or expanded laws or regulations relating to privacy and data protection. With the GDPR, CCPA, CPRA, and other laws, regulations and other obligations relating to privacy and data protection imposing new and relatively burdensome obligations, and with substantial uncertainty over the interpretation and application of these and other obligations, we may face challenges in addressing their requirements, putting in place additional compliance mechanisms and making necessary changes to our policies and practices, and may incur significant costs and expenses in an effort to do so. Additionally, if third parties we work with, such as vendors or service providers, violate applicable laws or regulations or our policies, such violations may also put our data at risk and could in turn have an adverse effect on our business. Any failure or perceived failure by us or our service providers to comply with our applicable policies or notices relating to privacy or data protection, our contractual or other obligations to third parties, or any of our other legal obligations relating to privacy or data protection, may result in governmental investigations or enforcement actions, litigation, claims and other proceedings, and could result in significant fines, penalties, and other liability. Additionally, defending against any claims, litigation, regulatory proceedings, or other proceedings can be costly, time-consuming and may require significant financial and personnel resources. Therefore, even if we are successful in defending against any such actions or proceedings that may be brought against us, our business may be impaired, and we may suffer reputational and other harm.
Our products may be subject to federal and state laws and certain initiatives relating to cost control, which may decrease our profitability.
In the U.S., we expect there may be federal and state proposals for cost controls. We expect that increasing emphasis on managed care in the U.S. will continue to put pressure on the pricing of pharmaceutical products. In addition, we are required to pay rebates to states, which are generally calculated based on the prices for our products that are paid by state Medicaid programs. Cost control initiatives could decrease the price that we charge, and increase the rebate amounts that we must provide, for any of our products in the future. Further, cost control initiatives could impair our ability to commercialize our products and our ability to earn significant revenues from commercialization. The continuing efforts of the government, insurance companies, managed care organizations, and other payors of healthcare services to contain or reduce costs of healthcare and/or impose price controls may adversely affect:
• the demand for our products, if we obtain regulatory approval;
• our ability to receive or set a price that we believe is fair for our products;
• our ability to generate revenue and achieve or maintain profitability;
• the level of taxes that we are required to pay; and
• the availability of capital.
In the U.S., all of our pharmaceutical products are subject to increasing pricing pressures. Such pressures have increased as a result of the Medicare Prescription Drug Improvement and Modernization Act of 2003, or the MMA, due to the enhanced purchasing power of the private sector plans that negotiate on behalf of Medicare beneficiaries. In 2020, the Trump administration announced several executive orders related to prescription drug pricing that seek to implement several of the administration's proposals. The FDA also released a final rule on September 24, 2020 providing guidance for states to build and submit importation plans for drugs from Canada. Recently, the HHS finalized a regulation removing safe harbor protection for price reductions from pharmaceutical manufacturers to plan sponsors under Part D, either directly or through pharmacy benefit managers, unless the price reduction is required by law. The rule also creates a new safe harbor for price reductions reflected at the point-of-sale, as well as a safe harbor for certain fixed fee arrangements between pharmacy benefit managers and manufacturers. The likelihood of implementation of any of the other Trump administration reform initiatives is uncertain, particularly in light of the transition to the incoming Administration. We cannot predict how these and future federal and state cost control initiatives will impact our business or the pricing of our products. In addition, if the MMA or the Affordable Care Act were amended to impose direct governmental price controls and access restrictions, it would have a significant adverse impact on our business. Furthermore, managed care organizations, as well as Medicaid and other government agencies, continue to seek price discounts. Some states have implemented, and other states are considering, price controls or patient access constraints under the Medicaid program, and some states are considering price-control regimes that would affect rebate levels and apply to broader segments of their populations that are not Medicaid-eligible. Further, there continue to be legislative proposals to amend U.S. laws to allow the importation into the U.S. of prescription drugs, which can be sold at prices that are regulated by the governments of various foreign countries. In addition to well-documented safety concerns, such as the increased risk of counterfeit products entering the supply chain, such importation could impact pharmaceutical prices in the U.S. At the state level, legislatures have increasingly passed legislation and implemented regulations designed to control pharmaceutical and biological product pricing, including price or patient reimbursement constraints, discounts, restrictions on certain product access and marketing cost disclosure and transparency measures, and, in some cases, designed to encourage importation from other countries and bulk purchasing.
Some of our products are marketed without FDA approval and may be subject to enforcement actions by the FDA.
Some of our prescription products are marketed without FDA approval. These products, like many other prescription drugs on the market that have not been formally evaluated as being effective by the FDA, contain active ingredients that were first marketed prior to the enactment of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, or FFDCA. The FDA has assessed these products in a program known as the “Prescription Drug Wrap-Up” and has stated that these drugs cannot be lawfully marketed unless they comply with certain “grandfather” exceptions to the definition of “new drug” in the FFDCA. These exceptions have been strictly construed by FDA and by the courts, and the FDA has stated that it is unlikely that any of the unapproved prescription drugs on the market, including certain of our drugs, qualify for the exceptions. At any time, the FDA may require that some or all of our unapproved prescription drugs be submitted for approval and may direct us to recall these products and/or cease marketing the products until they are approved. The FDA may also take enforcement actions based on our marketing of these unapproved products, including but not limited to the issuance of an untitled letter or a warning letter, judicial action seeking an injunction, product seizure and/or civil or criminal penalties. The enforcement posture could change at any time and our ability to market such drugs could terminate with little or no notice. Moreover, if our competitors seek and obtain approval and market FDA-approved prescription products that compete against our unapproved prescription products, we would be subject to a higher likelihood that the FDA may seek to take action against our unapproved products. Such competitors have brought and may bring claims against us alleging unfair competition or related claims.
As a result of our meetings with the FDA in 2009, we decided to discontinue all of our products that were subject to the Prescription Drug Wrap-Up program, with the exception of epinephrine in vial form. These products were all produced at our subsidiary, IMS. During the third quarter of 2010, the FDA requested that we reintroduce several of the withdrawn products to help address a national drug shortage, while we prepared and filed applications for approval of the products. Between August and October 2010, we reintroduced morphine, dextrose, and epinephrine prefilled syringes.
In February 2017, the FDA requested that we discontinue the manufacturing and distribution of our epinephrine injection, USP vial product, which had been marketed under the “grandfather” exception to the “FDA’s Prescription Drug Wrap-Up program”. We discontinued selling this product in the second quarter of 2017. In April 2020, the FDA granted approval of our Epinephrine Injection USP 30mg/mL Multiple Dose Vial, and we launched the product in May 2020.
The FDA granted approval of our Atropine Sulfate Injection 0.1mg/mL in the 10mL Luer-Jet® Prefilled Syringe in October 2020.
For the years ended December 31, 2020, 2019, and 2018, we recorded net revenues of $23.1 million, $27.1 million, and $19.1 million, respectively, from our unapproved products. Our unapproved products currently on the market include: morphine, dextrose and epinephrine prefilled syringes. We have filed two ANDAs and one NDA with respect to our remaining unapproved products in order to mitigate all risk associated with the marketing of unapproved drug products. Prior to the approval of our ANDA and NDA submissions, we continue to operate in compliance with the FDA Compliance Policy Guide, CPG Sec. 440.100 Marketed New Drugs Without Approved NDAs and ANDAs. Recently, the HHS announced that termination of the FDA Unapproved Drugs Initiative (UDI), citing that the Compliance Policy Guide (CPG) issued with the UDI was “linked to prescription drug price increases and shortages” and announced its withdrawal. The long-term impact of this policy and other measures of the incoming Administration on our business remains unclear.
Our reporting and payment obligations under the Medicare and/or Medicaid drug rebate programs and other governmental purchasing and rebate programs are complex and may involve subjective decisions that could change as a result of new business circumstances, new regulatory guidance or advice of legal counsel. Any determination of failure to comply with those obligations could subject us to penalties and sanctions which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial position and results of operations and the market value of our common stock could decline.
The regulations regarding reporting and payment obligations with respect to Medicare and/or Medicaid reimbursement and rebates and other governmental programs are complex. Because our processes for these calculations and the judgments involved in making these calculations involve, and will continue to involve, subjective decisions and complex methodologies, these calculations are subject to the risk of errors. In addition, they are subject to review and challenge by the applicable governmental agencies, and it is possible that such reviews could result in material changes.
In January 2016, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, or CMS, issued a final rule that helped to clarify many of the changes made to the Medicaid Drug Rebate Program by the Affordable Care Act. The final rule attempts to provide drug manufacturers with the regulatory guidance necessary to ensure proper calculation and reporting of drug product and pricing information. Specifically, the final rule attempts to clarify the definition of what constitutes a manufacturer’s “best price” and aligns it, where appropriate, to the definition of “Average Manufacturer Price”, which is used to calculate drug rebates. Notwithstanding the final rule’s guidance, a number of state and federal government agencies will continue to conduct investigations of manufacturers’ reporting practices with respect to Average Wholesale Prices, or AWP, in which reports of inflated AWP may lead to excessive payments for prescription drugs. These investigations could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial position and results of operations. In December 2020, CMS issued a final rule that sets forth various changes to manufacturer price reporting under the Medicaid Drug Rebate Program and provisions relating to pharmacy benefit manager accumulator programs, Best Price reporting related to certain value-based purchasing arrangements, line extensions, and Average Manufacturer Price reporting for authorized generics.
Any governmental agencies that have commenced, or may commence, an investigation of our business relating to the sales, marketing, pricing, quality or manufacturing of pharmaceutical products could seek to impose, based on a claim of violation of fraud and false claims laws or otherwise, civil and/or criminal sanctions, including fines, penalties and possible exclusion from federal health care programs including Medicare and/or Medicaid. Some of the applicable laws may impose liability even in the absence of specific intent to defraud. Furthermore, should there be ambiguity with regard to how to properly calculate and report payments — and even in the absence of any such ambiguity — a governmental authority may take a position contrary to a position we have taken, and may impose civil and/or criminal sanctions. Any such penalties or sanctions could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial position and results of operations and could cause the market value of our common stock to decline.
We may be subject to enforcement action if we engage in the off-label promotion of our products.
Our promotional materials and training methods must comply with the FFDCA and other applicable laws and regulations, including restraints and prohibitions on the promotion of off-label, or unapproved, use. Physicians may prescribe our products for off-label use without regard to these prohibitions, as the FFDCA does not restrict or regulate a physician’s choice of treatment within the practice of medicine. However, if the FDA determines that our promotional materials or training constitutes promotion of an off-label use, it could request that we modify our training or promotional materials or subject us to regulatory or enforcement actions, including but not limited to the issuance of an untitled letter or warning letter, and a judicial action seeking injunction, product seizure and civil or criminal penalties. It is also possible that other federal, state or non-U.S. enforcement authorities might take action if they consider our promotional or training materials to constitute promotion of an unapproved use, which could result in significant fines or penalties under other statutory authorities, such as laws prohibiting false claims for reimbursement. In that event, our reputation could be damaged and adoption of the products could be impaired. Although our policy is to refrain from statements that could be considered off-label promotion of our products, the FDA or another regulatory agency could disagree and conclude that we have engaged in off-label promotion. In addition, the off-label use of our products may increase the risk of product liability claims. Product liability claims are expensive to defend and could divert our management’s attention, result in substantial damage awards against us and harm our reputation.
The pharmaceutical industry is highly regulated and pharmaceutical companies are subject to various federal and state fraud and abuse laws, including, without limitation, the federal Anti-Kickback Statute and the federal False Claims Act.
Healthcare fraud and abuse regulations are complex, and even minor irregularities can potentially give rise to claims that a statute or prohibition has been violated. The laws that may affect our ability to operate include:
|●||the federal Anti-kickback statue, which prohibits, among other things, persons from knowingly and willfully soliciting, receiving, offering or paying remuneration, directly or indirectly, in exchange for or to induce either the referral of an individual for, or the purchase, order or recommendation of, any good or service for which payment may be made under federal healthcare programs such as the Medicare and Medicaid programs;|
|●||federal false claims laws which prohibit, among other things, individuals or entities from knowingly presenting, or causing to be presented, claims for payment from Medicare, Medicaid, or other third-party payers that are false or fraudulent;|
|●||the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, or HIPAA, which created new federal criminal statutes that prohibit knowingly and willfully executing, or attempting to execute, a scheme to defraud any healthcare benefit program or obtain, by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, or promises, any of the money or property owned by, or under the custody or control of, any healthcare benefit program, regardless of the payor (e.g., public or private) and knowingly and willfully falsifying, concealing, or covering up by any trick or device a material fact or making any materially false statements in connection with the delivery of, or payment for, healthcare benefits, items or services relating to healthcare matters;|
|●||HIPAA, as amended by the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act of 2009, or HITECH, and their respective implementing regulations, impose requirements on certain covered healthcare providers, health plans, and healthcare clearinghouses as well as their respective business associates that perform services for them that involve the use, or disclosure of, individually identifiable health information, relating to the privacy, security, and transmission of individually identifiable health information;|
|●||the FFDCA and similar laws regulating advertisement and labeling;|
|●||the federal Physician Payment Sunshine Act, created under the ACA, and its implementing regulations, require applicable manufacturers of drugs, devices, biologicals, and medical supplies for which payment is available under Medicare, Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program to report annually to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under the Open Payments Program, information related to certain payments or other transfers of value made to physicians, as defined by such law, and teaching|
|hospitals, as well as ownership and investment interests held by physicians and their immediate family members; effective January 1, 2022, reporting obligations of applicable manufacturers will be extended to include additional covered recipients, including payments and transfers of value made during the previous year to certain non-physician providers, such as physician assistants and nurse practitioners, among others;|
|●||the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which prohibits corrupt payments, gifts or transfers of value to non-U.S. officials;|
|●||non-U.S. and U.S. state law equivalents of each of the above federal laws, such as anti-kickback and false claims laws which may apply to items or services reimbursed by any third-party payer, including commercial insurers;|
|●||state laws that require pharmaceutical companies to comply with the pharmaceutical industry’s voluntary compliance guidelines, and the relevant compliance guidance promulgated by the federal government that otherwise restricts payments that may be made to healthcare providers and other potential referral sources;|
|●||state and local laws that require drug manufacturers to file reports with states regarding pricing and marketing information, such as the tracking and reporting of gifts, compensations and other remuneration, and items of value provided to healthcare professionals and entities;|
|●||state and local laws that require the registration of pharmaceutical sales representatives; and|
|●||state and foreign laws also govern the privacy and security of personal information (including health information) in certain circumstances, many of which differ from each other in significant ways and may not have the same effect, thus complicating compliance efforts.|
The federal false claims laws have been interpreted to apply to arrangements between pharmaceutical manufacturers on the one hand and prescribers, purchasers or formulary managers on the other. Although there are several statutory exemptions and regulatory safe harbors protecting certain common activities from prosecution, the exemptions and safe harbors are drawn narrowly, and practices that involve remuneration intended to induce prescribing, purchasing or recommending may be subject to scrutiny if they do not qualify for an exemption or safe harbor. Most states also have statutes or regulations similar to the federal anti-kickback law and federal false claims laws, which apply to items and services covered by Medicaid and other state programs, or, in several states, apply regardless of the type of payer. Administrative, civil and criminal sanctions may be imposed under these federal and state laws. In addition, we are also subject to federal and state consumer protection and unfair competition laws that broadly regulate marketplace activities and activities that potentially harm consumers.
Further, the Affordable Care Act, among other things, amends the intent requirement of the federal anti-kickback and criminal healthcare fraud statutes. A person or entity can now be found guilty under the Affordable Care Act without actual knowledge of the statute or specific intent to violate it. In addition, the Affordable Care Act provides that the government may assert that a claim including items or services resulting from a violation of the federal anti-kickback statute constitutes a false or fraudulent claim for purposes of the false claims statutes. Possible sanctions for violation of these anti-kickback laws include monetary fines, civil and criminal penalties, imprisonment, exclusion from federal health care programs and forfeiture of amounts collected in violation of such prohibitions. Any violations of these laws, or any action against us for violation of these laws, even if we successfully defend against it, could result in a material adverse effect on our reputation, business, results of operations and financial condition.
To enforce compliance with the federal laws, the U.S. Department of Justice, or DOJ, has increased its 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. Dealing with investigations can be time- and resource-consuming and can divert management’s attention from the business. Additionally, if a healthcare provider settles an investigation with the DOJ or other law enforcement agencies, we may be forced to agree to additional onerous compliance and reporting requirements as part of a consent decree or corporate integrity agreement. Any such investigation or settlement could increase our costs or otherwise have an adverse effect on our business.
Over the past few years, a number of pharmaceutical and other healthcare companies have been prosecuted under these laws for a variety of promotional and marketing activities, such as: providing free trips, free goods, sham consulting fees and grants and other monetary benefits to prescribers; reporting inflated average wholesale prices that were then used by
federal programs to set reimbursement rates; engaging in off-label promotion; and submitting inflated best price information to the Medicaid Rebate Program to reduce liability for Medicaid rebates.
In addition, there has been a trend of increased federal and state regulation of payments made to physicians for marketing. Some states, such as California, Massachusetts and Vermont, mandate implementation of commercial compliance programs, along with the tracking and reporting of gifts, compensation and other remuneration to physicians. The shifting commercial compliance environment and the need to build and maintain robust and expandable systems to comply with different compliance and/or reporting requirements in multiple jurisdictions increase the possibility that a healthcare company may run afoul of one or more of the requirements.
If the activities of any of our business partners are found to be in violation of these laws or any other federal and state fraud and abuse laws, they may be subject to penalties, including civil and criminal penalties, damages, fines and the curtailment or restructuring of its activities with regard to the commercialization of our products, which could harm the commercial success of our products and materially affect our business, financial condition and results of operations. While we have implemented numerous risk mitigation measures to comply with such regulations in this complex operating environment, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to effectively mitigate all operational risks. While we have developed and instituted a corporate compliance program, we cannot guarantee that we, our employees, our consultants or our contractors are or will be in compliance with all potentially applicable U.S. federal and state regulations and/or laws, all potentially applicable foreign regulations and/or laws and/or all requirements of the corporate integrity agreement. Because of the far-reaching nature of these laws, we may be required to alter or discontinue one or more of our business practices to be in compliance with these laws. If we fail to adequately mitigate our operational risks or if we or our agents fail to comply with any of those regulations, laws and/or requirements, a range of actions could result, including, but not limited to, the termination of clinical trials, the failure to approve a product candidate, restrictions on our products or manufacturing processes, withdrawal of our products from the market, significant fines, exclusion from government healthcare programs or other sanctions or litigation. Such occurrences could have a material and adverse effect on our product sales, business and results of operations.
The scope and enforcement of these laws is uncertain and subject to rapid change in the current environment of healthcare reform, especially in light of the lack of applicable precedent and regulations. Federal or state regulatory authorities might challenge our current or future activities under these laws. Any such challenge could have a material adverse effect on our reputation, business, results of operations and financial condition. In addition, efforts to ensure that our business arrangements with third parties will comply with these laws and regulations and will involve substantial costs. Any state or federal regulatory review of us or the third parties with whom we contract, regardless of the outcome, would be costly and time-consuming.
Our employees, independent contractors, consultants, commercial partners, and vendors may engage in misconduct or other improper activities, including noncompliance with regulatory standards and requirements.
We are exposed to the risk of fraud, misconduct, or other illegal activity by our employees, independent contractors, consultants, commercial partners, and vendors. Misconduct by these parties could include intentional, reckless, and negligent conduct that fails to:
|●||comply with the laws of the FDA, EMA, and other comparable foreign regulatory authorities;|
|●||provide true, complete, and accurate information to the FDA, EMA, and other comparable foreign regulatory authorities;|
|●||comply with manufacturing standards we have established;|
|●||comply with healthcare fraud and abuse laws in the United States and similar foreign fraudulent misconduct laws; or|
|●||report financial information or data accurately or to disclose unauthorized activities to us.|
Our business operations, including research, sales, marketing, education, and other business arrangements, in the healthcare industry are subject to extensive laws designed to prevent fraud, kickbacks, self-dealing, and other abusive practices. These laws and regulations may restrict or prohibit a wide range of pricing, discounting, educating, marketing and promotion, sales and commission, certain customer incentive programs, and other business arrangements generally.
Activities subject to these laws also involve the improper use of information obtained in the course of patient recruitment for clinical trials, which could result in regulatory sanctions and cause serious harm to our reputation. While we have a code of conduct and ethics, it is not always possible to identify and deter misconduct by employees and third parties, and the precautions we take to detect and prevent this activity may not be effective in controlling unknown or unmanaged risks or losses or in protecting us from governmental investigations or other actions or lawsuits stemming from a failure to be in compliance with such laws. If any such actions are instituted against us, and we are not successful in defending ourselves or asserting our rights, those actions could have a significant impact on our business, including the imposition of significant fines or other sanctions.
Risks Relating to our International Business
Because a portion of our manufacturing takes place in China, a significant disruption in the construction or operation of our manufacturing facility in China, political unrest in China, tariffs, impact of outbreaks of health epidemics, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, or changes in social, political, trade, health, economic, environmental, or climate-related conditions or in laws, regulations and policies governing foreign trade could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.
We currently manufacture the starting material for Amphadase® and enoxaparin as well as the APIs for isoproterenol and nitroprusside at our manufacturing facility in China, and we plan to use this facility to manufacture several of the APIs for products in our pipeline. Additionally, we intend to continue to invest in the expansion of this manufacturing facility. Our manufacturing facility and operations in China involve significant risks, including:
|●||disruptions in the construction of the manufacturing facility;|
|●||interruptions to our operations in China or the inability of our manufacturing facility to produce adequate quantities of raw materials or APIs to meet our needs as a result of natural catastrophic events or other causes beyond our control such as power disruptions or widespread disease outbreaks, including the recent outbreaks that impact animal-derived products, such as the importation of pig-derived crude heparin from countries impacted by the African swine flu, and outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has resulted in and may in the future result in, business closures, transportation restrictions, import and export complications, and otherwise cause shortages in the supply of raw materials or cause disruptions in our manufacturing capability;|
|●||product supply disruptions and increased costs as a result of heightened exposure to changes in the policies of the Chinese government, political unrest or unstable economic conditions in China;|
|●||the imposition of tariffs or other trade barriers as a result of changes in social, political, and economic conditions or in laws, regulations, and policies governing foreign trade, including the tariffs previously implemented and additional tariffs that have been proposed by the U.S. government on various imports from China and by the Chinese government on certain U.S. goods, the scope and duration of which, if implemented, remain uncertain;|
|●||the nationalization or other expropriation of private enterprises or intellectual property by the Chinese government, which could result in the total loss of our investment in China; and|
|●||interruptions to our manufacturing or business operations resulting from geo-political actions, including war and terrorism, natural disasters including earthquakes, typhoons, floods, and fires, or outbreaks of health epidemics such as coronavirus, or outbreaks in livestock or animals that impact or restrict importation, use, or distribution of animal-derived products.|
Any of these matters could materially and adversely affect our business and results of operations. These interruptions or failures could impair our ability to operate our business, impede the commercialization of our product candidates or delay the introduction of new products, impact our product quality, or impair our competitive position.
We are actively monitoring and assessing the potential impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes evaluating the impact on our employees, suppliers, and logistics providers as well as evaluating governmental actions being taken to curtail the spread of the virus. While the Chinese government has been relaxing work restrictions, at this time, it is unclear if the Chinese government will reinstate restrictions or if further restrictions will be put into place by the government. In addition, many countries have placed significant bans on travel to and from China, with many countries
and airlines suspending flights to and from mainland China. Any material adverse effect on our employees, suppliers, and logistics providers could have a material adverse effect on our manufacturing operations in China or the supply of raw materials or APIs originating from China.
We are exposed to risks related to our international operations and failure to manage these risks may adversely affect our operating results and financial condition.
We have operations both inside and outside the U.S. For example, we have suppliers in Asia and Europe, and we own manufacturing facilities in Nanjing, China, and Éragny-sur-Epte, France. As a result, a significant portion of our operations is conducted by and/or rely on entities outside the markets in which our products are sold, and, accordingly, we import a substantial number of products into such markets. We may, therefore, be denied access to our customers or suppliers or denied the ability to ship products from any of our sites as a result of a closing of the borders of the countries in which we sell our products, or in which our operations are located, due to economic, legislative, political and military conditions in such countries.
International operations are subject to a number of other inherent risks, and our future results could be adversely affected by a number of factors, including:
|●||requirements or preferences for domestic products or solutions, which could reduce demand for our products;|
|●||differing existing or future regulatory and certification requirements, including additional or new U.K. – specific regulatory requirements for commercialization of our products in the U.K. following the end of Brexit transition period on December 31, 2020;|
|●||management communication and integration problems resulting from cultural and geographic dispersion;|
|●||greater difficulty in collecting accounts receivable and longer collection periods;|
|●||difficulties in enforcing contracts;|
|●||difficulties and costs of staffing and managing non-U.S. operations;|
|●||difficulty hiring and retaining appropriate personnel due to intense competition for such resources and resulting wage inflation in the cities where our operations are located;|
|●||different labor regulations, especially in the European Union, where labor laws are generally more advantageous to employees as compared to the United States, including deemed hourly wage and overtime regulations in these locations;|
|●||the uncertainty of protection for intellectual property rights in some countries and resulting exposure to misappropriation of intellectual property or information that is proprietary to us, our customers and other third parties;|
|●||tariffs and trade barriers, export regulations and other regulatory and contractual limitations on our ability to sell our products;|
|●||changes in social, political, and economic conditions or in laws, regulations and policies governing foreign trade, manufacturing, development and investment both domestically as well as in other countries and jurisdictions into which we manufacture or sell our products;|
|●||exposure to liabilities under both U.S. and foreign laws, including export and antitrust regulations, anti-corruption and anti-money laundering laws, including the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of 1977, as amended, and similar applicable laws and regulations in other jurisdictions, and any trade regulations ensuring fair trade practices;|
|●||uneven electricity supply that can negatively impact manufacturing;|
|●||heightened risk of unfair or corrupt business practices in certain geographies and of improper or fraudulent|
|sales arrangements that may impact financial results and result in restatements of, or irregularities in, financial statements;|
|●||fluctuations in currency exchange rates and regulatory compliance;|
|●||delays, inefficiencies, and other challenges inherent to efficiently managing an increased number of employees over large geographic distances, including the need to implement appropriate systems, policies, benefits, and compliance programs;|
|●||potentially adverse tax consequences, including multiple and possibly overlapping tax structures; and|
|●||interruptions to our manufacturing or business operations resulting from trade restrictions, political and economic instability, political unrest, war, terrorism, natural disasters including earthquakes, typhoons, floods, and fires, or outbreaks of health epidemics such as the coronavirus and African swine flu outbreaks.|
Furthermore, weak domestic or global economic conditions or fear or anticipation of such conditions could adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects in a number of ways, including lower prices for our products, reduced sales and lower or no growth. For example, the global macroeconomic environment could be negatively affected by, among other things, instability in global economic markets resulting from increased U.S. trade tariffs and trade disputes between the U.S. and other countries, instability in the global credit markets, the impact and uncertainty regarding global central bank monetary policy, rising interest rates and increased inflation, the instability in the geopolitical environment as a result of the United Kingdom’s “Brexit” decision to withdraw from the European Union, economic challenges in China and ongoing U.S. and foreign governmental debt concerns. Such challenges have caused, and are likely to continue to cause, uncertainty and instability in local economies and in global financial markets, particularly if any future sovereign debt defaults or significant bank failures or defaults occur. Market uncertainty and instability in Europe or Asia could intensify or spread further, particularly if ongoing stabilization efforts prove insufficient. Continuing or worsening economic instability could adversely affect sales of our products. Continued turmoil in the geopolitical environment in many parts of the world may also affect the overall demand for our products. Although we do not believe that our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects have been significantly adversely affected by economic and political uncertainty in Europe, Asia or other countries to date, deterioration of such conditions may harm our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects in the future. A prolonged period of economic uncertainty or a downturn may also significantly affect financing markets, the availability of capital and the terms and conditions of financing arrangements, including the overall cost of financing. Circumstances may arise in which we need, or desire, to raise additional capital, and such capital may not be available on commercially reasonable terms, or at all.
In addition, the expansion of our existing international operations, including our facility expansion in Nanjing, China, and entry into additional international markets, including our acquisition of a manufacturing business in Éragny-sur-Epte, France, have required and will continue to require significant management attention and financial resources. These and other factors could harm our ability to gain future revenues and, consequently, materially impact our business, results of operations and financial condition.
Adverse changes to import restrictions relating to certain animal-derived products or raw materials we use from affected countries could disrupt our supply chain and result in delays in the manufacturing of our products.
Some of our raw materials, such as certain animal-derived materials, sourced from foreign sources are subject to import regulations and permit requirements, including from the USDA. The APHIS within the USDA has regulatory oversight over certain animals and animal-derived products that could pose a risk to domestic agriculture. Recently, USDA has increased its African swine flu surveillance efforts, including additional testing and enhanced restrictions on importation of certain porcine products from affected countries, like China. In February 2020, we received a notice of non-renewal of our permit to import or transport crude heparin USP from one of our third-party heparin supplies in China due to the recent outbreak of the African swine flu in China, requiring additional information on the processing flow providing all treatment parameters and times for the porcine heparin material. Accordingly, our import permit has expired as of February 2020, but we continue to work with APHIS on renewing our import permit for the importation of heparin USP from China. We anticipate that our current supply of heparin USP in the United States is useable and sufficient for our manufacturing needs for the foreseeable future, and we are investigating the use of heparin USP produced at ANP. If we are unable to import raw materials, rely upon existing supplies of raw materials or manufacture raw materials in sufficient amounts for our manufacturing needs, we may be required to find alternative suppliers or sources of such
materials, which could disrupt or delay the manufacturing of our products. The success of our business operations and sales with respect to our heparin products will also depend on our continued efforts to maintain the proper product quality and safety profile of the crude heparin obtained either from China or an alternative source.
Enhanced trade tariffs, import restrictions, export restrictions, Chinese regulations or other trade barriers may materially harm our business.
We are continuing to expand our international operations as part of our growth strategy. There is currently significant uncertainty about the future relationship between the United States and various other countries, most significantly China, with respect to trade policies, treaties, government regulations and tariffs. There is a possibility that the United States could continue to impose greater restrictions on international trade and significant increases in tariffs on goods imported into the United States. In September 2018, the U.S. Trade Representative (the “USTR”) enacted a tariff on the import of other Chinese products, with a combined import value of approximately $200 billion. Since that time USTR has imposed tariffs on additional goods. Tariffs on imports of APIs and starting materials used in our products, or retaliatory trade measures taken by China or other countries, including restricted access to APIs or starting materials used in our products, causing us to raise prices or make changes to our products, could materially harm our business, financial condition and results of operations. Further, the continued threats of tariffs, trade restrictions, and trade barriers could have a generally disruptive impact on the global economy and, therefore, negatively impact our sales. Although the United States and China signed a phase one trade deal on January 15, 2020, given the relatively fluid regulatory environment in China and the United States and uncertainty regarding how the U.S. and the incoming Administration or foreign governments will act with respect to tariffs, international trade agreements and policies, a trade war, further governmental action related to tariffs or international trade policies, or additional tax or other regulatory changes in the future could occur and could directly and adversely impact our financial results and results of operations.
We are subject to various governmental export control and trade sanctions laws and regulations that could impair our ability to compete in international markets or subject us to liability if we violate these controls.
In some cases, our products are subject to export control laws and regulations, including the Export Administration Regulations administered by the U.S. Department of Commerce, and our activities may be subject to trade and economic sanctions, including those administered by the United States Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, or OFAC, (collectively, “Trade Controls”). As such, a license may be required to export or re-export our products, or provide related services, to certain countries and end-users, and for certain end-uses. The process for obtaining necessary licenses may be time-consuming or unsuccessful, potentially causing delays in sales or losses of sales opportunities.
Trade Controls are complex and dynamic regimes and monitoring and ensuring compliance can be challenging. Although we have procedures in place designed to ensure our compliance with Trade Controls, any failure to comply could subject us to both civil and criminal penalties, including substantial fines, possible incarceration of responsible individuals for willful violations, possible loss of our export or import privileges, and reputational harm. Although we have no knowledge that our activities have resulted in violations of Trade Controls, any failure by us or our partners to comply with applicable laws and regulations would have negative consequences for us, including reputational harm, government investigations, and penalties.
The Chinese government may exert substantial influence over the manner in which we conduct our business operations in China.
The Chinese government has exercised, and continues to exercise, substantial control over virtually every sector of the Chinese economy through regulation and state ownership. Our ability to conduct our proposed manufacturing operations in China may be harmed by changes in its laws and regulations, including those relating to taxation, import and export tariffs, environmental regulations, land use rights, property ownership and other matters. We believe that our operations in China are in material compliance with all applicable legal and regulatory requirements. However, the central or local governments of the jurisdictions in which we operate may impose new, stricter regulations or interpretations of existing regulations that would require additional expenditures and efforts on our part to ensure our compliance with such regulations or interpretations. Accordingly, government actions in the future, including any decision not to continue to support economic reforms and to return to a more centrally planned economy or regional or local variations in the implementation of economic policies, could have a significant effect on economic conditions in China or particular regions thereof and could require us to divest ourselves of any interest we then hold in Chinese properties or entities, including our Chinese operating subsidiary, ANP.
The Chinese legal system can be uncertain and could limit the legal protections available to us.
Unlike common law systems, such as the United States, the Chinese legal system is based on written statutes and decided legal cases have little precedential value. Our Chinese operating subsidiary, ANP, is subject to laws and regulations applicable to foreign investments in China in general and laws and regulations applicable to foreign invested enterprises in particular. ANP is also subject to laws and regulations governing the formation and conduct of domestic Chinese companies. Relevant Chinese laws, regulations and legal requirements may change frequently, and their interpretation and enforcement involve uncertainties. For example, we may have to resort to administrative and court proceedings to enforce the legal protections under law or contract. However, since Chinese administrative and court authorities have significant discretion in interpreting and implementing statutory and contract terms, it may be more difficult to evaluate the outcome of administrative and court proceedings and our level of legal protection in China compared to other legal systems. Such uncertainties, including the inability to enforce our contracts and intellectual property rights, could materially and adversely affect our business and operations. In addition, confidentiality protections in China may not be as effective as in the U.S. or other countries. Accordingly, future developments in the Chinese legal system, including the promulgation of new laws, changes to existing laws or the interpretation or enforcement thereof, or the preemption of local requirements by national laws, could limit the legal protections available to us.
Our financial performance is impacted by the financial performance of our Chinese operating subsidiary, ANP.
Because we consolidate ANP’s financial results in our results of operations, our financial performance is impacted by the financial performance of ANP. ANP’s financial performance may be affected by a number of factors, including, but not limited to:
|●||ANP’s ability to execute on its expansion plans;|
|●||the commercial success of ANP’s APIs, starting materials and finished pharmaceutical products;|
|●||results of clinical trials of our product candidates or those of ANP’s customers;|
|●||pricing actions by competitors;|
|●||the timing of orders or any cancellation of orders from ANP’s customers;|
|●||manufacturing or supply interruptions;|
|●||actions taken by current and potential business partners;|
|●||actions by regulatory bodies, such as the FDA or the CFDA;|
|●||changes or developments in laws or regulations;|
|●||disputes or other developments relating to patents or other proprietary rights;|
|●||litigation or investigations involving ANP, our industry, or both; and|
|●||ANP’s ability to control costs, including its operating expenses.|
The United Kingdom’s vote to leave the European Union will have uncertain effects and could adversely affect us.
On January 31, 2020, the United Kingdom, or UK, left the European Union, or EU, (commonly referred to as the “Brexit”). Brexit creates an uncertain political and economic environment in the UK and potentially across other EU member states for the foreseeable future, including during the transitional period while the UK government continues to negotiate the terms of the UK’s future relationship with the EU, and such uncertainties could impair or limit our ability to transact business in the member EU states. In the long term, the UK may develop its own legislation that diverges from that in the EU. Since the regulatory framework for pharmaceutical products, clinical trials, marketing authorization, commercial sales and distribution of pharmaceutical products is derived from EU directives and regulations, Brexit will materially impact the future regulatory regime which applies to products and the approval of product candidates in the
Further, Brexit could adversely affect European and worldwide economic or market conditions and could contribute to instability in global financial markets, and the value of the British pound sterling currency or other currencies, including the euros. We are exposed to the economic, market and fiscal conditions in the UK and the EU and to changes in any of these conditions. Depending on the terms reached regarding Brexit, it is possible that there may be adverse operational implications and disruptions to our commercial and business operations in the UK, including our relationships with potential customers, distribution partners, suppliers and employees.
A significant amount of the regulatory regime that applies to us in the UK is derived from EU directives and regulations. No assurance can be given as to the impact of Brexit and, in particular, no assurance can be given that our operating results, financial condition and prospects would not be adversely impacted by the result.
Risks Relating to our Intellectual Property
Our success depends on our ability to detect, protect, and enforce our intellectual property.
In addition to obtaining FDA approval for our generic and proprietary drug candidates, our success also depends on our ability to obtain and maintain patent protection for new products developed utilizing our technologies, in the U.S. and in other countries, and to enforce these patents. The patent positions of pharmaceutical firms, including us, are generally uncertain and involve complex legal and factual issues. Any of our patent claims in our approved and pending non-provisional and provisional patent applications relating to our technologies may not be issued or, if issued, any of our existing and future patent claims may not be held valid and enforceable against third-party infringement. Moreover, any patent claims relating to our technologies may not be sufficiently broad to protect our products. In addition, issued patent claims may be challenged, potentially invalidated, or potentially circumvented. Our patent claims may not afford us protection against our competitors. We currently have a number of U.S. and foreign patents issued. However, issuance of a patent is not conclusive evidence of its validity or enforceability. We may not be granted patents for any of our pending patent applications or any patent applications that we may file in the future and our issued patents may not be upheld if challenged. Further, we may not be able to detect an unauthorized use of our intellectual property rights if a competitor uses our intellectual property confidentially, in-house, with no public disclosure.
In March 2013, the U.S. transitioned to a first inventor to file system in which, assuming the other requirements for patentability are met, the first inventor to file a patent application is entitled to receive a patent (rather than the first to invent as was the case under prior U.S. law). Accordingly, it is possible that potentially invalidating prior art may become available in between the time that we develop an invention and file a patent application that covers the invention. In addition, we may be subject to a third-party pre-issuance submission of prior art to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, or USPTO, or become involved in opposition, derivation, reexamination, inter parties review or interference proceedings challenging our patent rights or the patent rights of others. An adverse determination in any such submission, proceeding or litigation could reduce the scope of, or invalidate our patent rights, allow third parties to commercialize our technology or products and compete directly with us, without payment to us, or result in our inability to manufacture or commercialize products without infringing third party patent rights.
Past enforcement of intellectual property rights in countries outside the U.S., including China in particular, has been limited or non-existent. Future enforcement of patents and proprietary rights in many other countries will likely be problematic or unpredictable, particularly in other countries where intellectual property rights are not highly developed or protected. Moreover, the issuance of a patent in one country does not assure the issuance of a similar patent in another country. Patent claim interpretation and infringement laws vary by nation, so the extent of any patent protection is uncertain and may vary in different jurisdictions.
Enforcement of our intellectual property rights may not be pursued in some situations in which an alleged infringer may have a more dominant intellectual property position or for other business reasons.
We also rely on, or intend to rely on, our trademarks, trade names and brand names to distinguish our products from the products of our competitors and have registered or applied to register our own trademarks. However, our trademark applications may not be granted. Third parties may also oppose our trademark applications or otherwise challenge our use of the trademarks. In the event that our trademarks are successfully challenged, we could be forced to rebrand our product, which could result in loss of brand recognition and could require us to devote significant resources to advertising and marketing these new brands. Further, our competitors may infringe our trademarks or we may not have adequate resources to enforce our trademarks.
We are currently, have in the past and in the future may become involved in patent litigations or other intellectual property proceedings relating to our future product approvals, which could result in liability for damages or delay or stop our development and commercialization efforts.
The pharmaceutical industry has been characterized by significant litigation and other proceedings regarding patents, patent applications and other intellectual property rights. The situations in which we may become parties to such litigation or proceedings may include any third parties initiating litigation claiming that our products infringe their patent or other intellectual property rights; in such case, we will need to defend against such proceedings. For example, the field of generic pharmaceuticals is characterized by frequent litigation that occurs in connection with generic pharmaceutical companies filing ANDAs, Paragraph IV certifications and attempting to invalidate the patents of the proprietary reference drug. Any non-generic products that we successfully develop may be subject to such challenge by third parties. As a generic pharmaceutical company, we also expect to file ANDAs and Paragraph IV certifications and to attempt to invalidate patents of third party reference drugs for which we seek to develop generic versions.
The costs of resolving any patent litigation or other intellectual property proceeding, even if resolved in our favor, could be substantial. Many of our potential competitors will be able to sustain the cost of such litigation and proceedings more effectively than we can because of their substantially greater resources. Uncertainties resulting from the initiation and continuation of patent litigation or other intellectual property proceedings could have a material adverse effect on our ability to compete in the marketplace. Patent litigation and other intellectual property proceedings may also consume significant management time.
In the event that a competitor infringes upon our patent or other intellectual property rights, enforcing those rights may be costly, difficult and time-consuming. Even if successful, litigation to enforce our intellectual property rights or to defend our patents against challenge could be expensive and time-consuming and could divert our management’s attention. We may not have sufficient resources to enforce our intellectual property rights or to defend our patent or other intellectual property rights against a challenge. If we are unsuccessful in enforcing and protecting our intellectual property rights and protecting our products, it could materially harm our business.
For example, we received a complaint on December 20, 2018, related to our ANDA submitted seeking approval to engage in the commercial manufacture, use and sale of a proposed generic vasopressin injection USP. Additionally, we have also been involved in patent litigation and antitrust litigation related to our sales of enoxaparin. For further details, see the section titled Litigation in Note 20 in the accompanying “Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements” in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. The protracted litigations involved, and may continue to involve, large legal expenses and the diversion of management’s time and effort away from the business. Any future adverse determinations in a judicial or administrative proceeding or failure to obtain necessary licenses, whether in these litigations or in other litigations, could result in substantial monetary damage awards and could prevent us from manufacturing and selling our products, which could have a material and adverse effect on our financial condition.
There may also be situations where we use our business judgment and decide to market and sell products, notwithstanding the fact that allegations of patent infringement(s) have not been finally resolved by the courts, which situation is commonly referred to as an at-risk launch. The risk involved in doing so can be substantial because the remedies available to the owner of a patent for infringement may include, among other things, damages measured by the profits lost by the patent owner and not necessarily by the profits earned by the infringer as well as injunctive relief, which would halt our ability to market and sell such products altogether. In the case of a willful infringement, the definition of which is subjective, such damages may be increased up to three times. Moreover, because of the discount pricing typically involved with generic products, patented proprietary products generally realize a substantially higher profit margin than generic products. An adverse decision in a case such as this or in other similar litigation could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial position and results of operations and could cause the market value of our common stock to decline.
With respect to our proprietary products, if we fail to adequately protect or enforce our intellectual property rights, we could lose sales to generic versions of our proprietary products which could cause a material adverse effect on our business, financial position and results of operations and could cause the market value of our common stock to decline.
The success of our proprietary products depends in part on our ability to obtain, maintain and enforce patents and trademarks, and to protect trade secrets, know-how and other proprietary information and technologies. Our ability to commercialize any proprietary product successfully will largely depend upon our ability to obtain and maintain patents
of sufficient scope to prevent third parties from developing substantially equivalent products. In the absence of patent and trade secret protection, competitors may adversely affect our proprietary products business by independently developing and marketing substantially equivalent products. It is also possible that we could incur substantial costs if we are required to initiate litigation against others to protect or enforce our intellectual property rights.
We have filed patent applications covering compositions of, methods of making and/or methods of using, our proprietary products and proprietary product candidates. We may not be issued patents based on patent applications already filed or that we may file in the future, and if patents are issued, they may be insufficient in scope to cover our proprietary products. The issuance of a patent in one country does not ensure the issuance of a similar patent in any other country, or that we will even seek patent protection in all countries worldwide. Furthermore, the patent position of companies in the pharmaceutical industry generally involves complex legal and factual questions and has been and remains the subject of much litigation. Legal standards relating to scope and validity of patent claims are evolving and may differ in various countries. Any patents we have obtained, or will obtain in the future, may be challenged, invalidated or circumvented. Moreover, the USPTO or any other governmental agency, as well as third parties, may commence interference, opposition or other related third party proceedings involving our patents or patent applications. Any challenge to, or invalidation or circumvention of, our patents or patent applications would be costly, would require significant time and attention of our management, could cause a material adverse effect on our business, financial position and results of operations and could cause the market value of our common stock to decline.
Our unpatented trade secrets, know-how, confidential and proprietary information and technology may be inadequately protected.
We rely on unpatented trade secrets, know-how and technology. This intellectual property is difficult to protect, especially in the pharmaceutical industry, where much of the information about a product must be submitted to regulatory authorities during the regulatory approval process. We seek to protect trade secrets, know-how, confidential or proprietary information and technologies, in part, by entering into confidentiality and invention assignment agreements with employees, consultants and others. These parties may breach or terminate these agreements, and we may not have adequate remedies for such breaches. Furthermore, these agreements may not provide meaningful protection for our trade secrets, know-how, or other confidential or proprietary information and technologies or result in the effective assignment to us of intellectual property, and may not provide an adequate remedy in the event of unauthorized use or disclosure of confidential information or other breaches of the agreements. Despite our efforts to protect our trade secrets, know-how, and our other confidential and proprietary information and technologies, we or our collaboration partners, board members, employees, consultants, contractors, or scientific and other advisors may unintentionally or willfully disclose our proprietary information to competitors. In addition, we may not be able to detect any unauthorized disclosure of our trade secrets, know-how and our other confidential and proprietary information and technologies if such disclosure was conducted confidentially without public disclosure.
There is a risk that our trade secrets, know-how, and other confidential and proprietary information and technologies could have been, or could, in the future, be shared by any of our former employees with, and be used to the benefit of, any company that competes with us.
If we fail to maintain trade secret protection or fail to protect the confidentiality of our know-how, and other confidential and proprietary information and technologies, our competitive position may be adversely affected. Enforcement of claims that a third party has illegally obtained and is using trade secrets, know-how, and other confidential and proprietary information and technologies, is expensive, time consuming and uncertain. If our competitors independently develop equivalent knowledge, methods, know-how and trade secrets, we may not be able to prevail in an intellectual property litigation against them, which could have a material adverse effect on our business.
There can be no assurance of timely patent and trademark review and approval to minimize competition and generate sufficient revenues.
There can be no assurance that the USPTO will have sufficient resources to review and grant our patent and trademark applications in a timely manner. Consequently, our patent and trademark applications may be delayed for many years (if they issue at all), which would prevent intellectual property protection for our products. If we fail to successfully commercialize our products due to the lack of intellectual property protection, we may be unable to generate sufficient revenues to meet or grow our business according to our expected goals and this may have a materially adverse effect on our profitability, financial condition and operations.
We may be subject to claims that we, our board members, employees or consultants have used or disclosed alleged trade secrets or other proprietary information belonging to third parties and any such individuals who are currently affiliated with one of our competitors may disclose our proprietary technology or information.
As is commonplace in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries, some of our board members, employees and consultants are or have been employed at, or associated with, other biotechnology or pharmaceutical companies that compete with us. While employed at or associated with these companies, these individuals may become exposed to or involved in research and technology similar to the areas of research and technology in which we are engaged. We may be subject to claims that we, or our employees, board members or consultants have inadvertently, willfully or otherwise used or disclosed alleged trade secrets or other proprietary information of those companies. Litigation may be necessary to defend against such claims.
We have entered into confidentiality agreements with our executives and key consultants. However, we do not have, and are not planning to enter into, any confidentiality agreements with our non-executive directors because they have a fiduciary duty of confidentiality as directors. Our former board members, employees or consultants who are currently employed at, or associated with, one of our competitors may unintentionally or willfully disclose our proprietary technology or information.
Risks Related to Ownership of Our Common Stock
Sales of substantial amounts of our common stock, or indications of an intent to sell, may cause our stock price to decline.
If we or our existing stockholders sell, or indicate an intent to sell, substantial amounts of our common stock in the public market, the trading price of our common stock could decline. We maintain a shelf registration statement on Form S-3 pursuant to which we may, from time to time, sell up to an aggregate of $250 million of our common stock, preferred stock, depositary shares, warrants, units, or debt securities. We may also issue shares of common stock or securities convertible into our common stock from time to time in connection with financings, acquisitions, investments or otherwise. Any such issuances would result in dilution to our existing stockholders and could cause our stock price to fall.
In addition, we have registered approximately 17.3 million shares subject to options and RSUs outstanding or reserved for future issuance under our equity compensation plans. If these additional shares are sold, or if it is perceived that they will be sold, in the public market, the trading price of our common stock could decline.
Jack Y. Zhang and Mary Z. Luo, each of whom serves as a director and an executive officer, own a significant percentage of our stock and will be able to exert significant control over matters subject to stockholder approval.
As of March 1, 2021, Jack Y. Zhang and Mary Z. Luo, or Drs. Zhang and Luo, each of whom serves as one of our directors and executive officers, and their affiliates beneficially own approximately 25.7% of our outstanding common stock, including shares of common stock subject to options exercisable within 60 days of March 1, 2021. Our directors, executive officers and each of our stockholders who own greater than 5% of our outstanding common stock and their affiliates, in the aggregate, own approximately 28.7% of the outstanding, including shares of our common stock, based on the number of shares outstanding and shares of our common stock subject to options exercisable within 60 days of March 1, 2021. As a result, these stockholders, if acting together, will be able to influence or control matters requiring approval by our stockholders, including the election of directors and the approval of mergers, acquisitions or other extraordinary transactions. They may also have interests that differ from yours and may vote in a way with which you disagree and which may be adverse to your interests. This concentration of ownership may have the effect of delaying, preventing or deterring a change of control of our company, depriving our stockholders of an opportunity to receive a premium for their common stock as part of a sale of the Company and might ultimately affect the market price of our common stock.
Jack Y. Zhang and Mary Z. Luo have pledged shares of our common stock to secure funds borrowed under existing credit lines from three financial institutions. Each of the lenders has varying rights as a lender, including one which has the right to conduct a forced sale at its sole discretion. An action by one of the lenders could include a sale of certain shares of the Company’s stock pledged as collateral, the sale of which could cause our stock price to decline. An action to cure and cover indebtedness by any one of the lender could also have other negative impacts on our business.
Since September 2015, UBS Bank USA, or UBS Utah, has made extensions of credit up to the amount of $8.0 million to Applied Physics & Chemistry Laboratories, Inc., or APCL, which is controlled by Jack Y. Zhang and Mary Z. Luo. In May 2019, the credit amount was increased to $11.0 million. Since February 2017, UBS AG has also provided an extension of credit up to the amount of $8.0 million to APCL. In 2021, the outstanding UBS AG credit line was transferred to UBS Bank USA due to a UBS organizational change. The total UBS combined credit lines are $17.6 million, which is $11.0 million from UBS Utah plus $6.6 million transferred from UBS AG. The credit lines are secured by a pledge of 3,582,898 shares of our common stock currently held by APCL. Interest on the loan accrues at market rates. UBS has an unlimited and unilateral right to call the credit lines for any reason whatsoever.
In October 2017, East West Bank, or East West, entered into an agreement with Drs. Zhang and Luo whereby East West would loan them up to $5.0 million. The loan is secured by a pledge of 650,000 shares of our common stock held by Dr. Zhang and 550,000 shares of our common stock held by Dr. Luo. Interest on the loan accrues at market rates. East West Bank has acceleration rights to protect it in the event of a default.
In May 2018, Drs. Zhang and Luo entered into a business loan agreement with Cathay Bank, or Cathay, for the extension of a credit line up $25.0 million. The loan is secured by pledged shares of 3,800,000 our common stock currently held by APCL or Drs. Zhang and Luo. Interest on the loan accrues at market rates. Cathay received customary fees and expense reimbursements in connection with this loan. The credit facility with Cathay Bank has a fifteen day cure period in the event of a default.
We are not a party to these loans, which are full recourse against APCL and each of Drs. Zhang and Luo, respectively, and are secured by pledges of a portion of the shares of our common stock currently beneficially owned by Drs. Zhang and Luo.
If the price of our common stock declines, Drs. Zhang and Luo may be forced by these financial institutions to provide additional collateral for the loans or to sell shares of our common stock held by them in order to remain within the margin limitations imposed under the terms of their loans. Furthermore, the pledged shares may be acquired and sold by the lenders. These factors may limit Dr. Zhang and Dr. Luo’s ability to either pledge additional shares of our common stock or sell shares of our common stock held by them as a means to avoid or satisfy a margin call with respect to their pledged common stock in the event of a decline in our stock price that is large enough to trigger a margin call. Any significant sales of our common stock by one or more of these three lenders could cause the price of our common stock to decline further.
We do not intend to pay dividends for the foreseeable future.
The continued operation and expansion of our business will require substantial funding. Accordingly, we do not anticipate that we will pay any cash dividends on shares of our common stock for the foreseeable future. Any determination to pay dividends in the future will be at the discretion of our Board of Directors and will depend upon results of operations, financial condition, contractual restrictions, restrictions imposed by applicable law and other factors our Board of Directors deems relevant. In addition, our existing loan agreements restrict, and any future indebtedness may restrict, our ability to pay dividends. Investors seeking cash dividends should not purchase our common stock. Accordingly, realization of a gain on your investment will depend on the appreciation of the price of our common stock, which may never occur.
While we have engaged in repurchases of our common stock, any future decisions to reduce or discontinue repurchasing our common stock pursuant to our previously announced repurchase program could cause the market price for our common stock to decline.
Although our Board has authorized a share repurchase program, and we repurchased approximately 1.4 million of our shares during 2020 for $24.4 million, any determination to continue to execute our stock repurchase program as planned will be subject to, among other things, our financial position and results of operations, available cash and cash flow,
capital requirements, and other factors, as well as our Board's continuing determination that the repurchase program is in the best interests of our shareholders and is in compliance with all laws and agreements applicable to the repurchase program. Our stock repurchase program does not obligate us to acquire any specific number of shares. If we fail to meet any expectations related to stock repurchases, the market price of our stock could decline significantly, and could have a material adverse impact on investor confidence. Additionally, price volatility of our stock over a given period may cause the average price at which we repurchase our own stock to exceed the stock market price at a given point in time.
We may further increase or decrease the amount of repurchases of our common stock in the future. Any reduction or discontinuance by us of repurchases of our common stock pursuant to our current share repurchase authorization program could cause the market price of our common stock to decline. Moreover, in the event repurchases of our common stock are reduced or discontinued, our failure or inability to resume repurchasing common stock at historical levels could result in a lower market valuation of our common stock.
Some provisions of our charter documents and Delaware law may have anti-takeover effects that could discourage an acquisition of us by others, even if an acquisition would be beneficial to our stockholders, and may prevent attempts by our stockholders to replace or remove our current management.
Provisions in our amended and restated certificate of incorporation and our amended and restated bylaws, as well as provisions of the Delaware General Corporation Law, or the DGCL, could depress the trading price of our common stock by making it more difficult for a third party to acquire us or increase the cost of acquiring us, even if doing so would benefit our stockholders, including transactions in which stockholders might otherwise receive a premium for their shares. These provisions include:
|●||authorizing the issuance of “blank check” preferred stock, the terms of which may be established and shares of which may be issued without stockholder approval;|
|●||prohibiting stockholder action by written consent, thereby requiring all stockholder actions to be taken at a meeting of our stockholders;|
|●||eliminating the ability of stockholders to call a special meeting of stockholders;|
|●||establishing advance notice requirements for nominations for election to the Board of Directors or for proposing matters that can be acted upon at stockholder meetings;|
|●||establishing a classified Board of Directors, whereby only one-third of the members of our Board of Directors are elected at one time; and|
|●||providing that vacancies on our board of directors may be filled only by a majority of directors then in office, even though less than a quorum.|
These provisions may frustrate or prevent any attempts by our stockholders to replace or remove our current management by making it more difficult for stockholders to replace members of our Board of Directors, which is responsible for appointing the members of our management. Furthermore, our amended and restated certificate of incorporation provides that unless we consent in writing to the selection of an alternative forum, the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware will be the sole and exclusive forum for: (i) any derivative action or proceeding brought on our behalf; (ii) any action asserting a breach of fiduciary duty owed by any of our current or former directors, officers or other employees to us or our stockholders; (iii) any action asserting a claim arising pursuant to any provision of the DGCL, our amended and restated certificate of incorporation, or our amended and restated bylaws; or (iv) any action asserting a claim against us that is governed by the internal affairs doctrine. This provision is not intended to apply to actions arising under the Securities Act or the Exchange Act, or any claim for which the federal courts have exclusive jurisdiction. Any person or entity purchasing or otherwise acquiring any interest in shares of our capital stock shall be deemed to have notice of and consented to this provision. This exclusive-forum provision may discourage lawsuits against us or our directors, officers, and employees. In addition, we are subject to Section 203 of the DGCL, which generally prohibits a Delaware corporation from engaging in any of a broad range of business combinations with an interested stockholder for a period of three years following the date on which the stockholder became an interested stockholder, unless such transactions are approved by our Board of Directors. This provision could delay or prevent a change of control, whether or not it is desired by or beneficial to our stockholders, which could also affect the price that some investors are willing to pay for our common stock.
General Risk Factors
We could be materially and adversely affected by violations of the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and similar worldwide anti-bribery laws.
The U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of 1977, as amended and similar applicable laws and regulations in other jurisdictions generally prohibit companies and their intermediaries from making improper payments to non-U.S. officials for the purpose of obtaining or retaining business. Our policies mandate compliance with these anti-bribery laws, which often carry substantial penalties. We are currently expanding our operations abroad, including expanding our facilities in China, a country which has experienced governmental and private sector corruption to some degree, and in certain circumstances, strict compliance with anti-bribery laws may conflict with certain local customs and practices. Our internal control policies and procedures may not always protect us from acts committed by our affiliates, employees or agents which may violate these laws and regulations. Violations of foreign and U.S. laws and regulations could result in fines and penalties, criminal sanctions against us, our officers or our employees, prohibitions on the conduct of our business and on our ability to offer our products in one or more countries, and could also materially affect our brand, our international growth efforts, our ability to attract and retain employees, our business, and our operating results. There can be no assurance that our partners, our employees, contractors, or agents will not subject us to potential claims or penalties. Any violations of these laws, or allegations of such violations, could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial position, and results of operations and could cause the market value of our common stock to decline.
Movements in foreign currency exchange rates could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial position and results of operations and could cause the market value of our common stock to decline.
A portion of our revenues, indebtedness and other liabilities and our costs are denominated in foreign currencies, including the Chinese yuan and the euro. We report our financial results in U.S. dollars. Our results of operations and, in some cases, cash flows may in the future be adversely affected by certain movements in exchange rates. From time to time, we may implement currency hedges intended to reduce our exposure to changes in foreign currency exchange rates. However, any such hedging strategies may not be successful, and any of our unhedged foreign exchange exposures will continue to be subject to market fluctuations. These risks could cause a material adverse effect on our business, financial position and results of operations and could cause the market value of our common stock to decline.
Global macroeconomic conditions may negatively affect us and may magnify certain risks that affect our business.
Our business is sensitive to general economic conditions, both inside and outside the U.S. Slower global economic growth, credit market crises, high levels of unemployment, reduced levels of capital expenditures, government deficit reduction, sequestration and other austerity measures and other challenges affecting the global economy adversely affects us and our distributors, customers and suppliers. It is uncertain how long these effects will last or whether economic and financial trends will worsen or improve. Such uncertain economic times may have a material adverse effect on our revenues, results of operations, financial condition and, if circumstances worsen, our ability to raise capital at reasonable rates. If slower growth in the global economy or in any of the markets we serve continues for a significant period, if there is significant deterioration in the global economy or such markets or if improvements in the global economy don’t benefit the markets we serve, our business and financial statements could be adversely affected.
Additionally, as a result of any future global economic downturn, our third-party payers may delay or be unable to satisfy their reimbursement obligations. Sales of our principal products are dependent, in part, on the availability and extent of reimbursement from third-party payers, including government programs such as Medicare and Medicaid and private payer healthcare and insurance programs. A reduction in the availability or extent of reimbursement from government and/or private payer healthcare programs could have a material adverse effect on the sales of our products, our business and results of operations.
Current economic conditions may adversely affect the ability of our distributors, customers, suppliers and service providers to obtain the liquidity required to pay for our products or to buy necessary inventory or raw materials and to perform their obligations under agreements with us, which could disrupt our operations, and could negatively impact our business and cash flow. Although we make efforts to monitor these third parties’ financial condition and their liquidity, our ability to do so is limited, and some of them may become unable to pay their bills in a timely manner, or may even become insolvent, which could negatively impact our business and results of operations. These risks may be elevated with respect to our interactions with third parties with substantial operations in countries where current economic conditions are the most severe, particularly where such third parties are themselves exposed to sovereign risk from
business interactions directly with fiscally-challenged government payers.
At the same time, significant changes and volatility in the financial markets, in the consumer and business environment, in the competitive landscape and in the global political and security landscape make it increasingly difficult for us to predict our revenues and earnings into the future. As a result, any revenue or earnings guidance or outlook which we have given or might give may be overtaken by events, or may otherwise turn out to be inaccurate. Though we endeavor to give reasonable estimates of future revenues and earnings at the time we give such guidance, based on then-current conditions, there is a significant risk that such guidance or outlook will turn out to be, or to have been, incorrect.
Failure to maintain adequate internal controls or to implement new or improved controls could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial position and results of operations and could cause the market value of our common stock to decline.
Ensuring that we have adequate internal financial and accounting controls and procedures in place so that we can produce accurate financial statements on a timely basis is a costly and time-consuming effort. Our internal control over financial reporting is designed to provide reasonable assurance regarding the reliability of financial reporting and the preparation of financial statements in accordance with GAAP. We may not be able to complete our evaluation, testing and any required remediation in a timely fashion. During the evaluation and testing process, if we identify one or more material weaknesses in our internal control over financial reporting, we will be unable to assert that our internal controls are effective. We have in the past, identified a material weakness in our internal control over financial reporting, which was remediated; however, our remediation efforts may not enable us to avoid a material weakness in the future. Ensuring that we have adequate internal financial and accounting controls and procedures in place to help produce accurate financial statements on a timely basis is a costly and time-consuming effort that needs to be evaluated frequently.
We are required to disclose changes made in our internal control and procedures on a quarterly basis. Our independent registered public accounting firm is required to report on the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting pursuant to Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. Our independent registered public accounting firm may issue a report that is adverse in the event it is not satisfied with the level at which our controls are documented, designed or operating. In addition, we may encounter problems or delays in completing the implementation of any requested improvements and receiving a favorable attestation by our independent registered public accounting firm.
In the event that our Chief Executive Officer, Chief Financial Officer, or independent registered public accounting firm determines that our internal control over financial reporting is not effective as defined under Section 404, we could be subject to one or more investigations or enforcement actions by state or federal regulatory agencies, stockholder lawsuits, breaches of the covenants under our credit facilities, or other adverse actions requiring us to incur defense costs, pay fines, make settlements or seek judgments, which may adversely affect investor perceptions and potentially result in a decline in our stock price.
Our reported financial results may be adversely affected by changes in accounting principles generally accepted in the United States.
Generally accepted accounting principles, or U.S. GAAP, in the United States are subject to interpretation by the Financial Accounting Standards Board, or FASB, the SEC and various bodies formed to promulgate and interpret appropriate accounting principles. A change in these principles or interpretations could have a significant effect on our reported financial results and could affect the reporting of transactions completed before the announcement of a change. For example, in May 2014, the FASB issued ASU No. 2014-09, Revenue From Contracts With Customers (Topic 606), or ASC 606, as subsequently amended, which supersedes nearly all existing revenue recognition guidance under U.S. GAAP. ASC 606 became effective for us beginning the first quarter of fiscal 2018, and we have adopted it using the modified retrospective transition method. In addition, were we to change our critical accounting estimates, our results of operations could be significantly impacted. These or other changes in accounting principles could adversely affect our financial results. See Note 2 of the Notes to Financial Statements in Part II - Item 8 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K for information regarding the effect of new accounting pronouncements on our financial statements. Any difficulties in implementing these pronouncements could cause us to fail to meet our financial reporting obligations, which could result in regulatory discipline and harm investors’ confidence in us.
There are inherent uncertainties involved in estimates, judgments and assumptions used in the preparation of financial statements in accordance with GAAP. Any future changes in estimates, judgments and assumptions used or necessary revisions to prior estimates, judgments or assumptions or changes in accounting standards could lead to a restatement or revision to previously consolidated financial statements, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial position and results of operations and could cause the market value of our common stock to decline.
The preparation of financial statements in conformity with GAAP requires management to make estimates and assumptions that affect the amounts reported in the consolidated financial statements and accompanying notes. We base our estimates on historical experience and on various other assumptions that we believe to be reasonable under the circumstances, as discussed in greater detail in the section titled “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” the results of which form the basis for making judgments about the carrying values of assets and liabilities that are not readily apparent from other sources. Our operating results may be adversely affected if our assumptions change or if actual circumstances differ from those in our assumptions, which could cause our operating results to fall below the expectations of securities analysts and investors, resulting in a decline in our stock price. Significant assumptions and estimates used in preparing our consolidated financial statements include those related to revenue recognition, provision for chargebacks and rebates, accruals for product returns, valuation of inventory, impairment of intangibles and long-lived assets, accounting for income taxes and share-based compensation. Furthermore, although we have recorded reserves for litigation related contingencies based on estimates of probable future costs, such litigation related contingencies could result in substantial further costs. Also, any new or revised accounting standards may require adjustments to previously issued financial statements. Any such changes could result in corresponding changes to the amounts of liabilities, revenues, expenses and income. Any such changes could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial position and results of operations and could cause the market value of our common stock to decline.
Changes in financial accounting standards or practices can have a significant effect on our reported results and may even affect our reporting of transactions completed before the change is effective. New accounting pronouncements and varying interpretations of accounting pronouncements have occurred and may occur in the future. Changes to existing rules or the questioning of current practices may adversely affect our business and financial results.
Changes in income tax laws, tax rulings and other factors may have a significantly adverse impact on our effective tax rate and tax expense, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial position and results of operations and could cause the market value of our common stock to decline.
On December 22, 2017, the U.S. government enacted the Tax Act, which includes significant changes to the taxation of business entities. These changes include, among others, a federal statutory rate reduction from 35% to 21% effective January 1, 2018, the elimination or reduction of certain domestic deductions and credits, limitations on the deductibility of executive compensation and interest, and a one-time transition tax on earnings of certain foreign subsidiaries that were previously tax deferred. Our financial statements for the current year now reflect the effects of the Tax Act based on current guidance, including remeasurement of our deferred tax assets and liabilities, as well as the effects of the reduced rate of the U.S. corporate income tax and certain other provisions of the Tax Act on our effective tax rate and operating results. The U.S. Treasury Department, the IRS, and state tax authorities will continue to interpret or issue guidance on how provisions of the Tax Act will be applied or otherwise administered. As future guidance is issued, we may make adjustments to amounts that we have previously recorded that may materially impact our financial statements in the period in which the adjustments are made.
In addition to income taxes in the United States, we are subject to income taxes in many foreign jurisdictions. Significant judgment is required in determining our worldwide provision for income taxes. In the ordinary course of business, there are many transactions and calculations where the ultimate tax determination is uncertain. The final determination of any tax audits or related litigation could be materially different from our historical income tax provisions and accruals.
In addition, tax laws are dynamic and subject to change as evidenced by the Tax Act. As new laws are passed and new interpretations of the law are issued or applied, our provision for income taxes may be affected. Changes to U.S. tax laws, including taxation of earnings outside of the U.S., the introduction of a base erosion anti-abuse tax and the disallowance of tax deductions for certain book expenses, as well as changes to U.S. tax laws that may be enacted in the future, could impact the tax treatment of our earnings, as well as cash and cash equivalent balances we currently maintain. Furthermore, due to shifting economic and political conditions, tax policies or rates in various jurisdictions
may be subject to significant change.