srpt-10k_20181231.htm

 

UNITED STATES

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

Washington, D.C. 20549

 

FORM 10-K

 

(Mark One)

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

For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2018

Or

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

For the transition period from                     to

Commission file number: 001-14895

 

Sarepta Therapeutics, Inc.

(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)

 

 

Delaware

 

93-0797222

(State or other jurisdiction of

incorporation or organization)

 

(I.R.S. Employer

Identification Number)

 

 

 

215 First Street

Suite 415

Cambridge, MA

 

02142

(Address of principal executive offices)

 

(Zip Code)

Registrant’s telephone number, including area code: (617) 274-4000

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

 

Tile of Each Class

 

Name of Exchange on Which Registered

Common Stock, $0.0001 par value

 

The NASDAQ Stock Market LLC

(The NASDAQ Global Select Market)

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

None

 

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.    Yes      No   

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act.    Yes      No  

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

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

Indicate by check mark if disclosure of delinquent filers pursuant to Item 405 of Regulation S-K (§ 229.405 of this chapter) is not contained herein, and will not be contained, to the best of the registrant’s knowledge, in definitive proxy or information statements incorporated by reference in Part III of this Form 10-K or any amendment to this Form 10-K.  

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

 

Large accelerated filer

Accelerated filer

 

 

 

 

Non-accelerated filer

  

Smaller reporting company

 

Emerging growth company

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Act).    Yes      No  

The aggregate market value of the voting and non-voting common equity held by non-affiliates of the registrant as of June 29, 2018 (the

last business day of the registrant’s most recently completed second fiscal quarter) based on the closing price of $132.18 as reported on the Nasdaq Global Select Market was approximately $8,769,647,061.

The number of outstanding shares of the registrant’s common stock as of the close of business on February 22, 2019 was 71,292,129.

 

DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE

The registrant has incorporated by reference into Part III of this Annual Report on Form 10-K, portions of its definitive Proxy Statement for its 2018 annual meeting to be filed with the Commission no later than 120 days after the end of the fiscal year covered by this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

 

 

 

 


Sarepta Therapeutics, Inc.

FORM 10-K INDEX

 

 

 

Page

PART I

 

4

Item 1. Business

 

4

Item 1A. Risk Factors

 

27

Item 1B. Unresolved Staff Comments

 

58

Item 2. Properties

 

58

Item 3. Legal Proceedings

 

58

Item 4. Mine Safety Disclosures

 

58

PART II

 

59

Item 5. Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity
Securities

 

59

Item 6. Selected Financial Data

 

60

Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations

 

61

Item 7A. Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk

 

75

Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data

 

75

Item 9. Changes in and Disagreements with Accountants on Accounting and Financial Disclosure

 

76

Item 9A. Controls and Procedures

 

76

Item 9B. Other Information

 

78

PART III

 

79

Item 10. Directors, Executive Officers and Corporate Governance

 

79

Item 11. Executive Compensation

 

79

Item 12. Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management and Related Stockholder Matters

 

79

Item 13. Certain Relationships and Related Transactions, and Director Independence

 

79

Item 14. Principal Accounting Fees and Services

 

79

PART IV

 

80

Item 15. Exhibits, Financial Statement Schedules

 

80

Item 16. Form 10-K Summary

 

86

 

 

 

 

 

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Forward-Looking Information

This Annual Report on Form 10-K, including the “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” section in Item 7, and other materials accompanying this Annual Report on Form 10-K contain forward-looking statements or incorporate by reference forward-looking statements. Statements that are not purely historical are forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements are often identified by words such as “believe,” “anticipate,” “expect,” “intend,” “plan,” “will,” “may,” “estimate,” “could,” “continue,” “ongoing,” “predict,” “potential,” “likely,” “seek” and other similar expressions, as well as variations or negatives of these words. These statements address expectations, projections of future results of operations or financial condition, or other “forward-looking” information. These statements relate to our future plans, objectives, expectations, intentions and financial performance and the assumptions that underlie these statements. These forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to:

 

our belief that our proprietary technology platforms and collaborations can be used to develop novel pharmaceutical products to treat a broad range of diseases and address key currently unmet medical needs;

 

our intention to leverage our technology platforms, organizational capabilities, collaborations and resources to lead the field of precision genetic medicines, including the treatment of rare, neuromuscular and other diseases, with a diversified portfolio of product candidates;

 

our intention to focus on building our gene therapy engine, advancing the development of and potentially commercialize additional exon-skipping product candidates, investing in our next-generation precision medicine, ensuring appropriate capitalization and nurturing our culture;

 

our expectations regarding the continued growth of our business operations due, in part, to the commercialization of EXONDYS 51;

 

our technologies and programs, including those with strategic partners, and their respective potential benefits, including our PMO based compounds’ potential to be designed to create more, less, or none of certain proteins, or produce analogues of endogenous proteins; the potential of our PPMO to be tailored to reach other organs beyond muscle and result in enhanced delivery into the cell with less frequent dosing than PMOs; the benefits of the unique design of the AAVrh74 vector, the MHCK7 promoter and the transgene, our belief that GALGT2 modifies the dystrophin associated protein complex and up-regulates utrophin to protect muscle from damage in the absence of dystrophin; and the potential of micro-dystrophin and GALGT2 to treat all or nearly all DMD patients regardless of mutation;

 

our belief that our partnerships with manufacturers will provide us access to additional commercial manufacturing capacity for our micro-dystrophin DMD gene therapy program, as well as a manufacturing platform for future gene therapy programs, and our belief that our current network of manufacturing partners are able to fulfil the requirements of our commercial plan;

 

our plan to continue building out our network for commercial distribution in jurisdictions in which eteplirsen is approved;

 

estimated timelines and milestones for 2019 and beyond, including an expected FDA action date of August 19, 2019 for golodirsen, the expectation to complete the open-label portion of our golodirsen trial (4053-101) in 2019, filing an NDA to the FDA for casimersen in 2019, completing a first-in-human, single ascending dose trial for SRP-5051, conducting a confirmatory trial for our micro-dystrophin gene therapy program using commercial supply of SRP-9001 by the end of 2019 and commencing dosing in the clinical trial to test NT-3 gene therapy in 2019 for CMT type 1A;

 

our belief that the delivery of NT-3 may have applicability to other subtypes of CMT in addition to other neuropathies and muscle-wasting diseases;  

 

the timely completion and satisfactory outcome of our post-marketing requirements and commitments, including verification of a clinical benefit for EXONDYS 51 in confirmatory trials;  

 

our plan to seek follow up EMA scientific advice in 2019 to explore a potential approach for EMA approval of eteplirsen;

 

our ability to further secure long term supply of EXONDYS 51 and our product candidates to satisfy our planned commercial, managed access programs, named patient programs and clinical needs;

 

our belief that our current network of manufacturing partners is able to produce raw materials and active pharmaceutical ingredients in the quantities that we require, and are capable of continuing to expand capacity as needed;

 

the impact of regulations and regulatory decisions by the FDA and other regulatory agencies on our business, as well as the development of our product candidates and our financial and contractual obligations;

 

the possible impact of any competing products on the commercial success of EXONDYS 51 and our product candidates and our ability to compete against such products;

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our ability to enter into research, development or commercialization alliances with universities, hospitals, independent research centers, non-profit organizations, pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies and other entities for specific molecular targets or selected disease indications and our ability to selectively pursue opportunities to access certain intellectual property rights that complement our internal portfolio through license agreements or other arrangements; 

 

our expectations regarding the potential benefits of the partnership, licensing and/or collaboration arrangements and other strategic arrangements and transactions we have entered into or may enter into in the future;

 

the extent of protection that our patents provide and our pending patent applications may provide, if patents issue from such applications, to our technologies and programs, and our ability to obtain and maintain patent protection for our technologies and programs;

 

our plans and ability to file and progress to issue additional patent applications to enhance and protect our new and existing technologies and programs;

 

our belief that our owned and licensed patents and patent applications provide us with a competitive advantage;

 

our belief that our current facilities in Cambridge, Andover and Burlington, Massachusetts and Dublin and Columbus, Ohio are suitable and will provide sufficient capacity to meet the projected needs of our business for the next 12 months;

 

our estimates regarding how long our currently available cash and cash equivalents will be sufficient to finance our operations and business plans and statements about our future capital needs; 

 

our estimates regarding future revenues, research and development expenses, other expenses, capital requirements and payments to third parties;

 

our expectations relating to potential funding from government and other sources for the development of some of our product candidates;

 

our ability to comply with applicable environmental laws and regulations; and

 

our beliefs and expectations regarding milestone, royalty or other payments that could be due to third parties under existing agreements.

We undertake no obligation to update any of the forward-looking statements contained in this Annual Report on Form 10-K after the date of this report, except as required by law. We caution readers not to place undue reliance on forward-looking statements. Our actual results could differ materially from those discussed in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. The forward-looking statements contained in this Annual Report on Form 10-K, and other written and oral forward-looking statements made by us from time to time, are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those anticipated in the forward-looking statements, including the risks, uncertainties and assumptions identified under the heading “Risk Factors” in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

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PART I

Item 1. Business.

Overview

We are a commercial-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on helping patients through the discovery and development of unique RNA-targeted therapeutics, gene therapy and other genetic therapeutic modalities for the treatment of rare diseases. Applying our proprietary, highly-differentiated and innovative technologies, and through collaborations with our strategic partners, we are developing potential therapeutic candidates for a broad range of diseases and disorders, including Duchenne muscular dystrophy (“DMD”), Limb-girdle muscular dystrophies (“LGMDs”), Mucopolysaccharidosis type IIIA (“MPS IIIA”) and Pompe.

Our first commercial product in the U.S., EXONDYS 51® (eteplirsen) Injection (“EXONDYS 51”), was granted accelerated approval by the FDA on September 19, 2016. EXONDYS 51 is indicated for the treatment of DMD in patients who have a confirmed mutation of the DMD gene that is amenable to exon 51 skipping. EXONDYS 51 uses our phosphorodiamidate morpholino oligomer (“PMO”) chemistry and exon-skipping technology to skip exon 51 of the dystrophin gene. Exon skipping is intended to promote the production of an internally truncated but functional dystrophin protein.

The original PMO structure and variations of this structure that are so-called PMO-based (collectively “PMO-based”) are central to our proprietary chemistry platform. PMO technologies can be used to selectively up-regulate or down-regulate the production of a target protein through pre-mRNA splice alteration. Thus, PMO-based compounds have the potential to be designed to create more, less, or none of certain proteins, or produce analogues of endogenous proteins. This technology can be used to correct disease-causing genetic errors by inducing the targeted expression of novel proteins.

In addition to our commercial-stage product, we have PMO-based product candidates in clinical development designed to treat those patients with DMD who have genetic mutations amenable to skipping exon 53 of the Duchenne gene (SRP-4053) and exon 45 of the Duchenne gene (SRP-4045) (golodirsen and casimersen, respectively). In December 2018, we completed the submission of our rolling New Drug Application (“NDA”) to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) seeking accelerated approval for golodirsen. The FDA accepted the NDA and granted priority review status for golodirsen with a targeted regulatory action date of August 19, 2019. The FDA also indicated that it does not intend to conduct an advisory board for golodirsen. We are currently conducting both a Phase 1/2 clinical trial and a Phase 3 placebo controlled confirmatory clinical trial (ESSENCE) studying casimersen. We anticipate submitting an NDA to the FDA for casimersen in 2019 if we believe that the results of an interim dystrophin analysis in the ESSENCE trial are positive. We also have other product candidates in discovery and preclinical development that are designed to skip other exons.

The PMO chemistry platform is highly adaptable, and we have developed next-generation PMO-based chemistries for advancing RNA-targeted therapeutics. These next-generation chemistries are specifically designed to enhance tissue targeting, intracellular delivery, target selectivity and drug potency. One of these novel technologies is based on cell-penetrating peptide-conjugated PMO (“PPMO”). The PPMO features covalent attachment of a cell-penetrating peptide to a PMO with the goal of enhanced delivery into the cell. Our most advanced PPMO product candidate is SRP-5051, which is designed to treat DMD in patients with genetic mutations amenable to exon 51 skipping. We are currently conducting a first-in-human, single ascending dose, Phase 1 clinical trial for this product candidate, which we expect to complete in 2019.

As part of our multifaceted approach to DMD, we are also exploring gene therapy technologies to treat DMD. In collaboration with Nationwide Children’s Hospital (“Nationwide”), we are testing a product candidate, SRP-9001, that aims to express a smaller but still functional version of dystrophin (“micro-dystrophin”). We use a unique adeno-associated virus (“AAV”) vector called AAVrh74 to transport the transgene – the genetic material that will make the protein of interest – to the target cells. Micro-dystrophin is used because naturally-occurring dystrophin is too large to fit in an AAV. On October 3, 2018, Nationwide presented positive results from a Phase 1/2a clinical trial testing SRP-9001 in four individuals with DMD enrolled in the trial. In the fourth quarter of 2018, we commenced a placebo-controlled trial with the goal to establish the functional benefits of micro-dystrophin expressions. We plan to conduct a confirmatory trial using commercial supply of SRP-9001 by the end of 2019, pending regulatory feedback.

In 2018, through a number of strategic collaboration and licensing arrangements, we expanded our pipeline to include programs that aim to treat a broad range of rare diseases in addition to DMD, such as LGMDs, Charcot-Marie-Tooth (“CMT”), MPS IIIA and Pompe disease. One of our strategic partners, Myonexus Therapeutics, Inc. (“Myonexus”) develops gene therapy programs for various forms of LGMDs. The most advanced of Myonexus’ product candidates, MYO-101, is designed to transfer a gene that codes for and restores beta-sarcoglycan protein with the goal of restoring the dystrophin associated protein complex. MYO-101 utilizes the same vector and promoter used in the development of SRP-9001. Myonexus commenced a Phase 1/2a trial of MYO-101 in the fourth quarter of 2018, and on February 27, 2019, we announced positive two-month data from the first three-patient cohort dosed in the MYO-101 trial.

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Our pipeline includes 25 programs at various stages of pre-clinical and clinical development, reflecting our aspiration to apply our multifaceted approach and expertise in precision genetic medicine to make a profound difference in the lives of patients suffering from rare diseases.

Objectives and Business Strategy

We believe that our proprietary technology platforms and collaborations can be used to develop novel pharmaceutical products to treat a broad range of diseases and address key currently-unmet medical needs. We intend to leverage our technology platforms, organizational capabilities, collaborations and resources to lead the field of precision genetic medicines, including the treatment of rare, neuromuscular and other diseases, with a diversified portfolio of product candidates. In pursuit of this objective, we intend to focus on the following activities:

 

building our gene therapy engine, including developing gene therapy product candidates, operationalizing our manufacturing strategy and establishing our commercial foundation in preparation for potential regulatory approvals;

 

advancing the development of additional exon-skipping product candidates (e.g., golodirsen and casimersen), launching potential approved products and supporting marketed products;

 

investing in next-generation precision medicine through internal research, strategic partnerships, collaborations and other potential opportunities;  

 

ensuring we have the appropriate capitalization to fund our business objectives and strategies, including by raising additional capital through licensing, collaborations and offerings of equity and / or debt; and

 

nurturing our culture, which is based on bias to action, a self-starter mentality, smart and appropriate risk-taking and high ethics.

Core Therapeutic Areas

DMD: We primarily focus on rapidly advancing the development of our potentially disease-modifying pipeline of exon-skipping, gene therapy and gene editing product candidates targeting DMD. DMD is a rare x-linked recessive genetic disorder affecting children (primarily males) that is characterized by progressive muscle deterioration and weakness. It is the most common type of muscular dystrophy. DMD is caused by an absence of dystrophin, a protein that protects muscle cells. The absence of dystrophin in muscle cells leads to significant cell damage and ultimately causes muscle cell death and fibrotic replacement. In the absence of dystrophin protein, affected individuals generally experience the following symptoms, although disease severity and life expectancy vary:

 

muscle damage characterized by inflammation, fibrosis and loss of myofibers beginning at an early age;

 

muscle weakness and progressive loss of muscle function beginning in the first few years of life;

 

decline of ambulation and respiratory function after the age of seven;

 

total loss of ambulation in the pre-teenage or early teenage years;

 

progressive loss of upper extremity function during mid- to late-teens; and

 

respiratory and/or cardiac failure, resulting in death before the age of 30.

LGMDs are autosomal recessive, monogenic, rare neuromuscular diseases caused by missense and deletion mutations. These diseases affect males and females equally. Some types of LGMDs affect skeletal muscle and cardiac muscle. More severe forms of LGMDs mimic DMD. LGMDs as a class affect an estimated range of approximately 1 in every 14,500 to 1 in every 123,000 individuals. Currently, there are no available treatment options for LGMDs.

MPS IIIA is a rare inherited neurodegenerative lysosomal storage disorder characterized by intractable behavioral problems and developmental regression resulting in early death. It is caused by mutations in the SGSH gene, which encodes an enzyme called Heparan-N-sulfamidase necessary for heparan sulfate (“HS”) recycling in cells. The disrupted lysosomal degradation and resulting storage of HS and glycolipids such as gangliosides leads to severe neurodegeneration. MPS IIIA affects approximately 1 in 100,000 individuals and is inherited in an autosomal recessive pattern. There are currently no treatment options for patients.

CMT is a group of hereditary, degenerative nerve diseases that are caused by mutations in genes that produce proteins involved in the structure and function of either the peripheral nerve axon or the myelin sheath. CMT can cause degeneration of motor skills, resulting in muscle weakness, and limiting patients’ ability to walk or use their hands, and in some cases, can cause degeneration of sensory nerves, resulting in a reduced ability to feel heat, cold, and pain. CMT affects approximately 1 in every 2,500

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individuals, while CMT type 1A, which is most often caused by an extra copy of the PMP22 gene, affects approximately 50,000 patients in the U.S. Most patients are diagnosed at infancy, while other patients develop symptoms at adolescence. Currently, there are no available treatment options.

Pompe disease is caused by mutation in the gene that codes for the enzyme acid alpha-glucosidase (“GAA”), which is responsible for metabolizing glycogen in lysosomes. The disease causes buildup of glycogen in the body's cells, which in certain organs and tissues, especially muscles, impairs ability to function normally. Pompe disease is progressive and often debilitating, disables the heart and skeletal muscles with muscle weakness worsening over time. It affects both sexes equally and is often fatal. Pompe disease affects an estimated 1 in approximately every 40,000 individuals.

Our Commercial Product

EXONDYS 51, our first commercial product, approved by the FDA on September 19, 2016, is indicated for the treatment of DMD in patients who have a confirmed mutation of the DMD gene that is amenable to exon 51 skipping EXONDYS 51 uses our PMO chemistry and exon-skipping technology to skip exon 51 of the dystrophin gene. PMO-based compounds are synthetic compounds that bind to complementary sequences of RNA by standard Watson-Crick nucleobase pairing. The two key structural differences between PMO-based compounds and naturally occurring RNA are that the PMO nucleobases are bound to synthetic morpholino rings instead of ribose rings, and the morpholino rings are linked by phosphorodiamidate groups instead of phosphodiester groups. Replacement of the negatively charged phosphodiester in RNA with the uncharged phosphorodiamidate group in PMO eliminates linkage ionization at physiological pH. Due to these modifications, PMO-based compounds are resistant to degradation by plasma and intracellular enzymes. Unlike the RNA-targeted technologies such as siRNAs and DNA gapmers, PMO-based compounds operate by steric blockade rather than by cellular enzymatic degradation to achieve their biological effects. Thus, PMOs use a fundamentally different mechanism from other RNA-targeted technologies.

We are in the process of assessing and conducting various EXONDYS 51 clinical trials, including studies that are required to comply with regulatory NDA and studies we need to conduct to comply with our post-marketing FDA requirements/commitments to verify and describe the clinical benefit of EXONDYS 51.

EXONDYS 51 targets the most frequent series of mutations that cause DMD. Approximately 13% of DMD patients are amenable to exon 51 skipping. For the years ended December 31, 2018, 2017, and 2016, the Company recorded net revenue of $301.0 million, $154.6 million, and $5.4 million, respectively, related to the sale of EXONDYS 51.

Our Pipeline     

Golodirsen (SRP-4053) uses our PMO chemistry and exon-skipping technology to skip exon 53 of the DMD gene. Golodirsen is designed to bind to exon 53 of dystrophin pre-mRNA, resulting in exclusion, or “skipping”, of this exon during mRNA processing in patients with genetic mutations that are amenable to exon 53 skipping. We are enrolling and dosing patients in ESSENCE (4045-301), our Phase 3 placebo controlled confirmatory trial in patients who have a confirmed mutation of the DMD gene that is amenable to exon 45 or 53 skipping using casimersen and golodirsen, respectively. Golodirsen is also being evaluated in a Phase 1/2 trial having two parts. Part I of the Phase 1/2 trial has been completed, and Part II, an open-label portion of the trial, is expected to be completed in 2019 (Study 4053-101). In September 2017, we announced positive results of an analysis that included biopsies of the bicep muscle at baseline and on-treatment at the Part II, Week 48 time point. The 4053-101 interim trial results demonstrated statistical significance on all primary and secondary biological endpoints. In December 2018, we completed the submission of our rolling NDA to the FDA seeking accelerated approval for golodirsen. The FDA accepted the NDA and granted priority review status for golodirsen with a targeted regulatory action date of August 19, 2019. The FDA also indicated that it does not intend to conduct an advisory board for golodirsen.

Casimersen (SRP-4045) uses our PMO chemistry and exon-skipping technology to skip exon 45 of the DMD gene. Casimersen is designed to bind to exon 45 of dystrophin pre-mRNA, resulting in exclusion, or “skipping”, of this exon during mRNA processing in patients with genetic mutations that are amenable to exon 45 skipping. We are enrolling and dosing patients in ESSENCE, further described above. We have completed a dose titration portion (Phase 1) and the open-label portion (Phase 2) of a Sarepta sponsored Phase 1/2 the trial clinical trial studying casimersen (4045-101). We anticipate submitting an NDA to the FDA for casimersen in 2019 if we believe the results of an interim dystrophin analysis in the ESSENCE study are positive.

SRP-5051 uses our next-generation chemistry platform, PPMO, and our exon-skipping technology to skip exon 51 of the dystrophin gene. The PPMO technology features covalent attachment of a cell-penetrating peptide to a PMO with the goal of enhanced delivery into the cell. In pre-clinical research, our proprietary class of PPMO compounds demonstrated an increase in dystrophin production and a more durable response compared to PMO. In addition, PPMO treatment in non-human primates results in high levels of exon-skipping in skeletal, cardiac and smooth muscle tissues. Pre-clinical trials also indicate that PPMOs may require less frequent dosing than PMOs, and that PPMOs could potentially be tailored to reach other organs beyond muscle.

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In the fourth quarter of 2017, we received clearance from the FDA and commenced a first-in-human, single ascending dose, trial for the treatment of DMD using SRP-5051 in patients who are amenable to exon 51 skipping. We expect to complete this trial in 2019.

SRP-9001 (micro-dystrophin gene therapy program), in collaboration with Nationwide, aims to express micro-dystrophin – a smaller but still functional version of dystrophin.  A unique, engineered micro-dystrophin is used because naturally-occurring dystrophin is too large to fit in an AAV vector. SRP-9001 developed in collaboration with Nationwide employs the AAVrh74 vector, which is designed to be systemically and robustly delivered to skeletal, diaphragm and cardiac muscle without promiscuously crossing the blood brain barrier, which we believe makes it a strong candidate to treat peripheral neuromuscular diseases. An MHCK7 promoter was chosen for its ability to robustly express in the heart, which is critically important for patients with DMD, who typically die from pulmonary or cardiac complications. Lastly, the transgene was designed to maintain spectrin-like repeats 2 and 3, which has been reported to be critical to maintaining muscle force.

In the fourth quarter of 2017, an investigational new drug (“IND”) application for the micro-dystrophin gene therapy program, in collaboration with Nationwide, was cleared by the FDA, and a Phase 1/2a clinical trial in individuals with DMD was initiated. On October 3, 2018, Nationwide presented what we believe to be positive updated results from the Phase 1/2a clinical trial in four individuals with DMD enrolled in the trial. In the fourth quarter of 2018, we commenced a placebo-controlled trial with the goal to establish the functional benefits of micro-dystrophin expressions. We plan to conduct a confirmatory trial using commercial supply of SRP-9001 by the end of 2019, pending regulatory feedback.

MYO-101. We are collaborating with Myonexus to develop gene therapy programs for various types of LGMDs. All the Myonexus programs use the AAVrh.74 vector, the same vector used in the micro-dystrophin gene therapy program, to transfect a restorative gene. The most advanced of Myonexus’ product candidates, MYO-101, aims to treat LGMD2E, also known as beta-sarcoglycanopathy, a severe and debilitating form of LGMD characterized by progressive muscle fiber loss, inflammation and muscle fiber replacement with fat and fibrotic tissue. MYO-101 is designed to transfect a gene that codes for and restores beta-sarcoglycan protein with the goal of restoring the dystroglycan complex.  MYO-101 has generated positive pre-clinical safety and efficacy data utilizing the AAVrh.74 vector.  Myonexus commenced a Phase 1/2a trial of MYO-101 in the fourth quarter of 2018, and on February 27, 2019, we announced positive two-month data from the first three-patient cohort dosed in the MYO-101 trial.

GALGT2. An additional gene therapy program for DMD and other muscular dystrophies, also in collaboration with Nationwide, aims to express the enzyme GALGT2 from an AAV vector.  We believe that GALGT2 modifies the dystrophin associated protein complex (DAPC) and up-regulates utrophin (a protein significantly homologous to dystrophin) to protect muscle from damage in the absence of dystrophin. We believe that the micro-dystrophin and GALGT2 technologies have the potential to treat all or nearly all DMD patients regardless of mutation.  

In the fourth quarter of 2017, an IND application for GALGT2 was cleared by the FDA, and a Phase 1/2a clinical trial testing GALGT2 for the treatment of DMD was initiated.

LYS-SAF 302. We are collaborating with Lysogene S.A. (“Lysogene”) to develop a gene therapy, LYS-SAF302, to treat MPS IIIA. LYS-SAF302 is an AAV-mediated gene therapy, the goal of which is to replace the faulty N-sulfoglucosamine sulfohydrolase (“SGSH”) gene with a healthy copy of the gene. LYS-SAF302 employs the AAVrh10 virus, chosen for its ability to target the central nervous system (“CNS”). Proof-of-concept was established in MPS IIIA pre-clinical models demonstrating strong expression, broad distribution, and the ability of the compound to correct lysosomal storage defects by producing the missing enzyme. Safety data from an IND-enabling toxicity and a biodistribution Good Laboratory Practice (“GLP”) trial showed that, at any dose level evaluated, LYS-SAF302 was not associated with unexpected mortality, change in clinical signs, body weight, behavior or macroscopic findings in the brain.

The first patient has been dosed in AAVance, a global Phase 2/3 clinical trial of LYS-SAF302, aiming at evaluating the effectiveness of a one-time delivery of a AAVrh10 virus carrying the N-SGSH gene.

Neutrophin 3 (CMT Type 1A). A gene therapy program in collaboration with Nationwide that aims to express neurotrophin 3 (“NT-3”) encoding the NTF3 gene to treat CMT neuropathies, including CMT type 1A. We believe that the delivery of NT-3 may have applicability to other sub-types of CMT in addition to other neuropathies and muscle-wasting diseases. Pre-clinical research has shown the ability of the NT-3 gene construct to regenerate nerves.  Further pre-clinical research is under way to explore its potential. A clinical trial to test NT-3 gene therapy is planned to commence dosing in 2019 for CMT type 1A, pending regulatory feedback. We believe that the delivery of NT-3 may have applicability to other sub-types of CMT in addition to other muscle-wasting diseases.

Programs in Collaboration with Lacerta. Our collaboration with Lacerta Therapeutics, Inc. (“Lacerta”) utilizes proprietary AAV capsid variants and a scalable vector manufacturing platform to develop treatments for central nervous system and lysosomal storage diseases. The lead candidate, still in discovery phase, is a gene therapy approach with a novel AAV variant for the treatment of Pompe disease.

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CRSPR/Cas9. We are exploring, in collaboration with Duke University, the gene-editing technology CRSPR/Cas9 that aims to restore dystrophin expression by removing or “excising” exons directly from the dystrophin gene to correct out-of-frame mutations. CRSPR/Cas9 technology can also potentially be used to fix stop codon mutations in the dystrophin gene so that dystrophin can be translated to a function protein. This program is in the discovery phase.

The chart below summarizes the status of our more advanced programs, including those with our strategic partners:

 

Manufacturing, Supply and Distribution

We have developed proprietary state-of-the-art Chemistry, Manufacturing and Controls (“CMC”) and manufacturing capabilities that allow synthesis and purification of our product candidates to support both clinical development as well as commercialization. Our current main focus in manufacturing is to continue scaling up production of our PMO-based therapies and optimizing manufacturing for PPMO and gene therapy-based product candidates. We have entered into certain manufacturing and supply arrangements with third-party suppliers which will in part utilize these capabilities to support production of certain of our product candidates and their components. In 2017, we opened a facility in Andover, Massachusetts, which significantly enhances our research and development manufacturing capabilities. However, we currently do not have internal large scale Good Manufacturing Practices (“GMP”) manufacturing capabilities to produce our product and product candidates for commercial and/or clinical use. For our current and future manufacturing needs, we have entered into supply agreements with specialized contract manufacturing organizations (each a “CMO”) to produce custom raw materials, the active pharmaceutical Ingredients (“APIs”) and finished goods for our product candidates. All of our CMO partners have extensive technical expertise, GMP experience and experience manufacturing our specific technology.

For our commercial DMD program, we have commenced work with our existing manufacturers to increase product capacity from mid-scale to large-scale. While there are a limited number of companies that can produce raw materials and APIs in the quantities and with the quality and purity that we require for EXONDYS 51, based on our diligence to date, we believe our current network of manufacturing partners are able to fulfill these requirements, and are capable of continuing to expand capacity as needed. Additionally, we have, and will continue to evaluate further relationships with additional suppliers to increase overall capacity as well as further reduce risks associated with reliance on a limited number of suppliers for manufacturing.  

EXONDYS 51 is distributed in the U.S. through a limited network of home infusion specialty pharmacy providers that deliver the medication to patients and a specialty distributor that distributes EXONDYS 51 to hospitals and hospital outpatient clinics. With respect to the pre-commercial distribution of eteplirsen to patients outside of the U.S., we have contracted with third party distributors and service providers to distribute eteplirsen in certain countries on a named patient basis and through our ex-U.S. early

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access programs (“EAP”). We plan to continue building out our network for commercial distribution in jurisdictions in which eteplirsen is approved.

Our gene therapy manufacturing capabilities have been greatly enhanced through partnerships with Brammer Bio LLC (“Brammer”), Paragon Bioservices, Inc. (“Paragon”) and Aldevron LLC (“Aldevron”). We have adopted a hybrid manufacturing strategy in which we are building internal manufacturing expertise relative to all aspects of AAV-based manufacturing, including gene therapy and gene editing supply, while closely partnering with first-in-class manufacturing partners to expedite development and commercialization of our gene therapy programs. The partnership with Brammer will support our clinical and commercial manufacturing capacity for our micro-dystrophin DMD gene therapy programs and LGMD programs, while also acting as a manufacturing platform for potential future gene therapy programs. The collaboration integrates process development, clinical production and testing, and commercial manufacturing. Our partnership with Paragon will provide us access to additional commercial manufacturing capacity for our micro-dystrophin DMD gene therapy program, as well as a manufacturing platform for future gene therapy programs, such as LGMD. Aldevron will provide GMP-grade plasmid for our micro-dystrophin DMD gene therapy program and LGMD programs, as well as plasmid source material for future gene therapy programs, such as CMT, MPS IIIA, Pompe and other CNS diseases.

Manufacturers and suppliers of product candidates are subject to the FDA’s current GMP (“cGMP”) requirements and other rules and regulations prescribed by foreign regulatory authorities. We depend on our third-party partners for continued compliance with cGMP requirements and applicable foreign standards.

Material Agreements

We believe that our RNA-targeted and gene therapy technologies could be broadly applicable for the potential development of pharmaceutical products in many therapeutic areas. To further exploit our core technologies, we have and may continue to enter into research, development or commercialization alliances with universities, hospitals, independent research centers, non-profit organizations, pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies and other entities for specific molecular targets or selected disease indications. We may also selectively pursue opportunities to access certain intellectual property rights that complement our internal portfolio through license agreements or other arrangements.

Myonexus

On May 3, 2018, we purchased from Myonexus, a privately-held Delaware corporation, a warrant to purchase common stock of Myonexus (the “Warrant”), which, in combination with amendments to the Myonexus certificate of incorporation, provides us with an exclusive option (the “Option”) to acquire Myonexus. In consideration for the Warrant, we made an up-front payment of $60.0 million to Myonexus. On February 26, 2019, we delivered to Myonexus an exercise notice (the “Exercise Notice”) stating our intention to exercise the Option.

Prior to the delivery of the Exercise Notice, on February 26, 2019, we entered into a letter agreement (the “Letter Agreement”) with Myonexus to amend certain terms of the Warrant to (i) reduce the payment price we would be required to make at the closing of the Option exercise from $200.0 million to $165.0 million, subject to certain adjustments (the “Warrant Exercise Price”), and (ii) terminate our obligation to pay any development milestone payments that have yet to be earned under the Warrant and pay Myonexus shareholders an additional amount in recognition of amounts Myonexus expended toward the achievement of those milestones, agreed for this purpose to be $6.0 million, to be paid upon exercise of the Option. Our obligation to make contingent payments to the Myonexus’ former shareholders following the exercise of the Option upon achievement of a threshold amount of net sales of Myonexus products and the receipt and subsequent sale of a priority review voucher with respect to a Myonexus product will remain unchanged.

We retain the right to terminate the Warrant at any time prior to the closing of the Option exercise, which is expected to occur at the end of our first fiscal quarter ending March 31, 2019, subject to the expiration or termination of the waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976, as amended.

BioMarin

License Agreement

On July 17, 2017, Sarepta Therapeutics, Inc. and Sarepta International C.V. (collectively, “Sarepta”) and BioMarin Leiden Holding BV, BioMarin Nederlands BV and BioMarin Technologies BV (collectively, “BioMarin”) executed a License Agreement (the “License Agreement”), pursuant to which BioMarin granted Sarepta a royalty-bearing, worldwide license under patent rights (“Licensed Patents”) and know-how (“Licensed Know-How”) controlled by BioMarin with respect to BioMarin’s DMD program, which are potentially necessary or useful for the treatment of DMD, to practice and exploit the Licensed Patents and Licensed Know-How in all fields of use and for all purposes, including to develop and commercialize antisense oligonucleotide products that target one or more exons of the dystrophin gene to induce exon skipping, including eteplirsen (collectively, the “Products”).

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The license granted by BioMarin to Sarepta under the terms of the License Agreement is exclusive, even as to BioMarin, with respect to the Licensed Patents, and is non-exclusive with respect to Licensed Know-How. Under the License Agreement, BioMarin has the option to convert the exclusive license under the Licensed Patents into a co-exclusive license (co-exclusive with BioMarin) (“BioMarin Co-Exclusive Option”).

Under the terms of the License Agreement, Sarepta is required to pay BioMarin an up-front payment of $15.0 million, and BioMarin will be eligible to receive up to $20.0 million from Sarepta per dystrophin gene exon (other than exon 51) targeted by one or more Products in specified regulatory milestones, as well as an additional $10.0 million milestone, payable following the regulatory approval of eteplirsen by the European Medicines Agency in the EU (“EMA”). BioMarin will also be eligible to receive $15.0 million from Sarepta upon the achievement of $650 million in sales, as well as royalties segmented by specified geographic markets, in some jurisdictions dependent on the existence of a patent, ranging from four (4) to eight (8) percentages of net sales on a product-by-product and country-by-country basis.

Milestones and royalties are payable with respect to eteplirsen (an exon 51 skipping Product), casimersen (an exon 45 skipping Product), golodirsen (an exon 53 skipping Product) and other Products. For eteplirsen, casimersen and golodirsen, the royalty term will expire upon the end of 2023 in the U.S., upon September 30, 2024 in the European Union (“EU”) and no later than September 30, 2024 in other countries provided certain conditions are met. For Products other than exon 45 skipping Products, exon 51 skipping Products and exon 53 skipping Products, the royalty term will end on a country-by country basis upon expiration of granted Licensed Patents covering the applicable Product. The royalties for all Products are subject to reduction upon BioMarin’s exercise of the BioMarin Co-Exclusive Option. All royalties are subject to further potential reductions, including for generic competition and, under specified conditions, for a specified portion of payments that Sarepta may become required to pay under third-party license agreements, subject to a maximum royalty reduction.

Unless earlier terminated, the License Agreement will expire upon the expiration of the last-to-expire royalty term. Either party may terminate the License Agreement in the event of the other party’s uncured material breach. BioMarin may also terminate the License Agreement on a Licensed Patent-by-Licensed Patent basis under specified circumstances relating to patent challenges by Sarepta.

Settlement Agreement

On July 17, 2017, Sarepta and The University of Western Australia on the one hand, and the BioMarin Parties and Academisch Ziekenhuis Leiden (“AZL”) on the other hand (collectively, the “Settlement Parties”), executed a Settlement Agreement pursuant to which all legal actions in the U.S. and certain legal actions in Europe (the “Actions”) would be stopped or withdrawn as between the Settlement Parties. Specifically, the terms of the Settlement Agreement require that existing efforts pursuing ongoing litigation and opposition proceedings would be stopped as between the Settlement Parties, and the Settlement Parties would cooperate to withdraw the Actions before the European Patent Office (except for actions involving third parties), the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit and the High Court of Justice of England and Wales, except for the cross-appeal of the Interlocutory Decision of the Opposition Division dated April 15, 2013 of the European Patent Office of EP 1619249B1 (“EP ‘249 Appeal”) in which Sarepta will withdraw its appeal and BioMarin/AZL will continue with its appeal with Sarepta having oversight of the continued appeal by BioMarin/AZL.

Additionally, under the terms of the Settlement Agreement, the Settlement Parties agree to release each other and the customers, end-users, agents, suppliers, distributors, resellers, contractors, consultants, services and partners of Sarepta or BioMarin (as applicable) from claims and damages related to (i) the patent rights controlled by the releasing party that are involved in the Actions, (ii) with respect to Sarepta and UWA, its patent rights related to the patent rights involved in the Actions, and (iii) with respect to BioMarin and AZL, all of the Licensed Patents and Licensed Know-How.

Under the terms of the Settlement Agreement, Sarepta made an upfront payment of $20.0 million to BioMarin.

University of Western Australia

In April 2013, we entered into an agreement with University of Western Australia (“UWA”) under which an existing exclusive license agreement between the two parties was amended and restated (the “Amended and Restated UWA License Agreement”). The Amended and Restated UWA License Agreement grants us specific rights to the treatment of DMD by inducing the skipping of certain exons. EXONDYS 51, golodirsen and casimersen fall under the scope of the license agreement. Under the Amended and Restated UWA License Agreement, we may be required to make payments of up to $6.0 million in aggregate to UWA based on the successful achievement of certain development and regulatory milestones relating to EXONDYS 51 and up to five additional product candidates. As of the date of this Annual Report, $2.0 million of the $6.0 million development and regulatory milestone payments has been made. We may also be obligated to make payments to UWA of up to $20.0 million upon the achievement of certain sales milestones. Additionally, we may be required to pay a low-single-digit percentage royalty on net sales of

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products covered by issued patents licensed from UWA during the term of the Amended and Restated UWA License Agreement. However, we have the option to purchase future royalties up-front. Under this option, prior to the First Amendment (defined below), we could be required to make a one-time royalty payment of $30.0 million to UWA.

In June 2016, we entered into the first amendment to the Amended and Restated UWA License Agreement (the “First Amendment”) with UWA. Under the First Amendment, we made an up-front payment of $7.0 million to UWA upon execution of the First Amendment. Under the terms of the First Amendment, UWA has waived rights to certain royalties and amended the timing of certain other royalty payments under the Amended and Restated UWA License Agreement, including lowering the one-time royalty payment that is due by us upon exercise of the option to purchase future royalties up-front. Upon exercise of the option to purchase future royalties up-front, we will be obligated to make a $23.0 million payment to UWA. Additionally, we would still be obligated to make up to $20.0 million in payments to UWA upon achievement of certain sales milestones.

Currently, the latest date on which an issued patent covered by our agreement with UWA expires is November 2030 (excluding any patent term extension, supplemental protection certificate or pediatric extensions that may be available); however, patents granted from pending patent applications could result in a later expiration date.

Strategic Alliances

In connection with our multi-front battle against DMD and other rare neuromuscular diseases, we have entered into a number of partnering opportunities. We believe these collaborations, taken along with our own programs, represent a comprehensive approach to treating these rare neuromuscular diseases.  

Nationwide Children’s Hospital

In December 2015, we entered into an exclusive license agreement with Nationwide to acquire exclusive rights to its GALGT2 gene therapy program. This program explores the potential surrogate gene therapy approach to DMD. In the fourth quarter of 2017, the IND application for the GALGT2 gene therapy program was cleared by the FDA, and a Phase 1/2a clinical trial in individuals with DMD was initiated.

In addition, in December 2016, we entered into an exclusive option agreement with Nationwide to acquire exclusive rights to their micro-dystrophin gene therapy program as well as a sponsored research agreement to conduct pre-IND research and conduct the first clinical trial with the lead micro-dystrophin gene therapy. In October 2018, we exercised our exclusive license option and an option under the sponsored research agreement and entered into an exclusive license agreement with Nationwide to acquire exclusive rights to their micro-dystrophin gene therapy program. On October 3, 2018, Nationwide presented positive updated results from our Phase 1/2a clinical trial testing SRP-9001 in four individuals with DMD enrolled in the trial.

Furthermore, in October 2018, we entered into an exclusive option agreement with Nationwide to acquire exclusive rights to their NT-3 gene therapy program for the treatment of certain CMT neuropathy subtypes, including CMT Type 1A.  The option agreement contains pre-determined economic terms for the exclusive license to be entered into upon us exercising our option. The clinical trial to test NT-3 gene therapy is planned to commence dosing in 2019 for CMT type 1A, pending regulatory feedback.  

Lysogene

In October 2018, we entered into a license agreement with Lysogene, a gene therapy company focused on the treatment of orphan diseases of the CNS, for the development of a gene therapy, LYS-SAF302, to treat MPS IIIA. Concomitantly, we also entered into an option with Lysogene to acquire an exclusive license to an additional CNS-targeted gene therapy candidate. Lysogene is responsible for completion of the pivotal trial for LYS-SAF302. We have exclusive commercial rights to LYS-SAF302 and exclusive option rights for the additional CNS-targeted gene therapy program in the United States and all territories outside of Europe, and Lysogene will retain exclusive commercial rights to each program in Europe. We will be responsible for global manufacturing of LYS-SAF302 and will supply Lysogene for its territory. If all milestones are met, we may be required to pay up to $130.8 million in development and commercial milestones and tiered royalties upon commercialization.

Lacerta

In August 2018, we entered into a license and option agreement with Lacerta, a gene therapy company using a constellation of proprietary AAV vector technologies to develop treatments for CNS-targeted and lysosomal storage diseases. Under this agreement, we have an exclusive license to Lacerta’s gene therapy candidate for Pompe disease and exclusive options to obtain an exclusive license for two additional gene therapy candidates. Lacerta will manage the majority of pre-clinical development for the Pompe candidate while we will lead clinical development and commercialization. We will owe development and sales-based milestones to Lacerta and pay single-digit royalties on net sales.

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Duke University

In October 2017, we entered into a sponsored research and exclusive option agreement with Duke University, granting us an exclusive option to an exclusive license to intellectual property and technology related to certain CRISPR/Cas9 technology developed in the laboratory of Charles A. Gersbach, Ph.D. The underlying premise of Dr. Gersbach’s approach is to restore dystrophin expression by removing or “excising” exons from the dystrophin gene. This includes a strategy to excise exons potentially enabling treatment for a majority of the DMD patient population.

Genethon

In May 2017, we entered into a gene therapy research collaboration and option agreement with Genethon to jointly develop micro-dystrophin gene therapy products for the treatment of DMD. Under the terms of the collaboration, Genethon is responsible for the early development work, and we have the option to co-develop Genethon’s micro-dystrophin program, which includes exclusive U.S. commercial rights.

Charley’s Fund Agreement

In October 2007, Charley’s Fund, Inc. (“Charley’s Fund”), a nonprofit organization that funds drug development and discovery initiatives specific to DMD, awarded us a research grant of approximately $2.5 million and, in May 2009, the grant authorization was increased to a total of $5.0 million. Pursuant to the related sponsored research agreement, the grant was provided to support the development of product candidates related to exon 50 skipping using our proprietary exon-skipping technologies. As of December 31, 2017, Charley’s Fund had made payments of approximately $3.4 million to us and no payments have been made to us since this date. Revenue associated with this research and development arrangement is recognized based on the proportional performance method. To date, we have recognized approximately $0.1 million as revenue. We have deferred $3.3 million of previous receipts, which are anticipated to be recognized as revenue upon resolution of outstanding performance obligations.

Previously, we noted unexpected toxicology findings in the kidney as part of our series of pre-clinical trials for AVI-5038, our PMO-based candidate designed for the treatment of individuals with DMD who have an error in the gene coding for dystrophin that can be treated by skipping exon 50. We have conducted additional pre-clinical trials and have not alleviated the toxicity problem. Pursuant to the terms of our agreement with Charley’s Fund, the receipt of additional funds is tied to the satisfaction of certain clinical milestones. Because of the toxicity issues with AVI-5038, satisfaction of the additional milestones under the agreement is unlikely and we do not expect to receive any additional funds from Charley’s Fund.

Summit

On October 3, 2016, we entered into an exclusive Collaboration and License Agreement (the “Collaboration Agreement”) with (Oxford) Ltd. (“Summit”), which grants us the exclusive right to commercialize products in Summit’s utrophin modulator pipeline in the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, Turkey and the Commonwealth of Independent States. On June 27, 2018, Summit announced that it decided to discontinue the development of ezutromid after reviewing the top-line results from its Phase 2 trial.

Patents and Proprietary Rights

Our success depends in part upon our ability to obtain and maintain exclusivity for our product, product candidates and platform technologies.  We typically rely on a combination of patent protection and regulatory exclusivity to maintain exclusivity for our product and product candidates, whereas exclusivity for our platform technologies is generally based on patent protection and trade secret protection.  In addition to patent protection, regulatory exclusivity, and trade secret protection, we also protect our product, product candidates and platform technologies with copyrights, trademarks, and contractual protections.

We actively seek patent protection for our product candidates and certain of our proprietary technologies by filing patent applications in the U.S. and other countries as appropriate. These patent applications are directed to various inventions, including, but not limited to, active ingredients, pharmaceutical formulations, methods of use, and manufacturing methods.  In addition, we actively acquire exclusive rights to third party patents and patent applications to protect our in-licensed product candidates and corresponding platform technologies.

We do not have patents or patent applications in every jurisdiction where there is a potential commercial market for our product candidates. For each of our programs, our decision to seek patent protection in specific foreign markets, in addition to the U.S., is based on many factors, including:

 

our available resources;

 

the number and types of patents already filed or pending;

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the likelihood of success of the product candidate;

 

the size of the commercial market;

 

the presence of a potential competitor in the market; and

 

whether the legal authorities in the market effectively enforce patent rights.

We continually evaluate our patent portfolio and patent strategy and believe our owned and licensed patents and patent applications provide us with a competitive advantage; however, if markets where we do not have patents or patent applications become commercially important, our business may be adversely affected. A discussion of certain risks and uncertainties that may affect our patent position, regulatory exclusivities and other proprietary rights is set forth in Item 1A. Risk Factors included in this report, and a discussion of legal proceedings related to the key patents protecting our product and product candidates is set forth below in the footnotes that immediately below the tables in this section.

Certain of our product candidates are in therapeutic areas that have been the subject of many years of extensive research and development by academic organizations and third parties who may control patents or other intellectual property that they might assert against us, should one or more of our product candidates in these therapeutic areas succeed in obtaining regulatory approval and thereafter be commercialized. We continually evaluate the intellectual property rights of others in these areas in order to determine whether a claim of infringement may be made by others against us. Should we determine that a third party has intellectual property rights that could impact our ability to freely market a compound, we consider a number of factors in determining how best to prepare for the commercialization of any such product candidate. In making this determination we consider, among other things, the stage of development of our product candidate, the anticipated date of first regulatory approval, whether we believe the intellectual property rights of others are valid, whether we believe we infringe the intellectual property rights of others, whether a license is available upon commercially reasonable terms, whether we will seek to challenge the intellectual property rights of others, the term of the rights, and the likelihood of and liability resulting from an adverse outcome should we be found to infringe the intellectual property rights of others.

Currently, U.S. patents, as well as most foreign patents, are generally effective for 20 years from the date the earliest regular application was filed. In some countries, the patent term may be extended to recapture a portion of the term lost during regulatory review of the claimed therapeutic. For example, in the U.S., under the Drug Price Competition and Patent Term Restoration Act of 1984, commonly known as the Hatch-Waxman Act, a patent that covers an FDA-approved drug may be eligible for patent term extension (for up to 5 years, but not beyond a total of 14 years from the date of product approval) as compensation for patent term lost during the FDA regulatory review process.  In the U.S., only one patent may be extended for any product based on FDA delay.  In addition to patent term extension, patents in the U.S. may be granted additional term due to delays at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) during prosecution of a patent application.  We actively strive to maximize the potential for patent protection for our product and product candidates in accordance with the law.

Key Patents & Regulatory Exclusivities

Our product candidates and our technologies are primarily protected by composition of matter and use patents and patent applications. A summary of granted composition of matter and/or use patents that we own or control in the U.S. and Europe, which cover our product and late-stage clinical product candidates, is provided below. To the extent the product or product candidate indicated above the tables that immediately follow the name of such product is covered by a patent that is licensed to Sarepta, we may owe milestones and/or royalties to the indicated licensor in connection with the development and/or commercial sale of the product or product candidate.

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Eteplirsen

 

Patent Number

Country/Region*

Patent Type

Expiration Date**

Owner/Licensor

(if not Sarepta)

U.S. 9,416,361

United States

Composition of Matter

May 4, 2021

Sarepta

U.S. 7,960,5411

United States

Composition of Matter

June 28, 2025

UWA

U.S. 8,486,9072

United States

Methods of Use

June 28, 2025

UWA

U.S. 9,018,368

United States

Composition of Matter

June 28, 2025

UWA

U.S. 7,807,8161

United States

Composition of Matter

February 23, 2026

UWA

U.S. 9,243,2453

United States

Methods of Use

October 27, 2028

BioMarin/AZL

U.S. 9,506,058

United States

Methods of Use

March 14, 2034

Sarepta

 

1

Previously involved in U.S. Patent Interference No. 106,008. Judgment dated September 20, 2016 ordered cancellation of all claims of U.S. Application No. 13/550,210 to BioMarin (AZL).  Appeal by BioMarin (AZL) to the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (Case No. 2017-1078) voluntarily dismissed July 27, 2017.  Reissue of U.S. 7,807,816 (U.S. Application No. 15/349,535) filed November 11, 2016.

2

Previously involved in U.S. Patent Interference No. 106,013.  Judgment dated September 29, 2015 ordered cancellation of U.S. 8,486,907 to us (UWA).  Decision dated December 29, 2015 denied our Request for Rehearing. Appeal by us (UWA) to the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (Case Nos. 2016-1937, 2016-2086 (consolidated)) voluntarily dismissed July 27, 2017.  Reissue of U.S. 8,486,907 (U.S. Application No. 15/655,646) filed July 20, 2017.  

3

Reissue application of U.S. 9,243,245 pending.

 

Patent Number

Country/Region*

Patent Type

Expiration Date**

Owner/Licensor

(if not Sarepta)

EP 1 619 249 B11

Europe

Methods of Use

September 21, 2021

BioMarin/AZL

EP 2 284 264 B1

Europe

Composition of Matter & Methods of Use

September 21, 2021

BioMarin/AZL

EP 2 801 618 B1

Europe

Composition of Matter & Methods of Use

September 21, 2021

BioMarin/AZL

EP 1 766 010 B1

Europe

Composition of Matter & Methods of Use

June 28, 2025

UWA

EP 2 203 173 B12

Europe

Methods of Use

October 27, 2028

BioMarin/AZL

 

1

Involved in EPO Opposition.  Cross-appeal of Interlocutory Decision dated April 15, 2013 is pending.  

2

Involved in EPO Opposition proceedings initiated on September 22, 2016.  EPO ordered revocation of patent on April 4, 2018.  Appeal filed June 8, 2018 is pending.

The various types of regulatory exclusivity for which our product has been granted and our product candidates are anticipated to be eligible to receive is generally discussed below, under ‘Government Regulation’ – ‘Data and Market Exclusivities’ and ‘Orphan Drug Designation and Exclusivity’.  In connection with its FDA approval on September 19, 2016, the FDA granted EXONDYS 51 (eteplirsen) New Chemical Entity (“NCE”) exclusivity until September 19, 2021, and Orphan Drug Exclusivity until September 19, 2023.

Golodirsen

 

Patent Number

Country/Region*

Patent Type

Expiration Date**

Owner/Licensor

(if not Sarepta)

U.S. 9,416,361

United States

Composition of Matter

May 4, 2021

Sarepta

U.S. 8,455,6361

United States

Composition of Matter &

Methods of Use

June 28, 2025

UWA

U.S. 9,024,007

United States

Composition of Matter

June 28, 2025

UWA

U.S. 9,994,851

United States

Composition of Matter

June 28, 2025

UWA

 

1

Previously involved in U.S. Patent Interference No. 106,007.  Judgment dated April 29, 2016 ordered cancellation of (i) all claims, except claim 77, of U.S. Application No. 11/233,495 to BioMarin (AZL); and (ii) U.S. 8,455,636 to us (UWA).  Appeal by BioMarin (AZL) to the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (Case No. 2016-2262) voluntarily dismissed July 27, 2017.  Reissue of U.S. 8,455,636 (U.S. Application No. 15/645,842) filed July 10, 2017.

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Patent Number

Country/Region*

Patent Type

Expiration Date**

Owner/Licensor

(if not Sarepta)

EP 1 619 249 B11

Europe

Methods of Use

September 21, 2021

BioMarin/AZL

EP 2 602 322 B12

Europe

Composition of Matter & Methods of Use

September 21, 2021

BioMarin/AZL

EP 2 206 781 B13

Europe

Composition of Matter &

Methods of Use

June 28, 2025

UWA

EP 2 970 964 B1

Europe

Composition of Matter

March 14, 2034

Sarepta

 

1

Involved in EPO Opposition.  Cross-appeal of Interlocutory Decision dated April 15, 2013 is pending.

2

Involved in Opposition proceedings initiated on November 28, 2016.  

3

Involved in Opposition proceedings initiated on August 25, 2016.  EPO ordered revocation of patent on December 19, 2017.  Appeal filed April 27, 2018 is pending.

Casimersen

 

Patent Number

Country/Region*

Patent Type

Expiration Date**

Owner/Licensor

(if not Sarepta)

U.S. 9,416,361

United States

Composition of Matter

May 4, 2021

Sarepta

U.S. 9,447,415

United States

Composition of Matter

June 28, 2025

UWA

U.S. 8,524,880

United States

Composition of Matter &

Methods of Use

April 2, 2026

UWA

U.S. 9,228,187

United States

Composition of Matter

November 12, 2030

UWA

U.S. 9,758,783

United States

Methods of Use

November 12, 2030

UWA

 

Patent Number

Country/Region*

Patent Type

Expiration Date**

Owner/Licensor

(if not Sarepta)

EP 2 499 249 B1

Europe

Composition of Matter &

Methods of Use

November 12, 2030

UWA

 

*

Granted patents in the United States and Europe (EP) are shown here.  Additional patent protection in the U.S., Europe (EP) or other countries or regions through pending or granted foreign counterparts may be available.

**

Stated expiration dates do not account for any patent term extension, supplemental protection certificate or pediatric extensions that may be available.

In addition to the foregoing composition of matter and method of use patents that protect eteplirsen, casimersen and golodirsen, we either solely own or exclusively license from UWA, BioMarin or AZL patents and patent applications in the U.S. and in major foreign markets that provide additional protection for eteplirsen, casimersen, and golodirsen, which cover the composition of matter, preparation and/or uses of the product and product candidates. These patents, and patent applications, if granted, would expire through 2038, such expiration dates not accounting for any patent term extension, patent term adjustment, supplemental protection certificate or pediatric extensions that may be available.

Platform Technologies

We separately own patents and patent applications in the U.S. and in major foreign markets that cover our proprietary PMO-based platform technologies (e.g., PPMO, PMOplus®, PMO-X®). These patents, and patent applications, if granted, expire through 2038, such expiration dates not accounting for any patent term extension, supplemental protection certificate or pediatric extensions that may be available.

Trademarks

Our trademarks are important to us and are generally filed to protect our corporate brand, our products and platform technologies.  We typically file trademark applications and pursue their registration in the U.S., Europe and other markets in which we anticipate using such trademarks.  We are the owner of multiple federal trademark registrations in the U.S. including, but not limited to, Sarepta®, Sarepta Therapeutics®, the Sarepta Therapeutics logo, EXONDYS®, and EXONDYS 51®.  In addition, we have multiple pending trademark applications in the U.S. and in major foreign markets.  Trademark protection varies in accordance with local law,

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and continues in some countries as long as the trademark is used and in other countries as long as the trademark is registered. Trademark registrations generally are for fixed but renewable terms.

Government Regulation

The testing, manufacturing, labeling, advertising, promotion, distribution, exportation and marketing of our products are subject to extensive regulation by governmental authorities in the U.S. and in other countries. In the U.S., the FDA, under the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act and its implementing regulations, regulates pharmaceutical products. Failure to comply with applicable U.S. requirements may subject us to administrative or judicial sanctions, such as FDA refusal to approve pending marketing applications, withdrawal of approval of approved products, warning letters, untitled letters, product recalls, product seizures, total or partial suspension of production or distribution, injunctions, civil penalties and/or criminal prosecution.

U.S. Drug Approval Process

To obtain FDA approval of a product candidate, we must, among other things, submit clinical data providing substantial evidence of safety and efficacy of the product for its intended use, as well as detailed information on product composition, its manufacture and controls and proposed labeling. The testing and collection of data and the preparation of necessary applications are expensive and time-consuming. The FDA may not act quickly or favorably in reviewing these applications, and we may encounter significant difficulties or costs in our efforts to obtain FDA approvals that could delay or preclude us from marketing our products.

The steps required before a drug may be approved for marketing in the U.S. generally include the following:

 

pre-clinical laboratory tests and animal toxicity testing;

 

submission of an IND for conducting human clinical testing to the FDA, which must become effective before human clinical trials commence;

 

adequate and well-controlled human clinical trials to establish the safety and efficacy of the drug product for each indication, including controlled studies or comparison of treated group from clinical trials to data from natural history data or studies;

 

submission of a complete and compliant marketing application containing chemistry, manufacturing and control information for the drug substance and drug product, reports of nonclinical and clinical trials, product labeling and administrative information;

 

satisfactory completion of an FDA inspection of the commercial manufacturing facilities at which the drug substance and drug product are made to assess compliance with cGMP;

 

satisfactory FDA audit of the clinical trial site(s) that generated the pivotal safety and efficacy data included in the marketing application and also potentially the nonclinical trial site(s) in the form of pre-approval inspections; and

 

FDA review and approval of the marketing application.

Pre-clinical trials may include laboratory evaluations of the product chemistry, pharmacology, toxicity and formulation, as well as animal studies to assess the pharmacokinetics, metabolism, bio-distribution, elimination and toxicity of the product candidate. The conduct of the pre-clinical tests and formulation of the compounds for testing must comply with federal regulations and requirements. The results of the pre-clinical trials, manufacturing information, analytical data and a proposed first in human clinical trial protocol are submitted to the FDA as part of the IND, which must become effective before clinical trials may be initiated. The IND will become effective approximately 30 days after receipt by the FDA, unless the FDA raises concerns or questions about the supportive data, or the study design, particularly regarding potential safety issues with conducting the clinical trial as described in the protocol. In this situation, the trials are placed on clinical hold and the IND sponsor must resolve any outstanding FDA concerns before clinical trials can proceed.

Clinical trials involve the administration of the product candidate to healthy volunteers or patient participants under the supervision of a qualified principal investigator. Clinical trials are conducted under protocols detailing the objectives of the study, the administration of the investigational product, study procedures, parameters to be used in monitoring safety and the effectiveness criteria to be evaluated. Each protocol must be submitted to the FDA as a submission to the IND. Clinical trials must be conducted in accordance with the FDA’s Good Clinical Practice (“GCP”) requirements and federal and state laws and regulations protecting study subjects. Further, each clinical trial must be reviewed and approved by the Institutional Review Board (“IRB”) at or servicing each institution in which the clinical trial will be conducted. The IRB will consider, among other things, rationale for conducting the trial, clinical trial design, participant informed consent, ethical factors, the safety and rights of human subjects and the possible liability of the institution. The FDA can temporarily or permanently halt a clinical trial at any time, or impose other sanctions, if it believes that the clinical trial is not being conducted in accordance with FDA requirements or presents an unacceptable risk to the clinical trial

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subjects. The IRB may also require the clinical trial at a particular site be halted, either temporarily or permanently, for failure to comply with GCP or the IRB’s requirements, or may impose other conditions.

Clinical trials typically are conducted in three sequential drug development phases (Phases 1, 2 and 3) prior to approval, and a portion of these phases may overlap. A fourth post-approval phase (Phase 4) may include additional clinical trials. A general description of clinical trials conducted in each phase of development is provided below. However, the number of study subjects involved in each phase of drug development for rare diseases can be significantly less than typically expected for more common diseases with larger patient populations:

 

Phase 1. Phase 1 clinical trials involve the initial introduction of the drug into human subjects. These studies are usually designed to determine the safety of single and multiple doses of the compound and determine any dose limiting toxicities or intolerance, as well as the metabolism and pharmacokinetics of the drug in humans. Phase 1 studies usually involve less than 100 subjects and are conducted in healthy adult volunteers, unless it is unethical to administer the study drug to healthy volunteers, in which case they are tested in patients.

 

Phase 2. Phase 2 clinical trials are usually conducted in a limited patient population to evaluate the safety and efficacy of the drug for a specific indication to determine optimal dosage and to identify possible adverse effects and safety risks. Phase 2 studies usually involve patients with the disease under investigation and may vary in size from several dozen to several hundred.

 

Phase 3. If an investigational drug is found to be potentially effective and to have an acceptable safety profile in early phase studies, larger Phase 3 clinical trials are conducted to confirm clinical efficacy, dosage and safety in the intended patient population, which may involve geographically dispersed clinical trial sites. Generally, two adequate and well-controlled Phase 3 clinical trials which establish the safety and efficacy of the drug for a specific indication are required for approval of a marketing application. Phase 3 studies usually include several hundred to several thousand patients for larger, non-orphan drug indications/diseases. However, clinical trials for rare or orphan diseases generally have fewer patients due to their lower prevalence. For these orphan diseases, a company may also try to demonstrate efficacy and safety by comparing treated patients in clinical trials to untreated patients participating in placebo-controlled clinical trials or to observational natural history studies.

 

Phase 4. Phase 4 trials are clinical trials conducted after the FDA has approved a product for marketing. Typically there are two forms of Phase 4 trials: those that are conducted to fulfill mandatory conditions of product approval and those that are voluntarily conducted to gain additional experience from the treatment of patients in the intended therapeutic indication. The mandatory studies are used to confirm clinical benefit in the case of drugs approved under the accelerated approval regulations or to provide additional clinical safety or efficacy data for “full” approvals. Failure to promptly conduct and complete mandatory Phase 4 clinical trials could result in withdrawal of approval for products approved under accelerated approval regulations.

A company seeking marketing approval for a new drug in the U.S. must submit the results of the pre-clinical and clinical trials to the FDA in the form of a marketing application, together with, among other things, detailed information on the manufacture and composition of the product candidate and proposed labeling, including payment of a user fee for FDA review of the application. The user fee is waived for an application for a product intended to treat an Orphan Indication. The FDA assesses all submitted marketing applications for completeness before it accepts them for filing. In some cases, the FDA may request additional information before accepting a marketing application for filing. Once the submission is accepted for filing, the FDA begins an in-depth review of the marketing application. Applications receive either standard or priority review. Under the current goals mandated under the Prescription Drug User Fee Act (the “PDUFA”), the FDA has ten months in which to complete its initial review of a standard marketing application and respond to the applicant, and six months for a priority marketing application. The FDA does not always meet its PDUFA goal dates for standard or priority marketing applications. The review process and the PDUFA goal date may be extended by three months if the FDA requests or the marketing application sponsor otherwise provides additional information or clarification regarding information already provided in the submission within the last three months before the PDUFA goal date. The FDA may refer an application to an advisory committee for review, evaluation and recommendation as to whether the application should be approved. Though the FDA is not bound by such recommendations, it considers them carefully when making decisions. If the FDA’s evaluations of the marketing application and the clinical and manufacturing procedures and facilities are favorable, the FDA may issue an approval letter. If the FDA finds deficiencies in the marketing application, it may issue a complete response letter, which defines the conditions that must be met in order to secure final approval of the marketing application. If and when those conditions have been met to the FDA’s satisfaction, the FDA will issue an approval letter, authorizing commercial marketing of the drug. Sponsors that receive a complete response letter may submit to the FDA information that represents a complete response to the issues identified by the FDA. Resubmissions by the marketing application sponsor in response to a complete response letter trigger new review periods of varying length (typically two to six months) based on the content of the resubmission. If the FDA’s evaluation of the marketing application and the commercial manufacturing procedures and facilities is not favorable, the FDA may not approve the marketing application.

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A sponsor may also seek designation of its drug candidates under programs designed to accelerate the FDA’s review and potential approval of marketing applications. For instance, a sponsor may seek FDA designation of a drug candidate as a “fast track product.” Fast track products are those products intended for the treatment of a serious or life-threatening disease or condition and which demonstrate the potential to address unmet medical needs for such disease or condition. If fast track designation is obtained, the FDA may initiate early and frequent communication and begin reviewing sections of a marketing application before the application is complete. This “rolling review” is available if the applicant provides, and the FDA approves, a schedule for the remaining information. Eteplirsen was granted fast track status in 2007.

The Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act (“FDASIA”) enacted and signed into law in 2012 amended the criteria for the fast track and accelerated approval pathways and, as a result, the pathways now share many common eligibility criteria. FDASIA provides both the sponsor companies and the FDA with greater flexibility and expedited regulatory mechanisms. The statute clarifies that a fast track product may be approved pursuant to an accelerated approval (Subpart – H) or under the traditional approval process. In addition, FDASIA codified the accelerated approval pathway as separate and apart from the fast track pathway, meaning that for drugs to be eligible for accelerated approval, they do not need to be designated under the fast track pathway. FDASIA reinforces the FDA’s authority to grant accelerated approval of a drug that treats a serious condition and generally provides a meaningful advantage over available therapies and demonstrates an effect on a surrogate endpoint that is reasonably likely to predict clinical benefit or on a clinical endpoint that can be measured earlier than irreversible morbidity or mortality (“IMM”) that is reasonably likely to predict an effect on IMM or other clinical benefit (i.e., an intermediate clinical endpoint). Approvals of this kind typically include requirements for appropriate post-approval Phase 4 clinical trials to confirm clinical benefit. FDASIA retains this requirement and further requires those studies to verify and describe the predicted effect on irreversible morbidity or mortality or other clinical benefit.

Additionally, FDASIA established a new, expedited regulatory mechanism referred to as breakthrough therapy designation. Breakthrough therapy designation, fast track, and accelerated approval are not mutually exclusive and are meant to serve different purposes. The breakthrough therapy designation is focused on expediting the development and review process and by itself does not create an alternate ground for product approval. A sponsor may seek FDA designation of a drug candidate as a breakthrough therapy if the drug is intended, alone or in combination with one or more other drugs, to treat a serious or life-threatening disease or condition and preliminary clinical evidence indicates that the drug may demonstrate substantial improvement over existing therapies on one or more clinically significant endpoints, such as substantial treatment effects observed early in clinical development. The FDA issued guidance entitled “Expedited Programs for Serious Conditions––Drugs and Biologics” in May 2014.

Finally, if a drug candidate demonstrates a significant benefit over existing therapy, it may be eligible for priority review, which means it will be reviewed within a six-month timeframe from the date a complete marketing application is accepted for filing. A Regenerative Medicine Advanced Therapy (“RMAT”) designation is also designed to accelerate approval for regenerative advanced therapies such as our gene therapy product candidates, but the exact mechanisms have not yet been announced by FDA.

We cannot be sure that any of our drug candidates will qualify for any of these expedited development, review and approval programs, or that, if a drug does qualify, that the product candidates will be approved, will be accepted as part of any such program or that the review time will be shorter than a standard review.

Holders of an approved marketing application are required to:

 

report serious adverse drug reactions to the FDA;

 

submit annual and periodic reports summarizing product information and safety data;

 

comply with requirements concerning advertising and promotional labeling;

 

continue to have quality control and manufacturing procedures conform to cGMP after approval; and

 

conduct any post-marketing study designated as a required condition of the marketing application approval.

The FDA periodically inspects the sponsor’s records related to safety reporting and/or manufacturing; this latter effort includes assessment of compliance with cGMP. Accordingly, manufacturers must continue to expend time, money and effort in the area of production and quality control to maintain cGMP compliance. Discovery of problems with a product after approval may result in restrictions on a product, manufacturer, or holder of an approved marketing application, including withdrawal of the product from the market.

Foreign Regulatory Requirements

We are pursuing regulatory approval of eteplirsen in jurisdictions outside of the U.S. In November 2016, we submitted a marketing authorization application (“MAA”) for eteplirsen to the EMA and the application was validated in December 2016. As we

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announced on June 1, 2018, the CHMP of the EMA adopted a negative opinion for eteplirsen. In September 2018, the CHMP of the EMA confirmed its negative opinion for eteplirsen, and the European Commission adopted the CHMP opinion in December 2018. We plan to seek follow up EMA scientific advice in 2019 to explore a potential approach for EMA approval of eteplirsen. We have initiated key activities in support of the potential launch of eteplirsen in the EU, such as building out commercial infrastructure and scaling-up manufacturing. As of the date of this Annual Report, EXONDYS 51 has only been approved for sale and marketing in the U.S. by the FDA and in Israel by the Israeli Ministry of Health.

Thus, in addition to regulations in the U.S., our business is subject to a variety of foreign regulations governing clinical trials and commercial sales and distribution of our products.  Irrespective of whether it is an FDA approved drug or an investigational drug, approvals by the comparable regulatory authorities of foreign countries are required before we can commence clinical trials or marketing of the product in those countries. For example, in the EU, the conduct of clinical trials is governed by the currently applicable Clinical Trials Directive 2001/20/EC concerning conduct of clinical trials in the EU and the Directive 2005/28/EC laying down the principles and guidelines on GCP, a system for the approval of clinical trials that has been implemented through national legislation in the member states in the EU. Under this system, a sponsor must obtain approval from the competent national authority of an EU member state in which the clinical trial is to be conducted, or in multiple member states if the clinical trial is to be conducted in a number of countries. Furthermore, the sponsor may only start a clinical trial at a specific study site after the competent ethics committee has issued a favorable opinion. The Clinical Trials Application (“CTA”) must include the supporting information prescribed by Directive 2001/20/EC and Directive 2005/28/EC, corresponding national laws of the member states, and as further detailed in the applicable guidance documents.

In April 2014, the EU adopted a new Clinical Trials Regulation (EU) No 536/2014 to replace the current Clinical Trials Directive. The new Clinical Trials Regulation has come into force, but will come into application in all EU Member States in October 2018 without the need for any national implementing legislation. The new regulation provides an overhaul of the system to ensure greater consistency in the approval of clinical trials with the highest standards of patient safety in the EU. Specifically, the new legislation seeks to simplify and streamline approval. Under the new coordinated procedure for the approval, the sponsor of a clinical trial is required to submit a single application to a reporting EU Member State. The reporting Member State will consult and coordinate with all other Member States in which the clinical trial is planned to be conducted (concerned Member States). If the application is rejected, it can be amended and resubmitted through a central EU Portal. If an approval is issued, the sponsor can start the clinical trial in all concerned Member States. However, a concerned Member State can in certain cases declare an “opt-out” from the approval. In such a case, the clinical trial cannot be conducted in those Member State(s). The Clinical Trials Regulation also aims to streamline and simplify the rules on safety reporting for clinical trials.

In order to obtain marketing authorization for a medicinal product in the EU, applicants are required to submit an MAA to either the national Competent Authorities or the EMA for the Centralized authorization procedures, using the ICH Common Technical Document (“CTD”). Applicants are required to demonstrate the quality, safety and efficacy of the medicinal product in the application for marketing authorization. This includes the requirement to conduct human clinical trials to generate the necessary clinical data. Submission of data in compliance with an agreed Pediatric Investigation Plan (“PIP”) is essential for the validation or acceptance of an MAA for review. Medicinal products are authorized in the EU through one of several different procedures, either by the national competent authorities of the EU Member States (through the decentralized, mutual recognition, or national procedures), or through the centralized authorization procedure administered by the EMA. Regulation (EC) No 726/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council lays down the centralized procedure for the authorization of medicinal products, for which there is a single application, a single evaluation and a single approval allowing direct access to the single market of the EU. Approval via the Centralized Procedure is a two-step process whereby the CHMP first adopts an “Opinion” recommending grant of a marketing authorization following a review of the submitted data to inform an assessment of benefit/risk. The adopted Opinion can be positive or negative.  A positive CHMP opinion is followed by European Commission (“EC”) binding decision to grant a marketing authorization. The marketing authorization is valid throughout the EU and is automatically recognized in three of the four European Free Trade Association states (Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway). These countries collectively belong to the European Economic Area. The timeframe for the evaluation of an MAA leading to the CHMP opinion is 210 days (discounting procedural clock-stops) from receipt of a valid application for marketing authorization. This time period to complete the scientific review is generally longer than the 210 days as “clock stops” are required to respond to additional written or oral information requested by the EMA. Following a positive CHMP opinion, the EU Commission has 67 days to issue the EC Decision (i.e. the marketing authorization).

Article 3 of Regulation (EC) No 726/2004 defines the scope and eligibility of applications for evaluation under the centralized procedure through which medicinal products must ("mandatory scope") or may ("optional scope" or "Generic/Hybrid") be authorized by the Community. The centralized procedure is compulsory for certain medicinal products, including medicinal products derived from biotechnological processes, orphan medicinal products, advanced therapy medicinal products and products indicated for the treatment of certain diseases including treatment of neurodegenerative diseases. It is optional for new active substances and products that can demonstrate a significant therapeutic, scientific or technical innovation, where approval would be in the interest of public health. Our portfolio of innovative orphan products for neurodegenerative diseases is subject to the mandatory centralized procedure.

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Accelerated evaluation may be granted in exceptional cases, following a justified request from the applicant, when a medicinal product is of a major public health interest, particularly from the point of view of therapeutic innovation. CHMP determines what constitutes a major public interest on a case by case basis. Justifications must include the major benefits expected and present the arguments to support the claim that the medicinal product introduces new methods of therapy or improves on existing methods, thereby addressing, to a significant extent, the greater unmet needs for maintaining and improving public health. During an accelerated assessment, the opinion of the CHMP is given, in principle, within 150 days. The EU Commission Decision is then issued according to the timetable described above.

Innovative medicinal products authorized in the EU on the basis of a full stand-alone MAA consisting of pharmaceutical and pre-clinical testing results and clinical trial data (as opposed to an application for a generic marketing authorization that relies on the results of pre-clinical and clinical trials available in the marketing authorization dossier for another, previously approved, reference medicinal product) are treated as reference medicinal products and accordingly entitled to eight years’ data exclusivity. During this period, applicants for approval of generics of these innovative products cannot reference or rely upon data contained in the marketing authorization dossier submitted for the innovative medicinal product. Even if the generic product is approved, it cannot be placed on the market until the full 10-year period of market protection has elapsed from the initial authorization of the reference medicinal product. This period can be extended to a maximum of eleven years if, during the first eight years of those ten years, the MA holder for the innovative product obtains an authorization for new therapeutic indications which, during the scientific evaluation prior to their authorization, are held to bring a significant clinical benefit in comparison with existing therapies or as the result of significant pre-clinical or clinical trials.

In the EU, orphan medicinal product designation is considered by the EMA for drugs intended to diagnose, prevent or treat a life-threatening or very serious condition with a prevalence of no more than 5 in 10,000 people in the EU. In addition, the sponsor is required to demonstrate that there exists no satisfactory method of diagnosis, prevention or treatment of the condition that has been authorized in the EU or if such method exists, the medicinal product is of significant benefit to those affected by the condition as compared to approved methods. Medicinal products developed for treating serious and chronic conditions would likely not be marketed without incentives due to low market return on the sponsor’s development investment. As such, they may also be eligible for an EU orphan drug designation.  Benefits of being granted orphan designation are significant, including up to ten years of market exclusivity. During this ten-year period, the EMA may not accept a new marketing application for a similar medicinal product for the same therapeutic indication as the approved orphan medicinal product. Pursuant to Regulation (EC) 1901/2006 on medicinal products for pediatric use, the 10-year orphan market exclusivity can be extended to a maximum period of 12 years on the satisfactory completion of all the key elements of the agreed PIP. We have been granted orphan drug designation for eteplirsen in the EU.

Similar to the U.S., marketing authorization holders and manufacturers of medicinal products are subject to comprehensive regulatory oversight by the EMA and/or the national competent authorities of the EU Member States. This oversight applies both before and after the granting of manufacturing and marketing authorizations. It includes compliance with EU GMP and GDP rules in relation to such activities as distribution, importing and exporting of medicinal products, rules governing conduct of pharmacovigilance and requirements governing advertising, promotion and sale of medicinal products.

Failure to comply with the EU Member State laws implementing the EU Community Code on medicinal products, and EU rules governing the promotion of medicinal products, interactions with physicians, misleading and comparative advertising and unfair commercial practices, with the EU Member State laws that apply to the promotion of medicinal products, statutory health insurance, bribery and anti-corruption or with other applicable regulatory requirements can result in enforcement action by the relevant EU Member State authorities. This may include any of the following: fines, imprisonment, orders forfeiting products or prohibiting or suspending their supply to the market, orders to suspend, vary, or withdraw the marketing authorization or requiring the manufacturer to issue public warnings, or to conduct a product recall.

The collection and use of personal health data and other personal information in the EU is governed by the provisions of the Data Protection Directive as implemented into national laws by the EU Member States. This Directive imposes a number of strict obligations and restrictions on the ability to collect, analyze and transfer patient data, including sensitive health data from clinical trials and adverse event reporting. There is, moreover, a growing trend towards imposition of an obligation of public disclosure of clinical trial data in the EU, which adds to the complexity of obligations relating to the processing of health data from clinical trials. Such public disclosure obligations are provided in the new EU Clinical Trials Regulation, EMA disclosure initiatives, and voluntary commitments by industry. The Data Protection Directive also includes requirements relating to the consent of the individuals to whom the personal data relates, the information provided to the individuals prior to processing their personal data or personal health data, notification of data processing obligations to the competent national data protection authorities and the security and confidentiality of the personal data. The Data Protection Directive also prohibits the transfer of personal data to countries outside of the EU Member States that are not considered by the EU to provide an adequate level of data protection. These countries include the U.S. Failure to comply with the requirements of the Data Protection Directive and the related national data protection laws of the EU Member States may result in fines and other administrative penalties. Data protection authorities from the different EU Member States may interpret the EU Data Protection Directive and national laws differently, which adds to the complexity of processing personal data in the EU

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Guidance developed at both EU level and at national level in individual EU Member States concerning implementation and compliance practices are often updated or otherwise revised.

In December 2015, a proposal for an EU General Data Protection Regulation, intended to replace the current EU Data Protection Directive, was agreed between the European Parliament, the Council of the European Union and the European Commission. The EU General Data Protection Regulation, which was officially adopted in April 2016 and will be applicable in May 2018, will introduce new data protection requirements in the EU, as well as substantial fines for breaches of the data protection rules. The EU General Data Protection Regulation will increase our responsibility and liability in relation to any personal data that we process, and we may be required to put in place additional mechanisms to ensure compliance with the new EU data protection rules.

The approval process in other countries outside the U.S. and the EU varies from country to country, and the time may be longer or shorter than that required for the FDA approval. In addition, the requirements governing the conduct of clinical trials, product licensing, pricing and reimbursement for market access vary greatly from country to country. In all cases, clinical trials are conducted in accordance with GCP and the applicable regulatory requirements and the ethical principles that have their origin in the Declaration of Helsinki.

Data and Market Exclusivities

In addition to patent exclusivities, the FDA and certain other foreign health authorities may grant data or market exclusivity for a newly approved chemical entity or biologic, which runs in parallel to any patent protection. Regulatory data protection or exclusivity prevents a potential generic competitor from relying on clinical trial data generated by the sponsor when establishing the safety and efficacy of its competing product. Market exclusivity prohibits any marketing of the same drug for the same indication.

In the U.S., the FDA will generally grant a NCE that is the subject of a NDA with five years of regulatory data exclusivity, during which time a competitor generally may not submit an application to the FDA based on a sponsor’s clinical data.  For a newly approved biologic that is the subject of a BLA, the FDA will generally grant 12 years of market exclusivity, during which time a competitor may not market the same drug for the same indication.  

In addition, the FDA may provide six months of pediatric exclusivity to a sponsor of a marketing application, if the sponsor conducted a pediatric study or studies of a product. This process is applied to products developed for adult use and is initiated by the FDA as a written request for pediatric studies that applies to a sponsor’s product. If the sponsor conducts qualifying studies and the studies are accepted by the FDA, then an additional six months of pediatric exclusivity will be added to previously granted exclusivity, such as orphan drug exclusivity and NCE exclusivity, as well as certain patent-based exclusivities.

Orphan Drug Designation and Exclusivity

In the U.S., the FDA may grant orphan drug designation to drugs intended to treat a rare disease or condition that affects fewer than 200,000 individuals in the U.S., or more than 200,000 individuals in the U.S. 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. An orphan drug designation must be requested before submitting an application for marketing approval. An orphan drug designation does not shorten the duration of the regulatory review and approval process. The approval of an orphan designation request does not alter the regulatory requirements and process for obtaining marketing approval. Safety and efficacy of a compound must be established through adequate and well-controlled studies. If a product which has an orphan drug designation subsequently receives FDA approval for the indication for which it has such designation, the product is generally entitled to an orphan drug exclusivity period, which means the FDA may not grant approval to any other application to market the same chemical entity for the same indication for a period of seven years, except in limited circumstances, such as where an alternative product demonstrates clinical superiority to the product with orphan exclusivity. In addition, holders of exclusivity for orphan drugs are expected to assure the availability of sufficient quantities of their orphan drugs to meet the needs of patients. Failure to do so could result in the withdrawal of orphan exclusivity for the drug. Competitors may receive approval of different drugs or biologics for the indications for which a prior approved orphan drug has exclusivity.

In Europe, the EMA may grant orphan status to product candidates thereby providing such product candidates with ten years of marketing exclusivity, meaning that another application for marketing authorization of a later, similar medicinal product for the same therapeutic indication will generally not be approved in Europe during that time period.

Expanded / Early Access

In certain countries, drug products approved in the U.S. or the EU can be accessed by patients before the drug has obtained marketing approval in such country. There are various forms of this access including, but not limited to, the actual purchase of product by the purchaser, which is often times the government for patients, on a named patient basis, and providing the product free of charge

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on a named patient basis for compassionate use. Each country has its own laws and regulations that apply to these forms of access and the extent and nature of such laws and regulations vary by country. For example, in 2018, the so-called Right to Try Act became law in the United States. The law, among other things, allows eligible patients to access certain investigational new drug products that have completed a Phase I clinical trial and that are undergoing investigation for FDA approval without enrolling in clinical trials and without obtaining FDA permission under the FDA expanded access program. There is no obligation for a pharmaceutical manufacturer to make its drug products available to such eligible patients as a result of the Right to Try Act.

We have initiated an EAP for eteplirsen in select countries in Europe, North America, South America and Asia where it currently has not been approved. The EAP provides a mechanism through which physicians can prescribe eteplirsen, within their professional responsibility, to patients who meet pre-specified medical and other criteria and can secure funding. We have commenced shipments through the EAP and continue to expand the EAP to include more countries. In addition, we contracted with third party distributors and service providers to distribute eteplirsen in certain areas outside the U.S., such as Brazil and certain countries in the Middle East, on a named patient basis.

Other Regulatory Requirements

In addition to regulations enforced by the FDA and foreign authorities relating to the clinical development and marketing of products, we are or may become subject to regulation under the Occupational Safety and Health Act, the Toxic Substances Control Act, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act and other present and potential future foreign, federal, state and local laws and regulations. Although we believe that we are in material compliance with applicable environmental laws that apply to us, we cannot predict whether new regulatory restrictions will be imposed by state or federal regulators and agencies or whether existing laws and regulations will adversely affect us in the future.

Healthcare Fraud and Abuse Laws

We are subject to various federal, state and local laws targeting fraud and abuse in the healthcare industry, including anti-kickback and false claims laws. Violations of fraud and abuse laws may be punishable by crime or civil sanctions, including fines and civil monetary penalties, and/or exclusion from federal health care programs (including Medicare and Medicaid). Federal and state authorities are paying increased attention to enforcement of these laws within the pharmaceutical industry, and private individuals have been active in alleging violations of the laws and bringing suits on behalf of the government under the federal False Claims Act (“FCA”). Violations of international fraud and abuse laws could result in similar penalties, including exclusion from participation in health programs outside the U.S. If we were subject to allegations concerning, or were convicted of violating, these laws, our business could be harmed.

The federal Anti-Kickback Statute generally prohibits, among other things, a pharmaceutical manufacturer from directly or indirectly soliciting, offering, receiving, or paying any remuneration in cash or in kind where one purpose is either to induce the referral of an individual for, or the purchase or prescription of a particular drug that is payable by a federal health care program, including Medicare or Medicaid. A person or entity does not need to have actual knowledge of the statute or a specific intent to violate the statute. Violations of the federal Anti-Kickback Statute can result in exclusion from Medicare, Medicaid or other governmental programs as well as civil and criminal fines and penalties of up to $100,000 per violation and three times the amount of the unlawful remuneration. A claim arising from a violation of the federal Anti-Kickback Statute also constitutes a false or fraudulent claim for purposes of the FCA. A new federal anti-kickback statute enacted in 2018 prohibits certain payments related to referrals of patients to certain providers (such as clinical laboratories) and applies to services reimbursed by private health plans as well as government health care programs.

Federal and state false claims laws generally prohibit anyone from knowingly and willfully, among other activities, presenting, or causing to be presented for payment to third party payors (including Medicare and Medicaid) claims for drugs or services that are false or fraudulent (which may include claims for services not provided as claimed or claims for medically unnecessary services). False or fraudulent claims for purposes of the FCA carry fines and civil penalties for violations ranging from $11,181 to $22,363 for each false claim, plus up to three times the amount of damages sustained by the federal government and, may provide the basis for exclusion from federally funded healthcare programs. There is also a criminal FCA statute by which individuals or entities that submit false claims can face criminal penalties. In addition, under the federal Civil Monetary Penalty Law, the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General has the authority to exclude from participation in federal health care programs or to impose civil penalties against any person who, among other things, knowingly presents, or causes to be presented, certain false or otherwise improper claims. Our activities relating to the sale and marketing of our products may be subject to scrutiny under these laws.

The majority of states also have anti-kickback, false claims, and similar fraud and abuse laws and although the specific provisions of these laws vary, their scope is generally broad, and there may not be regulations, guidance or court decisions that apply

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the laws to particular industry practices. There is therefore a possibility that our practices might be challenged under the anti-kickback statutes or similar laws.

Laws and regulations have also been enacted by the federal government and various states to regulate the sales and marketing practices of pharmaceutical manufacturers. The laws and regulations generally limit financial interactions between manufacturers and health care providers; require pharmaceutical companies to comply with the pharmaceutical industry’s voluntary compliance guidelines and the relevant compliance guidance promulgated by the U.S. federal government; and/or require disclosure to the government and/or public of financial interactions (so-called “sunshine laws”). State laws may also require disclosure of pharmaceutical pricing information and marketing expenditures. Manufacturers must also submit information to the FDA on the identity and quantity of drug samples requested and distributed by a manufacturer during each year. Many of these laws and regulations contain ambiguous requirements or require administrative guidance for implementation. Given the lack of clarity in laws and their implementation, our activities could be subject to the penalty provisions of the pertinent federal and state laws and regulations.

Pharmaceutical Pricing and Reimbursement

Our first commercial product in the U.S., EXONDYS 51, was granted accelerated approval by the FDA on September 19, 2016. We have an ongoing dialogue with payors globally with the goal of obtaining broad coverage for EXONDYS 51. To date, payors’ policies on coverage for EXONDYS 51 have varied widely, including policies that allow broad coverage per the EXONDYS 51 prescribing information, policies that provide limited coverage, to policies that have denied coverage. The majority of payors have policies that provide for case-by-case coverage or restricted coverage. Our revenue depends, in part, upon the extent to which payors provide coverage for EXONDYS 51 and the amount that payors, including government authorities or programs, private health insurers and other organizations, reimburse patients and healthcare providers for the cost of EXONDYS 51.

Third Party Reimbursement and Pricing in the U.S.

Commercial Insurance. Coverage and reimbursement of our EXONDYS 51 varies from commercial payor to commercial payor. Many commercial payors, such as managed care plans, manage access to FDA approved products, and may use drug formularies and medical policies (which may include specific coverage requirements such as prior authorization, re-authorization and achieving performance metrics under value-based contracts) to control utilization. Exclusion from or restriction in coverage can reduce product usage.

Medicaid. Our product EXONDYS 51 is eligible to be reimbursed by Medicaid. Medicaid is a joint federal and state program that is administered by the states for low income and disabled beneficiaries. Under the Medicaid Drug Rebate Program, participating manufacturers are required to pay a rebate for each unit of product reimbursed under the state Medicaid programs. The amount of the rebate for each product is set by law and may be subject to an additional discount if certain pricing increases more than inflation. State Medicaid programs and Medicaid managed care plans can seek additional “supplemental” rebates from manufacturers in connections with favorable positioning on formularies.

Medicare. Medicare is a federal program that is administered by the federal government that covers individuals age 65 and over as well as those with certain disabilities. Our product EXONDYS 51 is eligible for reimbursement under Medicare Part B. Medicare Part B generally covers drugs that must be administered by physicians. Medicare Part B pays for such drugs under a payment methodology based on the average sales price (“ASP”) of the drugs. Reimbursement levels and reimbursement methodologies have come under scrutiny and may be subject to change. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”) are also increasingly bundling drug reimbursement into procedure costs, which can severely decrease the reimbursement rates for some manufacturers’ drugs.

Federal Purchasers. Drug products are subject to discounted pricing when purchased by federal agencies via the Federal Supply Schedule (“FSS”). FSS participation is required for a drug product to be covered and reimbursed by certain federal agencies and for coverage under Medicaid, Medicare Part B and the Public Health Service (“PHS”) 340B drug pricing program. FSS pricing is negotiated periodically with the Department of Veterans Affairs. FSS pricing is intended not to exceed the price that a manufacturer charges its most-favored non-federal customer for its product. In addition, prices for drugs purchased by the Veterans Administration, Department of Defense (including drugs purchased by military personnel and dependents through the TRICARE retail pharmacy program), Coast Guard, and PHS are subject to a cap on pricing (known as the “federal ceiling price”) and may be subject to an additional discount if pricing increases more than the rate of inflation.

PHS 340B Drug Pricing Program. To maintain coverage of drugs under the Medicaid Drug Rebate Program and Medicare Part B, manufacturers are required to extend discounts to certain purchasers under the PHS 340B drug pricing program. Purchasers eligible for discounts include hospitals that serve a disproportionate share of financially needy patients, community health clinics and other entities that receive health services grants from the PHS.

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Healthcare and Other Reform. In the U.S., federal and state governments continue to propose and pass legislation designed to reform delivery of, or payment for, health care, which include initiatives to reduce the cost of healthcare. For example, in March 2010, the U.S. Congress enacted the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act, or the Healthcare Reform Act, which expanded health care coverage through Medicaid expansion, implemented the “individual mandate for health insurance coverage (by imposing a tax penalty on individuals who did not obtain insurance) and changed the coverage and reimbursement of drug products under government healthcare programs. Under the Trump administration, there have been ongoing efforts to modify or repeal all or certain provisions of the Healthcare Reform Act.  Tax reform legislation was enacted at the end of 2017 that includes provisions that will affect healthcare insurance coverage and payment, such as the elimination of the tax penalty for individuals who do not maintain sufficient health insurance coverage beginning in 2019.  In a May 2018 report, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that, compared to 2018, the number of uninsured will increase by 3 million in 2019 and 6 million in 2028, in part due to the elimination of the individual mandate. The Healthcare Reform Act has also been subject to judicial challenge. In December 2018, a federal district court judge, in a challenge brought by a number of state attorneys general, found the Healthcare Reform Act unconstitutional in its entirety because once Congress repealed the “individual mandate” provision, there was no longer a basis to rely on Congressional taxing authority to support enactment of the law. The court reasoned that the “individual mandate” was not severable from the rest of the Healthcare Reform Act and found the entire Healthcare Reform Act was an unconstitutional exercise of Congressional authority. Pending appeals, which could take some time, the Healthcare Reform Act is still operational in all respects.

There have been other reform initiatives under the Trump Administration. For example, in May 2018, President Trump and the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services released a “blueprint” to lower prescription drug prices and out-of-pocket costs. Certain proposals in the blueprint, and related drug pricing measures proposed since the blueprint, could cause significant operational and reimbursement changes for the pharmaceutical industry. As another example, in October 2018, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services solicited public comments on potential changes to payment for certain Medicare Part B drugs, including reducing the Medicare payment amount for selected Medicare Part B drugs to more closely align with international drug prices.

There have also been efforts by government officials or legislators to implement measures to regulate prices or payment for pharmaceutical products, including legislation on drug importation. Recently, there has been considerable public and government scrutiny of pharmaceutical pricing and proposals to address the perceived high cost of pharmaceuticals.  There have also been recent state legislative efforts to address drug costs, which generally have focused on increasing transparency around drug costs or limiting drug prices. Certain state legislation has been subject to legal challenges. Adoption of new legislation regulating drug pricing at the federal or state level could further affect demand for, or pricing of, our products.

General legislative cost control measures may also affect reimbursement for our products. The Budget Control Act, as amended, resulted in the imposition of 2% reductions in Medicare (but not Medicaid) payments to providers in 2013 and will remain in effect through 2027 unless additional Congressional action is taken. Any significant spending reductions affecting Medicare, Medicaid or other publicly funded or subsidized health programs that may be implemented and/or any significant taxes or fees that may be imposed on us could have an adverse impact on our results of operations.

Third Party Reimbursement and Pricing outside the U.S.

We currently have no products approved for marketing outside the U.S., other than a marketing authorization for EXONDYS 51 in Israel. We may need to conduct expensive pharmacoeconomic studies in order to demonstrate the cost-effectiveness of our products. In the EU and certain other territories, price controls and Health Technology Assessments for new, highly priced medicines are expected. Uncertainty exists about the pricing and reimbursement status of newly approved products in the EU. Criteria such as cost-effectiveness, cost per quality-adjusted life year, budget impact, or others, in addition to the clinical benefit, are often required to demonstrate added value or benefit of a drug and vary by country. Third party reimbursement limits may reduce the demand for our products. The pace of the application process in some countries could also delay commercial product launches. Gaining acceptance of our product pipeline and an economically viable reimbursement terms in the EU and other markets will require strong education and awareness efforts around DMD as well as strong data supporting its effectiveness and cost-effectiveness.

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Competition

The pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries are intensely competitive, and any product candidate developed by us would likely compete with existing drugs and therapies. There are many pharmaceutical companies, biotechnology companies, public and private universities, government agencies and research organizations that compete with us in developing various approaches to the treatment of rare, neuromuscular and other diseases. Many of these organizations have substantially greater financial, technical, manufacturing and marketing resources than we have. Several of them have developed or are developing therapies that could be used for treatment of the same diseases that we are targeting. In addition, some of these competitors have significantly greater commercial infrastructures than we have. Our ability to compete successfully will depend largely on:

 

our ability to complete clinical development and obtain regulatory approvals for our product candidates;

 

the efficacy, safety and reliability of our product candidates;

 

the timing and scope of regulatory approvals;

 

product acceptance by physicians and other health-care providers;

 

protection of our proprietary rights and the level of generic competition;

 

the ability to have freedom to operate to commercialize our product candidates;

 

the speed at which we develop product candidates;

 

our ability to supply commercial quantities of a product to the market;

 

obtaining reimbursement for product use in approved indications;

 

our ability to recruit and retain skilled employees; and

 

the availability of substantial capital resources to fund development and commercialization activities, including the availability of funding from the U.S. government.

DMD Program Competition. Currently, other than EXONDYS 51, no disease-modifying product has been approved for the treatment of DMD in the U.S. Other companies, however, have product candidates or other interests in development for the treatment of DMD.  

Wave Life Sciences (“Wave”) announced the selection of its exon 51 skipping product candidate, suvodirsen (WVE-210201). In November 2017, Wave announced the initiation of a global Phase 1 clinical trial for suvodirsen in DMD patients amenable to exon 51 skipping. In December 2018, Wave announced results from a Phase 1 study of suvodirsen. In January 2019, Wave announced its planned phase 2/3 study of suvodirsen was selected for the FDA pilot program for complex innovative trial designs (CID). Wave also announced the selection of its exon 53 skipping product candidate, WVE-N531.  

Nippon Shinyaku Co. Ltd. (“Nippon”) has reported clinical data for its exon 53 skipping candidate, viltolarsen (NS-065/NCNP-01), from a Phase 1/2 study in Japan and a Phase 2 study in the U.S. Viltolarsen has been reported to have received an orphan drug designation in the U.S., was granted fast track designation by FDA and received a “SAKIGAKE designation” in Japan from the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare. Nippon has reported in February 2019 that it has initiated a rolling NDA submission with the FDA with the intent to complete the submission by September 2019.  Nippon’s intention to submit its marketing authorization application with the Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices Agency (“PMDA”) in Japan for viltolarsen by the end of the Japanese fiscal year 2018 has also been reported.

Daiichi Sankyo (“Daiichi”) has reported a phase 1/2 clinical trial being underway in Japan for its exon 45 skipping candidate, DS-5141. In April 2018, Daiichi announced top-line results of the Phase 1/2 clinical trial in Japan of DS-5141 and that Daiichi will continue to develop DS-5141.  

Solid Biosciences, LLC (“Solid”) has reported that its micro-dystrophin gene transfer product candidate for DMD, SGT-001 began a Phase 2 clinical study in December 2017.  SGT-001 was granted fast track designation by the FDA in October 2018, orphan drug designation in August 2016, and rare pediatric disease designation in 2017. In Europe, orphan designation was granted in September 2016. In February 2019, Solid reported micro-dystrophin expression data for the first three patients in its clinical trial and announced plans to continue the study at a higher dose pending FDA and IRB approval.

Pfizer Inc., following its acquisition of Bamboo Therapeutics, Inc., has initiated a Phase 1 clinical trial in January 2018 to test the safety and tolerability of its AAV-9 / micro-dystrophin gene transfer product candidate for DMD, PF-06939926/BMB-D001. The related orphan designation was granted in Europe in August 2016, and in the U.S. in May 2017. Rare pediatric disease designation was granted by the FDA in April 2018.

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Other companies continue to pursue approval of products for the treatment of DMD and their products may or may not prove to be safer and/or more efficacious than the products and product candidates in our DMD pipeline.  Regarding any of these competitors, it is unknown if further clinical development of these or other exon-skipping compounds is planned.

Additionally, companies such as Santhera, PTC Therapeutics, Summit, Catabasis, Pfizer, Fibrogen and Tivorsan have product candidates distinct from ours in different stages of development or approval in DMD which we believe could be seen as complementary to exon skipping and not a direct replacement of our product or product candidates at this time.

In addition, several companies and institutions have recently entered into collaborations or other agreements for the development of product candidates, including mRNA, gene (CRISPR, AAV, etc.) or small molecule therapies that are potential competitors for therapies being developed in the muscular dystrophy, neuromuscular, CNS and rare disease space, including but not limited to Biogen Inc., Ionis, Alexion Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Sanofi, Shire (now Takeda), Eli Lilly, Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Moderna Therapeutics, Inc., Summit, Akashi, Catabasis, Capricor Therapeutics, Oxford University, Exonics Therapeutics, and Editas Medicine.

Platform Technology Competition. We believe that other biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies share a focus on RNA-targeted drug discovery and development. Competitors with respect to our RNA-targeted technologies include, but are not limited to, Alnylam, Tekmira Pharmaceuticals Corp., Ionis, BioMarin, Sanofi, Synthena AG, Santaris Pharma A/S (now Roche), Nippon, Daiichi Sankyo, Moderna Therapeutics and Wave.

Employees

As of December 31, 2018, we had 499 employees, 252 of whom hold advanced degrees. Of these employees, 255 are engaged directly in research and development activities and 244 are in selling, general and administration including 48 in the sales force. None of our employees are covered by collective bargaining agreements and we consider relations with our employees to be good.

General Corporate Information

We were originally incorporated in the State of Oregon on July 22, 1980, and on June 6, 2013, we reincorporated in the State of Delaware. Our principal executive offices are located at 215 First Street, Suite 415, Cambridge, MA 02142 and our telephone number is (617) 274-4000. On July 12, 2012, our common stock began trading under the symbol “SRPT” on the Nasdaq Global Market on a split-adjusted basis following a one-for-six reverse stock split that was effective on July 11, 2012. Our common stock is quoted on the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the same symbol.

While we achieve revenue from EXONDYS 51 in the U.S. and through distribution of eteplirsen on a named patient basis or through our EAP outside the U.S., we are likely to continue to incur operating losses in the near term associated with our ongoing operations, research and development activities and potential business development activities. For more information about our revenues and operating losses, see Item 7, Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations.

As of December 31, 2018, we had approximately $1,174.9 million of cash, cash equivalents and investments, consisting of $370.8 million of cash and cash equivalents, $803.1 million of short-term investments and $1.0 million of long-term restricted investment. We believe that our balance of cash, cash equivalents and investments is sufficient to fund our current operational plan for at least the next twelve months. In addition to pursuing additional cash resources through public or private financings, we may also seek to enter into contracts, including collaborations or licensing agreements with respect to our technologies, with third parties, including government entities.

Where You Can Find Additional Information

We make available free of charge through our corporate website, www.sarepta.com, our annual reports, quarterly reports, current reports, proxy statements and all amendments to those reports as soon as reasonably practicable after such material is electronically filed or furnished with the SEC. These reports may also be obtained without charge by submitting a written request via mail to Investor Relations, Sarepta Therapeutics, Inc., 215 First Street, Suite 415, Cambridge, MA 02142 or by e-mail to investorrelations@sarepta.com. Our internet website and the information contained therein or incorporated therein are not intended to be incorporated into this Annual Report on Form 10-K. In addition, the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) maintains an Internet site that contains reports, proxy and information statements, and other information regarding reports that we file or furnish electronically with the SEC at www.sec.gov.

We have adopted a Code of Business Conduct and Ethics and written charters for our Audit Committee, Compensation Committee and Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee.  Each of the foregoing is available on our website at

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www.sarepta.com under “For Investors—Corporate Governance.”  In accordance with SEC rules, we intend to disclose any amendment (other than any technical, administrative, or other non-substantive amendment) to the above code, or any waiver of any provision thereof with respect to any of the executive officers, on our website within four business days following such amendment or waiver.  In addition, we may use our website as a means of disclosing material non-public information and for complying with our disclosure obligations under Regulation Fair Disclosure promulgated by the SEC. These disclosures will be included on our website under the “For Investors” section.

 

Item 1A. Risk Factors.

Set forth below and elsewhere in this report and in other documents we file with the SEC are descriptions of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from the results contemplated by the forward-looking statements contained in this report. Because of the following factors, as well as other variables affecting our operating results, past financial performance should not be considered a reliable indicator of future performance and investors should not use historical trends to anticipate results or trends in future periods. The risks and uncertainties described below are not the only ones facing us. Other events that we do not currently anticipate or that we currently deem immaterial also affect our results of operations and financial condition.

Risks Related to Our Business

We are highly dependent on the commercial success of EXONDYS 51 in the U.S. We may not be able to meet expectations with respect to EXONDYS 51 sales or attain profitability and positive cash-flow from operations.

On September 19, 2016, the FDA granted accelerated approval for EXONDYS 51 as a therapeutic treatment for DMD in patients who have a confirmed mutation in the DMD gene that is amenable to exon 51 skipping. EXONDYS 51 is currently commercially available in the U.S. and Israel only, although it is available in certain additional countries outside of the U.S. on a named patient basis and through our EAP. The commercial success of EXONDYS 51 continues to depend on a number of factors, including, but not limited to:

 

the effectiveness of our sales, managed markets, marketing efforts and support for EXONDYS 51;

 

the consistency of any new data we collect and analyses we conduct with prior results, whether they support a favorable safety, efficacy and effectiveness profile of EXONDYS 51 and any potential impact on our FDA accelerated approval status and/or FDA package insert for EXONDYS 51;

 

the effectiveness of our ongoing EXONDYS 51 commercialization activities, including negotiating and entering into any additional commercial, supply and distribution contracts, ongoing manufacturing efforts and hiring any additional personnel as needed to support commercial efforts;

 

our ability to comply with FDA post-marketing requirements and commitments, including through successfully conducting additional studies that confirm clinical efficacy, effectiveness and safety of EXONDYS 51 and acceptance of the same by the FDA and medical community since continued approval for this indication may be contingent upon verification of a clinical benefit in confirmatory trials;

 

the occurrence of any side effects, adverse reactions or misuse, or any unfavorable publicity in these areas;

 

the cost-effectiveness of EXONDYS 51 and whether we can consistently manufacture at acceptable costs;

 

the rate and consistency with which EXONDYS 51 is prescribed by physicians, which depends on physicians’ views on the safety, effectiveness and efficacy of EXONDYS 51;

 

our ability to secure and maintain adequate reimbursement for EXONDYS 51, including during re-authorization processes that may be required for patients who initially obtained coverage by third parties, including by government payors, managed care organizations and private health insurers;

 

our ability to obtain and maintain patent protection for EXONDYS 51, to preserve our trade secrets, to prevent third parties from infringing on our proprietary rights and to operate without infringing on the proprietary rights of third parties;

 

the development or commercialization of competing products or therapies for the treatment of DMD, or its symptoms, and the existence of competing clinical trials;

 

our ability to increase awareness of the importance of genetic testing and knowing/understanding DMD mutations, and identifying and addressing procedural barriers to obtaining therapy;

 

our ability to remain compliant with laws and regulations that apply to us and our commercial activities;

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the actual market-size, ability to identify patients and the demographics of patients eligible for EXONDYS 51, which may be different than expected;

 

the sufficiency of our drug supply to meet commercial and clinical demands and standards, which could be negatively impacted for various reasons, including if our projections on the potential number of amenable patients and their average weight are inaccurate, we are subject to unanticipated regulatory requirements that increase our drug supply needs, our current drug supply is destroyed or negatively impacted at our manufacturing sites, storage sites or in transit, failure to meet cGMP requirements or it takes longer than we project for the number of patients we anticipate to get on EXONDYS 51 and any significant portion of our EXONDYS 51 supply expires before we are able to sell it;

 

our ability to obtain regulatory approvals to commercialize EXONDYS 51 in markets outside of the U.S. and Israel; and

 

the process leading to a patient’s first infusion of EXONDYS 51 may be slower for certain patients. For example, the time to first infusion may take longer if a patient chooses to put in an intravenous port, which eases access to the vein. As the launch of EXONDYS 51 continues to progress, we expect the variation among patients to decline, leading to a faster time to infusion. However, delays in the process prior to first infusion could negatively impact the sales of EXONDYS 51.

We may experience significant fluctuations in sales of EXONDYS 51 from period to period and, ultimately, we may never generate sufficient revenues from EXONDYS 51 to reach or maintain profitability or sustain our anticipated levels of operations.

Even though EXONDYS 51 received accelerated approval by the FDA, it faces future post-approval development and regulatory requirements, which will present additional challenges we will need to successfully navigate.

On September 19, 2016, the FDA granted accelerated approval for EXONDYS 51 as a therapeutic treatment for patients with DMD who have a confirmed mutation in the DMD gene that is amenable to exon 51 skipping. This indication is based on an increase in the surrogate biomarker of dystrophin in skeletal muscles observed in some patients treated with EXONDYS 51. EXONDYS 51 will be subject to ongoing FDA requirements governing the labeling, packaging, storage, advertising, promotion and recordkeeping of EXONDYS 51, and we are required to submit additional safety, efficacy and other post-marketing information to the FDA.

Under the accelerated approval pathway, continued approval for this indication may be contingent upon verification of a clinical benefit in confirmatory trials. These post-approval requirements and commitments may not be feasible and/or could impose significant burdens and costs on us; could negatively impact our development, manufacturing and supply of EXONDYS 51; and could negatively impact our financial results. Failure to meet post-approval commitments and requirements, including completion of enrollment and in particular, any failure to obtain positive safety and efficacy data from our ongoing and planned EXONDYS 51 studies, would lead to negative regulatory action from the FDA and/or withdrawal of regulatory approval of EXONDYS 51.

Manufacturers of drug products and their facilities are subject to continual review and periodic inspections by the FDA and other regulatory authorities for compliance with cGMP regulations. Drug product manufacturers are required to continuously monitor and report adverse events from clinical trials and commercial use of the product. If we or a regulatory agency discover previously unknown adverse events or events of unanticipated severity or frequency, a regulatory agency may require labeling changes implementation of risk evaluation and mitigation strategy program, or additional post-marketing studies or clinical trials.  If we or a regulatory agency discover previously unknown problems with a product, such as problems with a facility where the API or drug product is manufactured or tested, a regulatory agency may impose restrictions on that product and/or the manufacturer, including removal of specific product lots from the market, withdrawal of the product from the market, or suspension of manufacturing. Sponsors of drugs approved under FDA accelerated approval provisions also are required to submit to FDA, at least 30 days before initial use, all promotional materials intended for use after the first 120 days following marketing approval. If we or the manufacturing facilities for EXONDYS 51 fail to comply with applicable regulatory requirements, a regulatory agency may:

 

issue warning letters or untitled letters;

 

seek an injunction or impose civil or criminal penalties or monetary fines;

 

suspend or withdraw or alter the conditions of our marketing approval;

 

mandate modifications to promotional materials or require us to provide corrective information to healthcare practitioners;

 

suspend any ongoing clinical trials;

 

require us to enter into a consent decree, which can include imposition of various fines, reimbursements for inspection costs, required due dates for specific actions and penalties for noncompliance;

 

refuse to approve pending applications or supplements to applications submitted by us;

 

suspend or impose restrictions on operations, including costly new manufacturing requirements;

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seize or detain products, refuse to permit the import or export of products or require us to initiate a product recall; or

 

refuse to allow us to enter into supply contracts, including government contracts.

We are subject to uncertainty relating to reimbursement policies which, if not favorable, could hinder or prevent the commercial success of EXONDYS 51 and/or our product candidates.

Our ability to successfully maintain and/or increase EXONDYS 51 sales in the U.S. depends in part on the coverage and reimbursement levels set by governmental authorities, private health insurers and other third-party payors. Third party payors are increasingly challenging the effectiveness of and prices charged for medical products and services. We may not be able to obtain or maintain adequate third-party coverage or reimbursement for EXONDYS 51, and/or we may be required to provide discounts or rebates on EXONDYS 51 in order to obtain or maintain adequate coverage.

We expect that private insurers will continue to consider the efficacy, effectiveness, cost-effectiveness and safety of EXONDYS 51, including any new data and analyses that we are able to collect and make available in a compliant manner, in determining whether to approve reimbursement for EXONDYS 51 and at what levels. If any new data and information we collect is not favorable, third party insurers may make coverage decisions that negatively impact sales of EXONDYS 51. We continue to have discussions with payors, some of which may eventually deny coverage. We may not receive approval for reimbursement of EXONDYS 51 from additional insurers on a satisfactory rate or basis, in which case our business would be materially adversely affected. In addition, obtaining these approvals can be a time consuming and expensive process. Our business would be materially adversely affected if we are not able to maintain favorable coverage decisions and/or fail to receive additional favorable coverage decisions from third party insurers, in particular during re-authorization processes for patients that have already initiated therapy. Our business could also be adversely affected if government health programs, private health insurers, including managed care organizations, or other reimbursing bodies or payors limit the indications for which EXONDYS 51 will be reimbursed or fail to recognize accelerated approval and surrogate endpoints as clinically meaningful.

In some foreign countries, particularly Canada and the countries of Europe, Latin America and Asia Pacific, the pricing of prescription pharmaceuticals is subject to strict governmental control. In these countries, pricing negotiations with governmental authorities can take 12 to 24 months or longer after the receipt of regulatory approval and product launch. In order to obtain favorable reimbursement for the indications sought or pricing approval in some countries, we may be required to collect additional data, including conducting additional studies. Furthermore, several European countries have implemented government measures to either freeze or reduce pricing of pharmaceutical products. If reimbursement for our products is unavailable in any country in which reimbursement is sought, limited in scope or amount, or if pricing is set at unsatisfactory levels, our business could be materially harmed. In addition, many foreign countries are referencing to other countries’ official public price, hence an unsatisfactory price level in one country could consequently impinge negatively upon overall revenue.

We expect to experience pricing pressures in connection with the sale of EXONDYS 51 and our future products due to a number of factors, including current and future healthcare reforms and initiatives by government health programs and private insurers (including managed care plans) to reduce healthcare costs, the scrutiny of pharmaceutical pricing, the ongoing debates on reducing government spending and additional legislative proposals. These healthcare reform efforts or any future legislation or regulatory actions aimed at controlling and reducing healthcare costs, including through measures designed to limit reimbursement, restrict access or impose unfavorable pricing modifications on pharmaceutical products, could impact our and our partners’ ability to obtain or maintain reimbursement for our products at satisfactory levels, or at all, which could materially harm our business and financial results.

Additionally, our gene therapy product candidates represent novel approaches to treatment that will call for new levels of innovation in both pricing and drug access strategies. Current reimbursement models may not accommodate the unique factors of our gene therapy product candidates, including potentially curative efficacy, high up-front costs, lack of long-term efficacy and safety data and fees associated with complex administration, dosing and patient monitoring requirements. Hence, it may be necessary to restructure approaches to payment, pricing strategies and traditional payment models to support these therapies.

The downward pressure on healthcare costs in general has become intense. As a result, increasingly high barriers are being erected to the entry of new products. If we are unable to obtain adequate levels of reimbursement, our ability to successfully market and sell our product candidates will be harmed. The manner and level at which reimbursement is provided for services related to our product candidates (e.g., for administration of our product to patients) is also important. Inadequate reimbursement for such services may lead to physician resistance and limit our ability to market or sell our products.

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Healthcare reform and other governmental and private payor initiatives may have an adverse effect upon, and could prevent commercial success of EXONDYS 51 and our other product candidates.

The U.S. government and individual states have aggressively pursued healthcare reform, as evidenced by the passing of the Healthcare Reform Act and the ongoing efforts to modify or repeal that legislation. The Healthcare Reform Act substantially changed the way healthcare is financed by both governmental and private insurers and contains a number of provisions that affect coverage and reimbursement of drug products and/or that could potentially reduce the demand for pharmaceutical products such as increasing drug rebates under state Medicaid programs for brand name prescription drugs and extending those rebates to Medicaid managed care and assessing a fee on manufacturers and importers of brand name prescription drugs reimbursed under certain government programs, including Medicare and Medicaid. Other aspects of healthcare reform, such as expanded government enforcement authority and heightened standards that could increase compliance-related costs, could also affect our business. Modifications have been implemented under the Trump Administration and additional modifications or repeal may occur.  There are, and may continue to be, judicial challenges. See “GOVERNMENT REGULATION- Pharmaceutical Pricing and Reimbursement- Third Party Reimbursement and Pricing in the U.S.-Healthcare and Other Reform.” We cannot predict the ultimate content, timing or effect of any changes to the Healthcare Reform Act or other federal and state reform efforts. There is no assurance that federal or state health care reform will not adversely affect our future business and financial results, and we cannot predict how future federal or state legislative, judicial or administrative changes relating to healthcare reform will affect our business.

The U.S. government, state legislatures and foreign governments have shown significant interest in implementing cost-containment programs to limit the growth of government-paid healthcare costs, including price controls, waiver from Medicaid drug rebate law requirements, restrictions on reimbursement and requirements for substitution of generic products for branded prescription drugs.  We anticipate that the U.S. Congress, state legislatures and the private sector will continue to consider and may adopt healthcare policies intended to curb rising healthcare costs. These cost containment measures may include implementation or modification of:

 

controls on government funded reimbursement for drugs;

 

caps or mandatory discounts under certain government sponsored programs;

 

controls on healthcare providers;

 

challenges to the pricing of drugs or limits or prohibitions on reimbursement for specific products through other means;

 

reform of drug importation laws;

 

delegation of decision making to state Medicaid agencies and waiver of reimbursement requirements;

 

expansion of use of managed care systems in which healthcare providers contract to provide comprehensive healthcare for a fixed cost per person; and

 

prohibition on direct-to-consumer advertising or drug marketing practices.

We are unable to predict what additional legislation, regulations or policies, if any, relating to the healthcare industry or third party coverage and reimbursement may be enacted in the future or what effect such legislation, regulations or policies would have on our business. Any cost containment measures, including those listed above, or other healthcare system reforms that are adopted, could significantly decrease the available coverage and the price we might establish for EXONDYS 51 and our other potential products, which would have an adverse effect on our net revenues and operating results.

EXONDYS 51 may not be widely adopted by patients, payors or healthcare providers, which would adversely impact our potential profitability and future business prospects.

EXONDYS 51’s commercial success, particularly in the near term in the U.S., depends upon its level of market adoption by patients, payors and healthcare providers. If EXONDYS 51 does not achieve an adequate level of market adoption for any reason, or if market adoption does not persist, our potential profitability and our future business prospects will be severely adversely impacted. The degree of market acceptance of EXONDYS 51 depends on a number of factors, including:

 

our ability to demonstrate to the medical community, including specialists who may purchase or prescribe EXONDYS 51, the clinical efficacy, effectiveness and safety of EXONDYS 51 as the prescription product of choice for DMD amenable to exon-51 skipping in the U.S.;

 

the effectiveness of our sales and marketing organizations and distribution networks;

 

the ability of patients or providers to be adequately reimbursed for EXONDYS 51 in a timely manner from government and private payors;

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the actual and perceived efficacy and safety profile of EXONDYS 51, particularly if unanticipated adverse events related to EXONDYS 51 treatment arise and create safety concerns among potential patients or prescribers or if new data and analyses we obtain for eteplirsen do not support, or are interpreted by some parties to not support, the efficacy of EXONDYS 51; and

 

the efficacy and safety of our other exon-skipping product candidates, including our exon 45 and exon 53 product candidates (casimersen and golodirsen, respectively), and third parties’ competitive therapies.

We may not be able to expand the global footprint of EXONDYS 51 outside of the U.S.

Even though EXONDYS 51 was approved for marketing in the U.S. and in Israel, we may not receive approval to commercialize EXONDYS 51 in additional countries. In November 2016, we submitted a MAA for eteplirsen to the EMA and the application was validated in December 2016. As we announced on June 1, 2018, the CHMP of the EMA adopted a negative opinion for eteplirsen. In September 2018, the CHMP of the EMA confirmed its negative opinion for eteplirsen, and the European Commission adopted the CHMP opinion in December 2018. We plan to seek follow up EMA scientific advice in 2019 to explore a potential approach for EMA approval of eteplirsen.

In order to market any product in a foreign country, we must comply with numerous and varying regulatory requirements for approval in those countries regarding demonstration of evidence of the product’s safety and efficacy and governing, among other things, labeling, distribution, advertising, and promotion, as well as pricing and reimbursement of the product. Obtaining marketing approval in a foreign country is an extensive, lengthy, expensive and uncertain process, and the regulatory authority may reject an application or delay, limit or deny approval of eteplirsen for many reasons, including:

 

we may not be able to demonstrate to the satisfaction of foreign regulatory authorities that eteplirsen is safe and effective for the treatment of patients with DMD who have a confirmed mutation in the DMD gene that is amenable to exon 51 skipping;

 

the results of clinical trials may not meet the level of statistical or clinical significance required for approval by foreign regulatory authorities;

 

foreign regulatory authorities may disagree with the adequacy (number, design, size, controls, conduct or implementation) of our clinical trials prior to granting approval, and we may not be able to generate the required data on a timely basis, or at all;

 

regulatory authorities may conclude that data we submit to them fail to demonstrate an appropriate level of safety or efficacy of eteplirsen or that eteplirsen’s clinical benefits outweigh its safety risks;

 

regulatory authorities outside the U.S. may not accept data generated at our clinical trial sites or require us to generate additional data or information;

 

regulatory authorities outside the U.S. may impose limitations or restrictions on the approved labeling of eteplirsen, thus limiting intended users or providing an additional hurdle for market acceptance of the product;

 

regulatory authorities outside the U.S. may identify deficiencies in the manufacturing processes, or may require us to change our manufacturing process or specifications; and

 

regulatory authorities outside the U.S. may adopt new or revised approval policies and regulations.

Approval procedures vary among countries, and can involve additional product testing and additional administrative review periods. The time required to obtain approval in other countries might differ significantly from that required to obtain approval in the U.S. In particular, in many foreign countries, it is required that a product receives pricing and reimbursement approval before the product can be distributed commercially. Many foreign countries undertake cost-containment measures that could affect pricing or reimbursement of eteplirsen. This can result in substantial delays, and the price that is ultimately approved in some countries may be lower than the price for which we expect to offer EXONDYS 51.

Marketing approval in one country does not ensure marketing approval in another, but a failure or delay in obtaining marketing approval in one country may have a negative effect on the approval process in others. Failure to obtain marketing approval in other countries or any delay or setback in obtaining such approval would impair our ability to develop foreign markets for eteplirsen and could adversely affect our business and financial condition. In addition, failure to obtain approval in one country or area may affect sales under the EAP in other countries or areas. Even if we are successful in obtaining regulatory approval of eteplirsen in additional countries, our revenue earning capacity will depend on commercial and medical infrastructure, pricing and reimbursement negotiations and decisions with third party payors, including government payors.

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We cannot predict whether historical revenues from eteplirsen on a named patient basis or through our EAP outside the U.S. will continue or whether we will be able to continue to distribute eteplirsen on a named patient basis or through our EAP.

In certain countries outside the U.S., reimbursement for products that have not yet received marketing authorization may be provided through national managed access programs. We have contracted with third party distributors to distribute eteplirsen in certain countries outside the U.S. on a named patient basis and launched an ex-U.S. eteplirsen EAP, which we plan to expand to other jurisdictions in the future. While we generate revenue from the distribution of eteplirsen through named patient programs and our EAP, we cannot predict whether historical revenues from these programs will continue, whether we will be able to continue to distribute our products on a named patient basis or through EAP in these countries, whether we will be able to commercialize our products in countries where the products have historically been available on a named patient basis, or whether commercial revenues will exceed revenues historically generated from sales on a named patient basis or through our EAP. Reimbursement through national early access programs may cease to be available if authorization for a named patient program and/or EAP expires or is terminated. For example, healthcare providers in EAP jurisdictions may not be convinced that their patients can benefit from eteplirsen or may prefer to wait until such time as eteplirsen is approved by a regulatory authority in their country before prescribing eteplirsen. Even if a healthcare provider is interested in obtaining access to eteplirsen for its patient through the EAP, the patient will not be able to obtain access to eteplirsen if payment for the drug is not secured.

Any failure to maintain revenues from sales of eteplirsen on a named patient basis or through our EAP and/or to generate revenues from commercial sales of eteplirsen exceeding historical sales on a named patient basis or through our EAP could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and growth prospects.

If we are unable to successfully maintain and further develop internal commercialization capabilities, sales of EXONDYS 51 may be negatively impacted.

We have hired and trained a commercial team and put in the organizational infrastructure we believe we need to support the commercial success of EXONDYS 51 in the U.S. Factors that may inhibit our efforts to maintain and further develop commercial capabilities include:

 

an inability to retain an adequate number of effective commercial personnel;

 

an inability to train sales personnel, who may have limited experience with our company or EXONDYS 51, to deliver a consistent message regarding EXONDYS 51 and be effective in convincing physicians to prescribe EXONDYS 51;

 

an inability to equip sales personnel with compliant and effective materials, including medical and sales literature to help them educate physicians and our healthcare providers regarding EXONDYS 51 and its proper administration and educate payors on the safety, efficacy and effectiveness profile of EXONDYS 51 to support favorable coverage decisions; and

 

unforeseen costs and expenses associated with maintaining and further developing an independent sales and marketing organization.

If we are not successful in maintaining an effective commercial, sales and marketing infrastructure, we will encounter difficulty in achieving, maintaining or increasing projected sales of EXONDYS 51 in the U.S., which would adversely affect our business and financial condition.

If we are unable to execute effectively our sales and marketing activities outside the U.S., we may be unable to generate sufficient product revenue.

EXONDYS 51 is our first commercial product. As a result, our sales, marketing, managerial and other non-technical capabilities are relatively new in the U.S. We have built a commercial sales force in Europe and we are currently in the process of building commercial infrastructure in other key countries in order to be ready to launch eteplirsen with a relatively small specialty sales force in the event eteplirsen is ultimately approved in those jurisdictions. The establishment and development of our commercial infrastructure will continue to be expensive and time consuming, and we may not be able to successfully develop this capability in a timely manner or at all. We anticipate building sales, medical, marketing, managerial, distribution and other capabilities across multiple jurisdictions to prepare for potential approvals ex-U.S. Doing so will require a high degree of coordination and compliance with laws and regulations in such jurisdictions. If we are unable to effectively coordinate such activities or comply with such laws and regulations, our ability to commercialize eteplirsen in such jurisdictions will be adversely affected. Even if we are able to effectively hire a sales force and develop a marketing and sales capabilities, our sales force may not be successful in commercializing eteplirsen or any other product candidate that we develop. If we are unable to establish adequate manufacturing, sales, marketing, supply and distribution capabilities, whether independently or with third parties, we may not be able to generate product revenue and may not become profitable outside of the U.S.

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If we fail to obtain or maintain regulatory exclusivity for our products, then we may not be able to protect our products from competition and our business may be adversely impacted.  If a competitor obtains an authorization to market the same or substantially same product before a product of ours is authorized in a given country and is granted regulatory exclusivity, then our product may not be authorized for sale as a result of the competitor’s regulatory exclusivity and as a result, our investment in the development of that product may not be returned.

In addition to any patent protection, we rely on various forms of regulatory exclusivity to protect our products. During the development of our products, we anticipate regulatory exclusivities available upon approval of our products. Implementation and enforcement of regulatory exclusivity, which may consist of regulatory data protection and market protection, varies widely from country to country. Failure to qualify for regulatory exclusivity, or failure to obtain or maintain the extent or duration of such protections that we expect in each of the markets for our products due to challenges, changes or interpretations in the law or otherwise, could affect our revenues for our products or our decision on whether to market our products in a particular country or countries or could otherwise have an adverse impact on our results of operations.  We are not guaranteed to receive or maintain regulatory exclusivity for our current or future products, and if our products that are granted orphan status were to lose their status as orphan drugs or the data or marketing exclusivity provided for orphan drugs, our business and operations could be adversely affected.

Due to the nature of EXONDYS 51 and product candidate pipeline, in addition to new biologic exclusivity, orphan drug exclusivity is especially important for our products that are eligible for orphan drug designation. For eligible products, we plan to rely on orphan drug exclusivity to maintain a competitive position.  If we do not have adequate patent protection for our products, then the relative importance of obtaining regulatory exclusivity is even greater.  While orphan status for any of our products, if granted or maintained, would provide market exclusivity for the time periods specified above upon approval, we would not be able to exclude other companies from obtaining regulatory approval of products using the same or similar active ingredient for the same indication beyond the exclusivity period applicable to our product on the basis of orphan drug status (e.g., seven years in the U.S.).  Orphan drug designation neither shortens the development time or regulatory review time of a drug, nor gives the drug any advantage in the regulatory review or approval process.

In addition, we may face risks with maintaining regulatory exclusivities for our product, and our protection may be circumvented, even if maintained.  For instance, orphan drug exclusivity in the U.S. may be rescinded if (i) an alternative, competing product demonstrates clinical superiority to our product with orphan exclusivity; (ii) we are unable to assure the availability of sufficient quantities of our orphan product to meet the needs of patients.  Moreover, competitors may receive approval of different drugs or biologics for indications for which our prior approved orphan product has exclusivity.  Orphan drug exclusivity in Europe may be modified for several reasons, including a significant change to the orphan medicinal product designations or status criteria after-market authorization of the orphan product (e.g., product profitability exceeds the criteria for orphan drug designation), problems with the production or supply of the orphan drug, or a competitor drug, although similar, is safer, more effective or otherwise clinically superior than the initial orphan drug.  Thus, we cannot guarantee that another company will not receive approval to market a product candidate that is granted orphan drug exclusivity for the same drug or similar drug and same orphan indication as any of our product candidates for which we plan to file an NDA, Biologics License Application (“BLA”) or MAA.   If that were to happen, any pending NDA, BLA or MAA for our product candidate for that indication may not be approved until the competing company’s period of exclusivity has expired in the U.S. or the EU, as applicable.

Even though we have obtained orphan drug designation for certain of our product candidates and even if we obtain orphan drug designation for these or our future product candidates, due to the uncertainties associated with developing biopharmaceutical products, we may not be the first to obtain marketing approval for any particular orphan indication, which means that we may not obtain orphan drug exclusivity and could also potentially be blocked from approval of certain product candidates until the competitor’s orphan drug exclusivity period on its product expires (e.g., seven years in the U.S.).  Moreover, with respect to antisense oligonucleotides and gene therapy, it is uncertain how similarity between product candidates designed to treat the same rare disease or condition may be determined on a country-by-country basis and whether the orphan drug exclusivity of a previously approved product can block the approval of a chemically distinct product candidate under regulatory review.

The patient population suffering from DMD, LGMDs, Pompe disease and MPS IIIA is small and has not been established with precision. If the actual number of patients is smaller than we estimate, our revenue and ability to achieve profitability may be adversely affected.

DMD, LGMD, Pompe disease, CMT and MPS IIIA are rare, fatal genetic neuromuscular disorders. DMD affects an estimated one in approximately every 3,500 to 5,000 males born worldwide, of which up to 13% are estimated to be amenable to exon-51 skipping. LGMDs as a class affect an estimated range of approximately one in every 14,500 to one in every 123,000 individuals. Pompe disease affects an estimated one in approximately every 40,000 individuals. CMT is a group of peripheral nerve disorders affecting approximately one in every 2,500 individuals. CMT type 1A affects approximately 50,000 patients in the U.S. MPS IIIA affects approximately 1 in 100,000 newborns. Our estimates of the size of these patient populations are based on published studies as well as internal analyses. Various factors may decrease the market size of our product and product candidates, including the

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severity of the disease, patient demographics and the response of patients’ immune systems to our product candidates. If the results of these studies or our analysis of them do not accurately reflect the relevant patient population, our assessment of the market may be inaccurate, making it difficult or impossible for us to meet our revenue goals, or to obtain and maintain profitability.  

We face intense competition and rapid technological change, which may result in other companies discovering, developing or commercializing competitive products.

The biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries are highly competitive and subject to significant and rapid technological change. We are aware of many pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies that are actively engaged in research and development in areas in which our product and product candidates are aimed. Some of these competitors are developing or testing product candidates that now, or may in the future, compete directly with our product or our product candidates. For example, we face competition in the field of DMD by third parties who are developing or who had once developed: (i) exon skipping product candidates, such as Wave Life Sciences (notably for exons 51 and 53), Nippon Shinyaku (notably for exon 53), Daiichi Sankyo (notably for exon 45); (ii) gene therapies that express microdystrophin or mini-dystrophin, such as Pfizer and Solid Biosciences; (iii) CRISPR/Cas 9 approaches, such as Exonics Therapeutics and Editas Medicine; (iv) other disease modifying approaches, such as PTC Therapeutics, which has a small molecule candidate, ataluren, that targets nonsense mutations; and (v) other approaches that may be palliative in nature or potentially complementary with our product and product candidates and that are being developed by Santhera, Summit, Catabasis, Pfizer, Fibrogen and Tivorsan. Although BioMarin announced on May 31, 2016 its intent to discontinue clinical and regulatory development of drisapersen as well as its other clinical stage candidates, BMN 044, BMN 045 and BMN 053, then-currently in Phase 2 studies for distinct forms of DMD, it further announced its intent to continue to explore the development of next generation oligonucleotides for the treatment of DMD.

In addition, we are aware of many pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies that are actively engaged in research and development using platform technologies that may be viewed as competing with ours beyond and including those companies mentioned immediately above, such as Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Ionis Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Roche Innovation Center Copenhagen (formerly Santaris Pharma A/S), Shire plc (now Takeda), Biogen, Sanofi Additionally, several companies and institutions have entered into collaborations or other agreements for the development of product candidates, including mRNA, gene therapy and gene editing (CRIPSR and AAV, among others) and small molecule therapies that are potential competitors for therapies being developed in the muscular dystrophy, neuromuscular and rare disease space, including, but not limited to, Biogen Inc., Ionis, Alexion Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Sanofi, Shire (now Takeda), Eli Lilly, Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Moderna Therapeutics, Inc., Summit, Akashi, Catabasis, Capricor Therapeutics, Oxford University, Exonics Therapeutics, and Editas Medicine.

If any of our competitors are successful in obtaining regulatory approval for any of their product candidates, it may limit our ability to enter into the market, gain market share or maintain market share in the DMD space or other diseases targeted by our platform technologies, product and product candidate pipeline.

It is possible that our competitors will succeed in developing technologies that limit the market size for our product or product candidates, impact the regulatory approval and post-marketing process for our product and product candidates, are more effective than our product candidates or would render our technologies obsolete or noncompetitive. Our competitors may, among other things:

 

develop safer or more effective products;

 

implement more effective approaches to sales and marketing;

 

develop less costly products;

 

obtain regulatory approval more quickly;

 

have access to more manufacturing capacity;

 

develop products that are more convenient and easier to administer;

 

form more advantageous strategic alliances; or

 

establish superior intellectual property positions.

We may engage in future acquisitions or collaborations with other entities that complement or expand our business. We may not be able to complete such transactions, and such transactions, if executed, may increase our capital requirements, dilute our stockholders, cause us to incur debt or assume contingent liabilities and subject us to other risks.

In order to achieve our long-term business objectives, we actively evaluate various strategic transactions on an ongoing basis, including licensing or acquiring complementary products, technologies or businesses. We may face competition from other companies

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in pursuing acquisitions and similar transactions in the biotechnology industry. This competition is most intense for approved drugs and late-stage drug candidates, which have the lowest risk and would have the most immediate effect on our financial performance. Our ability to complete transactions may also be limited by applicable antitrust and trade regulation laws and regulations in the U.S. and foreign jurisdictions in which we or the operations or assets we seek to acquire carry on business.

To the extent that we are successful in undertaking acquisitions or collaborations with other entities, we may not realize the anticipated benefits of such transaction, each of which involves numerous risks, including:

 

failure to successfully develop the acquired or licensed drugs or technology or to achieve strategic objectives, including successfully developing and commercializing the drugs, drug candidates or technologies that we acquire or license;

 

entry into markets in which we have no or limited direct prior experience or where competitors in such markets have stronger market positions;

 

disruption of our ongoing business, distraction of our management and employees from other opportunities and challenges and retention of key employees;

 

potential failure of the due diligence processes to identify significant problems, liabilities or other shortcomings or challenges of an acquired company, or acquired or licensed product or technology, including but not limited to, problems, liabilities or other shortcomings or challenges with respect to intellectual property, product quality, safety, accounting practices, employee, customer or third party relations and other known and unknown liabilities;

 

liability for activities of the acquired company or licensor before the acquisition or license, including intellectual property infringement claims, violations of laws, commercial disputes, tax liabilities, and other known and unknown liabilities;

 

exposure to litigation or other claims in connection with, or inheritance of claims or litigation risk as a result of an acquisition or license, including but not limited to, claims from terminated employees, customers, former equity holders or other third-parties;

 

difficulty in integrating the drugs, drug candidates, technologies, business operations and personnel of an acquired asset or company; and

 

difficulties in the integration of the acquired company’s departments, systems, including accounting, human resource and other administrative systems, technologies, books and records, and procedures, as well as in maintaining uniform standards, controls, including internal control over financial reporting required by the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 and related procedures and policies.

In addition, even if we achieve the long-term benefits associated with strategic transactions, our expenses and short-term costs may increase materially and adversely affect our liquidity and short-term net income (loss). Future licenses or acquisitions could result in potentially dilutive issuances of equity securities, the incurrence of debt, the creation of contingent liabilities, impairment expenses related to goodwill, and impairment or amortization expenses related to other intangible assets, which could harm our financial condition.

Risks Related to the Development of our Product Candidates

We may find it difficult to enroll patients in our clinical trials, which could delay or prevent clinical trials of our product candidates.

Identifying and qualifying patients to participate in clinical trials of our product candidates is critical to our success. The timing of our clinical trials depends on the speed at which we can recruit eligible patients to participate in testing our product candidates. We have experienced delays in some of our clinical trials, and we may experience similar delays in the future. These delays could result in increased costs, delays in advancing our product development, delays in testing the effectiveness of our technology or termination of the clinical trials altogether.

We may not be able to identify, recruit and enroll a sufficient number of patients, or those with required or desired characteristics to achieve diversity in a study, to complete our clinical trials in a timely manner. Patient enrollment is affected by factors including:

 

design of the study protocol;

 

size of the patient population;

 

eligibility criteria for the study in question;

 

manufacturing of product candidates;

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perceived risks and benefits of the product candidate under study, including as a result of adverse effects observed in similar or competing therapies;

 

proximity and availability of clinical trial sites for prospective patients;

 

availability of competing therapies and clinical trials;

 

efforts to facilitate timely enrollment in clinical trials;

 

patient referral practices of physicians;

 

activities of patient advocacy groups;

 

ability to monitor patients adequately during and after treatment; and

 

severity of the disease under investigation.

In particular, each of the conditions for which we plan to evaluate our product candidates are rare genetic diseases with limited patient pools from which to draw for clinical trials. Further, because newborn screening for these diseases is not widely adopted, and it can be difficult to diagnose these diseases in the absence of a genetic screen, we may have difficulty finding patients who are eligible to participate in our studies. The eligibility criteria of our clinical trials will further limit the pool of available study participants. Additionally, the process of finding and diagnosing patients may prove costly. The treating physicians in our clinical trials may also use their medical discretion in advising patients enrolled in our clinical trials to withdraw from our studies to try alternative therapies.

We may not be able to initiate or continue clinical trials if we cannot enroll a sufficient number of eligible patients to participate in the clinical trials required by the FDA or the EMA or other regulatory agencies. Our ability to successfully initiate, enroll and complete a clinical trial in any foreign country is subject to numerous risks unique to conducting business in foreign countries, including:

 

difficulty in establishing or managing relationships with contract research organizations (“CROs”) and physicians;

 

different standards for the conduct of clinical trials;

 

our inability to locate qualified local consultants, physicians and partners; and

 

the potential burden of complying with a variety of foreign laws, medical standards and regulatory requirements, including the regulation of pharmaceutical and biotechnology products and treatment.

If we have difficulty enrolling a sufficient number of patients to conduct our clinical trials as planned, we may need to delay, limit or terminate ongoing or planned clinical trials, any of which would have an adverse effect on our business.

Failures or delays in the commencement or completion of our ongoing and planned clinical trials of our product candidates could cause us not to meet our expected timelines or result in increased costs to us, and could delay, prevent or limit our ability to gain regulatory approval of any product candidate and to generate revenue and continue our business.

Successful completion of clinical trials at each applicable stage of development is a prerequisite to submitting a marketing application to the regulatory agencies and, consequently, the ultimate approval and commercial marketing of any of our product candidates for the indications in which we develop them. We do not know whether any of our clinical trials will begin or be completed, and results announced, as planned or expected, if at all, as the commencement and completion of clinical trials and announcement of results can be delayed or prevented for a number of reasons, including, among others:

 

denial by the regulatory agencies of permission to proceed with our planned clinical trials or any other clinical trials we may initiate, or placement of a clinical trial on hold;

 

delays in filing or receiving approvals of additional INDs that may be required;

 

negative results from our ongoing non-clinical trials or clinical trials;

 

challenges in identifying, recruiting, enrolling and retaining patients to participate in clinical trials

 

timely and effectively contract with (under reasonable terms), manage and work with investigators, institutions, hospitals and the CROs involved in the clinical trial;

 

negotiate contracts and other related documents with clinical trial parties and institutional review boards, such as informed consents, CRO agreements and site agreements, which can be subject to extensive negotiations that could cause

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significant delays in the clinical trial process, with terms possibly varying significantly among different trial sites and CROs and possibly subjecting the Company to various risks;

 

inadequate quantity or quality of supplies of a product candidate or other materials necessary to conduct clinical trials, for example as a result of delays in defining and implementing the manufacturing process for materials used in pivotal trials or for the manufacture of larger quantities or other delays or issues arising in the manufacturing of sufficient supply of finished drug product;

 

difficulties obtaining IRB approval, and equivalent approval for sites outside the U.S., to conduct a clinical trial at a prospective site or sites;

 

ensure adherence to trial designs and protocols agreed upon and approved by regulatory authorities and applicable legal and regulatory guidelines;

 

delays or problems in analyzing data, or the need for additional analysis or data or the need to enroll additional patients;

 

the occurrence of serious adverse events or unexpected drug-related side effects experienced by patients in a clinical trial or unexpected results in ongoing non-clinical trials;

 

delays in validating endpoints utilized in a clinical trial;

 

our inability to satisfy the requirements of the regulatory agencies to commence clinical trials, including CMC requirements, or other regulatory requirements prior to the initiation of a clinical trial;

 

the regulatory agencies disagreeing with our clinical trial design and our interpretation of data from clinical trials, or changing the requirements for approval even after the regulatory authority has reviewed and commented on the design for our clinical trials;

 

reports from non-clinical or clinical testing of competing therapies that raise safety or efficacy concerns; and

 

the recruitment and retention of employees, consultants or contractors with the required level of expertise.

Any inability to successfully complete preclinical and clinical development could result in additional costs to us or impair our ability to generate revenues from product sales, regulatory and commercialization milestones and royalties. In addition, if we make manufacturing or formulation changes to our product candidates, we may need to conduct additional studies to demonstrate comparability of our modified product candidates to earlier versions. Clinical study delays could also shorten any periods during which we may have the exclusive right to commercialize our product candidates or allow our competitors to bring products to market before we do, which could impair our ability to successfully commercialize our product candidates and may harm our business and results of operations.

Results from pre-clinical and early‑stage clinical trials may not be indicative of efficacy in late‑stage clinical trials, and our pre-clinical and clinical trials may fail to demonstrate acceptable levels of safety, efficacy, and quality of our product candidates, which could prevent or significantly delay their regulatory approval.

To obtain the requisite regulatory approvals to market and sell any of our product candidates, we must demonstrate, through extensive pre-clinical and clinical trials, that the product candidate is safe and effective in humans. Ongoing and future pre-clinical and clinical trials of our product candidates may not show sufficient safety, efficacy or adequate quality to obtain or maintain regulatory approvals. For example, although we believe the pre-clinical data for PPMO SRP-5051 collected to date is positive, the additional data we collect, including in the clinic, may not be consistent with the pre-clinical data or show a safe benefit that warrants further development or pursuit of a regulatory approval for PPMO product candidates.

Furthermore, success in pre-clinical and early clinical trials does not ensure that the subsequent trials will be successful, nor does it predict final results of a confirmatory trial. Some of our clinical trials were conducted with small patient populations and were not blinded or placebo-controlled, making it difficult to predict whether the favorable results that we observed in such trials will be repeated in larger and more advanced clinical trials. For example, on October 3, 2018, Nationwide presented positive results from a Phase 1/2a micro-dystrophin gene therapy clinical trial in four individuals with DMD enrolled in the trial. In addition, on February 27, 2019, we announced positive expression and biomarker data from the first three-patient cohort dosed in the MYO-101 gene therapy trial to treat LGMD type 2E, or beta-sarcoglycanopathy. The early data is based on small patient samples and therefore may not be predictive of future results. In addition, we cannot assure that the results of additional data or data from any future trial will yield results that are consistent with the early data presented, that we will be able to demonstrate the safety and efficacy of AAVrh.74, that later trial results will support further development, or even if such later results are favorable, that we will be able to successfully complete the development of, obtain accelerated, conditional or standard regulatory approval for, or successfully commercialize AAVrh74.MHCK7.micro-Dystrophin. Similarly, we cannot provide assurances that data from our studies with respect to EXONDYS 51, golodirsen, casimersen and other gene therapy-based product candidates will be positive and consistent through the study periods

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or that the interpretation by regulators, such as the FDA or EMA, of the data we collect for our product or product candidates will be consistent with our interpretations.

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

Our product candidates may cause undesirable side effects. In addition to side effects caused by product candidates, the administration process or related procedures also can cause adverse side effects. If any such adverse events occur in our trials, we may decide, or the FDA, the EMA or other regulatory authorities could order us, to halt, delay or amend preclinical development or clinical development of our product candidates or we may be unable to receive regulatory approval of our product candidates for any or all targeted indications. Even if we are able to demonstrate that all future serious adverse events are not product-related, such occurrences could affect patient recruitment or the ability of enrolled patients to complete the trial. Moreover, if we elect, or are required, to delay, suspend or terminate any clinical trial of any of our product candidates, the commercial prospects of such product candidates may be harmed and our ability to generate product revenues from any of these product candidates may be delayed or eliminated. Any of these occurrences may harm our ability to develop other product candidates and may harm our business, financial condition and prospects significantly.

Our gene therapy product candidates may be perceived as unsafe or may result in unforeseen adverse events. Negative public opinion and increased regulatory scrutiny of gene therapy may damage public perception of the safety of our gene therapy product candidates and harm our ability to conduct our business or obtain regulatory approvals for our gene therapy product candidates.

Gene therapy remains a newly applied technology, with only a few gene therapy products approved to date in the U.S., the EU or elsewhere. Public perception may be influenced by claims that gene therapy is unsafe, and gene therapy may not gain the acceptance of the public or the medical community. In particular, our success will depend upon physicians who specialize in the treatment of genetic diseases targeted by our product candidates, prescribing treatments that involve the use of our product candidates in lieu of, or in addition to, existing treatments with which they are familiar and for which greater clinical data may be available.

In addition, ethical, social and legal concerns about gene therapy, genetic testing and genetic research could result in additional regulations or prohibiting the processes we may use. Federal and state agencies, congressional committees and foreign governments have expressed their intentions to further regulate biotechnology. More restrictive regulations or claims that our product candidates are unsafe or pose a hazard could prevent us from commercializing any products. New government requirements may be established that could delay or prevent regulatory approval of our product candidates under development. It is impossible to predict whether legislative changes will be enacted, regulations, policies or guidance changed, or interpretations by agencies or courts changed, or what the impact of such changes, if any, may be.

More restrictive government regulations or negative public opinion would harm our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects and may delay or impair the development and commercialization of our gene therapy product candidates or demand for any products we may develop. For example, earlier gene therapy trials led to several well-publicized adverse events, including death. Serious adverse events related to clinical trials we, our strategic partners or other companies conduct, even if such adverse events are not ultimately attributable to the relevant product candidates or products, may result in increased government regulation, unfavorable public perception, potential regulatory delays in the testing or approval of our product candidates, stricter labeling requirements for those product candidates that are approved and a decrease in demand for any such product candidates.

If there are significant delays in obtaining or we are unable to obtain or maintain required regulatory approvals, we will not be able to commercialize our product candidates in a timely manner or at all, which could impair our ability to generate sufficient revenue and have a successful business.

The research, testing, manufacturing, labeling, approval, commercialization, marketing, selling and distribution of drug products are subject to extensive regulation by applicable local, regional and national regulatory authorities and regulations may differ from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. In the U.S., approvals and oversight from federal (e.g., FDA), state and other regulatory authorities are required for these activities. Sale and marketing of our product candidates in the U.S. or other countries is not permitted until we obtain the required approvals from the applicable regulatory authorities. Of the large number of drugs in development in the biopharmaceutical industry, only a small percentage result in the submission of a marketing application to the FDA or an MAA to the EMA and even fewer are approved for commercialization.

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Our ability to obtain the government or regulatory approvals required to commercialize any of our product candidates in any jurisdiction, including in the U.S. or the EU, cannot be assured, may be significantly delayed or may never be achieved for various reasons including the following:

 

Our non-clinical, clinical, chemistry, manufacturing and controls and other data and analyses from past, current and future studies for any of our product candidates may not be sufficient to meet regulatory requirements for marketing application approvals. The regulatory authorities could disagree with our interpretations and conclusions regarding data we provide in connection with NDA, BLA or MAA submissions for one or more of our product candidates, and may delay, reject or refuse to accept for review, or approve any submission we make or identify additional requirements for product approval to be submitted upon completion, if ever. In addition, in the U.S., an FDA advisory committee could determine that our data are insufficient to provide a positive recommendation for approval of any NDA or BLA we submit to the FDA. Even if we meet FDA requirements and an advisory committee votes to recommend approval of an NDA or BLA submission, the FDA could still disagree with the advisory committee’s recommendation and deny approval of a product candidate based on their review.

 

The regulatory approval process for product candidates targeting orphan diseases, such as DMD, that use new technologies and processes, such as antisense oligonucleotide therapies, gene therapy and other alternative approaches or endpoints for the determination of efficacy is uncertain due to, among other factors, evolving interpretations of a new therapeutic class, the broad discretion of regulatory authorities, lack of precedent, small safety databases, varying levels of applicable expertise of regulators or their advisory committees, scientific developments, changes in the competitor landscape, shifting political priorities and changes in applicable laws, rules or regulations and interpretations of the same. As a result of uncertainty in the approval process for products intended to treat serious rare diseases, we may not be able to anticipate, prepare for or satisfy requests or requirements from regulatory authorities, including completing and submitting planned NDAs, BLAs and MAAs for our product candidates, in a timely manner, or at all. Examples of such requests or requirements could include, but are not limited to, conducting additional or redesigned trials and procedures (e.g., additional safety data, patient muscle biopsies, dystrophin analyses and using different assays), repeating or completing additional analysis of our data, or providing additional supportive data. In addition, in the U.S., an FDA advisory committee or regulators may disagree with our data analysis, interpretations and conclusions at any point in the approval process, which could negatively impact the approval of our NDA or BLA or result in a decision by the Company not to proceed with an NDA or BLA submission for a product candidate based on feedback from regulators.

 

We may not have the resources required to meet regulatory requirements and successfully navigate what is generally a lengthy, expensive and extensive approval process for commercialization of drug product candidates.

Any failure on our part to respond to these requirements in a timely and satisfactory manner could significantly delay or negatively impact confirmatory study timelines and/or the development plans we have for golodirsen, casimersen, PPMO, gene therapy-based product candidates or other product candidates. Responding to requests from regulators and meeting requirements for clinical trials, submissions and approvals may require substantial personnel, financial or other resources, which, as a small biopharmaceutical company, we may not be able to obtain in a timely manner or at all. In addition, our ability to respond to requests from regulatory authorities that involve our agents, third party vendors and associates may be complicated by our own limitations and those of the parties we work with. It may be difficult or impossible for us to conform to regulatory guidance or successfully execute our product development plans in response to regulatory guidance, including guidance related to clinical trial design with respect to any NDA, BLA or MAA submissions.

Even if our product candidates demonstrate safety and efficacy in clinical studies, the regulatory agencies may not complete their review processes in a timely manner, or we may not be able to obtain regulatory approval. Additional delays may result if an FDA Advisory Committee or other regulatory advisory group or authority recommends non-approval or restrictions on approval. In addition, we may experience delays or rejections based upon additional government regulation from future legislation or administrative action, or changes in regulatory agency policy during the period of product development, clinical studies and the review process. Regulatory agencies also may approve a treatment candidate for fewer or more limited indications than requested or may grant approval subject to the performance of post-marketing studies. Finally, regulatory agencies may not approve the labeling claims that are necessary or desirable for the successful commercialization of our treatment candidates. Even after approval and commercialization of a product candidate, we remain subject to ongoing regulatory compliance and oversight to maintain our approval. Conducting our confirmatory studies could take years to complete, could yield negative or uninterpretable results or could result in an FDA determination that the studies do not provide the safety and efficacy requirements to maintain regulatory approval. If we or any of our strategic partners are unable to develop, or obtain regulatory approval for, or, if approved, maintain regulatory compliance and successfully commercialize, our product candidates, our business will be materially harmed.

We are investing significant resources in the development of our novel gene therapy product candidates. Only a few gene therapy products have been approved in the U.S. and EU. If we are unable to show the safety and efficacy of these product

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candidates, experience delays in doing so or are unable to successfully commercialize at least one of these drugs, our business would be materially harmed.

We are investing significant resources in the development of our gene therapy product candidates. We believe that a significant portion of the long-term value attributed to our company by investors is based on the commercial potential of these product candidates. There can be no assurance that any development problems we experience in the future related to our gene therapy programs will not cause significant delays or unanticipated costs, or that such development problems can be solved. Initial results from ongoing clinical trials may differ materially from final results from such clinical trials. The results from preclinical and early clinical studies do not always accurately predict results in later, large-scale clinical trials. We may also experience delays in developing a sustainable, reproducible and commercial-scale manufacturing process or transferring that process to commercial partners, which may prevent us from completing our clinical trials or commercializing our products on a timely or profitable basis, if at all.

In addition, the clinical trial requirements of the FDA, the EMA, and other regulatory agencies and the criteria these regulators use to determine the safety and efficacy of a product candidate vary substantially according to the type, complexity, novelty and intended use and market of the potential products. The regulatory approval process for novel product candidates such as ours can be more expensive and take longer than for other, better known or more extensively studied pharmaceutical or other product candidates. Currently, only a few gene therapy products have been approved in the Western world. Novartis’s and Gilead’s CAR-T therapies both received approval from the FDA in 2017. Given the few precedents of approved gene therapy products, it is difficult to determine how long it will take or how much it will cost to obtain regulatory approvals for our gene therapy product candidates in the U.S., the EU or other jurisdictions. Approvals by the EMA and the European Commission may not be indicative of what the FDA may require for approval.

Regulatory requirements governing gene therapy products have evolved and may continue to change in the future. For example, on July 11, 2018, the FDA released draft guidance documents intended to reflect recent advances in the field, and to update the framework for the development, review and approval of gene therapies. These draft guidance documents pertain to the development of gene therapies for the treatment of specific disease categories, including rare diseases, and to manufacturing and long-term follow up issues relevant to gene therapy, among other topics. Furthermore, the FDA has established the Office of Cellular, Tissue and Gene Therapies within its Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, or CBER, to consolidate the review of gene therapy and related products, and the Cellular, Tissue and Gene Therapies Advisory Committee to advise CBER on its review. Gene therapy clinical trials conducted at institutions that receive funding for recombinant DNA research from the U.S. National Institutes of Health (“NIH”), are also subject to review by the NIH Office of Biotechnology Activities’ Recombinant DNA Advisory Committee (“RAC”). Although the FDA decides whether individual gene therapy protocols may proceed, the RAC review process can impede the initiation of a clinical trial, even if the FDA has reviewed the study and approved its initiation. Clinical trial sites in the U.S. that receive NIH funding for research involving recombinant or synthetic nucleic acid molecules are required to follow RAC recommendations, or risk losing NIH funding for such research or needing NIH pre-approval before conducting such research. In addition, the FDA can put an IND, on clinical hold if the information in an IND is not sufficient to assess the risks in pediatric patients. Before a clinical trial can begin at any institution, that institution’s institutional review board (“IRB”), and its Institutional Biosafety Committee will have to review the proposed clinical trial to assess the safety of the study. Moreover, serious adverse events or developments in clinical trials of gene therapy product candidates conducted by others may cause the FDA or other regulatory bodies to initiate a clinical hold on our clinical trials or otherwise change the requirements for approval of any of our product candidates.

These regulatory review agencies, committees and advisory groups and the new requirements and guidelines they promulgate may lengthen the regulatory review process, require us to perform additional or larger studies, increase our development costs, lead to changes in regulatory positions and interpretations, delay or prevent approval and commercialization of these treatment candidates or lead to significant post-approval studies, limitations or restrictions. As we advance our product candidates, we will be required to consult with these regulatory and advisory groups and comply with applicable requirements and guidelines. If we fail to do so, we may be required to delay or discontinue development of our product candidates.

If the anticipated or actual timing of marketing approvals for our gene therapy product candidates, or the market acceptance of these product candidates, if approved, including treatment reimbursement levels agreed to by third-party payors, do not meet the expectations of investors or public market analysts, the market price of our common stock would likely decline.

Because we are developing product candidates for the treatment of certain diseases in which there is little clinical experience and we are using new endpoints or methodologies, there is increased risk that the FDA, the EMA or other regulatory

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authorities may not consider the endpoints of our clinical trials to provide clinically meaningful results and that these results may be difficult to analyze.

During the FDA review process, we will need to identify success criteria and endpoints such that the FDA will be able to determine the clinical efficacy and safety profile of our product candidates. As we are developing novel treatments for diseases in which there is little clinical experience with new endpoints and methodologies, such as gene therapy, there is heightened risk that the FDA, the EMA or other regulatory bodies may not consider the clinical trial endpoints to provide clinically meaningful results (reflecting a tangible benefit to patients). In addition, the resulting clinical data and results may be difficult to analyze. Even if the FDA does find our success criteria to be sufficiently validated and clinically meaningful, we may not achieve the pre-specified endpoints to a degree of statistical significance. Different methodologies, assumptions and applications we utilize to assess particular safety or efficacy parameters may yield different statistical results. Even if we believe the data collected from clinical trials of our product candidates are promising, these data may not be sufficient to support approval by the FDA or foreign regulatory authorities. Pre-clinical and clinical data can be interpreted in different ways. Accordingly, the FDA or foreign regulatory authorities could interpret these data in different ways from us or our partners, which could delay, limit or prevent full or accelerated regulatory approval.

If our study data do not consistently or sufficiently demonstrate the safety or efficacy of any of our product candidates, the regulatory approvals for such product candidates could be significantly delayed as we work to meet approval requirements, or, if we are not able to meet these requirements, such approvals could be withheld or withdrawn. 

Fast track product, breakthrough therapy, priority review, or Regenerative Medicine Advanced Therapy (“RMAT”) designation by the FDA, or access to the PRIME scheme by the EMA, for our product candidates may not lead to faster development or regulatory review or approval process, and it does not increase the likelihood that our product candidates will receive marketing approval.

We may seek fast track, breakthrough therapy designation, RMAT designation, PRIME scheme access or priority review designation for our product candidates if supported by the results of clinical trials. A fast track product designation is designed to facilitate the clinical development and expedite the review of drugs intended to treat a serious or life-threatening condition which demonstrate the potential to address an unmet medical need. A breakthrough therapy is defined as a drug that is intended, alone or in combination with one or more other drugs, to treat a serious or life-threatening disease or condition, where preliminary clinical evidence indicates that the drug may demonstrate substantial improvement over existing therapies on one or more clinically significant endpoints, such as substantial treatment effects observed early in clinical development. A RMAT designation is designed to accelerate approval for regenerative advanced therapies such as our gene therapy product candidates. Priority review designation is intended to speed the FDA marketing application review timeframe for drugs that treat a serious condition and, if approved, would provide a significant improvement in safety or effectiveness. PRIME is a scheme provided by the EMA to enhance support for the development of medicines that target an unmet medical need.

For drugs and biologics that have been designated as fast track products or breakthrough therapies, or granted access to the PRIME schema, interaction and communication between the regulatory agency and the sponsor of the trial can help to identify the most efficient path for clinical development. Sponsors of drugs with fast track products or breakthrough therapies may also be able to submit marketing applications on a rolling basis, meaning that the FDA may review portions of a marketing application before the sponsor submits the complete application to the FDA, if the sponsor pays the user fee upon submission of the first portion of the marketing application. For products that receive a priority review designation, the FDA's marketing application review goal is shortened to six months, as opposed to ten months under standard review. This review goal is based on the date the FDA accepts the marketing application for review, this application validation period typically adds approximately two months to the timeline for review and decision from the date of submission. RMAT designations will accelerate approval but the exact mechanisms have not yet been announced by FDA.

Designation as a fast track product, breakthrough therapy, RMAT, PRIME, or priority review product is within the discretion of the regulatory agency. Accordingly, even if we believe one of our product candidates meets the criteria for designation as a fast track product, breakthrough therapy, RMAT, PRIME, or priority review product, the agency may disagree and instead determine not to make such designation. In any event, the receipt of such a designation for a product candidate may not result in a faster development process, review or approval compared to drugs considered for approval under conventional regulatory procedures and does not assure ultimate marketing approval by the agency. In addition, regarding fast track products and breakthrough therapies, the FDA may later decide that the products no longer meet the conditions for qualification as either a fast track product, RMAT, or a breakthrough therapy or, for priority review products, decide that period for FDA review or approval will not be shortened.

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We may not be able to advance all of our programs, and we may use our financial and human resources to pursue particular programs and fail to capitalize on programs that may be more profitable or for which there is a greater likelihood of success.

As of December 31, 2018, our pipeline included 25 programs in various stages of development for a broad range of diseases and disorders. We plan to expand our pipeline in 2019 through internal research and development and through strategic transactions. Because we have limited resources, we may not be able to advance all of our programs. We may also forego or delay pursuit of opportunities with certain programs or for indications that later prove to have greater commercial potential. Our resource allocation decisions may cause us to fail to capitalize on viable commercial products or profitable market opportunities. Our spending on current and future research and development programs for product candidates may not yield any commercially viable products. If we do not accurately evaluate the commercial potential or target market for a particular product candidate, we may relinquish valuable rights to that product candidate through strategic collaboration, licensing or other royalty arrangements in cases in which it would have been more advantageous for us to retain sole development and commercialization rights to such product candidate, or we may allocate internal resources to a product candidate in a therapeutic area in which it would have been more advantageous to enter into a partnering arrangement.

Risks Related to Third Parties

If we are unable to maintain our agreements with third parties to distribute EXONDYS 51 to patients, our results of operations and business could be adversely affected.

We rely on third parties to commercially distribute EXONDYS 51 to patients in the U.S. We have contracted with a third-party logistics company to warehouse EXONDYS 51 and with distributors and specialty pharmacies to sell and distribute it to patients. A specialty pharmacy is a pharmacy that specializes in the dispensing of medications for complex or chronic conditions that require a high level of patient education and ongoing management.  

This distribution network requires significant coordination with our sales and marketing and finance organizations. In addition, failure to coordinate financial systems could negatively impact our ability to accurately report product revenue from EXONDYS 51. If we are unable to effectively manage the distribution process, the sales of EXONDYS 51, as well as any future products we may commercialize, could be delayed or severely compromised and our results of operations may be harmed.

In addition, the use of third parties involves certain risks, including, but not limited to, risks that these organizations will:

 

not provide us with accurate or timely information regarding their inventories, the number of patients who are using EXONDYS 51 or serious adverse events and/or product complaints regarding EXONDYS 51;

 

not effectively sell or support EXONDYS 51;

 

reduce or discontinue their efforts to sell or support EXONDYS 51;

 

not devote the resources necessary to sell EXONDYS 51 in the volumes and within the time frame we expect;

 

be unable to satisfy financial obligations to us or others; or

 

cease operations.

Any such events may result in decreased product sales, lower product revenue, loss of revenue, and/or reputational damage, which would harm our results of operations and business.

With respect to the pre-commercial distribution of eteplirsen to patients outside of the U.S., we have contracted with third party distributors and service providers to distribute eteplirsen in certain countries on a named patient basis and through our EAP. We will need to continue building out our network for commercial distribution in jurisdictions in which eteplirsen is approved, which will also require third party contracts. The use of distributors and service providers involves certain risks, including, but not limited to, risks that these organizations will not comply with applicable laws and regulations, or not provide us with accurate or timely information regarding serious adverse events and/or product complaints regarding eteplirsen. Any such events may result in regulatory actions that may include suspension or termination of the distribution and sale of eteplirsen in a certain country, loss of revenue, and/or reputational damage, which could harm our results of operations and business.

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We rely on third parties to conduct some aspects of our early stage research and pre-clinical and clinical development. The inadequate performance by or loss of any of these third parties could affect the development and commercialization of our product candidate development.

We have relied upon, and plan to continue to rely upon, third parties to conduct some aspects of our early stage research and pre-clinical and clinical development with respect to certain of our product candidates, including our follow-on exon-skipping product candidates, PPMO and gene therapy product candidates. Our third-party collaborators may not commit sufficient resources or adequately develop our programs for these candidates. If our third-party collaborators fail to commit sufficient resources to any of our product candidates or to carry out their contractual duties or obligations, our programs related to any particular product candidate could be delayed, terminated, or unsuccessful. Furthermore, if we fail to make required payments to these third-party collaborators, including up-front, milestone, reimbursement or royalty payments, or to observe other obligations in our agreements with them, these third parties may not be required to perform their obligations under our respective agreements with them and may have the right to terminate such agreements.

We also have relied upon and plan to continue to rely upon third-party CROs to monitor and manage data for our ongoing pre-clinical and clinical programs. We rely on these parties for execution of our pre-clinical and clinical trials, and we control only certain aspects of their activities. Nevertheless, we are responsible for ensuring that each of our studies is conducted in accordance with the applicable protocol and legal, regulatory and scientific standards, and our reliance on collaborators and CROs does not relieve us of our regulatory responsibilities.

The individuals at our third-party collaborators and CROs who conduct work on our behalf, including their sub-contractors, are not always our employees, and although we participate in the planning of our early stage research and pre-clinical and clinical programs, we cannot control whether or not they devote sufficient time and resources or exercise appropriate oversight of these programs, except for remedies available to us under our agreements with such third parties. If our collaborators and CROs do not successfully carry out their contractual duties or obligations or if the quality or accuracy of the data they obtain is compromised due to the failure to adhere to our pre-clinical and clinical protocols, regulatory requirements or for other reasons, our clinical trials may be extended, delayed or terminated, and we may not be able to obtain regulatory approval for or successfully commercialize our product candidates. As a result, our results of operations and the commercial prospects for our product candidates would be harmed, our costs could increase and our ability to generate revenues could be delayed.

Our reliance on third parties requires us to share our proprietary information, which increases the possibility that a competitor will discover them or that our proprietary information will be misappropriated or inadvertently disclosed.

The use of third-party service providers requires us to disclose our proprietary information to these parties, which could increase the risk that a competitor will discover this information or that this information will be misappropriated or disclosed without our intent to do so. Furthermore, if these third parties cease to continue operations and we are not able to quickly find a replacement provider or we lose information or items associated with our product candidates, our development programs may be delayed. Although we carefully manage our relationships with our third-party collaborators and CROs, there can be no assurance that we will not encounter challenges or delays in the future or that these delays or challenges will not have a material adverse impact on our business, financial condition and prospects.

Risks Related to Manufacturing

We currently rely on third parties to manufacture EXONDYS 51 and to produce our product candidates; our dependence on these parties, including any inability on our part to accurately anticipate product demand and timely secure manufacturing capacity to meet commercial, EAP, clinical and pre-clinical product demand may impair the availability of product to successfully support various programs, including research and development and the potential commercialization of our product candidates.

We currently do not have the internal ability to undertake the manufacturing process for EXONDYS 51 or our product candidates in the quantities needed to meet commercial, clinical or early access programs demand for eteplirsen, or to conduct our research and development programs and conduct clinical trials for our product candidates. Therefore, we rely on, and expect to continue relying on for the foreseeable future, a limited number of third parties to manufacture and supply materials (including raw materials and subunits), API and drug product, as well as to perform additional steps in the manufacturing process, such as labeling and packaging of vials and storage of EXONDYS 51 and our product candidates. There are a limited number of third parties with facilities and capabilities suited for the manufacturing process of EXONDYS 51 and our product candidates, which creates a heightened risk that we may not be able to obtain materials and APIs in the quantity and purity that we require.

In addition, the process for adding new manufacturing capacity can be lengthy and could cause delays in our development efforts. Any interruption of the development or operation of those facilities due to, among other reasons, events such as order delays for equipment or materials, equipment malfunction, quality control and quality assurance issues, regulatory delays and possible

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negative effects of such delays on supply chains and expected timelines for product availability, production yield issues, shortages of qualified personnel, discontinuation of a facility or business or failure or damage to a facility by natural disasters such as earthquake or fire, could result in the cancellation of shipments, loss of product in the manufacturing process or a shortfall in available EXONDYS 51, product candidates or materials.

If these third parties were to cease providing quality manufacturing and related services to us, and we are not able to engage appropriate replacements in a timely manner, our ability to manufacture EXONDYS 51 or our product candidates in sufficient quality and quantity required for our planned commercial, pre-clinical and clinical or early access programs use of eteplirsen would adversely affect our various product research, development and commercialization efforts.

Furthermore, any problems in our manufacturing process or the facilities with which we contract could make us a less attractive collaborator for potential partners, including larger pharmaceutical companies and academic research institutions, which could limit our access to additional attractive development programs. Problems in third-party manufacturing processes or facilities also could restrict our ability to meet market demand for our products.

We have, through our third-party manufacturers, produced or are in the process of producing supply of our product candidates and EXONDYS 51, respectively, based on our current understanding of market demands and our anticipated needs for our research and development efforts, clinical trials, early access programs and commercial sales. In light of the limited number of third parties with the expertise to produce EXONDYS 51 and our product candidates, the lead time needed to manufacture them, and the availability of underlying materials, we may not be able to, in a timely manner or at all, establish or maintain sufficient commercial and other manufacturing arrangements on the commercially reasonable terms necessary to provide adequate supply of EXONDYS 51 and our other product candidates to meet demands that meet or exceed our projected needs. Furthermore, we may not be able to obtain the significant financial capital that may be required in connection with such arrangements. Even after successfully engaging third parties to execute the manufacturing process for EXONDYS 51 and our product candidates, such parties may not comply with the terms and timelines they have agreed to for various reasons, some of which may be out of their or our control, which could impact our ability to execute our business plans on expected or required timelines in connection with the commercialization of EXONDYS 51 and the continued development of our product candidates. We may also be required to enter into long-term manufacturing agreements that contain exclusivity provisions and /or substantial termination penalties, which could have a material adverse effect on our business prior to and after commercialization.

The third parties we use in the manufacturing process for EXONDYS 51 and our product candidates may fail to comply with current GMP (“cGMP”) regulations.

Our contract manufacturers are required to produce our materials, APIs and drug products under cGMP. We and our contract manufacturers are subject to periodic inspections by the FDA, EMA and corresponding state and foreign authorities to ensure strict compliance with cGMP and other applicable government regulations. In addition, before we can begin to commercially manufacture our product candidates in third-party or our own facilities, we must obtain regulatory approval from the FDA, which includes a review of the manufacturing process and facility. A manufacturing authorization must also be obtained from the appropriate European Union regulatory authorities and may be required by other foreign regulatory authorities. The timeframe required to obtain such approval or authorization is uncertain. In order to obtain approval, we will need to ensure that all of our processes, methods and equipment are compliant with cGMP, and perform extensive audits of vendors, contract laboratories and suppliers. In complying with cGMP, we will be obligated to expend time, money and effort in production, record keeping and quality control to assure that the product meets applicable specifications and other requirements.

While we work diligently with all contract manufacturers to maintain full compliance, we do not have direct control over a third-party manufacturer’s compliance with these regulations and requirements. In addition, changes in cGMP could negatively impact the ability of our contract manufacturers to complete the manufacturing process of EXONDYS 51 and our product candidates in a compliant manner on the schedule we require for commercial and clinical trial use, respectively. The failure to achieve and maintain compliance with cGMP and other applicable government regulations, including failure to detect or control anticipated or unanticipated manufacturing errors, could result in product recalls, clinical holds, delayed or withheld approvals, patient injury or death.

This risk is particularly heightened as we optimize manufacturing for our product candidates. For example, we were notified by the Research Institute at Nationwide that they received a letter from the FDA on July 24, 2018, stating that their Phase 1/2a DMD micro-dystrophin gene therapy trial had been placed on clinical hold due to the presence of a trace amount of DNA fragment in research-grade third-party supplied plasmid (the “Clinical Hold”). The Research Institute, working with us, developed an action plan with immediate plans to submit for review by the FDA, which included the use of GMP-s plasmid for the program. On September 24, 2018, we announced that the FDA had lifted the Clinical Hold and that we do not anticipate any material delay to this program.

If our contract manufacturers fail to adhere to applicable cGMP and other applicable government regulations, or experience manufacturing problems, we will suffer significant consequences, including product seizures or recalls, postponement or cancellation

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of clinical trials, loss or delay of product approval, fines and sanctions, loss of revenue, termination of the development of a product candidate, reputational damage, shipment delays, inventory shortages, inventory write-offs and other product-related charges and increased manufacturing costs. If we experience any of these results, the success of our commercialization of EXONDYS 51 and/or our development efforts for our product candidates could be significantly delayed, fail or otherwise be negatively impacted.

We may not be able to successfully scale up manufacturing of EXONDYS 51 or our product candidates in sufficient quality and quantity or within sufficient timelines, or be able to secure ownership of intellectual property rights developed in this process, which could negatively impact the commercial success of EXONDYS 51 and/or the development of our product candidates.

We are working to increase manufacturing capacity and scale up production of some of the components of our drug products. Our focus remains on (i) achieving larger-scale manufacturing capacity for EXONDYS 51 and other product candidates throughout the manufacturing supply chain (ii) continuing to increase material and API production capacity to provide the anticipated amounts of drug product needed for our planned studies for our product candidates and (iii) optimizing manufacturing for our follow-on exon skipping product candidates and other programs, including PPMO and gene therapy. We may not be able to successfully increase manufacturing capacity or scale up the production of materials, APIs and drug products, whether in collaboration with third party manufacturers or on our own, in a manner that is safe, compliant with cGMP conditions or other applicable legal or regulatory requirements, in a cost-effective manner, in a time frame required to meet our timeline for commercialization, clinical trials and other business plans, or at all.

Compliance with cGMP requirements and other quality issues may arise during our efforts to increase manufacturing capacity and scale up production with our current or any new contract manufacturers. These issues may arise in connection with the underlying materials, the inherent properties of EXONDYS 51 or a product candidate, EXONDYS 51 or a product candidate in combination with other components added during the manufacturing and packaging process or during shipping and storage of the APIs or finished drug product. In addition, in order to release EXONDYS 51 for commercial use and demonstrate stability of product candidates for use in clinical trials (and any subsequent drug products for commercial use), our manufacturing processes and analytical methods must be validated in accordance with regulatory guidelines. We may not be able to successfully validate, or maintain validation of, our manufacturing processes and analytical methods or demonstrate adequate purity, stability or comparability of EXONDYS 51 or our product candidates in a timely or cost-effective manner, or at all. If we are unable to successfully validate our manufacturing processes and analytical methods or to demonstrate adequate purity, stability or comparability, the commercial availability of EXONDYS 51 and the continued development and/or regulatory approval of our product candidates may be delayed or otherwise negatively impacted, which could significantly harm our business.

During our work with our third-party manufacturers to increase and optimize manufacturing capacity and scale up production, it is possible that they could make proprietary improvements in the manufacturing and scale-up processes for EXONDYS 51 or our product candidates. We may not own or be able to secure ownership of such improvements or may have to share the intellectual property rights to those improvements. Additionally, it is possible that we will need additional processes, technologies and validation studies, which could be costly and which we may not be able to develop or acquire from third parties. Any failure to secure the intellectual property rights required for the manufacturing process needed for large-scale clinical trials or commercialization of EXONDYS 51 or the continued development of our product candidates could cause significant delays in our business plans or otherwise negatively impact the commercialization of EXONDYS 51 or the continued development of our product candidates.

Products intended for use in gene therapies are novel, complex and difficult to manufacture. We could experience production problems that result in delays in our development or commercialization of gene therapy programs, limit the supply of our products or otherwise harm our business.

We currently have development, manufacturing and testing agreements with third parties to manufacture supplies of our gene therapy product candidates. Several factors could cause production interruptions, including equipment malfunctions, facility contamination, raw material shortages or contamination, natural disasters, disruption in utility services, human error or disruptions in the operations of suppliers.

The physical and chemical properties of biologics such as ours generally cannot be fully characterized. As a result, assays of the finished product may not be sufficient to ensure that the product will perform in the intended manner. Accordingly, we employ multiple steps to control our manufacturing process to assure that the process works and the product candidate is made strictly and consistently in compliance with the process. Problems with the manufacturing process, even minor deviations from the normal process, could result in product defects or manufacturing failures that result in lot failures, product recalls, product liability claims or insufficient inventory. We may encounter problems achieving adequate quantities and quality of clinical-grade materials that meet FDA, EMA or other applicable foreign standards or specifications with consistent and acceptable production yields and costs.

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In addition, the FDA, the EMA and other foreign regulatory authorities may require us to submit samples of any lot of any approved product together with the protocols showing the results of applicable tests at any time. Under some circumstances, the FDA, the EMA or other foreign regulatory authorities may require that we not distribute a lot until the competent authority authorizes its release. Slight deviations in the manufacturing process, including those affecting quality attributes and stability and deviations among different sites, may result in unacceptable changes in the product that could result in lot failures or product recalls. Lot failures or product recalls could cause us to delay clinical trials or product launches which could be costly to us and otherwise harm our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.

We also may encounter problems hiring and retaining the experienced scientific, quality control and manufacturing personnel needed to operate our manufacturing process which could result in delays in our production or difficulties in maintaining compliance with applicable regulatory requirements.

Furthermore, no manufacturer currently has the experience or ability to produce our vectors or gene therapy product candidates at commercial levels. Even if we timely develop a manufacturing process and successfully transfer it to the third-party vector and product manufacturers or successfully and timely develop our internal capacity, if we or such third-party manufacturers are unable to produce the necessary quantities of viral vectors and our product candidates, or in compliance with GMP or other pertinent regulatory requirements, and within our planned time frame and cost parameters, it may result in delays in our development plans or increased capital expenditures, and the development and sales of our products, if approved, may be materially harmed.

Risks Related to our Intellectual Property

Our success, competitive position and future revenue depend in part on our ability and the abilities of our licensors and other collaborators to obtain, maintain and defend the patent protection for our product, product candidates, and platform technologies, to preserve our trade secrets, and to prevent third parties from infringing on our proprietary rights.

We currently directly hold various issued patents and patent applications, or have exclusive license or option rights to issued patents and patent applications, in each case in the U.S. as well as other countries that protect our product, product candidates and platform technologies. We anticipate filing additional patent applications both in the U.S. and in other countries. Our success will depend, in significant part, on our ability to obtain, maintain and defend our U.S. and foreign patents covering our product, product candidates and platform technologies as well as preserving our trade secrets for these assets. The patent process is subject to numerous risks and uncertainties, and we can provide no assurance that we will be successful in obtaining, maintaining, or defending our patents. Even when our patent claims are allowed, the claims may not issue, or in the event of issuance, may not be sufficient to protect our product, product candidates or platform technologies.  

The patent positions of pharmaceutical, biotechnology and other life sciences companies can be highly uncertain and involve complex legal and factual questions for which important legal principles remain unresolved.  This uncertainty is heightened for our PMO-based product and product candidates and gene therapy-based product candidates for which there has been little patent litigation involving such technologies. No consistent policy regarding the breadth of claims allowed in biotechnology patents has emerged to date in the U.S. and tests used for determining the patentability of patent claims in all technologies are in flux. The USPTO and patent offices in other jurisdictions have often required that patent applications concerning pharmaceutical and/or biotechnology-related inventions be limited or narrowed substantially to cover only the specific innovations exemplified in the patent application, thereby limiting the scope of protection against competitive challenges. Accordingly, even if we or our licensors are able to obtain patents, the patents might be substantially narrower than anticipated.  Thus, there is no assurance as to the degree and range of protections any of our patents, if issued, may afford us or whether patents will be issued. Patents which may be issued to us may be subjected to further governmental review that may ultimately result in the reduction of their scope of protection, and pending patent applications may have their requested breadth of protection significantly limited before being issued, if issued at all. The pharmaceutical, biotechnology and other life sciences patent situation outside the U.S. can be even more uncertain.  

As a matter of public policy, there might be significant pressure on governmental bodies to limit the scope of patent protection or impose compulsory licenses for disease treatments that prove successful, particularly as a tactic to impose a price control.  Additionally, jurisdictions other than the U.S. might have less restrictive patent laws than the U.S., giving foreign competitors the ability to exploit these laws to create, develop and market competing products.

We may be able to assert that certain activities engaged in by our competitors infringe on our current or future patent rights. To the extent that we enforce our patents, an alleged infringer may deny infringement and/or counter-claim that our patents are not valid, and if successful, could negatively impact our patent estate. We may not be able to successfully defend patents necessary to prevent competitors from commercializing competing product candidates. Our patent rights might be challenged, invalidated, circumvented or otherwise not provide any competitive advantage. Defending our patent positions may require significant financial resources and could negatively impact other Company objectives.

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Under the Hatch-Waxman Act, one or more motivated third parties may file an Abbreviated New Drug Application, seeking approval of a generic copy of an innovator product approved under the NDA pathway such as our PMO product, or a New Drug Application under Section 505(b)(2), which may be for a new or improved version of the original innovator product. The third parties are allowed to rely on the safety and efficacy data of the innovator’s product, may not need to conduct clinical trials and can market a competing version of a product after the expiration or loss of patent exclusivity or the expiration or loss of regulatory exclusivity and often charge significantly lower prices. Upon the expiration or loss of patent protection or the expiration or loss of regulatory exclusivity for a product, the major portion of revenues for that product may be dramatically reduced in a very short period of time. If we are not successful in defending our patents and regulatory exclusivities, we will not derive the expected benefit from them.

The DMD patent landscape is continually evolving, and we may be able to assert that certain activities engaged in by third parties infringe our current or future patent rights. There has been, and we believe that there will continue to be, significant litigation in the biopharmaceutical and pharmaceutical industries regarding patent and other intellectual property rights. As such, the patents and patent applications that we own, license, have optioned, and rely on for exclusivity for our product candidates may be challenged.

Uncertainty over intellectual property in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry has been the source of litigation and other disputes, which is inherently costly and unpredictable.

Litigation, interferences, oppositions, inter partes reviews, administrative challenges or other similar types of proceedings are, have been and may in the future be necessary in some instances to determine the validity and scope of certain of our proprietary rights, and in other instances to determine the validity, scope or non-infringement of certain patent rights claimed by third parties to be pertinent to the manufacture, use or sale of our products. We may also face challenges to our patent and regulatory exclusivities covering our products by third parties, including manufacturers of generics and biosimilars that may choose to launch or attempt to launch their products before the expiration of our patent or regulatory exclusivity. Litigation, interference, oppositions, inter partes reviews, administrative challenges or other similar types of proceedings are unpredictable and may be protracted, expensive and distracting to management. The outcome of such proceedings could adversely affect the validity and scope of our patent or other proprietary rights, hinder our ability to manufacture and market our products, require us to seek a license for the infringed product or technology or result in the assessment of significant monetary damages against us that may exceed amounts, if any, accrued in our financial statements. An adverse determination in a judicial or administrative proceeding or a failure to obtain necessary licenses could prevent us from manufacturing or selling our products. Furthermore, payments under any licenses that we are able to obtain would reduce our profits derived from our products. Any of these circumstances could result in financial, business or reputational harm to us or could cause a decline or volatility in our stock price.

On September 16, 2011, the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (the “Leahy-Smith Act”), was signed into law. The Leahy-Smith Act includes a number of significant changes to U.S. patent law, including provisions that affect the way patent applications will be prosecuted, and may also affect patent litigation. The USPTO has issued regulations and procedures to govern administration of the Leahy-Smith Act, but many of the substantive changes to patent law associated with the Leahy-Smith Act have only recently become effective. Accordingly, it is not clear what, if any, impact the Leahy-Smith Act will have on the operation of our business. However, the Leahy-Smith Act and its implementation could increase the uncertainties and costs surrounding the prosecution of our patent applications and the enforcement or defense of our issued patents, all of which could have a material adverse effect on our business and financial condition. For instance, a third party may petition the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“PTAB”) seeking to challenge the validity of some or all of the claims in any of our patents through an inter partes review or other post-grant proceeding. Should the PTAB institute an inter partes review or other proceeding and decide that some or all of the claims in the challenged patent are invalid, such a decision, if upheld on appeal, could have a material adverse effect on our business and financial condition.

Our business prospects will be impaired if third parties successfully assert that our product, product candidates, or platform technologies infringe proprietary rights of such third parties.

Similar to us, competitors continually seek intellectual property protection for their technology. Several of our development programs, particularly gene therapy programs, focus on therapeutic areas that have been the subject of extensive research and development by third parties for many years and have been protected with third party patent rights. Due to the amount of intellectual property in our various fields of technology, we cannot be certain that we do not infringe intellectual property rights of competitors or that we will not infringe intellectual property rights of competitors granted or created in the future.  Our competitors might have or obtained patents that limit, interfere with or eliminate our ability to make, use and sell our product, product candidates or platform technologies in important commercial markets.  

In order to maintain or obtain freedom to operate for our products and product candidates, we may incur significant expenses, including those associated with entering into agreements with third parties that require milestone and royalty payments.  Additionally, if we were to challenge the patent rights of our competitors, we might not be successful.

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If our product, product candidates, or platform technologies infringe enforceable proprietary rights of others, we could incur substantial costs and may have to:

 

obtain rights or licenses from others, which might not be available on commercially reasonable terms or at all;

 

abandon development of an infringing product candidate, or cease commercialization of an infringing product;

 

redesign our product, product candidates or processes to avoid infringement;

 

pay damages; and/or

 

defend litigation or administrative proceedings which might be costly whether we win or lose, and which could result in a substantial diversion of financial and management resources.

Any of these events could result in product and product candidate development delays or cessation, and as such substantially harm our potential earnings, financial condition and operations. The patent landscape of our product candidates is continually evolving and multiple parties, including both commercial entities and academic institutions, may have rights to claims or may be pursuing additional claims that could provide these parties a basis to assert that our product, product candidates or platform technologies infringe on the intellectual property rights of such parties. There has been, and we believe that there will continue to be, significant litigation in the biopharmaceutical and pharmaceutical industries regarding patent and other intellectual property rights.

Risks Related to our Business Operations

If we fail to comply with healthcare and other regulations, we could face substantial penalties and our business, operations and financial condition could be adversely affected.

As a manufacturer of pharmaceuticals, within the United States, certain federal and state healthcare laws and regulations will apply to or affect our business. The laws and regulations include:

 

federal healthcare program anti-kickback laws, which prohibit, among other things, persons from soliciting, receiving or providing remuneration, directly or indirectly, to induce either the referral of an individual, for an item or service or the purchasing or ordering of a good or service, for which payment may be made under federal healthcare programs such as Medicare and Medicaid;

 

federal false claims laws which prohibit, among other things, individuals or entities from knowingly presenting, or causing to be presented, information or claims for payment from Medicare, Medicaid or other third party payors that are false or fraudulent;

 

the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, which among other things, strictly regulates drug product and medical device marketing, prohibits manufacturers from marketing such products for off-label use and regulates the distribution of samples;

 

federal laws that require pharmaceutical manufacturers to report certain calculated product prices to the government or provide certain discounts or rebates to government authorities or private entities, often as a condition of reimbursement under government healthcare programs;

 

the so-called “federal sunshine” law, which requires pharmaceutical and medical device companies to monitor and report certain financial interactions with physicians and teaching hospitals to the federal government for re-disclosure to the public; and

 

state law equivalents 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 payor, including commercial insurers, state laws regulating interactions between pharmaceutical manufactures and health care providers, and state laws governing the privacy and security of health information in certain circumstances, many of which differ from each other in significant ways and often are not preempted by federal laws, thus complicating compliance efforts.

The number and complexity of both federal and state laws continues to increase, and additional governmental resources are being used to enforce these laws and to prosecute companies and individuals who are believed to be violating them. We anticipate that government scrutiny of pharmaceutical sales and marketing practices will continue for the foreseeable future and subject us to the risk of government investigations and enforcement actions.

In connection with the commercial launch of EXONDYS 51, we are in the process of expanding our compliance program, which is based on industry best practices and is designed to ensure that our commercialization of EXONDYS 51 complies with all applicable laws, regulations and industry standards. As the requirements in this area are constantly evolving, we cannot be certain that

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our program will eliminate all areas of potential exposure. Although compliance programs can mitigate the risk of investigation and prosecution for violations of these laws, the risks cannot be entirely eliminated. If our operations are found to be in violation of any of the laws described above or any other laws, rules or regulations that apply to us, we will be subject to penalties, including civil and criminal penalties, damages, fines and the curtailment or restructuring of our operations. Any penalties, damages, fines, curtailment or restructuring of our operations could adversely affect our ability to operate our business and our financial results. Responding to government investigations, defending any claims raised, and any resulting fines, restitution, damages and penalties, settlement payments or administrative actions, as well as any related actions brought by stockholders or other third parties, could have a material impact on our reputation, business and financial condition and divert the attention of our management from operating our business. Even if we successfully defend against an action against us for violation of a law, the action and our defense could nonetheless cause us to incur significant legal expenses and divert our management’s attention from the operation of our business. Moreover, achieving and sustaining compliance with applicable federal and state privacy, security, fraud and reporting laws may prove costly.

We may be subject to product liability claims and our insurance may not be adequate to cover damages.

The current and future use of our product candidates by us and our collaborators in clinical trials, expanded access programs, the sale of EXONDYS 51 and future products, or the use of our products under emergency use vehicles may expose us to liability claims inherent to the manufacture, clinical testing, marketing and sale of medical products. These claims might be made directly by consumers or healthcare providers or indirectly by pharmaceutical companies, our collaborators or others selling such products. Regardless of merit or eventual outcome, we may experience financial losses in the future due to such product liability claims. We have obtained commercial general liability insurance coverage for our clinical trials and the sale of commercial products in connection with the FDA’s approval of EXONDYS 51. However, we may not be able to maintain insurance coverage at a reasonable cost or in sufficient amounts to protect us against all losses. If a successful product liability claim or series of claims is brought against us for uninsured liabilities or in excess of insured liabilities, our assets may not be sufficient to cover such claims and our business operations could be impaired.

If we, our collaborators, or any third-party manufacturers engaged by us or our collaborators fail to comply with environmental, health and safety laws and regulations, we could become subject to fines or penalties or incur costs that could harm our business.

We, our collaborators, and any third-party manufacturers we engage are subject to numerous environmental, health and safety laws and regulations, including those governing laboratory procedures and the generation, handling, use, storage, treatment, manufacture, transportation and disposal of, and exposure to, hazardous materials and wastes, as well as laws and regulations relating to occupational health and safety, including those governing laboratory procedures, exposure to blood-borne pathogens and the handling of bio-hazardous materials. Our operations involve the use of hazardous materials, including organic and inorganic solvents and reagents. Although we believe that our activities conform in all material respects with such environmental laws, there can be no assurance that violations of these laws will not occur in the future as a result of human error, accident, equipment failure or other causes. Liability under environmental, health and safety laws can be joint and several and without regard to fault or negligence. The failure to comply with past, present or future laws could result in the imposition of substantial fines and penalties, remediation costs, property damage and personal injury claims, loss of permits or a cessation of operations, and any of these events could harm our business and financial condition. We expect that our operations will be affected by other new environmental, health and workplace safety laws on an ongoing basis, and although we cannot predict the ultimate impact of any such new laws, they may impose greater compliance costs or result in increased risks or penalties, which could harm our business.

Further, with respect to the operations of any current or future collaborators or third party contract manufacturers, it is possible that if they fail to operate in compliance with applicable environmental, health and safety laws and regulations or properly dispose of wastes associated with our product or product candidates, we could be held liable for any resulting damages, suffer reputational harm or experience a disruption in the manufacture and supply of our product or product candidates.

The EU has enacted a new data privacy regulation, the General Data Protection Regulation, a violation of which could subject us to significant fines.

In May 2018, a new privacy regime, the General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”) will take effect and immediately be binding across all member states of the European Economic Area (“EEA”). The GDPR increases our obligations with respect to clinical trials conducted in the EEA by expanding the definition of personal data to include coded data, and requiring changes to informed consent practices and more detailed notices for clinical trial subjects and investigators. In addition, the GDPR increases the scrutiny that clinical trial sites located in the EEA should apply to transfers of personal data from such sites to countries that are considered to lack an adequate level of data protection, such as the U.S. The GDPR imposes substantial fines for breaches of data protection requirements, which can be up to four percent of global revenue or 20 million Euros, whichever is greater, and it also confers a private right of action on data subjects for breaches of data protection requirements. Compliance with these directives will be

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a rigorous and time-intensive process that may increase our cost of doing business, and despite those efforts, there is a risk that we may be subject to fines and penalties, litigation and reputational harm in connection with our European activities.

If we fail to retain our key personnel or are unable to attract and retain additional qualified personnel, our future growth and our ability to compete would suffer.

We are highly dependent on the efforts and abilities of the principal members of our senior management. Additionally, we have scientific personnel with significant and unique expertise in RNA-targeted therapeutics and gene therapy technologies. The loss of the services of any one of the principal members of our managerial team or staff may prevent us from achieving our business objectives.

The competition for qualified personnel in the biotechnology field is intense, and our future success depends upon our ability to attract, retain and motivate such personnel. In order to develop and commercialize our products successfully, we will be required to retain key management and scientific employees. In certain instances, we may also need to expand or replace our workforce and our management ranks. In addition, we rely on certain consultants and advisors, including scientific and clinical advisors, to assist us in the formulation and advancement of our research and development programs. Our consultants and advisors may be employed by other entities or have commitments under consulting or advisory contracts with third parties that limit their availability to us, or both. If we are unable to attract, assimilate or retain such key personnel, our ability to advance our programs would be adversely affected.

We expect to expand our organization and may experience difficulties in managing this growth, which could disrupt our operations.

As of December 31, 2018, we had 499 full-time employees. As our business activities expand, we expect to expand our full-time employee base and to hire more consultants and contractors. Our management may need to divert a disproportionate amount of its attention away from our day-to-day activities and devote a substantial amount of time to managing these growth activities. Our ability to manage our growth properly and maintain compliance with all applicable rules and regulations will require us to continue to improve our operational, legal, financial and management controls, as well as our reporting systems and procedures. We may not be able to effectively manage the expansion of our operations, which may result in weaknesses in our infrastructure, operational mistakes, loss of business opportunities, loss of employees and reduced productivity among remaining employees. Our expected growth could require significant capital expenditures and may divert financial resources from other projects, such as the development of additional product candidates. If our management is unable to effectively manage our growth, our expenses may increase more than expected, our ability to generate and/or grow revenues could be reduced, and we may not be able to implement our business strategy.

Our sales and operations are subject to the risks of doing business internationally.

We are increasing our presence in international markets, including emerging markets, subjecting us to many risks that could adversely affect our business and revenues, such as:

 

the inability to obtain necessary foreign regulatory or pricing approvals of products in a timely manner;

 

uncertainties regarding the collectability of accounts receivable;

 

fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates that may adversely impact our revenues, net income and value of certain of our investments;

 

difficulties in staffing and managing international operations;

 

the imposition of governmental controls;

 

less favorable intellectual property or other applicable laws;

 

increasingly complex standards for complying with foreign laws and regulations that may differ substantially from country to country and may conflict with corresponding U.S. laws and regulations;  

 

the far-reaching anti-bribery and anti-corruption legislation in the U.K., including the U.K. Bribery Act 2010, and elsewhere and escalation of investigations and prosecutions pursuant to such laws;

 

compliance with complex import and export control laws;

 

restrictions on direct investments by foreign entities and trade restrictions; and

 

changes in tax laws and tariffs.

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In addition, our international operations are subject to regulation under U.S. law. For example, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) prohibits U.S. companies and their representatives from paying, offering to pay, promising to pay or authorizing the payment of anything of value to any foreign government official, government staff member, political party or political candidate for the purpose of obtaining or retaining business or to otherwise obtain favorable treatment or influence a person working in an official capacity. In many countries, the health care professionals we regularly interact with may meet the FCPA's definition of a foreign government official. Failure to comply with domestic or foreign laws could result in various adverse consequences, including: possible delay in approval or refusal to approve a product, recalls, seizures or withdrawal of an approved product from the market, disruption in the supply or availability of our products or suspension of export or import privileges, the imposition of civil or criminal sanctions, the prosecution of executives overseeing our international operations and damage to our reputation. Any significant impairment of our ability to sell products outside of the U.S. could adversely impact our business and financial results.

Unfavorable global economic conditions could harm our business, financial condition or results of operations.

Our results of operations could be harmed by general conditions in the global economy and in the global financial markets. A severe or prolonged economic downturn could result in a variety of risks to our business, including weakened demand for our product candidates and our ability to raise additional capital when needed on acceptable terms, if at all. For example, the global financial crisis of 2007-2008 and the ongoing European economic crisis caused extreme volatility and disruptions in the capital and credit markets. A weak or declining economy could strain our manufacturers, possibly resulting in manufacturing disruption, or cause delays in payments for our services by third-party payors or our future collaborators. Any of the foregoing could harm our business and we cannot anticipate all of the ways in which the current economic climate and financial market conditions could harm our business.

Additionally, in June 2016, a majority of United Kingdom (UK) voters voted for the UK to exit the European Union (Brexit) and in March 2017, the UK government provided official legal notification to the European Union that the UK will exit the European Union. The timing and completion of Brexit is subject to judicial and parliamentary developments in the UK, as well as any legal challenges. The economic effects of Brexit will depend on any agreements the UK makes to retain access to European Union markets either during a transitional period or more permanently. Brexit could adversely affect European and worldwide economic or market conditions and could contribute to instability in global financial markets. Brexit is likely to lead to legal uncertainty and potentially divergent national laws and regulations as the UK determines which European Union laws to replace or replicate. Any of these effects of Brexit, and any other effects we cannot anticipate, could adversely affect our business, business opportunities, results of operations, financial condition and cash flows.

We rely significantly on information technology and any failure, inadequacy, interruption or security lapse of that technology, including any cyber security incidents, could harm our ability to operate our business effectively.

In the ordinary course of our business, we collect and store sensitive data, including intellectual property, our proprietary business information and that of our suppliers, as well as personally identifiable information of EXONDYS 51 patients, clinical trial participants and employees. Similarly, our third-party providers possess certain of our sensitive data. The secure maintenance of this information is critical to our operations and business strategy. Despite our security measures, our information technology and infrastructure may be vulnerable to attacks by hackers or breached due to employee error, malfeasance or other disruptions. Any such breach could compromise our networks and the information stored there could be accessed, publicly disclosed, lost or stolen. Any such access, disclosure or other loss of information, including our data being breached at third party providers, could result in legal claims or proceedings, liability under laws that protect the privacy of personal information, disrupt our operations and damage our reputation, which could adversely affect our business.

We may incur substantial costs in connection with litigation and other disputes.

In the ordinary course of business we may, and in some cases have, become involved in lawsuits and other disputes such as securities claims, intellectual property challenges, including interferences declared by the USPTO, and employee matters. It is possible that we may not prevail in claims made against us in such disputes even after expending significant amounts of money and company resources in defending our positions in such lawsuits and disputes. The outcome of such lawsuits and disputes is inherently uncertain and may have a negative impact on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Comprehensive tax reform in the United States could adversely affect our business and financial condition.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (the “TCJA”) was enacted on December 22, 2017 in the United States. The TCJA contains significant changes to corporate taxation, including reduction of the U.S. corporate tax rate from 35% to 21%, elimination of U.S. tax on foreign earnings (subject to certain important exceptions), one-time taxation of offshore earnings at reduced rates regardless of whether they are repatriated, limitation of the tax deduction for interest expense, immediate deductions for certain new investments instead of deductions for depreciation expense over time, and modifying or repealing many business deductions and credits.

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We continue to evaluate the overall impact of the TCJA on our business.  There is continued uncertainty in the TCJA, and although changes or challenges cannot be predicted, we believe we have used reasonable assumptions and interpretations in applying TCJA.  We continue to monitor for legislative developments, issuance of regulations and technical memorandum to provide further clarification and/or interpretations of the TCJA and will adjust our financial statements as needed.

Our ability to use net operating loss carryforwards and other tax attributes to offset future taxable income may be limited as a result of future transactions involving our common stock.

In general, under Section 382 of the Internal Revenue Code, a corporation that undergoes an ‘‘ownership change’’ is subject to limitations on its ability to utilize its pre-change net operating losses and certain other tax assets to offset future taxable income. In general, an ownership change occurs if the aggregate stock ownership of certain stockholders increases by more than 50 percentage points over such stockholders’ lowest percentage ownership during the testing period, which is generally three years. An ownership change could limit our ability to utilize our net operating loss and tax credit carryforwards for taxable years including or following such “ownership change.” Limitations imposed on the ability to use net operating losses and tax credits to offset future taxable income could require us to pay U.S. federal income taxes earlier than we estimated or than would have otherwise been required if such limitations were not in effect and could cause such net operating losses and tax credits to expire unused, in each case reducing or eliminating the benefit of such net operating losses and tax credits and potentially adversely affecting our financial position. Similar rules and limitations may apply for state income tax purposes.

We are winding down our expired U.S. government contracts, and the U.S. government may deny payment of some or all of the currently outstanding amounts owed to us. In addition, further development of our infectious disease programs may be limited by the intellectual property and other rights retained by the U.S. government.

We have historically relied on U.S. government contracts and awards to fund and support certain infectious disease development programs. These contracts are expired and we are currently involved in contract close-out activities. The U.S. government has the right to perform additional audits prior to making final payment of costs and fees. If we are not able to adequately support costs incurred or other government requirements, the government may deny payment of some or all of the currently outstanding amounts owed to us. In addition, the U.S. government may have the right to develop all or some parts of product candidates that we have developed under a U.S. government contract after such contract has terminated or expired.

Our employees, principal investigators, consultants and strategic partners may engage in misconduct or other improper activities, including non-compliance with regulatory standards and requirements and insider trading.

We are exposed to the risk of fraud or other misconduct by our employees, principal investigators, consultants and strategic partners. Misconduct by these parties could include intentional failures to comply with the regulations of the FDA and non-U.S. regulators, provide accurate information to the FDA and non-U.S. regulators, comply with healthcare fraud and abuse laws and regulations in the United States and abroad, report financial information or data accurately or disclose unauthorized activities to us. We adopted a code of conduct applicable to all of our employees, but it is not always possible to identify and deter employee misconduct, 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 comply with these laws or regulations. If any such actions are instituted against us, and we are not successful in defending ourselves or asserting our rights, those actions could have a significant impact on our business, including the imposition of significant fines or other sanctions.

The increasing use of social media platforms presents new risks and challenges.

Social media is increasingly being used to communicate about our product, technologies and programs, and the diseases our product and product candidates are designed to treat. Social media practices in the biopharmaceutical industry continue to evolve and regulations relating to such use are not always clear. This evolution creates uncertainty and risk of noncompliance with regulations applicable to our business. For example, patients may use social media channels to comment on the effectiveness of a product or to report an alleged adverse event. When such disclosures occur, there is a risk that we fail to monitor and comply with applicable adverse event reporting obligations or we may not be able to defend the Company or the public's legitimate interests in the face of the political and market pressures generated by social media due to restrictions on what we may say about our product and/or product candidates. There is also a risk of inappropriate disclosure of sensitive information or negative or inaccurate posts or comments about us on any social networking website. If any of these events were to occur or we otherwise fail to comply with applicable regulations, we could incur liability, face overly restrictive regulatory actions or incur other harm to our business.

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We or the third parties upon whom we depend may be adversely affected by natural disasters and our business continuity and disaster recovery plans may not adequately protect us from a serious disaster.

Natural disasters could severely disrupt our operations, and have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, financial condition and prospects. If a natural disaster, power outage or other event occurred that prevented us from using all or a significant portion of our office, manufacturing and/or lab spaces, that damaged critical infrastructure, such as the manufacturing facilities of our third-party contract manufacturers, or that otherwise disrupted operations, it may be difficult or, in certain cases, impossible for us to continue our business for a substantial period of time. The disaster recovery and business continuity plans we have in place may prove inadequate in the event of a serious disaster or similar event. We may incur substantial expenses as a result of the limited nature of our disaster recovery and business continuity plans, which could have a material adverse effect on our business.

Risks Related to our Financial Condition and Capital Requirements

We have incurred operating losses since our inception and we may not achieve or sustain profitability.

We incurred an operating loss of $343.6 million for the year ended December 31, 2018, respectively. Our accumulated deficit was $1.6 billion as of December 31, 2018. Although we launched EXONDYS 51 in the U.S. in September 2016, we believe that it will take us some time to attain profitability and positive cash flow from operations. Since EXONDYS 51 and our product candidates target small patient populations, the per-patient drug pricing must be high in order to recover our development and manufacturing costs, fund adequate patient support programs, fund additional research and achieve profitability. We may be unable to maintain or obtain sufficient sales volumes at a price high enough to justify our product development efforts and our sales, marketing and manufacturing expenses.

We have generally incurred expenses related to research and development of our technologies and product candidates and from general and administrative expenses that we have incurred while building our business infrastructure. We anticipate that our expenses will increase substantially if and/or as we:

 

continue our launch and commercialization of EXONDYS 51 in the U.S.;

 

expand the global footprint of EXONDYS 51 outside of the U.S.;

 

establish our sales, marketing and distribution capabilities;

 

continue our research, pre-clinical and clinical development of our product candidates;

 

respond to and satisfy requests and requirements from regulatory authorities in connection with development and potential approval of our product candidates;

 

initiate additional clinical trials for our product candidates;

 

seek marketing approvals for our product candidates that successfully complete clinical trials;

 

acquire or in-license other product candidates;

 

maintain, expand and protect our intellectual property portfolio;

 

increase manufacturing capabilities including capital expenditures related to our real estate facilities and entering into manufacturing agreements;

 

hire additional clinical, quality control and scientific personnel; and

 

add operational, financial and management information systems and personnel, including personnel to support our product development and planned future commercialization efforts.

As a result, we expect to continue to incur significant operating losses at least through 2018. Because of the numerous risks and uncertainties associated with developing pharmaceutical products, we are unable to predict the extent of any future losses or when, or if, we will become profitable.

We will need to raise additional funding, which may not be available on acceptable terms, or at all. Failure to obtain this necessary capital when needed may force us to delay, limit or terminate our product development efforts or other operations.

We will likely require additional capital from time to time in the future in order to meet FDA post-marketing approval requirements and market and sell EXONDYS 51 as well as to continue the development of product candidates in our pipeline, to prepare for potential commercialization of our product candidates, to expand our product portfolio and to continue or enhance our

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business development efforts. The actual amount of funds that we may need and the sufficiency of the capital we have or are able to raise will be determined by many factors, some of which are in our control and others that are beyond our control.

While we are currently well capitalized, we may use available capital resources sooner than we expect under our current operating plan. In addition, our operating plan may change. We may need or choose to seek additional funds sooner than planned, through equity or debt financings, government or other third-party funding, marketing and distribution arrangements and other collaborations, strategic alliances and licensing arrangements or a combination of these approaches. In any event, we expect to require additional capital to expand future development efforts, obtain regulatory approval for, and to commercialize, our product candidates. Raising funds in the current economic environment may present additional challenges. Even if we believe we have sufficient funds for our current or future operating plans, we may seek additional capital if market conditions are favorable or in light of specific strategic considerations.

Any additional fundraising efforts may divert our management from their day-to-day activities, which may adversely affect our ability to develop and commercialize our product candidates. In addition, we cannot guarantee that future financing will be available in sufficient amounts or on terms acceptable to us, if at all. In the event we receive negative data from our key clinical programs or encounter other major setbacks in our development or regulatory activities or in our commercialization efforts, if any of our product candidates are approved, our stock price is likely to decline which would make a future financing more difficult.  Moreover, the terms of any financing may adversely affect the holdings or the rights of our stockholders.  The issuance of additional securities, whether equity or debt, by us, or the possibility of such issuance, may cause the market price of our shares to decline. The sale of additional equity or convertible securities would dilute all of our stockholders. The incurrence of indebtedness would result in increased fixed payment obligations and we may be required to agree to certain restrictive covenants, such as limitations on our ability to incur additional debt, limitations on our ability to acquire, sell or license intellectual property rights and other operating restrictions that could adversely impact our ability to conduct our business. We could also be required to seek funds through arrangements with collaborative partners or otherwise at an earlier stage than otherwise would be desirable and we may be required to relinquish rights to some of our technologies or product candidates or otherwise agree to terms unfavorable to us, any of which may have a material adverse effect on our business, operating results and prospects.

If we are unable to obtain funding on a timely basis, we may be required to significantly curtail, delay or discontinue one or more of our research or development programs or the commercialization of any product, if approved, or be unable to expand our operations or otherwise capitalize on our business opportunities, as desired, which could materially affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Raising additional capital may cause dilution to our existing stockholders, restrict our operations or require us to relinquish rights.

We may seek additional capital through a combination of private and public equity offerings, debt financings, collaborations and strategic and licensing arrangements. To the extent that we raise additional capital through the sale of common stock or securities convertible or exchangeable into common stock, the ownership interest of our stockholders in our company will be diluted. In addition, the terms of any such securities may include liquidation or other preferences that materially adversely affect the rights of our stockholders. Debt financing, if available, would increase our fixed payment obligations and may involve agreements that include covenants limiting or restricting our ability to take specific actions, such as incurring additional debt, making capital expenditures or declaring dividends. If we raise additional funds through collaboration, strategic partnerships and licensing arrangements with third parties, we may have to relinquish valuable rights to our product candidates, our intellectual property, future revenue streams or grant licenses on terms that are not favorable to us.

The estimates and judgments we make, or the assumptions on which we rely, in preparing our consolidated financial statements could prove inaccurate.

Our consolidated financial statements have been prepared in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the U.S. The preparation of these consolidated financial statements requires us to make estimates and judgments that affect the reported amounts of our assets, liabilities, revenues and expenses, the amounts of charges accrued by us and related disclosure of contingent assets and liabilities. Such estimates and judgments include revenue recognition, inventory, valuation of stock-based awards, research and development expenses and income tax. We base our estimates on historical experience, facts and circumstances known to us and on various other assumptions that we believe to be reasonable under the circumstances. We cannot provide assurances, however, that our estimates, or the assumptions underlying them, will not change over time or otherwise prove inaccurate. If this is the case, we may be required to restate our consolidated financial statements, which could, in turn, subject us to securities class action litigation. Defending against such potential litigation relating to a restatement of our consolidated financial statements would be expensive and would require significant attention and resources of our management. Moreover, our insurance to cover our obligations with respect to the ultimate resolution of any such litigation may be inadequate. As a result of these factors, any such potential litigation could have a

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material adverse effect on our financial results and cause our stock price to decline, which could in turn subject us to securities class action litigation.

Risks Related to Our Common Stock

Our stock price is volatile and may fluctuate due to factors beyond our control.

The market prices for and trading volumes of securities of biotechnology companies, including our securities, has historically been volatile. Our stock has had significant swings in trading prices, in particular in connection with our public communications regarding feedback received from regulatory authorities. For example, over the last thirty eight months, our stock has increased as much as 74% in a single day or decreased as much as 55% in a single day. The market has from time to time experienced significant price and volume fluctuations unrelated to the operating performance of particular companies. The market price of our common stock may fluctuate significantly due to a variety of factors, including but not limited to:

 

the commercial performance of EXONDYS 51 in the U.S.;

 

the timing of our submissions to regulatory authorities and regulatory decisions and developments;

 

positive or negative clinical trial results or regulatory interpretations of data collected in clinical trials conducted by us, our strategic partners, our competitors or other companies with investigational drugs targeting the same, similar or related diseases to those targeted by us;

 

delays in beginning and completing pre-clinical and clinical trials for potential product candidates;

 

delays in entering or failing to enter into strategic relationships with respect to development and/or commercialization of EXONDYS 51 or our product candidates or entry into strategic relationships on terms that are not deemed to be favorable to our Company;

 

technological innovations, product development or additional commercial product introductions by ourselves or competitors;

 

changes in applicable government regulations or regulatory requirements in the approval process;

 

developments concerning proprietary rights, including patents and patent litigation matters, such as developments in the interferences declared by the USPTO, including in the near term any outcomes of ongoing interference proceedings and over the longer term the outcomes from any related appeals;

 

public concern relating to the commercial value, efficacy or safety of any of our products;

 

our ability to obtain funds, through the issuance of equity or equity linked securities or incurrence of debt, or other corporate transactions;

 

comments by securities analysts;

 

developments in litigation such as the stockholder lawsuits against us;

 

changes in senior management; or

 

general market conditions in our industry or in the economy as a whole.

Broad market and industry factors may seriously affect the market price of a company’s stock, including ours, regardless of actual operating performance. In addition, in the past, following periods of volatility in the overall market and the market price of a particular company’s securities, securities class action litigation has often been instituted against these companies. Such litigation could result in substantial costs and a diversion of our management’s attention and resources.

Our revenues and operating results could fluctuate significantly, which may adversely affect our stock price.

Our revenues and operating results may vary significantly from year-to-year and quarter-to-quarter as well as in comparison to the corresponding quarter of the preceding year. Variations my result from one or more factors, including, without limitation:

 

timing of purchase orders;

 

changes in coverage and reimbursement policies of health plans and other health insurers, especially in relation to those products that are currently manufactured, under development or identified for future development by us;

 

re-authorizations processes that may be required for patients who initially obtained coverage by third parties, including government payors, managed care organizations and private health insurers;

-55-


 

transition from temporary billing codes established by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to permanent medical codes;

 

timing of approval of applications filed with the FDA;

 

timing of product launches and market acceptance of products launched;

 

changes in the amounts spent to research, develop, acquire, license or promote new and existing products;

 

results of clinical trial programs;

 

serious or unexpected health or safety concerns with our product or product candidates;

 

introduction of new products by others that render our product obsolete or noncompetitive;

 

the ability to maintain selling prices and gross margin on our product;

 

increases in the cost of raw materials contained within our product;

 

manufacturing and supply interruptions, including product rejections or recalls due to failure to comply with manufacturing specifications;

 

timing of revenue recognition relating to our distribution agreements;

 

the ability to protect our intellectual property from being acquired by other entities;

 

the ability to avoid infringing the intellectual property of others; and

 

the addition or loss of customers.

In addition, in one or more future periods, our results of operations may fall below the expectations of securities analysts and investors. In that event, the market price of our common stock could decline.

Provisions of our certificate of incorporation, bylaws and Delaware law might deter acquisition bids for us that might be considered favorable and prevent or frustrate any attempt to replace or remove the then-current management and board of directors.

Certain provisions of our certificate of incorporation and bylaws may make it more difficult for a third party to acquire control of us or effect a change in our board of directors and management. These provisions include:

 

when the board is comprised of six or more directors, classification of our board of directors into two classes, with one class elected each year;

 

directors may only be removed for cause by the affirmative vote of a majority of the voting power of all the then-outstanding shares of voting stock;

 

prohibition of cumulative voting of shares in the election of directors;

 

right of the board of directors to elect directors to fill a vacancy created by the expansion of the board of directors or the resignation, death, disqualification or removal of a director;

 

express authorization of the board of directors to make, alter or repeal our bylaws;

 

prohibition on stockholder action by written consent;

 

advance notice requirements for nominations for election to our board or for proposing matters that can be acted upon by stockholders at stockholder meetings;

 

the ability of our board of directors to authorize the issuance of undesignated preferred stock, the terms and rights of which may be established and shares of which may be issued without stockholder approval, including rights superior to the rights of the holders of common stock; and

 

a super-majority (66 2/3%) of the voting power of all of the then-outstanding shares of capital stock are required to amend, rescind, alter or repeal our bylaws and certain provisions of our certificate of incorporation.

In addition, we are governed by the provisions of Section 203 of the Delaware General Corporation Law, which may prohibit certain business combinations with stockholders owning 15% or more of our outstanding voting stock. These and other provisions in our certificate of incorporation and our bylaws and in the Delaware General Corporation Law could make it more difficult for

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stockholders or potential acquirers to obtain control of our board of directors or initiate actions that are opposed by the then-current board of directors.

A significant number of shares of our common stock are issuable pursuant to outstanding stock awards, and we expect to issue additional stock awards and shares of common stock in the future. Exercise of these awards and sales of shares will dilute the interests of existing security holders and may depress the price of our common stock.

As of December 31, 2018, there were approximately 71.1million shares of common stock outstanding and outstanding awards to purchase 9.1 million shares of common stock under various incentive stock plans. Additionally, as of December 31, 2018, there were approximately 4.4 million shares of common stock available for future issuance under our 2018 Equity Incentive Plan, approximately 0.2 million shares of common stock available for issuance under our 2013 Employee Stock Purchase Plan, and approximately 0.9 million shares of common stock available for issuance under our 2014 Employment Commencement Incentive Plan. We may issue additional common stock and warrants from time to time to finance our operations. We may also issue additional shares to fund potential acquisitions or in connection with additional stock options or other equity awards granted to our employees, officers, directors and consultants under our 2018 Equity Incentive Plan, our 2013 Employee Stock Purchase Plan or our 2014 Employment Commencement Incentive Plan. The issuance of additional shares of common stock or warrants to purchase common stock and the perception that such issuances may occur or exercise of outstanding warrants or stock options may have a dilutive impact on other stockholders and could have a material negative effect on the market price of our common stock.

Future sales of our common stock in the public market could cause our share price to fall.

Sales of a substantial number of our common stock in the public market, including sales by members of our management or board of directors, or the perception that these sales might occur, could depress the market price of our common stock and could impair our ability to raise capital through the sale of additional equity or equity-related securities.

Risks Related to Our Convertible Senior Notes

Servicing our 1.50% notes due 2024 (the “Notes”) requires a significant amount of cash, and we may not have sufficient cash flow to pay our debt. 

In 2017, we issued $570 million aggregate principal amount of Notes. Our ability to make scheduled payments of the principal of, to pay interest on, or to refinance our indebtedness, including the Notes, depends on our future performance, which is subject to many factors, including, economic, financial, competitive and other, beyond our control. We do not expect our business to be able to generate cash flow from operations, in the foreseeable future, sufficient to service our debt and make necessary capital expenditures and may therefore be required to adopt one or more alternatives, such as selling assets, restructuring debt or obtaining additional equity capital on terms that may be onerous or highly dilutive. Our ability to refinance our Notes, which are non-callable and mature in 2024, will depend on the capital markets and our financial condition at such time. We may not be able to engage in any of these activities or engage in these activities on desirable terms, which could result in a default on our debt obligations, and limit our flexibility in planning for and reacting to changes in our business.

We may not have the ability to raise the funds necessary to repurchase the Notes as required upon a fundamental change, and our future debt may contain limitations on our ability to repurchase the Notes.

Holders of the Notes will have the right to require us to repurchase their Notes for cash upon the occurrence of a fundamental change at a fundamental change repurchase price equal to 100% of the principal amount of the Notes to be repurchased, plus accrued and unpaid interest, if any. A fundamental change may also constitute an event of default or prepayment under, and result in the acceleration of the maturity of, our then-existing indebtedness. We cannot assure you that we will have sufficient financial resources, or will be able to arrange financing, to pay the fundamental change repurchase price in cash with respect to any Notes surrendered by holders for repurchase upon a fundamental change. In addition, restrictions under our then existing credit facilities or other indebtedness, if any, may not allow us to repurchase the Notes upon a fundamental change. Our failure to repurchase the Notes upon a fundamental change when required would result in an event of default with respect to the Notes which could, in turn, constitute a default under the terms of our other indebtedness, if any. If the repayment of the related indebtedness were to be accelerated after any applicable notice or grace periods, we may not have sufficient funds to repay the indebtedness and repurchase the Notes.

Capped call transactions entered into in connection with our Notes may impact the value of our common stock.

In connection with the Notes, we entered into capped call transactions (the “capped call transactions”) with certain financial institutions. The capped call transactions are expected to generally reduce the potential dilution upon conversion of the Notes into shares of our common stock.

-57-


In connection with establishing their initial hedges of the capped call transactions, these financial institutions or their respective affiliates entered into various derivative transactions with respect to our common stock and/or to purchase our common stock. The financial institutions, or their respective affiliates, may modify their hedge positions by entering into or unwinding various derivatives with respect to our common stock and/or purchasing or selling our common stock or other securities of ours in secondary market transactions prior to the maturity of the Notes. This activity could also cause or avoid an increase or a decrease in the market price of our common stock or the Notes, which could affect the value of our common stock.

Item 1B. Unresolved Staff Comments.

None.

 

Item 2. Properties.

A description of the facilities we own and/or occupy is included in the following table. We believe that our current facilities in Cambridge, Andover and Burlington, Massachusetts and Dublin and Columbus, Ohio are suitable and will provide sufficient capacity to meet the projected needs of our business for the next 12 months. Except as noted below, all of our properties are currently being used in the operation of our business.

 

Location of Property  

 

Square

Footage

 

 

Lease

Expiration

Date

 

 

Purpose

 

 

Other

Information

215 First Street, Cambridge, MA

 

 

163,842

 

 

September 2025

 

 

Laboratory and office space

 

 

Corporate headquarters

100 Federal Street, Andover, MA

 

 

62,000

 

 

N/A – facility is owned

 

 

Laboratory and office space

 

 

Primarily laboratory space

300 Federal Street, Andover, MA

 

 

23,102

 

 

December 2020

 

 

Office space

 

 

Office space

55 Network Drive, Burlington, MA

 

 

44,740

 

 

January 2022

 

 

Laboratory and office space

 

 

Primarily laboratory space

5200 Blazer Parkway, Dublin, OH

 

 

22,600

 

 

November 2019

 

 

Laboratory and office space

 

 

Primarily laboratory space

3435 Stelzer Road, Columbus, OH(1)

 

 

77,679

 

 

June 2026

 

 

Laboratory and office space

 

 

Primarily laboratory space

 

(1)

As of December 31, 2018, the Company did not yet occupy 3435 Stelzer Road, Columbus, OH.

 

Item 3. Legal Proceedings.

For material legal proceedings, please read Note 21, Commitments and Contingencies - Litigation to our consolidated financial statements included in this Annual Report.

 

 

Item 4.  Mine Safety Disclosures.

Not applicable.

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PART II

 

 

Item 5. Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities.

Market Information

Our common stock is quoted on the NASDAQ Global Select Market under the same symbol “SRPT”.

Holders

As of February 22, 2019, we had 196 stockholders of record of our common stock.

Dividends

We did not declare or pay cash dividends on our common stock in 2018, 2017 or 2016. We currently expect to retain future earnings, if any, to finance the operation and expansion of our business, and we do not anticipate paying any cash dividends in the foreseeable future. Any future determination related to our dividend policy will be made at the discretion of our board of directors.

Performance Graph

The following graph compares the performance of our Common Stock for the periods indicated with the performance of the NASDAQ Composite Index, NASDAQ Biotechnology Index and the NYSE ARCA Biotechnology Index. This graph assumes an investment of $100 on December 31, 2011 in each of our common stock, the NASDAQ Composite Index, NASDAQ Biotechnology Index and the NYSE ARCA Biotechnology Index, and assumes reinvestment of dividends, if any. The stock price performance shown on the graph below is not necessarily indicative of future stock price performance. This graph is not “soliciting material,” is not deemed “filed” with the SEC and is not to be incorporated by reference into any of our filings under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, or the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, whether made before or after the date hereof and irrespective of any general incorporation language in any such filing.

 

 

Recent Sales of Unregistered Securities.

In September 2018, we issued 10,500 restricted stock awards to three employees. These restricted stock awards will vest and become exercisable as to 100% of the total number of shares of restricted common stock of the Company on the three-year anniversary of the grant date, subject to the continued employment with the Company of each employee through such vesting date. Such issuance was exempt under Section 4(a)(2) of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended.

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Purchases of Equity Securities by the Issuer and Affiliated Purchasers.

None.

Item 6. Selected Financial Data.

The following selected financial data are derived from our consolidated financial statements and should be read in conjunction with, and is qualified in its entirety by, Item 7, Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations, and Item 8, Financial Statements and Supplementary Data.

 

 

 

For the Year Ended December 31,

 

 

 

 

2018

 

 

2017

 

 

2016

 

 

2015

 

 

2014

 

 

 

 

(in thousands, except per share amounts)

 

 

Operations data:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Revenues

 

$

301,034

 

 

$

154,584

 

 

$

5,421

 

 

$

1,253

 

 

$

9,757

 

 

Cost of sales (excluding amortization of in-

   licensed rights)

 

 

34,193

 

 

 

7,353

 

 

 

101

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Research and development

 

 

401,843

 

 

 

166,707

 

 

 

188,272

 

 

 

146,394

 

 

 

94,231

 

 

Selling, general and administrative

 

 

207,761

 

 

 

122,682

 

 

 

83,749

 

 

 

75,043

 

 

 

49,315

 

 

Settlement and license charges

 

 

 

 

 

28,427

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Amortization of in-licensed rights

 

 

865

 

 

 

1,053

 

 

 

29

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Operating loss

 

 

(343,628

)

 

 

(171,638

)

 

 

(266,730

)

 

 

(220,184

)

 

 

(133,789

)

 

Interest (expense) income and other, net

 

 

(18,982

)

 

 

(1,990

)

 

 

(535

)

 

 

154

 

 

 

779

 

 

Gain from sale of Priority Review Voucher

 

 

 

 

 

125,000

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Loss on change in warrant valuation

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(2,779

)

 

Loss before income tax expense

 

 

(362,610

)

 

 

(48,628

)

 

 

(267,265

)

 

 

(220,030

)

 

 

(135,789

)

 

Income tax (benefit) expense

 

 

(692

)

 

 

2,060

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Net loss

 

$

(361,918

)

 

$

(50,688

)

 

$

(267,265

)

 

$

(220,030

)

 

$

(135,789

)

 

Net loss per share—basic and diluted

 

$

(5.46

)

 

$

(0.86

)

 

$

(5.49

)

 

$

(5.20

)

 

$

(3.39

)

 

Balance sheet data: