As filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on February 4, 2022

Registration No. 333-

 

UNITED STATES

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

Washington, D.C. 20549

 

FORM S-1

REGISTRATION STATEMENT

UNDER

THE SECURITIES ACT OF 1933

  

Dermata Therapeutics, Inc.

(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)

  

Delaware

2834

86-3218736

(State or other jurisdiction of

incorporation or organization)

(Primary Standard Industrial

Classification Code Number)

(I.R.S. Employer

Identification Number)

 

3525 Del Mar Heights Rd., #322

San Diego, CA 92130

(858) 800-2543

(Address, including zip code, and telephone number, including area code, of registrant’s principal executive offices)

 

Gerald T. Proehl

President and Chief Executive Officer

3525 Del Mar Heights Rd., #322

San Diego, CA 92130

(858) 800-2543

(Name, address, including zip code, and telephone number, including area code, of agent for service)

 

Copies to:

 

Michael J. Lerner

Steven M. Skolnick

Lowenstein Sandler LLP

1251 Avenue of the Americas

New York, New York 10020

(212) 262-6700

Barry Grossman

Sarah E. Williams

Matthew Bernstein

Ellenoff Grossman & Schole LLP

1345 Avenue of the Americas

New York, New York 10105

(212) 370-1300

 

Approximate date of commencement of proposed sale to public:

As soon as practicable after this Registration Statement is declared effective.

  

If any of the securities being registered on this Form are to be offered on a delayed or continuous basis pursuant to Rule 415 under the Securities Act of 1933, check the following box. ☒

 

If this Form is filed to register additional securities for an offering pursuant to Rule 462(b) under the Securities Act, please check the following box and list the Securities Act registration statement number of the earlier effective registration statement for the same offering. ☐

 

If this Form is a post-effective amendment filed pursuant to Rule 462(c) under the Securities Act, check the following box and list the Securities Act registration statement number of the earlier effective registration statement for the same offering. ☐

 

If this Form is a post-effective amendment filed pursuant to Rule 462(d) under the Securities Act, check the following box and list the Securities Act registration statement number of the earlier effective registration statement for the same offering. ☐

 

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 to Section 7(a)(2)(B) of the Securities Act. ☒ 

 

 

 

  

CALCULATION OF REGISTRATION FEE

 

Title of Each Class of Securities to Be Registered

 

Proposed

Maximum
Aggregate

Offering Price(1)

 

 

Amount of
Registration Fee(2)

 

Units consisting of:

 

 

 

 

 

 

(i) Common Stock, $0.0001 par value per share (3)

 

$

11,500,000

 

 

$

1,117.80

 

(ii) Warrants to purchase Common Stock (4)

 

 

-

 

 

 

-

 

Common Stock issuable upon exercise of the Warrants

 

$

11,500,000

 

 

$

1,117.80

 

Pre-Funded Warrants to purchase shares of Common Stock and Common Stock issuable upon exercise thereof (5)

 

-

 

 

-

Total

 

$

23,000,000

 

 

$

2,235.60

 

____________ 

(1)

Estimated solely for the purpose of calculating the registration fee pursuant to Rule 457(o) under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “Securities Act”).

 

(2)

Calculated pursuant to Rule 457(o) based on an estimate of the proposed maximum aggregate offering price.

 

(3)

Includes shares of Common Stock and/or warrants which may be issued on exercise of a 45-day option granted to the underwriter to cover over-allotments, if any.

 

(4)

No separate registration fee required pursuant to Rule 457(g) under the Securities Act.

 

(5)

The proposed maximum aggregate offering price of the Common Stock proposed to be sold in the offering will be reduced on a dollar-for-dollar basis based on the aggregate offering price of the Pre-Funded Warrants offered and sold in the offering (plus the aggregate exercise price of the Common Stock issuable upon exercise of the Pre-Funded Warrants), and as such the proposed aggregate maximum offering price of the Common Stock and Pre-Funded Warrants (including the Common Stock issuable upon exercise of the Pre-Funded Warrants), if any, is $11,500,000 (including the underwriter’s option to purchase additional shares of Common Stock).

 

The Registrant hereby amends this Registration Statement on such date or dates as may be necessary to delay its effective date until the Registrant shall file a further amendment which specifically states that this Registration Statement shall thereafter become effective in accordance with Section 8(a) of the Securities Act of 1933 or until the Registration Statement shall become effective on such date as the Securities and Exchange Commission, acting pursuant to said Section 8(a), may determine.

 

 

ii

 

 

The information contained in this preliminary prospectus is not complete and may be changed. These securities may not be sold until the registration statement filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission is effective. This preliminary prospectus is not an offer to sell these securities and it is not soliciting an offer to buy these securities in any state where the offer or sale is not permitted.

 

PRELIMINARY PROSPECTUS

 

SUBJECT TO COMPLETION

 

DATED FEBRUARY 4, 2022

 

 Units consisting of

 

4,444,444 Shares of Common Stock or Pre-Funded Warrant to Purchase

4,444,444 Shares of Common Stock

 

and

 

Warrants to purchase up to 4,444,444 Shares of Common Stock

 

drma_s1img5.jpg

  

Dermata Therapeutics, Inc.

 

Dermata Therapeutics, Inc. is offering units, or Units, each consisting of one share of our common stock, $0.0001 par value per share (or pre-funded warrant in lieu thereof, each a Pre-Funded Warrant), and one warrant to purchase one share of our common stock, or each, a Warrant. The Units have no stand-alone rights and will not be certificated or issued as stand-alone securities. The common stock and Warrants are immediately separable and will be issued separately in this offering. Each Warrant offered hereby is immediately exercisable on the date of issuance at an exercise price per share of common stock equal to 100% of the offering price of the Unit in this offering, and will expire five years from the date of issuance.

   

We are also offering to certain purchasers whose purchase of Units in this offering would otherwise result in the purchaser, together with its affiliates and certain related parties, beneficially owning more than 4.99% (or, at the election of the purchaser, 9.99%) of our outstanding common stock immediately following the consummation of this offering, the opportunity to purchase, if such purchasers so choose, in lieu of Units including shares of common stock, Units including Pre-Funded Warrants in lieu of shares of common stock that would otherwise result in any such purchaser’s beneficial ownership exceeding 4.99% (or, at the election of the purchaser, 9.99%) of our outstanding common stock. The purchase price of each Unit including a Pre-Funded Warrant will be equal to the price at which a Unit is sold to the public in this offering, minus $0.0001, and the exercise price of each Pre-Funded Warrant will be $0.0001 per share. For each Unit including a Pre-Funded Warrant we sell, the number of Units including a share of our common stock will be decreased on a one-for-one basis.

 

Pursuant to this prospectus, we are also offering the shares of common stock issuable upon exercise of the Warrants or the Pre-Funded Warrants.

 

Each Pre-Funded Warrant will be exercisable for one share of our common stock and will be exercisable at any time after its original issuance until exercised in full, provided that the purchaser will be prohibited from exercising any Pre-Funded Warrant for shares of our common stock if, as a result of such exercise, the purchaser, together with its affiliates and certain related parties, would own more than 4.99% of the total number of shares of our common stock then issued and outstanding. However, any holder may increase such percentage to any other percentage not in excess of 9.99%, provided that any increase in such percentage shall not be effective until 61 days after such notice to us.

 

The shares of common stock and Pre-Funded Warrants, if any, can each be purchased in this offering only with the accompanying Warrants as part of a Unit (other than pursuant to the underwriter’s option to purchase additional shares of common stock and/or Warrants), but the components of the Units will be immediately separable and will be issued separately in this offering.

 

Our common stock and certain of our outstanding warrants are currently listed on The Nasdaq Capital Market, or Nasdaq, under the symbols “DRMA” and “DRMAW,” respectively. The last reported sale price of our common stock on Nasdaq on January 31, 2022 was $2.25 per share.  There is no established public trading market for the Warrants or the Pre-Funded Warrants being offered in this offering, and we do not expect a market to develop. In addition, we do not intend to apply to list the Warrants or the Pre-Funded Warrants on any national securities exchange or other nationally recognized trading system, including Nasdaq. Without an active trading market, the liquidity of the Warrants and the Pre-Funded Warrants will be limited.

 

The final public offering price per Unit will be determined through negotiation between us and the lead underwriter in the offering and the recent market price used throughout this prospectus may not be indicative of the final offering price.

 

We are an “emerging growth company” under the Jumpstart our Business Startups Act of 2012, or JOBS Act, and, as such, have elected to comply with certain reduced public company reporting requirements for this prospectus and future filings. See “Summary - Implications of Being an Emerging Growth Company.” 

 

 

iii

 

 

Investing in our securities is highly speculative and involves a high degree of risk. See “Risk Factors” beginning on page 12 of this prospectus for a discussion of information that should be considered in connection with an investment in our securities.

 

Neither the Securities and Exchange Commission nor any state securities commission has approved or disapproved of these securities or passed upon the accuracy or adequacy of this prospectus. Any representation to the contrary is a criminal offense.

 

 

 

Per Unit

 

 

Total

 

Public offering price (1)

 

$

 

 

$

 

Underwriting discounts and commissions (2)

 

$

 

 

$

 

Proceeds to us, before expenses

 

$

 

 

$

 

 

(1)

Units sold with Pre-Funded Warrants will be priced at the offering price minus $0.0001.

(2)

Does not include the reimbursement of certain expenses of the underwriters. We refer you to “Underwriting” beginning on page 134 for additional information regarding the underwriter’s compensation.

 

We have granted the representative of the underwriter an option, exercisable within 45 days from the date of this prospectus, to purchase from us, up to an additional 666,666 shares of common stock at the public offering price and/or up to an additional 666,666 Warrants to purchase up to 666,666 shares of common stock at a price per Warrant equal to the public offering price, less, in each case, the underwriting discounts and commissions, to cover over-allotments, if any. If the underwriter exercises the option in full, the total underwriting discounts and commissions payable will be $    , and the total proceeds to us, before expenses, will be $    .

  

The underwriter expects delivery of common stock (or Pre-Funded Warrant in lieu thereof) and Warrants comprising the Units will be made on or about    , 2022.

  

Sole Book Running Manager

Maxim Group LLC

 

The date of this prospectus is     , 2022

 

 

iv

 

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

 

 

Page

 

PROSPECTUS SUMMARY

 

1

 

THE OFFERING

 

7

 

SUMMARY SELECTED FINANCIAL DATA

 

9

 

RISK FACTORS

 

10

 

CAUTIONARY NOTE REGARDING FORWARD LOOKING STATEMENTS

 

56

 

INDUSTRY AND OTHER DATA

 

57

 

USE OF PROCEEDS

 

58

 

DIVIDEND POLICY

 

59

 

CAPITALIZATION

 

60

 

DILUTION

 

61

 

MANAGEMENT’S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS

 

62

 

BUSINESS

 

73

 

MANAGEMENT

 

105

 

EXECUTIVE AND DIRECTOR COMPENSATION

 

112

 

CERTAIN RELATIONSHIPS AND RELATED PARTY TRANSACTIONS

 

122

 

PRINCIPAL STOCKHOLDERS

 

124

 

DESCRIPTION OF SECURITIES

 

126

 

 

 

 

 

MATERIAL U.S. FEDERAL INCOME TAX CONSEQUENCES

 

132

 

UNDERWRITING

 

138

 

LEGAL MATTERS

 

144

 

EXPERTS

 

145

 

WHERE YOU CAN FIND MORE INFORMATION

 

146

 

INDEX TO FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

 

F-1

 

 

We have not authorized anyone to provide you with different information, and we take no responsibility for any other information others may give you. If anyone provides you with different or inconsistent information, you should not rely on it. We are not, and the underwriters are not, making an offer to sell these securities in any jurisdiction where the offer or sale is not permitted. You should not assume that the information contained in this prospectus is accurate as of any date other than the date on the front of this prospectus.

 

No action is being taken in any jurisdiction outside the United States to permit a public offering of our common stock or possession or distribution of this prospectus in that jurisdiction. Persons who come into possession of this prospectus in jurisdictions outside the United States are required to inform themselves about and to observe any restrictions as to this offering and the distribution of this prospectus applicable to that jurisdiction.

 

We and the underwriters are offering to sell, and seeking offers to buy, our common stock only in jurisdictions where offers and sales are permitted. Neither we nor the underwriters have done anything that would permit this offering or possession or distribution of this prospectus in any jurisdiction where action for that purpose is required, other than in the United States. Persons outside of the United States who come into possession of this prospectus must inform themselves about, and observe any restrictions relating to, the offering of our common stock and the distribution of this prospectus outside of the United States.

 

 

v

Table of Contents

 

 

 

 

 

PROSPECTUS SUMMARY

 

This summary highlights certain information contained elsewhere in this prospectus and does not contain all of the information that you should consider before making your investment decision. Before investing in our securities, you should carefully read this entire prospectus, including our financial statements and the related notes thereto and the information set forth in the sections titled “Risk Factors” and “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations.” If any of the risks materialize, our business, financial condition, operating results and prospects could be materially and adversely affected. In that event, the price of our common stock or Warrants could decline, and you could lose part or all of your investment. Unless the context otherwise requires, we use the terms “Dermata,” “company,” “we,” “us” and “our” in this prospectus to refer to Dermata Therapeutics, Inc. Except where the historical context specifically requires otherwise, disclosures in this prospectus reflect our conversion from a limited liability company to a corporation on March 24, 2021.

 

Our Company

  

We are a clinical-stage biotechnology company focusing on the treatment of medical and aesthetic skin conditions. Our lead product candidate, DMT310, is the first product candidate being developed from our Spongilla technology platform. DMT310 is a once-weekly topical product derived from a naturally sourced freshwater sponge with multiple components, including mechanical and chemical mechanisms of action. Based on DMT310’s multiple mechanisms of action, it is currently under clinical development for the treatment of acne vulgaris (or acne), psoriasis vulgaris (or psoriasis), and papulopustular rosacea (or rosacea). To date, DMT310 has generated efficacy data in a Phase 2b trial of acne, and an efficacy signal in a Phase 1b trial of psoriasis, and we are currently collecting efficacy data in a Phase 2 trial in rosacea. DMT410 is our second product candidate, which is a combination treatment regimen that uses the unique mechanical features of our Spongilla technology to facilitate the intradermal delivery of botulinum toxin by topical application rather than intradermal injections with a needle. The treatment is intended to consist of an initial topical application of our proprietary Spongilla powder to the treatment area where Spongilla’s spicules penetrate the stratum corneum, creating microchannels into the dermis allowing for the topical application and penetration of the botulinum toxin. We are investigating DMT410 as a novel method for topical intradermal delivery of botulinum toxin for the treatment of multiple aesthetic and medical skin conditions. To date, we have completed a Phase 1b proof-of-concept, or POC, trial for the treatment of axillary hyperhidrosis and a Phase 1b POC trial of multiple aesthetic skin conditions. In all clinical trials with DMT310 and DMT410, we believe the data collected supports our belief about the product candidates’ safety and tolerability by patients.  

 

Our Spongilla technology platform is based on the use of a naturally growing freshwater sponge, Spongilla lacustris, or Spongilla. Spongilla is a freshwater sponge that grows in rivers and lakes in select regions of the world, typically in the northern hemisphere. However, there are only a limited number of places in which it grows in the quantity, and of the quality, necessary to be used as raw material in a commercial pharmaceutical product. One such location is the Volga River in central Russia. We have signed an exclusive supply agreement with one of the larger known harvesters of Spongilla raw material in the Volga River area for utilization in DMT310 and DMT410. Our exclusive supplier has been harvesting Spongilla for over eighteen (18) years and has the capacity to collect and process large quantities of Spongilla raw material per year. Traditionally, locals would harvest the sponge to be used as a folk medicine to treat various inflammatory ailments, but research has been conducted to evaluate the use of Spongilla for the possible treatment of various skin diseases and aesthetic conditions.

 

The Spongilla technology used in our product candidates, such as DMT310 and DMT410, has unique chemical and mechanical components, which are produced by Spongilla for its natural defense mechanisms. These specialized mechanisms consist of unique, naturally occurring microscopic siliceous spicules that are uniquely sized to penetrate a patient’s skin, creating microchannels which allow for the naturally occurring chemical components of the Spongilla, or other macromolecules such as botulinum toxin, to penetrate into the dermis for a clinical result. In addition to the creation of microchannels, the mechanical spicules are also believed to open closed comedones (also known as blackheads) and promote collagen production which may accelerate the skin’s rejuvenation period, thus accelerating the skins natural healing properties. These mechanical components are coupled with chemical components that have been shown in-vitro to directly kill C. acnes, the bacteria that cause inflammatory lesions in acne patients. During in-vitro studies for DMT310, our first product candidate utilizing our Spongilla technology, we observed the inhibition of lipogenesis of sebocytes, which may translate to a reduction in sebum (an oily and waxy substance produced by the human body’s sebaceous glands) production and oiliness of the skin in patients. Additionally, we have shown DMT310 in-vitro has a dose dependent down regulation of two inflammatory cytokines, IL-17A and IL-17F, which are believed to play a role in causing inflammation in psoriasis and rosacea. We believe the dual mode of action of our Spongilla technology may allow our product candidates to treat many different skin diseases and aesthetic conditions, unlike other current products that treat only one aspect of a disease. We believe these unique properties may also only require DMT310 to be applied once-weekly, which, if approved for psoriasis, acne, or rosacea would make DMT310 the first once-weekly topical prescription product for diseases of the skin on the market.

 

 

 

 

 

 
1

Table of Contents

 

 

 

 

 

We received results from our Phase 2b clinical trial of DMT310 for the once-weekly treatment of moderate-to-severe acne in June 2020. This trial produced statistically significant results for all efficacy endpoints, including absolute reduction in inflammatory lesions, non-inflammatory lesions and the Investigator Global Assessment (or IGA), of acne, as early as week four (4) and continued until the end of the trial at week twelve (12). The clinical endpoints used in the Phase 2b trial are identical to those endpoints we intend to use in our two Phase 3 acne clinical trials, which trials we believe will form the basis of our new drug application, or NDA, for DMT310.

 

While moderate-to-severe acne is the first indication for which we are developing DMT310, based on the data obtained from non-clinical trials of DMT310, which suggests DMT310’s ability to inhibit various cytokines that trigger inflammatory responses in humans. In March 2021, we initiated a Phase 1b POC trial of DMT310 for once-weekly topical treatment of mild-to-moderate psoriasis. This signal detection trial produced safety, tolerability, and efficacy results at multiple timepoints that we believe warrant further development in psoriasis by showing an improvement in the Physician’s Global Assessment, or PGA, and a decrease in pruritis (itch). Prior to initiating a Phase 2a trial in psoriasis in the first half of 2022, we intend to conduct some additional work to better inform the clinical design of the Phase 2 trial. In addition, we recently enrolled our first patient in a Phase 2 trial of DMT310 for the once-weekly treatment of rosacea, another inflammatory skin disease similar to acne, which we believe has an unmet need in the market. We anticipate results from this Phase 2 rosacea trial in the second half of 2022.

 

We believe there is a growing demand within the dermatology market, which consists of both medical and aesthetic skin conditions including acne vulgaris, psoriasis vulgaris, papulopustular rosacea, hyperhidrosis, reduction of fine lines and pore size and improved skin quality, for innovative, convenient, and naturally derived treatment options. We believe our Spongilla technology provides us the opportunity to develop product candidates that satisfy this growing demand, as there are no other naturally derived prescription products currently on the market for the treatment of these skin diseases and conditions which impact millions of people worldwide annually.    

 

Our Clinical Development Pipeline

 

 

 

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2

Table of Contents

 

 

 

 

 

Our Strategy

 

We plan on developing, in-licensing, and commercializing differentiated medical and aesthetic dermatology product candidates for the treatment of various skin diseases and conditions, which we believe have significant unmet needs in the market. The key components of this strategy are as follows:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Complete development and regulatory approval of DMT310 for acne. We have completed a Phase 2b clinical trial of DMT310 for the treatment of moderate-to-severe acne. We plan to hold an end of Phase 2 meeting with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, or FDA, in the second half of 2022, and subject to the end of this Phase 2 meeting, we plan to initiate two pivotal Phase 3 clinical trials for DMT310 in the second half of 2022, with top-line results expected in the first half of 2024. Assuming we receive positive clinical results from the two pivotal Phase 3 clinical trials in acne, we would expect to submit an NDA for DMT310 for the treatment of moderate-to-severe acne in the second half of 2024.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Initiate a Phase 2 trial of DMT310 for the treatment of psoriasis. In October 2021, we announced top-line results of our Phase 1b POC trial in patients with mild-to-moderate psoriasis. We believe the data seen in this POC trial warrant the continued development of DMT310 for the treatment of psoriasis. We plan to initiate a Phase 2 trial for DMT310 in psoriasis in the first half of 2022. If successfully developed and commercialized, we believe DMT310 would be the first once-weekly topical product available to treat psoriasis.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Complete a Phase 2 trial of DMT310 in rosacea. Based on the data obtained from our Phase 2 trials in acne and the anti-inflammatory results seen in-vitro, we initiated a Phase 2 trial of DMT310 for the treatment of rosacea in November 2021, with top-line results expected in the second half of 2022. We believe this will help bolster our pipeline and could establish the broader use of DMT310 in multiple inflammatory skin diseases and address unmet needs for rosacea patients.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Explore mutually beneficial partnership opportunities for our DMT410 program in hyperhidrosis and aesthetic skin conditions. In November 2021, we announced top-line results of our Phase 1b POC trial of DMT410 for the treatment of multiple aesthetic skin conditions using our Spongilla technology for the topical application of OnabotulinumtoxinA (brand name BOTOX®). We believe this trial provides further data of the ability for DMT410 to topically deliver botulinum toxin into the dermis for skin conditions and diseases. Based on the results of DMT410 in hyperhidrosis and aesthetics, we are currently exploring partnership opportunities to further develop DMT410 for the topical treatment of skin diseases and aesthetic skin conditions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Acquire or in-license additional dermatology product candidates to our portfolio that complement our current product candidates. We continuously evaluate potential partnering opportunities that will bolster our current product candidate portfolio and provide substantial value to our organization. We intend to focus on early to mid-stage development product candidates to generate clinical data and potentially move to later stages of development and ultimately on to commercialization.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Maximize the value of our portfolio by commercializing our product candidates in territories where we can do so effectively and partner for other territories to help us reach new markets. If we receive FDA approval for our product candidates, we plan to maximize the territories where they could be sold by partnering with established companies in new territories outside of the U.S. market, if possible.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Further strengthen our intellectual property portfolio, path to new chemical entity, or NCE, exclusivity, raw material supply and advance our regulatory filings. We plan to continue to strengthen our IP portfolio, seek NCE exclusivity for DMT310, maintain our exclusive supply agreement for our raw material requirements, and continue to protect our proprietary information. We believe these activities will be our primary competitive advantages if our product candidates receive regulatory approval.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The dates reflected in the foregoing are estimates only, and there can be no assurances that the events included will be completed on the anticipated timeline presented, or at all. Further, there can be no assurances that we will be successful in the development of DMT310 or DMT410, or any other product candidate we may develop in the future, or that DMT310 or DMT410, or any other product candidate we may develop in the future, will receive FDA approval for any indication.

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 
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Table of Contents

 

 

 

 

 

Our Team

 

Our founders and management team have many years of experience in the biotechnology space holding senior management and board positions at leading life science companies, including Hoechst Marion Roussel, Johnson & Johnson, Santarus, Inc., SkinMedica Inc., Allergan Inc., Receptos Inc., Dura Pharmaceuticals Inc., and Micromet Inc., among others, and possess substantial experience and expertise across the spectrum of drug development and commercialization of pharmaceutical products.

 

Gerald T. Proehl, our Co-Founder, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, was previously President and Chief Executive Officer of Santarus, Inc. until its acquisition by Salix Pharmaceuticals Inc. in 2014 for $2.6 billion and has also served in senior leadership roles at Hoechst Marion Roussel. David Hale, our Co-Founder and Lead Director, is Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Hale BioPharma Ventures, LLC and has over 30 years of senior leadership experience at both large and small biopharmaceutical companies, including as Chairman of Santaurus, Inc. and SkinMedica Inc. Kyri Van Hoose, C.P.A and M.B.A, our Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer, has served as Chief Financial Officer, the head of finance, and other senior leadership finance and accounting roles with life sciences companies for over 15 years. Christopher J. Nardo, M.P.H., Ph.D., our Senior Vice President, Development, previously served as Senior Director, Clinical Development at Allergan Inc. and Vice President, Clinical Operations, at Spectrum Pharmaceuticals Inc. Maria Munera, Ph.D., M.B.A., our Senior Vice President, Regulatory Affairs and Quality Assurance, previously served in similar roles at Receptos Inc. and Santarus, Inc. The development, operational, and commercial expertise of our executive team will be essential as we execute on our strategy of building a successful dermatology biopharmaceutical company to deliver significant value to both patients and stockholders.

 

Recent Developments

 

Initial Public Offering

 

On August 17, 2021, we closed our initial public offering, or IPO, of 2,571,428 shares of our common stock and accompanying warrants to purchase up to 2,571,428 shares of common stock. Each share of common stock was sold together with one warrant to purchase one share of common stock with an exercise price of $7.00 per share at a combined offering price of $7.00, for gross proceeds of approximately $18.0 million, before deducting underwriting discounts and offering expenses. In addition, we granted the underwriters a 45-day option to purchase up to an additional 385,714 shares of common stock and/or warrants to purchase 385,714 shares of common stock to cover over-allotments at the initial public offering price, less the underwriting discount, of which the underwriter exercised its option to purchase an additional 385,714 warrants. 

 

DMT310 Top-line Psoriasis Results

 

On October 18, 2021, we announced top-line results from a Phase 1b POC clinical trial of DMT310 for the treatment of mild-to-moderate psoriasis. DMT310 demonstrated improvements in Physician Global Assessment (or PGA), Psoriasis Area and Severity Index (or PASI), and pruritus scores for the target lesion. DMT310 achieved a PGA score of 0 or 1 for the target lesion in 29.6% of patients, a total PASI score of 0 or 1 for the target lesion in 25.9% of patients, and a 19.6% reduction from baseline in pruritus at week 8. DMT310 also appeared to be well tolerated with most tolerability issues being mild in severity.

 

Enrolled First Patient in DMT310 Phase 2 Rosacea Trial

 

On November 17, 2021, we announced that we had enrolled the first patient in a Phase 2 trial of the once-weekly application of DMT310 for the treatment of rosacea. This study is a 12-week, multi-center, randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial designed to evaluate the tolerability, safety, and efficacy of once-weekly dosing of DMT310 in 180 moderate-to-severe rosacea patients. The primary endpoints include the mean change in inflammatory lesion counts and IGAs using a 5-point scale, with IGA treatment success being defined as an IGA score of “clear” or “almost clear” and a 2-point improvement from baseline at week 12. We expect to have top-line results in the second half of 2022.

 

DMT410 Top-line Aesthetic Results

 

On November 19, 2021, we announced top-line results from a Phase 1b POC trial of DMT410 for the treatment of multiple aesthetic skin conditions using a topical application of botulinum toxin. DMT410 demonstrated an improvement in multiple aesthetic skin quality endpoints including a decrease in pore size, decrease in sebum production, improvement in the Global Aesthetic Improvement score, improvement in luminosity, and an improvement in brightness all peaking at 2-3 months post treatment. This trial also saw no serious adverse events and no potential distant spread of botulinum toxin leading us to believe the topically applied botulinum toxin remained in the dermis and did not migrate to the muscle which could have led to unwanted side effects.

 

 

 

 

 

 
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Summary of Risks Associated with Our Business

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our ability to implement and execute our business strategy is subject to numerous risks and uncertainties that you should be aware of prior to making any investment decisions. The risks described in the section titled “Risk Factors” immediately following this summary may cause us to not realize the full benefits of our strengths or to be unable to successfully execute all or part of our strategy. These risks include, but are not limited to, the following:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We are a pre-revenue, clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company with limited operating history.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We have incurred significant losses in the past and expect to incur additional significant losses and may never become profitable or be able to sustain profitability.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The net proceeds of this offering will only fund our operations into February 2023 and we will need to raise additional capital to support our product development and commercialization efforts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our business success is dependent on our ability to successfully complete the development of our main product candidates, DMT310 and DMT410, and other product candidates. The development process is long and expensive and success is uncertain.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Even if we successfully complete the development and clinical testing of our product candidates, we still need to obtain regulatory approval from the FDA in order to market our products in the U.S., which may be difficult to obtain.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We may not receive regulatory approval for any of our product candidates, and even if we receive such regulatory approval, we may not be able to successfully commercialize any products and the revenue that we generate from sales, if any, may be limited.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The commercial markets we are targeting are highly competitive and we may be unsuccessful commercializing due to, among other things, third-party coverage and reimbursement policies, and unfavorable pricing models.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Although we attempt to keep apprised of risks related to competition in commercialization of our product candidates, it is difficult to predict the effects of third-party activities on our development activities and future markets for our product candidates. Also, we cannot predict the effect potential competing patent claims may have on our patent portfolio and our business.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It is difficult and costly to protect our intellectual property rights. Accordingly, we cannot predict the breadth of patent claims that may be allowable, or whether any claims will be allowed in our pending patent applications or, the enforceability of our existing and future patents. DMT310, DMT410 and our other product candidates may infringe the intellectual property rights of others, all of which could increase our costs and delay or prevent our development and commercialization efforts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Clinical drug development involves a lengthy and expensive process with an uncertain outcome, and results of earlier studies and trials may not be predictive of future trial results.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If product liability lawsuits are brought against us, we may incur substantial liabilities and may be required to limit product development and commercialization of our product candidates.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The market for DMT310 and DMT410 may not be as large as we expect.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The raw material for our product candidates, DMT310 and DMT410, is derived from naturally occurring ingredients that grow only in limited areas that need to be harvested annually. Due to unforeseen environmental conditions or circumstances, our supplier may not be able to harvest as much raw material as we require, or any at all, which may negatively impact our ability to conduct preclinical studies, clinical trials, and ultimately commercialize our product candidates.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We currently rely on a third party for the raw materials needed for DMT310 and DMT410, and if we encounter any difficulties in accessing or procuring alternative sources on acceptable terms, or at all, our business may suffer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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Our current issued patents covering DMT310 expire in 2022 and 2023, which is prior to our anticipated date for any market launch. Our current pending patents covering DMT310 and DMT410 have not been issued yet and there is no guarantee they will get issued. We may not be able to obtain additional patent coverage, which could limit our market opportunity due to competition from other products.

 

 

 

We will need to add personnel, which will increase the size and complexity of our organization and we may experience difficulties executing growth and corporate strategies.

 

 

 

The continued spread of COVID-19 and the resulting global pandemic could adversely impact our clinical trial operations, including our ability to recruit and retain patients and principal investigators and site staff who, as healthcare providers, may have heightened exposure to COVID-19 if an outbreak occurs in their geography.

 

 

 

After this offering, our directors, executive officers, and certain stockholders (certain of which are affiliates of members of our board of directors) will continue to own a significant percentage of our common stock and, if they choose to act together, will be able to exert significant control over matters subject to stockholder approval.

 

 

 

 

 

Corporate Information

 

We were formed as a Delaware limited liability company under the name Dermata Therapeutics, LLC in December 2014. On March 24, 2021, we converted into a Delaware corporation and changed our name to Dermata Therapeutics, Inc. Our website address is www.dermatarx.com and our telephone number is 858-800-2543. Information contained in, or accessible through, our website does not constitute part of this prospectus or registration statement and inclusions of our website address in this prospectus or registration statement are inactive textual references only.

 

“Dermata” and our other common law trademarks, service marks or trade names appearing herein are the property of Dermata Therapeutics, Inc. We do not intend the use or display of other companies’ trademarks and trade names to imply a relationship with, or endorsement or sponsorship of us by, any other companies.

 

Implications of Being an Emerging Growth Company

 

As a company with less than $1.0 billion in revenue during our most recently completed fiscal year, we qualify as an “emerging growth company” as defined in the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act of 2012, or the JOBS Act. An emerging growth company may take advantage of relief from certain reporting requirements and other burdens that are otherwise applicable generally to public companies. These provisions include:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

reduced obligations with respect to financial data, including presenting only two years of audited financial statements and only two years of selected financial data in this prospectus;

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

an exception from compliance with the auditor attestation requirement of Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, as amended, or the Sarbanes-Oxley Act;

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

reduced disclosure about our executive compensation arrangements in our periodic reports, proxy statements, and registration statements; and

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

exemptions from the requirements of holding non-binding advisory votes on executive compensation or golden parachute arrangements.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We may take advantage of exemptions for up to five years or such earlier time that we are no longer an emerging growth company. Accordingly, the information contained herein may be different than the information you receive from other public companies in which you hold stock. We would cease to be an emerging growth company upon the earliest to occur of: (1) the last day of the fiscal year in which we have more than $1.07 billion in annual gross revenue or (2) following the fifth anniversary of the closing of this offering, (3) we are deemed to be a “large accelerated filer” under the rules of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, or SEC, which means the market value of our securities that is held by non-affiliate exceeds $700 million as of the last day of the second fiscal quarter, or June 30, of any calendar year, and (4) the issuance of, in any three year period, by us of more than $1.0 billion in non-convertible debt securities.

 

The JOBS Act also permits us, as an emerging growth company, to take advantage of an extended transition period to comply with the new or revised accounting standards applicable to public companies and thereby allow us to delay the adoption of those standards until those standards would apply to private companies. We have irrevocably elected not to avail ourselves of this exemption and therefore, we will be subject to the same new or revised accounting standards as other public companies that are not emerging growth companies.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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THE OFFERING

 

 

 

 

 

 

Units being offered

 

4,444,444 Units. Each Unit will consist of one share of common stock (or Pre-Funded Warrant to purchase one share of our common stock in lieu thereof) and one Warrant to purchase one share of common stock. The Units have no stand-alone rights and will not be certificated or issued as stand-alone securities. The shares of common stock and Pre-Funded Warrants, if any, can each be purchased in this offering only with the accompanying Warrants as part of Units (other than pursuant to the underwriter’s option to purchase additional shares of common stock and/or Warrants), but the components of the Units will be immediately separable and will be issued separately in this offering.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Number of shares of common stock outstanding immediately before this offering

 

8,328,629 shares

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Number of shares of common stock to be outstanding after this offering (1)

 

12,773,073 shares (or 13,439,739 shares if the underwriter exercises the option to purchase additional shares in full, and assuming in each case, no exercise of the Warrants and no sale of Units including a Pre-Funded Warrant).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Description of the Warrants

 

The Warrants will have an exercise price per share of common stock equal to 100% of the offering price of the Unit in this offering, will be immediately exercisable and will expire five years from the date of issuance. Each Warrant is exercisable for one share of common stock, subject to adjustment in the event of stock dividends, stock splits, stock combinations, reclassifications, reorganizations or similar events affecting our common stock. A holder may not exercise any portion of a Warrant to the extent that the holder, together with its affiliates and any other person or entity acting as a group, would own more than 4.99% of our outstanding shares of common stock after exercise, as such ownership percentage is determined in accordance with the terms of the Warrants, except that upon notice from the holder to us, the holder may waive such limitation up to a percentage, not in excess of 9.99%.

   

This prospectus also relates to the offering of the common stock issuable upon exercise of the Warrants. To better understand the terms of the Warrants, you should carefully read the “Description of Capital Stock” section of this prospectus. You should also read the form of Warrant, which is filed as an exhibit to the registration statement that includes this prospectus.

 

 

 

Description of Pre-Funded Warrants

 

We are also offering to certain purchasers whose purchase of Units in this offering would otherwise result in the purchaser, together with its affiliates and certain related parties, beneficially owning more than 4.99% (or, at the election of the purchaser, 9.99%) of our outstanding common stock immediately following the consummation of this offering, the opportunity to purchase, if such purchasers so choose, in lieu of Units including shares of common stock, Units including Pre-Funded Warrants in lieu of shares of common stock that would otherwise result in any such purchaser’s beneficial ownership exceeding 4.99% (or, at the election of the purchaser, 9.99%) of our outstanding common stock. The purchase price of each Unit including a Pre-Funded Warrant will be equal to the price at which a Unit is sold to the public in this offering, minus $0.0001, and the exercise price of each Pre-Funded Warrant will be $0.0001 per share.

 

Each Pre-Funded Warrant will be exercisable for one share of our common stock and will be exercisable at any time after its original issuance until exercised in full, provided that the purchaser will be prohibited from exercising Pre-Funded Warrants for shares of our common stock if, as a result of such exercise, the purchaser, together with its affiliates and certain related parties, would own more than 4.99% of the total number of shares of our common stock then issued and outstanding. However, any holder may increase such percentage to any other percentage not in excess of 9.99%, provided that any increase in such percentage shall not be effective until 61 days after such notice to us.

  
This prospectus also relates to the offering of the common stock issuable upon exercise of the Pre-Funded Warrants. To better understand the terms of the Pre-Funded Warrants, you should carefully read the “Description of Securities” section of this prospectus. You should also read the form of Pre-Funded Warrant, which is filed as an exhibit to the registration statement that includes this prospectus.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Use of proceeds

 

We estimate that we will receive net proceeds from this offering of approximately $9.0 million, or approximately $10.4 million if the underwriter exercise its overallotment option in full, based upon an assumed public offering price of $2.25 per share (the last reported sale price of our common stock on the Nasdaq Capital Market on January 31, 2022) and after deducting the underwriting discounts and commissions and estimating offering expenses payable by us and excluding the proceeds, if any, from the exercise of the Warrants issued as part of the Units and assuming no sale of Units including Pre-Funded Warrants.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We intend to use substantially all of the net proceeds from this offering to complete FDA required studies to hold an End of Phase 2 meeting for the DMT310 acne program, initiate a DMT310 Phase 2 psoriasis trial, complete our DMT310 Phase 2 rosacea trial, advance the clinical development of DMT410 for the treatment of various aesthetic indications, manufacturing drug product for our DMT310 Phase 3 acne program, and for working capital and other general corporate purposes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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Lock-up

 

In connection with this offering, we, our directors and executive officers have agreed not to offer, issue, sell, contract to sell, encumber, grant any option for the sale of or otherwise dispose of any of our securities for a period of ninety (90) days following the closing of this offering. See “Underwriting” for more information.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Underwriter’s over-allotment option

 

We have granted the underwriters an option, exercisable within 45 days after the closing of this offering, to acquire up to an additional 15% of the total number of shares of common stock and/or Warrants to be offered by us pursuant to this offering, solely for the purpose of covering over-allotments.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stock exchange symbol

 

Our common stock and certain of our warrants trade on the Nasdaq Capital Market under the symbols “DRMA” and “DRMAW,” respectively. There is no established public trading market for the Warrants or the Pre-Funded Warrants being offered in this offering, and we do not expect a market to develop. In addition, we do not intend to apply to list the Warrants or the Pre-Funded Warrants on any national securities exchange or other nationally recognized trading system, including Nasdaq. Without an active trading market, the liquidity of the Warrants and the Pre-Funded Warrants will be limited.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Risk factors

 

Investing in our Units involves a high degree of risk. See “Risk Factors” beginning on page 10, and the other information included in this prospectus for a discussion of factors you should consider carefully before deciding to invest in our Units.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(1) The number of shares of our common stock to be outstanding immediately after this offering is based on 8,328,629 shares of our common stock outstanding as of January 31, 2022, and excludes:

 

 

 

 

 

 

1,000,326 shares of common stock issuable upon exercise of stock options, at a weighted-average exercise price of $3.96 per share;

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2,957,142 shares of common stock issuable upon exercise of warrants issued in our initial public offering, at an exercise price of $7.00 per share;

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

134,515 shares of common stock issuable upon exercise of other warrants outstanding, at a weighted-average exercise price of $13.33 per share;

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

731,173 shares of our common stock that are available for future issuance under our 2021 Omnibus Equity Incentive Plan (or, the 2021 Plan) or shares that will become available under our 2021 Plan; and

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

all shares of our common stock underlying the Pre-Funded Warrants and Warrants to be issued in this offering.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Unless otherwise indicated, this prospectus reflects and assumes the following:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

no exercise of outstanding options or warrants described above;

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

no exercise of the Warrants, and no sale of Units including a Pre-Funded Warrant; and

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

no exercise by the underwriter of its over-allotment option.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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SUMMARY SELECTED FINANCIAL DATA

 

You should read the following summary selected financial data together with our financial statements and the related notes appearing at the end of this prospectus and the “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” section of this prospectus. We have derived the statements of operations for the nine months ended September 30, 2020 and September 30, 2021, and the balance sheet data as of September 30, 2021 from our unaudited interim financial statements appearing at the end of this prospectus. These unaudited financial statements have been prepared on a basis consistent with our audited financial statements and, in our opinion, contain all adjustments, consisting only of normal and recurring adjustments, necessary for a fair presentation of such financial data. We have derived the statement of operations data for the years ended December 31, 2019 and December 31, 2020 from our audited financial statements appearing at the end of this prospectus. Our historical results are not necessarily indicative of results that should be expected in any future period.

 

 

 

Year Ended

 

 

For the Nine Months Ended

 

 

 

December 31,

 

 

September 30,

 

Statements of Operations Data:

 

2019

 

 

2020

 

 

2020

 

 

2021

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(unaudited)

 

 

(unaudited)

 

Operating expenses:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Research and development

 

$2,623,280

 

 

$1,607,819

 

 

$1,493,520

 

 

$2,347,564

 

General and administrative

 

 

1,847,328

 

 

 

1,565,034

 

 

 

1,187,906

 

 

 

2,956,444

 

Total operating expenses

 

 

4,470,608

 

 

 

3,172,853

 

 

 

2,681,426

 

 

 

5,304,008

 

Loss from operations

 

 

(4,470,608 )

 

 

(3,172,853 )

 

 

(2,681,426 )

 

 

(5,304,008 )

Other income and expenses:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Forgiveness of Paycheck Protection Plan loan

 

 

-

 

 

 

(133,592 )

 

 

-

 

 

 

-

 

Interest expense, net

 

 

250,748

 

 

 

197,269

 

 

 

158,791

 

 

 

45,613

 

Net loss

 

$(4,721,356 )

 

$(3,236,530 )

 

$(2,840,217 )

 

$(5,349,621 )

Deemed dividend upon the redemption of 5,221,156 shares of Series 1c preferred stock (see Notes to Financial Statements)

 

$-

 

 

$-

 

 

$-

 

 

$269,038

 

Deemed dividend upon the amendment of terms of the Series 1d convertible preferred stock (see Notes to Financial Statements)

 

$-

 

 

$-

 

 

$-

 

 

$2,293,199

 

Net loss attributable to common stockholders

 

$(4,721,356 )

 

$(3,236,530 )

 

$(2,840,217 )

 

$(7,911,858 )

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Net loss per share of common stock, basic and diluted

 

$(2.47 )

 

$(1.69 )

 

$(1.49 )

 

$(2.69 )

Weighted-average basic and diluted common units/shares

 

 

1,911,009

 

 

 

1,911,009

 

 

 

1,911,009

 

 

 

2,945,351

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The accompanying notes are an integral part of these financial statements.

 

 

 

December 31,

 

 

September 30,

 

Balance Sheet Data:

 

2019

 

 

2020

 

 

2021

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(unaudited)

 

Cash

 

$1,991,802

 

 

$530,400

 

 

$12,603,341

 

Working capital (deficit)

 

 

343,032

 

 

 

(3,177,939 )

 

 

12,490,555

 

Total assets

 

 

2,065,803

 

 

 

605,453

 

 

 

13,685,787

 

Accounts payable and accrued liabilities

 

 

992,224

 

 

 

237,753

 

 

 

1,195,232

 

Convertible subordinated promissory notes, net of discount

 

 

-

 

 

 

1,848,495

 

 

 

-

 

Related party convertible subordinated promissory notes, net of discount

 

 

-

 

 

 

1,140,984

 

 

 

-

 

Total liabilities

 

 

2,275,962

 

 

 

3,783,392

 

 

 

1,195,232

 

Convertible preferred units

 

 

21,556,395

 

 

 

21,825,145

 

 

 

-

 

Preferred warrant units

 

 

723,431

 

 

 

723,431

 

 

 

 

 

Common units

 

 

2,353,283

 

 

 

2,353,283

 

 

 

-

 

Common stock, par value

 

 

-

 

 

 

-

 

 

 

833

 

Additional paid-in capital

 

 

-

 

 

 

-

 

 

 

45,919,140

 

Accumulated deficit

 

$(24,843,268 )

 

$(28,079,798 )

 

$(33,429,418 )

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The accompanying notes are an integral part of these financial statements.

  

 
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RISK FACTORS

 

Investing in our securities involves a high degree of risk. You should consider carefully the risks and uncertainties described below, together with all of the other information in this prospectus, including the consolidated financial statements, the notes thereto and the section entitled “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” included elsewhere in this prospectus before deciding whether to invest in our securities. The risks and uncertainties described below are not the only ones we face. Additional risks and uncertainties that we are unaware of or that we deem immaterial may also become important factors that adversely affect our business. If any of the following risks actually occur, our business, financial condition, results of operations and future prospects could be materially and adversely affected. In that event, the market price of our common stock and/or Warrants could decline, and you could lose part or all of your investment.

 

Risks Related to Our Financial Position and Need for Capital

 

We are a clinical stage pharmaceutical company with a limited operating history.

 

We are a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company with a limited operating history upon which you can evaluate our business and prospects. We must complete clinical studies and receive regulatory approval before commercial sales of a product can commence. The likelihood of success of our business plan must be considered in light of the problems, substantial expenses, difficulties, complications and delays frequently encountered in connection with developing and expanding early-stage businesses and the regulatory and competitive environment in which we operate. Pharmaceutical product development is a highly speculative undertaking, involves a substantial degree of risk and is a capital-intensive business.

 

Accordingly, you should consider our prospects in light of the costs, uncertainties, delays and difficulties frequently encountered by companies in the early stages of development, especially early stage clinical pharmaceutical companies such as ours. Potential investors should carefully consider the risks and uncertainties that a company with a limited operating history will face. In particular, potential investors should consider that we cannot assure you that we will be able to, among other things:

 

 

 

successfully implement or execute our current business plan, and we cannot assure you that our business plan is sound;

 

 

 

successfully complete the clinical trials, non-clinical testing, and other requirements necessary to obtain regulatory approval for the marketing of our drug candidates, including DMT310 and DMT410;

 

 

 

successfully manufacture our clinical products and establish commercial drug supply;

 

 

 

secure, maintain and, as necessary, defend our intellectual property rights;

 

 

 

secure market exclusivity and/or adequate intellectual property protection for our drug candidates;

 

 

 

attract and retain an experienced management and advisory team;

 

 

 

secure acceptance of our drug candidates in the medical community and with third-party payors and consumers;

 

 

 

launch commercial sales of our drug candidates, whether alone or in collaboration with others;

 

 

 

comply with post-marketing regulatory requirements;

 

 

 

raise sufficient funds in the capital markets or otherwise to effectuate our business plan; and

 

 

 

utilize the funds that we do have and/or raise in this offering or in the future to efficiently execute our business strategy.

 

If we cannot successfully execute any one of the foregoing, our business may fail and your investment will be adversely affected.

 

 
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We have incurred losses since inception and anticipate that we will continue to incur losses for the foreseeable future. We are not currently profitable, and we may never achieve or sustain profitability.

 

We have never generated revenue from operations, are unlikely to generate revenues for several years, and are currently operating at a loss and expect our operating costs will increase significantly as we incur costs related to preclinical development, the clinical trials for our drug candidates, and to operate as a public company. We expect to incur substantial expenses without corresponding revenues unless and until we are able to obtain regulatory approval and successfully commercialize any of our drug candidates. We may never be able to obtain regulatory approval for the marketing of our drug candidates in any indication in the United States or internationally. Even if we are able to commercialize our drug candidates, there can be no assurance that we will generate significant revenues or ever achieve profitability. We have incurred losses in each year since we commenced operations in December 2014. We incurred net losses of approximately $3.2 million and approximately $4.7 million for the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019, respectively, and incurred net losses of approximately $5.3 million and $2.8 million for the nine months ended September 30, 2021 and 2020, respectively. As of December 31, 2020, we had an accumulated deficit of approximately $28.1 million, and as of September 30, 2021, we had an accumulated deficit of approximately $33.4 million. The size of our future net losses will depend, in part, on our future expenses and our ability to generate revenue, if any. Revenue from our current and potential future collaborations is uncertain because milestones or other contingent payments under our agreements may not be achieved or received.

 

As of December 31, 2021, we had capital resources consisting of cash of $10.8 million. We will continue to expend substantial cash resources for the foreseeable future for the clinical development of our product candidates and development of any other indications and product candidates we may choose to pursue. These expenditures will include costs associated with research and development, conducting preclinical studies and clinical trials, manufacturing and supply, as well as marketing and selling any products approved for sale. In particular, our Phase 3 clinical studies for our product candidates will require substantial funds to complete. Because the conduct and results of any clinical trial are highly uncertain, we cannot reasonably estimate the actual amounts necessary to successfully complete the development and commercialization of our current and any future product candidates.

 

We are uncertain when or if we will be able to achieve or sustain profitability. If we achieve profitability in the future, we may not be able to sustain profitability in subsequent periods. Failure to become and remain profitable would impair our ability to sustain operations and adversely affect the price of our common stock or warrants and our ability to raise capital.

 

Even if this offering is successful, we will require additional capital to fund our operations, and if we fail to obtain necessary financing, we may not be able to complete the development and commercialization of our drugs.

 

We believe that the net proceeds from this offering and our existing cash, together with interest thereon, will be sufficient to fund our operations into February 2023. We have based these estimates, however, on assumptions that may prove to be wrong, and we could spend our available capital resources much faster than we currently expect or require more capital to fund our operations than we currently expect. Our currently anticipated expenditures for the development of our product candidates, DMT310 and DMT410, exceed the net proceeds from this offering and our existing cash. We will need to raise additional capital following this offering to fund our operations and continue to support our planned development and commercialization activities.

 

The amount and timing of our future funding requirements will depend on many factors, including:

 

 

 

the timing, rate of progress and cost of any preclinical and clinical trials and other product development activities for our current and any future product candidates that we develop, in-license or acquire;

 

 

 

the results of the clinical trials for our product candidates in the United States and any foreign countries;

 

 

 

the timing of, and the costs involved in, FDA approval and any foreign regulatory approval of our product candidates, if at all;

 

 

 

the number and characteristics of any additional future product candidates we develop or acquire;

 

 

 

our ability to establish and maintain strategic collaborations, licensing, co-promotion or other arrangements and the terms and timing of such arrangements;

 

 
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the cost of commercialization activities if our current or any future product candidates are approved for sale, including manufacturing, marketing, sales and distribution costs;

 

 

 

the degree and rate of market acceptance of any approved products;

 

 

 

costs under our third-party manufacturing and supply arrangements for our current and any future product candidates and any products we commercialize;

 

 

 

costs and timing of completion of any additional outsourced commercial manufacturing or supply arrangements that we may establish;

 

 

 

costs of preparing, filing, prosecuting, maintaining, defending, and enforcing any patent claims and other intellectual property rights associated with our product candidates;

 

 

 

costs associated with prosecuting or defending any litigation that we are or may become involved in and any damages payable by us that result from such litigation;

 

 

 

costs associated with any product recall that could occur;

 

 

 

costs of operating as a public company;

 

 

 

the emergence, approval, availability, perceived advantages, relative cost, relative safety and relative efficacy of alternative and competing products or treatments;

 

 

 

costs associated with any acquisition or in-license of products and product candidates, technologies, or businesses; and

 

 

 

personnel, facilities, and equipment requirements.

 

We cannot be certain that additional funding will be available on acceptable terms, or at all. In addition, future debt financing into which we enter may impose upon us covenants that restrict our operations, including limitations on our ability to incur liens or additional debt, pay dividends, redeem our stock, make certain investments and engage in certain merger, consolidation or asset sale transactions.

 

If we are unable to raise additional capital when required or on acceptable terms, we may be required to significantly delay, scale back or discontinue the development or commercialization of one or more of our product candidates, restrict our operations or obtain funds by entering into agreements on unattractive terms, which would likely have a material adverse effect on our business, stock price and our relationships with third parties with whom we have business relationships, at least until additional funding is obtained. If we do not have sufficient funds to continue operations, we could be required to seek bankruptcy protection or other alternatives that would likely result in our stockholders losing some or all of their investment in us. In addition, our ability to achieve profitability or to respond to competitive pressures would be significantly limited.

 

Raising additional capital may cause dilution to our stockholders, including purchasers of Units in this offering, restrict our operations or require us to relinquish rights to our technologies or product candidates.

 

Until such time, if ever, as we can generate substantial revenue, we may finance our cash needs through a combination of equity offerings, debt financings, marketing and distribution arrangements and other collaborations, strategic alliances and licensing arrangements or other sources. We do not currently have any committed external source of funds. In addition, we may seek additional capital due to favorable market conditions or strategic considerations, even if we believe that we have sufficient funds for our current or future operating plans.

 

To the extent that we raise additional capital through the sale of equity or convertible debt securities, your ownership interest will be diluted, and the terms of these securities may include liquidation or other preferences that adversely affect your rights as a common stockholder. Debt financing and preferred equity financing, if available, 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 collaborations, strategic alliances or marketing, distribution, or licensing arrangements with third parties, we may be required to relinquish valuable rights to our technologies, intellectual property, future revenue streams or product candidates or grant licenses on terms that may not be favorable to us. If we are unable to raise additional funds through equity or debt financings when needed, we may be required to delay, limit, reduce or terminate product candidate development or future commercialization efforts.

 

 
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The reports of our independent registered public accounting firm for the fiscal years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019 contain an explanatory paragraph regarding substantial doubt about our ability to continue as a going concern.

 

Due to the uncertainty of our ability to meet our current operating and capital expenses, in its report on our audited annual financial statements as of and for the years ended December 31, 2020 and December 31, 2019, our independent auditors included an explanatory paragraph regarding concerns about our ability to continue as a going concern. Substantial doubt about our ability to continue as a going concern may materially and adversely affect the price per share of our common stock and warrants and we may have a more difficult time obtaining financing. Further, the perception that we may be unable to continue as a going concern may impede our ability to raise additional funds or operate our business due to concerns regarding our ability to discharge our contractual obligations.

 

Changes in tax laws may materially adversely affect our business financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.

 

We are subject to tax laws, regulations and policies of the jurisdictions in which we do business, which may include U.S. federal, state, and local governments and taxing authorities in foreign jurisdictions. Changes in tax laws, as well as other factors, could cause us to experience fluctuations in our tax obligations and otherwise adversely affect our tax positions and/or our tax liabilities. The income tax rules in the jurisdictions in which we operate are constantly under review by taxing authorities and other governmental bodies. Changes to tax laws (which changes may have retroactive application) could adversely affect us or our stockholders. We are unable to predict what tax proposals may be proposed or enacted in the future or what effect such changes would have on our business, but such changes, to the extent they are brought into tax legislation, regulations, policies or practices, could affect our financial position and overall effective tax rates in the future in jurisdictions where we have operations, and increase the complexity, burden and cost of tax compliance.

 

Risks Related to Development, Regulatory Approval and Commercialization

 

A pandemic, epidemic, or outbreak of an infectious disease, such as COVID-19 could cause a disruption to the development of our product candidates.

 

Public health crises such as pandemics or similar outbreaks could adversely impact our business. In December 2019, a novel strain of a virus named SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2), or coronavirus, which causes COVID-19, surfaced in Wuhan, China and has since spread worldwide. The coronavirus pandemic is evolving, and to date has led to the implementation of various responses, including government-imposed quarantines, travel restrictions and other public health safety measures. The extent to which the coronavirus impacts our operations or those of our third-party partners, including our preclinical studies or clinical trial operations, will also depend on future developments, which are highly uncertain and cannot be predicted with confidence, including the duration of the outbreak, new information that will emerge concerning the severity of the coronavirus and the actions to contain the coronavirus or treat its impact, among others. The continued spread of COVID-19 globally could adversely impact our preclinical or clinical trial operations in the U.S. and abroad, including our ability to recruit and retain patients and principal investigators and site staff who, as healthcare providers, may have heightened exposure to COVID-19. For example, similar to other biopharmaceutical companies, we may experience delays in enrolling our current and/or planned clinical trials. COVID-19 may also affect employees of third-party CROs located in affected geographies that we rely upon to carry out our clinical trials. In addition, the patient populations that our lead and other core product candidates target may be particularly susceptible to COVID-19, which may make it more difficult for us to identify patients able to enroll in our future clinical trials and may impact the ability of enrolled patients to complete any such trials. Any negative impact COVID-19 has to patient enrollment or treatment or the execution of our product candidates could cause costly delays to clinical trial activities, which could adversely affect our ability to obtain regulatory approval for and to commercialize our product candidates, increase our operating expenses, and have a material adverse effect on our financial results.

 

 
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Additionally, timely enrollment in planned clinical trials is dependent upon clinical trial sites which could be adversely affected by global health matters, such as pandemics. We plan to conduct clinical trials for our product candidates in geographies which are currently being affected by the coronavirus. Some factors from the coronavirus outbreak that will delay or otherwise adversely affect enrollment in the clinical trials of our product candidates, as well as our business generally, include:

 

 

 

the potential diversion of healthcare resources away from the conduct of clinical trials to focus on pandemic concerns, including the attention of physicians serving as our clinical trial investigators, hospitals serving as our clinical trial sites and hospital staff supporting the conduct of our prospective clinical trials;

 

 

 

limitations on travel that could interrupt key trial and business activities, such as clinical trial site initiations and monitoring, domestic and international travel by employees, contractors or patients to clinical trial sites, including any government-imposed travel restrictions or quarantines that will impact the ability or willingness of patients, employees or contractors to travel to our clinical trial sites or secure visas or entry permissions, a loss of face-to-face meetings and other interactions with potential partners, any of which could delay or adversely impact the conduct or progress of our prospective clinical trials;

 

 

 

the potential negative effect on the operations of our third-party manufacturers.

 

 

 

interruption in global shipping, affecting the transport of raw materials for our products, clinical trial materials, such as patient samples, investigational drug product and conditioning drugs and other supplies used in our prospective clinical trials; and

 

 

 

business disruptions caused by potential workplace, laboratory and office closures and an increased reliance on employees working from home, disruptions to or delays in ongoing laboratory experiments and operations, staffing shortages, travel limitations or mass transit disruptions, any of which could adversely impact our business operations or delay necessary interactions with local regulators, ethics committees and other important agencies and contractors.

 

We have taken temporary precautionary measures intended to help minimize the risk of the virus to our employees, including having all of our employees to work remotely, suspending all non-essential travel worldwide for our employees and discouraging employee attendance at industry events and in-person work-related meetings, which could negatively affect our business. We cannot presently predict the scope and severity of the planned and potential shutdowns or disruptions of businesses and government agencies, such as the Securities and Exchange Commission, or the SEC, or FDA.

 

Our business is dependent on the successful development, regulatory approval and commercialization of our product candidates, in particular DMT310.

 

Our portfolio of product candidates includes one mid-stage product candidate, DMT310, a once-weekly topical, naturally-derived product candidate for the treatment of acne, rosacea and psoriasis, and an early-stage candidate, DMT410, a combination treatment regimen to aid in the topical delivery of botulinum toxin for the treatment of hyperhidrosis and aesthetic skin conditions. The success of our business, including our ability to finance our company and generate any revenue in the future, will primarily depend on the successful development, regulatory approval and commercialization or partnering of our product candidates. In the future, we may also become dependent on just one of our product candidates or any future product candidates that we may in-license, acquire or develop. The clinical and commercial success of our product candidates will depend on a number of factors, including the following:

 

 

 

the ability to raise additional capital on acceptable terms, or at all;

 

 

 

timely completion of our clinical trials, which may be significantly slower or cost more than we currently anticipate and will depend substantially upon the performance of third-party contractors;

 

 

 

whether we are required by the FDA, or similar foreign regulatory agencies to conduct additional clinical trials beyond those planned to support the approval and commercialization of our product candidates or any future product candidates;

 

 
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acceptance of our proposed indications and primary endpoint assessments relating to the proposed indications of our product candidates by the FDA and similar foreign regulatory authorities;

 

 

 

our ability to demonstrate to the satisfaction of the FDA and similar foreign regulatory authorities, the safety and efficacy of our product candidates or any future product candidates;

 

 

 

our ability to develop a suitable drug product release assay;

 

 

 

our ability to identify an active compound within the drug product that can be detected in a pharmacokinetics study;

 

 

 

the prevalence, duration and severity of potential side effects experienced in connection with our product candidates or future approved products, if any;

 

 

 

the timely receipt of necessary marketing approvals from the FDA and similar foreign regulatory authorities;

 

 

 

achieving and maintaining, and, where applicable, ensuring that our third-party contractors achieve and maintain, compliance with our contractual obligations and with all regulatory requirements applicable to our product candidates or any future product candidates or approved products, if any;

 

 

 

the ability of third parties with whom we contract to manufacture clinical trial and commercial supplies of our product candidates or any future product candidates, remain in good standing with regulatory agencies and develop, validate and maintain commercially viable manufacturing processes that are compliant with current good manufacturing practices, or cGMP, or good agricultural and collection practices, or GACP;

 

 

 

a continued acceptable safety profile during clinical development and following approval of our product candidates or any future product candidates;

 

 

 

our ability to successfully commercialize our product candidates or any future product candidates in the United States and internationally, if approved for marketing, sale and distribution in such countries and territories, whether alone or in collaboration with others;

 

 

 

acceptance by physicians, patients and payors of the benefits, safety and efficacy of our product candidates or any future product candidates, if approved, including relative to alternative and competing treatments;

 

 

 

our ability to comply with numerous post-approval regulatory requirements;

 

 

 

our and our partners’ ability to establish and enforce intellectual property rights in and to our product candidates or any future product candidates;

 

 

 

our and our partners’ ability to avoid third-party patent interference or intellectual property infringement claims; and

 

 

 

our ability to in-license or acquire additional product candidates or commercial-stage products that we believe we can successfully develop and commercialize.

 

If we are unable to achieve one or more of the above factors, many of which are beyond our control, in a timely manner or at all, we could experience significant delays and increased costs or an inability to obtain regulatory approvals or commercialize our product candidates. Even if regulatory approvals are obtained, we may never be able to successfully commercialize any of our product candidates. Accordingly, we cannot assure you that we will be able to generate sufficient revenue through the sale of our product candidates or any future product candidates to continue operations.

 

 
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According to the FDA Guidelines, we may be required to complete a 90-day dermal minipig study and a standard dermal pharmacokinetic study prior to holding an End of Phase 2 meeting with the agency. The minipig and pharmacokinetic studies can be complicated, time consuming, and expensive and we may be unsuccessful in completing the required studies, which could prevent or delay the Phase 3 program and regulatory approval and commercialization.

 

Part of required drug development for topical products is completion of a 90-day dermal minipig study and a standard dermal pharmacokinetic development plan prior to holding an End of Phase 2 meeting with the FDA. This plan can be difficult to design and conduct and its outcome is uncertain. As part of this dermal pharmacokinetic development plan, we need to develop and validate an analytical method to detect an analyte in rat, minipig and human plasma, which will be difficult, time consuming and expensive. While we have identified an analyte that is present in DMT310, we have yet to develop a method with sufficient sensitivity to detect the analyte at the required levels. If we are delayed or unable to develop such method, we may be required to identify a new analyte of DMT310 to use in the pharmacokinetic development plan. Even if we are able to successfully develop a bioanalytical method to detect the identified analyte, we still must validate the bioanalytical method under good laboratory practice, or GLP, conditions. There is no guarantee that we will be able to do so successfully. If we are unable to validate such a bioanalytical method then we may be required to develop a new bioanalytical method or identify a new analyte for the pharmacokinetic development plan, which could prevent or delay regulatory approval and commercialization.

 

Prior to holding an End of Phase 2 meeting with the FDA and after validating the bioanalytical method under GLP conditions, we may be required to conduct a 90-day dermal minipig study and a maximum use pharmacokinetic study in humans, the outcomes of which are unknown and difficult to predict. Due to delays and constraints in the global supply chain for the minipigs to be used in the 90-day dermal minipig study, we may be forced to delay the start of such study. While we believe we may have to complete this study at some time during our clinical development, because DMT310 has been used in completed clinical trials of over 170 human patients in which it exhibited an acceptable safety and tolerability profile, we have recently submitted requests to the FDA to waive conduct of a 90-day dermal minipig study and standard dermal pharmacokinetic study prior to holding an End of Phase 2 meeting with the FDA. Although we have submitted these requests to the FDA, the FDA may not grant one or both waiver requests. This decision by the FDA could result in additional development costs and a delay in our development timeline, in which case our business could be materially harmed. Additionally, if the outcomes of these studies are not satisfactory to the FDA, we may be required to conduct the entire pharmacokinetic development plan again, which could result in additional development costs and a delay in our development timeline, in which case our business could be materially harmed.

 

Clinical drug development for our product candidates is very expensive, time-consuming and uncertain. Our clinical trials may fail to adequately demonstrate the safety and efficacy of our product candidates, which could prevent or delay regulatory approval and commercialization.

 

Clinical drug development for our product candidates is very expensive, time-consuming, difficult to design and implement and its outcome is inherently uncertain. Before obtaining regulatory approval for the commercial sale of a product candidate, we must demonstrate through clinical trials that a product candidate is both safe and effective for use in the target indication, which is impossible to predict. Most product candidates that commence clinical trials are never approved by regulatory authorities for commercialization. Our product candidates are in various stages of development and a failure of one more clinical trials can occur at any stage of testing or at any time during the trial process. We expect that clinical trials for these product candidates will continue for several years, but may take significantly longer than expected to complete.

 

We have not completed all clinical trials for the approval of any of our product candidates. We have yet to hold an End of Phase 2 meeting with the FDA and do not know what feedback they will provide us. In previous communications with the FDA they had asked us to show that hydrogen peroxide was not an active ingredient in our DMT310 product. If we do not supply sufficient evidence and data to convince the FDA that hydrogen peroxide is not an active ingredient and merely a fluidizing agent (hydrogen peroxide), then we may have to alter our clinical plans or reformulate our product based on FDA feedback. If we chose to reformulate our lead product, DMT310, then we may decide to redo our Phase 2 studies, which would be time consuming and expensive and there is no certainty of success.

 

 
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We may experience delays in ongoing and future clinical trials for our product candidates and do not know if future clinical trials, if any, will begin on time, need to be redesigned, enroll adequate number of patients on time or be completed on schedule, if at all. In addition, we, any partner with which we currently or may in the future collaborate, the FDA, an IRB or other regulatory authorities, including state and local agencies and counterpart agencies in foreign countries, may suspend, delay, require modifications to or terminate our clinical trials at any time, for various reasons, including:

 

 

 

discovery of safety or tolerability concerns, such as serious or unexpected toxicities or side effects or exposure to otherwise unacceptable health risks, experienced by study participants or other safety issues;

 

 

 

lack of effectiveness of any product candidate during clinical trials or the failure of our product candidates to meet specified endpoints;

 

 

 

slower than expected rates of subject recruitment and enrollment rates or inability to enroll a sufficient number of patients in clinical trials resulting from numerous factors, including the prevalence of other companies’ clinical trials for their product candidates for the same indication, or clinical trials for indications for which patients do not as commonly seek treatment;

 

 

 

delays or difficulties in our clinical trials due to quarantines or other restrictions resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic;

 

 

 

difficulty in retaining subjects who have initiated a clinical trial but may withdraw at any time due to adverse side effects from the therapy, insufficient efficacy, fatigue with the clinical trial process or for any other reason;

 

 

 

difficulty in obtaining IRB approval for studies to be conducted at each clinical trial site;

 

 

 

delays in manufacturing or obtaining, or inability to manufacture or obtain, sufficient quantities of materials for use in clinical trials;

 

 

 

difficulty or inability to find a partner that will allow us to test their product for our DMT410 program;

 

 

 

inadequacy of or changes in our manufacturing process or the product formulation or method of delivery;

 

 

 

changes in applicable laws, regulations and regulatory policies;

 

 

 

delays or failure in reaching agreement on acceptable terms in clinical trial contracts or protocols with prospective CROs, clinical trial sites and other third-party contractors;

 

 

 

inability to add a sufficient number of clinical trial sites;

 

 

 

uncertainty regarding proper formulation and dosing;

 

 

 

failure by us, our employees, our CROs or their employees or other third-party contractors to comply with contractual and applicable regulatory requirements or to perform their services in a timely or acceptable manner;

 

 

 

failure by us, our employees, our CROs or their employees or any partner with which we may collaborate or their employees to comply with applicable FDA or other regulatory requirements relating to the conduct of clinical trials or the handling, storage, security and recordkeeping for drug and biologic products;

 

 

 

scheduling conflicts with participating clinicians and clinical institutions;

 

 

 

failure to design appropriate clinical trial protocols;

 

 

 

insufficient data to support regulatory approval;

 

 

 

inability or unwillingness of medical investigators to follow our clinical protocols; or

 

 

 

difficulty in maintaining contact with subjects during or after treatment, which may result in incomplete data.

 

 
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In the case of our topical product candidates, we are seeking to deliver sufficient concentrations of the active pharmaceutical ingredient, or API, through the skin barrier to the targeted dermal tissue to achieve the intended therapeutic effect. As a result, safety and efficacy can be difficult to establish. The topical route of administration may involve new formulations and dosage forms, which can be difficult to develop and manufacture and may raise novel regulatory issues and result in development or review delays. For example, the API for DMT310 is a milled sponge powder, and we are not aware of previous FDA approvals of sponges as a prescription drug.

 

We or any partner with which we may collaborate may suffer significant setbacks in our clinical trials similar to the experience of a number of other companies in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries, even after receiving promising results in earlier trials. In the event that we or our potential partners abandon or are delayed in the clinical development efforts related to our product candidates, we may not be able to execute on our business plan effectively and our business, financial condition, operating results and prospects would be harmed.

 

Changes in methods of product candidate manufacturing or formulation may result in additional costs or delay.

 

As product candidates proceed through preclinical studies to late-stage clinical trials towards potential approval and commercialization, it is common that various aspects of the development program, such as manufacturing methods and formulation, are altered along the way in an effort to optimize processes and results. Such changes carry the risk that they will not achieve these intended objectives. Any of these changes could cause our product candidates to perform differently and affect the results of planned clinical trials or other future clinical trials conducted with the altered materials. Such changes may also require additional testing, FDA notification or FDA approval. This could delay completion of clinical trials, require the conduct of bridging clinical trials or the repetition of one or more clinical trials.

 

We may be unable to obtain regulatory approval for DMT310 or DMT410, or our early-stage product candidates under applicable regulatory requirements. The FDA and foreign regulatory bodies have substantial discretion in the approval process, including the ability to delay, limit or deny approval of product candidates. The delay, limitation or denial of any regulatory approval would adversely impact commercialization, our potential to generate revenue, our business and our operating results.

 

We currently have no products approved for sale, and we may never obtain regulatory approval to commercialize any of our current or future product candidates. The research, testing, manufacturing, safety surveillance, efficacy, quality control, recordkeeping, labeling, packaging, storage, approval, sale, marketing, distribution, import, export, and reporting of safety and other post-market information related to our drug products are subject to extensive regulation by the FDA and other regulatory authorities in the United States and in foreign countries, and such regulations differ from country to country. We are not permitted to market any of our current product candidates in the United States until we receive approval of a new drug application, or NDA, or other applicable regulatory filing from the FDA. We are also not permitted to market any of our current product candidates in any foreign countries until we or our partners receive the requisite approval from the applicable regulatory authorities of such countries. To gain approval to market a new drug such as DMT310 or DMT410, the FDA and/or foreign regulatory authorities must receive, among other things, preclinical and clinical data that adequately demonstrate the safety, purity, potency, efficacy, and compliant manufacturing of the drug product for the intended indication applied for in an NDA, or other applicable regulatory filing. The development and approval of a product derived from a natural source and new drug products involves a long, expensive and uncertain process, and delay or failure can occur at any stage. A number of companies in the pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical industry have suffered significant setbacks in nonclinical development, clinical trials, including in Phase 3 clinical development, even after promising results in earlier preclinical studies or clinical trials. These setbacks have been caused by, among other things, findings made while clinical trials were underway and safety or efficacy observations made in clinical trials, including previously unreported adverse events. Success in clinical trials does not ensure that later clinical trials will be successful, or that nonclinical studies will be successful. The results of clinical trials by other parties may not be indicative of the results in trials we or our partners may conduct. For example, for DMT310, the results of our Phase 2a and Phase 2b clinical trials may not accurately predict results in Phase 3 clinical trials that will have larger numbers of patients. Nor will the human safety data collected from our Phase 2a and Phase 2b clinical trial predict the outcome of our pharmacokinetic plan.

 

 
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The FDA and foreign regulatory bodies have substantial discretion in the drug approval process, including the ability to delay, limit or deny approval of product candidates for many reasons. The FDA or the applicable foreign regulatory body may:

 

 

 

disagree with the design or implementation of one or more clinical trials;

 

 

 

not deem a product candidate safe and effective for its proposed indication, or may deem a product candidate’s safety or other perceived risks to outweigh its clinical or other benefits;

 

 

 

not find the data from preclinical studies and clinical trials sufficient to support approval, or the results of clinical trials may not meet the level of statistical or clinical significance required by the FDA or the applicable foreign regulatory body for approval;

 

 

 

disagree with our interpretation of data from preclinical studies or clinical trials performed by us or third parties, or with the interpretation of any partner with which we may collaborate;

 

 

 

determine the data collected from clinical trials may not be sufficient to support the submission of an NDA, or other applicable regulatory filing;

 

 

 

require additional preclinical studies or clinical trials;

 

 

 

identify deficiencies in the formulation, quality control, labeling or specifications of our current or future product candidates;

 

 

 

require clinical trials in pediatric patients in order to establish pharmacokinetics or safety for this more drug-sensitive population;

 

 

 

grant approval contingent on the performance of costly additional post-approval clinical trials;

 

 

 

approve our current or any future product candidates for a more limited indication or a narrower patient population than we originally requested or with strong warnings that may affect marketability;

 

 

 

not approve the labeling that we believe is necessary or desirable for the successful commercialization of our product candidates;

 

 

 

not approve of the manufacturing processes, controls or facilities of third-party manufacturers or testing labs with which we contract;

 

 

 

consider our products a device instead of a drug requiring a different approval process and manufacturing needs;

 

 

 

consider one of our products a combination product instead of a singular drug requiring additional clinical trials or increased number of patients per study, or

 

 

 

change its approval policies or adopt new regulations in a manner rendering our clinical data or regulatory filings insufficient for approval.

 

There have been only two products approved by the FDA under the botanical guidance and none in the indication for acne vulgaris with both approved products’ active ingredient coming from an extract of a plant. While freshwater sponges, such as Spongilla, are technically animals, because we are using the entirety of the sponge for the DMT310 drug product, the FDA has allowed us to reference the botanical guidance for raw material quality control relating to the manufacturing of the drug product. We do not know how any other regulatory authority will treat DMT310 for their approval process. In addition, the FDA or other regulatory authorities may change their policies, issue additional regulations or revise existing regulations or take other actions, which may prevent or delay approval of our future products under development on a timely basis. Such policy or regulatory changes could impose additional requirements upon us that could delay our ability to obtain approvals, increase the costs of compliance or restrict our ability to maintain any marketing authorizations we may have obtained.

 

Any delay, limitation or denial in any applicable regulatory approval for any of our product candidates would delay or adversely impact commercialization of our product candidates and would harm our business, financial condition, operating results and prospects.

 

 
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We are preparing to conduct our first Phase 3 clinical trials and may be unable to successfully complete it or any future clinical trials.

 

The conduct of a Phase 3 clinical trial is a complicated process. Although members of our management team have conducted Phase 3 clinical trials in the past while employed at other companies, we as a company have not conducted a Phase 3 clinical trial before, and as a result may require more time and incur greater costs than we anticipate. Failure to include the correct treatment regimen, complete, or delays in, our Phase 3 clinical trials, could prevent us from or delay us in commencing future clinical trials for DMT310, obtaining regulatory approval of and commercializing our product candidates, which would adversely impact our financial performance. In addition, some of our competitors are currently conducting clinical trials for product candidates that treat the same indications as DMT310, and patients who are otherwise eligible for our clinical trials may instead enroll in clinical trials of our competitors’ product candidates.

 

Patient enrollment is affected by other factors including:

 

 

 

the severity of the disease under investigation;

 

 

 

the eligibility criteria for the study in question;

 

 

 

the perceived risks and benefits of the product candidate under study;

 

 

 

the efforts to facilitate timely enrollment in clinical trials;

 

 

 

the patient referral practices of physicians;

 

 

 

the ability to monitor patients adequately during and after treatment;

 

 

 

the proximity and availability of clinical trial sites for prospective patients; and

 

 

 

factors we may not be able to control, such as potential pandemics that may limit subjects, principal investigators or staff or clinical site availability (e.g., the outbreak of COVID-19).

  

Even if our current product candidates or any future product candidates obtain regulatory approval, they may fail to achieve the broad degree of physician and patient adoption and use necessary for commercial success.

 

The commercial success of any of our current or future product candidates, if approved, will depend significantly on the broad adoption and use of the resulting product by physicians, patients and payors for approved indications, and may not be commercially successful. The degree and rate of adoption of our current or future product candidates, if approved, will depend on a number of factors, including:

 

 

 

the clinical indications for which the product is approved and patient demand for approved products that treat those indications;

 

 

 

the effectiveness of our product as compared to other available therapies;

 

 

 

the availability of coverage and adequate reimbursement from managed care plans and other healthcare payors for any of our product candidates that may be approved;

 

 

 

the cost of treatment with our product candidates in relation to alternative treatments and willingness to pay for the product, if approved, on the part of patients;

 

 

 

acceptance by physicians, major operators of clinics and patients of the product as a safe and effective treatment;

 

 

 

physician and patient willingness to adopt a new therapy, including for DMT310, a sponge product, over other available therapies to treat approved indications;

 

 

 

patients’ perception of a product derived from a freshwater sponge as one for which will provide medical treatment;

 

 

 

overcoming any biases physicians or patients may have toward particular therapies for the treatment of approved indications;

 

 
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proper training and administration of our product candidates by physicians and medical staff;

 

 

 

patient satisfaction with the results and administration of our product candidates and overall treatment experience;

 

 

 

the willingness of patients to pay for certain of our product candidates relative to other discretionary items, especially during economically challenging times;

 

 

 

the revenue and profitability that our product candidate may offer a physician as compared to alternative therapies;

 

 

 

the prevalence and severity of side effects;

 

 

 

limitations or warnings contained in the FDA-approved labeling for our product candidates;

 

 

 

any FDA requirement to undertake a risk evaluation and mitigation strategy, or REMS;

 

 

 

the effectiveness of our sales, marketing and distribution efforts;

 

 

 

our ability to maintain sufficient quantities of supply to meet demand;

 

 

 

adverse publicity about our product candidates or favorable publicity about competitive products; and

 

 

 

potential product liability claims.

 

If any of our current or future product candidates are approved for use but fail to achieve the broad degree of physician and patient adoption necessary for commercial success, our operating results and financial condition will be adversely affected, which may delay, prevent or limit our ability to generate revenue and continue our business.

 

We intend to seek NCE exclusivity for DMT310 and future product candidates, and we may be unsuccessful in obtaining such exclusivity.

 

As part of our business strategy, we intend to seek new chemical entity, or NCE, exclusivity for DMT310 or future product candidates. In the United States, a pharmaceutical manufacturer may obtain five years of non-patent exclusivity upon NDA approval of an NCE which is a drug that contains an active moiety that has not been approved by the FDA in any other NDA. An “active moiety” is defined as the molecule or ion responsible for the drug substance’s physiological or pharmacologic action. During the five-year exclusivity period, the FDA cannot accept for filing any ANDA seeking approval of a generic version of that drug or any 505(b)(2) NDA for the same active moiety and that relies on the FDA’s findings regarding that drug, except that FDA may accept an application for filing after four years if the follow-on applicant makes a paragraph IV certification. This exclusivity period may be extended by an additional six months if certain requirements are met to qualify the product for pediatric exclusivity, including the receipt of a written request from the FDA that we conduct certain pediatric studies, the submission of study reports from such studies to the FDA after receipt of the written request and satisfaction of the conditions specified in the written request. We believe that DMT310 constitutes an NCE and should be eligible for NCE exclusivity. However, we may be unable to successfully obtain such exclusivity, and if any of our competitors obtains FDA approval of an NDA for a similar drug product before we do, they, and not us, may be eligible for NCE exclusivity. If we do not obtain NCE exclusivity for DMT310, or if a competitor obtains NCE exclusivity for a similar product before we submit and receive approval of an NDA for DMT310, our ability to commence sales and generate revenue would be adversely affected.

 

 
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Our product candidates, if approved, will face significant competition and our failure to effectively compete may prevent us from achieving significant market penetration.

 

The pharmaceutical industry is characterized by rapidly advancing technologies, intense competition, and a strong emphasis on developing proprietary therapeutics. Numerous pharmaceutical companies, generic drug companies, biotechnology companies, cosmetic companies, and academic and research institutions are engaged in the development, patenting, manufacturing, and marketing of health care products competitive with those that we are developing, including VYNE Therapeutics, Cassiopea, Sol-Gel, Arcutis Biotherapeutics, Amgen, AbbVie, Bristol Meyers Squib, Lilly, Nestle, Pfizer, and others. Many of our competitors have greater financial resources, marketing capabilities, sales forces, manufacturing capabilities, research and development capabilities, clinical trial expertise, intellectual property portfolios, experience in obtaining patents and regulatory approvals for product candidates and other resources than us. Some of the companies that offer competing products also have a broad range of other product offerings, large direct sales forces and long-term customer relationships with our target physicians, which could inhibit our market penetration efforts. In addition, certain of our product candidates, if approved, may compete with other dermatological products, including over-the-counter treatments, for a share of some patients’ discretionary budgets and for physicians’ attention within their clinical practices.

 

We anticipate that, if we obtain regulatory approval of our product candidates, we will face significant competition from other approved therapies. If approved, our product candidates may also compete with unregulated, unapproved, off-label, and over the counter treatments. Certain of our product candidates, if approved, will present novel therapeutic approaches for the approved indications and will have to compete with existing therapies, some of which are widely known and accepted by physicians and patients. To compete successfully in this market, we will have to demonstrate that the relative cost, safety and efficacy of our approved products, if any, provide an attractive alternative to existing and other new therapies. Such competition could lead to reduced market share for our product candidates and contribute to downward pressure on the pricing of our product candidates, which could harm our business, financial condition, operating results and prospects. For more information about the competition we face, see “Business-Competition.”

 

Due to less stringent regulatory requirements in certain foreign countries, there are many more dermatological products and procedures available for use in those international markets than are approved for use in the United States. In certain international markets, there are also fewer limitations on the claims that our competitors can make about the effectiveness of their products and the manner in which they can market them. As a result, we expect to face more competition in these markets than in the United States.

 

We expect to face generic or similar type of product competition for our product candidates, which could adversely affect our business, financial condition, operating results and prospects.

 

Upon the expiration or loss of any patent protection for any of our product candidates that are approved, or upon the “at-risk” launch, despite pending patent infringement litigation against the generic product or its equivalent, by a generic competitor of a generic version of any of our product candidates that are approved, which may be sold at significantly lower prices than our approved product candidates, we could lose a significant portion of sales of that product in a short period of time, which would adversely affect our business, financial condition, operating results and prospects.

 

It is unknown how the FDA or any regulatory authority will view an attempted generic version of DMT310 because it is a derived from a natural material that refers to principles of the botanical guidance. There are no currently approved generic versions of a natural product on the market and no FDA guidelines on the approval process for a generic version of a natural product. Therefore, it is unknown how difficult it will be for a generic version of a natural product to be approved for commercial sale in the United States. It is unclear whether the FDA will view spongilla lacustris or a similar sponge species that is harvested from a different location than DMT310 raw material is harvested as identical to DMT310 raw material and therefore could follow the generic pathway to approval.

 

Any product candidates that we commercialize, or that any partner with which we may collaborate commercializes, will be subject to ongoing and continued regulatory review.

 

Even after we or our partners achieve U.S. regulatory approval for a product candidate, if any, we or our partners will be subject to continued regulatory review and compliance obligations. For example, with respect to our product candidates, the FDA may impose significant restrictions on the approved indicated uses for which the product may be marketed or on the conditions of approval. A product candidate’s approval may contain requirements for potentially costly post-approval studies and surveillance, including Phase 4 clinical trials or a REMS, to monitor the safety and efficacy of the product. We will also be subject to ongoing FDA obligations and continued regulatory review with respect to, among other things, the manufacturing, processing, labeling, packaging, distribution, adverse event reporting, storage, advertising, promotion and recordkeeping for our product candidates. These requirements include submissions of safety and other post-marketing information and reports, registration, as well as continued compliance with cGMP requirements, with the FDA’s good clinical practice, or GCP, or good agricultural and collections practices, or GACP, requirements and good laboratory practice, or GLP, requirements, which are regulations and guidelines enforced by the FDA for all of our product candidates in clinical and preclinical development, and for any clinical trials that we conduct post-approval. To the extent that a product candidate is approved for sale in other countries, we may be subject to similar restrictions and requirements imposed by laws and government regulators in those countries.

 

 
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If we, our partners, our product candidates or the manufacturing facilities for our product candidates fail to comply with applicable regulatory requirements, a regulatory agency may:

 

 

 

impose restrictions on the marketing or manufacturing of the product, suspend or withdraw product approvals or revoke necessary licenses;

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

require us or our partners 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;

 

 

 

issue warning letters, show cause notices or untitled letters describing alleged violations, which may be publicly available;

 

 

 

commence criminal investigations and prosecutions;

 

 

 

impose injunctions, suspensions or revocations of necessary approvals or other licenses;

 

 

 

impose other civil or criminal penalties;

 

 

 

suspend any ongoing clinical trials;

 

 

 

delay or refuse to approve pending applications or supplements to approved applications filed by us or our potential partners;

 

 

 

refuse to permit drugs or precursor chemicals to be imported or exported to or from the United States;

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

seize or detain products or require us or our partners to initiate a product recall.

 

The regulations, policies or guidance of the FDA and other applicable government agencies may change and new or additional statutes or government regulations may be enacted that could prevent or delay regulatory approval of our product candidates or further restrict or regulate post-approval activities. We cannot predict the likelihood, nature or extent of adverse government regulation that may arise from future legislation or administrative action, either in the United States or abroad. If we are not able to achieve and maintain regulatory compliance, we may not be permitted to market our product candidates, which would adversely affect our ability to generate revenue and achieve or maintain profitability.

 

We may in the future conduct clinical trials for our product candidates outside the United States and the FDA and applicable foreign regulatory authorities may not accept data from such trials.

 

We may in the future choose to conduct one or more of our clinical trials outside the United States, including in Canada, Europe and South America. Although the FDA or applicable foreign regulatory authority may accept data from clinical trials conducted outside the United States or the applicable jurisdiction, acceptance of such study data by the FDA or applicable foreign regulatory authority may be subject to certain conditions. Where data from foreign clinical trials are intended to serve as the basis for marketing approval in the United States, the FDA will not approve the application on the basis of foreign data alone unless those data are applicable to the U.S. population and U.S. medical practice; the studies were performed by clinical investigators of recognized competence; and the data are considered valid without the need for an on-site inspection by the FDA or, if the FDA considers such an inspection to be necessary, the FDA is able to validate the data through an on-site inspection or other appropriate means. Many foreign regulatory bodies have similar requirements. In addition, such foreign studies would be subject to the applicable local laws of the foreign jurisdictions where the studies are conducted. There can be no assurance the FDA or applicable foreign regulatory authority will accept data from trials conducted outside of the United States or the applicable jurisdiction. If the FDA or applicable foreign regulatory authority does not accept such data, it would likely result in the need for additional trials, which would be costly and time-consuming and delay aspects of our business plan.

 

 
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Our product candidates may cause undesirable side effects or have other unexpected properties that could delay or prevent their regulatory approval, limit the commercial profile of an approved label or result in post-approval regulatory action.

 

Unforeseen side effects from any of our product candidates could arise either during clinical development or, if approved, after the approved product has been marketed. Undesirable side effects caused by product candidates could cause us, any partners with which we may collaborate or regulatory authorities to interrupt, modify, delay or halt clinical trials and could result in a more restrictive label or the delay or denial of regulatory approval by the FDA or comparable foreign authorities. Results of clinical trials could reveal a high and unacceptable severity and prevalence of side effects. In such an event, trials could be suspended or terminated and the FDA or comparable foreign regulatory authorities could order us, or our potential partners, to cease further development of or deny approval of product candidates for any or all targeted indications. The drug-related side effects could affect patient recruitment or the ability of enrolled patients to complete the trial or result in product liability claims. Any of these occurrences may harm our business, financial condition, operating results and prospects.

 

Additionally, if we or others identify undesirable side effects, or other previously unknown problems, caused by our product candidates after obtaining U.S. or foreign regulatory approval or other products with the same or related active ingredients, a number of potentially negative consequences could result, including:

 

 

 

regulatory authorities may withdraw their approval of the product;

 

 

 

regulatory authorities may require a recall of the product or we or our potential partners may voluntarily recall a product;

 

 

 

regulatory authorities may require the addition of warnings or contraindications in the product labeling, narrowing of the indication in the product label or field alerts to physicians and pharmacies;

 

 

 

we may be required to create a medication guide outlining the risks of such side effects for distribution to patients or institute a REMS;

 

 

 

we may have limitations on how we promote the product;

 

 

 

we may be required to change the way the product is administered or modify the product in some other way; the FDA or applicable foreign regulatory authority may require additional clinical trials or costly post-marketing testing and surveillance to monitor the safety or efficacy of the product;

 

 

 

the FDA or applicable foreign regulatory authority may require additional clinical trials or costly post-marketing testing and surveillance to monitor the safety or efficacy of the product

 

 

 

sales of the product may decrease significantly;

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

our brand and reputation may suffer.

 

Any of the above events resulting from undesirable side effects or other previously unknown problems could prevent us or our potential partners from achieving or maintaining market acceptance of the affected product candidate and could substantially increase the costs of commercializing our product candidates.

 

 
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We may face product liability exposure, and if successful claims are brought against us, we may incur substantial liability if our insurance coverage for those claims is inadequate.

 

We face an inherent risk of product liability as a result of the clinical testing of our product candidates and will face an even greater risk if we commercialize any products. This risk exists even if a product is approved for commercial sale by the FDA and manufactured in facilities licensed and regulated by the FDA or an applicable foreign regulatory authority. Our products and product candidates are designed to affect important bodily functions and processes. Any side effects, manufacturing defects, misuse or abuse associated with our product candidates could result in injury to a patient or even death. We cannot offer any assurance that we will not face product liability suits in the future, nor can we assure you that our insurance coverage will be sufficient to cover our liability under any such cases.

 

In addition, a liability claim may be brought against us even if our product candidates merely appear to have caused an injury. Product liability claims may be brought against us by consumers, health care providers, pharmaceutical companies or others selling or otherwise coming into contact with our product candidates, among others. If we cannot successfully defend ourselves against product liability claims we will incur substantial liabilities and reputational harm. In addition, regardless of merit or eventual outcome, product liability claims may result in:

 

 

 

withdrawal of clinical trial participants;

 

 

 

termination of clinical trial sites or entire trial programs;

 

 

 

inability to gain regulatory approval of our product candidates;

 

 

 

the inability to commercialize our product candidates;

 

 

 

decreased demand for our product candidates;

 

 

 

impairment of our business reputation;

 

 

 

product recall or withdrawal from the market or labeling, marketing or promotional restrictions;

 

 

 

substantial costs of any related litigation or similar disputes;

 

 

 

distraction of management’s attention and other resources from our primary business;

 

 

 

substantial monetary awards to patients or other claimants against us that may not be covered by insurance; or

 

 

 

loss of revenue.

 

We currently maintain product liability insurance coverage, which may not be sufficient to cover all of our product liability related expenses or losses and may not cover us for any expenses or losses we may suffer. Moreover, insurance coverage is becoming increasingly expensive, and, in the future, we may not be able to maintain insurance coverage at a reasonable cost, in sufficient amounts or upon adequate terms to protect us against losses due to product liability. We will need to increase our product liability coverage if any of our product candidates receive regulatory approval, which will be costly, and we may be unable to obtain this increased product liability insurance on commercially reasonable terms, or at all. A successful product liability claim or series of claims brought against us could cause our stock price to decline and, if judgments exceed our insurance coverage, could decrease our cash and could harm our business, financial condition, operating results and prospects.

 

 
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If any of our product candidates are approved for marketing and we are found to have improperly promoted off-label uses, or if physicians misuse our products or use our products off-label, we may become subject to prohibitions on the sale or marketing of our products, product liability claims and significant fines, penalties and sanctions, and our brand and reputation could be harmed.

 

The FDA and other regulatory agencies strictly regulate the marketing and promotional claims that are made about drug and biologic products. In particular, a product may not be promoted for uses or indications that are not approved by the FDA or such other regulatory agencies as reflected in the product’s approved labeling and comparative safety or efficacy claims cannot be made without direct comparative clinical data. If we are found to have promoted off-label uses of any of our product candidates, we may receive warning or untitled letters and become subject to significant liability, which would materially harm our business. Both federal and state governments have levied large civil and criminal fines against companies for alleged improper promotion and have enjoined several companies from engaging in off-label promotion. If we become the target of such an investigation or prosecution based on our marketing and promotional practices, we could face similar sanctions, which would materially harm our business. In addition, management’s attention could be diverted from our business operations, significant legal expenses could be incurred and our brand and reputation could be damaged. The FDA has also requested that companies enter into consent decrees or permanent injunctions under which specified promotional conduct is changed or curtailed. If we are deemed by the FDA to have engaged in the promotion of our products for off-label use, we could be subject to FDA regulatory or enforcement actions, including the issuance of an untitled letter, a warning letter, injunction, seizure, civil fine or criminal penalties. It is also possible that other federal, state or foreign enforcement authorities might take action if they consider our business activities constitute promotion of an off-label use, which could result in significant penalties, including criminal, civil or administrative penalties, damages, fines, disgorgement, exclusion from participation in government healthcare programs and the curtailment or restructuring of our operations.

 

We cannot, however, prevent a physician from using our product candidates outside of those indications for use when in the physician’s independent professional medical judgment he or she deems appropriate. Physicians may also misuse our product candidates or use improper techniques, potentially leading to adverse results, side effects or injury, which may lead to product liability claims. If our product candidates are misused or used with improper technique, we may become subject to costly litigation by physicians or their patients. Furthermore, the use of our product candidates for indications other than those cleared by the FDA may not effectively treat such conditions, which could harm our reputation among physicians and patients.

 

We may choose not to continue developing or commercializing any of our product candidates at any time during development or after approval, which would reduce or eliminate our potential return on investment for those product candidates.

 

At any time, we may decide to discontinue the development of any of our product candidates or not to continue commercializing one or more of our approved product candidates for a variety of reasons, including the appearance of new technologies that make our product obsolete, competition from a competing product or changes in or failure to comply with applicable regulatory requirements. If we terminate a program in which we have invested significant resources, we will not receive any return on our investment and we will have missed the opportunity to have allocated those resources to potentially more productive uses.

 

We or our current and prospective partners may be subject to product recalls in the future that could harm our brand and reputation and could negatively affect our business.

 

We or our current and prospective partners may be subject to product recalls, withdrawals or seizures if any of our product candidates, if approved for marketing, fail to meet specifications or are believed to cause injury or illness or if we are alleged to have violated governmental regulations including those related to the manufacture, labeling, promotion, sale or distribution. Any recall, withdrawal or seizure in the future could materially and adversely affect consumer confidence in our brands and lead to decreased demand for our approved products. In addition, a recall, withdrawal or seizure of any of our approved products would require significant management attention, would likely result in substantial and unexpected expenditures and would harm our business, financial condition and operating results.

 

If we or any partners with which we may collaborate are unable to achieve and maintain coverage and adequate levels of reimbursement for any of our product candidates for which we receive regulatory approval, or any future products we may seek to commercialize, their commercial success may be severely hindered.

 

For any of our product candidates that become available only by prescription, successful sales by us or by any partners with which we may collaborate depend on the availability of coverage and adequate reimbursement from third-party payors. Patients who are prescribed medicine for the treatment of their conditions generally rely on third-party payors to reimburse all or part of the costs associated with their prescription drugs. The availability of coverage and adequate reimbursement from governmental healthcare programs, such as Medicare and Medicaid, and private third-party payors is critical to new product acceptance. Coverage decisions may depend upon clinical and economic standards that disfavor new drug products when more established or lower cost therapeutic alternatives are already available or subsequently become available. If any of our product candidates do not demonstrate attractive efficacy profiles, they may not qualify for coverage and reimbursement. Even if we obtain coverage for a given product, the resulting reimbursement payment rates might not be adequate or may require co-payments that patients find unacceptably high. Patients are unlikely to use our products unless coverage is provided and reimbursement is adequate to cover a significant portion of the cost of our products.

 

 
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In addition, the market for our product candidates will depend significantly on access to third-party payors’ drug formularies, or lists of medications for which third-party payors provide coverage and reimbursement. The industry competition to be included in such formularies often leads to downward pricing pressures on pharmaceutical companies. Also, third-party payors may refuse to include a particular branded drug in their formularies or otherwise restrict patient access to a branded drug when a less costly generic equivalent or other alternative is available.

 

Further, third-party payors, whether foreign or domestic, or governmental or commercial, are developing increasingly sophisticated methods of controlling healthcare costs. In addition, in the United States, although private third-party payors tend to follow Medicare, no uniform policy of coverage and reimbursement for drug products exists among third-party payors. Therefore, coverage and reimbursement for drug products can differ significantly from payor to payor. As a result, the coverage determination process is often a time-consuming and costly process that will require us to provide scientific and clinical support for the use of our product candidates to each payor separately, with no assurance that coverage and adequate reimbursement will be obtained.

 

Further, we believe that future coverage and reimbursement will likely be subject to increased restrictions both in the United States and in international markets. Third-party coverage and reimbursement for any of our product candidates for which we may receive regulatory approval may not be available or adequate in either the United States or international markets, which could harm our business, financial condition, operating results and prospects.

 

Healthcare legislative or regulatory reform measures, including government restrictions on pricing and reimbursement, may have a negative impact on our business and results of operations.

 

In the United States and some foreign jurisdictions, there have been, and continue to be, several legislative and regulatory changes and proposed changes regarding the healthcare system that could prevent or delay marketing approval of product candidates, restrict or regulate post approval activities, and affect our ability to profitably sell any product candidates for which we obtain marketing approval.

 

Among policy makers and payors in the United States and elsewhere, there is significant interest in promoting changes in healthcare systems with the stated goals of containing healthcare costs, improving quality and/or expanding access. In the United States, the pharmaceutical industry has been a particular focus of these efforts and has been significantly affected by major legislative initiatives. For example, in the United States, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, or the ACA, substantially changed the way health care is financed by both governmental and private insurers and significantly affects the pharmaceutical industry. Many provisions of the ACA impact the biopharmaceutical industry, including that in order for a biopharmaceutical product to receive federal reimbursement under the Medicare Part B and Medicaid programs or to be sold directly to U.S. government agencies, the manufacturer must extend discounts to entities eligible to participate in the drug pricing program under the Public Health Services Act, or PHS. Since its enactment, there have been judicial and Congressional challenges and amendments to certain aspects of the ACA. There is continued uncertainty about the implementation of the ACA, including the potential for further amendments to the ACA and legal challenges to or efforts to repeal the ACA.

 

Additionally, there has been heightened governmental scrutiny in the United States of pharmaceutical pricing practices in light of the rising cost of prescription drugs and biologics. Such scrutiny has resulted in several recent congressional inquiries and proposed and enacted federal and state legislation designed to, among other things, bring more transparency to product pricing, review the relationship between pricing and manufacturer patient programs, and reform government program reimbursement methodologies for products. At the federal level, the now-departed Trump administration proposed numerous prescription drug cost control measures. Similarly, the new Biden administration has made lowering prescription drug prices one of its priorities. The Biden administration has not yet proposed any specific plans, but we expect that these will be forthcoming in the near term. At the state level, legislatures are increasingly passing legislation and implementing regulations designed to control pharmaceutical and biological product pricing, including price or patient reimbursement constraints, discounts, restrictions on certain product access and marketing cost disclosure and transparency measures, and, in some cases, designed to encourage importation from other countries and bulk purchasing.

 

 
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Other examples of proposed changes include, but are not limited to, expanding post-approval requirements, changing the Orphan Drug Act, and restricting sales and promotional activities for pharmaceutical products. We cannot be sure whether additional legislative changes will be enacted, or whether government regulations, guidance or interpretations will be changed, or what the impact of such changes would be on the marketing approvals, sales, pricing, or reimbursement of our drug candidates or products, if any, may be. We expect that these and other healthcare reform measures that may be adopted in the future, may result in more rigorous coverage criteria and in additional downward pressure on the price that we receive for any approved drug. Any reduction in reimbursement from Medicare or other government programs may result in a similar reduction in payments from private payors. The implementation of cost containment measures or other healthcare reforms may prevent us from being able to generate revenue, attain profitability, or commercialize our drugs.

 

In addition, FDA regulations and guidance may be revised or reinterpreted by the FDA in ways that may significantly affect our business and our products. Any new regulations or guidance, or revisions or reinterpretations of existing regulations or guidance, may impose additional costs or lengthen FDA review times for DMT310 or any future product candidates. We cannot determine how changes in regulations, statutes, policies, or interpretations when and if issued, enacted or adopted, may affect our business in the future. Such changes could, among other things, require:

 

 

 

additional clinical trials to be conducted prior to obtaining approval;

 

 

 

changes to manufacturing methods;

 

 

 

recalls, replacements, or discontinuance of one or more of our products; and

 

 

 

additional recordkeeping.

 

Such changes would likely require substantial time and impose significant costs, or could reduce the potential commercial value of DMT310 or other product candidates. In addition, delays in receipt of or failure to receive regulatory clearances or approvals for any other products would harm our business, financial condition, and results of operations.

 

We may also be subject to healthcare laws, regulation and enforcement and our failure to comply with those laws could adversely affect our business, operations and financial condition.

 

Certain federal and state healthcare laws and regulations pertaining to fraud and abuse and patients’ rights are and will be applicable to our business. We are subject to regulation by both the federal government and the states in which we or our partners conduct our business. The laws and regulations that may affect our ability to operate include:

 

 

 

the federal Anti-Kickback Statute, which prohibits, among other things, any person or entity from knowingly and willfully offering, soliciting, receiving or providing any remuneration (including any kickback, bribe or rebate), directly or indirectly, overtly or covertly, in cash or in kind, to induce either the referral of an individual or in return for the purchase, lease, or order of any good, facility item or service, for which payment may be made, in whole or in part, under federal healthcare programs such as the Medicare and Medicaid programs;

 

 

 

federal civil and criminal false claims laws and civil monetary penalty laws, including, for example, the federal civil False Claims Act, which impose criminal and civil penalties, including civil whistleblower or qui tam actions, against individuals or entities for, among other things, knowingly presenting, or causing to be presented, to the federal government, including the Medicare and Medicaid programs, claims for payment that are false or fraudulent or making a false statement to avoid, decrease or conceal an obligation to pay money to the federal government;

 

 
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the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, or HIPAA, which created new federal criminal statutes that prohibit knowingly and willfully executing, or attempting to execute, a scheme to defraud any healthcare benefit program or obtain, by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, representations or promises, any of the money or property owned by, or under the custody or control

 

 

of, any healthcare benefit program, regardless of the payor (e.g., public or private), knowingly and willfully embezzling or stealing from a health care benefit program, willfully obstructing a criminal investigation of a health care offense and knowingly and willfully falsifying, concealing or covering up by any trick or device a material fact or making any materially false statements in connection with the delivery of, or payment for, healthcare benefits, items or services relating to healthcare matters;

 

 

 

HIPAA, as amended by the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act, and their implementing regulations, which impose obligations on covered entities, including healthcare providers, health plans, and healthcare clearinghouses, as well as their respective business associates that create, receive, maintain or transmit individually identifiable health information for or on behalf of a covered entity, with respect to safeguarding the privacy, security and transmission of individually identifiable health information;

 

 

 

the federal physician sunshine requirements under the Affordable Care Act, which require manufacturers of drugs, devices, biologics and medical supplies to report annually to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services information related to payments and other transfers of value provided to physicians and teaching hospitals, and ownership and investment interests held by physicians and their immediate family members; and

 

 

 

state law equivalents of each of the above federal laws, such as anti-kickback and false claims laws, which may apply to items or services reimbursed by any third-party payor, including commercial insurers; state laws that require pharmaceutical companies to comply with the pharmaceutical industry’s voluntary compliance guidelines and the applicable compliance guidance promulgated by the federal government, or otherwise restrict payments that may be provided to healthcare providers and other potential referral sources; state laws that require drug manufacturers to report information related to payments and other transfers of value to healthcare providers or marketing expenditures; 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 may not have the same effect, thus complicating compliance efforts.

 

Because of the breadth of these laws and the narrowness of the statutory exceptions and safe harbors available, it is possible that some of our business activities could be subject to challenge under one or more of such laws. In addition, recent health care reform legislation has strengthened these laws. For example, the recently enacted Affordable Care Act, among other things, amended the intent requirement of the federal Anti-Kickback Statute and certain criminal healthcare fraud statutes. A person or entity no longer needs to have actual knowledge of the statute or specific intent to violate it. In addition, the Affordable Care Act provided that the government may assert that a claim including items or services resulting from a violation of the federal Anti-Kickback Statute constitutes a false or fraudulent claim for purposes of the federal civil False Claims Act.

 

Achieving and sustaining compliance with these laws may prove costly. In addition, any action against us for violation of these laws, even if we successfully defend against it, could cause us to incur significant legal expenses and divert our management’s attention from the operation of our business. If our operations are found to be in violation of any of the laws described above or any other governmental laws or regulations that apply to us, we may be subject to penalties, including administrative, civil and criminal penalties, damages, fines, disgorgement, the exclusion from participation in federal and state healthcare programs, individual imprisonment or the curtailment or restructuring of our operations, any of which could adversely affect our ability to operate our business and our financial results.

 

 
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Our business involves the use of hazardous materials and we and our third-party suppliers and manufacturers must comply with environmental laws and regulations, which can be expensive and restrict how we do business.

 

The manufacturing activities of our third-party suppliers and manufacturers involve the controlled storage, use and disposal of hazardous materials owned by us, including the components of our product candidates and other hazardous compounds. We and our manufacturers and suppliers are subject to laws and regulations governing the use, manufacture, storage, handling, and disposal of these hazardous materials. In some cases, these hazardous materials and various wastes resulting from their use are stored at our suppliers’ or manufacturers’ facilities pending use and disposal. We and our suppliers and manufacturers cannot completely eliminate the risk of contamination, which could cause an interruption of our commercialization efforts, research and development efforts and business operations, injury to our service providers and others and environmental damage resulting in costly clean-up and liabilities under applicable laws and regulations governing the use, storage, handling and disposal of these materials and specified waste products. Although we believe that the safety procedures utilized by our third-party suppliers and manufacturers for handling and disposing of these materials generally comply with the standards prescribed by these laws and regulations, we cannot guarantee that this is the case or eliminate the risk of accidental contamination or injury from these materials. In such an event, we may be held liable for any resulting damages and such liability could exceed our resources. We do not currently carry biological or hazardous waste insurance coverage.

 

Our employees, independent contractors, principal investigators, consultants, vendors, CROs and any partners with which we may collaborate may engage in misconduct or other improper activities, including noncompliance with regulatory standards and requirements.

 

We are exposed to the risk that our employees, independent contractors, principal investigators, consultants, vendors, CROs and any partners with which we may collaborate may engage in fraudulent or other illegal activity. Misconduct by these persons could include intentional, reckless or negligent conduct or unauthorized activity that violates: laws or regulations, including those laws requiring the reporting of true, complete and accurate information to the FDA or foreign regulatory authorities; manufacturing standards; federal, state and foreign healthcare fraud and abuse laws and data privacy; or laws that require the true, complete and accurate reporting of financial information or data. In particular, sales, marketing and other business arrangements in the healthcare industry are subject to extensive laws intended to prevent fraud, kickbacks, self-dealing and other abusive practices. These laws may restrict or prohibit a wide range of business activities, including research, manufacturing, distribution, pricing, discounting, marketing and promotion, sales commission, customer incentive programs and other business arrangements. Activities subject to these laws also involve the improper use of information obtained in the course of clinical trials, or illegal misappropriation of drug product, which could result in regulatory sanctions or other actions or lawsuits stemming from a failure to be in compliance with such laws or regulations, and serious harm to our reputation. In addition, federal procurement laws impose substantial penalties for misconduct in connection with government contracts and require certain contractors to maintain a code of business ethics and conduct. 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 civil, criminal and administrative penalties, damages, monetary fines, possible exclusion from participation in Medicare, Medicaid and other federal healthcare programs, contractual damages, reputational harm, diminished profits and future earnings, and curtailment of our operations, any of which could adversely affect our ability to operate our business and our operating results.

 

Our future growth depends, in part, on our ability to penetrate foreign markets, where we would be subject to additional regulatory burdens and other risks and uncertainties.

 

Our future profitability will depend, in part, on our ability to commercialize our product candidates in foreign markets for which we intend to rely on collaborations with third parties. If we commercialize DMT310 or our other product candidates in foreign markets, we would be subject to additional risks and uncertainties, including:

 

 

 

our customers’ ability to obtain market access and appropriate reimbursement for our product candidates in foreign markets;

 

 

 

our inability to directly control commercial activities because we are relying on third parties;

 

 
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the burden of complying with complex and changing foreign regulatory, tax, accounting and legal requirements;

 

 

 

different medical practices and customs in foreign countries affecting acceptance in the marketplace

 

 

 

import or export licensing requirements;

 

 

 

longer accounts receivable collection times;

 

 

 

longer lead times for shipping;

 

 

 

language barriers for technical training;

 

 

 

reduced protection of intellectual property rights in some foreign countries;

 

 

 

foreign currency exchange rate fluctuations; and

 

 

 

the interpretation of contractual provisions governed by foreign laws in the event of a contract dispute.

 

Foreign sales of our product candidates could also be adversely affected by the imposition of governmental controls, political and economic instability, trade restrictions and changes in tariffs, any of which may adversely affect our results of operations.

 

Development of test methodology for DMT310 presents unique challenges due to the complex mixture of constituents in the product. Determination of appropriate assay(s) for release and quality control evaluations could require significant development time and cost to successfully complete and uncertain.

 

DMT310 is comprised of both inorganic and organic constituents, and unlike most pharmaceutical products, there is no single active component to characterize for purposes of assay development. In order to release the drug product and test for stability we plan to develop a cell-based bioassay to assess inhibitory effects of DMT310 on pro-inflammatory cytokines known to play a role in the pathogenesis of various skin diseases. While this approach may show activity, it may not be suitable as a quality control release potency assay for DMT310. Furthermore, this technique may not have sufficient sensitivity to be considered stability-indicating and detect small changes or degradation to the product. If we are not able to develop a suitable potency assay utilizing this approach, we may have to identify and develop an alternative bioassay platform or secondary approaches that may require additional orthogonal methodologies to meet our testing requirements. This could be expensive, time consuming and its success uncertain, leading to delays in filing of the NDA.

 

Risks Related to Our Dependence on Third Parties

 

We are dependent on one supplier for the raw material used to produce DMT310 and DMT410. The termination of this contract would result in a disruption to product development and our business will be harmed.

 

We currently only have one qualified source of supply for the raw material used in DMT310 and DMT410. While we have an exclusive supply agreement with our supplier, our supplier may not comply with the terms of our agreement and may supply to third parties. DMT310 and DMT410 contain a wild growing freshwater sponge that grows in an area of the Volga river delta in Russia that is partially protected by a Russian government entity. The Russian government entity allocates a quantity of freshwater sponge that may be harvested each harvest season and may determine in any year that no sponge or a smaller quantity of sponge than harvested in previous years may be harvested in a particular year, which could impact our ability to obtain raw material to manufacture and supply DMT310 and DMT410. If we have not adequately stockpiled raw materials, or even if we do stockpile raw material, we could not have enough raw material to meet the quantity demands to conduct our non-clinical and clinical studies or to supply product for the market if approved.

 

The freshwater sponge contained in DMT310 and DMT410 can only be harvested once per year based on the presence of certain environmental conditions. If these environmental conditions are not present during the harvest season, then our supplier may not be able to harvest the raw material required, which could impact our ability to manufacture and supply DMT310 and DMT410. The ability of our supplier to harvest the sponge may also be impacted by severe weather and limit the length of time they can harvest, which could limit the amount of raw material that can be harvested, which may impact our ability to manufacture and supply DMT310 and DMT410. The portion of the Volga river delta where the sponge grows could also become contaminated from pollutants, which could contaminate the sponge to be harvested by our supplier, making it unusable in humans, impacting our ability to manufacture and supply DMT310 and DMT410.

 

 
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Even if we are able to obtain supply, we and our supplier are exposed to a number of environmental and geopolitical risks, including:

 

 

 

risk of contamination being introduced in the Volga river, thereby polluting the Spongilla lacustris population through environmental factors that we cannot control, which could result in new impurities or reduced supply of raw materials;

 

 

 

loss of Spongilla lacustris habitat and other similar environmental risks to the sponge population whether due to climate change, over-development, or otherwise;

 

 

 

risk of disease in the Spongilla lacustris geographic area where harvested;

 

 

 

risk of trade issues between the U.S. and Russia;

 

 

 

restrictions on trade of certain items between the U.S. and Russia; and

 

 

 

other unforeseen geopolitical factors that limit our ability access our supply of raw material.

 

Restrictions could be imposed on the harvesting of the raw material. Such events could have a significant impact on our cost and ability to produce DMT310 and DMT410 and anticipated line extensions. The country from which we obtain the raw material could change its laws and regulations regarding the export of the natural products or impose or increase taxes or duties payable by exporters of such products. In addition, any business, global or economic challenges our existing supplier faces, whether in the ordinary course of business or not, could impair its ability to supply our needs for raw materials. Accordingly, there is a risk that supplies of our raw materials may be significantly delayed by or may become unavailable as a result of any issues affecting our supply and production of naturally sourced products. In addition, if we need a new or additional suppliers, we may not be able to negotiate new agreements with an alternate or new supplier on terms that we deem commercially reasonable or at all, and the failure by us to enter into such agreements could harm our financial condition, business, clinical trials and prospects.

 

We have in the past relied and expect to continue to rely on third-party CROs and other third parties to conduct and oversee our clinical trials and other aspects of product development. If these third parties do not meet our requirements or otherwise conduct the trials as required, we may not be able to satisfy our contractual obligations or obtain regulatory approval for, or commercialize, our product candidates when expected or at all.

 

We have in the past relied and expect to continue to rely on third-party CROs to conduct and oversee our clinical trials and other aspects of product development. We also rely upon various medical institutions, clinical investigators and contract laboratories to conduct our trials in accordance with our clinical protocols and all applicable regulatory requirements, including the FDA’s regulations and GCPs, which are an international standard meant to protect the rights and health of patients and to define the roles of clinical trial sponsors, administrators and monitors, and state regulations governing the handling, storage, security and recordkeeping for drug and biologic products. These CROs and other third parties play a significant role in the conduct of these trials and the subsequent collection and analysis of data from the clinical trials. We rely heavily on these parties for the execution of our clinical trials and preclinical studies, and control only certain aspects of their activities. We and our CROs and other third-party contractors are required to comply with GCP, GLP, and GACP requirements, which are regulations and guidelines enforced by the FDA and comparable foreign regulatory authorities for products in clinical development. Regulatory authorities enforce these GCP, GLP and GACP requirements through periodic inspections of trial sponsors, principal investigators and trial sites. If we or any of these third parties fail to comply with applicable GCP, GLP and GACP requirements, the clinical data generated in our clinical trials may be deemed unreliable and the FDA or other regulatory authority may require us to perform additional clinical trials before approving our or our partners’ marketing applications. We cannot assure you that upon inspection by a given regulatory authority, such regulatory authority will determine that any of our clinical or preclinical trials complies with applicable GCP and GLP requirements. In addition, our clinical trials must generally be conducted with product produced under cGMP regulations. Our failure to comply with these regulations and policies may require us to repeat clinical trials, which would delay the regulatory approval process.

 

 
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Our CROs are not our employees, and we do not control whether or not they devote sufficient time and resources to our clinical trials. Our CROs may also have relationships with other commercial entities, including our competitors, for whom they may also be conducting clinical trials, or other drug development activities, which could harm our competitive position. We face the risk of potential unauthorized disclosure or misappropriation of our intellectual property by CROs, which may reduce our trade secret protection and allow our potential competitors to access and exploit our proprietary technology. If our CROs do not successfully carry out their contractual duties or obligations, fail to meet expected deadlines, or if the quality or accuracy of the clinical data they obtain is compromised due to the failure to adhere to our clinical protocols or regulatory requirements or for any other reason, our clinical trials may be extended, delayed or terminated, and we may not be able to obtain regulatory approval for, or successfully commercialize any product candidate that we develop. As a result, our financial results and the commercial prospects for any product candidate that we develop would be harmed, our costs could increase, and our ability to generate revenue could be delayed.

 

If any of our CROs or clinical trial sites terminate their involvement in one of our clinical trials for any reason, we may not be able to enter into arrangements with alternative CROs or clinical trial sites, or do so on commercially reasonable terms. In addition, if our relationship with clinical trial sites is terminated, we may experience the loss of follow-up information on patients enrolled in our ongoing clinical trials unless we are able to transfer the care of those patients to another qualified clinical trial site. In addition, principal investigators for our clinical trials may serve as scientific advisors or consultants to us from time to time and could receive cash or equity compensation in connection with such services. If these relationships and any related compensation result in perceived or actual conflicts of interest, the integrity of the data generated at the applicable clinical trial site may be questioned by the FDA

 

We rely completely on third-party contractors to supply, manufacture and distribute clinical drug supplies for our product candidates, including certain sole-source suppliers and manufacturers, we intend to rely on third parties for commercial supply, manufacturing and distribution if any of our product candidates receive regulatory approval and we expect to rely on third parties for supply, manufacturing and distribution of preclinical, clinical and commercial supplies of any future product candidates.

 

We do not currently have, nor do we plan to acquire, the infrastructure or capability to supply, manufacture or distribute preclinical, clinical or commercial quantities of drug substances or products. Our ability to develop our product candidates depends and our ability to commercially supply our products will depend, in part, on our ability to successfully obtain the raw materials and APIs and other substances and materials used in our product candidates from third parties and to have finished products manufactured by third parties in accordance with regulatory requirements and in sufficient quantities for preclinical and clinical testing and commercialization. If we fail to develop and maintain supply relationships with these third parties, we may be unable to continue to develop or commercialize our product candidates.

 

We rely and will continue to rely on certain third parties as the sole source of the materials they supply or the finished products they manufacture. Any of our existing suppliers or manufacturers may:

 

 

 

fail to supply us with product on a timely basis or in the requested amount due to unexpected damage to or destruction of facilities or equipment or otherwise;

 

 

 

fail to increase manufacturing capacity and produce drug product and components in larger quantities and at higher yields in a timely or cost-effective manner, or at all, to sufficiently meet our commercial needs;

 

 

 

be unable to meet our production demands due to issues related to their reliance on sole-source suppliers and manufacturers;

 

 

 

supply us with product that fails to meet regulatory requirements;

 

 

 

become unavailable through business interruption or financial insolvency;

 

 

 

lose regulatory status as an approved source;

 

 

 

be unable or unwilling to renew current supply agreements when such agreements expire on a timely basis, on acceptable terms or at all; or

 

 

 

discontinue production or manufacturing of necessary drug substances or products.

 

 
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In the event of any of the foregoing, if we do not have an alternative supplier or manufacturer in place, we would be required to expend substantial management time and expense to identify, qualify and transfer processes to alternative suppliers or manufacturers. Transferring technology to other sites may require additional processes, technologies and validation studies, which are costly, may take considerable amounts of time, may not be successful and, in most cases, require review and approval by the FDA. Any need to find and qualify new suppliers or manufacturers could significantly delay production of our product candidates, adversely impact our ability to market our product candidates and adversely affect our business. Replacements may not be available to us on a timely basis, on acceptable terms or at all. Additionally, we and our manufacturers do not currently maintain significant inventory of drug substances and other materials. Any interruption in the supply of a drug substance or other material or in the manufacture of our product candidates could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, operating results and prospects.

 

We do not have direct control over the ability of our contract suppliers and manufacturers to maintain adequate capacity and capabilities to serve our needs, including quality control, quality assurance and qualified personnel. Although we are ultimately responsible for ensuring compliance with regulatory requirements such as cGMPs and GACP, we are dependent on our contract suppliers and manufacturers for day-to-day compliance with cGMPs or GACP for production of raw materials, APIs, and finished products. Facilities used by our contract suppliers and manufacturers to produce the APIs and other substances and materials or finished products for commercial sale must pass inspection and be approved by the FDA and other relevant regulatory authorities. Our contract suppliers and manufacturers must comply with cGMP and GACP requirements enforced by the FDA through its facilities inspection program and review of submitted technical information. If the safety of any product or product candidate or component is compromised due to a failure to adhere to applicable laws or for other reasons, we may not be able to successfully commercialize or obtain regulatory approval for the affected product or product candidate, and we may be held liable for injuries sustained as a result. Any of these factors could cause a delay or termination of preclinical studies, clinical trials or regulatory submissions or approvals of our product candidates, and could entail higher costs or result in our being unable to effectively commercialize our approved products on a timely basis, or at all.

 

In addition, these contract manufacturers are engaged with other companies to supply and manufacture materials or products for such companies, which also exposes our suppliers and manufacturers to regulatory risks for the production of such materials and products. As a result, failure to meet the regulatory requirements for the production of those materials and products may also affect the regulatory clearance of a contract supplier’s or manufacturer’s facility. If the FDA or a comparable foreign regulatory agency does not approve these facilities for the supply or manufacture of our product candidates, or if it withdraws its approval in the future, we may need to find alternative supply or manufacturing facilities, which would negatively impact our ability to develop, obtain regulatory approval of or market our product candidates, if approved.

 

Our reliance on contract manufacturers and suppliers further exposes us to the possibility that they, or third parties with access to their facilities, will have access to and may misappropriate our trade secrets or other proprietary information.

 

In addition, the manufacturing facilities of certain of our suppliers, including our supplier of Spongilla lacustris, are located outside of the United States. This may give rise to difficulties in importing our products or product candidates or their components into the United States or other countries as a result of, among other things, regulatory agency approval requirements or import inspections, incomplete or inaccurate import documentation or defective packaging.

 

 
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If we are not able to establish and maintain collaborations, we may have to alter our development and commercialization plans.

 

The development and potential commercialization of our product candidates will require substantial additional cash to fund expenses. In order to fund further development of our product candidates, we may collaborate with pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies for the development and potential commercialization of those product candidates. We face significant competition in seeking appropriate partners. Whether we reach a definitive agreement for a collaboration will depend, among other things, upon our assessment of the partner’s resources and experience, the terms and conditions of the proposed collaboration and the proposed partner’s evaluation of a number of factors. Those factors may include the design or results of clinical trials; the likelihood of approval by the FDA or other regulatory authorities; the potential market for the subject product candidate; the costs and complexities of manufacturing and delivering such product candidate to patients; the potential of competing products; any uncertainty with respect to our ownership of our intellectual property; and industry and market conditions generally. The partner may also consider alternative product candidates or technologies for similar indications that may be available for collaboration and whether such a collaboration could be more attractive than the one with us for our product candidate. We may also be restricted under future license agreements from entering into agreements on certain terms with potential partners. Collaborations are complex and time-consuming to negotiate and document. In addition, there have been a significant number of recent business combinations among large pharmaceutical companies that have resulted in a reduced number of potential future partners.

 

Future collaborations we may enter into may involve the following risks:

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

collaborators may not perform their obligations as expected;

 

 

 

changes in the collaborators’ strategic focus or available funding, or external factors, such as an acquisition, may divert resources or create competing priorities;

 

 

 

collaborators may delay discovery and preclinical development, provide insufficient funding for product development of targets selected by us, stop or abandon discovery and preclinical development for a product candidate, repeat or conduct new discovery and preclinical development for a product candidate;

 

 

 

collaborators could independently develop, or develop with third parties, products that compete directly or indirectly with our products or product candidates if the collaborators believe that competitive products are more likely to be successfully developed than ours;

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

collaborations may be terminated for the convenience of the collaborator and, if terminated, we could be required to raise additional capital to pursue further development or commercialization of the applicable product candidates.

 

 
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Collaborations typically impose detailed obligations on each party. If we were to breach our obligations, we may face substantial consequences, including potential termination of the collaboration, and our rights to our partners’ product candidates, in which we have invested substantial time and money, would be lost.

 

We may not be able to negotiate collaborations on a timely basis, on acceptable terms or at all. If we are unable to do so, we may have to curtail the development of a product candidate, reduce or delay its development program or one or more of our other development programs, delay its potential commercialization or increase our expenditures and undertake development or commercialization activities at our own expense. If we elect to increase our expenditures to fund development or commercialization activities on our own, we may need to obtain additional capital, which may not be available to us on acceptable terms or at all. If we do not have sufficient funds, we may not be able to further develop our product candidates or bring them to market and generate product revenue.

 

Risks Related to Managing Our Growth, Our Employees and Our Operations

 

We will need to further increase the size and complexity of our organization in the future, and we may experience difficulties in executing our growth strategy and managing any growth.

 

Our management, personnel, systems and facilities currently in place are not adequate to support our business plan and near-term future growth. We will need to further expand our chemistry and manufacturing team, clinical team, managerial, operational, financial, and other resources to support our planned research, development and commercialization activities.

 

To manage our operations, growth and various projects effectively requires that we:

 

 

 

continue to improve our operational, financial, management and regulatory compliance controls and reporting systems and procedures;

 

 

 

attract and retain sufficient numbers of talented employees;

 

 

 

develop a marketing, sales and distribution capability;

 

 

 

manage our commercialization activities for our product candidates effectively and in a cost-effective manner;

 

 

 

establish and maintain relationships with development and commercialization partners;

 

 

 

manage our preclinical and clinical trials effectively;

 

 

 

manage our third-party supply and manufacturing operations effectively and in a cost-effective manner, while increasing production capabilities for our current product candidates to commercial levels; and

 

 

 

manage our development efforts effectively while carrying out our contractual obligations to partners and other third parties.

 

In addition, historically, we have utilized and continue to utilize the services of part-time outside consultants to perform a number of tasks for us, including tasks related to preclinical and clinical testing. Our growth strategy may also entail expanding our use of consultants to implement these and other tasks going forward. We rely on consultants for certain functions of our business and will need to effectively manage these consultants to ensure that they successfully carry out their contractual obligations and meet expected deadlines. There can be no assurance that we will be able to manage our existing consultants or find other competent outside consultants, as needed, on economically reasonable terms, or at all. If we are not able to effectively manage our growth and expand our organization by hiring new employees and expanding our use of consultants, we might be unable to implement successfully the tasks necessary to execute effectively on our planned research, development and commercialization activities and, accordingly, might not achieve our research, development and commercialization goals.

 

 
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If we fail to attract and retain management and other key personnel, we may be unable to continue to successfully develop or commercialize our product candidates or otherwise implement our business plan.

 

Our ability to compete in the highly competitive pharmaceuticals industry depends upon our ability to attract and retain highly qualified managerial, scientific, medical, sales and marketing and other personnel. We are highly dependent on our management and scientific personnel, including: our Chief Executive Officer, President and director, Gerald T. Proehl; our Senior Vice President, Regulatory Affairs and Quality Assurance, Maria Bedoya Toro Munera, Ph.D., M.B.A.; and our Senior Vice President, Development, Christopher J. Nardo, M.P.H., Ph.D. The loss of the services of any of these individuals could impede, delay or prevent the successful development of our product pipeline, completion of our planned clinical trials, commercialization of our product candidates or in-licensing or acquisition of new assets and could negatively impact our ability to successfully implement our business plan. If we lose the services of any of these individuals, we might not be able to find suitable replacements on a timely basis or at all, and our business could be harmed as a result. We do not maintain “key man” insurance policies on the lives of these individuals or the lives of any of our other employees. In order to retain valuable employees at our company, in addition to salary and cash incentives, we provide stock options that vest over time. The value to employees of stock options that vest over time will be significantly affected by movements in our stock price that are beyond our control, and may at any time be insufficient to counteract offers from other companies.

 

We might not be able to attract or retain qualified management and other key personnel in the future due to the intense competition for qualified personnel among biotechnology, pharmaceutical and other businesses, particularly in the San Diego area where we are headquartered. We could have difficulty attracting experienced personnel to our company and may be required to expend significant financial resources in our employee recruitment and retention efforts. Many of the other pharmaceutical companies with whom we compete for qualified personnel have greater financial and other resources, different risk profiles and longer histories in the industry than we do. They also may provide more diverse opportunities and better chances for career advancement. If we are not able to attract and retain the necessary personnel to accomplish our business objectives, we may experience constraints that will harm our ability to implement our business strategy and achieve our business objectives.

In addition, we have scientific and clinical advisors who assist us in formulating our development and clinical strategies. These advisors are not our employees and may have commitments to, or consulting or advisory contracts with, other entities that may limit their availability to us. In addition, our advisors may have arrangements with other companies to assist those companies in developing products or technologies that may compete with ours.

 

Our ability to attract and retain qualified members of our board of directors may be impacted due to new state laws, including recently enacted gender and diversity quotas.

 

In September 2018, the state of California enacted SB 826 requiring public companies headquartered in California to maintain minimum female representation on their boards of directors as follows: by the end of 2019, at least one woman on its board, by the end of 2020, public company boards with five members will be required to have at least two female directors, and public company boards with six or more members will be required to have at least three female directors. In September 2020, the state of California enacted AB 979 requiring public companies headquartered in California to maintain minimum representation on their boards of directors from members of underrepresented communities as follow: by the end of 2021, at least one director from an underrepresented community, by end of 2022, public company boards with more than four but fewer than nine members will be required to have at least two directors from underrepresented communities, and public company board with nine or more members will be required to have at least three directors from underrepresented communities. Failure to achieve designated minimum levels in a timely manner exposes such companies to financial penalties and reputational harm. We cannot assure that we can recruit, attract and/or retain qualified members of the board and meet the above quotas as a result of the California laws, which may expose us to penalties and/or reputational harm.

 

 
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We currently have limited marketing capabilities and no sales organization. If we are unable to establish sales and marketing capabilities on our own or through third parties, we will be unable to successfully commercialize our product candidates, if approved, or generate product revenue.

 

We currently have limited marketing capabilities and no sales organization. To commercialize our product candidates, if approved, in the United States, Canada, the European Union and other jurisdictions we seek to enter, we must build our marketing, sales, distribution, managerial and other non-technical capabilities or make arrangements with third parties to perform these services, and we may not be successful in doing so. Although our management team has experience in the marketing, sale and distribution of pharmaceutical products from prior employment at other companies, we as a company have no prior experience in the marketing, sale and distribution of pharmaceutical products and there are significant risks involved in building and managing a sales organization, including our ability to hire, retain and incentivize qualified individuals, generate sufficient sales leads, provide adequate training to sales and marketing personnel and effectively manage a geographically dispersed sales and marketing team. Any failure or delay in the development of our internal sales, marketing and distribution capabilities would adversely impact the commercialization of these products. We may choose to collaborate with additional third parties that have direct sales forces and established distribution systems, either to augment our own sales force and distribution systems or in lieu of our own sales force and distribution systems. If we are unable to enter into such arrangements on acceptable terms or at all, we may not be able to successfully commercialize our product candidates. If we are unable to successfully commercialize our product candidates, either on our own or through collaborations with one or more third parties, our business, financial condition, operating results and prospects would suffer.

 

Our failure to successfully in-license, acquire, develop and market additional product candidates or approved products would impair our ability to grow our business.

 

We intend to in-license, acquire, develop and market additional products and product candidates and we may in-license or acquire commercial-stage products or engage in other strategic transactions. Because our internal research and development capabilities are limited, we may be dependent upon pharmaceutical companies, academic scientists and other researchers to sell or license products or technology to us. The success of this strategy depends partly upon our ability to identify and select promising pharmaceutical product candidates and products, negotiate licensing or acquisition agreements with their current owners and finance these arrangements.

 

The process of proposing, negotiating and implementing a license or acquisition of a product candidate or approved product is lengthy and complex. Other companies, including some with substantially greater financial, marketing, sales and other resources, may compete with us for the license or acquisition of product candidates and approved products. We have limited resources to identify and execute the acquisition or in-licensing of third-party products, businesses and technologies and integrate them into our current infrastructure. Moreover, we may devote resources to potential acquisitions or licensing opportunities that are never completed, or we may fail to realize the anticipated benefits of such efforts. We may not be able to acquire the rights to additional product candidates on terms that we find acceptable, or at all.

 

Further, any product candidate that we acquire may require additional development efforts prior to commercial sale, including preclinical or clinical testing and approval by the FDA and applicable foreign regulatory authorities. All product candidates are prone to risks of failure typical of pharmaceutical product development, including the possibility that a product candidate will not be shown to be sufficiently safe and effective for approval by regulatory authorities. In addition, we cannot provide assurance that any approved products that we acquire will be manufactured or sold profitably or achieve market acceptance.

 

Additional potential transactions that we may consider include a variety of different business arrangements, including spin-offs, strategic partnerships, joint ventures, restructurings, divestitures, business combinations and investments. Any such transaction may require us to incur non-recurring or other charges, may increase our near- and long-term expenditures and may pose significant integration challenges or disrupt our management or business, which could adversely affect our operations and financial results. For example, these transactions entail numerous potential operational and financial risks, including:

 

 

 

exposure to unknown liabilities;

 

 

 

disruption of our business and diversion of our management’s time and attention in order to develop acquired products, product candidates or technologies;

 

 

 

incurrence of substantial debt or dilutive issuances of equity securities to pay for acquisitions;

 

 

 

substantial acquisition and integration costs;

 

 

 

write-downs of assets or impairment charges;

 

 

 

increased amortization expenses;

 

 

 

difficulty and cost in combining the operations and personnel of any acquired businesses with our operations and personnel;

 

 

 

impairment of relationships with key suppliers, partners or customers of any acquired businesses due to changes in management and ownership; and

 

 

 

inability to retain our key employees or those of any acquired businesses.

 

 
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Accordingly, there can be no assurance that we will undertake or successfully complete any transactions of the nature described above, and any transaction that we do complete could harm our business, financial condition, operating results and prospects.

 

Manufacturing and supply of the APIs and other substances and materials used in our product candidates is a complex and technically challenging undertaking, and there is potential for failure at many points in the manufacturing, testing, quality assurance and distribution supply chain, as well as the potential for latent defects after products have been manufactured and distributed.

 

Manufacturing and supply of APIs, other substances and materials and finished drug products is technically challenging. Changes beyond our direct control can impact the quality, volume, price and successful delivery of our product candidates and can impede, delay, limit or prevent the successful development and commercialization of our product candidates. Mistakes and mishandling are not uncommon and can affect successful production and supply. Some of these risks include:

 

 

 

failure of our manufacturers to follow cGMP or GACP requirements or mishandling of product while in production or in preparation for transit;

 

 

 

inability of our contract suppliers and manufacturers to efficiently and cost-effectively increase and maintain high yields and batch quality, consistency and stability;

 

 

 

our inability to develop an FDA approved bioassay for release of any future product;

 

 

 

difficulty in establishing optimal drug delivery substances and techniques, production and storage methods and packaging and shipment processes;

 

 

 

transportation and import/export risk, particularly given the global nature of our supply chain;

 

 

 

delays in analytical results or failure of analytical techniques that we depend on for quality control and release of any future product;

 

 

 

natural disasters, pandemics, labor disputes, financial distress, lack of raw material supply, issues with facilities and equipment or other forms of disruption to business operations of our contract manufacturers and suppliers; and

 

 

 

latent defects that may become apparent after the product has been released and which may result in recall and destruction of product.

 

Any of these factors could result in delays or higher costs in connection with our clinical trials, regulatory submissions, required approvals or commercialization of our product candidates, which could harm our business, financial condition, operating results and prospects.

 

 
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Our operating results may fluctuate significantly, which makes our future operating results difficult to predict and could cause our operating results to fall below expectations.

 

Our operations to date have been primarily limited to researching and developing our product candidates and undertaking preclinical studies and clinical trials of our product candidates. We have not yet obtained regulatory approvals for any of our product candidates. Consequently, any predictions you make about our future success or viability may not be as accurate as they could be if we had a longer operating history or approved products on the market. Furthermore, our operating results may fluctuate due to a variety of other factors, many of which are outside of our control and may be difficult to predict, including the following:

 

 

 

delays in the commencement, enrollment and the timing of clinical testing for our product candidates;

 

 

 

the timing and success or failure of clinical trials for our product candidates or competing product candidates, or any other change in the competitive landscape of our industry, including consolidation among our competitors or partners;

 

 

 

any delays in regulatory review and approval of product candidates in clinical development;

 

 

 

the timing and cost of, and level of investment in, research and development activities relating to our product candidates, which may change from time to time;

 

 

 

the cost of manufacturing our product candidates, which may vary depending on FDA guidelines and requirements, and the quantity of production;

 

 

 

our ability to obtain additional funding to develop our product candidates;

 

 

 

expenditures that we will or may incur to acquire or develop additional product candidates and technologies;

 

 

 

the level of demand for our product candidates, should they receive approval, which may vary significantly;

 

 

 

potential side effects of our product candidates that could delay or prevent commercialization or cause an approved drug to be taken off the market;

 

 

 

the ability of patients or healthcare providers to obtain coverage of or sufficient reimbursement for our product candidates, if approved;

 

 

 

our dependency on third-party manufacturers to supply or manufacture our product candidates;

 

 

 

our ability to establish an effective sales, marketing and distribution infrastructure in a timely manner;

 

 

 

market acceptance of our product candidates, if approved, and our ability to forecast demand for those product candidates;

 

 

 

our ability to receive approval and commercialize our product candidates outside of the United States;

 

 

 

our ability to establish and maintain collaborations, licensing or other arrangements;

 

 

 

our ability and third parties’ abilities to protect intellectual property rights;

 

 

 

costs related to and outcomes of potential litigation or other disputes;

 

 

 

our ability to adequately support future growth;

 

 

 

our ability to attract and retain key personnel to manage our business effectively;

 

 

 

potential liabilities associated with hazardous materials;

 

 

 

our ability to maintain adequate insurance policies; and

 

 

 

future accounting pronouncements or changes in our accounting policies.

 

 
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Our operating results and liquidity needs could be negatively affected by market fluctuations and economic downturn.

 

Our operating results and liquidity could be negatively affected by economic conditions generally, both in the United States and elsewhere around the world. The market for discretionary medical products and procedures may be particularly vulnerable to unfavorable economic conditions. Some patients may consider certain of our product candidates to be discretionary, and if full reimbursement for such products is not available, demand for these products may be tied to the discretionary spending levels of our targeted patient populations. Domestic and international equity and debt markets have experienced and may continue to experience heightened volatility and turmoil based on domestic and international economic conditions and concerns. In the event these economic conditions and concerns continue or worsen and the markets continue to remain volatile, our operating results and liquidity could be adversely affected by those factors in many ways, including weakening demand for certain of our products and making it more difficult for us to raise funds if necessary, and our stock price may decline. Additionally, although we plan to market our products primarily in the United States, our partners have extensive global operations, indirectly exposing us to risk.

 

Our business and operations would suffer in the event of failures in our internal computer systems.

 

Despite the implementation of security measures, our internal computer systems and those of our current and any future partners, contractors and consultants are vulnerable to damage from computer viruses, unauthorized access, natural disasters, terrorism, war and telecommunication and electrical failures. While we have not experienced any such material system failure, accident or security breach to date, if such an event were to occur and cause interruptions in our operations, it could result in a material disruption of our manufacturing activities, development programs and our business operations. For example, the loss of manufacturing records or clinical trial data from completed or future clinical trials could result in delays in our regulatory approval efforts and significantly increase our costs to recover or reproduce the data. To the extent that any disruption or security breach were to result in a loss of, or damage to, our data or applications, or inappropriate disclosure of confidential or proprietary information, we could incur liability and the further commercialization and development of our products and product candidates could be delayed.

 

We are increasingly dependent on information technology, and our systems and infrastructure face certain risks, including cybersecurity and data leakage risks.

 

Significant disruptions to our information technology systems or breaches of information security could adversely affect our business. In the ordinary course of business, we collect, store and transmit large amounts of confidential information, and it is critical that we do so in a secure manner to maintain the confidentiality and integrity of such confidential information. The size and complexity of our information technology systems, and those of our third-party vendors with whom we contract, make such systems potentially vulnerable to service interruptions and security breaches from inadvertent or intentional actions by our employees, partners or vendors, from attacks by malicious third parties, or from intentional or accidental physical damage to our systems infrastructure maintained by us or by third parties. Maintaining the secrecy of this confidential, proprietary, or trade secret information is important to our competitive business position. While we have taken steps to protect such information and invested in information technology, there can be no assurance that our efforts will prevent service interruptions or security breaches in our systems or the unauthorized or inadvertent wrongful use or disclosure of confidential information that could adversely affect our business operations or result in the loss, dissemination, or misuse of critical or sensitive information. A breach of our security measures or the accidental loss, inadvertent disclosure, unapproved dissemination, misappropriation or misuse of trade secrets, proprietary information, or other confidential information, whether as a result of theft, hacking, fraud, trickery or other forms of deception, or for any other reason, could enable others to produce competing products, use our proprietary technology or information, or adversely affect our business or financial condition. Further, any such interruption, security breach, loss or disclosure of confidential information, could result in financial, legal, business, and reputational harm to us and could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial position, results of operations or cash flow.

 

Risks Related to Our Intellectual Property

 

We may not be able to obtain or enforce patent rights or other intellectual property rights that cover our product candidates and technologies that are of sufficient breadth to prevent third parties from competing against us.

 

Our success with respect to our product candidates and technologies will depend in part on our ability to obtain and maintain patent protection in both the United States and other countries, to preserve our trade secrets and to prevent third parties from infringing upon our proprietary rights. Our ability to protect any of our product candidates from unauthorized or infringing use by third parties depends in substantial part on our ability to obtain and maintain valid and enforceable patents or enforce confidentiality contracts.

 

 
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Our patents include licensed patents and patent applications in the United States and foreign jurisdictions where we believe there is a market opportunity for our products. The covered technology and the scope of coverage vary from country to country. For those countries where we do not have granted patents, we may not have any ability to prevent the unauthorized use of our technologies. Any patents that we may obtain may be narrow in scope and thus easily circumvented by competitors. Further, in countries where we do not have granted patents, third parties may be able to make, use or sell products identical to or substantially similar to, our product candidates.

 

The patent application process, also known as patent prosecution, is expensive and time-consuming, and we and our current or future licensors and licensees may not be able to prepare, file and prosecute all necessary or desirable patent applications at a reasonable cost or in a timely manner. It is also possible that we or our current licensors, or any future licensors or licensees, will fail to identify patentable aspects of inventions made in the course of development and commercialization activities before it is too late to obtain patent protection on them. Therefore, these and any of our patents and applications may not be prosecuted and enforced in a manner consistent with the best interests of our business. It is possible that defects of form in the preparation or filing of our patents or patent applications may exist, or may arise in the future, such as with respect to proper priority claims, inventorship, claim scope or patent term adjustments. If our current licensors, or any future licensors or licensees, are not fully cooperative or disagree with us as to the prosecution, maintenance or enforcement of any patent rights, such patent rights could be compromised and we might not be able to prevent third parties from making, using and selling competing products. If there are material defects in the form or preparation of our patents or patent applications, such patents or applications may be invalid and unenforceable. Moreover, our competitors may independently develop equivalent knowledge, methods and know-how. Any of these outcomes could impair our ability to prevent competition from third parties, which may have an adverse impact on our business, financial condition and operating results.

 

Due to legal standards relating to patentability, validity, enforceability and claim scope of patents covering pharmaceutical inventions, our ability to obtain, maintain and enforce patents is uncertain and involves complex legal and factual questions. Accordingly, rights under any existing patents or any patents we might obtain or license may not cover our product candidates, or may not provide us with sufficient protection for our product candidates to afford a commercial advantage against competitive products or processes, including those from branded and generic pharmaceutical companies. In addition, we cannot guarantee that any patents will issue from any pending or future patent applications owned by or licensed to us. Even if patents have issued or will issue, we cannot guarantee that the claims of these patents are or will be held valid or enforceable by the courts or will provide us with any significant protection against competitive products or otherwise be commercially valuable to us.

 

Competitors in the field of dermatologic therapeutics have created a substantial amount of prior art, including scientific publications, patents and patent applications. Our ability to obtain and maintain valid and enforceable patents depends on whether the differences between our technology and the prior art allow our technology to be patentable over the prior art. Although we believe that our technology includes certain inventions that are unique and not duplicative of any prior art, we do not have outstanding issued patents covering all of the recent developments in our technology and we are unsure of the patent protection that we will be successful in obtaining, if any. Even if the patents do successfully issue, third parties may design around or challenge the validity, enforceability or scope of such issued patents or any other issued patents we own or license, which may result in such patents being narrowed, invalidated or held unenforceable. If the breadth or strength of protection provided by the patents we hold or pursue with respect to our product candidates is challenged, it could dissuade companies from collaborating with us to develop, or threaten our ability to commercialize, our product candidates.

 

The laws of some foreign jurisdictions do not provide intellectual property rights to the same extent as in the United States and many companies have encountered significant difficulties in protecting and defending such rights in foreign jurisdictions. If we encounter such difficulties in protecting or are otherwise precluded from effectively protecting our intellectual property in foreign jurisdictions, our business prospects could be substantially harmed. The patent positions of pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies can be highly uncertain and involve complex legal and factual questions for which important legal principles remain unresolved. Changes in either the patent laws or in the interpretations of patent laws in the United States and other countries may diminish the value of our intellectual property. Accordingly, we cannot predict the breadth of claims that may be allowed or enforced in our patents or in third-party patents.

 

 
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The degree of future protection of our proprietary rights is uncertain. Patent protection may be unavailable or severely limited in some cases and may not adequately protect our rights or permit us to gain or keep our competitive advantage. For example:

 

 

 

we might not have been the first to invent or the first to file the inventions covered by each of our pending patent applications and issued patents;

 

 

 

others may independently develop similar or alternative technologies or duplicate any of our technologies;

 

 

 

the patents of others may have an adverse effect on our business;

 

 

 

any patents we obtain or our licensors’ issued patents may not encompass commercially viable products, may not provide us with any competitive advantages or may be challenged by third parties;

 

 

 

any patents we obtain on our in-licensed issued patents may not be valid or enforceable; and

 

 

 

we may not develop additional proprietary technologies that are patentable.

 

Patents have a limited lifespan. In the United States, the natural expiration of a patent is generally 20 years from its earliest non-provisional priority application filing date. Various extensions may be available; however the life of a patent, and the protection it affords, is limited. Without patent protection for our product candidates, we may be open to competition from generic versions of our product candidates. Further, the extensive period of time between patent filing and regulatory approval for a product candidate limits the time during which we can market a product candidate under patent protection, which may particularly affect the profitability of our early-stage product candidates. The issued U.S. patents relating to DMT310 will expire between 2022 and 2023.

 

Proprietary trade secrets and unpatented know-how are also very important to our business. Although we have taken steps to protect our trade secrets and unpatented know-how by entering into confidentiality agreements with third parties, and intellectual property protection agreements with certain employees, consultants and advisors, third parties may still obtain this information or we may be unable to protect our rights. We also have limited control over the protection of trade secrets used by our suppliers, manufacturers and other third parties. There can be no assurance that binding agreements will not be breached, that we would have adequate remedies for any breach or that our trade secrets and unpatented know-how will not otherwise become known or be independently discovered by our competitors. If trade secrets are independently discovered, we would not be able to prevent their use. Enforcing a claim that a third party illegally obtained and is using our trade secrets or unpatented know-how is expensive and time-consuming, and the outcome is unpredictable. In addition, courts outside the United States may be less willing to protect trade secret information.

 

Recent patent reform legislation could increase the uncertainties and costs surrounding the prosecution of our patent applications and the enforcement or defense of our future patents.

 

Our ability to obtain patents is highly uncertain because, to date, some legal principles remain unresolved, there has not been a consistent policy regarding the breadth or interpretation of claims allowed in patents in the United States and the specific content of patents and patent applications that are necessary to support and interpret patent claims is highly uncertain due to the complex nature of the relevant legal, scientific, and factual issues. Changes in either patent laws or interpretations of patent laws in the United States and other countries may diminish the value of our intellectual property or narrow the scope of our patent protection.

 

For example, on September 16, 2011, the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act, or the Leahy-Smith Act, was signed into law. The Leahy-Smith Act includes a number of significant changes to United States patent law. These include provisions that affect the way patent applications will be prosecuted and may also affect patent litigation. The United States Patent and Trademark Office, or USPTO, has developed new and untested regulations and procedures to govern the full implementation of the Leahy-Smith Act, and many of the substantive changes to patent law associated with the Leahy-Smith Act, and in particular, the first to file provisions, only became effective in March 2013. The Leahy-Smith Act has also introduced procedures making it easier for third parties to challenge issued patents, as well as to intervene in the prosecution of patent applications. Finally, the Leahy-Smith Act contains new statutory provisions that require the USPTO to issue new regulations for their implementation, and it may take the courts years to interpret the provisions of the new statute. It is too early to tell what, if any, impact the Leahy-Smith Act will have on the operation of our business and the protection and enforcement of our intellectual property. 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 future patents. Further, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled on several patent cases in recent years, either narrowing the scope of patent protection available in certain circumstances or weakening the rights of patent owners in certain situations. In addition to increasing uncertainty with regard to our ability to obtain patents in the future, this combination of events has created uncertainty with respect to the value of patents, once obtained. Depending on actions by the U.S. Congress, the federal courts, and the USPTO, the laws and regulations governing patents could change in unpredictable ways that would weaken our ability to obtain new patents or to enforce patents that we have owned or licensed or that we might obtain in the future. An inability to obtain, enforce, and defend patents covering our proprietary technologies would materially and adversely affect our business prospects and financial condition.

 

 
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Similarly, changes in patent laws and regulations in other countries or jurisdictions or changes in the governmental bodies that enforce them or changes in how the relevant governmental authority enforces patent laws or regulations may weaken our ability to obtain new patents or to enforce patents that we may obtain in the future. Further, the laws of some foreign countries do not protect proprietary rights to the same extent or in the same manner as the laws of the United States. As a result, we may encounter significant problems in protecting and defending our intellectual property both in the United States and abroad. For example, if the issuance to us, in a given country, of a patent covering an invention is not followed by the issuance, in other countries, of patents covering the same invention, or if any judicial interpretation of the validity, enforceability, or scope of the claims, or the written description or enablement, in a patent issued in one country is not similar to the interpretation given to the corresponding patent issued in another country, our ability to protect our intellectual property in those countries may be limited. Changes in either patent laws or in interpretations of patent laws in the United States and other countries may materially diminish the value of our intellectual property or narrow the scope of our patent protection.

 

We may not be able to protect our intellectual property rights throughout the world.

 

Filing, prosecuting and defending patents on our product candidates in all countries throughout the world would be prohibitively expensive. The requirements for patentability may differ in certain countries, particularly developing countries. In addition, the laws of some foreign countries do not protect intellectual property rights to the same extent as laws in the United States. Consequently, we may not be able to prevent third parties from practicing our inventions in all countries outside the United States. Competitors may use our technologies in jurisdictions where we have not obtained patent protection to develop their own products and, further, may export otherwise infringing products to territories where we have patent protection, but enforcement on infringing activities is inadequate. These products may compete with our products, and our patents or other intellectual property rights may not be effective or sufficient to prevent them from competing.

 

Many companies have encountered significant problems in protecting and defending intellectual property rights in foreign jurisdictions. The legal systems of certain countries, particularly certain developing countries, do not favor the enforcement of patents and other intellectual property protection, particularly those relating to pharmaceuticals, which could make it difficult for us to stop the infringement of our patents or marketing of competing products in violation of our proprietary rights generally. Proceedings to enforce our patent rights in foreign jurisdictions could result in substantial costs and divert our efforts and attention from other aspects of our business, could put our patents at risk of being invalidated or interpreted narrowly and our patent applications at risk of not issuing, and could provoke third parties to assert claims against us. We may not prevail in any lawsuits that we initiate and the damages or other remedies awarded, if any, may not be commercially meaningful. In addition, certain countries in Europe and certain developing countries have compulsory licensing laws under which a patent owner may be compelled to grant licenses to third parties. In those countries, we may have limited remedies if our patents are infringed or if we are compelled to grant a license to our patents to a third party, which could materially diminish the value of those patents. This could limit our potential revenue opportunities. Accordingly, our efforts to enforce our intellectual property rights around the world may be inadequate to obtain a significant commercial advantage from the intellectual property that we own or license. Finally, our ability to protect and enforce our intellectual property rights may be adversely affected by unforeseen changes in foreign intellectual property laws.

 

 
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Obtaining and maintaining our patent protection depends on compliance with various procedural, document submission, fee payment and other requirements imposed by governmental patent agencies, and our patent protection could be reduced or eliminated for non-compliance with these requirements.

 

Periodic maintenance and annuity fees on any issued patent are due to be paid to the USPTO and foreign patent agencies in several stages over the lifetime of the patent. The USPTO and various foreign governmental patent agencies require compliance with a number of procedural, documentary, fee payment and other similar provisions during the patent application process. While an inadvertent lapse can in many cases be cured by payment of a late fee or by other means in accordance with the applicable rules, there are situations in which noncompliance can result in abandonment or lapse of the patent or patent application, resulting in partial or complete loss of patent rights in the relevant jurisdiction. Non-compliance events that could result in abandonment or lapse of a patent or patent application include failure to respond to official actions within prescribed time limits, non-payment of fees and failure to properly legalize and submit formal documents. If we or our licensors fail to maintain the patents and patent applications covering our product candidates, our competitors might be able to enter the market, which would have an adverse effect on our business.

 

If we fail to comply with our obligations under our intellectual property license agreements, we could lose license rights that are important to our business.

 

We are a party to certain license agreements that impose various diligence, milestone, royalty, insurance and other obligations on us. If we fail to comply with these obligations, the respective licensors may have the right to terminate the license, in which event we may not be able to develop or market the affected product candidate. The loss of such rights could materially adversely affect our business, financial condition, operating results and prospects. For more information about these license arrangements, see “Business-Collaborations and License Agreements.”

 

If we are sued for infringing intellectual property rights of third parties, it will be costly and time-consuming, and an unfavorable outcome in that litigation could have a material adverse effect on our business.

 

Our commercial success depends upon our ability to develop, manufacture, market and sell our product candidates and use our proprietary technologies without infringing the proprietary rights of third parties. We cannot guarantee that marketing and selling such candidates and using such technologies will not infringe existing or future patents. Numerous U.S. and foreign issued patents and pending patent applications owned by third parties exist in the fields relating to our product candidates. As the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries expand and more patents are issued, the risk increases that others may assert that our product candidates, technologies or methods of delivery or use infringe their patent rights. Moreover, it is not always clear to industry participants, including us, which patents cover various drugs, biologics, drug delivery systems or their methods of use, and which of these patents may be valid and enforceable. Thus, because of the large number of patents issued and patent applications filed in our fields, there may be a risk that third parties may allege they have patent rights encompassing our product candidates, technologies or methods.

 

In addition, there may be issued patents of third parties that are infringed or are alleged to be infringed by our product candidates or proprietary technologies. Because some patent applications in the United States may be maintained in secrecy until the patents are issued, because patent applications in the United States and many foreign jurisdictions are typically not published until eighteen months after filing and because publications in the scientific literature often lag behind actual discoveries, we cannot be certain that others have not filed patent applications for technology covered by our own and in-licensed issued patents or our pending applications. Our competitors may have filed, and may in the future file, patent applications covering our product candidates or technology similar to ours. Any such patent application may have priority over our own and in-licensed patent applications or patents, which could further require us to obtain rights to issued patents covering such technologies. If another party has filed a U.S. patent application on inventions similar to those owned or in-licensed to us, we or, in the case of in-licensed technology, the licensor may have to participate, in the United States, in an interference proceeding to determine priority of invention.

 

We may be exposed to, or threatened with, future litigation by third parties having patent or other intellectual property rights alleging that our product candidates or proprietary technologies infringe such third parties’ intellectual property rights, including litigation resulting from filing under Paragraph IV of the Hatch-Waxman Act. These lawsuits could claim that there are existing patent rights for such drug and this type of litigation can be costly and could adversely affect our operating results and divert the attention of managerial and technical personnel, even if we do not infringe such patents or the patents asserted against us are ultimately established as invalid. There is a risk that a court would decide that we are infringing the third party’s patents and would order us to stop the activities covered by the patents. In addition, there is a risk that a court will order us to pay the other party damages for having violated the other party’s patents.

 

 
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As a result of patent infringement claims, or to avoid potential claims, we may choose or be required to seek licenses from third parties. These licenses may not be available on commercially acceptable terms, or at all. Even if we are able to obtain a license, the license would likely obligate us to pay license fees or royalties or both, and the rights granted to us might be nonexclusive, which could result in our competitors gaining access to the same intellectual property, or such rights might be restrictive and limit our present and future activities. Ultimately, we or a licensee could be prevented from commercializing a product, or forced to cease some aspect of our business operations, if, as a result of actual or threatened patent infringement claims, we are unable to enter into licenses on acceptable terms.

 

In addition to possible infringement claims against us, we may become a party to other patent litigation and other proceedings, including interference, derivation, re-examination or other post-grant proceedings declared or granted by the USPTO, and similar proceedings in foreign countries, regarding intellectual property rights with respect to our current or of our other products.

 

There is a substantial amount of litigation involving patent and other intellectual property rights in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries generally. To date, no litigation asserting infringement claims has ever been brought against us. If a third party claims that we infringe its intellectual property rights, we may face a number of issues, including:

 

 

 

infringement and other intellectual property claims which, regardless of merit, may be expensive and time-consuming to litigate and may divert our management’s attention from our core business;

 

 

 

substantial damages for infringement, which we may have to pay if a court decides that the product or technology at issue infringes or violates the third party’s rights, and if the court finds that the infringement was willful, we could be ordered to pay treble damages and the patent owner’s attorneys’ fees;

 

 

 

a court prohibiting us from selling or licensing the product or using the technology unless the third party licenses its intellectual property rights to us, which it is not required to do;

 

 

 

if a license is available from a third party, we may have to pay substantial royalties or upfront fees or grant cross-licenses to intellectual property rights for our products or technologies; and

 

 

 

redesigning our products or processes so they do not infringe, which may not be possible or may require substantial monetary expenditures and time.

 

Some of our competitors may be able to sustain the costs of complex patent litigation more effectively than we can because they have substantially greater resources. In addition, any uncertainties resulting from the initiation and continuation of any litigation could harm our ability to raise additional funds or otherwise adversely affect our business, financial condition, operating results and prospects.

 

Because we rely on certain third-party licensors and partners, and will continue to do so in the future, if one of our licensors or partners is sued for infringing a third party’s intellectual property rights, our business, financial condition, operating results and prospects could suffer in the same manner as if we were sued directly. In addition to facing litigation risks, we have agreed to indemnify certain third-party licensors and partners against claims of infringement caused by our proprietary technologies, and we have entered or may enter into cost-sharing agreements with some our licensors and partners that could require us to pay some of the costs of patent litigation brought against those third parties whether or not the alleged infringement is caused by our proprietary technologies. In certain instances, these cost-sharing agreements could also require us to assume greater responsibility for infringement damages than would be assumed just on the basis of our technology.

 

The occurrence of any of the foregoing could adversely affect our business, financial condition or operating results.

 

 
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We may become involved in lawsuits to protect or enforce our patents or other intellectual property or the patents of our licensors, which could be expensive and time-consuming.

 

Competitors may infringe our intellectual property, including our patents or the patents of our licensors. As a result, we may be required to file infringement claims to stop third-party infringement or unauthorized use. This can be expensive and time-consuming, particularly for a company of our size. In addition, in an infringement proceeding, a court may decide that a patent of ours is not valid or is unenforceable, or may refuse to stop the other party from using the technology at issue on the grounds that our patent claims do not cover its technology or that the factors necessary to grant an injunction against an infringer are not satisfied. An adverse determination of any litigation or other proceedings could put one or more of our patents at risk of being invalidated, interpreted narrowly or amended such that they do not cover our product candidates. Moreover, such adverse determinations could put our patent applications at risk of not issuing, or issuing with limited and potentially inadequate scope to cover our product candidates or to prevent others from marketing similar products.

 

Interference, derivation or other proceedings brought at the USPTO may be necessary to determine the priority or patentability of inventions with respect to our patent applications or those of our licensors or potential partners. Litigation or USPTO proceedings brought by us may fail or may be invoked against us by third parties. Even if we are successful, domestic or foreign litigation or USPTO or foreign patent office proceedings may result in substantial costs and distraction to our management. We may not be able, alone or with our licensors or potential partners, to prevent misappropriation of our proprietary rights, particularly in countries where the laws may not protect such rights as fully as in the United States.

 

Furthermore, because of the substantial amount of discovery required in connection with intellectual property litigation or other proceedings, there is a risk that some of our confidential information could be compromised by disclosure during this type of litigation or other proceedings. In addition, during the course of this kind of litigation or proceedings, there could be public announcements of the results of hearings, motions or other interim proceedings or developments or public access to related documents. If investors perceive these results to be negative, the market price for our common stock or warrants could be significantly harmed.

 

Our reliance on third parties requires us to share our trade secrets, which increases the possibility that our trade secrets will be misappropriated or disclosed, and confidentiality agreements with employees and third parties may not adequately prevent disclosure of trade secrets and protect other proprietary information.

 

We consider proprietary trade secrets or confidential know-how and unpatented know-how to be important to our business. We may rely on trade secrets or confidential know-how to protect our technology, especially where patent protection is believed by us to be of limited value.

 

To protect this type of information against disclosure or appropriation by competitors, our policy is to require our employees, consultants, collaborators, contractors and advisors to enter into confidentiality agreements and, if applicable, material transfer agreements, consulting agreements or other similar agreements with us prior to beginning research or disclosing proprietary information. These agreements typically limit the rights of the third parties to use or disclose our confidential information, including our trade secrets. However, current or former employees, consultants, collaborators, contractors and advisors may unintentionally or willfully disclose our confidential information to competitors, and confidentiality agreements may not provide an adequate remedy in the event of unauthorized disclosure of confidential information. The need to share trade secrets and other confidential information increases the risk that such trade secrets become known by our competitors, are inadvertently incorporated into the technology of others, or are disclosed or used in violation of these agreements. Given that our proprietary position is based, in part, on our know-how and trade secrets, a competitor’s discovery of our trade secrets or other unauthorized use or disclosure would impair our competitive position and may have an adverse effect on our business and results of operations. Enforcing a claim that a third party obtained illegally and is using trade secrets or confidential know-how is expensive, time consuming and unpredictable. The enforceability of confidentiality agreements may vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.

 

In addition, these agreements typically restrict the ability of our employees, consultants, collaborators, contractors and advisors to publish data potentially relating to our trade secrets, although our agreements may contain certain limited publication rights. Despite our efforts to protect our trade secrets, our competitors may discover our trade secrets, either through breach of our agreements with third parties, independent development or publication of information by any of our third-party collaborators. A competitor’s discovery of our trade secrets would impair our competitive position and have an adverse impact on our business.

 

 
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We may be subject to claims that our employees, consultants or independent contractors have wrongfully used or disclosed to us alleged trade secrets of their former employers or their former or current customers.

 

As is common in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries, certain of our employees were formerly employed by other biotechnology or pharmaceutical companies, including our competitors or potential competitors. Moreover, we engage the services of consultants to assist us in the development of our products and product candidates, many of whom were previously employed at or may have previously been or are currently providing consulting services to, other biotechnology or pharmaceutical companies, including our competitors or potential competitors. We may be subject to claims that these employees and consultants or we have inadvertently or otherwise used or disclosed trade secrets or other proprietary information of their former employers or their former or current customers. Although we have no knowledge of any such claims being alleged to date, if such claims were to arise, litigation may be necessary to defend against any such claims. Even if we are successful in defending against any such claims, any such litigation could be protracted, expensive, a distraction to our management team, not viewed favorably by investors and other third parties and may potentially result in an unfavorable outcome.

 

If our patent term expires before or soon after our products are approved, or if manufacturers of generic or biosimilar drugs successfully challenge our patents, our business may be materially harmed.

 

Patents have a limited duration. In the United States, if all maintenance fees are timely paid, the natural expiration of a patent is generally 20 years from its earliest U.S. non-provisional filing date. Various extensions may be available, but the life of a patent, and the protection it affords, is limited. Even if patents covering our product candidates, their manufacture, or use are obtained, once the patent life has expired, we may be open to competition from competitive medications, including generic or biosimilar medications.

 

Depending upon the timing, duration and conditions of FDA marketing approval of our product candidates, one or more of our United States patents may be eligible for limited patent term extension under the Drug Price Competition and Patent Term Restoration Act of 1984, referred to as the Hatch-Waxman Act, and similar legislation in the European Union. The Hatch-Waxman Act permits a patent term extension of up to five years for a patent covering an approved product as compensation for effective patent term lost during product development and the FDA regulatory review process. The patent term extension cannot extend the remaining term of a patent beyond a total of 14 years from the date of product approval, and only one patent applicable to an approved drug may be extended. However, we may not receive an extension if we fail to apply within applicable deadlines, fail to apply prior to expiration of relevant patents or otherwise fail to satisfy applicable requirements. Moreover, the length of the extension could be less than we request. If we are unable to obtain patent term extension or the term of any such extension is less than we request, the period during which we can enforce our patent rights for that product will be shortened and our competitors may obtain approval to market competing products sooner than we expect. Also, the scope of our right to exclude during any patent term extension period may be limited or may not cover a competitor’s product or product use. As a result, our revenue from applicable products could be reduced, possibly materially.

 

Given the amount of time required for the development, testing and regulatory review of new drug candidates, patents protecting such drug candidates might expire before or shortly after such drug candidates are commercialized. As a result, our patents and patent applications may not provide us with sufficient rights to exclude others from commercializing products similar or identical to ours. Any of the foregoing could have a material adverse effect on our competitive position, business, financial conditions, results of operations and prospects.

 

Manufacturers of generic or biosimilar drugs may challenge the scope, validity, or enforceability of our patents in court or before a patent office, and we may not be successful in enforcing or defending those intellectual property rights and, as a result, may not be able to develop or market the relevant product exclusively, which would have a material adverse effect on any potential sales of that product. Upon the expiration of our issued patents or patents that may issue from our pending patent applications, we will not be able to assert such patent rights against potential competitors and our business and results of operations may be adversely affected.

 

 
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If our trademarks and trade names are not adequately protected, then we may not be able to build name recognition in our markets of interest and our business may be adversely affected.

 

Our unregistered trademarks or trade names may be challenged, infringed, circumvented or declared generic or determined to be infringing on other marks. We may not be able to protect our rights to these trademarks and trade names, which we need to build name recognition among potential collaborators or customers in our markets of interest. At times, competitors may adopt trade names or trademarks similar to ours, thereby impeding our ability to build brand identity and possibly leading to market confusion. In addition, there could be potential trade name or trademark infringement claims brought by owners of other registered trademarks or trademarks that incorporate variations of our unregistered trademarks or trade names. Over the long term, if we are unable to successfully register our trademarks and trade names and establish name recognition based on our trademarks and trade names, then we may not be able to compete effectively, and our business may be adversely affected. Our efforts to enforce or protect our proprietary rights related to trademarks, trade secrets, domain names, copyrights or other intellectual property may be ineffective and could result in substantial costs and diversion of resources and could adversely impact our financial condition or results of operations.

 

Our proprietary information may be lost, or we may suffer security breaches.

 

In the ordinary course of our business, we collect and store sensitive data, including intellectual property, clinical trial data, proprietary business information, personal data and personally identifiable information of our clinical trial subjects and employees, in our data centers and on our networks. The secure processing, maintenance and transmission of this information is critical to our operations. 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. Although, to our knowledge, we have not experienced any such material security breach to date, 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 could result in legal claims or proceedings, liability under laws that protect the privacy of personal information, significant regulatory penalties, disrupt our operations, damage our reputation and cause a loss of confidence in us and our ability to conduct clinical trials, which could adversely affect our reputation and delay our clinical development of our product candidates.

 

Risks Related to this Offering, the Securities Markets and Ownership of Our Common Stock and Warrants

 

The market prices of our common stock has been volatile and can fluctuate substantially, which could result in substantial losses for purchasers of our Units in this offering.

 

The market price of our common stock is highly volatile, and since our initial public offering in August 2021, the market price of our common stock has ranged from $1.41 to $6.95 per share. You may be unable to sell your shares of common stock at or above the offering price. The market price for our common stock and warrants may be volatile and subject to wide fluctuations in response to factors including the following:

 

 

 

actual or anticipated fluctuations in our quarterly or annual operating results;

 

 

 

actual or anticipated changes in the pace of our corporate achievements or our growth rate relative to our competitors;

 

 

 

failure to meet or exceed financial estimates and projections of the investment community or that we provide to the public;

 

 

 

issuance of new or updated research or reports by securities analysts;

 

 

 

share price and volume fluctuations attributable to inconsistent trading volume levels of our common stock or warrants;

 

 

 

additions or departures of key management or other personnel;

 

 

 

disputes or other developments related to proprietary rights, including patents, litigation matters, and our ability to obtain patent protection for our technologies;

 

 

 

announcement or expectation of additional debt or equity financing efforts;

 

 

 

sales of our common stock or warrants by us, our insiders or our other stockholders; and

 

 

 

general economic, market or political conditions in the United States or elsewhere (including, without limitation, conditions arising out the COVID-19 pandemic).

 

 
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In particular, the market prices of clinical-stage companies like ours have been highly volatile due to factors, including, but not limited to:

 

 

 

any delay or failure in a clinical trial for our product candidates or receive approval from the FDA and other regulatory agents;

 

 

 

developments or disputes concerning our product candidate’s intellectual property rights;

 

 

 

our or our competitors’ technological innovations;

 

 

 

fluctuations in the valuation of companies perceived by investors to be comparable to us;

 

 

 

announcements by us or our competitors of significant contracts, acquisitions, strategic partnerships, joint ventures, capital commitments, new technologies or patents;

 

 

 

failure to complete significant transactions or collaborate with vendors in manufacturing our product; and

 

 

 

proposals for legislation that would place restrictions on the price of medical therapies.

 

These and other market and industry factors may cause the market price and demand for our common stock and warrants to fluctuate substantially, regardless of our actual operating performance, which may limit or prevent investors from readily selling their shares of common stock or warrants and may otherwise negatively affect the liquidity of our common stock and warrants. In addition, the stock market in general, and Nasdaq and emerging growth companies in particular, have experienced extreme price and volume fluctuations that have often been unrelated or disproportionate to the operating performance of these companies. In the past, when the market price of a security has been volatile, holders of that security have instituted securities class action litigation against the company that issued the security. If any of our stockholders brought a lawsuit against us, we could incur substantial costs defending the lawsuit. Such a lawsuit could also divert the time and attention of our management.

 

The Warrants offered by this prospectus may not have any value.

 

The Warrants offered by this prospectus will be exercisable for five years from the date of initial issuance at an initial exercise price per share of common stock equal to 100% of the offering price of the Unit in this offering. There can be no assurance that the market price of our common stock will ever equal or exceed the exercise price of the Warrants. In the event that our common stock price does not exceed the exercise price of the Warrants during the period when the Warrants are exercisable, the Warrants may not have any value.

  

There is no public market for the Warrants or the Pre-Funded Warrants being offered in this offering.

 

There is no established public trading market for the Warrants or the Pre-Funded Warrants being offered in this offering, and we do not expect a market to develop. In addition, we do not intend to apply to list the Warrants or the Pre-Funded Warrants on any national securities exchange or other nationally recognized trading system, including Nasdaq. Without an active trading market, the liquidity of the Warrants and the Pre-Funded Warrants will be limited.

 

Neither a Warrant nor a Pre-Funded Warrant entitle the holder to any rights as common stockholders until the holder exercises the Warrant or Pre-Funded Warrant for a share of our common stock.

 

Until you acquire shares of our common stock upon exercise of your Warrants or Pre-Funded Warrants, your Warrants and your Pre-Funded Warrants will not provide you any rights as a common stockholder. Upon exercise of your Warrants or Pre-Funded Warrants, you will be entitled to exercise the rights of a common stockholder only as to matters for which the record date occurs after the exercise date.

 

 
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We are an “emerging growth company,” and will be able take advantage of reduced disclosure requirements applicable to “emerging growth companies,” which could make our common stock and Warrants less attractive to investors.

 

We are an “emerging growth company,” as defined in the JOBS Act and, for as long as we continue to be an “emerging growth company,” we intend to take advantage of certain exemptions from various reporting requirements applicable to other public companies but not to “emerging growth companies,” including, but not limited to, not being required to comply with the auditor attestation requirements of Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, reduced disclosure obligations regarding executive compensation in our periodic reports and proxy statements, and exemptions from the requirements of holding a nonbinding advisory vote on executive compensation and stockholder approval of any golden parachute payments not previously approved. We could be an “emerging growth company” for up to five years, or until the earliest of (i) the last day of the first fiscal year in which our annual gross revenues exceed $1.07 billion, (ii) the date that we become a “large accelerated filer” as defined in Rule 12b-2 under the Exchange Act, which would occur if the market value of our common stock that is held by non-affiliates exceeds $700 million as of the last business day of our most recently completed second fiscal quarter, or (iii) the date on which we have issued more than $1 billion in non-convertible debt during the preceding three year period.

 

We intend to take advantage of these reporting exemptions described above until we are no longer an “emerging growth company.” Under the JOBS Act, “emerging growth companies” can also delay adopting new or revised accounting standards until such time as those standards apply to private companies. We have irrevocably elected not to avail ourselves of this exemption from new or revised accounting standards and, therefore, we will be subject to the same new or revised accounting standards as other public companies that are not “emerging growth companies.”

 

We cannot predict if investors will find our common stock or warrants less attractive if we choose to rely on these exemptions. If some investors find our common stock or warrants less attractive as a result of any choices to reduce future disclosure, there may be a less active trading market for our common stock and warrants and the price of our common stock and warrants may be more volatile.

 

There may be limitations on the effectiveness of our internal controls, and a failure of our control systems to prevent error or fraud may materially harm our company. If we fail to remediate a material weakness, or if we experience material weaknesses in the future or otherwise fail to maintain an effective system of internal controls in the future, we may not be able to accurately or timely report our financial condition or results of operations, which may adversely affect investor confidence in us and, as a result, the value of our common stock and warrants.

 

Prior to the completion of our initial public offering in August 2021, we had been a private company with limited accounting personnel to adequately execute our accounting processes and limited supervisory resources with which to address our internal control over financial reporting. As a newly public company, we have not designed nor maintained an effective control environment as required of public companies under the rules and regulations of the SEC. Specifically, we lack a sufficient number of professionals with an appropriate level of accounting knowledge, training and experience to appropriately analyze, record and disclose accounting matters timely and accurately while maintaining appropriate segregation of duties.

 

Although we are not yet subject to the certification or attestation requirements of Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, management and our independent registered public accounting firm identified a material weakness in our internal control over financial reporting as we did not design or implement a control to ensure all material contracts or agreements are reviewed by accounting personnel to ensure they are accounted for and disclosed. A material weakness is a deficiency, or a combination of control deficiencies, in internal control over financial reporting such that there is a reasonable possibility that a material misstatement of the company’s annual or interim financial statements will not be prevented or detected on a timely basis.

 

 
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Proper systems of internal controls over financial accounting and disclosure controls and procedures are critical to the operation of a public company. We may be unable to effectively establish such systems, especially in light of the fact that we expect to operate as a publicly reporting company. This would leave us without the ability to reliably assimilate and compile financial information about our company and significantly impair our ability to prevent error and detect fraud, all of which would have a negative impact on our company from many perspectives. Moreover, we do not expect that disclosure controls or internal control over financial reporting, even if established, will prevent all error and all fraud. A control system, no matter how well designed and operated, can provide only reasonable, not absolute, assurance that the control system’s objectives will be met. Further, the design of a control system must reflect the fact that there are resource constraints and the benefits of controls must be considered relative to their costs. Because of the inherent limitations in all control systems, no evaluation of controls can provide absolute assurance that all control issues and instances of fraud, if any, have been detected. Failure of our control systems to prevent error or fraud could materially adversely impact us.

 

If securities or industry analysts do not publish research or publish inaccurate or unfavorable research about our business, our stock price and trading volume could decline.

 

The trading market for our common stock will depend in part on the research and reports that securities or industry analysts publish about us or our business. We do not currently have and may never obtain research coverage by securities and industry analysts. If no securities or industry analysts commence coverage of our company, the trading price for our stock would be negatively impacted. If we obtain securities or industry analyst coverage and if one or more of the analysts who covers us downgrades our stock or publishes inaccurate or unfavorable research about our business, our stock price would likely decline. If one or more of these analysts ceases coverage of us or fails to publish reports on us regularly, demand for our stock could decrease, which could cause our stock price and trading volume to decline.

 

Future sales of our common stock, warrants or securities convertible into our common stock may depress our stock price.

 

Sales of a substantial number of shares of our common stock, warrants or securities convertible into our common stock in the public market could occur at any time. These sales, or the perception in the market that the holders of a large number of shares intend to sell shares, could reduce the market price of our common stock and warrants. After this offering, we will have 12,773,073 outstanding shares of common stock, based on the number of shares outstanding as of the date of this prospectus. Moreover, we have registered all shares of common stock that we may issue after this offering under our equity compensation plans. If a large number of shares of our common stock, warrants or securities convertible into our common stock are sold in the public market after they become eligible for sale, the sales could reduce the trading price of our common stock and warrants and impede our ability to raise future capital.

 

Our failure to meet the continued listing requirements of Nasdaq could result in a delisting of our common stock and warrants.

 

If we fail to satisfy the continued listing requirements of Nasdaq, such as the corporate governance requirements or the minimum closing bid price requirement, Nasdaq may take steps to delist our common stock and warrants. Such a delisting would likely have a negative effect on the price of our common stock and warrants and would impair your ability to sell or purchase our common stock and warrants when you wish to do so. In the event of a delisting, we can provide no assurance that any action taken by us to restore compliance with listing requirements would allow our common stock and warrants to become listed again, stabilize the market price or improve the liquidity of our common stock and warrants, prevent our common stock and warrants from dropping below the Nasdaq minimum bid price requirement or prevent future non-compliance with Nasdaq’s listing requirements.

 

 
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Our directors, executive officers and principal stockholders will continue to have substantial control over us after this offering and could delay or prevent a change of corporate control.

 

Our directors, executive officers and holders of more than 5% of our common stock, together with their affiliates, beneficially own, in the aggregate, approximately 50.9% of our outstanding common stock. As a result, these stockholders, acting together, have the ability to significantly influence the outcome of matters submitted to our stockholders for approval, including the election of directors and any merger, consolidation or sale of all or substantially all of our assets. In addition, these stockholders, acting together, have the ability to control the management and affairs of our company. Accordingly, this concentration of ownership could harm the market price of our common stock and warrants by:

 

 

 

delaying, deferring or preventing a change of control of us;

 

 

 

impeding a merger, consolidation, takeover or other business combination involving us; or

 

 

 

discouraging a potential acquiror from making a tender offer or otherwise attempting to obtain control of us.

 

See “Principal Stockholders” below for more information regarding the ownership of our outstanding stock by our executive officers, directors and holders of more than 5% of our common stock, together with their affiliates.

 

Anti-takeover provisions contained in our certificate of incorporation and bylaws, as well as provisions of Delaware law, could impair a takeover attempt.

 

Our amended and restated certificate of incorporation, bylaws and Delaware law contain provisions which could have the effect of rendering more difficult, delaying or preventing an acquisition deemed undesirable by our board of directors. Our corporate governance documents include provisions:

 

 

 

classifying our board of directors into three classes;

 

 

 

authorizing “blank check” preferred stock, which could be issued by our board of directors without stockholder approval and may contain voting, liquidation, dividend, and other rights superior to our common stock;

 

 

 

limiting the liability of, and providing indemnification to, our directors and officers;

 

 

 

limiting the ability of our stockholders to call and bring business before special meetings;

 

 

 

requiring advance notice of stockholder proposals for business to be conducted at meetings of our stockholders and for nominations of candidates for election to our board of directors;

 

 

 

controlling the procedures for the conduct and scheduling of board of directors and stockholder meetings; and

 

 

 

providing our board of directors with the express power to postpone previously scheduled annual meetings and to cancel previously scheduled special meetings.

 

These provisions, alone or together, could delay or prevent hostile takeovers and changes in control or changes in our management.

 

As a Delaware corporation, we are also subject to provisions of Delaware law, including Section 203 of the Delaware General Corporation law, which prevents some stockholders holding more than 15% of our outstanding common stock from engaging in certain business combinations without approval of the holders of substantially all of our outstanding common stock.

 

Any provision of our amended and restated certificate of incorporation, bylaws or Delaware law that has the effect of delaying or deterring a change in control could limit the opportunity for our stockholders to receive a premium for their shares of our common stock or warrants, and could also affect the price that some investors are willing to pay for our common stock and warrants.

 

 
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We qualify as an “emerging growth company” as defined in the JOBS Act and will be able to avail ourselves of reduced disclosure requirements applicable to emerging growth companies, which could make our common stock and warrants less attractive to investors.

 

We qualify as an “emerging growth company” as defined in the JOBS Act, and we intend to take advantage of certain exemptions from various reporting requirements that are applicable to other public companies that are not “emerging growth companies” including certain reduced financial statement reporting obligations, reduced disclosure obligations about our executive compensation arrangements, exemptions from the requirement that we solicit non-binding advisory votes on executive compensation or golden parachute arrangements and exemption from the auditor’s attestation requirements of Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. We may take advantage of these reporting exemptions until we are no longer an “emerging growth company.” We will remain an “emerging growth company” until the earliest of (1) the last day of the fiscal year in which we have total annual gross revenue of $1 billion or more, (2) the last day of our fiscal year following the fifth anniversary of the date of the completion of this offering, (3) the date on which we have issued more than $1 billion in nonconvertible debt during the previous three years or (4) the date on which we are deemed to be a large accelerated filer under the rules of the SEC.

 

Because management has broad discretion as to the use of the net proceeds from this offering, you may not agree with how we use them, and such proceeds may not be applied successfully.

 

Our management will have considerable discretion over the use of proceeds from this offering. We currently intend to use the net proceeds from this offering for external research and development expenses associated with the development of our DMT310 and DMT410 product candidates, manufacturing drug product for our clinical programs, with the balance primarily used to fund internal research and development expenses associated with all of our product candidates, working capital, capital expenditures and other general corporate purposes. In addition, a portion of the net proceeds may also be used to acquire or in-license, as applicable, product candidates, technologies, compounds, other assets or complementary businesses. However, our management will have broad discretion in the application of the net proceeds from this offering and could spend the proceeds in ways that do not necessarily improve our operating results or enhance the value of our common stock or warrants, or that you otherwise do not agree with. You will be relying on the judgment of our management concerning these uses and you will not have the opportunity, as part of your investment decision, to assess whether the proceeds are being used appropriately. The failure of our management to apply these funds effectively could, among other things, result in unfavorable returns and uncertainty about our prospects, each of which could cause the price of our common stock and warrants to decline.

 

If you purchase Units sold in this offering, you will incur immediate and substantial dilution of your investment in the shares of common stock comprising such Units.

 

If you purchase Units in this offering, you will experience substantial and immediate dilution in the pro forma net tangible book value per share after giving effect to this offering of $1.60 per share as of September 30, 2021, based on the public offering price of $2.25 per Unit, because the price that you pay will be substantially greater than the pro forma net tangible book value per share of the common stock in the Unit that you acquire. This dilution is due in large part to the fact that our earlier investors paid substantially less than the initial public offering price when they purchased shares of our capital stock. You will experience additional dilution upon exercise of the outstanding stock options and other equity awards that may be granted under our equity incentive plans, and when we otherwise issue additional shares of our common stock. For more information, see “Dilution.”

 

We have never paid dividends on our capital stock, and we do not anticipate paying any cash dividends in the foreseeable future.

 

We have never declared nor paid cash dividends on our capital stock. We currently intend to retain any future earnings to finance the operation and expansion of our business, and we do not expect to declare or pay any dividends in the foreseeable future. Consequently, stockholders must rely on sales of their common stock and warrants after price appreciation, which may never occur, as the only way to realize any future gains on their investment.

 

 
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Our amended and restated certificate of incorporation designates the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware as the sole and exclusive forum for certain types of actions and proceedings that may be initiated by our stockholders, which could limit our stockholders’ ability to obtain a favorable judicial forum for disputes with us or our directors, officers or other employees.

 

Our amended and restated certificate of incorporation requires that, unless we consent in writing to the selection of an alternative forum, the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware will, to the fullest extent permitted by law, be the sole and exclusive forum for each of the following:

 

 

 

any derivative action or proceeding brought on our behalf;

 

 

 

any action asserting a claim for breach of any fiduciary duty owed by any director, officer or other employee of ours to the Company or our stockholders;

 

 

 

any action asserting a claim against us or any director or officer of ours arising pursuant to, or a claim against us or any of our directors or officers, with respect to the interpretation or application of any provision of, the DGCL, our certificate of incorporation or bylaws; or

 

 

 

any action asserting a claim governed by the internal affairs doctrine;

 

provided, that, if and only if the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware dismisses any of the foregoing actions for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, any such action or actions may be brought in another state court sitting in the State of Delaware.

 

The exclusive forum provision is limited to the extent permitted by law, and it will not apply to claims arising under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, or the Exchange Act, or for any other federal securities laws which provide for exclusive federal jurisdiction.

 

Furthermore, Section 22 of the Securities Act creates concurrent jurisdiction for federal and state courts over all such Securities Act actions. Accordingly, both state and federal courts have jurisdiction to entertain such claims. To prevent having to litigate claims in multiple jurisdictions and the threat of inconsistent or contrary rulings by different courts, among other considerations, our amended and restated certificate of incorporation provides that the federal district courts of the United States of America will be the exclusive forum for resolving any complaint asserting a cause of action arising under the Securities Act. While the Delaware courts have determined that such choice of forum provisions are facially valid, a stockholder may nevertheless seek to bring such a claim arising under the Securities Act against us, our directors, officers, or other employees in a venue other than in the federal district courts of the United States of America. In such instance, we would expect to vigorously assert the validity and enforceability of the exclusive forum provisions of our amended and restated certificate of incorporation.

 

Although we believe this provision benefits us by providing increased consistency in the application of Delaware law in the types of lawsuits to which it applies, this provision may limit or discourage a stockholder’s ability to bring a claim in a judicial forum that it finds favorable for disputes with us or our directors, officers or other employees, which may discourage such lawsuits against us and our directors, officers and other employees, and may result in increased costs for investors to bring a claim. Alternatively, if a court were to find the choice of forum provision contained in our amended and restated certificate of incorporation to be inapplicable or unenforceable in an action, we may incur additional costs associated with resolving such action in other jurisdictions, which could adversely affect our business and financial condition.

 

We note that there is uncertainty as to whether a court would enforce the provision and that investors cannot waive compliance with the federal securities laws and the rules and regulations thereunder. Although we believe this provision benefits us by providing increased consistency in the application of Delaware law in the types of lawsuits to which it applies, the provision may have the effect of discouraging lawsuits against our directors and officers.

 

 
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CAUTIONARY NOTE REGARDING FORWARD LOOKING STATEMENTS

 

Except for historical information, this prospectus contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. The forward-looking statements involve substantial risks and uncertainties. The forward-looking statements are contained principally in the sections entitled “Prospectus Summary,” “Risk Factors,” “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations,” “Business” and elsewhere in this prospectus. In some cases, you can identify forward-looking statements by terms such as “may,” “will,” “should,” “expect,” “plan,” “anticipate,” “could,” “intend,” “target,” “project,” “estimate,” “believe,” “estimate,” “predict,” “potential” or “continue” or the negative of these terms or other similar expressions intended to identify statements about the future. These statements speak only as of the date of this prospectus and involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other important factors that may cause our actual results, performance or achievements to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements. We have based these forward-looking statements largely on our current expectations and projections about future events and financial trends that we believe may affect our business, financial condition and results of operations. These forward-looking statements include, without limitation, statements about the following:

 

 

 

our lack of operating history;

 

 

 

our plans to develop and commercialize our product candidates;

 

 

 

the timing of our planned clinical trials for DMT310 and our other product candidates;

 

 

 

the timing of our NDA submission for DMT310 for the treatment of acne vulgaris;

 

 

 

the timing of and our ability to obtain and maintain regulatory approvals for DMT310 and our other product candidates;

 

 

 

the clinical utility of our product candidates;

 

 

 

our commercialization, marketing and manufacturing capabilities and strategy;

 

 

 

our expectations about the willingness of healthcare professionals to use DMT310;

 

 

 

our intellectual property position;

 

 

 

our plans to in-license, acquire, develop and commercialize additional product candidates for other dermatological conditions to build a fully integrated dermatology company;

 

 

 

our expected use of proceeds from this offering; our competitive position and the development of and projections relating to our competitors or our industry;

 

 

 

our ability to identify, recruit and retain key personnel;

 

 

 

the impact of laws and regulations;

 

 

 

our expectations regarding the time during which we will be an emerging growth company under the JOBS Act;

 

 

 

our plans to identify additional product candidates with significant commercial potential that are consistent with our commercial objectives; and

 

 

 

our estimates regarding future revenue, expenses and needs for additional financing.

 

 
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Because forward-looking statements are inherently subject to risks and uncertainties, some of which cannot be predicted or quantified and some of which are beyond our control, you should not rely on these forward-looking statements as predictions of future events. The events and circumstances reflected in our forward-looking statements may not be achieved or occur and actual results could differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking statements. You should refer to the “Risk Factors” section of this prospectus for a discussion of important factors that may cause our actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by our forward-looking statements. Moreover, we operate in an evolving environment. New risk factors and uncertainties may emerge from time to time, and it is not possible for management to predict all risk factors and uncertainties. As a result of these factors, we cannot assure you that the forward-looking statements in this prospectus will prove to be accurate. Except as required by applicable law, we do not plan to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements contained herein, whether as a result of any new information, future events, changed circumstances or otherwise. You should, however, review the factors and risks and other information we describe in the reports we will file from time to time with the SEC after the date of this prospectus.

 

You should read this prospectus and the documents that we reference in this prospectus and have filed as exhibits to the registration statement, of which this prospectus is a part, completely and with the understanding that our actual future results may be materially different from what we expect. We qualify all of our forward-looking statements by these cautionary statements.

 

INDUSTRY AND OTHER DATA

 

We obtained the industry, statistical and market data in this prospectus from our own internal estimates and research as well as from industry and general publications and research, surveys and studies conducted by third parties. All of the market data used in this prospectus involves a number of assumptions and limitations, and you are cautioned not to give undue weight to such data. While we believe that each of these studies and publications is reliable, the industry in which we operate is subject to a high degree of uncertainty and risk due to a variety of important factors, including those described in the section titled “Risk Factors.” These and other factors could cause results to differ materially from those expressed in the estimates made by third parties and by us.

 

 
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USE OF PROCEEDS

 

We estimate that the net proceeds we will receive from the sale of our common stock and Warrants in this offering, after deducting underwriting discounts and commissions and estimated expenses payable by us and excluding the proceeds, if any, from the exercise of the Warrants issued as part of the Units and assuming no sale of Units including a Pre-Funded Warrant, will be approximately $9.0 million (or $10.4 million if the underwriter exercises its option to purchase additional shares and/or Warrants in full and no sale of Units including a Pre-Funded Warrant), based on the public offering price of $2.25 per Unit (the last reported sale price of our common stock on Nasdaq on January 31, 2022). The public offering price per Unit will be determined between us, the underwriter and investors based on market conditions at the time of pricing and may be at a discount to the current market price of our common stock.

  

We intend to use substantially all of the net proceeds from this offering to complete FDA required studies to hold an End of Phase 2 meeting for the DMT310 acne program, initiate a DMT310 Phase 2 psoriasis trial, complete our DMT310 Phase 2 rosacea trial, advance the clinical development of DMT410 for the treatment of various aesthetic indications, manufacture drug product for our DMT310 Phase 3 acne program, and for working capital and other general corporate purposes.

    

We may also use a portion of the net proceeds of this offering for the acquisition or licensing, as the case may be, of additional technologies, other assets or businesses, or for other strategic investments or opportunities, although we currently have no understandings, agreements or commitments to do so.

 

Although we currently anticipate that we will use the net proceeds from this offering as described above, there may be circumstances where a reallocation of funds is necessary. The amounts and timing of our actual expenditures will depend upon numerous factors, including our sales and marketing and commercialization efforts, demand for our products, our operating costs and the other factors described under “Risk Factors” in this prospectus. Accordingly, our management will have flexibility in applying the net proceeds from this offering. An investor will not have the opportunity to evaluate the economic, financial or other information on which we base our decisions on how to use the proceeds. 

 

The net proceeds from this offering, together with our cash and marketable securities, may not be sufficient for us to fund any of our product candidates through regulatory approval, and we will need to raise additional capital to complete the development and commercialization of our product candidates.

 

A $1.00 increase (decrease) in the assumed public offering price of $2.25 per Unit (the last reported sale price of our common stock on Nasdaq on January 31, 2022), would increase (decrease) the net proceeds to us from this offering by approximately $4.1 million (or approximately $6.1 million if the underwriters exercise their option to purchase additional shares and/or Warrants in full and no sale of Units including a Pre-Funded Warrant), assuming the number of Units offered by us, as set forth on the cover of this prospectus, remains the same and, after deducting underwriting discounts and commissions and estimated expenses payable by us and assuming no exercise of the Warrants issued as part of the Units and assuming no sale of Units including a Pre-Funded Warrant. An increase (decrease) of 100,000 in the number of Units offered by us in this offering, would increase (decrease) the net proceeds to us from this offering by approximately $200,000 (or approximately $1.6 million if the underwriters exercise their option to purchase additional shares and/or Warrants in full and no sale of Units including a Pre-Funded Warrant), assuming the public offering price of $2.25 per share (the last reported sale price of our common stock on Nasdaq on January 31, 2022), remains the same and after deducting underwriting discounts and commissions and estimated expenses payable by us and assuming no exercise of the Warrants issued as part of the Units and assuming no sale of Units including a Pre-Funded Warrant. The information above is illustrative only and will change based on the actual public offering price and other terms of this offering determined at pricing.

 

Pending our use of the net proceeds from this offering, we intend to invest the net proceeds in a variety of capital preservation investments, including short-term, investment-grade, interest-bearing instruments, and U.S. government securities.

 

 
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DIVIDEND POLICY

 

We have never declared or paid any cash dividends on our capital stock. We intend to retain future earnings, if any, to finance the operation of our business and do not anticipate paying any cash dividends in the foreseeable future. Any future determination related to dividend policy will be made at the discretion of our board of directors after considering our financial condition, results of operations, capital requirements, business prospects and other factors the board of directors deems relevant, and subject to the restrictions contained in any future financing instruments.

 

 
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CAPITALIZATION

 

The following table sets forth our cash and capitalization as of September 30, 2021:

 

 

 

on an actual basis;

 

 

 

on an as adjusted basis, giving effect to our issuance and sale of 4,444,444 Units (assuming no sale of Units including a Pre-Funded Warrant) in this offering based on the public offering price of $2.25 per Unit (the last reported sale price of our common stock on Nasdaq on January 31, 2022), after deducting estimated underwriting discounts and commissions and estimated offering expenses payable by us and the receipt by us of the proceeds of such sale.

 

You should read this table together with “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” and our audited financial statements and related notes and unaudited interim condensed financial statements and related notes thereto included elsewhere in this prospectus.

 

 

 

As of September 30, 2021

 

 

 

Actual

 

 

As Adjusted

 

 

 

(unaudited)

 

 

(unaudited)

 

Cash

 

$12,603,341

 

 

$21,583,340

 

Common stock, par value $0.0001, 90,000,000 shares authorized, 8,328,629 shares issued and outstanding, actual; 90,000,000 shares authorized and 12,773,073 shares issued and outstanding, as adjusted

 

 

833

 

 

 

1,277

 

Additional paid-in capital

 

 

45,919,140

 

 

 

54,898,695

 

Accumulated deficit

 

$(33,429,418)

 

$(33,429,418)

Total stockholders' equity

 

 

12,490,555

 

 

 

21,470,554

 

Total capitalization

 

$12,490,555

 

 

$21,470,554

 

  
The table above is based on 8,328,629  shares of our common stock outstanding as of September 30, 2021 and does not include:

 

 

 

523,199 shares of common stock issuable upon exercise of stock options outstanding, at a weighted-average an exercise price of $5.84 per share;

 

 

 

2,957,142 shares of common stock issuable upon exercise of warrants issued in our initial public offering, at an exercise price of $7.00 per share;

 

 

 

 

 

134,515 shares of common stock issuable upon exercise of other warrants outstanding, at a weighted-average exercise price of $13.33 per share; and

 

 

 

1,125,014 shares of our common stock that are available for future issuance under our 2021 Plan, or shares that will become available under our 2021 Plan.

 

A $1.00 increase or decrease in the assumed public offering price of $2.25 per Unit (the last reported sale price of our common stock on Nasdaq on January 31, 2022), would increase or decrease the pro forma as adjusted amount of each of cash and cash equivalents, additional paid-in capital, total stockholders’ equity (deficit) and total capitalization by approximately $4.1 million, assuming that the number of Units offered by us, as set forth on the cover page of this prospectus, remains the same and after deducting the estimated underwriting discounts and commissions and estimated offering expenses payable by us and assuming no exercise of the Warrants issued as part of the Units and assuming no sale of Units including a Pre-Funded Warrant. An increase or decrease of 100,000 Units in the number of Units offered by us, as set forth on the cover page of this prospectus, would increase or decrease the pro forma as adjusted amount of each of cash and cash equivalents, additional paid-in capital, total stockholders’ equity (deficit) and total capitalization by approximately $200,000, assuming no change in the assumed public offering price per Unit and after deducting the estimated underwriting discounts and commissions and estimated offering expenses payable by us and assuming no exercise of the Warrants issued as part of the Units and assuming no sale of Units including a Pre-Funded Warrant.

 

 
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DILUTION

 

If you invest in our securities in this offering, your ownership interest will be immediately diluted to the extent of the difference between the public offering price per share of common stock included in each Unit (attributing no value to the Warrants and assuming no sale of Units including a Pre-Funded Warrant) and the as adjusted net tangible book value per share of our common stock after this offering. As of September 30, 2021, we had a historical net tangible book value of approximately $11.4 million, or $1.37 per share of common stock. Our historical net tangible book value per share represents total tangible assets less total liabilities, divided by the number of shares of our common stock outstanding as of September 30, 2021.

 

After giving further effect to the sale of shares of common stock included in each Unit in this offering at a public offering price of $2.25 per share of common stock included in each Unit (the last reported sale price of our common stock on Nasdaq on January 31, 2022), and after deducting the estimated underwriting discounts and commissions and estimated offering expenses payable by us, and assuming no exercise of the Warrants issued as part of the Units and assuming no sale of Units including a Pre-Funded Warrant, our as adjusted net tangible book value as of September 30, 2021 would have been approximately $20.4 million, or approximately $1.60 per share of common stock. This amount represents an immediate increase in actual book value of $0.23 per share to our existing stockholders and immediate dilution of approximately $0.65 per share to new investors in this offering (attributing no value to the Warrants and assuming no sale of Units including a Pre-Funded Warrant). We determine dilution by subtracting the as adjusted net tangible book value per share after this offering from the amount of cash that a new investor paid for a share of common stock in this offering. The following table illustrates this dilution:

 

Offering price per unit

 

 

 

 

$2.25

 

Historical net tangible book value per share as of September 30, 2021

 

$1.37

 

 

 

 

 

Pro forma increase in net tangible book value per share attributable to new investors

 

$0.23

 

 

 

 

 

Pro forma as adjusted net tangible book value per share after this offering

 

 

 

 

 

$1.60

 

Dilution per share to new investors purchasing common stock in this offering

 

 

 

 

 

$0.65

 

    

The dilution information discussed above is illustrative only and will change based on the actual public offering price and other terms of this offering determined at pricing. A $1.00 decrease in the assumed public offering price of $2.25 per Unit (the last reported sale price of our common stock on Nasdaq on January 31, 2022), would decrease our as adjusted net tangible book value per share after this offering by $0.10 and increase dilution per share to new investors purchasing Units in this offering by $0.02, assuming that the number of Units offered by us, as set forth on the cover page of this prospectus, remains the same and after deducting the estimated underwriting discounts and commissions and estimated offering expenses payable by us and assuming no exercise of the Warrants issued as part of the Units and assuming no sale of Units including a Pre-Funded Warrant. A $1.00 increase in the assumed public offering price of $2.25 per Unit (the last reported sale price of our common stock on Nasdaq on January 31, 2022), would increase our as adjusted net tangible book value per share after this offering by $0.55 and dilution per share to new investors purchasing Units in this offering by $1.33, assuming that the number of Units offered by us, as set forth on the cover page of this prospectus, remains the same and after deducting the estimated underwriting discounts and commissions and estimated offering expenses payable by us and assuming no exercise of the Warrants issued as part of the Units and assuming no sale of Units including a Pre-Funded Warrant. An increase or decrease of 100,000 Units in the number of Units offered by us, as set forth on the cover page of this prospectus, would increase or decrease our as adjusted net tangible book value per share after this offering by $0.23 and dilution per share to new investors purchasing Units in this offering by $0.65, assuming no change in the assumed public offering price per Unit and after deducting the estimated underwriting discounts and commissions and estimated offering expenses payable by us and assuming no exercise of the Warrants issued as part of the Units and assuming no sale of Units including a Pre-Funded Warrant.

 

If the underwriters exercise their option to purchase additional shares of our common stock and/or Warrants in full and assuming no sale of Units including a Pre-Funded Warrant, the pro forma as adjusted net tangible book value after this offering would be $1.62 per share, the increase in pro forma net tangible book value per share would be $0.25 and dilution per share to new investors would be $0.63 per share.

 

The above discussion and table are based on 8,328,629 shares of our common stock outstanding as of September 30, 2021 and excludes as of such date:

 

 

 

523,199 shares of common stock issuable upon exercise of stock options outstanding, at a weighted-average an exercise price of $5.84 per share;

 

 

 

2,957,142 shares of common stock issuable upon exercise of warrants issued in our initial public offering, at an exercise price of $7.00 per share;

 

 

 

 

 

134,515 shares of common stock issuable upon exercise of other warrants outstanding, at a weighted-average exercise price of $13.33 per share; and

 

 

 

1,125,014 shares of our common stock that are available for future issuance under our 2021 Plan, or shares that will become available under our 2021 Plan.

 

 
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MANAGEMENT’S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS

 

You should read the following discussion and analysis of our financial condition and results of operations together with our financial statements and the related notes and other financial information included elsewhere in this prospectus. Some of the information contained in this discussion and analysis or set forth elsewhere in this prospectus, including information with respect to our plans and strategy for our business, includes forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties. You should review the “Risk Factors” section of this prospectus for a discussion of important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from the results described in or implied by the forward-looking statements contained in the following discussion and analysis.

 

Overview

 

We are a clinical-stage medical dermatology company focused on identifying, developing and commercializing innovative pharmaceutical product candidates for the treatment of medical and aesthetic skin diseases and conditions we believe have significant unmet needs.

 

Dermatological diseases such as acne vulgaris (or acne), psoriasis vulgaris (or psoriasis), papulopustular rosacea (or rosacea), hyperhidrosis, and various aesthetic indications affect millions of people worldwide each year and may negatively impact their quality of life and emotional well-being. While there are multiple current treatment options for these indications on the market, we believe that most have significant drawbacks, including underwhelming treatment results, cumbersome application regimens and varying negative side effects leading to a lack of patient compliance. While a majority of these indications are first treated with topical products, many patients frequently switch treatments or discontinue treatment altogether due to patient dissatisfaction with slow and modest response rates, early onset of negative side effects, onerous application schedules and typically long duration of therapy. For diseases like psoriasis, a small percentage of patients may be candidates for biologic or systemic therapies, but these patients are typically required to try topical or oral treatment options prior to qualifying for these expensive systemic therapies. Given the limitations with current topical therapies and the restricted usability of systemic therapies, we believe there is a significant opportunity to address the needs of frustrated patients searching for effective topical products that satisfy their dermatological and lifestyle needs.

 

Our two product candidates, DMT310 and DMT410, both incorporate our proprietary, multifaceted, Spongilla technology to topically treat a variety of dermatological conditions. Our Spongilla technology is a multifactorial, naturally-derived product that is processed from a wholly naturally grown freshwater sponge, Spongilla lacustris or Spongilla, which is processed into a powder and is mixed with a fluidizing agent immediately prior to application by the patient to form an easily applicable paste. Spongilla is a unique freshwater sponge that only grows in commercial quantities in select regions of the world and under specific environmental conditions, all of which give it its distinctive anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory, and mechanical properties. The combination of these ideal environmental conditions, the proprietary harvesting protocols developed with our supplier, and our post-harvest processing procedures optimize the mechanical component as well as the chemical components of Spongilla for product candidates with multiple mechanisms of action for the treatment of inflammatory skin conditions.

 

Our lead product candidate DMT310, utilizes our Spongilla technology for a once-weekly treatment of a variety of skin diseases. Our initial focus is the treatment of acne vulgaris. However, due to the multiple mechanisms of action and anti-inflammatory effect seen with DMT310, we have moved into clinical trials of two additional indications, psoriasis and rosacea. In October 2021, we completed a Phase 1b proof of concept, or POC, trial in psoriasis and in November 2021 we initiated a Phase 2 clinical trial of DMT310 for the treatment of rosacea.

 

Our second product candidate utilizing our Spongilla technology is our combination treatment, DMT410. DMT410 consists of one treatment of our proprietary sponge powder followed by topical application of botulinum toxin for delivery into the dermis. We first tested this program in a Phase 1 POC trial of axillary hyperhidrosis patients, which was completed in July 2019. We reported that 80% of patients achieved a reduction in gravimetric sweat production greater than 50%, four weeks after treatment. Based on the results of this trial, we initiated a Phase 1 POC trial of DMT410 for the intradermal treatment of multiple aesthetic skin conditions. In November 2021, we announced top-line results from this trial where we obtained data that we believe warrants further investigation of this program. We believe these two DMT410 trials indicate we have been able to topically deliver botulinum toxin into the dermis subsequent to the application of our Spongilla technology.

 

 
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We believe our Spongilla technology platform will enable us to develop and formulate singular and combination products that are able to target topical delivery of chemical compounds into the dermis for maximum treatment effect for a variety of inflammatory skin diseases. One mechanism of our technology is its mechanical ability to allow for the intradermal delivery of a variety of large and small molecules through microchannels to a targeted treatment site via topical application. In addition to its mechanical components, the Spongilla technology also utilizes multiple naturally occurring chemical compounds that we believe have demonstrated in-vitro anti-microbial, and anti-inflammatory properties. We believe the combination of these mechanical and chemical components make our platform versatile for the treatment of a wide variety of medical and aesthetic skin conditions and diseases.

 

We have a limited operating history. Since our inception, our operations have focused on developing DMT310 and DMT410, organizing and staffing our company, raising capital, establishing our supply chain and manufacturing processes, further characterizing the multiple mechanisms of action of our Spongilla technology, building an intellectual property portfolio, and conducting non-clinical and clinical trials. We do not have any product candidates approved for marketing and have not generated any revenue from product sales. We have funded our operations primarily through the sale of our equity securities and debt securities. Since inception, we have raised an aggregate of approximately $48 million of gross proceeds from the sale of our debt and equity securities, including the securities sold in our IPO.

 

We have not generated any revenue to date and have incurred significant operating losses. Our net loss was $4.7 million and $3.2 million for the years ended December 31, 2019 and 2020, respectively, and as of December 31, 2020, we had an accumulated deficit of $28.1 million. We incurred a net loss of $5.3 million and $2.8 million for the nine months ended September 30, 2021 and 2020, respectively, and had an accumulated deficit of approximately $33.4 million as of September 30, 2021. We expect to continue to incur significant expenses and operating losses for the foreseeable future. We anticipate that our expenses will increase significantly in connection with our ongoing activities, as we:

 

 

 

complete development of DMT310 for the treatment of acne, including non-clinical studies and Phase 3 clinical trials;

 

 

 

prepare and file for regulatory approval of DMT310 for the treatment of moderate to severe acne;

 

 

 

continue development of DMT310 for the treatment of rosacea, including a Phase 2 clinical trial and Phase 3 clinical trials;

 

 

 

continue development of DMT310 for the treatment of psoriasis, including a Phase 2 clinical trial and Phase 3 clinical trials;

 

 

 

identify a botulinum toxin partner for DMT410 for the treatment of aesthetic and medical skin conditions;

 

 

 

prepare for commercialization of DMT310, if approved, including the hiring of sales and marketing personnel;

 

 

 

begin to manufacture our product candidates for Phase 2 and Phase 3 trials and commercial sale;

 

 

 

hire additional research and development and selling, general and administrative personnel;

 

 

 

maintain, expand and protect our intellectual property portfolio; and

 

 

 

incur additional costs associated with operating as a public company following the completion of this offering.

 

We will likely need additional financing after this offering to support our operations. We may seek to fund our operations through public or private equity or debt financings or other sources. Adequate additional financing may not be available to us on acceptable terms, or at all. Our failure to raise capital when needed or on favorable terms would have a negative impact on our financial condition and our ability to pursue our business strategy. We will need to generate significant revenues to achieve profitability, and we may never do so.

 

 
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Trends and Uncertainties - COVID-19

 

We are subject to risks and uncertainties as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The extent of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our business is highly uncertain and difficult to predict, as the responses that we, other businesses and governments are taking continue to evolve. Furthermore, capital markets and economies worldwide have also been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and it is possible that it could cause a local and/or global economic recession. Policymakers around the globe have responded with fiscal policy actions to support the healthcare industry and economy as a whole. The magnitude and overall effectiveness of these actions remain uncertain.

 

The severity of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our business will depend on a number of factors, including, but not limited to, the duration and severity of the pandemic and the extent and severity of the impact on our service providers, suppliers, contract research organizations and our preclinical and clinical trials, all of which are uncertain and cannot be predicted.

 

As of the date of this prospectus, the extent to which the COVID-19 pandemic may in the future materially impact our financial condition, liquidity or results of operations is uncertain.

 

Components of Results of Operations

 

Revenue

 

We have not generated any revenue since inception and do not expect to generate any revenue from the sale of products in the near future until we obtain regulatory approval of, and commercialize, our product candidates.

 

Operating Expenses

 

Research and Development Expenses

 

Research and development activities are central to our business model. Product candidates in later stages of clinical development generally have higher development costs than those in earlier stages of clinical development, primarily due to the increased size and duration of late-stage clinical trials. We expect research and development costs to increase significantly for the foreseeable future as our pipeline of product candidates progress further into clinical trials. However, we do not believe it is possible at this time to accurately project total program-related expenses to reach commercialization based on numerous factors. In addition, there are numerous unknown expenses related to the commercialization of our product candidates including continued regulatory requirements, many of which cannot be determined with accuracy at this time.

 

Research and development expenses consist of expenses incurred in connection with the development of our product candidates. We expense development costs as incurred. These expenses include:

 

 

 

expenses incurred under agreements with CROs, as well as investigative sites and consultants that conduct our clinical trials and preclinical studies;

 

 

 

manufacturing and supply scale-up expenses and the cost of acquiring and manufacturing preclinical and clinical trial supply and commercial supply, including manufacturing validation batches; and

 

 

 

outsourced laboratory services, including materials and supplies used to support our research and development activities, including payments made for license fees and milestone payments.

 

 
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The successful development of our product candidates is highly uncertain. At this time, we cannot reasonably estimate or know the nature, timing and costs of the efforts that will be necessary to complete the remainder of the development of, or when, if ever, material net cash inflows may commence from our product candidates. This uncertainty is due to the numerous risks and uncertainties associated with the duration and cost of clinical trials, which vary significantly over the life of a project as a result of many factors, including:

 

 

 

the number of clinical sites included in the clinical trials;

 

 

 

the length of time required to enroll suitable patients;

 

 

 

the size of patient populations participating in the clinical trials;

 

 

 

the number of doses a patient receives;

 

 

 

the duration of patient follow-ups;

 

 

 

the development state of the product candidates; and

 

 

 

the efficacy and safety profile of the product candidates.

 

Our expenditures are subject to additional uncertainties, including the terms and timing of regulatory approvals, and the expense of filing, prosecuting, defending, and enforcing any patent claims or other intellectual property rights. We may never succeed in achieving regulatory approval for our product candidates. We may obtain unexpected results from our clinical trials. We may elect to discontinue, delay, or modify clinical trials of our product candidates. A change in the outcome of any of these variables with respect to the development of a product candidate could mean a significant change in the costs and timing associated with the development of that product candidate. For example, if the FDA or other regulatory authorities were to require us to conduct clinical trials beyond those that we currently anticipate, or if we experience significant delays in enrollment in any of our clinical trials, we could be required to expend significant additional financial resources and time on the completion of clinical development. Product commercialization will take several years and millions of dollars in development costs.

 

General and Administrative Expenses

 

General and administrative expenses consist principally of salaries and related costs for personnel in executive and administrative functions, travel expenses and recruiting expenses. Other general and administrative expenses include stock based compensation expenses, professional fees for legal, accounting and tax-related services, insurance costs, as well as payments made to consultants. We expense all general and administrative expenses as incurred.

 

We anticipate that our general and administrative expenses will increase as a result of increased payroll, expanded infrastructure and higher consulting, legal and tax-related services associated with maintaining compliance with stock exchange listing and SEC requirements, accounting and investor relations costs, and director and officer insurance premiums associated with being a public company. As a result, we expect to report higher general and administrative expenses in 2022.

 

Interest Expense

 

Interest expense has consisted primarily of interest expense on our previously outstanding convertible debt and loan with Silicon Valley Bank, amortization of debt discount costs, and interest on milestone payments under the License Amendment and Settlement Agreement.

 

Income Taxes

 

From inception until March 24, 2021, we operated as a limited liability company taxed as a partnership. Therefore, any income tax liability or benefit through that date accrued to our members. Since March 24, 2021, we have operated as a C-Corporation and account for income taxes under the asset and liability method, which requires the recognition of deferred tax assets and liabilities for the expected future tax consequences of events that have been included in the financial statements. Under this method, deferred tax assets and liabilities are determined based on the differences between the financial statements and tax basis of assets and liabilities using enacted tax rates in effect for the year in which the differences are expected to reverse. We recognize net deferred tax assets to the extent that we believe these assets are more likely than not to be realized. In making such a determination, we consider all available positive and negative evidence. We record the difference between the benefit recognized and measured pursuant to the accounting guidance on accounting for uncertain tax positions taken or expected to be taken on our tax return. We record uncertain tax positions on the basis of a two-step process whereby (1) management determines whether it is more likely than not that the tax positions will be sustained on the basis of the technical merits of the position and (2) for those tax positions that meet the more-likely-than-not recognition threshold, management recognizes the largest amount of tax benefit that is more than 50% likely to be realized upon ultimate settlement with the related tax authority. The liabilities are adjusted in light of changing facts and circumstances, such as the outcome of tax audits. To the extent that the assessment of such tax positions changes, the change in estimate is recorded in the period in which the determination is made. As of December 31, 2020 and 2019, we had no uncertain income tax positions.

 

 
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Critical Accounting Policies and Significant Judgments and Estimates

 

We have based our management’s discussion and analysis of financial condition and results of operations on our financial statements, which have been prepared in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States. The preparation of these financial statements requires us to make estimates that affect the reported amounts of assets and liabilities and the disclosure of contingent assets and liabilities at the date of the financial statements as well as the reported revenues and expenses during the reporting periods. On an ongoing basis, we evaluate our estimates and judgments, including those related to clinical development expenses and the fair value of units and common stock. We base our estimates on historical experience and on various other factors that we believe to be appropriate under the circumstances. Actual results may differ from these estimates under different assumptions or conditions.

 

While our significant accounting policies are more fully discussed in the notes to our audited financial statements appearing at the end of this prospectus, we believe that the following accounting policies are critical to the process of making significant judgments and estimates in the preparation of our financial statements.

 

Research and Development Expenses

 

As part of the process of preparing our financial statements, we are required to record actual research and development expenses and to estimate accrued research and development expenses, current assets and other current liabilities. This process involves reviewing open contracts and commitments, communicating with our personnel to identify services that have been performed for us and estimating the level of service performed and the associated cost incurred for the service when we have not yet been invoiced or otherwise notified of the actual cost. The majority of our service providers invoice us monthly in arrears for services performed or when contractual milestones are met. We make estimates of our accrued research and development expenses, current assets and other current liabilities as of each balance sheet date in our financial statements based on facts and circumstances known to us at that time. Example of estimated accrued research and development expenses, prepaid assets and other current liabilities include fees paid to contract manufacturers made in connection with the manufacturing of clinical trials materials and contract research organizations made in connection the performance of clinical trials on our behalf.

 

We base our expenses related to clinical manufacturing and clinical trials on our estimates of the services performed pursuant to contracts with the entities performing those services on our behalf. The financial terms of these agreements are subject to negotiation, vary from contract to contract and may result in uneven payment flows. Payments under these types of contracts depend heavily upon the successful completion of many separate tasks involved in the manufacturing of drug product and the performance of clinical trials. In accruing service fees, we estimate the time period over which services will be performed, and the actual services performed in each period. If our estimates of the status and timing of services performed differs from the actual status and timing of services performed, we may report amounts that are too high or too low in any particular period. To date, there have been no material differences from our estimates to the amount actually incurred.

 

Fair Value of Common Stock and Stock-Based Compensation

 

Stock-based compensation cost is measured at the grant date based on the fair value of the award and is recognized as expense over the requisite service period, which is generally the vesting period. Our policy permits the valuation of stock-based awards granted to non-employees to be measured at fair value at the grant date.

 

 
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Determining the appropriate fair value of share-based awards requires the use of subjective assumptions, including the fair value of our common shares for awards prior to our IPO, and for options, the expected life of the option and expected share price volatility. We use the Black-Scholes option pricing model to value our option awards. The assumptions used in calculating the fair value of share-based awards represents our best estimates and involve inherent uncertainties and the application of judgment. As a result, if factors change and management uses different assumptions, share-based compensation expense could be materially different for future awards.

 

Prior to our initial public offering in August 2021, we were required to periodically estimate the fair value of our common stock when issuing stock options and computing their estimated stock-based compensation expense. The fair value of common stock was determined by management on a periodic basis, with the assistance of an independent third-party valuation firm. The assumptions underlying these valuations represented management’s best estimates, which involved inherent uncertainties and the application of significant levels of management judgment.

 

In order to determine the fair value, we considered, among other things, contemporaneous transactions involving the sale of our common stock to unrelated third parties, the lack of marketability of our common stock and the market performance of comparable publicly traded companies.

 

Fair Value of Common Units

 

In the absence of a public trading market for our common units prior to our IPO, on each grant date, we developed an estimate of the fair value of our common units underlying the unit grants. We estimated the fair value of our common units by referencing arms-length transactions with third parties, inclusive of the common units underlying which occurred on or near the valuation date(s).

 

During the year ended December 31, 2019, we issued 161,142 Class B Common Units to employees, officers, and directors. During the year ended December 31, 2020, we issued 2,926 Class B Common Units to consultants and 2,643 Class B Common Units to an employee. All of the Class B Common Units issued in 2019 and 2020 represent a profits interest, as that term is defined in Revenue Procedure 93-27, 1993-2 C.B. 343, as clarified by Revenue Procedure 2001-43, 2001-2 C.B. 191. For performance-based awards, if and when the achievement of the predetermined performance criteria become probable, expense will be recognized. To date unit based compensation expense has not been material. The assumptions used in calculating the fair value of unit-based awards represents management’s best estimates and involve inherent uncertainties and the application of management’s judgment. As a result, if factors change and management uses different assumptions, unit-based compensation expense could be materially different for future awards. All of such securities were exchanged for shares of our capital units in connection with our conversion from a limited liability company to a corporation in March 2021.

 

Results of Operations for the Nine Months Ended September 30, 2021 and 2020

 

The following table summarizes our results of operations for the nine months ended September 30, 2021 and 2020:

 

 

 

Nine Months Ended September 30,

 

 

 

 

 

 

2021

 

 

2020

 

 

Difference

 

Operating expenses:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Research and development

 

$2,347,564

 

 

$1,493,520

 

 

$854,044

 

General and administrative

 

 

2,956,444

 

 

 

1,187,906

 

 

 

1,768,538

 

Total operating expenses

 

 

5,304,008

 

 

 

2,681,426

 

 

 

2,622,582

 

Loss from operations

 

 

(5,304,008)

 

 

(2,681,426)

 

 

(2,622,582)

Interest expense, net

 

 

45,613

 

 

 

158,791

 

 

 

(113,178)

Net loss

 

$(5,349,621)

 

$(2,840,217)

 

$(2,509,404)

  

Research and Development Expenses

 

Research and development expenses increased by $0.8 million from $1.5 million for the nine months ended September 30, 2020 to $2.3 million for the nine months ended September 30, 2021. The increase was the result of increased salaries, benefits, and stock-based compensation of $0.9 million, increased manufacturing costs of $0.2 million, and increased nonclinical studies of $0.1 million, offset by $0.4 million in decreased clinical costs.

 

General and Administrative Expenses

 

General and administrative expenses increased by $1.8 million from $1.2 million for the nine months ended September 30, 2020 to $3.0 million for the nine months ended September 30, 2021. The increase resulted from increased legal and professional fees of $0.7 million, increased salaries, benefits, and stock-based compensation expense of $0.9 million and increased insurance costs of $0.2 million.

 

 
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Other Income and Expenses

 

Other income and expenses decreased by $113,178 from $158,791 for the nine months ended September 30, 2020 to $45,613 for the nine months ended September 30, 2021. The decrease was the result of decreased debt discount amortization of $74,167 and decreased interest expense of $39,011.

 

Cash Flows

 

The following table summarizes our cash flows from operating and financing activities:

 

 

 

For the Nine Months Ended

 

 

 

September 30,

 

 

 

2021

 

 

2020

 

 

 

(unaudited)

 

 

(unaudited)

 

Total net cash provided by (used in):

 

 

 

 

 

 

Operating activities

 

$(3,889,483 )

 

$(3,492,567 )

Financing activities

 

 

15,962,424

 

 

 

2,253,811

 

Increase (decrease) in cash

 

 

12,072,941

 

 

 

(1,238,756 )

   

Cash used in operations of $3.9 million for the nine months ended September 30, 2021 was the result of the net loss of $5.3 million and an increase in prepaid expenses and other current assets of $1.0 million, offset by non-cash stock-based compensation of $1.4 million and an increase in accounts payable and accrued and other current liabilities of $1.0 million.

 

Cash used in operations of $3.5 million for the nine months ended September 30, 2020 was the result of the net loss of $2.8 million, payment of $0.5 million for a license and settlement liability, as well as an increase in accounts payable and accrued and other current liabilities of $0.2 million.

 

Financing Activities

 

Cash provided by financing activities of $16.0 million for the nine months ended September 30, 2021 was the result of net proceeds of $15.4 million from our initial public offering, $1.6 million from the issuance of convertible subordinated promissory notes, proceeds of $0.6 million from the issuance of Series 1d Preferred Units, offset by a $1.0 million payment for the redemption of 5,221,156 shares of Series 1c preferred stock and $0.6 million of principal and final payments on debt.

 

Cash provided by financing activities of $2.3 million for the nine months ended September 30, 2020 was the result of proceeds of $2.3 million from the issuance of convertible subordinated promissory notes, proceeds of $0.3 million from the issuance of Series 1c Preferred Units, and proceeds of $0.1 million from the Paycheck Protection Plan loan, offset by $0.5 million of principal payments on debt.

 

Results of Operations for the Year Ended December 31, 2020 and 2019

 

The following table summarizes our results of operations for the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019:

 

 

 

Year Ended December 31,

 

 

 

 

 

 

2020

 

 

2019

 

 

Difference

 

Operating expenses:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Research and development

 

$1,607,819

 

 

$2,623,280

 

 

$(1,015,461)

General and administrative

 

 

1,565,034

 

 

 

1,847,328

 

 

 

(282,294)

Total operating expenses

 

 

3,172,853

 

 

 

4,470,608

 

 

 

(1,297,755)

Loss from operations

 

 

(3,172,853)

 

 

(4,470,608)

 

 

1,297,755

 

Interest expense, net

 

 

63,677

 

 

 

250,748

 

 

 

(187,071)

Net loss

 

$(3,236,530)

 

$(4,721,356)

 

$1,484,826

 

 

Research and Development Expenses

 

Research and development expenses were $1,607,819 for the year ended December 31, 2020, compared to $2,623,280 for the year ended December 31, 2019. The decrease of $1,015,461 is primarily related to product manufacturing costs of $323,786 and the $730,962 estimated fair value of Series 1c Preferred Units issued in connection with the Villani License Agreement (defined below) that were not incurred in 2020, offset by increased clinical trial costs of $195,937 in 2020. Of the $1,607,819 in research and development expenses incurred during the year ended December 31, 2020, $1,396,308, was associated with activities related to clinical trials and $107,636 was related to product storage and stability testing. These activities included, but were not limited to, our Phase 2b clinical trial of DMT310 for the once-weekly treatment of moderate-to-severe acne as well as an open-label, 10 patient, Phase 1b clinical trial of DMT410 for the treatment of moderate-to-severe glabellar, lateral canthal and forehead lines along with multiple secondary aesthetic endpoints.

 

 
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We do not track research and development expenses by product candidate. Instead, because DMT310 and DMT410 utilize the same drug product developed from our Spongilla technology, we track research and development expenses based on the drug product used in a clinical trial.

 

Of the $2,623,280 in research and development incurred during the year ended December 31, 2019, $730,962 related to the estimated fair value of Series 1c Preferred Units issued in connection with the Villani License Agreement, $1,200,371 was associated with activities related to clinical trials, $323,786 was associated with product manufacturing costs and $160,853 was related to product storage and stability testing. These activities included, but were not limited to, our Phase 2a clinical trial of DMT310 for the once-weekly treatment of moderate-to-severe acne as well as an open-label, 10 patient, Phase 1b proof of concept clinical trial of DMT410 for the treatment of axillary hyperhidrosis.

 

General and Administrative Expenses

 

General and administrative expenses were $1,565,034 for the year ended December 31, 2020, compared to $1,847,328 for the year ended December 31, 2019. The decrease of $282,294 was primarily attributable to legal and professional fees related to the Villani License Agreement that were not incurred in 2020.

 

Cash Flows

 

The following table summarizes our cash flows from operating and financing activities:

 

 

 

For the Year Ended

 

 

 

December 31,

 

 

 

2020

 

 

2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total net cash provided by (used in):

 

 

 

 

 

 

Operating activities

 

$(4,028,541 )

 

$(3,922,272 )

Financing activities

 

 

2,567,139

 

 

 

4,734,461

 

Increase (decrease) in cash

 

 

(1,461,402 )

 

 

812,189

 

   

Cash used in operations of $4,028,541 in 2020 was primarily the result of the net loss of $3,236,530, the payment of a $500,000 license and settlement liability, a decrease in accounts payable and accrued liabilities of $254,471, and the gain from forgiveness of the Payroll Protection Plan of $133,592, offset by debt amortization of $97,104.

 

Cash used in operations of $3,922,272 in 2019 was primarily the result of the net loss of $4,721,356 and the payment of a $250,000 license and settlement liability, offset by the estimated fair value of $730,962 related to Series 1c Preferred Units issued in connection with the Villani License Agreement, debt discount amortization expense of $141,753, and decreases in accounts payable and accrued liabilities of $124,956.

 

Financing Activities

 

Cash provided by financing activities was $2,567,139 and $4,734,461 during the year ended December 31, 2020 and 2019, respectively. The primary reason for the decrease of $2,167,322 during 2020 was attributable to the issuance of 44,767,474 preferred units in 2019 for aggregate net proceeds of $5,510,630 (which includes the conversion of $150,000 in principal amount of convertible note from a Managing Member), compared to the issuance of 1,785,714 preferred units for an aggregate net proceeds of $250,000, and the issuance of the Notes for an aggregate net proceeds of $2,974,982 in 2020, as well as the proceeds in 2020 from the Payroll Protection Plan loan for net proceeds of $133,592.

 

Liquidity and Capital Resources

 

Since our inception, we have not generated any revenue or commercialized any products. As of September 30, 2021, our cash totaled $12.6 million and we had an accumulated deficit of $33.4 million. For the year ended December 31, 2020 and the nine months ended September 30, 2021, we used cash of $4.0 million and $3.9 million, respectively, in operations. As a result of our initial public offering of common stock and warrants in August 2021 for net proceeds to us of $15.4 million, our current cash balances are expected to fund operations into August 2022. We anticipate that we will continue to incur net losses for the foreseeable future.

 

 
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Historically, our principal sources of cash have included proceeds from the issuance of common and preferred equity and proceeds from the issuance of debt. Our principal uses of cash have included cash used in operations (including clinical development of our product candidates and general and administrative expenses) and payments for license rights. We expect that the principal uses of cash in the future will be for continuing operations, funding of research and development, and general working capital requirements. We expect that as research and development expenses continue to grow, we will need to raise additional capital to sustain operations and research and development activities.

 

Future Capital Requirements

 

We plan to focus in the near term on the development, regulatory approval, and potential commercialization of DMT310 for the treatment of acne, psoriasis, and rosacea. We anticipate we will incur net losses for the next several years as we complete clinical development of DMT310 for the treatment of acne, psoriasis and rosacea and continue research and development of DMT410 for the treatment of aesthetic and medical skin conditions. In addition, we plan to identify, acquire or in-license and develop additional drug candidates, potentially build commercial capabilities, and expand our corporate infrastructure. We may not be able to complete the development and initiate commercialization of these programs if, among other things, our clinical trials are not successful or if the FDA does not approve our drug candidate arising out of our current clinical trials when we expect, or at all.

 

Our primary uses of capital are, and we expect will continue to be, compensation and related expenses, clinical costs, external research and development services, legal and other regulatory expenses, and administrative and overhead costs. Our future funding requirements will be heavily determined by the resources needed to support development of our drug candidates.

 

As a publicly traded company, we will incur significant legal, accounting, and other expenses that we were not required to incur as a private company. In addition, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, as well as rules adopted by the SEC and Nasdaq, requires public companies to implement specified corporate governance practices that were not applicable to us as a private company. We expect these rules and regulations will increase our legal and financial compliance costs and will make some activities more time-consuming and costly.

 

We believe that the net proceeds from this offering, together with our existing cash, will be sufficient to fund our operating expenses and capital expenditure requirements into February 2023. We expect that our cash funds will fund the completion of our Phase 2 clinical trials for DMT310 for the treatment of rosacea, the initiation of our Phase 2 clinical trial for DMT310 for the treatment of psoriasis and the completion of the studies required to hold an End of Phase 2 meeting with the FDA for DMT310 for the acne program. We have based this estimate of cash runway on assumptions that may prove to be wrong, and we could utilize our available capital resources sooner than we expect. Even with the net proceeds from this offering, together with our existing cash, we expect that we will require additional capital to conduct Phase 3 studies for DMT310 for the treatment of acne, rosacea, and psoriasis, to pursue in-licenses or acquisitions of other drug candidates, and to complete the commercialization of our product candidates. Additional funds may not be available on a timely basis, on favorable terms, or at all, and such funds, if raised, may not be sufficient to enable us to continue to implement our long-term business strategy. If we are unable to raise sufficient additional capital, we may need to substantially curtail our planned operations and the pursuit of our growth strategy.

 

We may raise additional capital through the sale of equity or convertible debt securities. In such an event, the terms of these securities may include liquidation or other preferences that adversely affect the rights of a holder of our common stock.

 

Because of the numerous risks and uncertainties associated with research, development, and commercialization of pharmaceutical drugs, we are unable to estimate the exact amount of our working capital requirements. Our future funding requirements will depend on many factors, including:

 

 

the number and characteristics of the drug candidates we pursue;

 

 

 

 

the scope, progress, results, and costs of researching and developing our drug candidates, and conducting preclinical studies and clinical trials;

 

 

 

 

the timing of, and the costs involved in, obtaining regulatory approvals for our drug candidates;

 

 

 

 

the cost of manufacturing our drug candidates and any drugs we successfully commercialize;

 

 

 

 

our ability to establish and maintain strategic collaborations, licensing or other arrangements and the financial terms of such agreements;

 

 

 

 

the costs involved in preparing, filing, prosecuting, maintaining, defending, and enforcing patent claims, including litigation costs and the outcome of such litigation; and

 

 

 

 

the timing, receipt and amount of sales of, or milestone payments related to or royalties on, our current or future drug candidates, if any.

 

 
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To continue to grow our business over the longer term, we plan to commit substantial resources to research and development, clinical trials of our product candidates, and other operations and potential product acquisitions and in-licensing. We have evaluated and expect to continue to evaluate a wide array of strategic transactions as part of our plan to acquire or in-license and develop additional products and product candidates to augment our internal development pipeline. Strategic transaction opportunities that we may pursue could materially affect our liquidity and capital resources and may require us to incur additional indebtedness, seek equity capital or both. In addition, we may pursue development, acquisition or in-licensing of approved or development products in new or existing therapeutic areas or continue the expansion of our existing operations. Accordingly, we expect to continue to opportunistically seek access to additional capital to license or acquire additional products, product candidates or companies to expand our operations, or for general corporate purposes. Strategic transactions may require us to raise additional capital through one or more public or private debt or equity financings or could be structured as a collaboration or partnering arrangement. We have no arrangements, agreements, or understandings in place at the present time to enter into any acquisition, in-licensing or similar strategic business transaction.

 

If we raise additional funds by issuing equity securities, our stockholder will experience dilution. Debt financing, if available, would result in increased 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. Any debt financing or additional equity that we raise may contain terms, such as liquidation and other preferences that are not favorable to us or our stockholder. If we raise additional funds through collaboration and licensing arrangements with third parties, it may be necessary to relinquish valuable rights to our technologies, future revenue streams or product candidates or to grant licenses on terms that may not be favorable to us.

 

Going Concern

 

Since inception we have been engaged in organizational activities, including raising capital and research and development activities. We have not generated revenues and have not yet achieved profitable operations, nor have we ever generated positive cash flow from operations. There is no assurance that profitable operations, if achieved, could be sustained on a continuing basis. We are subject to those risks associated with any pre-clinical stage pharmaceutical company that has substantial expenditures for research and development. There can be no assurance that our research and development projects will be successful, that products developed will obtain necessary regulatory approval, or that any approved product will be commercially viable. In addition, we operate in an environment of rapid technological change and is largely dependent on the services of our employees and consultants. Further, our future operations are dependent on the success of the Company’s efforts to raise additional capital. These uncertainties raise substantial doubt about our ability to continue as a going concern for 12 months after the issuance date of our financial statements. The accompanying financial statements have been prepared on a going concern basis. The financial statements do not include any adjustments to reflect the possible future effects on the recoverability and classification of assets or the amounts and classification of liabilities that may result from the possible inability of the company to continue as a going concern, which contemplates the continuation of operations, realization of assets and liquidation of liabilities in the ordinary course of business. We incurred a net loss of $3.9 million for the year ended December 31, 2020 and $4.0 million for the nine months ended September 30, 2021, and had an accumulated deficit of $33.4 million at September 30, 2021. We anticipate incurring additional losses until such time, if ever, that we can generate significant revenue from our product candidates currently in development. Our primary source of capital has been the issuance of debt and equity securities.

 

 
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Global Pandemic Outbreak

 

In March 2020, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic. The outbreak has become increasingly widespread in the United States, impacting the markets in which we operate. While the full impact of the pandemic continues to evolve, the financial markets have been subject to significant volatility that adversely impacts our ability to enter into, modify, and negotiate favorable terms and conditions relative to equity and debt financing initiatives. The uncertain financial markets, disruptions in supply chains, mobility restraints, and changing priorities as well as volatile asset values also affect our ability to enter into collaborations, joint ventures, and license and royalty agreements. The outbreak and government measures taken in response to the pandemic have also had a significant impact, both direct and indirect, on businesses and commerce, as worker shortages have occurred; supply chains have been disrupted; facilities and production have been suspended; and demand for certain goods and services, such as medical services and supplies, have spiked, while demand for other goods and services, such as travel, have fallen. The future progression of the pandemic and its effects on our business and operations are uncertain. We may face difficulties recruiting or retaining patients in our ongoing and planned preclinical and clinical trials if patients are affected by the virus or are fearful of traveling to our clinical trial sites because of the outbreak. We and our third-party contract manufacturers, CROs, and clinical sites may also face disruptions in procuring items that are essential to our research and development activities, including, for example, medical and laboratory supplies used in our clinical trials or preclinical studies, in each case, that are sourced from abroad or for which there are shortages because of ongoing efforts to address the outbreak. While expected to be temporary, these disruptions may negatively impact our results of operations, financial condition, and liquidity in 2021, and potentially beyond.

 

Off-Balance Sheet Arrangements

 

We do not have any off-balance sheet arrangements.

 

Recently Issued Accounting Standards

 

For a discussion of recent accounting pronouncements, please see the Summary of Significant Accounting Policies in the Notes to our financial statements included elsewhere in this prospectus.

 

JOBS Act

 

On April 5, 2012, the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act of 2012, or the JOBS Act, was signed into law. The JOBS Act contains provisions that, among other things, reduce certain reporting requirements for an “emerging growth company”. As an “emerging growth company,” we are electing to take advantage of the extended transition period afforded by the JOBS Act for the implementation of new or revised accounting standards, and as a result, we will comply with new or revised accounting standards on the relevant dates on which adoption of such standards is required for non-emerging growth companies. Section 107 of the JOBS Act provides that our decision not to take advantage of the extended transition period is irrevocable.

 

Subject to certain conditions set forth in the JOBS Act, as an “emerging growth company,” we are not required to, among other things, (i) provide an auditor’s attestation report on our system of internal controls over financial reporting pursuant to Section 404, (ii) provide all of the compensation disclosure that may be required of non-emerging growth public companies under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, (iii) comply with any requirement that may be adopted by the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board regarding mandatory audit firm rotation or a supplement to the auditor’s report providing additional information about the audit and the financial statements (auditor discussion and analysis), and (iv) disclose certain executive compensation-related items such as the correlation between executive compensation and performance and comparisons of the chief executive officer’s compensation to median employee compensation. These exemptions will apply until the fifth anniversary of the completion of our initial public offering or until we no longer meet the requirements for being an “emerging growth company,” whichever occurs first.

 

 
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BUSINESS

 

Overview

 

We are a clinical-stage medical dermatology company focused on identifying, developing, and commercializing innovative pharmaceutical product candidates for the treatment of medical and aesthetic skin diseases and conditions we believe represent significant market opportunities because current therapies are inadequate or non-existent.

 

Dermatological diseases such as acne vulgaris (or acne), psoriasis vulgaris (or psoriasis), papulopustular rosacea (or rosacea), hyperhidrosis and various aesthetic indications, affect millions of people worldwide each year, and may negatively impact their quality of life and emotional well-being. While there are multiple current treatment options for these indications on the market, we believe that most have significant drawbacks, including underwhelming efficacy, cumbersome application regimens and varying negative side effects, all of which we believe lead to decreased patient compliance. While a majority of these indications are first treated with topical products, many patients frequently switch treatments or discontinue treatment altogether due to patient dissatisfaction stemming from slow and modest response rates, early onset of negative side effects, onerous application schedules and typically long duration of therapy. For diseases like psoriasis, a small percentage of patients may be candidates for biologic or systemic therapies, but these patients are typically required to try topical or oral treatment options prior to qualifying for these expensive biologic or systemic therapies. Given the limitations with current topical therapies and the restricted usability of biologic and systemic therapies, we believe there is a significant opportunity to address the needs of frustrated patients searching for topical products that satisfy their dermatological and lifestyle needs.

 

Our two product candidates, DMT310 and DMT410, both incorporate our proprietary, multifaceted, Spongilla technology to topically treat a variety of dermatological conditions. Our Spongilla technology is a multifactorial, naturally-derived product that is processed from a naturally grown freshwater sponge, Spongilla lacustris or Spongilla, which is processed into a powder that is mixed with a fluidizing agent immediately prior to application by the patient to form an easily applicable paste. Spongilla is a unique freshwater sponge that only grows in commercial quantities in select regions of the world and under specific environmental conditions, all of which give it its distinctive anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory and mechanical properties. The combination of these environmental conditions, the proprietary harvesting protocols developed with our supplier, and our post-harvest processing procedures produce a pharmaceutical product candidate that optimizes the mechanical component as well as the chemical components of the sponge for a product candidate with multiple mechanisms of action for the treatment of inflammatory skin conditions.

 

Our lead product candidate DMT310, is intended to utilize our Spongilla technology for a once-weekly treatment of a variety of skin diseases with our initial focus being for the treatment of acne vulgaris. However, due to the multiple mechanisms of action and anti-inflammatory effect seen with DMT310 throughout our various clinical trials for acne, we have quickly moved DMT310 into clinical trials for two additional indications, psoriasis and rosacea. We recently completed a Phase 1b proof of concept, or POC, trial in psoriasis and in November 2021 we initiated a Phase 2 clinical trial of DMT310 for the treatment of rosacea.

  

Our second product candidate utilizing our Spongilla technology is our combination treatment, DMT410. DMT410 is intended to consist of one treatment of our proprietary sponge powder followed by one topical application of botulinum toxin for delivery into the dermis.  We first tested this program in a Phase 1 POC trial of axillary hyperhidrosis patients which saw 80% of patients achieve a reduction in gravimetric sweat production greater than 50% four weeks after treatment. Based on DMT410’s ability to effectively deliver botulinum toxin to the dermis, we initiated a Phase 1 POC trial of DMT410 for the treatment of multiple aesthetic skin conditions. On November 19, 2021, we announced top-line results from this trial where we saw encouraging data that we believe warrants further investigation of this program.

 

We believe our Spongilla technology platform will enable us to develop and formulate singular and combination products that are able to target topical delivery of chemical compounds into the dermis for a variety of indications. We believe the mechanical ability of the Spongilla technology allows for the intradermal delivery of a variety of large and small molecules to a targeted treatment site, through topical application as seen in our Phase 1a DMT410 hyperhidrosis trial. We believe the combination of Spongilla’s mechanical and chemical components (which we believe have demonstrated, in-vitro, anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory pro