relative convenience and ease of administration of our therapeutic candidates;
the willingness of patients to accept any new methods of administration;
the success of our physician education programs;
the availability of adequate government and third party payor reimbursement;
the pricing of our products, particularly as compared to alternative treatments; and
availability of alternative effective treatments for indications our therapeutic candidates are intended to treat and the relative risks, benefits and costs of those treatments.
With our focus on SNAs, these risks may increase to the extent the space becomes more competitive or less favored in the commercial marketplace. Additional risks apply in relation to any disease indications we may pursue which are classified as rare diseases and allow for orphan drug designation by regulatory agencies in major commercial markets, such as the U.S., Europe and Japan. Because of the small patient population for a rare disease, if pricing is not approved or accepted in the market at an appropriate level for an approved product with orphan drug designation, such therapeutic may not generate enough revenue to offset costs of development, manufacturing, marketing and commercialization despite any benefits received from the orphan drug designation, such as market exclusivity, assistance in clinical trial design or a reduction in user fees or tax credits related to development expense. Market size is also a variable in disease indications not classified as rare. Our estimates regarding potential market size for any indication may be materially different from what we discover to exist at the time we commence commercialization, if any, for a therapeutic, which could result in significant changes in our business plan and have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.
If a therapeutic candidate that has orphan drug designation subsequently receives the first FDA approval for the indication for which it has such designation, the therapeutic candidate is entitled to orphan product exclusivity, which means that the FDA may not approve any other applications to market the same therapeutic candidate for the same indication, except in very limited circumstances, for seven years. Orphan drug exclusivity, however, could also block the approval of one of our therapeutic candidates for seven years if a competitor obtains approval of the same therapeutic candidate as defined by the FDA or if our therapeutic candidate is determined to be contained within the competitor’s therapeutic candidate for the same indication or disease.
As in the U.S., we may apply for designation of a therapeutic candidate as an orphan drug for the treatment of a specific indication in the European Union before the application for marketing authorization is made. Sponsors of orphan drugs in the European Union can enjoy economic and marketing benefits, including up to ten years of market exclusivity for the approved indication. During such period, marketing applications for similar medicinal products will not be accepted, unless certain exceptions apply. In the EU, a “similar medicinal product” is a medicinal product containing a similar active substance or substances as contained in a currently authorized orphan medicinal product, and which is intended for the same therapeutic indication.
Any inability to attract and retain qualified key management and technical personnel would impair our ability to implement our business plan.
Our success largely depends on the continued service of key management and other specialized personnel, including David A. Giljohann, Ph.D., our Chief Executive Officer, David S. Snyder, our Chief Financial Officer, and Ekambar Kandimalla, Ph.D., our Chief Scientific Officer. The loss of one or more members of our management team or other key employees or advisors could delay our research and development programs and materially harm our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects. The relationships that our key managers have cultivated within our industry make us particularly dependent upon their continued employment with us. We are dependent on the continued service of our technical personnel because of the highly technical nature of our therapeutic candidates and our technology and the specialized nature of the regulatory approval process. Because our management team and key employees are not obligated to provide us with continued service, they could