Compliance with governmental regulations regarding the treatment of animals used in research could increase our operating costs, which would adversely affect the commercialization of our technology.
The Animal Welfare Act, or AWA, is the federal law that covers the treatment of certain animals used in research. Currently, the AWA imposes a wide variety of specific regulations that govern the humane handling, care, treatment and transportation of certain animals by producers and users of research animals, most notably relating to personnel, facilities, sanitation, cage size, and feeding, watering and shipping conditions. Third parties with whom we contract are subject to registration, inspections and reporting requirements under the AWA. Furthermore, some states have their own regulations, including general anti-cruelty legislation, which establish certain standards in handling animals. Comparable rules, regulations, and or obligations exist in many foreign jurisdictions. If we or our contractors fail to comply with regulations concerning the treatment of animals used in research, we may be subject to fines and penalties and adverse publicity, and our operations could be adversely affected.
Our internal computer systems, or those of our CROs or other contractors or consultants, may fail or suffer security breaches, which could result in a material disruption of our therapeutic development programs.
Despite the implementation of security measures, our internal computer systems and those of our CROs and other contractors and consultants are vulnerable to damage from computer viruses, unauthorized access, natural disasters, terrorism, war and telecommunication and electrical failures. Such events could cause interruptions of our operations. For instance, the loss of preclinical study or clinical trial data involving our therapeutic candidates could result in delays in our development and regulatory filing efforts and significantly increase our costs. In addition, theft or other exposure of data may interfere with our ability to protect our intellectual property, trade secrets, and other information critical to our operations. We can provide no assurances that certain sensitive and proprietary information relating to one or more of our therapeutic candidates has not been, or will not in the future be, compromised. Although we have invested resources to enhance the security of our computer systems, there can be no assurances we will not experience additional unauthorized intrusions into our computer systems, or those of our CROs and other contractors and consultants, that we will successfully detect future unauthorized intrusions in a timely manner, or that future unauthorized intrusions will not result in material adverse effects on our financial condition, reputation, or business prospects. Payments related to the elimination of ransomware may materially affect our financial condition and results of operations.
Certain data breaches must also be reported to affected individuals and the government, and in some cases to the media, under provisions of HIPAA, as amended by HITECH, other U.S. federal and state law, and requirements of non-U.S. jurisdictions, including the European Union Data Protection Directive, and financial penalties may also apply.
To the extent that any disruption or security breach were to result in a loss of, or damage to, our data, or inappropriate disclosure of confidential or proprietary information, we could incur liability and the development of our therapeutic candidates could be delayed.
If we do not comply with laws regulating the protection of the environment and health and human safety, our business could be adversely affected.
Our research, development and manufacturing involve the use of hazardous materials and various chemicals. We maintain quantities of various flammable and toxic chemicals in our facilities in Skokie, Illinois that are required for our research, development and manufacturing activities. We are subject to federal, state and local laws and regulations governing the use, manufacture, storage, handling and disposal of these hazardous materials. We believe our procedures for storing, handling and disposing these materials in our Skokie facilities comply with the relevant guidelines of Skokie, the state of Illinois, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration of the U.S. Department of Labor. Although we believe that our safety procedures for handling and disposing of these materials comply with the standards mandated by applicable regulations, the risk of accidental contamination or injury from these materials cannot be eliminated. If an accident occurs, we could be held liable for resulting damages, which could be substantial. We are also subject to numerous environmental, health and workplace safety laws and regulations, including those governing laboratory procedures, exposure to blood-borne pathogens and the handling