Third parties may independently develop similar or superior technology.
There can be no assurance that others will not independently develop, or have not already developed, similar or more advanced technologies than our technology; or that others will not design around, or have not already designed around, aspects of our technology and/or our trade secrets developed therefrom. If third parties develop technology similar or superior to our technology, or they successfully design around our current or future technology, our competitive position, business prospects, and results of operations could be materially and adversely affected.
The intellectual property which we have licensed from Northwestern University was discovered through government funded programs and thus may be subject to federal regulations such as “march-in” rights, certain reporting requirements, and a preference for U.S. industry. Compliance with such regulations may limit our exclusive rights, subject us to expenditure of resources with respect to reporting requirements, and limit our ability to contract with non-U.S. manufacturers.
We have licensed certain intellectual property from Northwestern University pursuant to the Northwestern University license agreements. The Northwestern University license agreements indicate that the rights licensed to us by Northwestern University are subject to the obligations to and the rights of the U.S. government, including those set forth in the Bayh-Dole Act of 1980, or the Bayh-Dole Act. As a result, the U.S. government may have certain rights to intellectual property embodied in our current or future therapeutics based on the licensed Northwestern University intellectual property. These U.S. government rights in certain inventions developed under a government-funded program include a non-exclusive, non-transferable, irrevocable worldwide license to use inventions for any governmental purpose. In addition, the U.S. government has the right to require us to grant exclusive, partially exclusive, or nonexclusive licenses to any of these inventions to a third party if it determines that: (i) adequate steps have not been taken to commercialize the invention; (ii) government action is necessary to meet public health or safety needs; or (iii) government action is necessary to meet requirements for public use under federal regulations, also referred to as “march-in rights.” While the U.S. government has sparingly used, and to the Company’s knowledge never successfully exercised, such march-in rights, any exercise of the march-in rights by the U.S. government could harm our competitive position, business, financial condition, results of operations, and prospects. If the U.S. government exercises such march-in rights, we may receive compensation that is deemed reasonable by the U.S. government in its sole discretion, which may be less than what we might be able to obtain in the open market. Intellectual property generated under a government funded program is also subject to certain reporting requirements, compliance with which may require us to expend substantial resources.
In addition, the U.S. government requires that any therapeutics embodying any invention generated through the use of U.S. government funding be manufactured substantially in the U.S. The manufacturing preference requirement can be waived if the owner of the intellectual property can show that reasonable but unsuccessful efforts have been made to grant licenses on similar terms to potential licensees that would be likely to manufacture substantially in the United States or that under the circumstances domestic manufacture is not commercially feasible. This preference for U.S. manufacturers may limit our ability to contract with non-U.S. therapeutic manufacturers for therapeutics covered by such intellectual property.
Risks Related to Government Regulation
We may be unable to obtain U.S. or foreign regulatory approval and, as a result, unable to commercialize our therapeutic candidates.
Our therapeutic candidates are subject to extensive governmental regulations relating to, among other things, research, testing, development, manufacturing, safety, efficacy, approval, recordkeeping, reporting, labeling, storage, packaging, advertising and promotion, pricing, marketing, sampling, and distribution of therapeutics. Rigorous preclinical testing and clinical trials and an extensive regulatory approval process are required to be successfully completed in the U.S. and in many foreign jurisdictions before a new therapeutic can be marketed. Satisfaction of these and other regulatory requirements is costly, time consuming, uncertain and subject to unanticipated delays. It is possible that none of the therapeutic candidates we may develop will obtain the regulatory approvals necessary for us or any current or future collaborators to begin selling them.