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10-K
SERES THERAPEUTICS, INC. filed this Form 10-K on 03/06/2019
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Generally, if a product with an orphan drug designation subsequently receives the first marketing approval for the indication for which it has such designation, the product is entitled to a period of marketing exclusivity, which precludes the EMA or the FDA from approving another marketing application for the same drug or biologic for that time period. The applicable period is seven years in the United States and ten years in Europe. The European exclusivity period can be reduced to six years if a product no longer meets the criteria for orphan drug designation or if the product is sufficiently profitable so that market exclusivity is no longer justified. Orphan drug exclusivity may be lost if the FDA or EMA determines that the request for designation was materially defective or if the manufacturer is unable to assure a sufficient quantity of the drug or biologic to meet the needs of patients with the rare disease or condition.

Orphan drug exclusivity for a product may not effectively protect the product from competition because different drugs can be approved for the same condition. Even after an orphan drug is approved, the FDA can subsequently approve the same drug for the same condition if the FDA concludes that the later drug is clinically superior in that it is shown to be safer, more effective or makes a major contribution to patient care.

Changes in funding for the FDA and other government agencies could hinder their ability to hire and retain key leadership and other personnel, or otherwise prevent new products and services from being developed or commercialized in a timely manner, which could negatively impact our business.

The ability of the FDA to review and approve new products can be affected by a variety of factors, including government budget and funding levels, ability to hire and retain key personnel and accept the payment of user fees, and statutory, regulatory, and policy changes. Average review times at the agency have fluctuated in recent years as a result. In addition, government funding of other government agencies that fund research and development activities is subject to the political process, which is inherently fluid and unpredictable.

Disruptions at the FDA and other agencies may also slow the time necessary for new drugs and biologics to be reviewed and/or approved by necessary government agencies, which would adversely affect our business.  For example, over the last several years, including for 35 days beginning on December 22, 2018, the U.S. government has shut down several times and certain regulatory agencies, such as the FDA, have had to furlough critical FDA employees and stop critical activities. If a prolonged government shutdown occurs, it could significantly impact the ability of the FDA to timely review and process our regulatory submissions, which could have a material adverse effect on our business.

Risks Related to our Dependence on Third Parties and Manufacturing

The Collaboration and License Agreement, or the License Agreement, with NHS is important to our business. If we or NHS fail to adequately perform under the License Agreement, or if we or NHS terminate the License Agreement, the development and commercialization of our CDI and IBD product candidates, including SER-109, SER-262, SER-287, and SER-301, would be delayed or terminated and our business would be adversely affected.

The License Agreement may be terminated:

 

by NHS in the event of serious safety issues related to SER-109, SER-262, SER-287, SER-301 or other specific products added under the License Agreement, or, collectively, the NHS Collaboration Products;

 

by us if NHS challenges the validity or enforceability of any of our licensed patents; and

 

by either NHS or us in the event of the other party’s uncured material breach or insolvency.

Upon termination of the License Agreement, all licenses granted to NHS by us will terminate, and all rights in and to the NHS Collaboration Products held by NHS will revert to us. If we commit a material breach of the License Agreement, NHS may elect not to terminate the License Agreement but instead apply specified adjustments to its payment obligations and other terms and conditions of the License Agreement. If NHS were to make such adjustments, the funding from and benefits of the License Agreement could be diminished, which could adversely affect our financial condition. Unless the License Agreement is terminated by us for NHS’ uncured material breach, upon termination of the License Agreement, NHS will be eligible to receive post-termination royalties from us until NHS has recouped certain development costs related to the NHS Collaboration Products and specified percentages of any milestone payments paid to us under the License Agreement prior to termination, which could have a material adverse effect on our business.

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