ardx_Current_Folio_10-K

Table of Contents

 

UNITED STATES

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

WASHINGTON, D.C. 20549


FORM 10-K


(Mark One)

ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(D) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

FOR THE FISCAL YEAR ENDED DECEMBER 31, 2019

OR

TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(D) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

FOR THE TRANSITION PERIOD FROM                     TO                     

COMMISSION FILE NUMBER 001-36485


ARDELYX, INC.

(EXACT NAME OF REGISTRANT AS SPECIFIED IN ITS CHARTER)


DELAWARE

26-1303944

(STATE OR OTHER JURISDICTION OF

(I.R.S. EMPLOYER

INCORPORATION OR ORGANIZATION)

IDENTIFICATION NO.)

 

34175 ARDENWOOD BLVD., SUITE 200, FREMONT, CALIFORNIA 94555

(ADDRESS OF PRINCIPAL EXECUTIVE OFFICES, INCLUDING ZIP CODE)

(510) 745-1700

(REGISTRANT’S TELEPHONE NUMBER, INCLUDING AREA CODE)


Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:

Title of Each Class

    

Trading Symbol(s)

    

Name of Each Exchange on Which Registered

 

Common Stock, par value $0.0001 per share

 

ARDX

 

The Nasdaq Global Market

 

 

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: None


Indicate by check mark if the Registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act. Yes   No 

Indicate by check mark if the Registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Act. Yes   No 

Indicate by check mark whether the Registrant: (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the Registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days.   Yes     No

Indicate by check mark whether the Registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the Registrant was required to submit such files).  Yes  No

 

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 definition 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     

Small 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 pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act.  

Indicate by check mark whether the Registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act). Yes  No

The aggregate market value of the Registrant’s common stock held by non-affiliates of the Registrant as of the last business day of the Registrant’s most recently completed second fiscal quarter, June 30, 2019, based on the last reported sales price of the Registrant’s common stock of $2.69 per share was $125,911,696.

The number of shares of Registrant’s Common Stock outstanding as of March 3, 2020, was 88,929,668. 

DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE:

Portions of the Registrant’s Definitive Proxy Statement for its 2020 Annual Meeting of Stockholders, which will be filed with the Commission within 120 days of December 31, 2019, the close of the Registrant’s 2019 fiscal year, are incorporated by reference into Part III of this Report.

 

 

 

 

Table of Contents

ARDELYX, INC.

FORM 10‑K FOR THE FISCAL YEAR ENDED DECEMBER 31, 2019

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

 

Page

 

PART I

 

Item 1. 

Business

2

Item 1A. 

Risk Factors

23

Item 1B. 

Unresolved Staff Comments

59

Item 2. 

Properties

59

Item 3. 

Legal Proceedings

59

Item 4. 

Mine Safety Disclosures

59

 

PART II

 

Item 5. 

Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

60

Item 6. 

Selected Financial Data

61

Item 7. 

Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations

62

Item 7A. 

Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk

77

Item 8. 

Financial Statements and Supplementary Data

79

Item 9. 

Changes in and Disagreements with Accountants on Accounting and Financial Disclosure

113

Item 9A. 

Controls and Procedures

113

Item 9B. 

Other Information

117

 

PART III

 

Item 10. 

Directors, Executive Officers and Corporate Governance

118

Item 11. 

Executive Compensation

118

Item 12. 

Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management and Related Stockholder Matters

118

Item 13. 

Certain Relationships and Related Transactions, and Director Independence

118

Item 14. 

Principal Accounting Fees and Services

118

 

PART IV

 

Item 15. 

Exhibits, Financial Statement Schedules

119

Item 16.

Form 10-K Summary

119

 

 

 

Signatures 

 

123

 

 

 

 

Table of Contents

NOTE REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

Unless the context requires otherwise, in this Annual Report on Form 10‑K the terms “Ardelyx”, “we,” “us,” “our” and “the Company” refer to Ardelyx, Inc.

This Annual Report on Form 10‑K contains forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties. Any statements contained herein that are not statements of historical facts may be deemed to be forward-looking statements. In some cases, you can identify forward-looking statements by terminology such as “aim,” “anticipate,” “assume,” “believe,” “continue,” “could,” “due,” “estimate,” “expect,” “goal,” “intend,” “may,” “objective,” “plan,” “predict,” “potential,” “positioned,” “seek,” “should,” “target,” “will,” “would,” and other similar expressions that are predictions of or indicate future events and future trends, or the negative of these terms or other comparable terminology. These forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, statements about:

·

our expectations regarding our plans for and our participation in the commercialization of tenapanor for the control of serum phosphorus in chronic kidney disease, or CKD, patients on dialysis, including our expectations regarding our plans to build our own sales and marketing organization to market and sell tenapanor for such indication;

·

our plans to seek one or more collaboration partners to commercialize tenapanor for irritable bowel syndrome with constipation, or IBS-C, rather than to commercialize tenapanor for this indication on our own;

·

our expectations regarding the potential market size and the size of the patient populations for our product candidates;

·

our plans with respect to our pre-clinical programs;

·

our ability to identify and validate targets and novel drug candidates using our proprietary drug discovery and design platform including the Ardelyx Primary Enterocyte and Colonocyte Culture System, or APECCS, or any other proprietary drug discovery and design platform we develop for the identification, screening, testing, design and development of new product candidates for the treatment of renal diseases;

·

the implementation of our business model and strategic plans for our business, product candidates and technology;

·

estimates of our expenses, future revenue, capital requirements, our needs for additional financing and our ability to obtain additional capital;

·

our financial performance; and

·

developments and projections relating to our competitors and our industry.

Factors that could cause actual results or conditions to differ from those anticipated by these and other forward-looking statements include those more fully described in the “ITEM 1A. RISK FACTORS” section and elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10‑K. Except as required by law, we assume no obligation to update any forward-looking statement publicly, or to revise any forward-looking statement to reflect events or developments occurring after the date of this Annual Report on Form 10‑K, even if new information becomes available in the future. Thus, you should not assume that our silence over time means that actual events are bearing out as expressed or implied in any such forward-looking statement.

 

1

Table of Contents

ITEM 1. BUSINESS

Company overview

We are a specialized biopharmaceutical company focused on developing first-in-class medicines to improve treatment for people with cardiorenal diseases. This includes patients with CKD on dialysis suffering from elevated serum phosphorus, or hyperphosphatemia; and CKD patients and/or heart failure patients with elevated serum potassium, or hyperkalemia. Our lead program is tenapanor, a first-in-class medicine in late-stage clinical development for the control of serum phosphorus in patients with CKD on dialysis. Tenapanor has a unique mechanism of action and acts locally in the gut to inhibit the sodium hydrogen exchanger 3, or NHE3. This results in the tightening of the epithelial cell junctions, thereby significantly reducing paracellular uptake of phosphate, the primary pathway of phosphate absorption.    

We have evaluated tenapanor in a Phase 3 program for the control of serum phosphorus in CKD patients on dialysis. In December 2019, we reported statistically significant topline efficacy results from our second monotherapy Phase 3 clinical trial, the PHREEDOM trial. The PHREEDOM trial is a one-year study with a 26-week open-label treatment period and a 12-week double-blind, placebo-controlled randomized withdrawal period followed by a 14-week open-label safety extension period. An active safety control group, for safety analysis only, received sevelamer, open-label, for the entire 52-week study period. Patients completing the PHREEDOM trial from both the tenapanor arm and the sevelamer active safety control arm had the option to participate in NORMALIZE, an ongoing open-label 18-month extension study. The goal of this study is to further our understanding of the potential for the dual mechanism of tenapanor and sevelamer to reduce patients’ serum phosphorus levels towards normal (<4.6 mg/dL) while minimizing medication burden. The PHREEDOM trial followed a successful monotherapy Phase 3 clinical trial completed in 2017, which achieved statistical significance for the primary endpoint .  In addition, in September 2019, we reported positive results from the AMPLIFY trial, a Phase 3 study evaluating tenapanor in patients with CKD on dialysis who had uncontrolled hyperphosphatemia despite phosphate binder treatment.

We are preparing to submit a New Drug Application, or NDA, to the United States Food and Drug Administration, or FDA, for tenapanor for the control of serum phosphorus in adult patients with CKD on dialysis in mid-2020. Tenapanor, if approved, would be the first therapy for phosphate management that is not a phosphate binder. As tenapanor is a novel, potent, small molecule there would be significantly less pill burden than with phosphate binders. Tenapanor is dosed as a single pill, twice-daily, which we believe could greatly improve patient adherence and compliance and free patients from having to take multiple pills before every meal.

 

We are also advancing a small molecule potassium secretagogue program, RDX013, for the potential treatment of hyperkalemia. Hyperkalemia is a common problem in patients with heart and kidney disease, particularly in patients taking common blood pressure medications known as RAAS inhibitors, which inhibit the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system. Similar to what we have done with tenapanor in developing a non-binder approach for the treatment of elevated serum phosphate levels, RDX013 is designed to offer a non-binder alternative to lowering elevated potassium with a much lower pill burden than potassium binders and we believe may provide significant advantages as a stand-alone agent or in combination with potassium binders.

 

In addition to the development of tenapanor in our cardiorenal portfolio, we have developed tenapanor for the treatment of patients with IBS-C. On September 12, 2019, we received US FDA approval of IBSRELA® (tenapanor) for the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome with constipation (IBS-C) in adults. IBS-C is a burdensome gastrointestinal, or GI, disorder affecting a significant number of people. It is characterized by significant abdominal pain, constipation, straining during bowel movements, bloating and/or gas.

By inhibiting NHE3 on the apical surface of the enterocytes, tenapanor reduces absorption of sodium from the small intestine and colon, resulting in an increase in water secretion into the intestinal lumen, which accelerates intestinal transit time and results in a softer stool consistency. Tenapanor has also been shown to reduce abdominal pain by decreasing visceral hypersensitivity and by decreasing intestinal permeability in animal models. In rat model of colonic hypersensitivity, tenapanor reduced visceral hyperalgesia and normalized colonic sensory neuronal excitability.

2

Table of Contents

Our Commercial Strategy

We aim to build a multi-product company that commercializes its cardiorenal products in the United States. Our strategy is to leverage ex-U.S. collaborations with established industry leaders to efficiently bring our cardiorenal medicines and tenapanor for IBS-C to patients outside the United States. Our plan is to bring tenapanor for IBS-C to market in the United States by leveraging domestic collaborations rather than by commercializing tenapanor for IBS-C on our own. 

We currently have three collaboration partnerships: with Kyowa Kirin Co., Ltd., or KKC, for commercialization of tenapanor for the treatment of cardiorenal diseases, including hyperphosphatemia, in Japan; with Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical Industrial Development Co. Ltd., or Fosun Pharma, for the commercialization of tenapanor for the treatment of IBS-C and hyperphosphatemia in China; and with Knight Therapeutics, Inc., or Knight, for commercialization of tenapanor in Canada.

OUR PROPRIETARY DRUG DISCOVERY AND DESIGN PLATFORM

We have successfully developed and expect to continue to employ our APECCS stem cell platform to emulate, in a miniaturized format, the function and structure of cells of specific segments of the intestine. In line with our overall strategy to focus on our cardiorenal pipeline, our research supports tenapanor, RDX013 and other potential cardiorenal opportunities, and we expect to continue our efforts to develop a system, similar to APECCS for the kidney. 

OUR PRODUCT PIPELINE

Tenapanor: A New Approach for The Control of Serum Phosphorus in CKD Patients on Dialysis

Our lead product candidate in our cardiorenal portfolio is tenapanor for the control of serum phosphorus in patients with CKD on dialysis. Hyperphosphatemia, or elevated serum phosphorus, is an independent predictor of morbidity and mortality in patients with CKD and is a significant problem among dialysis patients worldwide. 

CKD is the progressive deterioration of renal function that can occur over several months or years. The symptoms of worsening kidney function are nonspecific, and can include having less energy, reduced appetite, dry itchy skin, swollen feet and ankles or generally just not feeling well. If the deterioration continues and is not halted by changes in lifestyle or with the assistance of pharmacological intervention, the disease will likely cause significant cardiovascular morbidity, and can progress to the final stage of CKD where kidney function will be lost entirely.

Current management of CKD includes hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis as a means to filter toxins from the blood once kidneys have failed. Unless this intervention occurs, kidney failure results in the accumulation of waste products that may ultimately cause death. Hemodialysis, the most common form of dialysis, generally requires a patient to visit a dialysis center at least three times per week for a minimum three-hour session, significantly reducing quality of life.

Phosphorus, a vital element required for most cellular processes, is present in almost every food in the Western diet, and, in individuals with normal kidney function, any excess dietary phosphorus is efficiently removed by the kidneys and excreted in urine. In adults with functioning kidneys normal serum phosphorus levels are 2.5 to 4.5 mg/dL. With kidney failure, elevated phosphorus becomes harmful and is typically diagnosed as hyperphosphatemia when serum phosphorus levels are greater than 4.5 mg/dL, according to guidelines published by KDIGO, the global nonprofit foundation dedicated to improving the care and outcomes of kidney disease patients worldwide. Phosphorus levels greater than 5.5 mg/dL have been shown to be an independent risk factor for cardiovascular morbidity and mortality in dialysis patients, and common treatment goals are to manage serum phosphorus to less than 5.5 mg/dL. Although patients with CKD rely on dialysis to eliminate harmful agents, phosphorus is not readily removed by the procedure and other means of managing phosphorus levels must be employed. Studies have shown that 95% of CKD patients on dialysis need phosphate control.

3

Table of Contents

In CKD patients on dialysis, excess levels of phosphorus have been shown to lead to an increase in cardiovascular disease risk, as well as increases in serum FGF‑23, an important regulator of phosphate and vitamin D metabolism. Highly elevated levels of FGF23 is an independent risk factor for adverse cardiac clinical outcomes as well as the development of secondary hyperparathyroidism, or SHPT, marked by elevated parathyroid hormone. SHPT is associated with renal osteodystrophy, a condition of abnormal bone growth characterized by brittle bones.

Since dialysis is unable to efficiently eliminate excess phosphorus, CKD patients on dialysis are put on restrictive, low phosphorus diets and are currently prescribed medications called phosphate binders, the only interventions currently available for the control of serum phosphorus. Phosphate binders, which usually need to be taken with meals and snacks, act by binding dietary phosphorus and limiting its absorption. Phosphate binders have multiple limitations, including:

·

systemic excess absorption of calcium, iron or lanthanum, resulting in side effects and other unintended consequences for CKD patients on dialysis;

·

significant challenges with patient adherence because of the large quantity and/or mass of the binders that must be taken each day; and

·

significant GI tolerability issues making frequent dosing difficult for patients

Safety and tolerability have also been significant concerns with many approved phosphate binders, with side effects that include long-term vascular calcification with calcium-based binders and iron-overload with iron-based binders. Common side effects of many approved phosphate binders include GI-related adverse events such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, and dyspepsia as well as hypercalcemia for calcium-based binders and discolored feces for iron-based binders.

CKD patients on dialysis, who generally are severely restricted in their fluid intake, are prescribed as many as 12 or more phosphate binder pills per day, among other medications. The amount of phosphorus a binder can remove is limited by its binding capacity, and therefore, increasing the dose, and hence the pill burden, of the binder is the only way to increase the amount of phosphorus being bound and excreted. As a result of pill burden and mass, as well as a number of side effects, on average one out of two patients is not compliant with their prescribed treatment and two out of three patients at any point in time are not at target serum phosphorus levels.

We are developing tenapanor for the control of serum phosphorus in patients with CKD on dialysis, as we believe it has the potential to address certain of the key limitations of current treatments and offer a completely new mechanism of action. If approved, tenapanor will be the first small molecule/non-binder treatment for the control of serum phosphorus in patients with CKD on dialysis, with a unique mechanism of action that acts by inhibiting, or blocking, the NHE3 transporter in the GI tract. Our scientists, in collaboration with global academic experts, discovered that phosphate absorption in humans occurs primarily through a dynamically regulated paracellular pathway.  Inhibiting the NHE3 transporter with tenapanor results in the tightening of the epithelial cell junctions, thereby significantly reducing paracellular uptake of phosphate. This pathway of phosphate flux that is inhibited by tenapanor appears largely specific for phosphate, whereas the overall absorption of other ions and large molecules appear not to be affected. Notably, in clinical trials, tenapanor has not affected the absorption of other ions (except sodium) or nutrients. A consequence of intestinal NHE3 inhibition is that systemic sodium absorption is reduced leading to an increase in stool sodium and water content, loosening stool consistency and increasing bowel movement frequency. Tenapanor’s unique mechanism of action inhibiting paracellular phosphate absorption was published in the peer-reviewed journal Science Translational Medicine.

This unique mechanism of action could allow tenapanor to be active in many patients at a dose of 10 mg to 30 mg twice daily as opposed to the multiple gram quantities per day required of the phosphate binders. Over the course of a week, the amount of tenapanor required would be less than 500 milligrams, or a total of 14 small pills, whereas the amount of phosphate binder required, based on package inserts, would be 10 to 30 grams, or up to 63 large pills, depending on the phosphate binder. We believe this significant pill burden advantage will result in better adherence and compliance which could lead to more consistent efficacy in patients with CKD on dialysis.

4

Table of Contents

Tenapanor has been specifically designed to work exclusively within the GI tract, thereby significantly reducing the amount of drug that is absorbed into the bloodstream and the potential side effects that could occur. In human studies of orally-administered tenapanor, the drug was detected in the blood in less than 1% in thousands of collected serum samples, and even in those, at very low levels (< 1.5 ng/mL). We have evaluated tenapanor in 24 clinical studies in over 3,100 individuals to date.

Clinical data supporting tenapanor in hyperphosphatemia

We have completed three Phase 3 trials evaluating tenapanor for the control of serum phosphorus in CKD patients on dialysis, with two trials evaluating tenapanor as monotherapy and one trial evaluating tenapanor as part of a dual mechanism approach with binders.

 

In December 2019, we reported positive results from the PHREEDOM trial, our long-term Phase 3 study evaluating the efficacy and safety of tenapanor as a monotherapy for the control of serum phosphorus in patients with CKD on dialysis. The study's design, shown in Figure 1 below, includes a 26‑week open-label treatment period and a 12-week double-blind, placebo controlled randomized withdrawal period followed by a 14‑week open-label safety extension. The PHREEDOM study met its primary endpoint demonstrating a statistically significant difference in least square (LS) mean serum phosphorus change (-1.4 mg/dL, p<0.0001), as compared to placebo. During the 26-week treatment period, 77% of tenapanor-treated patients in the intent-to-treat population (n=408) had a decrease in serum phosphorus, with a mean reduction from baseline of 2.0 mg/dL.

Tenapanor was generally well-tolerated. As anticipated due to the mechanism of action, the most common self-reported adverse event was loose stools/diarrhea at an incidence rate of 52.5%, with approximately 90% of these events, judged by the investigator, to be mild to moderate in nature. The majority of the events were reported within the first five days of treatment and were transient in nature. In the 26-week open-label treatment period, 16% of the tenapanor-treated patients discontinued treatment due to diarrhea. During the randomized withdrawal period, only 0.8% of tenapanor-treated patients discontinued due to diarrhea.

In the safety analysis set of the 26-week open-label treatment period, which included tenapanor (n=419) and sevelamer (n=137), 17.2% of tenapanor-treated patients compared to 22.6% of sevelamer-treated patients experienced a serious adverse event. The median dose for tenapanor was 60 milligrams per day throughout the study and the median dose for sevelamer was 4.8 grams per day after randomization and increased to 7.2 grams per day by the end of the 26-week open-label treatment period.

Figure 1.  PHREEDOM Clinical Trial Design

Picture 5

 

5

Table of Contents

Patients completing the PHREEDOM trial from both the tenapanor arm and the sevelamer active safety control arm had the option to participate in NORMALIZE, an ongoing open-label 18-month extension study. The goal of this study is to further our understanding of the potential for the dual mechanism of tenapanor and sevelamer to reduce patients’ serum phosphorus levels towards normal (<4.6 mg/dL) while minimizing medication burden. Patients entering the study from the tenapanor arm with serum phosphorus levels in the normal range are followed with no medication changes. Patients entering the study from the tenapanor arm with serum phosphorus 4.6 mg/dL have sevelamer tablets added incrementally to achieve normal serum phosphorus levels. Patients entering the study from the sevelamer active safety control arm have tenapanor tablets added to their treatment regimen and have sevelamer tablets withdrawn based on their serum phosphorus value, to achieve normal serum phosphorus levels. In December 2019, we announced initial results from NORMALIZE, noting that as of the date of the initial analysis, 96% of eligible patients had chosen to enroll into NORMALIZE. Of the 73 patients that had been treated for more than one month of treatment as of the date of the initial analysis, 42% had achieved normal serum phosphorus of less than 4.6 mg/dL and of those, 58% had accomplished this with either tenapanor alone or with tenapanor in combination with only one to three sevelamer tablets per day. These data represent a 45% improvement compared to current treatment practice data reported in the June 2019 Dialysis Outcomes Practice Patterns Study (DOPPS) Practice Monitor.

 

In September 2019, we reported statistically significant results from AMPLIFY, a Phase 3 study of tenapanor evaluating the dual mechanism of tenapanor in combination with phosphate binders in patients with CKD on dialysis whose hyperphosphatemia was not controlled with binders alone. 

 

The AMPLIFY study design, shown in Figure 2, was a double-blind, placebo- controlled, randomized study that enrolled a total of 236 patients with CKD on dialysis who, despite a high and stable phosphate binder regime, had serum phosphorus levels greater than or equal to 5.5mg/dL and less than or equal to 10.0mg/dL at screening. After a run-in of two to four weeks, patients were then randomized 1:1 to receive the addition of tenapanor or placebo twice daily while continuing their established phosphate binder regimen. Baseline serum phosphorus at randomization was at a mean of 6.8mg/dL. Tenapanor was initiated at a starting dose of 30 mg twice daily with tenapanor dose adjustments allowed based on tolerability and serum phosphorus levels. The primary endpoint of the study was the comparison of the change from baseline in serum phosphorus levels at week 4 between placebo or tenapanor and binder arms. The key secondary endpoints included a comparison of the proportion of patients achieving a serum phosphorus level below 5.5 mg/dL at week four and relative change from baseline in FGF23 levels between the tenapanor and binder arms at week four. 

 

For the primary endpoint, patients in the tenapanor arm (tenapanor in combination with phosphate binders, n=116) had a statistically significant (p=0.0004) mean reduction in serum phosphorus from baseline to the end of the four-week treatment period of 0.84 mg/dL, as compared to those treated in the binder arm (placebo in combination with phosphate binders, n=119) who had a mean reduction of 0.19 mg/dL. Patients in the tenapanor arm had statistically significant decreases in serum phosphorus during all four weeks ranging from 0.84 to 1.21 mg/dL (p-values  <0.0004). During the treatment period, up to 49.1% of patients in the tenapanor arm achieved a serum phosphorus of <5.5 mg/dL which was statistically significant compared with up to 23.5% in the binder arm (p-values≤0.0097). In addition, over the 4-week period there were statistically significant reductions in both intact and c-terminus FGF23 levels: 22% to 24% (p-values≤0.0027) respectively. Although exploratory in nature, we believe this is a notable result as increasing levels of FGF23 have a linear association with all-cause mortality and an increased risk of major cardiovascular events.

 

Tenapanor was well tolerated. Only 4.3% of patients in the tenapanor arm discontinued treatment compared to 2.5% in the binder arm. The single adverse event with a placebo-adjusted rate greater than 3% was loose stools/diarrhea at 36%, where most incidents were reported within the first five days of treatment, were transient in nature and the median time to resolution was four days. Notably, only 2.6% of patients in the tenapanor arm discontinued treatment due to loose stools/diarrhea, as compared to 0.8% in the binder arm. There were no serious adverse events related to tenapanor.

 

6

Table of Contents

Figure 2.  AMPLIFY Clinical Trial Design

Picture 3

 

 

In February 2017, we announced data from our first Phase 3 clinical trial evaluating the efficacy and safety of tenapanor as a monotherapy for the control of serum phosphorus in patients with CKD on dialysis. The Phase 3 trial was an eight-week, double-blind, randomized trial, with a four-week placebo-controlled randomized withdrawal period. The study demonstrated a statistically significant difference in serum phosphorus levels from the end of the eight-week treatment period to the end of the four-week randomized withdrawal between the tenapanor-treated group and the placebo-treated group in the efficacy analysis population (mean -1.01 mg/dL, median of -1.3 mg/dL) and met its primary endpoint (95% confidence interval, -1.44, -0.21, LSmean -0.82 mg/dL, p=0.01).

Tenapanor was well-tolerated in the trial. In the eight-week treatment period, the only adverse event that affected more than five percent of patients treated with tenapanor was diarrhea (39%), a patient-reported side effect of loosened stool or increased frequency in bowel movements regardless of magnitude. In the four-week randomized withdrawal period, there was a diarrhea rate of 1.2% for patients treated with tenapanor compared with 2.4% on placebo. Treatment discontinuations due to diarrhea during the eight-week treatment period for patients on tenapanor was 7.8% (n=17). There were no discontinuations due to diarrhea during in the randomized withdrawal period.

 

The hyperphosphatemia market

Phosphate binders are the only drugs marketed for the control of serum phosphorus in CKD patients on dialysis. The various types of phosphate binders commercialized in the United States include the following:

Calcium carbonate (many over-the-counter brands including Tums and Caltrate);

Calcium acetate (several prescription brands including PhosLo and Phoslyra);

Lanthanum carbonate (Fosrenol);

Sevelamer hydrochloride (Renagel);

Sevelamer carbonate (Renvela);

Sucroferric oxyhydroxide (Velphoro); and

Ferric citrate (Auryxia).

7

Table of Contents

 

 

 

 

The hydrochloride form of sevelamer, Renagel, was launched in the United States by Genzyme Corporation in 1998 prior to its acquisition by Sanofi, and the carbonate form, Renvela, was launched in 2008. Generic sevelamer carbonate has been approved in certain jurisdictions in Europe since 2015 and in the U.S. market since June 2017.

In addition to the currently marketed phosphate binders, we are aware of at least two other binders in development, including fermagate (Alpharen), an iron-based binder in Phase 3 studies being developed by Opko Health, Inc., and PT20, an iron-based binder in Phase 3 being developed by Shield Therapeutics.

According to the most recent data available from the U.S. Renal Data System, in 2016 there were 457,957 patients on hemodialysis in the United States. Additionally, according to the European ERA-EDTA Registry 2016 Annual Report and a study in 2016 by the Japanese Society for Dialysis Therapy, there were approximately 327,000 patients on hemodialysis in Europe and about 329,000 in Japan. We estimate, based on phosphate binder utilization, the only approved therapies for hyperphosphatemia, that there are approximately 320,000, 260,000 and 289,000 end-stage renal disease, or ESRD, patients with hyperphosphatemia in the United States, countries in Europe and Japan, respectively, resulting in approximately 869,000 ESRD patients with hyperphosphatemia in such countries.

Because many CKD patients on dialysis with hyperphosphatemia are unable to lower serum phosphorus levels to below 5.5 mg/dL with currently marketed phosphate binders, we believe there is a significant medical need for new agents with new mechanisms, demonstrated efficacy, a strong safety profile, and significantly lower pill burden. We believe that tenapanor, if approved, has the potential to have the lowest pill burden and mass among any currently marketed hyperphosphatemia products, with milligram rather than gram quantities. In addition, we are evaluating whether tenapanor has the potential to be used in combination with phosphate binders for those patients who cannot achieve adequate phosphate control with a single agent.

Our intention is to build a United States-focused, highly efficient, specialized sales and marketing organization focused on nephrology. The nephrology market is a concentrated market strongly influenced by key opinion leaders. There were 10,798 nephrologists in the United States in 2018 and 7,578 dialysis facilities in the United States that offer in-center dialysis. Based on the experience of our management team, we believe that a specialty salesforce is appropriate for this marketplace. We believe that tenapanor for the control of serum phosphorus could represent a market opportunity of between $500 million and $700 million in the United States.

With its significantly reduced pill burden and well-tolerated safety profile, tenapanor, if approved, would be the only non-binder treatment for the control of serum phosphorus in patients with CKD on dialysis and would address the significant pill burden challenges and intolerability that patients experience with today’s binder treatments. In the  PHREEDOM trial we demonstrated tenapanor’s ability to lower  serum phosphorus as monotherapy, and in the AMPLIFY trial we demonstrated the benefits of a dual mechanism approach to lowering serum phosphorus with tenapanor plus binders in patients whose serum phosphorus was not previously controlled with binders alone.  We believe that tenapanor has a role to play in the management of all dialysis patients with hyperphosphatemia. With the results from these clinical trials, we intend to submit a New Drug Application to the FDA in mid-2020 for tenapanor, for the control of serum phosphorus in patients with CKD on dialysis.

To bring tenapanor to patients outside the United States, we intend to establish strategic collaborations with industry leading pharmaceutical companies with established commercial infrastructures. We currently have three collaboration partnerships: with KKC for commercialization of tenapanor for the treatment of cardiorenal diseases, including hyperphosphatemia, in Japan; with Fosun Pharma for the commercialization of tenapanor for the treatment of IBS-C and hyperphosphatemia in China; and with Knight for commercialization of tenapanor in Canada.

RDX013 Program: Small Molecule for Treating Hyperkalemia

RDX013 is our novel, small molecule program for the potential treatment of hyperkalemia. Our RDX013 approach works by leveraging the GI tract’s natural ability to secrete potassium into the lumen of the gut to reduce serum potassium levels. This mechanism differs significantly from the potassium binders currently on the market. For a potassium binder to work, it must be present when dietary potassium is ingested so that the agent can bind the potassium and prevent its absorption in the gut. This results in the need for large quantities of binder in order to bind the large

8

Table of Contents

amounts of potassium in the diets of most individuals. In contrast, we observed in our preclinical models that a small amount of drug could cause potassium to be secreted into the lumen of the gut. In this way, we believe that with our approach in the RDX013 program, we may have the potential to lower serum potassium whether or not potassium is present in the diet and could result in a very low pill burden, potentially allowing better patient compliance, longer-term use and potentially better efficacy than potassium binders. As described below, certain medications commonly administered to patients with CKD and/or heart failure can also cause hyperkalemia. We believe that, if successful, our approach in the RDX013 program may provide nephrologists and cardiologists with an opportunity to treat hyperkalemia chronically without reducing the dose of these medications by utilizing an effective potassium secretagogue to treat hyperkalemia in a small, convenient pill format.

Hyperkalemia is generally defined as the presence of blood potassium levels greater than 5.0 mEq/L. Normal levels are 3.5 to 5.0 mEq/L. When hyperkalemia is severe, above 7.0 mEq/L, there is a significantly increased risk of death because of the potential for heart conductance problems.

Hyperkalemia can be caused by a variety of issues. Kidney disease can result in the elevation of potassium in the blood, and certain drugs such as the common hypertension medications known as RAAS inhibitors, which inhibit the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system, can cause hyperkalemia. As a result, the dosage of RAAS inhibitors must often be significantly reduced in patients whose potassium levels are elevated, such as in those with CKD and heart failure. Because of the risk of hyperkalemia, several published guidelines have suggested that physicians should reduce and possibly discontinue RAAS inhibitors in order to manage the risk of hyperkalemia in CKD and heart failure patients. The alternative medications used to control hypertension, including diuretics and calcium channel blockers, are less effective than RAAS inhibitors, particularly in patients with failing kidneys and severe hypertension. According to the 2015 publication Market Dynamix: Hyperkalemia, released by Spherix Global Insights, U.S. cardiologists reported that of the patients who would benefit from RAAS inhibition, up to 38% of patients with heart failure and up to 55% of patients with both heart failure and CKD are being administered a sub-optimal dose or none at all. Nephrologists reported that at least one-third of patients who would benefit from RAAS inhibition receive a sub-optimal dose or none at all. We believe there is clearly a strong medical need for new medications that control hyperkalemia in order to allow for optimal use of RAAS inhibitors to control hypertension in these patient populations.

The hyperkalemia market

Of the people with CKD and/or heart failure in the United States, we estimate that there are approximately 2.1 million people who also have occurrences of hyperkalemia. According to a retrospective study conducted in 2005 of a national cohort of 246,000 patients cared for in the Veterans Health Administration, about 21% and 42% of patients with CKD Stage 3b and Stage 4, respectively, had a hyperkalemic event during a 12-month period, suggesting that hyperkalemia affects about 900,000 individuals with CKD Stage 3b or Stage 4 in the United States. According to the United States Renal Data System 2014 Atlas of CKD & ESRD, over 50% of CKD Stage 3b and Stage 4 patients are prescribed RAAS inhibitors to control hypertension and to slow the course of CKD.

Additionally, the number of adults in the U.S. living with heart failure is about 6.5 million, based on data collected in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which is taken in stages over multiple years. Our proprietary research suggests that up to 16%, or approximately 1.0 million, of these patients had hyperkalemia during a 12-month period. Over half of heart failure patients are prescribed RAAS inhibitors. Our proprietary research also suggests that up to 200,000 CKD patients on dialysis in the U.S. could benefit from an agent that treats hyperkalemia.

We are aware of at least two drugs on the market for the treatment of hyperkalemia. Veltassa (patiromer FOS), an oral, polymer-based potassium binder, was approved for marketing by the FDA in October 2015 and was commercially launched by Relypsa, which was acquired by Galenica AG in September 2016. Additionally, Lokelma (sodium zirconium cyclosilicate), an oral, potassium binder developed by ZS Pharma, acquired by AstraZeneca in December 2015, was approved in May 2018 and launched by AstraZeneca.

We believe that, unlike these agents which require large amounts of drug for the desired effect, RDX013 may have the potential to lower serum potassium whether or not potassium is present in the diet and could result in very low pill burden, allowing better compliance, longer-term use and potentially better efficacy than potassium binders.

9

Table of Contents

If we are successful in developing RDX013 and obtaining marketing authorization from the FDA, we would expect to leverage the renal sales and marketing organization that we intend to build to support commercialization in the United States of tenapanor for treating hyperphosphatemia in dialysis patients.

IBSRELA® (tenapanor) for Irritable Bowel Syndrome with Constipation (IBS-C)

 On September 12, 2019, we received US FDA approval of IBSRELA (tenapanor) for the treatment of IBS-C in adults. To efficiently bring this treatment to market, we are pursuing strategic collaborations for IBSRELA for IBS-C in certain territories. We have established agreements with Fosun Pharma in China and Knight in Canada.

IBS-C is a burdensome GI disorder affecting a significant number of people. It is characterized by significant abdominal pain, constipation, straining during bowel movements, bloating and/or gas.

IBSRELA (tenapanor) is a locally acting inhibitor of the sodium/hydrogen exchanger 3 (NHE3), an antiporter expressed on the apical surface of the small intestine and colon primarily responsible for the absorption of dietary sodium. By inhibiting NHE3 on the apical surface of the enterocytes, tenapanor reduces absorption of sodium from the small intestine and colon, resulting in an increase in water secretion into the intestinal lumen, which accelerates intestinal transit time and results in a softer stool consistency.

The IBS-C market

Numerous treatments exist for the constipation component of IBS-C, many of which are over-the-counter. There are four prescription products marketed for IBS-C: Linzess (linaclotide); Amitiza (lubiprostone); Trulance (plecanatide) and Zelnorm (tegaserod).

Within the United States, there are approximately 11 million patients that suffer from IBS-C. There is significant unmet need for prescription medications, where, according a 2015 American Gastroenterological Association report, only one in four treated patients are very satisfied with the current FDA approved treatments in IBS-C.

OUR STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIPS

License Agreement with KKC

In November 2017, we entered into a license agreement, the 2017 KKC Agreement, with KKC under which we granted KKC an exclusive license to develop and commercialize tenapanor in Japan for the treatment of cardiorenal diseases and conditions, excluding cancer, the KKC Field. We retained the rights to tenapanor outside of Japan, and also retained the rights to tenapanor in Japan for indications other than those in the KKC Field. Pursuant to the 2017 KKC Agreement, KKC is responsible for all of the development and commercialization costs for tenapanor in the KKC Field in Japan.

Under the 2017 KKC Agreement, we are responsible for supplying the tenapanor drug substance for KKC’s use in development and commercialization throughout the term of the 2017 KKC Agreement, provided that KKC may exercise an option to manufacture the tenapanor drug substance under certain conditions.

Under the terms of the 2017 KKC Agreement, we received a $30.0 million upfront payment and are eligible to receive up to $55.0 million in total development milestones, of which we have received $5.0 million to date. Additionally, under the 2017 KKC Agreement we are eligible to receive up to 8.5 billion yen in commercialization milestones, worth up to $78.3 million at the exchange rate on December 31, 2019, and royalties based on aggregate annual net sales of the licensed products at a high teens percentage, subject to certain single digit reductions under certain circumstances described in the 2017 KKC Agreement.

The 2017 KKC Agreement will continue until all of KKC’s applicable payment obligations under the 2017 KKC Agreement have been performed or have expired, or the agreement is earlier terminated. Under the terms of the 2017 KKC Agreement, we and KKC each have the right to terminate the agreement for material breach by the other

10

Table of Contents

party. In addition, KKC may terminate the agreement for convenience; for certain safety reasons or if certain primary endpoints under an applicable development plan are not met despite KKC’s commercially reasonable efforts and KKC reasonably determines that it cannot obtain regulatory approval. KKC may also terminate the agreement if certain pivotal clinical trials conducted by us do not meet their primary endpoints. We may terminate the 2017 KKC Agreement if KKC challenges any patents licensed to KKC under the agreement.

Research Collaboration with KKC

In November 2019, we expanded our strategic partnership with KKC with a separate research agreement. In the agreement, we established a two-year research collaboration, whereby we will execute a research plan, in which KKC will also join, to advance two of our ongoing research programs focused on identification and design of compounds to two undisclosed targets. In return, KKC will pay us $10.0 million ($5.0 million a year, for two years), of which we have received $5.0 million to date, to support the ongoing research. Following the end of the research period, KKC will have the option to license any candidates nominated by the companies for further development and commercialization in certain specified territories, with additional commitments payable to us of up to $10.5 million in upfront payments and up to $500.0 million in development and sales milestones.

License agreement with Fosun

In December 2017, we entered into a license agreement, the Fosun License Agreement, with Fosun Pharma under which we granted Fosun Pharma an exclusive license to develop and commercialize tenapanor in China for the treatment, diagnosis or prevention of irritable bowel syndrome with constipation and chronic idiopathic constipation, hyperphosphatemia related to chronic kidney disease, and other diseases or conditions for which we obtain marketing approval in either the US or China, collectively, the Fosun Field. The Fosun Field excludes the treatment of cancer. We retained the rights to tenapanor outside of China, and also retained the rights to tenapanor in China for indications other than those in the Fosun Field. Pursuant to the terms of the Fosun License Agreement, Fosun Pharma is responsible for all of the development and commercialization costs for tenapanor in the Fosun Field in China.

Under the terms of the Fosun License Agreement, we are responsible for supplying the tenapanor drug product for Fosun Pharma’s use in development and during commercialization until Fosun Pharma has assumed such responsibility. Additionally, we are responsible for supplying the tenapanor drug substance for Fosun Pharma’s use in development and commercialization throughout the term of the Fosun License Agreement.

Under the terms of the Fosun License Agreement, we received an upfront payment of $12.0 million and are eligible to receive additional milestones of up to $113.0 million in the aggregate, of which we have recognized and received $3.0 million to date, as well as tiered royalty payments on aggregate net sales ranging from the mid-teens percent to twenty percent, subject to certain reductions under certain circumstances, as described in the Fosun License Agreement.

The Fosun License Agreement will continue until all of Fosun Pharma’s applicable payment obligations under the License Agreement have been performed or have expired, or the agreement is earlier terminated. Under the terms of the Fosun License Agreement, we and Fosun Pharma each have the right to terminate the agreement for material breach by the other party or in the event of insolvency by the other party. In addition, Fosun Pharma may terminate the agreement for convenience, and we may terminate the agreement if Fosun Pharma challenges any patents licensed to it under the agreement.

License agreement with Knight Therapeutics

In March 2018, we entered into a license agreement with Knight that provides Knight with exclusive rights to commercialize tenapanor in Canada. Under the terms of the agreement, Ardelyx is eligible to receive up to CAD 25 million in total payments, worth up to $19.2 million at the currency exchange rate on December 31, 2019, including an upfront payment and development and sales milestones, as well as tiered royalties on net sales ranging from the mid-single digits to the low twenties. Knight will have the exclusive rights to market and sell tenapanor in Canada.

11

Table of Contents

CORPORATE DEVELOPMENT

In December 2019, we completed an underwritten public offering of 23,000,000 shares of common stock, resulting in the receipt of aggregate gross proceeds of approximately $143.8 million, less underwriting discounts, commissions and offering expenses.

Additionally, in November 2019, we enhanced our strategic partnership with KKC by entering into a stock purchase agreement, pursuant to which we sold to KKC an aggregate of 2,873,563 shares of our common stock for aggregate gross proceeds of approximately $20.0 million. 

As of December 31, 2019, we had cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments totaling $247.5 million.

INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY

Our commercial success depends in part on our ability to obtain and maintain proprietary protection for our drug candidates, manufacturing and process discoveries, and other know-how, to operate without infringing the proprietary rights of others and to prevent others from infringing our proprietary rights. Our policy is to seek to protect our intellectual property by, among other methods, filing U.S. and foreign patent applications related to our proprietary technology and inventions that are important to the development and operation of our business. We also rely on trade secrets and careful monitoring of our proprietary information to protect aspects of our business that are not amenable to, or that we do not consider appropriate for, patent protection.

The patent positions of biopharmaceutical companies like us are generally uncertain and involve complex legal, scientific and factual questions. In addition, the coverage claimed in a patent application can be significantly reduced before the patent is issued, and its scope can be reinterpreted after issuance. Consequently, we do not know whether any of our product candidates will be protectable or remain protected by enforceable patents. We cannot predict whether the patent applications we are currently pursuing will issue as patents in any particular jurisdiction or whether the claims of our issued patents will provide sufficient proprietary protection from competitors. Any patents that we hold may be challenged, circumvented or invalidated by third parties. If third parties prepare and file patent applications in the United States that also claim technology or therapeutics to which we have rights, we may have to participate in interference proceedings in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, or USPTO, to determine priority of invention, which would result in substantial costs to us even if the eventual outcome is favorable to us.

The term of individual patents depends upon the legal term of the patents in countries in which they are obtained. In most countries, including the United States, the patent term is generally 20 years from the earliest date of filing a non-provisional patent application in the applicable country. In the United States, a patent’s term may, in certain cases, be lengthened by patent term adjustment, which compensates a patentee for administrative delays by the USPTO in examining and granting a patent, or may be shortened if a patent is terminally disclaimed over a commonly owned patent or a patent naming a common inventor and having an earlier expiration date.

In addition, in the United States, the Hatch-Waxman Act permits a patent term extension of up to five years beyond the expiration of a U.S. patent as partial compensation for the patent term lost during the FDA regulatory review process occurring while the patent is in force. A patent 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 each regulatory review period may be extended and only those claims covering the approved drug, a method for using it or a method for manufacturing it may be extended. Similar provisions are available in the European Union and certain other foreign jurisdictions to extend the term of a patent that covers an approved drug.

We may rely, in some circumstances, on trade secrets to protect our technology. Although we take steps to protect our proprietary information and trade secrets, including through contractual means with our employees and consultants, third parties may independently develop substantially equivalent proprietary information and techniques or otherwise gain access to our trade secrets or disclose our technology. Thus, we may not be able to meaningfully protect our trade secrets. It is our policy to require our employees, consultants, outside scientific collaboration partners, sponsored researchers and other advisors to execute confidentiality agreements upon the commencement of employment

12

Table of Contents

or consulting relationships with us. These agreements provide that all confidential information concerning the business or financial affairs developed or made known to the individual during the course of the individual’s relationship with us is to be kept confidential and not disclosed to third parties except in specific circumstances. In the case of employees, the agreements provide that all inventions conceived by the individual, and which are related to our current or planned business or research and development or made during the normal working hours, on our premises or using our equipment or proprietary information, are our exclusive property.

Tenapanor patents

Our tenapanor patent portfolio is wholly owned by us. This portfolio includes four issued U.S. patents, two issued Japanese patents, two issued patents in each of Korea, Hong Kong, Israel and Mexico and one issued patent in each of the following territories: Australia, China, and the European Union. These issued patents cover the composition and certain methods of using tenapanor and are predicted, without extension or adjustment, to expire in December 2029. The portfolio further includes patents covering the use of tenapanor for the control of serum phosphorus that has issued in U.S., Europe, Japan, China, Australia, Russia and Taiwan and is pending in other countries. These patents are predicted, without extension or adjustment, to expire in April 2034. We have related national patent applications pending in Europe, China, India, Israel and a number of other countries. Any patents issuing from these patent applications are also predicted without extension or adjustment to expire in December 2029.

Additional U.S. and international patent applications are pending covering additional methods of treatment with tenapanor, and composition of matter and methods of using compounds that we believe may be follow on compounds to tenapanor.

Other program patents

We have patent applications pending in the United States and internationally that cover the compositions and methods of using our TGR5 agonists, our FXR agonists and compounds in our RDX013 program.

MANUFACTURING

To date, we have relied upon third-party contract manufacturing organizations, or CMOs, to manufacture both the active pharmaceutical ingredient and final drug product dosage forms of our potential drug candidates used as clinical trial material. We expect that we will continue to rely upon CMOs for the manufacture of our clinical trial materials and for our commercial product requirements, when and if regulatory approval is received. Our license agreements with KKC, Knight, and Fosun Pharma require us to supply final drug product dosage forms of tenapanor and/or active pharmaceutical ingredient for their use in the development of tenapanor in each of their respective territories, and we are further obligated to continue to supply active pharmaceutical ingredient to support their commercialization of tenapanor in each of their territories. We expect that we will use CMOs to satisfy our supply obligations to our collaboration partners.

GOVERNMENT REGULATION

The FDA and comparable regulatory authorities in state and local jurisdictions and in other countries impose substantial and burdensome requirements upon companies involved in the clinical development, manufacture, marketing and distribution of drugs. These agencies and other federal, state and local entities regulate research and development activities and the testing, manufacture, quality control, safety, effectiveness, labeling, storage, record keeping, approval, advertising and promotion, distribution, post-approval monitoring and reporting, sampling, and export and import of our product candidates.

In the United States, the FDA regulates drug products under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, or FFDCA, and the FDA’s implementing regulations. If we fail to comply with applicable FDA or other requirements at any time during the drug development process, the approval process or after approval, we may become subject to administrative or judicial sanctions. These sanctions could include the FDA’s refusal to approve pending applications, license suspension or revocation, withdrawal of an approval, warning or untitled letters, product recalls, product

13

Table of Contents

seizures, total or partial suspension of production or distribution, injunctions, fines, civil penalties or criminal prosecution. Any FDA enforcement action could have a material adverse effect on us. FDA approval is required before any new unapproved drug or dosage form, including a new use of a previously approved drug, can be marketed in the United States.

The process required by the FDA before a drug may be marketed in the United States generally involves:

·

completion of extensive preclinical laboratory tests, preclinical animal studies and formulation studies, some performed in accordance with the FDA’s current Good Laboratory Practice, or GLP, regulations;

·

submission to the FDA of an Investigational New Drug, or IND, application which must become effective before human clinical trials in the United States may begin;

·

approval by an independent institutional review board, or IRB, or ethics committee at each clinical trial site before each trial may be initiated;

·

performance of adequate and well-controlled human clinical trials in accordance with Good Clinical Practice, or GCP, regulations to establish the safety and efficacy of the drug candidate for each proposed indication;

·

submission to the FDA of a new drug application, or NDA;

·

satisfactory completion of an FDA inspection of the manufacturing facility or facilities at which the drug is produced to assess compliance with current Good Manufacturing Practice, or cGMP, regulations;

·

satisfactory completion of a potential review by an FDA advisory committee, if applicable; and

·

FDA review and approval of the NDA prior to any commercial marketing, sale or commercial shipment of the drug.

The preclinical and clinical testing and approval process requires substantial time, effort and financial resources, and we cannot be certain that any approvals for our product candidates will be granted on a timely basis, if at all. Nonclinical tests include laboratory evaluation of product chemistry, formulation, stability and toxicity, as well as animal studies to assess the characteristics and potential safety and efficacy of the product. The results of preclinical tests, together with manufacturing information, analytical data and a proposed clinical trial protocol and other information, are submitted as part of an IND to the FDA. Some preclinical testing may continue even after the IND is submitted. The IND automatically becomes effective 30 days after receipt by the FDA, unless the FDA, within the 30‑day time period, raises concerns or questions relating to the IND and places the clinical trial on a clinical hold, including concerns that human research subjects will be exposed to unreasonable health risks. In such a case, the IND sponsor and the FDA must resolve any outstanding concerns before the clinical trial can begin. A separate submission to an existing IND must also be made for each successive clinical trial conducted during product development.

Clinical trials involve the administration of the investigational drug to human subjects under the supervision of qualified investigators. Clinical trials are conducted under protocols detailing, among other things, the objectives of the clinical trial, the parameters to be used in monitoring safety and the effectiveness criteria to be used. Each protocol must be submitted to the FDA as part of the IND.

An independent IRB or ethics committee for each medical center proposing to conduct a clinical trial must also review and approve a plan for any clinical trial before it can begin at that center and the IRB must monitor the clinical trial until it is completed. The FDA, the IRB, or the sponsor may suspend or discontinue a clinical trial at any time on various grounds, including a finding that the subjects are being exposed to an unacceptable health risk. Clinical testing also must satisfy extensive GCP requirements, including the requirements for informed consent.

14

Table of Contents

All clinical research performed in the United States in support of an NDA must be authorized in advance by the FDA under the IND regulations and procedures described above. However, a sponsor who wishes to conduct a clinical trial outside the United States may, but need not, obtain FDA authorization to conduct the clinical trial under an IND. If a foreign clinical trial is not conducted under an IND, the sponsor may submit data from the clinical trial to the FDA in support of an NDA so long as the clinical trial is conducted in compliance with GCP and if the FDA is able to validate the data from the study through an onsite inspection, if necessary. GCP includes review and approval by an independent ethics committee, such as an IRB, and obtaining and documenting the freely given informed consent of the subject before study initiation. If the applicant seeks approval of an NDA solely on the basis of foreign data, the FDA will only accept such data if they are applicable to the U.S. population and U.S. medical practice, the studies have been performed by clinical investigators of recognized competence, and the data may be 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 through other appropriate means.

Clinical trials

The clinical investigation of a new drug is typically conducted in three or four phases, which may overlap or be combined, and generally proceed as follows.

·

Phase 1: Clinical trials are initially conducted in a limited population of subjects to test the drug candidate for safety, dose tolerance, absorption, metabolism, distribution and excretion in healthy humans or, on occasion, in patients with severe problems or life-threatening diseases to gain an early indication of its effectiveness.

·

Phase 2: Clinical trials are generally conducted in a limited patient population to evaluate dosage tolerance and appropriate dosage, identify possible adverse effects and safety risks, and evaluate preliminarily the efficacy of the drug for specific targeted indications in patients with the disease or condition under study.

·

Phase 3: Clinical trials are typically conducted when Phase 2 clinical trials demonstrate that a dose range of the product candidate is effective and has an acceptable safety profile. Phase 3 clinical trials are commonly referred to as “pivotal” studies, which typically denotes a study which presents the data that the FDA or other relevant regulatory agency will use to determine whether or not to approve a drug. Phase 3 clinical trials are generally undertaken with large numbers of patients, such as groups of several hundred to several thousand, to further evaluate dosage, to provide substantial evidence of clinical efficacy and to further test for safety in an expanded and diverse patient population at multiple, geographically-dispersed clinical trial sites.

·

Phase 4: In some cases, the FDA may condition approval of an NDA for a product candidate on the sponsor’s agreement to conduct additional clinical trials after NDA approval. In other cases, a sponsor may voluntarily conduct additional clinical trials post approval to gain more information about the drug. Such post approval trials are typically referred to as Phase 4 clinical trials.

Concurrent with clinical trials, companies usually complete additional nonclinical studies and must also develop additional information about the chemistry and physical characteristics of the drug and finalize a process for manufacturing the drug in commercial quantities in accordance with GMP requirements. The manufacturing process must be capable of consistently producing quality batches of the drug candidate and, among other things, the manufacturer must develop methods for testing the identity, strength, quality and purity of the final drug product. Additionally, appropriate packaging must be selected and tested, and stability studies must be conducted to demonstrate that the drug candidate does not undergo unacceptable deterioration over its shelf life.

The FDA, the IRB or the clinical trial sponsor may suspend or terminate a clinical trial at any time on various grounds, including a finding that the research subjects are being exposed to an unacceptable health risk.

15

Table of Contents

Additionally, some clinical trials are overseen by an independent group of qualified experts organized by the clinical trial sponsor, known as a data safety monitoring board or committee. This group provides authorization for whether or not a trial may move forward at designated check points based on access to certain data from the study. We may also suspend or terminate a clinical trial based on evolving business objectives and/or competitive climate.

New drug applications

The results of preclinical studies and of the clinical trials, together with other detailed information, including extensive manufacturing information and information on the composition of the drug, are submitted to the FDA in the form of an NDA requesting approval to market the drug for one or more specified indications. The FDA reviews an NDA to determine, among other things, whether a drug is safe and effective for its intended use.

Under the Prescription Drug User Fee Act, the FDA has a goal of responding to standard review NDAs of new molecular entities within ten months after the 60‑day filing review period, or six months after the 60‑day filing review period for priority review NDAs, but this timeframe is often extended by FDA requests for additional information or clarification. The FDA may refer the application to an advisory committee for review, evaluation and recommendation as to whether the application should be approved. The FDA is not bound by the recommendation of an advisory committee, but it generally follows such recommendations.

Before approving an application, the FDA will inspect the facility or the facilities at which the finished drug product, and sometimes the active pharmaceutical ingredient, or API, is manufactured, and will not approve the drug unless cGMP compliance is satisfactory. The FDA may also inspect the sites at which the clinical trials were conducted to assess their compliance, and will not approve the drug unless compliance with cGCP requirements is satisfactory.

After the FDA evaluates the NDA and conducts inspections of manufacturing facilities where the drug product and/or its API will be produced, it may issue an approval letter or a Complete Response Letter. An approval letter authorizes commercial marketing of the drug with specific prescribing information for specific indications. A Complete Response Letter indicates that the review cycle of the application is complete and the application is not ready for approval. A Complete Response Letter may require additional clinical data and/or an additional pivotal Phase 3 clinical trial(s), and/or other significant, expensive and time-consuming requirements related to clinical trials, preclinical studies or manufacturing. Even if such additional information is submitted, the FDA may ultimately decide that the NDA does not satisfy the criteria for approval. The FDA could also approve the NDA with a Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy, or REMS, to mitigate risks, which could include medication guides, physician communication plans, or elements to assure safe use, such as restricted distribution methods, patient registries and other risk minimization tools. The FDA also may condition approval on, among other things, changes to proposed labeling, development of adequate controls and specifications, or a commitment to conduct one or more post-market studies or clinical trials. Such post-market testing may include Phase 4 clinical trials and surveillance to further assess and monitor the product’s safety and effectiveness after commercialization. The FDA has the authority to prevent or limit further marketing of a drug based on the results of these post-marketing programs. Once the FDA approves an NDA, or supplement thereto, the FDA may withdraw the approval if ongoing regulatory requirements are not met or if safety problems are identified after the drug reaches the market.

Drugs may be marketed only for the FDA approved indications and in accordance with the provisions of the approved labeling. Further, if there are any modifications to the drug, including changes in indications, labeling, or manufacturing processes or facilities, the applicant may be required to submit and obtain FDA approval of a new NDA or NDA supplement, which may require the applicant to develop additional data or conduct additional preclinical studies and clinical trials.

The testing and approval processes require substantial time, effort and financial resources, and each may take several years to complete. The FDA may not grant approval on a timely basis, or at all. Even if we believe a clinical trial has demonstrated safety and efficacy of one of our drug candidates for the proposed indication, the results may not be satisfactory to the FDA. Nonclinical and clinical data may be interpreted by the FDA in different ways, which could delay, limit or prevent regulatory approval. We may encounter difficulties or unanticipated costs in our efforts to secure necessary governmental approvals which could delay or preclude us from marketing drugs. The FDA may limit the

16

Table of Contents

indications for use or place other conditions on any approvals that could restrict the commercial application of the drugs. After approval, certain changes to the approved drug, such as adding new indications, manufacturing changes, or additional labeling claims are subject to further FDA review and approval. Depending on the nature of the change proposed, an NDA supplement must be filed and approved before the change may be implemented.

Other regulatory requirements

Any drugs manufactured or distributed by us or our collaboration partners pursuant to FDA approvals would be subject to continuing regulation by the FDA, including recordkeeping requirements and reporting of adverse experiences associated with the drug. Drug manufacturers and their subcontractors are required to register their establishments with the FDA and certain state agencies, and are subject to periodic announced and unannounced inspections by the FDA and certain state agencies for compliance with ongoing regulatory requirements, including cGMP, which impose certain procedural and documentation requirements upon us and our third-party manufacturers. Failure to comply with the statutory and regulatory requirements can subject a manufacturer to possible legal or regulatory action, such as warning or untitled letters, suspension of manufacturing, seizure of product, injunctive action or possible civil penalties. We cannot be certain that we or our present or future third-party manufacturers or suppliers will be able to comply with the cGMP regulations and other ongoing FDA regulatory requirements. If we or our present or future third-party manufacturers or suppliers are not able to comply with these requirements, the FDA may, among other things, halt our clinical trials, require us to recall a drug from distribution or withdraw approval of the NDA for that drug.

The FDA closely regulates the post-approval marketing and promotion of drugs, including standards and regulations for direct-to-consumer advertising, off-label promotion, industry-sponsored scientific and educational activities and promotional activities involving the Internet. A company can make only those claims relating to safety and efficacy that are approved by the FDA. Failure to comply with these requirements can result in, among other things, adverse publicity, warning or untitled letters, corrective advertising and potential civil and criminal penalties. Physicians may prescribe legally available drugs for uses that are not described in the product’s labeling and that differ from those tested by us and approved by the FDA. Such off-label uses are common across medical specialties. Physicians may believe that such off-label uses are the best treatment for many patients in varied circumstances. The FDA does not regulate the behavior of physicians in their choice of treatments. The FDA does, however, impose stringent restrictions on manufacturers’ communications regarding off-label use.

Hatch-Waxman Act

Section 505 of the FFDCA describes three types of marketing applications that may be submitted to the FDA to request marketing authorization for a new drug. A Section 505(b)(1) NDA is an application that contains full reports of investigations of safety and efficacy. A 505(b)(2) NDA is an application that contains full reports of investigations of safety and efficacy but where at least some of the information required for approval comes from investigations that were not conducted by or for the applicant and for which the applicant has not obtained a right of reference or use from the person by or for whom the investigations were conducted. This regulatory pathway enables the applicant to rely, in part, on the FDA’s prior findings of safety and efficacy for an existing product, or published literature, in support of its application. Section 505(j) establishes an abbreviated approval process for a generic version of approved drug products through the submission of an Abbreviated New Drug Application, or ANDA. An ANDA provides for marketing of a generic drug product that has the same active ingredients, dosage form, strength, route of administration, labeling, performance characteristics and intended use, among other things, to a previously approved product. ANDAs are termed “abbreviated” because they are generally not required to include nonclinical (animal) and clinical (human) data to establish safety and efficacy. Instead, generic applicants must scientifically demonstrate that their product is bioequivalent to, or performs in the same manner as, the innovator drug through in vitro, in vivo, or other testing. The generic version must deliver the same amount of active ingredients into a subject’s bloodstream in the same amount of time as the innovator drug and can often be substituted by pharmacists under prescriptions written for the reference listed drug. In seeking approval for a drug through an NDA, applicants are required to list with the FDA each patent with claims that cover the applicant’s drug or a method of using the drug. Upon approval of a drug, each of the patents listed in the application for the drug is then published in the FDA’s Approved Drug Products with Therapeutic Equivalence Evaluations, commonly known as the Orange Book. Drugs listed in the Orange Book can, in turn, be cited by potential competitors in support of approval of an ANDA or 505(b)(2) NDA.

17

Table of Contents

Upon submission of an ANDA or a 505(b)(2) NDA, an applicant must certify to the FDA that (1) no patent information on the drug product that is the subject of the application has been submitted to the FDA; (2) such patent has expired; (3) the date on which such patent expires; or (4) such patent is invalid or will not be infringed upon by the manufacture, use or sale of the drug product for which the application is submitted. Generally, the ANDA or 505(b)(2) NDA cannot be approved until all listed patents have expired, except where the ANDA or 505(b)(2) NDA applicant challenges a listed patent through the last type of certification, also known as a paragraph IV certification. If the applicant does not challenge the listed patents or indicates that it is not seeking approval of a patented method of use, the ANDA or 505(b)(2) NDA application will not be approved until all of the listed patents claiming the referenced product have expired.

If the ANDA or 505(b)(2) NDA applicant has provided a Paragraph IV certification to the FDA, the applicant must send notice of the Paragraph IV certification to the NDA and patent holders once the application has been accepted for filing by the FDA. The NDA and patent holders may then initiate a patent infringement lawsuit in response to the notice of the paragraph IV certification. If the paragraph IV certification is challenged by an NDA holder or the patent owner(s) asserts a patent challenge to the paragraph IV certification, the FDA may not approve that application until the earlier of 30 months from the receipt of the notice of the paragraph IV certification, the expiration of the patent, when the infringement case concerning each such patent was favorably decided in the applicant’s favor or settled, or such shorter or longer period as may be ordered by a court. This prohibition is generally referred to as the 30‑month stay. In instances where an ANDA or 505(b)(2) NDA applicant files a paragraph IV certification, the NDA holder or patent owner(s) regularly take action to trigger the 30‑month stay, recognizing that the related patent litigation may take many months or years to resolve. Thus, approval of an ANDA or 505(b)(2) NDA could be delayed for a significant period of time depending on the patent certification the applicant makes and the reference drug sponsor’s decision to initiate patent litigation.

The Hatch-Waxman Act establishes periods of regulatory exclusivity for certain approved drug products, during which the FDA cannot approve (or in some cases accept) an ANDA or 505(b)(2) application that relies on the branded reference drug. For example, the holder of an NDA, including a 505(b)(2) NDA, may obtain five years of exclusivity upon approval of a new drug containing new chemical entities, or NCEs, that have not been previously approved by the FDA. A drug is a new chemical entity if the FDA has not previously approved any other new drug containing the same active moiety, which is the molecule or ion responsible for the therapeutic activity of the drug substance. During the exclusivity period, the FDA may not accept for review an ANDA or a 505(b)(2) NDA submitted by another company that contains the previously approved active moiety. However, an ANDA or 505(b)(2) NDA may be submitted after four years if it contains a certification of patent invalidity or non-infringement.

The Hatch-Waxman Act also provides three years of marketing exclusivity to the holder of an NDA (including a 505(b)(2) NDA) for a particular condition of approval, or change to a marketed product, such as a new formulation for a previously approved product, if one or more new clinical studies (other than bioavailability or bioequivalence studies) was essential to the approval of the application and was conducted/sponsored by the applicant. This three-year exclusivity period protects against FDA approval of ANDAs and 505(b)(2) NDAs for the condition of the new drug’s approval. As a general matter, the three-year exclusivity does not prohibit the FDA from approving ANDAs or 505(b)(2) NDAs for generic versions of the original, unmodified drug product. Five-year and three-year exclusivity will not delay the submission or approval of a full NDA; however, an applicant submitting a full NDA would be required to conduct or obtain a right of reference to all of the preclinical studies and adequate and well-controlled clinical trials necessary to demonstrate safety and efficacy.

Fraud and abuse laws

In the United States, the research, manufacturing, distribution, sale and promotion of drug products and medical devices are potentially subject to regulation by various federal, state and local authorities in addition to the FDA, including the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, or CMS, other divisions of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (e.g., the Office of Inspector General), the U.S. Department of Justice, state Attorneys General, and other state and local government agencies. These laws include but are not limited to, the Anti-Kickback Statute, the federal False Claims Act, the federal Physician Payments Sunshine Act, and other state and federal laws and regulations.

18

Table of Contents

The Anti-Kickback Statute makes it illegal for any person, including a prescription drug manufacturer (or a party acting on its behalf) to knowingly and willfully solicit, receive, offer, or pay any remuneration that is intended to induce the referral of business, including the purchase, order, or prescription of a particular drug, for which payment may be made under a federal healthcare program, such as Medicare or Medicaid. Violations of this law are punishable by up to five years in prison, criminal fines, administrative civil money penalties, and exclusion from participation in federal healthcare programs. In addition, a person or entity does not need to have actual knowledge of the statute or specific intent to violate it in order to have committed a violation. Moreover, the Affordable Care Act provides 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 False Claims Act.

The federal False Claims Act prohibits anyone from knowingly presenting, or causing to be presented, for payment to federal programs (including Medicare and Medicaid) claims for items or services, including drugs, that are false or fraudulent, claims for items or services not provided as claimed, or claims for medically unnecessary items or services. Although we would not submit claims directly to payors, manufacturers can be held liable under these laws if they are deemed to “cause” the submission of false or fraudulent claims by, for example, providing inaccurate billing or coding information to customers or promoting a product off-label. In addition, our future activities relating to the reporting of wholesaler or estimated retail prices for our products, the reporting of prices used to calculate Medicaid rebate information and other information affecting federal, state, and third-party reimbursement for our products, and the sale and marketing of our products, are subject to scrutiny under this law. For example, pharmaceutical companies have been prosecuted under the federal False Claims Act in connection with their off-label promotion of drugs. Penalties for a False Claims Act violation include three times the actual damages sustained by the government, plus mandatory civil penalties of between $11,181 and $22,363 for each separate false claim, the potential for exclusion from participation in federal healthcare programs, and, although the federal False Claims Act is a civil statute, conduct that results in a False Claims Act violation may also implicate various federal criminal statutes. If the government were to allege that we were, or convict us of, violating these false claims laws, we could be subject to a substantial fine and may suffer a decline in our stock price. In addition, private individuals have the ability to bring actions under the federal False Claims Act and certain states have enacted laws modeled after the federal False Claims Act.

In addition to the laws described above, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, as amended by the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act, collectively known as the Affordable Care Act, also imposed new reporting requirements on drug manufacturers for payments made to physicians and teaching hospitals, as well as ownership and investment interests held by physicians and their immediate family members. Failure to submit required information may result in civil monetary penalties of up to an aggregate of $165,786 per year (or up to an aggregate of $1.105 million per year for “knowing failures”), for all payments, transfers of value or ownership or investment interests that are not timely, accurately and completely reported in an annual submission. Manufacturers must submit reports by the 90th day of each subsequent calendar year.

Many states have also adopted laws similar to the federal laws discussed above. Some of these state prohibitions apply to the referral of patients for healthcare services reimbursed by any insurer, not just federal healthcare programs such as Medicare and Medicaid. There has also been a recent trend of increased regulation of payments made to physicians and other healthcare providers. Certain states mandate implementation of compliance programs, impose restrictions on drug manufacturers’ marketing practices and/or require the tracking and reporting of pricing and marketing information as well as gifts, compensation and other remuneration to physicians. Many of these laws contain ambiguities as to what is required to comply with such laws, which may affect our sales, marketing, and other promotional activities by imposing administrative and compliance burdens on us. In addition, given the lack of clarity with respect to these laws and their implementation, our reporting actions could be subject to the penalty provisions of the pertinent state and perhaps federal, authorities.

Because we intend to commercialize products that could be reimbursed under a federal healthcare program and other governmental healthcare programs, we plan to develop a comprehensive compliance program that establishes internal controls to facilitate adherence to the rules and program requirements to which we will or may become subject. Although compliance programs can mitigate the risk of investigation and prosecution for violations of these laws, the risks cannot be entirely eliminated. Due to the breadth of these laws, the absence of guidance in the form of regulations or court decisions, and the potential for additional legal or regulatory change in this area, it is possible that our future

19

Table of Contents

sales and marketing practices and/or our future relationships with physicians and other healthcare providers might be challenged under such laws. 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.

Third-party coverage and reimbursement

Sales of pharmaceutical products depend in significant part on the availability of coverage and adequate reimbursement by third-party payors, such as state and federal governments, including Medicare and Medicaid, and commercial managed care providers. In the United States, no uniform policy of coverage and reimbursement for drug products exists among third-party payors. Accordingly, decisions regarding the extent of coverage and amount of reimbursement to be provided for our product candidates, if approved, will be made on a payor by payor basis. 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. Third-party payors may limit coverage to specific drug products on an approved list, or formulary, which might not include all of the FDA-approved drugs for a particular indication. A decision by a third-party payor not to cover our product candidates could reduce physician utilization of our products once approved and have a material adverse effect on our future sales, results of operations and financial condition. Moreover, a payor’s decision to provide coverage for a drug product does not imply that an adequate reimbursement rate will be approved. Adequate third-party reimbursement may not be available to enable us to maintain price levels sufficient to realize an appropriate return on our investment in product development.

In addition, in July 2010, CMS released its final rule to implement a bundled prospective payment system for the treatment of CKD patients on dialysis as required by the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act, or MIPPA. The bundled payment includes all renal dialysis services furnished for outpatient maintenance dialysis, including ESRD-related drugs and biologicals. The final rule delayed the inclusion of oral medications without intravenous equivalents in the bundled payment until January 1, 2014 and in April 2014, due to subsequent legislative amendments, CMS provided that such inclusion will remain delayed until January 1, 2025. Unless additional Congressional action is taken, beginning in 2025 ESRD-related drugs will be included in the bundle and separate Medicare reimbursement will no longer be available for such drugs, as it is today under Medicare Part D. While it is too early to project the full impact that bundling may have on drugs for the control of serum phosphorus, the impact could potentially cause dramatic price reductions for tenapanor, if approved.

Healthcare reform

In March 2010, Congress passed, and President Obama signed into law, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, a healthcare reform measure, or the Affordable Care Act. The Affordable Care Act substantially changes the way healthcare is financed by both governmental and private insurers, and significantly impacts the pharmaceutical industry.

The Affordable Care Act contains a number of provisions, including those governing enrollment in federal healthcare programs, reimbursement changes and fraud and abuse measures, which have impacted existing government healthcare programs and have resulted in the development of new programs, including Medicare payment for performance initiatives and improvements to the physician quality reporting system and feedback program.

Additionally, the Affordable Care Act:

·

increases the minimum level of Medicaid rebates payable by manufacturers of brand-name drugs from 15.1% to 23.1%;

·

requires collection of rebates for drugs paid by Medicaid managed care organizations;

·

expands eligibility criteria for Medicaid programs by, among other things, allowing states to offer Medicaid coverage to additional individuals and by adding new mandatory eligibility categories for

20

Table of Contents

certain individuals with income at or below 133% of the federal poverty level, thereby potentially increasing a manufacturer’s Medicaid rebate liability;

·

expands access to commercial health insurance coverage through new state-based health insurance marketplaces, or exchanges;

·

requires manufacturers to participate in a coverage gap discount program, under which they must agree to offer 50 percent point-of-sale discounts off negotiated prices of applicable brand drugs to eligible beneficiaries during their coverage gap period, as a condition for the manufacturer’s outpatient drugs to be covered under Medicare Part D, beginning January 2011; and

·

imposes a non-deductible annual fee on pharmaceutical manufacturers or importers who sell “branded prescription drugs” to specified federal government programs.

Since its enactment, there have been judicial and Congressional challenges to certain aspects of the Affordable Care Act. We expect that the new presidential administration and U.S. Congress will likely continue to seek to modify, repeal, or otherwise invalidate all or certain provisions of, the Affordable Care Act. There is still uncertainty with respect to the impact President Trump’s administration and the U.S. Congress may have, if any, and any changes will likely take time to unfold, and could have an impact on coverage and reimbursement for healthcare items and services covered by plans that were authorized by the Affordable Care Act.

In addition, other legislative changes have been proposed and adopted in the United States since the Affordable Care Act was enacted. For example, in August 2011, the Budget Control Act of 2011, among other things, included aggregate reductions to Medicare payments to providers of 2 percent per fiscal year, which went into effect on April 1, 2013, and, due to subsequent legislative amendments, will remain in effect through 2025 unless additional Congressional action is taken. In January 2013, the American Taxpayer Relief Act, among other things, further reduced Medicare payments to several providers, including hospitals, imaging centers and cancer treatment centers, and increased the statute of limitations period for the government to recover overpayments to providers from three to five years. Additionally, individual states have also become increasingly active in passing legislation and implementing regulations designed to control pharmaceutical product pricing, including price or patient reimbursement constraints, discounts, restrictions on certain product access, and to encourage importation from other countries and bulk purchasing. Recently, there has also been heightened governmental scrutiny over the manner in which drug manufacturers set prices for their marketed products, which has resulted in several Congressional inquiries and proposed bills 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 drug products. These new laws and the regulations and policies implementing them, as well as other healthcare reform measures that may be adopted in the future, may have a material adverse effect on our industry generally and on our ability to successfully develop and commercialize our products.

Other regulations

We are also subject to numerous federal, state and local laws relating to such matters as safe working conditions, manufacturing practices, environmental protection, fire hazard control, and disposal of hazardous or potentially hazardous substances. We may incur significant costs to comply with such laws and regulations now or in the future.

EMPLOYEES

 

As of December 31, 2019, we had a  total of 88 employees, all of which were full-time employees, including a total of 14 employees with Ph.D. degrees. Within our workforce, 63 employees are engaged in research and development and the remaining 25 in general management and administration, including finance, legal, and market development. None of our employees are represented by labor unions or covered by collective bargaining agreements. We believe that we maintain good relations with our employees.

 

21

Table of Contents

CORPORATE INFORMATION

We were incorporated in Delaware on October 17, 2007, under the name Nteryx and changed our name to Ardelyx, Inc. in June 2008. We operate in only one business segment, which is the research and development of biopharmaceutical products. Our principal offices are located at 34175 Ardenwood Blvd., Fremont, CA 94555, and our telephone number is (510) 745‑1700. Our website address is www.ardelyx.com.

We file electronically with the Securities and Exchange Commission, or SEC, our annual reports on Form 10‑K, quarterly reports on Form 10‑Q and current reports on Form 8‑K pursuant to Section 13(a) or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. We make available on our website at www.ardelyx.com, free of charge, copies of these reports, as soon as reasonably practicable after we electronically file such material with, or furnish it to, the SEC. The SEC maintains a website that contains reports, proxy and information statements, and other information regarding issuers that file electronically with the SEC. The address of that website is www.sec.gov.

22

Table of Contents

ITEM 1A.     RISK FACTORS

Our business involves significant risks, some of which are described below. You should carefully consider these risks, as well as other information in this Annual Report on Form 10‑K, including our financial statements and the related notes and “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations.” The occurrence of any of the events or developments described below could harm our business, financial condition, results of operations, cash flows, the trading price of our common stock and our growth prospects. Additional risks and uncertainties not presently known to us or that we currently deem immaterial may also impair our business operations.

Risks Related to Our Limited Operating History, Financial Condition and Capital Requirements

We have a limited operating history, have incurred significant losses since our inception and we will incur losses in the future, which makes it difficult to assess our future viability.

We are a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company with a limited operating history. Biopharmaceutical product development is a highly speculative undertaking and involves a substantial degree of risk. To date, we have focused substantially all of our efforts on our research and development activities, including developing tenapanor and developing our proprietary drug discovery and design platform. To date, we have not commercialized any products or generated any revenue from the sale of products.

We are not profitable and have incurred losses in each year since our inception in October 2007, and we do not know whether or when we will become profitable. We have only a limited operating history upon which to evaluate our business and prospects. We continue to incur significant research, development and other expenses related to our ongoing operations. As of December 31, 2019, we had an accumulated deficit of $460.5 million.

We expect to continue incur substantial operating losses for the foreseeable future as we prepare for the potential commercialization of, and incur manufacturing and development costs for, tenapanor, including costs associated with preparing the new drug application, or NDA, for submission to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, or FDA, to request marketing authorization for tenapanor for the control of serum phosphorus in CKD patients on dialysis, commercializing tenapanor for that indication, and continuing our discovery and research  activities.

Our prior losses, combined with expected future losses, have had and will continue to have an adverse effect on our stockholders’ equity and working capital. Further, the net losses we incur may fluctuate significantly from quarter-to-quarter and year-to-year, such that a period-to-period comparison of our results of operations may not be a good indication of our future performance.

We have substantial net operating loss and tax credit carryforwards for Federal and California income tax purposes. Such net operating losses and tax credits carryforwards may be reduced as a result of certain intercompany restructuring transactions. In addition, the future utilization of such net operating loss and tax credit carryforwards and credits will be subject to limitations, pursuant to Internal Revenue Code Sections 382 and 383, as a result of ownership changes that have occurred previously and additional limitations may be applicable as a result of ownership changes that could occur in the future.

We have never generated any revenue from product sales and may never be profitable.

We received FDA approval for our NDA for tenapanor for the treatment of IBS-C in September 2019. However, we do not currently expect to commercialize tenapanor for IBS-C ourselves in the United States, and have not entered into a collaboration partnership for such commercialization. We have no other products approved for sale and have never generated any revenue from product sales. Our ability to generate revenue from product sales and achieve profitability depends on our ability to obtain the regulatory and marketing approvals necessary to commercialize tenapanor for the control of serum phosphorus in CKD patients on dialysis, either on our own or with one or more collaboration partners, and on our ability to successfully identify a collaboration partner for the commercialization of tenapanor for the treatment of IBS-C. There can be no assurances that we will generate product revenue from sales of tenapanor, either on our own,

23

Table of Contents

or with a collaboration partner. Our ability to generate future revenue from product sales or pursuant to milestone payments depends heavily on many factors, including but not limited to:

·

obtaining regulatory approvals for tenapanor for the control of serum phosphorus in CKD patients on dialysis, either on our own or with one or more collaboration partners;

·

our ability to identify a collaboration partner and negotiate acceptable terms for a collaboration partnership for the commercialization of tenapanor for IBS-C in the United States;

·

our ability to successfully commercialize tenapanor, which has been approved by the FDA for the treatment of IBS-C, and/or tenapanor for the control of serum phosphorus in CKD patients on dialysis, if approved, either on our own or with one or more collaboration partners;

·

developing a sustainable and scalable manufacturing process for tenapanor and establishing and maintaining supply and manufacturing relationships with third parties that can provide an adequate (in amount and quality) supply of product to support the market demand for tenapanor for the treatment of IBS-C, and/or, if approved, tenapanor for the control of serum phosphorus in CKD patients on dialysis;

·

obtaining market acceptance of tenapanor as a viable treatment option for the indications for which it is approved and commercialized;

·

addressing any competing technological and market developments;

·

identifying, assessing, acquiring, in-licensing and/or developing new product candidates;

·

negotiating favorable terms in any collaboration partnership, licensing or other arrangements into which we may enter;

·

maintaining, protecting and expanding our portfolio of intellectual property rights, including patents, trade secrets, and know-how, and our ability to develop, manufacture and commercialize our product candidates and products without infringing intellectual property rights of others; and

·

attracting, hiring, and retaining qualified personnel.

In cases where we are successful in obtaining regulatory approvals to market tenapanor for one or more indications, our revenue will be dependent, in part, upon the size of the markets in the territories for which regulatory approval is granted, our ability to identify a collaboration partner and negotiate acceptable terms for a collaboration partnership for the commercialization of tenapanor for the IBS-C indication in the United States, the accepted price for the product, the ability to get reimbursement at any price and whether we are commercializing the product or the product is being commercialized by a collaboration partner, and in such case, whether we have royalty and/or co-promotion rights for that territory, and whether any royalty we have a right to receive from a collaboration partner is in excess of the royalty we owe AstraZeneca as a result of the termination of our License Agreement with AstraZeneca in 2015. See NOTE  13, COLLABORATION AND LICENSING AGREEMENTS, in the notes to our financial statements, included in Part II, Item 8, of this Annual Report on Form 10-K, for details on our obligations to AstraZeneca. While there is significant uncertainty related to the insurance coverage and reimbursement of newly approved products in general in the United States, there is additional uncertainty related to insurance coverage and reimbursement for drugs, like tenapanor, which, if approved, will be marketed for the control of serum phosphorus in CKD patients on dialysis. If we are successful in obtaining regulatory approval to market tenapanor for the control of serum phosphorus in CKD patients on dialysis, our ability to generate and sustain future revenues from sales of tenapanor for such indication, may be dependent upon whether tenapanor, along with other oral only drugs for CKD patients on dialysis, are bundled into the ESRD Prospective Payment System beginning in 2025, and the manner in which such introduction into the ESRD Prospective Payment System may occur. See “Third-party payor coverage and reimbursement status of newly-approved products is uncertain. Failure to

24

Table of Contents

obtain or maintain adequate coverage and reimbursement for our products, if approved, could limit our ability to market those products and decrease our ability to generate revenue” below. Additionally, if the number of patients suitable for tenapanor is not as significant as we estimate, the indication approved by regulatory authorities is narrower than we expect, coverage and reimbursement for tenapanor are not available in the manner and to the extent which we expect, or the reasonably accepted population for treatment is narrowed by competition, physician choice or treatment guidelines, we may not generate significant revenue from the sale of tenapanor, even if approved. Even if we achieve profitability in the future, we may not be able to sustain profitability in subsequent periods. Our failure to generate revenue from product sales would likely depress our market value and could impair our ability to raise capital, expand our business, discover or develop other product candidates or continue our operations. A decline in the value of our common stock could cause our stockholders to lose all or part of their investment.

Our operating activities may be restricted as a result of covenants related to the indebtedness under our loan and security agreement and we may be required to repay the outstanding indebtedness in an event of default, which could have a materially adverse effect on our business.

On May 16, 2018, we entered into a loan and security agreement with Solar Capital, Ltd. and Western Alliance Bank, or collectively the Lenders, pursuant to which the Lenders agreed to provide us a $50.0 million term loan facility with a maturity date of November 1, 2022. The full amount of the loan was funded on May 16, 2018. Until we have repaid such indebtedness, the loan and security agreement subjects us to various customary covenants, including requirements as to financial reporting and insurance and restrictions on our ability to dispose of our business or property, to change our line of business, to liquidate or dissolve, to enter into any change in control transaction, to merge or consolidate with any other entity or to acquire all or substantially all the capital stock or property of another entity, to incur additional indebtedness, to incur liens on our property, to pay any dividends or other distributions on capital stock other than dividends payable solely in capital stock, to redeem capital stock, to enter into licensing agreements, to engage in transactions with affiliates, and to encumber our intellectual property. Our business may be adversely affected by these restrictions on our ability to operate our business.

We are permitted to make interest only payments on the loan facility through December 1, 2020. However, we may be required to repay the outstanding indebtedness under the loan facility if an event of default occurs under the loan and security agreement. An event of default will occur if, among other things, we fail to make payments under the loan and security agreement; we breach any of our covenants under the loan and security agreement, subject to specified cure periods with respect to certain breaches; the Lenders determine that a material adverse change has occurred; we or our assets become subject to certain legal proceedings, such as bankruptcy proceedings; we are unable to pay our debts as they become due; or we default on contracts with third parties which would permit the Lenders to accelerate the maturity of such indebtedness or that could have a material adverse change on us. We may not have enough available cash or be able to raise additional funds through equity or debt financings to repay such indebtedness at the time any such event of default occurs. In this case, we may be required to delay, limit, reduce or terminate our product development or commercialization efforts or grant to others’ rights to develop and market product candidates that we would otherwise prefer to develop and market ourselves. The Lenders could also exercise their rights as collateral agent to take possession of and to dispose of the collateral securing the term loans, which collateral includes substantially all of our property (excluding intellectual property, which is subject to a negative pledge). Our business, financial condition and results of operations could be materially adversely affected as a result of any of these events.

We will require substantial additional financing to achieve our goals, and the inability to access this necessary capital when needed on acceptable terms, or at all, could force us to delay, limit, reduce or terminate our pre-commercialization efforts for tenapanor and our other product development and platform development activities.

Since our inception, most of our resources have been dedicated to our research and development activities, including developing our clinical product candidate tenapanor and developing our proprietary drug discovery and design platform. We believe that we will continue to expend substantial resources for the foreseeable future, including costs associated with the preparation and submission of the NDA for, and, if approved, the commercialization of tenapanor for the control of serum phosphorus in CKD patients on dialysis, research and development, conducting preclinical studies and clinical trials for our other programs, obtaining regulatory approvals, developing and maintaining scalable manufacturing processes for our product candidates and sales and marketing. Because the outcome of any clinical trial and/or regulatory approval

25

Table of Contents

process is highly uncertain, we cannot reasonably estimate the actual amounts necessary to successfully complete the development, regulatory approval process and commercialization or co-promotion of any of our product candidates. Our future funding requirements will depend on many factors, including, but not limited to:

·

the preparation and submission of an NDA with the FDA to request marketing authorization for tenapanor for the control of serum phosphorus in CKD patients on dialysis;

·

our ability to identify a collaboration partner and negotiate acceptable terms for a collaboration partnership for the commercialization of tenapanor in IBS-C in the United States;

·

our ability to successfully commercialize tenapanor, which has been approved by the FDA for the treatment of patients with IBS-C, with one or more collaboration partners; and, our ability to successfully commercialize tenapanor for the control of serum phosphorus in CKD patients on dialysis, if approved, either alone or with one or more collaboration partners;

·

the manufacturing costs of our product candidates, and the availability of one or more suppliers for our product candidates at reasonable costs, both for clinical and commercial supply;

·

the selling and marketing costs associated with tenapanor, including the cost and timing of building our sales and marketing capabilities;

·

our ability to maintain our existing collaboration partnerships and to establish additional collaboration partnerships, in-license/out-license, joint ventures or other similar arrangements and the financial terms of such agreements;

·

the timing, receipt, and amount of sales of, or royalties on, tenapanor, if any;

·

the sales price and the availability of adequate third-party reimbursement for tenapanor, if approved;

·

the cash requirements of any future acquisitions or discovery of product candidates;

·

the number and scope of preclinical and discovery programs that we decide to pursue or initiate, and any clinical trials we decide to pursue for other product candidates, including RDX013;

·

the time and cost necessary to respond to technological and market developments;

·

the costs of filing, prosecuting, maintaining, defending and enforcing any patent claims and other intellectual property rights, including litigation costs and the outcome of such litigation, including costs of defending any claims of infringement brought by others in connection with the development, manufacture or commercialization of tenapanor or any of our product candidates; and

·

the payment of interest and principal related to our loan and security agreement entered into with Solar Capital Ltd. and Western Alliance Bank during May 2018.

Additional funds may not be available when we need them on terms that are acceptable to us, or at all. If adequate funds are not available to us on a timely basis, we may be required to delay, limit, reduce or terminate our research activities, preclinical and clinical trials for our product candidates and our establishment and maintenance of sales and marketing capabilities or other activities that may be necessary to commercialize tenapanor, either alone or with collaboration partners. Additionally, our inability to access capital on a timely basis and on terms that are acceptable to us may force us to restructure certain aspects of our business or identify and complete one or more strategic collaborations or

26

Table of Contents

other transactions in order to fund the development or commercialization of tenapanor or certain of our product candidates through the use of alternative structures.

Risks Related to Our Business

We are substantially dependent on the success of our lead product candidate, tenapanor, which may not receive regulatory approval for the control of serum phosphorus or be successfully commercialized for IBS-C or hyperphosphatemia.

To date, we have invested a significant amount of our efforts and financial resources in the research and development of tenapanor, which is currently our lead product candidate. The clinical and commercial success of tenapanor will depend on a number of factors, including the following:

·

our ability to, in a timely manner and under terms that are acceptable to us, establish a collaboration partnership for the commercialization of tenapanor for the treatment of IBS-C in the United States;

·

the ability of the third-party manufacturers we contract with to successfully execute and scale up the manufacturing processes for tenapanor, which has not yet been fully demonstrated, and to manufacture supplies of tenapanor and to develop, validate and maintain commercially viable manufacturing processes that are compliant with cGMP requirements;

·

whether the FDA requires us to conduct clinical trials in addition to those anticipated prior to approval to market tenapanor for the control of serum phosphorus, which could delay the commercialization of tenapanor for the control of serum phosphorus in CKD patients on dialysis in the U.S;

·

whether or not the content of the label approved by the FDA or foreign regulatory authorities may materially and adversely impact our ability the ability of our collaboration partners to commercialize the product for the approved indication, or for any other indication;

·

whether we will be required to conduct clinical trials in addition to those anticipated to obtain adequate commercial pricing;

·

the prevalence and severity of adverse side effects of tenapanor;

·

whether tenapanor’s safety and efficacy profile is satisfactory to the FDA and foreign regulatory authorities to gain marketing approval for the control of serum phosphorus;

·

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

·

our ability, either alone, or with a collaboration partner, to successfully commercialize tenapanor, if approved for marketing and sale by the FDA or foreign regulatory authorities, including educating physicians and patients about the benefits, administration and use of tenapanor;

·

achieving and maintaining compliance with all regulatory requirements applicable to tenapanor;

·

acceptance of tenapanor as safe, effective and well-tolerated by patients and the medical community;

·

our ability, alone or with collaboration partners, to manage the complex pricing and reimbursement negotiations associated with marketing the same product at different doses for separate indications for tenapanor for the treatment of IBS-C, and, if approved, for the control of serum phosphorus in CKD patients on dialysis;

27

Table of Contents

·

the availability, perceived advantages, relative cost, relative safety and relative efficacy of tenapanor compared to alternative and competing treatments;

·

obtaining and sustaining an adequate level of coverage and reimbursement for tenapanor by third-party payors;

·

enforcing intellectual property rights in and to tenapanor;

·

avoiding third-party interference, opposition, derivation or similar proceedings with respect to our patent rights, and avoiding other challenges to our patent rights and patent infringement claims; and

·

a continued acceptable safety and tolerability profile of tenapanor following approval.

As tenapanor is a first-in-class drug, there is a higher likelihood that approval may not be attained as compared to a class of drugs with approved products. Although tenapanor met the primary endpoints in all of the three Phase 3 clinical trials evaluating tenapanor for the control of serum phosphorus in CKD patients on dialysis, there can be no assurances that we will receive regulatory approval to market tenapanor for the control of serum phosphorus in CKD patients on dialysis. Further, it may not be possible or practicable to demonstrate, or if approved, to market tenapanor on the basis of certain of the benefits we believe tenapanor possesses. If the number of patients in the market for tenapanor or the price that the market can bear is not as significant as we estimate, or if we are not able to secure adequate coverage and reimbursement for tenapanor, we may not generate sufficient revenue from sales of tenapanor for the control of serum phosphorus, if approved, or for IBS-C. Additionally, we may not be successful in establishing a collaboration partnership for the commercialization of tenapanor for the treatment of IBS-C in the United States in a timely manner and under terms that are acceptable to us. Accordingly, there can be no assurance that tenapanor will ever be successfully commercialized or that we will ever generate income from sales of tenapanor. If we are not successful in completing the NDA submission for, and obtaining approval for, tenapanor for the control of serum phosphorus, or we are not successful in commercializing tenapanor, or are significantly delayed in doing so, our business will be materially harmed.

 

Even if we are successful in obtaining regulatory approval for tenapanor for the control of serum phosphorus, and tenapanor is ultimately commercialized for any approved indications, tenapanor may never achieve market acceptance, sufficient third-party coverage or reimbursement, or commercial success, which will depend, in part, upon the degree of acceptance among physicians, patients, patient advocacy groups, health care payors and the medical community.

Even if we are successful in obtaining regulatory approval for tenapanor for the control of serum phosphorus, and tenapanor is ultimately commercialized for any approved indications, tenapanor may not achieve market acceptance among physicians, patients, third-party payors, patient advocacy groups, and the medical community. Market acceptance of tenapanor, in the event that marketing approval is obtained, depends on a number of factors, including:

·

with respect to tenapanor for IBS-C in the United States, our ability to obtain a collaboration partner for commercialization and the strength of such collaboration partner’s financial resources and marketing and distribution organizations, as well as the commitment of such collaboration partner’s sales organization to tenapanor;

·

the efficacy demonstrated in our clinical trials;

·

with respect to tenapanor for the control of serum phosphorus, whether tenapanor, along with other oral only medications, are included in the bundled prospective payment system for the treatment of ESRD patients, and the manner in which such transition is achieved;

·

the prevalence and severity of any side effects and overall safety and tolerability profile of the product;

·

the clinical indications for which it is approved;

28

Table of Contents

·

advantages over new or traditional or existing therapies, including recently approved therapies or therapies that the physician community anticipate will be approved;

·

acceptance by physicians, major operators of clinics and patients of tenapanor as a safe, effective and well-tolerated treatment;

·

relative convenience and ease of administration of tenapanor;

·

the potential and perceived advantages of tenapanor over current treatment options or alternative treatments, including future alternative treatments;

·

the cost of treatment in relation to alternative treatments and the willingness to pay for tenapanor, if approved, on the part of physicians and patients;

·

the availability of alternative products and their ability to meet market demand; and

·

the quality of our relationships with patient advocacy groups.

Any failure by us to obtain a collaboration partner for the commercialization of tenapanor in the United States for IBS-C and any failure of tenapanor to achieve market acceptance, sufficient third-party coverage or reimbursement, or commercial success for any approved indications would adversely affect our results of operations.

We currently have no sales organization. If we are unable to establish sales capabilities on our own or through third parties, we may not be able to commercialize tenapanor or any of our other product candidates.

We currently do not have a sales organization. In order to commercialize or co-promote tenapanor for the treatment of IBS-C, we currently plan to seek a collaborative relationship with one or more third parties, rather than to build internal marketing, sales, distribution, managerial and other non-technical capabilities for the commercialization of tenapanor for IBS-C. There can be no assurances that we will be successful in establishing collaborative relationships in a timely manner or on terms that are acceptable to us, and if we fail to do so, we may choose to further delay, or delay indefinitely, the commercialization of tenapanor for IBS-C.

We currently plan to commercialize tenapanor for the control of serum phosphorus in CKD patients on dialysis, if approved, on our own. In order to do so, we will need to establish an appropriate sales organization with technical expertise, as well as supporting distribution capabilities. This will be expensive and time consuming. As a company, we 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 secure the capital necessary to fund such efforts on acceptable terms, hire, retain, and incentivize qualified individuals, generate sufficient sales leads, provide adequate training to sales and marketing personnel, comply with regulatory requirements applicable to the marketing and sale of drug products and effectively manage a geographically dispersed sales and marketing team.

If we fail or are delayed in the development of our internal sales, marketing and distribution capabilities, we may choose to delay the commercialization tenapanor for the control of serum phosphorus, if approved, or such commercialization could be adversely impacted.

Third-party payor coverage and reimbursement status of newly-approved products are uncertain. Failure to obtain or maintain adequate coverage and reimbursement for our products, if approved, could limit our ability to market those products and decrease our ability to generate revenue.

The pricing, coverage and reimbursement of our product candidates, if approved, must be adequate to support a commercial infrastructure. The availability and adequacy of coverage and reimbursement by governmental and private payors are essential for most patients to be able to afford treatments such as ours, assuming approval. Sales of our product candidates will depend substantially, both domestically and abroad, on the extent to which the costs of our product candidates will be paid for by health maintenance, managed care, pharmacy benefit, and similar healthcare management

29

Table of Contents

organizations, or reimbursed by government authorities, private health insurers, and other third-party payors. If coverage and reimbursement are not available, or are available only to limited levels, we, or our collaboration partners, may not be able to successfully commercialize our product candidates. Even if coverage is provided, the approved reimbursement amount may not be high enough to allow us to establish or maintain pricing sufficient to realize a return on our investment.

There is significant uncertainty related to the insurance coverage and reimbursement of newly approved products. In the United States, the principal decisions about coverage and reimbursement for new drugs are typically made by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, or CMS, an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services responsible for administering the Medicare program, as CMS decides whether and to what extent a new drug will be covered and reimbursed under Medicare. Private payors tend to follow the coverage reimbursement policies established by CMS to a substantial degree. It is difficult to predict what CMS will decide with respect to reimbursement for products such as ours.

There is increased uncertainty related to insurance coverage and reimbursement for drugs, like tenapanor, which, if approved, will be marketed for the control of serum phosphorus in CKD patients on dialysis. In January 2011, CMS implemented a new prospective payment system for dialysis treatment. Under the ESRD prospective payment system, CMS generally makes a single bundled payment to the dialysis facility for each dialysis treatment that covers all items and services routinely required for dialysis treatments furnished to Medicare beneficiaries in Medicare-certified ESRD facilities or at their home, including the cost of certain routine drugs. The inclusion of oral medications without intravenous equivalents in the bundled payment was initially delayed until January 1, 2014 and through several subsequent legislative actions was delayed again January 1, 2025. As a result, absent further legislation on this matter, beginning in 2025, oral-only ESRD-related drugs may be included in the ESRD bundle and separate Medicare payment for these drugs will no longer be available, as is the case today under Medicare Part D. While it is too early to project the full impact that bundling may have on the industry, the impact could potentially cause dramatic price reductions for tenapanor, if approved. We may be unable to sell tenapanor, if approved, to dialysis providers on a profitable basis if third-party payors reduce their current levels of payment, or if our costs of production are higher than levels necessary for an appropriate gross margin after payment of all discounts, rebates and chargebacks.

Outside the United States, international operations are generally subject to extensive governmental price controls and other market regulations, and we believe the increasing emphasis on cost-containment initiatives in Europe, Canada, Japan, China and other countries has and will continue to put pressure on the pricing and usage of our product candidates. In many countries, the prices of medical products are subject to varying price control mechanisms as part of national health systems. Other countries allow companies to fix their own prices for medicinal products, but monitor and control company profits. Additional foreign price controls or other changes in pricing regulation could restrict the amount that we are able to charge for our product candidates. Accordingly, in markets outside the United States, the reimbursement for our products may be reduced compared with the United States and may be insufficient to generate commercially reasonable revenue and profits.

Moreover, increasing efforts by governmental and third-party payors in the United States and abroad to cap or reduce healthcare costs may cause such organizations to limit both coverage and the level of reimbursement for newly approved products and, as a result, these caps may not cover or provide adequate payment for our product candidates. We expect to experience pricing pressures in connection with the sale of any of our product candidates due to the trend toward managed healthcare, the increasing influence of health maintenance organizations, and additional legislative changes. The downward pressure on healthcare costs in general, particularly prescription drugs and surgical procedures and other treatments, has become very intense. As a result, increasingly high barriers are being erected to the entry of new products.

We may not be successful in our efforts to develop our product candidates that are at an early stage of development, or expand our pipeline of product candidates, as a result of numerous factors, which may include the inability to access capital necessary to fund such efforts on acceptable terms.

A key element of our strategy has been focused on the expansion of our pipeline of product candidates utilizing our proprietary drug discovery and design platform and to advance such product candidates through clinical development. Our inability to access capital in a timely manner or on acceptable terms to fund our early stage product candidates may force us to consider certain restructuring activities to enable the funding of those early assets through the use of alternative

30

Table of Contents

structures. In addition, of the large number of drugs in development, only a small percentage of such drugs successfully complete the FDA regulatory approval process and are commercialized. Accordingly, even if we are able to continue to fund our research and early stage development programs, there can be no assurance that any product candidates will reach the clinic or be successfully developed or commercialized.

Research programs to identify product candidates require substantial technical, financial and human resources, whether or not any product candidates are ultimately identified. Although our research and development efforts to date have resulted in several development programs, we may not be able to develop product candidates that are safe, effective and well-tolerated. Our research programs may initially show promise in identifying potential product candidates, and we may select candidates for development, yet we may fail to advance product candidates to clinical development for many reasons, including the following:

·

we may be unable to access sufficient capital on acceptable terms to fund the development of all of our assets and as a result we may be forced to delay or terminate the development of certain product candidates, or to consider restructuring efforts to secure alternate funding for those assets;

·

the research methodology used and our drug discovery and design platform may not be successful in identifying potential product candidates;

·

competitors may develop alternatives that render our product candidates obsolete or less attractive;

·

product candidates we develop may nevertheless be covered by third parties’ patents or other exclusive rights;

·

the market for a product candidate may change during our program so that the continued development of that product candidate is no longer reasonable;

·

a product candidate may on further study be shown to have harmful side effects or other characteristics that indicate it is unlikely to be effective, well-tolerated or otherwise does not meet applicable regulatory or commercial criteria;

·

a product candidate may not be capable of being produced in commercial quantities at an acceptable cost, or at all; and

·

a product candidate may not be accepted as safe, effective and well-tolerated by patients, the medical community or third-party payors, if applicable.

Even if we are successful in continuing to expand our pipeline, through our own research and development efforts, the potential product candidates that we identify or for which we acquire rights may not be suitable for clinical development, including as a result of being shown to have harmful side effects or other characteristics that indicate that they are unlikely to receive marketing approval and achieve market acceptance. If we do not successfully develop and commercialize a product pipeline, we may not be able to generate revenue from product sales in future periods or ever achieve profitability.

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

Before obtaining marketing approval from regulatory authorities for the sale of our product candidates, we must conduct extensive clinical studies to demonstrate the safety and efficacy of the product candidates in humans. Clinical testing is expensive and can take many years to complete, and its outcome is inherently uncertain. Failure can occur at any time during the clinical trial process. The results of preclinical and clinical studies of our product candidates may not be predictive of the results of later-stage clinical trials. An unexpected adverse event profile, or the results of drug-drug interaction studies, may present challenges for the future development and commercialization of a product candidate for a

31

Table of Contents

particular condition despite receipt of positive efficacy data in a clinical study. A number of companies in the pharmaceutical, biopharmaceutical and biotechnology industries have suffered significant setbacks in advanced clinical trials for similar indications that we are pursuing due to lack of efficacy or adverse safety profiles, notwithstanding promising results in earlier studies, and we cannot be certain that we will not face similar setbacks.

Furthermore, we could encounter delays if our ongoing clinical trials are suspended or terminated by us, by the IRBs of the institutions in which the trial is being conducted, or by the FDA or other regulatory authorities. Such authorities may suspend or terminate a clinical trial due to a number of factors, including failure to conduct the clinical trial in accordance with regulatory requirements or our clinical protocols, inspection of the clinical trial operations or trial site by the FDA or other regulatory authorities resulting in the imposition of a clinical hold, unforeseen safety issues or adverse side effects, failure to demonstrate a benefit from using a drug, changes in governmental regulations or administrative actions or lack of adequate funding to continue the clinical trial. Any delays in completing a clinical trial will increase costs, slow down our development and regulatory approval process for our potential products and jeopardize the ability to commence product sales and generate revenue from a potential product. Any of these occurrences may significantly harm our business, financial condition and prospects.

Furthermore, even though we have completed our Phase 3 clinical development program for tenapanor for the control of serum phosphorus, the results may not be sufficient to obtain the desired regulatory approval for tenapanor, or if such regulatory approval is obtained, the content of the label approved by regulatory authorities may materially and adversely impact our ability to commercialize the product for the approved indication.

We rely on third parties to conduct some of our nonclinical studies and all of our clinical trials. If these third parties do not successfully carry out their contractual duties or meet expected deadlines, we may be unable to obtain regulatory approval for additional products or commercialize our product candidates.

We do not have the ability to independently conduct clinical trials and, in some cases, nonclinical studies. We rely on medical institutions, clinical investigators, contract laboratories, and other third parties, such as CROs, to conduct clinical trials on our product candidates. The third parties with whom we contract for execution of the clinical trials play a significant role in the conduct of these trials and the subsequent collection and analysis of data. However, these third parties are not our employees, and except for contractual duties and obligations, we control only certain aspects of their activities and have limited ability to control the amount or timing of resources that they devote to our programs. Although we rely, and will continue to rely, on these third parties to conduct some of our nonclinical studies and all of our clinical trials, we remain responsible for ensuring that each of our studies and clinical trials is conducted in accordance with the applicable protocol, legal, regulatory and scientific standards and our reliance on third parties does not relieve us of our regulatory responsibilities. We, and these third parties are required to comply with current GLPs for nonclinical studies, and good clinical practices, or GCPs, for clinical studies. GLPs and GCPs are regulations and guidelines enforced by the FDA, the Competent Authorities of the Member States of the European Economic Area, or EEA, and comparable foreign regulatory authorities for all of our products in nonclinical and clinical development, respectively. Regulatory authorities enforce GCPs through periodic inspections of trial sponsors, principal investigators and trial sites. If we or any of our third-party contractors fail to comply with applicable regulatory requirements, including GCPs, the clinical data generated in our clinical trials may be deemed unreliable and the FDA, the European Medicines Agency, or EMA, or comparable foreign regulatory authorities may require us to perform additional clinical trials before approving our marketing applications. There can be no assurance that upon inspection by a given regulatory authority, such regulatory authority will determine that any of our clinical trials comply with GCP regulations. In addition, our clinical trials must be conducted with product produced under cGMP regulations. Our failure to comply with these regulations may require us to repeat clinical trials, which would delay the regulatory approval process.

32

Table of Contents

Our products or product candidates may cause undesirable side effects or have other properties that could delay our clinical trials, or delay or prevent regulatory approval, limit the commercial profile of an approved label, or result in significant negative consequences following any regulatory approval that is achieved. If we or others identify undesirable side effects caused by any product candidate following receipt of marketing approval, the ability to market such product candidate could be compromised.

Undesirable side effects caused by our products or product candidates could cause us or regulatory authorities to interrupt, delay or halt clinical trials, result in the delay or denial of regulatory approval by the FDA or other comparable foreign regulatory authorities or limit the commercial profile of an approved label. To date, patients treated with tenapanor have experienced drug-related side effects including diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, flatulence, abdominal discomfort, abdominal pain, abdominal distention and changes in electrolytes. Despite our receipt of marketing approval for tenapanor for IBS-C and the completion of our Phase 3 clinical program for tenapanor for the control of serum phosphorus, in the event that future trials conducted by us with tenapanor, or trials we conduct with our other product candidates, reveal an unacceptable severity and prevalence of these or other side effects, such trials could be suspended or terminated and the FDA or comparable foreign regulatory authorities could order us to cease further development of or deny approval of tenapanor for such indication, or any such other product candidate, for any or all targeted indications. Additionally, despite a positive efficacy profile, the prevalence and/or severity of these or other side effects could cause us to cease further development of a product candidate for a particular indication, or entirely. The drug-related side effects could affect patient recruitment or the ability of enrolled patients to complete the trial or result in potential product liability claims. Any of these occurrences may harm our business, financial condition and prospects significantly.

In addition, if we or others identify undesirable side effects caused by one of our products for which we have received regulatory approval, a number of potentially significant negative consequences could occur, including:

·

regulatory authorities may withdraw their approval of the product or seize the product;

·

we, or a collaboration partner, may be required to recall the product;

·

additional restrictions may be imposed on the marketing of the particular product or the manufacturing processes for the product or any component thereof, including the imposition of a Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy, or REMS, which could require creation of a Medication Guide or patient package insert outlining the risks of such side effects for distribution to patients, a communication plan to educate healthcare providers of the drugs’ risks, as well as other elements to assure safe use of the product, such as a patient registry and training and certification of prescribers;

·

we, or a collaboration partner, may be subject to fines, injunctions or the imposition of civil or criminal penalties;

·

regulatory authorities may require the addition of labeling statements, such as a “black box” warning or a contraindication;

·

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

·

the product may become less competitive; and

·

our reputation may suffer.

Any of the foregoing events could prevent us, or a collaboration partner, from achieving or maintaining market acceptance of a particular product candidate, if approved, and could result in the loss of significant revenue to us, which would materially and adversely affect our results of operations and business.

33

Table of Contents

We face substantial competition and our competitors may discover, develop or commercialize products faster or more successfully than us.

The biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries are highly competitive, and we face significant competition from companies in the biotechnology, pharmaceutical and other related markets that are researching and marketing products designed to address diseases that we are currently developing products to treat. If approved for marketing by the FDA or other regulatory agencies, tenapanor, as well as our other product candidates, would compete against existing treatments.

For example, tenapanor will, if approved for the control of serum phosphorus in CKD patients on dialysis, compete directly with phosphate binders for the control of serum phosphorus in CKD patients on dialysis. The various types of phosphate binders commercialized in the United States include the following:

·

Calcium carbonate (many over-the-counter brands including Tums and Caltrate);

·

Calcium acetate (several prescription brands including PhosLo and Phoslyra);

·

Lanthanum carbonate (Fosrenol);

·

Sevelamer hydrochloride (Renagel);

·

Sevelamer carbonate (Renvela);

·

Sucroferric oxyhydroxide (Velphoro); and

·

Ferric citrate (Auryxia).

The hydrochloride form of sevelamer, Renagel, was launched in the United States by Genzyme Corporation in 1998 prior to its acquisition by Sanofi, and the carbonate form, Renvela, was launched in 2008. Generic sevelamer carbonate has been approved in certain jurisdictions in Europe since 2015 and in the U.S. market since June 2017. In addition to the currently marketed phosphate binders, we are aware of at least two other binders in development, including fermagate (Alpharen), an iron-based binder in Phase 3 being developed by Opko Health, Inc., and PT20, an iron-based binder in Phase 3 being developed by Shield Therapeutics.

In respect of tenapanor for the treatment of IBS-C, numerous treatments exist for constipation and the constipation component of IBS-C, many of which are over-the-counter. These include psyllium husk (such as Metamucil), methylcellulose (such as Citrucel), calcium polycarbophil (such as FiberCon), lactulose (such as Cephulac), polyethylene glycol (such as MiraLax), sennosides (such as Exlax), bisacodyl (such as Ducolax), docusate sodium (such as Colace), magnesium hydroxide (such as Milk of Magnesia), saline enemas (such as Fleet) and sorbitol. These agents are generally inexpensive and work well to temporarily relieve constipation.

We are aware of four prescription products marketed for certain patients with IBS-C, including Linzess (linaclotide), Amitiza (lubiprostone), Trulance (plecanatide) and Zelnorm (tegaserod maleate).

It is possible that our competitors will develop and market drugs or other treatments that are less expensive and more effective than our product candidates, or that will render our product candidates obsolete. It is also possible that our competitors will commercialize competing drugs or treatments before we, or our collaboration partners, can launch any products developed from our product candidates. We also anticipate that we will face increased competition in the future as new companies enter into our target markets.

Many of our competitors have materially greater name recognition and financial, manufacturing, marketing, research and drug development resources than we do. Additional mergers and acquisitions in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries may result in even more resources being concentrated in our competitors. Large pharmaceutical companies in particular have extensive expertise in preclinical and clinical testing and in obtaining regulatory approvals for drugs. In

34

Table of Contents

addition, academic institutions, government agencies, and other public and private organizations conducting research may seek patent protection with respect to potentially competitive products or technologies. These organizations may also establish exclusive collaboration partnerships or licensing relationships with our competitors.

We may experience difficulties in managing our current activities and growth given our level of managerial, operational, financial and other resources.

While we have continued to work to optimize our management composition, personnel and systems to support our current activities for future growth, these resources may not be adequate for this purpose. Our need to effectively execute our business strategy requires that we: 

·

manage our pre-commercialization activities effectively;

·

manage our clinical trials effectively;

·

manage our internal research and development efforts effectively while carrying out our contractual obligations to licensors, contractors, collaborators, government agencies and other third parties;

·

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

·

retain and motivate our remaining employees and potentially identify, recruit, and integrate additional employees.

If we are unable to maintain or expand our managerial, operational, financial and other resources to the extent required to manage our development and pre-commercialization activities, our business will be materially adversely affected.

We rely completely on third parties to manufacture our nonclinical and clinical drug supplies, and we intend to rely on third parties to produce commercial supplies of tenapanor, if tenapanor is ultimately commercialized for any indication. Our business would be harmed if those third parties fail to obtain approval of the FDA or comparable regulatory authorities, fail to provide us with sufficient quantities of drug, or fail to do so at acceptable quality levels or prices.

We do not currently have, nor do we plan to acquire, the infrastructure or capability internally to manufacture tenapanor or any of other our product candidates on a commercial scale, or to manufacture our drug supplies for use in the conduct of our nonclinical and clinical studies. The facilities used by our contract manufacturers to manufacture our drug supply must be approved by the FDA pursuant to inspections that will be conducted after an NDA is submitted to the FDA. Our ability to control the manufacturing process of our product candidates is limited to the contractual requirements and obligations we impose on our contract manufacturer. Although they are contractually required to so do, we are completely dependent on our contract manufacturing partners for compliance with the regulatory requirements, known as cGMPs, for manufacture of both active drug substances and finished drug products.

If our contract manufacturers cannot successfully manufacture material that conforms to our specifications and the strict regulatory requirements of the FDA or others, they will not be able to secure and/or maintain regulatory approval for their manufacturing facilities. In addition, we have no control over the ability of our contract manufacturers to maintain adequate quality control, quality assurance and qualified personnel. If the FDA or a comparable foreign regulatory authority does not approve these facilities for the manufacture of our product candidates or if it withdraws any such approval in the future, we may need to find alternative manufacturing facilities, which would require a transfer of technology to such alternative facilities and potentially additional capital investment. In addition, the use of alternative manufacturing facilities would require qualification with the FDA or comparable foreign regulatory authorities, all of which would significantly impact our ability to develop, obtain regulatory approval for or market our product candidates, if approved.

We rely on our manufacturers to purchase from third-party suppliers the materials necessary to produce our product candidates for our clinical studies. There are a limited number of suppliers for raw materials and certain processes, such as spray drying, that we use to manufacture our drugs, and there may be a need to identify alternate suppliers to prevent a

35

Table of Contents

possible disruption of the manufacture of the materials necessary to produce our product candidates for our clinical studies, and, if approved, ultimately for commercial sale. We do not have any control over the process or timing of the acquisition of these raw materials or processes by our manufacturers. Although we generally do not begin a clinical study unless we believe we have on hand, or will be able to manufacture, a sufficient supply of a product candidate to complete such study, any significant delay or discontinuity in the supply of a product candidate, or the raw material components thereof, for an ongoing clinical study due to the need to replace a third-party manufacturer could considerably delay completion of our clinical studies, product testing, and potential regulatory approval of our product candidates, which could harm our business and results of operations.

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

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. For example, we may be sued if any product we develop allegedly causes injury or is found to be otherwise unsuitable during product testing, manufacturing, marketing or sale. Any such product liability claims may include allegations of defects in manufacturing, defects in design, a failure to warn of dangers inherent in the product, negligence, strict liability, and a breach of warranties. Claims could also be asserted under state consumer protection acts. If we cannot successfully defend ourselves against product liability claims, we may incur substantial liabilities or be required to limit commercialization of our product candidates. Even successful defense would require significant financial and management resources. Regardless of the merits or eventual outcome, liability claims may result in:

·

decreased demand for our product candidates;

·

injury to our reputation;

·

withdrawal of clinical trial participants;

·

costs to defend the related litigation;

·

a diversion of management’s time and our resources;

·

substantial monetary awards to trial participants or patients;

·

regulatory investigations, product recalls or withdrawals, or labeling, marketing or promotional restrictions;

·

loss of revenue; and

·

the inability to commercialize or co-promote our product candidates.

Our inability to obtain and maintain sufficient product liability insurance at an acceptable cost and scope of coverage to protect against potential product liability claims could prevent or inhibit the commercialization of any products we develop. We currently carry product liability insurance covering use in our clinical trials in the amount of $10.0 million in the aggregate. Although we maintain such insurance, any claim that may be brought against us could result in a court judgment or settlement in an amount that is not covered, in whole or in part, by our insurance or that is in excess of the limits of our insurance coverage. Our insurance policies also have various exclusions and deductibles, and we may be subject to a product liability claim for which we have no coverage. We will have to pay any amounts awarded by a court or negotiated in a settlement that exceed our coverage limitations or that are not covered by our insurance, and we may not have, or be able to obtain, sufficient capital to pay such amounts. Moreover, in the future, we may not be able to maintain insurance coverage at a reasonable cost or in sufficient amounts to protect us against losses.

36

Table of Contents

If we fail to attract, retain and motivate our executives, senior management and key personnel, our business will suffer.  

Recruiting and retaining qualified scientific, clinical, medical, manufacturing, and sales and marketing personnel is critical to our success. We are also highly dependent on our executives, senior management and certain other key employees. The loss of the services of our executives, senior management or other key employee could impede the achievement of our research, development and commercial objectives and seriously harm our ability to successfully implement our business strategy. Furthermore, replacing executives, senior management and other key employees may be difficult and may take an extended period of time because of the limited number of individuals in our industry with the breadth of skills and experience required to successfully develop, gain marketing approval of and commercialize products. We may be unable to hire, train or motivate these key personnel on acceptable terms given the intense competition among numerous biopharmaceutical companies for similar personnel, particularly in our geographic regions. Furthermore, we have announced that, Mark Kaufmann, our Chief Financial Officer intends to transition out of the company on or around March 13, 2020. While we are actively recruiting for his replacement, there can be no assurances that we will be able to replace Mr. Kaufmann prior to his planned departure. If we are unable to continue to attract and retain high quality personnel, our ability to grow and pursue our business strategy will be limited.

Our proprietary drug discovery and design platform, and, in particular, APECCS, is a new approach to the discovery, design and development of new product candidates and may not result in any products of commercial value. Furthermore, the APECCS aspects of our drug discovery and design platform may have diminished relevance to our efforts focused on the discovery of targets and therapies for the treatment of renal diseases.

We have developed a proprietary drug discovery and design platform to enable the identification, screening, testing, design and development of new product candidates, and have developed APECCS as a component of this of this platform. We have utilized APECCS in the design of our small molecules and to identify new and potentially novel targets in the GI tract. However, there can be no assurance that APECCS will be able to identify new targets in the GI tract or that any of these potential targets or other aspects of our proprietary drug discovery and design platform will yield product candidates that could enter clinical development and, ultimately, be commercially valuable. In addition, as we focus our efforts on the discovery and design of therapies for the treatment of cardiorenal diseases, we may need to further develop our proprietary drug discovery and design platform to enhance its usefulness in the identification, screening, testing, design and development of new product candidates for the treatment of cardiorenal diseases. There can be no assurances that we will be successful in such additional development of our platform or that our platform will yield product candidates for the treatment of renal diseases.

We and our collaborators, CROs and other contractors and consultants depend on information technology systems, and any failure of these systems could harm our business. Security breaches, loss of data, and other disruptions could compromise sensitive information related to our business or prevent us from accessing critical information and expose us to liability, which could adversely affect our business, results of operations and financial condition.

We and our collaborators, CROs, and other contractors and consultants collect and maintain information in digital form that is necessary to conduct our business, and we are increasingly dependent on information technology systems and infrastructure to operate our business. In the ordinary course of our business, we and our collaborators, CROs and other contractors and consultants collect, store and transmit large amounts of confidential information, including intellectual property, proprietary business information and personal information. It is critical that we and our collaborators, CROs and other contractors and consultants do so in a secure manner to maintain the confidentiality and integrity of such confidential information. We have established physical, electronic and organizational measures to safeguard and secure our systems to prevent a data compromise, and rely on commercially available systems, software, tools, and monitoring to provide security for our information technology systems and the processing, transmission and storage of digital information. We have also outsourced elements of our information technology infrastructure, and as a result a number of third-party vendors may or could have access to our confidential information. Our internal information technology systems and infrastructure, and those of our current and any future collaborators, CROs, contractors and consultants and other third parties on which we rely, are vulnerable to damage from computer viruses, malware, natural disasters, terrorism, war, telecommunication and electrical failures, cyber-attacks or cyber-intrusions over the Internet, attachments to emails, persons inside our organization, or persons with access to systems inside our organization.

37

Table of Contents

The risk of a security breach or disruption or data loss, particularly through cyber-attacks or cyber intrusion, including by computer hackers, foreign governments and cyber terrorists, has generally increased as the number, intensity and sophistication of attempted attacks and intrusions from around the world have increased. In addition, the prevalent use of mobile devices that access confidential information increases the risk of data security breaches, which could lead to the loss of confidential information or other intellectual property. The costs to us to mitigate network security problems, bugs, viruses, worms, malicious software programs and security vulnerabilities could be significant, and while we have implemented security measures to protect our data security and information technology systems, our efforts to address these problems may not be successful, and these problems could result in unexpected interruptions, delays, cessation of service and other harm to our business and our competitive position. If such an event were to occur and cause interruptions in our operations, it could result in a material disruption of our product development programs. For example, the loss of clinical trial data from completed or ongoing or planned clinical trials could result in delays in our regulatory approval efforts and significantly increase our costs to recover or reproduce the data. Moreover, if a computer security breach affects our systems or those of our collaborators, CROs or other contractors, or results in the unauthorized release of personally identifiable information, our reputation could be materially damaged. We would also be exposed to a risk of loss or litigation and potential liability, which could materially adversely affect our business, results of operations and financial condition.

In addition, such a breach may require notification to governmental agencies, the media or individuals pursuant to various federal and state privacy and security laws, if applicable, including the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, or HIPAA, as amended by the Health Information Technology for Clinical Health Act of 2009, or HITECH, and its implementing rules and regulations. Even when HIPAA does not apply, according to the Federal Trade Commission, or the FTC, failing to take appropriate steps to keep consumers’ personnel information secure constitutes unfair acts or practices in or affecting commerce in violation of Section 5(a) of the Federal Trade Commission Act, or the FTCA, 15 U.S.C § 45(a). The FTC expects a company’s data security measures to be reasonable and appropriate in light of the sensitivity and volume of consumer information it holds, the size and complexity of its business, and the cost of available tools to improve security and reduce vulnerabilities. Individually identifiable health information is considered sensitive data that merits stronger safeguards. The FTC’s guidance for appropriately securing consumers’ personal information is similar to what is required by the HIPAA Security Rule. We may also be subject to state laws requiring notification of affected individuals and state regulators in the event of a breach of personal information, which is a broader class of information than the health information protected by HIPAA. For example, California recently enacted legislation, the California Consumer Privacy Act, or CCPA, which went into effect January 1, 2020. The CCPA, among other things, creates new data privacy obligations for covered companies and provides new privacy rights to California residents, including the right to opt out of certain disclosures of their information. The CCPA also creates a private right of action with statutory damages for certain data breaches, thereby potentially increasing risks associated with a data breach. Although the law includes limited exceptions, including for “protected health information” maintained by a covered entity or business associate, it may regulate or impact our processing of personal information depending on the context.

We incur significant costs as a result of operating as a public company, and our management will devote substantial time to new compliance initiatives. We may fail to comply with the rules that apply to public companies, including Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, which could result in sanctions or other penalties that would harm our business.

We incur significant legal, accounting and other expenses as a public company, including costs resulting from public company reporting obligations under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, or the Exchange Act, and regulations regarding corporate governance practices. The listing requirements of The Nasdaq Global Market require that we satisfy certain corporate governance requirements relating to director independence, distributing annual and interim reports, stockholder meetings, approvals and voting, soliciting proxies, conflicts of interest and a code of conduct. Our management and other personnel will need to devote a substantial amount of time to ensure that we comply with all of these requirements. Moreover, the reporting requirements, rules and regulations will increase our legal and financial compliance costs and will make some activities more time consuming and costly. Any changes we make to comply with these obligations may not be sufficient to allow us to satisfy our obligations as a public company on a timely basis, or at all. These reporting requirements, rules and regulations, coupled with the increase in potential litigation exposure associated with being a public company, could also make it more difficult for us to attract and retain qualified persons to

38

Table of Contents

serve on our board of directors or board committees or to serve as executive officers, or to obtain certain types of insurance, including directors’ and officers’ insurance, on acceptable terms.

We are subject to Section 404 of The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, or Section 404, and the related rules of the Securities and Exchange Commission, or SEC, which generally require our management and independent registered public accounting firm to report on the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting. Section 404 requires an annual management assessment of the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting. Prior to December 31, 2019, we were an emerging growth company as defined in the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act of 2012, or JOBS Act, and we took advantage of certain exemptions from various reporting requirements that were applicable to public companies that are emerging growth companies, including, but not limited to, not being required to comply with the auditor attestation requirements of Section 404. We ceased to be an emerging growth company after December 31, 2019 and are required to include an opinion from our independent registered public accounting firm on the effectiveness of our internal controls over financial reporting as part of our Annual Report on form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2019.

During the course of our review and testing of our internal controls, we may identify deficiencies and be unable to remediate them before we must provide the required reports. Furthermore, if we have a material weakness in our internal controls over financial reporting, we may not detect errors on a timely basis and our financial statements may be materially misstated. We or our independent registered public accounting firm may not be able to conclude on an ongoing basis that we have effective internal control over financial reporting, which could harm our operating results, cause investors to lose confidence in our reported financial information and cause the trading price of our stock to fall. In addition, as a public company we are required to file accurate and timely quarterly and annual reports with the SEC under the Exchange Act. Any failure to report our financial results on an accurate and timely basis could result in sanctions, lawsuits, delisting of our shares from The Nasdaq Global Market or other adverse consequences that would materially harm our business.

We identified a material weakness in our internal control over financial reporting as of June 30, 2019. If we fail to maintain proper and effective internal controls, our ability to produce accurate and timely financial statements could be impaired, which could harm our operating results, our ability to operate our business and investors’ views of us and could have a material adverse effect on the price of our common stock.

In accordance with Section 404, management assessed the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting and based on our management’s assessment using criteria established in “Internal Control—Integrated Framework (2013)” issued by the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission, management had concluded that our internal control over financial reporting was not effective as of June 30, 2019 and remained not effective as of September 30, 2019. Management and our independent registered public accounting firm had identified a control deficiency that constituted a material weakness. The material weakness was due to a failure in the design and implementation of controls over the evaluation of the terms of our clinical trial contracts for inclusion into our clinical financial model which estimates clinical trial expenses. Specifically, we had failed to properly interpret an expense in our clinical trial contracts which resulted in the over accrual of our clinical trial expenses during 2018 and the first quarter of 2019. This material weakness was remediated as of December 31, 2019 and management concluded that our internal controls over financial reporting were effective as of December 31, 2019.

We had developed and implemented a remediation plan for this material weakness which included modifications to the design and implementation of certain internal controls. Although we have remediated this material weakness as of December 31, 2019 as attested by our independent registered public accounting firm, we can give no assurance that an additional material weakness or significant deficiency in our internal controls over financial reporting will not be identified in the future. Our failure to implement and maintain effective internal controls over financial reporting could result in errors in our financial statements that could result in a restatement of our financial statements and cause us to fail to meet our reporting obligations. If we cannot in the future favorably assess the effectiveness of our internal controls over financial reporting, investor confidence in the reliability of our financial reports may be adversely affected, which could have a material adverse effect on the trading price of our common stock.

39

Table of Contents

We have formed in the past, and may form in the future, collaboration partnerships, joint ventures and/or licensing arrangements, and we may not realize the benefits of such collaborations.

We have current collaboration partnerships for the commercialization of tenapanor in certain foreign countries, and we currently expect to form additional collaboration partnerships, create joint ventures or enter into additional licensing arrangements with third parties in the United States and abroad that we believe will complement or augment our existing business. In particular, we have formed collaboration partnerships with KKC for certain research programs and for commercialization of tenapanor for hyperphosphatemia in Japan; with Fosun Pharma for commercialization of tenapanor for hyperphosphatemia and IBS-C in China and related territories; and in Canada with Knight for commercialization of tenapanor for IBS-C and hyperphosphatemia. We face significant competition in seeking appropriate collaboration partners, and the process to identify an appropriate partner and negotiate appropriate terms is time-consuming and complex. Any delays in identifying suitable additional collaboration partners and entering into agreements to develop our product candidates could also delay the commercialization of our product candidates, which may reduce their competitiveness even if they reach the market. Moreover, we may not be successful in our efforts to establish a collaboration partnership for tenapanor for IBS-C commercialization in the United States or for any future product candidates and programs on terms that are acceptable to us, or at all. With respect to tenapanor for IBS-C in the United States, this may be because third parties may not view tenapanor for the treatment of IBS-C as having sufficient potential to be successfully commercialized. Additionally, despite third party interest in the commercialization of tenapanor for IBS-C in the United States, we may decide that it is not in the best interests of the Company to enter into such a collaboration partnership. If we are unable to establish a collaboration partnership for the commercialization of IBS-C in the United States under acceptable terms, the commercialization of tenapanor for IBS-C could be materially and adversely impacted, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, financial condition and prospects. Additionally, we may not be successful in our efforts to establish collaboration partnerships for our other product candidates because our product candidates and programs may be deemed to be at too early of a stage of development for collaborative effort, our research and development pipeline may be viewed as insufficient, and/or third parties may not view such other product candidates and programs as having sufficient potential for commercialization, including the likelihood of an adequate safety and efficacy profile. There is no guarantee that our current collaboration partnerships or any such arrangements we enter into in the future will be successful, or that any collaboration partner will commit sufficient resources to the development, regulatory approval, and commercialization effort for such products, or that such alliances will result in us achieving revenues that justify such transactions. 

We may engage in strategic transactions that could impact our liquidity, increase our expenses and present significant distractions to our management.

We may consider strategic transactions, such as acquisitions of companies, asset purchases, and/or in-licensing of products, product candidates or technologies. In addition, if we are unable to access capital on a timely basis and on terms that are acceptable to us, we may be forced to restructure certain aspects of our business or identify and complete one or more strategic collaborations or other transactions in order to fund the development or commercialization of tenapanor or certain of our product candidates through the use of alternative structures. Additional potential transactions that we may consider include a variety of different business arrangements, including spin-offs, spin outs, collaboration 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 may entail numerous operational and financial risks, including:

·

up-front, milestone and royalty payments, equity investments and financial support of new research and development candidates including increase of personnel, all of which may be substantial;

·

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;

40

Table of Contents

·

incurrence of substantial debt or dilutive issuances of equity securities;

·

higher-than-expected acquisition and integration costs;

·

write-downs of assets or goodwill 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 or customers of any acquired businesses due to changes in management and ownership; and

·

inability to retain key employees of any acquired businesses.

Accordingly, although there can be no assurance that we will undertake or successfully complete any transactions of the nature described above, any transactions that we do complete may be subject to the foregoing or other risks and could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, financial condition and prospects.

If we seek and obtain approval to commercialize our product candidates outside of the United States, manufacture our product candidates outside of the United States, or otherwise engage in business outside of the United States, a variety of risks associated with international operations could materially adversely affect our business.

We or our collaboration partners may decide to seek marketing approval for certain of our product candidates outside the United States or otherwise engage in business outside the United States, including entering into contractual agreements with third-parties. We currently utilize contract manufacturing organizations located outside of the United States to manufacture our active drug substance for tenapanor. We are subject to additional risks related to entering these international business markets and relationships, including:

·

different regulatory requirements for drug approvals in foreign countries;

·

differing United States and foreign drug import and export rules;

·

reduced protection for intellectual property rights in foreign countries;

·

unexpected changes in tariffs, trade barriers and regulatory requirements;

·

different reimbursement systems, and different competitive drugs;

·

economic weakness, including inflation, or political instability in particular foreign economies and markets;

·

compliance with tax, employment, immigration and labor laws for employees living or traveling abroad;

·

foreign taxes, including withholding of payroll taxes;

·

foreign currency fluctuations, which could result in increased operating expenses and reduced revenues, and other obligations incident to doing business in another country;

·

workforce uncertainty in countries where labor unrest is more common than in the United States;

41

Table of Contents

·

production shortages resulting from any events affecting raw material supply or manufacturing capabilities abroad;

·

potential liability resulting from development work conducted by these distributors; and

·

business interruptions resulting from geopolitical actions, including war and terrorism, or natural disasters.

Epidemic diseases, or the perception of their effects, could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations or cash flows.

Outbreaks of epidemic, pandemic, or contagious diseases, such as the recent novel coronavirus or, historically, the Ebola virus, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, or the H1N1 virus, could disrupt our business. Business disruptions could include disruptions or restrictions on our ability to travel, as well as temporary closures of the facilities of our collaboration partners, suppliers or contract manufacturers. Any disruption of our collaboration partners, suppliers or contract manufacturers could impact our operating results. For example, a supplier of intermediates for our API is located in China and one of our collaboration partners is located in Japan, both of which have recently experienced an outbreak of the novel coronavirus. While at this point, the extent to which the coronavirus outbreak may impact our results is uncertain, it could result in delays in delivery of our intermediates from our supplier, or delays in development activities by our collaboration partners, which may negatively impact our operating results. In addition, a significant outbreak of epidemic, pandemic, or contagious diseases in the human population could result in a widespread health crisis that could adversely affect the economies and financial markets of many countries, resulting in an economic downturn that could affect demand for our current or future products. Any of these events could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations, or cash flows. 

Our business involves the use of hazardous materials and we and third-parties with whom we contract must comply with environmental laws and regulations, which can be expensive and restrict how we do business.

Our research and development activities involve the controlled storage, use and disposal of hazardous materials, including the components of our product candidates and other hazardous compounds. We and manufacturers and suppliers with whom we may contract 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 and our manufacturers’ facilities pending their use and disposal. We cannot eliminate the risk of contamination, which could cause an interruption of our commercialization efforts, research and development efforts and business operations, 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. We cannot guarantee that the safety procedures utilized by third-party manufacturers and suppliers with whom we may contract will comply with the standards prescribed by laws and regulations or will 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 and state or federal or other applicable authorities may curtail our use of certain materials and/or interrupt our business operations. Furthermore, environmental laws and regulations are complex, change frequently and have tended to become more stringent. We cannot predict the impact of such changes and cannot be certain of our future compliance. We do not currently carry biological or hazardous waste insurance coverage.

We may be adversely affected by the global economic environment.

Our ability to attract and retain collaboration partners or customers, invest in and grow our business and meet our financial obligations depends on our operating and financial performance, which, in turn, is subject to numerous factors, including the prevailing economic conditions and financial, business and other factors beyond our control, such as the rate of unemployment, the number of uninsured persons in the United States, presidential elections, other political influences and inflationary pressures. Our results of operations could be adversely affected by general conditions in the global economy and in the global financial markets. The 2008 global financial crisis caused extreme volatility and disruptions in the capital and credit markets. We cannot anticipate all the ways in which the global economic climate and global financial market conditions could adversely impact our business in the future.

42

Table of Contents

We are exposed to risks associated with reduced profitability and the potential financial instability of our collaboration partners or customers, many of which may be adversely affected by volatile conditions in the financial markets. For example, unemployment and underemployment, and the resultant loss of insurance, may decrease the demand for healthcare services and pharmaceuticals. If fewer patients are seeking medical care because they do not have insurance coverage, our collaboration partners or customers may experience reductions in revenues, profitability and/or cash flow that could lead them to reduce their support of our programs or financing activities. If collaboration partners or customers are not successful in generating sufficient revenue or are precluded from securing financing, they may not be able to pay, or may delay payment of, accounts receivable that are owed to us. In addition, volatility in the financial markets could cause significant fluctuations in the interest rate and currency markets. We currently do not hedge for these risks. The foregoing events, in turn, could adversely affect our financial condition and liquidity. In addition, if economic challenges in the United States result in widespread and prolonged unemployment, either regionally or on a national basis, or if certain provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, as amended by the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act, collectively known as the Affordable Care Act, are repealed, a substantial number of people may become uninsured or underinsured. To the extent economic challenges result in fewer individuals pursuing or being able to afford our product candidates once commercialized, our business, results of operations, financial condition and cash flows could be adversely affected.

We may be adversely affected by earthquakes or other natural disasters and our business continuity and disaster recovery plans may not adequately protect us from a serious disaster.

Our corporate headquarters and other facilities are located in the San Francisco Bay Area, which in the past has experienced severe earthquakes. We do not carry earthquake insurance. Earthquakes or other natural disasters could severely disrupt our operations, and have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, financial condition and prospects.

If a natural disaster, power outage or other event occurred that prevented us from using all or a significant portion of our headquarters, that damaged critical infrastructure, such as our enterprise financial systems or manufacturing resource planning and enterprise quality systems, or that otherwise disrupted operations, it may be difficult or, in certain cases, impossible for us to continue our business for a substantial period of time. The disaster recovery and business continuity plans we have in place currently are limited and are unlikely to prove adequate in the event of a serious disaster or similar event. We may incur substantial expenses as a result of the limited nature of our disaster recovery and business continuity plans, which, particularly when taken together with our lack of earthquake insurance, could have a material adverse effect on our business.

Risks Related to Government Regulation

The regulatory approval processes of the FDA and comparable foreign authorities are lengthy, time consuming and inherently unpredictable. If we are ultimately unable to obtain regulatory approval for our product candidates, our business will be substantially harmed.

The research, testing, manufacturing, labeling, approval, selling, import, export, marketing and distribution of drug products are subject to extensive regulation by the FDA and other regulatory authorities in the United States and other countries, which regulations differ from country to country. Neither we nor any of our collaboration partners is permitted to market any drug product in the United States until we receive marketing approval from the FDA. Obtaining regulatory approval of a NDA can be a lengthy, expensive and uncertain process. In addition, failure to comply with FDA and other applicable United States and foreign regulatory requirements may subject us to administrative or judicially imposed sanctions or other actions, including:

·

warning or untitled letters;

·

civil and criminal penalties;

·

injunctions;

43

Table of Contents

·

withdrawal of regulatory approval of products;

·

product seizure or detention;

·

product recalls;

·

total or partial suspension of production; and

·

refusal to approve pending NDAs or supplements to approved NDAs.

Prior to obtaining approval to commercialize a drug candidate in the United States or abroad, we or our collaboration partners must demonstrate with substantial evidence from well-controlled clinical trials, and to the satisfaction of the FDA or other foreign regulatory agencies, that such drug candidates are safe and effective for their intended uses. The number of nonclinical studies and clinical trials that will be required for FDA approval varies depending on the drug candidate, the disease or condition that the drug candidate is designed to address, and the regulations applicable to any particular drug candidate. Results from nonclinical studies and clinical trials can be interpreted in different ways. Even if we believe the nonclinical or clinical data for our drug candidates are promising, such data may not be sufficient to support approval by the FDA and other regulatory authorities. Administering drug candidates to humans may produce undesirable side effects, which could interrupt, delay or halt clinical trials and result in the FDA or other regulatory authorities denying approval of a drug candidate for any or all targeted indications.

The time required to obtain approval by the FDA and comparable foreign authorities is unpredictable, typically takes many years following the commencement of clinical studies, and depends upon numerous factors. The FDA and comparable foreign authorities have substantial discretion in the approval process and we may encounter matters with the FDA or such comparable authorities that requires us to expend additional time and resources and delay or prevent the approval of our product candidates. For example, the FDA may require us to conduct additional studies for a drug product either prior to or post-approval, such as additional drug-drug interaction studies or safety or efficacy studies, or it may object to elements of our clinical development program such as the number of subjects in our current clinical trials from the United States. In addition, approval policies, regulations or the type and amount of clinical data necessary to gain approval may change during the course of a product candidate’s clinical development and may vary among jurisdictions, which may cause delays in the approval or result in a decision not to approve an application for regulatory approval. Despite the time and expense exerted, failure can occur at any stage.

Applications for our product candidates could fail to receive regulatory approval for many reasons, including but not limited to the following:

·

the FDA or comparable foreign regulatory authorities may disagree with the design or implementation of our, or our collaboration partners’, clinical studies;

·

the population studied in the clinical program may not be sufficiently broad or representative to assure safety in the full population for which approval is sought;

·

the FDA or comparable foreign regulatory authorities may disagree with the interpretation of data from preclinical studies or clinical studies;

·

the data collected from clinical studies of our product candidates may not be sufficient to support the submission of a NDA or other submission or to obtain regulatory approval in the United States or elsewhere;

·

we or our collaboration partners may be unable to demonstrate to the FDA or comparable foreign regulatory authorities that a product candidate’s risk-benefit ratio for its proposed indication is acceptable;

44

Table of Contents

·

the FDA or comparable foreign regulatory authorities may fail to approve the manufacturing processes, test procedures and specifications, or facilities of third-party manufacturers responsible for clinical and commercial supplies; and

·

the approval policies or regulations of the FDA or comparable foreign regulatory authorities may significantly change in a manner rendering our clinical data insufficient for approval.

This lengthy approval process, as well as the unpredictability of the results of clinical studies, may result in our failure and/or that of our collaboration partners to obtain regulatory approval to market any of our product candidates, which would significantly harm our business, results of operations, and prospects. Additionally, if the FDA requires that we conduct additional clinical studies, places limitations in our label, delays approval to market our product candidates or limits the use of our products, our business and results of operations may be harmed.

In addition, even if we were to obtain approval, regulatory authorities may approve any of our product candidates for fewer or more limited indications than we request, may not approve the price we intend to charge for our products, may grant approval contingent on the performance of costly post-marketing clinical trials, or may approve a product candidate with a label that does not include the labeling claims necessary or desirable for the successful commercialization of that product candidate. Any of the foregoing scenarios could materially harm the commercial prospects for our product candidates.

Even if we receive regulatory approval for a product candidate, we will be subject to ongoing regulatory obligations and continued regulatory review, which may result in significant additional expense. Additionally, any product candidates, if approved, could be subject to labeling and other restrictions and market withdrawal, and we may be subject to penalties if we fail to comply with regulatory requirements or experience unanticipated problems with our products.

Even if a drug is approved by the FDA or foreign regulatory authorities, the manufacturing processes, labeling, packaging, distribution, adverse event reporting, storage, advertising, promotion and recordkeeping for the product will be subject to extensive and ongoing regulatory requirements. These requirements include submissions of safety and other post-marketing information and reports, registration, as well as continued compliance with cGMPs and GCP regulations for any clinical trials that we conduct post-approval. As such, we and our third-party contract manufacturers will be subject to continual review and periodic inspections to assess compliance with regulatory requirements. Accordingly, we and others with whom we work must continue to expend time, money, and effort in all areas of regulatory compliance, including manufacturing, production, and quality control. Regulatory authorities may also impose significant restrictions on a product’s indicated uses or marketing or impose ongoing requirements for potentially costly post-marketing studies. Furthermore, any new legislation addressing drug safety issues could result in delays or increased costs to assure compliance.

We will also be required to report certain adverse reactions and production problems, if any, to the FDA, and to comply with requirements concerning advertising and promotion for our products. Promotional communications with respect to prescription drugs are subject to a variety of legal and regulatory restrictions and must be consistent with the information in the product’s approved label. As such, we may not promote our products for indications or uses for which they do not have FDA approval.

Later discovery of previously unknown problems with a product, including adverse events of unanticipated severity or frequency, or with our third-party manufacturers or manufacturing processes, or failure to comply with regulatory requirements, may result in, among other things:

·

warning or untitled letters, fines or holds on clinical trials;

·

restrictions on the marketing or manufacturing of the product, withdrawal of the product from the market or voluntary or mandatory product recalls;

45

Table of Contents

·

injunctions or the imposition of civil or criminal penalties;

·

suspension or revocation of existing regulatory approvals;

·

suspension of any of our ongoing clinical trials;

·

refusal to approve pending applications or supplements to approved applications submitted by us;

·

restrictions on our or our contract manufacturers’ operations; or

·

product seizure or detention, or refusal to permit the import or export of products.

Any government investigation of alleged violations of law could require us to expend significant time and resources in response, and could generate negative publicity. Any failure to comply with ongoing regulatory requirements may significantly and adversely affect our ability to commercialize our product candidates. If regulatory sanctions are applied or if regulatory approval is withdrawn, the value of our company and our operating results will be adversely affected.

In addition, the FDA’s policies may change and additional government regulations may be enacted that could prevent, limit or delay regulatory approval of our product candidates. If we are slow or unable to adapt to changes in existing requirements or the adoption of new requirements or policies, or if we are not able to maintain regulatory compliance, we may lose any marketing approval that we may have obtained, which would adversely affect our business, prospects and ability to achieve or sustain profitability.

We also cannot predict the likelihood, nature or extent of government regulation that may arise from future legislation or administrative or executive action, either in the United States or abroad. For example, certain policies of the Trump administration may impact our business and industry. Namely, the Trump administration has taken several executive actions, including the issuance of a number of Executive Orders, that could impose significant burdens on, or otherwise materially delay, the FDA's ability to engage in routine regulatory and oversight activities such as implementing statutes through rulemaking, issuance of guidance, and review and approval of marketing applications. It is difficult to predict how these Executive Orders will be implemented, and the extent to which they will impact the FDA's ability to exercise its regulatory authority. If these executive actions impose constraints on FDA's ability to engage in oversight and implementation activities in the normal course, our business may be negatively impacted.

We and our contract manufacturers are subject to significant regulation with respect to manufacturing our product candidates. The manufacturing facilities on which we rely may not continue to meet regulatory requirements or may not be able to meet supply demands.

All entities involved in the preparation of product candidates for clinical studies or commercial sale, including our existing contract manufacturers for our product candidates are subject to extensive regulation. Components of a finished therapeutic product approved for commercial sale or used in late-stage clinical studies must be manufactured in accordance with cGMP regulations. These regulations govern manufacturing processes and procedures (including record keeping) and the implementation and operation of quality systems to control and assure the quality of investigational products and products approved for sale. Poor control of production processes can lead to the introduction of contaminants or to inadvertent changes in the properties or stability of our product candidates that may not be detectable in final product testing. We or our contract manufacturers must supply all necessary documentation in support of an NDA or comparable regulatory filing on a timely basis and must adhere to cGMP regulations enforced by the FDA and other regulatory agencies through their facilities inspection programs. The facilities and quality systems of some or all of our third-party contractors must pass a pre-approval inspection for compliance with the applicable regulations as a condition of regulatory approval of our product candidates. In addition, the regulatory authorities may, at any time, audit or inspect a manufacturing facility involved with the preparation of our product candidates or our other potential products or the associated quality systems for compliance with the regulations applicable to the activities being conducted. Although we oversee the contract manufacturers, we cannot control the manufacturing process of, and are completely dependent on, our contract manufacturing partners for compliance with the regulatory requirements. If these facilities do not pass a pre-approval plant

46

Table of Contents

inspection, regulatory approval of the products may not be granted or may be substantially delayed until any violations are corrected to the satisfaction of the regulatory authority, if ever. In addition, we have no control over the ability of our contract manufacturers to maintain adequate quality control, quality assurance and qualified personnel.

The regulatory authorities also may, at any time following approval of a product for sale, audit the manufacturing facilities of our third-party contractors. If any such inspection or audit identifies a failure to comply with applicable regulations or if a violation of our product specifications or applicable regulations occurs independent of such an inspection or audit, we or the relevant regulatory authority may require remedial measures that may be costly and/or time consuming for us or a third party to implement, and that may include the temporary or permanent suspension of a clinical study or commercial sales or the temporary or permanent suspension of production or closure of a facility. Any such remedial measures imposed upon us or third parties with whom we contract could materially harm our business.

If we or any of our third-party manufacturers fail to maintain regulatory compliance, the FDA or other applicable regulatory authority can impose regulatory sanctions including, among other things, refusal to approve a pending application for a new drug product, withdrawal of an approval, or suspension of production. As a result, our business, financial condition, and results of operations may be materially harmed.

Additionally, if supply from one approved manufacturer is interrupted, an alternative manufacturer would need to be qualified through an NDA, a supplemental NDA or equivalent foreign regulatory filing, which could result in further delay. The regulatory agencies may also require additional studies if a new manufacturer is relied upon for commercial production. Switching manufacturers may involve substantial costs and is likely to result in a delay in our desired clinical and commercial timelines.

These factors could cause us to incur higher costs and could cause the delay or termination of clinical studies, regulatory submissions, required approvals, or commercialization of our product candidates. Furthermore, if our suppliers fail to meet contractual requirements and we are unable to secure one or more replacement suppliers capable of production at a substantially equivalent cost, our clinical studies may be delayed or we could lose potential revenue.

If we fail to comply or are found to have failed to comply with FDA and other regulations related to the promotion of our products for unapproved uses, we could be subject to criminal penalties, substantial fines or other sanctions and damage awards.

The regulations relating to the promotion of products for unapproved uses are complex and subject to substantial interpretation by the FDA and other government agencies. If tenapanor or our other product candidates receive marketing approval, we and our collaboration partners, if any, will be restricted from marketing the product outside of its approved labeling, also referred to as off-label promotion. However, physicians may nevertheless prescribe an approved product to their patients in a manner that is inconsistent with the approved label, which is an off-label use. We intend to implement compliance and training programs designed to ensure that our sales and marketing practices comply with applicable regulations regarding off-label promotion. Notwithstanding these programs, the FDA or other government agencies may allege or find that our practices constitute prohibited promotion of our product candidates for unapproved uses. We also cannot be sure that our employees will comply with company policies and applicable regulations regarding the promotion of products for unapproved uses.

Over the past several years, a significant number of pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies have been the target of inquiries and investigations by various federal and state regulatory, investigative, prosecutorial and administrative entities in connection with the promotion of products for unapproved uses and other sales practices, including the Department of Justice and various U.S. Attorneys’ Offices, the Office of Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services, the FDA, the Federal Trade Commission and various state Attorneys General offices. These investigations have alleged violations of various federal and state laws and regulations, including claims asserting antitrust violations, violations of the FFDCA, the False Claims Act, the Prescription Drug Marketing Act, anti-kickback laws, and other alleged violations in connection with the promotion of products for unapproved uses, pricing and Medicare and/or Medicaid reimbursement. Many of these investigations originate as “qui tam” actions under the False Claims Act. Under the False Claims Act, any individual can bring a claim on behalf of the government alleging that a person or entity has presented a false claim, or caused a false claim to be submitted, to the government for payment. The person bringing a qui

47

Table of Contents

tam suit is entitled to a share of any recovery or settlement. Qui tam suits, also commonly referred to as “whistleblower suits,” are often brought by current or former employees. In a qui tam suit, the government must decide whether to intervene and prosecute the case. If it declines, the individual may pursue the case alone.

If the FDA or any other governmental agency initiates an enforcement action against us or if we are the subject of a qui tam suit and it is determined that we violated prohibitions relating to the promotion of products for unapproved uses, we could be subject to substantial civil or criminal fines or damage awards and other sanctions such as consent decrees and corporate integrity agreements pursuant to which our activities would be subject to ongoing scrutiny and monitoring to ensure compliance with applicable laws and regulations. Any such fines, awards or other sanctions would have an adverse effect on our revenue, business, financial prospects and reputation.

Tenapanor, which has been approved by the FDA for the treatment of IBS-C, and/or our other product candidates, if approved, may cause or contribute to adverse medical events that we are required to report to regulatory agencies and if we fail to do so we could be subject to sanctions that would materially harm our business.

Some participants in clinical studies of tenapanor have reported adverse effects after being treated with tenapanor, including diarrhea, nausea, flatulence, abdominal discomfort, abdominal pain, abdominal distention and changes in electrolytes. If we are successful in commercializing any products, FDA and foreign regulatory agency regulations require that we report certain information about adverse medical events if those products may have caused or contributed to those adverse events. The timing of our obligation to report would be triggered by the date we become aware of the adverse event as well as the nature of the event. We may fail to report adverse events we become aware of within the prescribed timeframe. We may also fail to appreciate that we have become aware of a reportable adverse event, especially if it is not reported to us as an adverse event or if it is an adverse event that is unexpected or removed in time from the use of our products. If we fail to comply with our reporting obligations, the FDA or a foreign regulatory agency could take action, including criminal prosecution, the imposition of civil monetary penalties, seizure of our products or delay in approval or clearance of future products.

Our employees, independent contractors, principal investigators, CROs, collaboration partners, consultants and vendors 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, CROs, collaboration partners, consultants and vendors may engage in fraudulent conduct or other illegal activity. Misconduct by these parties could include intentional, reckless and/or negligent conduct or unauthorized activities that violate any of the following: FDA regulations, including those laws that require the reporting of true, complete and accurate financial and other information to the FDA; manufacturing standards; or federal and state healthcare fraud and abuse laws and regulations. Specifically, sales, marketing and business arrangements in the healthcare industry are subject to extensive laws and regulations intended to prevent fraud, kickbacks, self-dealing and other abusive practices. These laws and regulations may restrict or prohibit a wide range of pricing, discounting, marketing and promotion, sales commission, customer incentive programs and other business arrangements. These activities also include the improper use of information obtained in the course of clinical trials, which could result in regulatory sanctions and serious harm to our reputation. It is not always possible to identify and deter misconduct by employees and other third parties, and the precautions we take to detect and prevent this activity may not be effective in controlling unknown or unmanaged risks or losses or in protecting us from governmental investigations or other actions or lawsuits stemming from a failure to comply with such laws or regulations. Additionally, we are subject to the risk that a person or government could allege such fraud or other misconduct, even if none occurred. 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 significant civil, criminal and administrative penalties, damages, monetary fines, disgorgements, possible exclusion from participation in Medicare, Medicaid and other federal healthcare programs, individual imprisonment, other sanctions, 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 results of operations.

48

Table of Contents

Failure to obtain regulatory approvals in foreign jurisdictions would prevent us from marketing our products internationally.

In order to market any product in the EEA (which is composed of the 27 Member States of the European Union plus Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein), and many other foreign jurisdictions, separate regulatory approvals are required. In the EEA, medicinal products can only be commercialized after obtaining a Marketing Authorization, or MA. Before the MA is granted, the EMA or the competent authorities of the Member States of the EEA make an assessment of the risk-benefit balance of the product on the basis of scientific criteria concerning its quality, safety and efficacy.

The approval procedures vary among countries and can involve additional clinical testing, and the time required to obtain approval may differ from that required to obtain FDA approval. Clinical trials conducted in one country may not be accepted by regulatory authorities in other countries. Approval by the FDA does not ensure approval by regulatory authorities in other countries, and approval by one or more foreign regulatory authorities does not ensure approval by regulatory authorities in other foreign countries or by the FDA. However, a failure or delay in obtaining regulatory approval in one country may have a negative effect on the regulatory process in others. The foreign regulatory approval process may include all of the risks associated with obtaining FDA approval. We may not be able to file for regulatory approvals or to do so on a timely basis, and even if we do file we may not receive necessary approvals to commercialize our products in any market.

We and our collaboration partners may be subject to healthcare laws, regulation and enforcement; our failure or the failure of any such collaboration partners to comply with these laws could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations and financial conditions.

Although we do not currently have any products on the market, once we begin commercializing our products, we and our collaboration partners may be subject to additional healthcare statutory and regulatory requirements and enforcement by the federal government and the states and foreign governments in which we conduct our business. The laws that may affect our ability to operate as a commercial organization include:

·

the federal Anti-Kickback Statute, which prohibits, among other things, persons from knowingly and willfully soliciting, receiving, offering or paying remuneration, directly or indirectly, in exchange for or to induce either the referral of an individual for, or the purchase, order or recommendation of, any good or service for which payment may be made under federal healthcare programs such as the Medicare and Medicaid programs. A person or entity does not need to have actual knowledge of this statute or specific intent to violate it in order to have committed a violation;

·

federal false claims laws which prohibit, among other things, individuals or entities from knowingly presenting, or causing to be presented, claims for payment from Medicare, Medicaid, or other third-party payors that are false or fraudulent. In addition, 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 false claims statutes;

·

federal criminal laws that prohibit executing a scheme to defraud any healthcare benefit program or making false statements relating to healthcare matters;

·

the federal physician sunshine requirements under the Affordable Care Act, which requires manufacturers of drugs, devices, biologics, and medical supplies to report annually to CMS information related to payments and other transfers of value to physicians, certain other healthcare providers beginning in 2022, and teaching hospitals, and ownership and investment interests held by physicians and other healthcare providers and their immediate family members;

·

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;

49

Table of Contents

·

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 made 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 physicians and other healthcare providers or pricing information and marketing expenditures; and

·

European and other foreign law equivalents of each of the laws, including reporting requirements detailing interactions with and payments to healthcare providers.

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. The risk of our being found in violation of these laws is increased by the fact that many of them have not been fully interpreted by the regulatory authorities or the courts, and their provisions are open to a variety of interpretations. 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 and regulations that apply to us, we may be subject to penalties, including civil and criminal penalties, damages, fines, the curtailment or restructuring of our operations, the exclusion from participation in federal and state healthcare programs and imprisonment, any of which could adversely affect our ability to market our products and adversely impact our financial results.

Legislative or regulatory healthcare reforms in the United States may make it more difficult and costly for us to obtain regulatory clearance or approval of our product candidates and to produce, market and distribute our products after clearance or approval is obtained.

From time to time, legislation is drafted and introduced in Congress that could significantly change the statutory provisions governing the regulatory clearance or approval, manufacture, and marketing of regulated products or the reimbursement thereof. In addition, FDA regulations and guidance are often revised or reinterpreted by the FDA in ways that may significantly affect our business and our products. Any new regulations or revisions or reinterpretations of existing regulations may impose additional costs or lengthen review times of our product candidates. We cannot determine what effect changes in regulations, statutes, legal interpretation or policies, when and if promulgated, enacted or adopted may have on 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;

·

recall, replacement, or discontinuance of one or more of our products; and

·

additional record keeping.

Each of these would likely entail substantial time and cost and could materially harm our business and our financial results. In addition, delays in receipt of or failure to receive regulatory clearances or approvals for any future products would harm our business, financial condition and results of operations.

In addition, the full impact of recent healthcare reform and other changes in the healthcare industry and in healthcare spending is currently unknown, and may adversely affect our business model. In the United States, the Affordable Care Act was enacted in 2010 with a goal of reducing the cost of healthcare and substantially changing the way healthcare is financed by both government and private insurers. The Affordable Care Act, among other things, increased the minimum Medicaid rebates owed by manufacturers under the Medicaid Drug Rebate Program and extended the rebate program to individuals enrolled in Medicaid managed care organizations, established annual fees and taxes on manufacturers of certain branded prescription drugs, and created a new Medicare Part D coverage gap discount program, in which manufacturers must agree to offer 50% point-of-sale discounts off negotiated prices of applicable brand drugs to eligible beneficiaries

50

Table of Contents

during their coverage gap period as a condition for the manufacturer’s outpatient drugs to be covered under Medicare Part D. The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 increased this discount to 70% beginning in January 2019.

Since its enactment, there have been judicial and Congressional challenges to certain aspects of the Affordable Care Act, as well as efforts by the current Presidential Administration to modify, or repeal all, or certain provisions of, the Affordable Care Act. By way of example, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 includes a provision repealing, the tax-based shared responsibility payment imposed by the ACA on certain individuals who fail to maintain qualifying health coverage for all or part of a year that is commonly referred to as the “individual mandate.” On December 14, 2018, a U.S. District Court Judge in the Northern District of Texas, ruled that the individual mandate is a critical and inseverable feature of the ACA, and therefore, because it was repealed as part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the remaining provisions of the ACA are invalid as well. On December 18, 2019, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit upheld the District Court's decision that the individual mandate was unconstitutional but remanded the case back to the District Court to determine whether the remaining provisions of the ACA are invalid as well. It is unclear how these decisions, subsequent appeals, and other efforts to challenge, repeal, or replace the ACA will impact the ACA or our business. We cannot predict the reform initiatives that may be adopted in the future or whether initiatives that have been adopted will be repealed or modified. We cannot predict the reform initiatives that may be adopted in the future or whether initiatives that have been adopted will be repealed or modified. The continuing efforts of the government, insurance companies, managed care organizations and other payors of healthcare services to contain or reduce costs of healthcare may adversely affect the demand for any drug products for which we may obtain regulatory approval, our ability to set a price that we believe is fair for our products, our ability to obtain coverage and reimbursement approval for a product, our ability to generate revenues and achieve or maintain profitability, and the level of taxes that we are required to pay.

Other legislative changes have been proposed and adopted in the United States since the Affordable Care Act was enacted. These new laws, among other things, included aggregate reductions of Medicare payments of 2% per fiscal year to providers that will remain in effect through 2029 unless additional action is taken by Congress, additional specific reductions in Medicare payments to several types of providers, including hospitals, imaging centers and cancer treatment centers, and an increase in the statute of limitations period for the government to recover overpayments to providers from three to five years. Additionally, individual states have become increasingly active in passing legislation and implementing regulations designed to control pharmaceutical product pricing, including price or patient reimbursement constraints, discounts, restrictions on certain product access, and to encourage importation from other countries and bulk purchasing. Recently, there has also been heightened governmental scrutiny over the manner in which drug manufacturers set prices for their marketed products, which has resulted in several Congressional inquiries and proposed bills 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 drug products.

Risks Related to Intellectual Property

We may become subject to claims alleging infringement of third parties’ patents or proprietary rights and/or claims seeking to invalidate our patents, which would be costly, time consuming and, if successfully asserted against us, delay or prevent the development and commercialization of tenapanor or our other product candidates, or prevent or delay the continued use of our drug discovery and development platform, including APECCS.

There have been many lawsuits and other proceedings asserting infringement or misappropriation of patents and other intellectual property rights in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. There can be no assurances that we will not be subject to claims alleging that the manufacture, use or sale of tenapanor or any other product candidates, or that the use of our drug discovery and development platform, including APECCS, infringes existing or future third-party patents, or that such claims, if any, will not be successful. Because patent applications can take many years to issue and may be confidential for 18 months or more after filing, and because pending patent claims can be revised before issuance, there may be applications now pending which may later result in issued patents that may be infringed by the manufacture, use or sale of tenapanor or other product candidates or by the use of APECCS. Moreover, we may face patent infringement claims from non-practicing entities that have no relevant product revenue and against whom our own patent portfolio may thus have no deterrent effect. We may be unaware of one or more issued patents that would be infringed by the manufacture, sale or use of tenapanor or our other product candidates, or by the use of APECCS.

51

Table of Contents

We may be subject to third-party patent infringement claims in the future against us or our that would cause us to incur substantial expenses and, if successful against us, could cause us to pay substantial damages, including treble damages and attorney’s fees if we are found to be willfully infringing a third party’s patents. We may be required to indemnify future collaboration partners against such claims. We are not aware of any threatened or pending claims related to these matters, but in the future litigation may be necessary to defend against such claims. If a patent infringement suit were brought against us we could be forced to stop or delay research, development, manufacturing or sales of the product or product candidate that is the subject of the suit. In addition, if a patent infringement suit were brought against us regarding the use of aspects of our drug discovery and development platform, we could be forced to stop our use of APECCS or of other aspects of our platform, or we could be forced to modify our processes to avoid infringement, which may not be possible at a reasonable cost, if at all, and which could result in substantial delay in our use of our platform for the discovery of new product candidates or potential targets. As a result of patent infringement claims, or in order to avoid potential claims, we may choose to seek, or be required to seek, a license from the third party and would most likely be required to pay license fees or royalties or both. These licenses may not be available on acceptable terms, or at all. Even if we were able to obtain a license, we may be unable to maintain such licenses and the rights may be nonexclusive, which would give our competitors access to the same intellectual property. Ultimately, we could be prevented from commercializing a product, or forced to redesign it, or to cease our use of APECCS or some other aspect of our drug discovery and development platform or our business operations if, as a result of actual or threatened patent infringement claims, we are unable to enter into licenses on acceptable terms, or unable to maintain such licenses when granted. Even if we are successful in defending against such claims, such litigation can be expensive and time consuming to litigate and would divert management’s attention from our core business. Any of these events could harm our business significantly.

In addition to infringement claims against us, if third parties prepare and file patent applications in the United States that also claim technology similar or identical to ours, we may have to participate in interference or derivation proceedings in the United States Patent and Trademark Office, or the USPTO, to determine which party is entitled to a patent on the disputed invention. We may also become involved in similar opposition proceedings in the European Patent Office or similar offices in other jurisdictions regarding our intellectual property rights with respect to our products and technology. Since patent applications are confidential for a period of time after filing, we cannot be certain that we were the first to file any patent application related to our product candidates.

If our intellectual property related to our product candidates is not adequate or if we are not able to protect our trade secrets or our confidential information, we may not be able to compete effectively in our market.

We rely upon a combination of patents, trade secret protection and confidentiality agreements to protect the intellectual property related to our product candidates, our drug discovery and development platform and our development programs. Any disclosure to or misappropriation by third parties of our confidential or proprietary information could enable competitors to quickly duplicate or surpass our technological achievements, thus eroding our competitive position in our market.

The strength of patents in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical field involves complex legal and scientific questions and can be uncertain. The patent applications that we own or license may fail to result in issued patents in the United States or in foreign countries. Additionally, our research and development efforts may result in product candidates for which patent protection is limited or not available. Even if patents do successfully issue, third parties may challenge the validity, enforceability or scope thereof, which may result in such patents being narrowed, invalidated or held unenforceable. For example, U.S. patents can be challenged by any person before the new USPTO Patent Trial and Appeals Board at any time before one year after that person is served an infringement complaint based on the patents. Patents granted by the European Patent Office may be similarly opposed by any person within nine months from the publication of the grant. Similar proceedings are available in other jurisdictions, and in the United States, Europe and other jurisdictions third parties can raise questions of validity with a patent office even before a patent has granted. Furthermore, even if they are unchallenged, our patents and patent applications may not adequately protect our intellectual property or prevent others from designing around our claims. For example, a third party may develop a competitive product that provides therapeutic benefits similar to one or more of our product candidates but has a sufficiently different composition to fall outside the scope of our patent protection. If the breadth or strength of protection provided by the patents and patent applications we hold or pursue with respect to our product candidates is successfully challenged, then our ability to commercialize such product candidates could be negatively affected, and we may face unexpected competition that could have a material adverse impact on our

52

Table of Contents

business. Further, if we encounter delays in our clinical trials, the period of time during which we or our collaboration partners could market tenapanor or other product candidates under patent protection would be reduced.

Even where laws provide protection, costly and time-consuming litigation could be necessary to enforce and determine the scope of our proprietary rights, and the outcome of such litigation would be uncertain. If we or one of our collaboration partners were to initiate legal proceedings against a third party to enforce a patent covering the product candidate, the defendant could counterclaim that our patent is invalid and/or unenforceable. In patent litigation in the United States, defendant counterclaims alleging invalidity and/or unenforceability are commonplace. Grounds for a validity challenge could be an alleged failure to meet any of several statutory requirements, including lack of novelty, obviousness or non-enablement. Grounds for an unenforceability assertion could be an allegation that someone connected with prosecution of the patent withheld relevant information from the USPTO, or made a misleading statement, during prosecution. The outcome following legal assertions of invalidity and unenforceability is unpredictable. With respect to validity, for example, we cannot be certain that there is no invalidating prior art, of which we and the patent examiner were unaware during prosecution. If a defendant were to prevail on a legal assertion of invalidity and/or unenforceability against our intellectual property related to a product candidate, we would lose at least part, and perhaps all, of the patent protection on such product candidate. Such a loss of patent protection would have a material adverse impact on our business. Moreover, our competitors could counterclaim that we infringe their intellectual property, and some of our competitors have substantially greater intellectual property portfolios than we do.

We also rely on trade secret protection and confidentiality agreements to protect proprietary know-how that may not be patentable, processes for which patents may be difficult to obtain and/or enforce and any other elements of our drug discovery and development processes that involve proprietary know-how, information or technology that is not covered by patents. Although we require all of our employees, consultants, advisors and any third parties who have access to our proprietary know-how, information or technology, to assign their inventions to us, and endeavor to execute confidentiality agreements with all such parties, we cannot be certain that we have executed such agreements with all parties who may have helped to develop our intellectual property or who had access to our proprietary information, nor can we be certain that our agreements will not be breached by such consultants, advisors or third parties, or by our former employees. The breach of such agreements by individuals or entities who are actively involved in the discovery and design of our potential drug candidates, or in the development of our discovery and design platform, including APECCS, could require us to pursue legal action to protect our trade secrets and confidential information, which would be expensive, and the outcome of which would be unpredictable. If we are not successful in prohibiting the continued breach of such agreements, our business could be negatively impacted. We cannot guarantee that our trade secrets and other confidential proprietary information will not be disclosed or that competitors will not otherwise gain access to our trade secrets or independently develop substantially equivalent information and techniques.

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. If we are unable to prevent material disclosure of the intellectual property related to our technologies to third parties, we will not be able to establish or maintain a competitive advantage in our market, which could materially adversely affect our business, results of operations and financial condition.

If we do not obtain patent term extension in the United States under the Hatch-Waxman Act and in foreign countries under similar legislation, thereby potentially extending the term of marketing exclusivity for our product candidates, our business may be materially harmed.

Following the approval by the FDA for our NDA to market tenapanor for IBS-C, we became eligible to seek and sought patent term restoration under the Hatch-Waxman Act for one of the U.S. patents covering our approved product or the use thereof. The Hatch-Waxman Act allows a maximum of one patent to be extended per FDA approved product. Patent term extension also may be available in certain foreign countries upon regulatory approval of our product candidates. Despite seeking patent term extension for tenapanor or other product candidates, we may not be granted patent term extension either in the United States or in any foreign country because of, for example, failing to apply within applicable deadlines, failing to apply prior to expiration of relevant patents or otherwise failing to satisfy applicable requirements. Moreover, the term of extension, as well as the scope of patent protection during any such extension, afforded by the governmental authority could be less than we request.

53

Table of Contents

If we are unable to obtain patent term extension or restoration, or the term of any such extension is less than we request, the period during which we will have the right to exclusively market our product will be shortened and our competitors may obtain approval of competing products following our patent expiration, and our revenue could be reduced, possibly materially.

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.

The USPTO and various foreign patent agencies require compliance with a number of procedural, documentary, fee payment and other provisions to maintain patent applications and issued patents. Noncompliance with these requirements can result in abandonment or lapse of a patent or patent application, resulting in partial or complete loss of patent rights in the relevant jurisdiction. In such an event, competitors might be able to enter the market earlier than would otherwise have been the case.

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

The laws of some foreign countries do not protect intellectual property rights to the same extent as the laws of the United States. Many companies have encountered significant problems in protecting and defending intellectual property rights in certain foreign jurisdictions. The legal systems of some countries, particularly developing countries, do not favor the enforcement of patents and other intellectual property protection, especially those relating to life sciences. This could make it difficult for us to stop the infringement of our patents or the misappropriation of our other intellectual property rights. For example, many foreign countries have compulsory licensing laws under which a patent owner must grant licenses to third parties.

Proceedings to enforce our patent rights in foreign jurisdictions, whether or not successful, could result in substantial costs and divert our efforts and attention from other aspects of our business. Furthermore, while we intend to protect our intellectual property rights in our expected significant markets, we cannot ensure that we will be able to initiate or maintain similar efforts in all jurisdictions in which we may wish to market our products. Accordingly, our efforts to protect our intellectual property rights in such countries may be inadequate. In addition, changes in the law and legal decisions by courts in the United States and foreign countries may affect our ability to obtain and enforce adequate intellectual property protection for our technology.

We may be subject to claims that we or our employees have misappropriated the intellectual property, including know-how or trade secrets, of a third party, or claiming ownership of what we regard as our own intellectual property.

Many of our employees, consultants and contractors were previously employed at or engaged by other biotechnology or pharmaceutical companies, including our competitors or potential competitors. Some of these employees, consultants and contractors, executed proprietary rights, non-disclosure and non-competition agreements in connection with such previous employment. Although we try to ensure that our employees, consultants and contractors do not use the intellectual property and other proprietary information or know-how or trade secrets of others in their work for us, and do not perform work for us that is in conflict with their obligations to another employer or any other entity, we may be subject to claims that we or these employees, consultants and contractors have used or disclosed such intellectual property, including know-how, trade secrets or other proprietary information. In addition, an employee, advisor or consultant who performs work for us may have obligations to a third party that are in conflict with their obligations to us, and as a result such third party may claim an ownership interest in the intellectual property arising out of work performed for us. We are not aware of any threatened or pending claims related to these matters, but in the future litigation may be necessary to defend against such claims. If we fail in defending any such claims, in addition to paying monetary damages, we may lose valuable intellectual property rights or personnel, or access to consultants and contractors. Even if we are successful in defending against such claims, litigation could result in substantial costs and be a distraction to management.

In addition, while we typically require our employees, consultants and contractors who may be involved in the development of intellectual property to execute agreements assigning such intellectual property to us, we may be unsuccessful in executing such an agreement with each party who in fact develops intellectual property that we regard as

54

Table of Contents

our own, which may result in claims by or against us related to the ownership of such intellectual property. If we fail in prosecuting or defending any such claims, in addition to paying monetary damages, we may lose valuable intellectual property rights. Even if we are successful in prosecuting or defending against such claims, litigation could result in substantial costs and be a distraction to our management and scientific personnel.

Risks Related to Our Common Stock

Our stock price may be volatile and our stockholders may not be able to resell shares of our common stock at or above the price they paid.

The trading price of our common stock is highly volatile and could be subject to wide fluctuations in response to various factors, some of which are beyond our control. These factors include those discussed in this “Risk Factors” section and others such as:

·

results from, or any delays in, clinical trial programs relating to our product candidates;

·

the success of our efforts to establish a collaboration partnership for the commercialization of tenapanor for IBS-C in the United States;

·

our ability, alone or with collaboration partners, to commercialize or obtain regulatory approval for tenapanor, or delays in commercializing or obtaining regulatory approval;

·

announcements of regulatory approval, results of regulatory inspections of our facilities or those of our contract manufacturing organizations, or specific label restrictions or patient populations for tenapanor’s use, or changes or delays in the regulatory review process;

·

announcements relating to our current or future collaboration partnerships;

·

announcements of therapeutic innovations or new products by us or our competitors;

·

adverse actions taken by regulatory agencies with respect to our product label, our clinical trials, manufacturing supply chain or sales and marketing activities;

·

changes or developments in laws or regulations applicable to our product candidates;

·

the success of our testing and clinical trials;

·

failure to meet any of our projected timelines or goals with regard to the clinical development of any of our product candidates;

·

the success of our efforts to acquire or license or discover additional product candidates;

·

any intellectual property infringement actions in which we may become involved;

·

the success of our efforts to obtain adequate intellectual property protection for our product candidates;

·

announcements concerning our competitors or the pharmaceutical industry in general;

·

achievement of expected product sales and profitability;

·

manufacture, supply or distribution shortages;

55

Table of Contents

·

actual or anticipated fluctuations in our operating results;

·

FDA or other U.S. or foreign regulatory actions affecting us or our industry or other healthcare reform measures in the United States;

·

changes in financial estimates or recommendations by securities analysts;

·

trading volume of our common stock;

·

sales of our common stock by us, our executive officers and directors or our stockholders in the future;

·

sales of debt securities and sales or licensing of assets;

·

general economic and market conditions and overall fluctuations in the United States equity markets; and

·

the loss of any of our key scientific or management personnel.

In addition, the stock markets in general, and the markets for pharmaceutical, biopharmaceutical and biotechnology stocks in particular, have experienced extreme volatility that may have been unrelated to the operating performance of the issuer. These broad market fluctuations may adversely affect the trading price or liquidity of our common stock. In the past, when the market price of a stock has been volatile, holders of that stock have sometimes instituted securities class action litigation against the issuer. If any of our stockholders were to bring such a lawsuit against us, we could incur substantial costs defending the lawsuit and the attention of our management would be diverted from the operation of our business, which could seriously harm our financial position. Any adverse determination in litigation could also subject us to significant liabilities.

Our principal stockholders own a significant percentage of our stock and, together with our management, will be able to exert significant control over matters subject to stockholder approval.

Based on the number of shares outstanding as of December 31, 2019, our officers, directors and affiliated stockholders who hold at least 5% of our stock together beneficially own approximately 52.2% of our outstanding common stock. If these officers, directors, and principal stockholders or a group of our principal stockholders act together, they will be able to exert a significant degree of influence over our management and affairs and control matters requiring stockholder approval, including the election of directors, amendments to our organizational documents, and approval of any merger, sale of assets or other business combination transactions. The interests of this concentration of ownership may not always coincide with our interests or the interests of other stockholders. For instance, officers, directors and principal stockholders, acting together, could cause us to enter into transactions or agreements that we would not otherwise consider. Similarly, this concentration of ownership may have the effect of delaying or preventing a change in control of our company otherwise favored by our other stockholders.  As of December 31, 2019, entities affiliated with New Enterprise Associates, or NEA, a venture capital fund associated with one of our directors, collectively beneficially owned approximately 19.4% of our common stock, including shares that NEA has the right to acquire within 60 days of December 31, 2019 upon exercise of warrants held by NEA.

If we sell shares of our common stock in future financings, stockholders may experience immediate dilution and, as a result, our stock price may decline.

We may from time to time issue additional shares of common stock at a discount from the current trading price of our common stock. As a result, our stockholders would experience immediate dilution upon the purchase of any shares of our common stock sold at such discount. In addition, as opportunities present themselves, we may enter into financing or similar arrangements in the future, including the issuance of debt securities, preferred stock or common stock. If we issue common stock or securities convertible into common stock, our common stockholders would experience additional dilution and, as a result, our stock price may decline.

56

Table of Contents

Sales of a substantial number of shares of our common stock in the public market could cause our stock price to fall.

If our existing stockholders sell, or indicate an intention to sell, substantial amounts of our common stock in the public market, the trading price of our common stock could decline. As of December 31, 2019, we had 88,817,741 shares of common stock outstanding. Of those shares, approximately 43.9 million were held by current directors, executive officers and stockholders owning 5% or more of our outstanding common stock.

As of December 31, 2019, approximately 0.8 million shares of common stock issuable upon vesting of outstanding restricted stock units and approximately 7.3 million shares of common stock issuable upon exercise of outstanding options were eligible for sale in the public market to the extent permitted by the provisions of the applicable vesting schedules, and Rule 144 and Rule 701 under the Securities Act. In addition, as of December 31, 2019, approximately 2.2 million shares of common stock issuable upon exercise of outstanding warrants were eligible for sale in the public market. If these additional shares of common stock are issued and sold, or if it is perceived that they will be sold, in the public market, the trading price of our common stock could decline.

Provisions in our charter documents and under Delaware law could discourage a takeover that stockholders may consider favorable and may lead to entrenchment of management.

Our amended and restated certificate of incorporation and amended and restated bylaws contain provisions that could significantly reduce the value of our shares to a potential acquirer or delay or prevent changes in control or changes in our management without the consent of our board of directors. The provisions in our charter documents include the following:

·

a classified board of directors with three-year staggered terms, which may delay the ability of stockholders to change the membership of a majority of our board of directors;

·

no cumulative voting in the election of directors, which limits the ability of minority stockholders to elect director candidates;

·

the exclusive right of our board of directors to elect a director to fill a vacancy created by the expansion of the board of directors or the resignation, death or removal of a director, which prevents stockholders from being able to fill vacancies on our board of directors;

·

the required approval of at least two-thirds of the shares entitled to vote to remove a director for cause, and the prohibition on removal of directors without cause;

·

the ability of our board of directors to authorize the issuance of shares of preferred stock and to determine the price and other terms of those shares, including preferences and voting rights, without stockholder approval, which could be used to significantly dilute the ownership of a hostile acquirer;

·

the ability of our board of directors to alter our bylaws without obtaining stockholder approval;

·

the required approval of at least two-thirds of the shares entitled to vote at an election of directors to adopt, amend or repeal our bylaws or repeal the provisions of our amended and restated certificate of incorporation regarding the election and removal of directors;

·

a prohibition on stockholder action by written consent, which forces stockholder action to be taken at an annual or special meeting of our stockholders;

·

the requirement that a special meeting of stockholders may be called only by the chairman of the board of directors, the chief executive officer, the president or the board of directors, which may delay the ability of our stockholders to force consideration of a proposal or to take action, including the removal of directors; and

57

Table of Contents

·

advance notice procedures that stockholders must comply with in order to nominate candidates to our board of directors or to propose matters to be acted upon at a stockholders’ meeting, which may discourage or deter a potential acquirer from conducting a solicitation of proxies to elect the acquirer’s own slate of directors or otherwise attempting to obtain control of us.

In addition, these provisions would apply even if we were to receive an offer that some stockholders may consider beneficial.

We are also subject to the anti-takeover provisions contained in Section 203 of the Delaware General Corporation Law. Under Section 203, a corporation may not, in general, engage in a business combination with any holder of 15% or more of its capital stock unless the holder has held the stock for three years or, among other exceptions, the board of directors has approved the transaction.

Claims for indemnification by our directors and officers may reduce our available funds to satisfy successful third-party claims against us and may reduce the amount of money available to us.

Our amended and restated certificate of incorporation and amended and restated bylaws provide that we will indemnify our directors and officers, in each case to the fullest extent permitted by Delaware law.

In addition, as permitted by Section 145 of the Delaware General Corporation Law, our amended and restated bylaws and our indemnification agreements that we have entered into with our directors and officers provide that:

·

We will indemnify our directors and officers for serving us in those capacities or for serving other business enterprises at our request, to the fullest extent permitted by Delaware law. Delaware law provides that a corporation may indemnify such person if such person acted in good faith and in a manner such person reasonably believed to be in or not opposed to the best interests of the registrant and, with respect to any criminal proceeding, had no reasonable cause to believe such person’s conduct was unlawful.

·

We may, in our discretion, indemnify employees and agents in those circumstances where indemnification is permitted by applicable law.

·

We are required to advance expenses, as incurred, to our directors and officers in connection with defending a proceeding, except that such directors or officers shall undertake to repay such advances if it is ultimately determined that such person is not entitled to indemnification.

·

We will not be obligated pursuant to our amended and restated bylaws to indemnify a person with respect to proceedings initiated by that person against us or our other indemnitees, except with respect to proceedings authorized by our board of directors or brought to enforce a right to indemnification.

·

The rights conferred in our amended and restated bylaws are not exclusive, and we are authorized to enter into indemnification agreements with our directors, officers, employees and agents and to obtain insurance to indemnify such persons.

·

We may not retroactively amend our amended and restated bylaw provisions to reduce our indemnification obligations to directors, officers, employees and agents.

We do not currently intend to pay dividends on our common stock, and, consequently, our stockholders’ ability to achieve a return on their investment will depend on appreciation in the price of our common stock.

We do not currently intend to pay any cash dividends on our common stock for the foreseeable future. We currently intend to invest our future earnings, if any, to fund our growth. Additionally, the terms of our loan and security agreements could restrict our ability to pay dividends. Therefore, our stockholders are not likely to receive any dividends

58

Table of Contents

on our common stock for the foreseeable future. Since we do not intend to pay dividends, our stockholders’ ability to receive a return on their investment will depend on any future appreciation in the market value of our common stock. There is no guarantee that our common stock will appreciate or even maintain the price at which our holders have purchased it.

 

ITEM 1B. UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS

None.

ITEM 2. PROPERTIES

Our headquarters is currently located in Fremont, California, and consists of 72,500 square feet of leased office and laboratory space under a lease that expires in September 2021, with an option to extend the lease term subsequently by five years. In addition, we lease 3,520 square feet of office space in Waltham, Massachusetts, under a lease that currently expires in September 2021. We believe that our existing facilities are adequate for our current needs. If we determine that additional or new facilities are needed in the future, we believe that sufficient options would be available to us on commercially reasonable terms.

ITEM 3. LEGAL PROCEEDINGS

From time to time, we may be involved in legal proceedings arising in the ordinary course of business. We believe that as of December 31, 2019, there is no litigation pending that would reasonably be expected to have a material adverse effect on our results of operations and financial condition.

ITEM 4. MINE SAFETY DISCLOSURES

Not applicable.

59

Table of Contents

PART II

ITEM 5. MARKET FOR REGISTRANT’S COMMON EQUITY, RELATED STOCKHOLDER MATTERS AND ISSUER PURCHASES OF EQUITY SECURITIES

Common Stock

On June 19, 2014, our common stock commenced trading on The Nasdaq Global Market under the symbol “ARDX”. Prior to that date, there was no public trading market for our common stock. As of December 31, 2019, there were 35 holders of record of our common stock.

Dividends

We have never declared or paid cash dividends on our capital stock. We currently intend to retain any future earnings to finance the growth and development of our business.

Recent Sales of Unregistered Securities

As disclosed in our Current Report on Form 8-K filed with the SEC on December 2, 2019, on November 22, 2019, we entered into a Stock Purchase Agreement with KKC pursuant to which we sold an aggregate of 2,873,563 shares of common stock in a private placement exempt from registration pursuant to the exemption for transactions by an issuer not involving any public offering under Section 4(a)(2) the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “Securities Act”), and Regulation D under the Securities Act. In accordance with the instructions to Part II, Item 5(a) of Form 10-K, the Item 701 information is omitted from this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

Use of Proceeds

Not applicable.

Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

Not applicable.

 

 

60

Table of Contents

ITEM 6. SELECTED FINANCIAL DATA

The data set forth below is not necessarily indicative of the results of future operations and should be read in conjunction with the financial statements and the notes included elsewhere in this annual report on Form 10‑K and also with “ITEM 7. MANAGEMENT’S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS” and our financial statements and the notes thereto included in Part II, Item 8, of this Annual Report on Form 10‑K.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Year Ended December 31, 

Statement of Operations Data:

    

2019

    

2018

    

2017

    

2016

    

2015

 

 

(in thousands, except share and per share amounts)

Revenue:

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

  

Licensing revenue

 

$

4,500

 

$

2,320

 

$

42,000

 

$

 —

 

$

21,611

Collaborative development revenue

 

 

459

 

 

 —

 

 

 —

 

 

 —

 

 

2,415

Other revenue

 

 

322

 

 

287

 

 

 —

 

 

 —

 

 

 —

Total revenues

 

 

5,281

 

 

2,607

 

 

42,000

 

 

 —

 

 

24,026

Cost of revenue

 

 

600

 

 

466

 

 

8,400

 

 

 —

 

 

 —

Gross profit

 

 

4,681

 

 

2,141

 

 

33,600

 

 

 —

 

 

24,026

Operating expenses:

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

  

Research and development

 

 

71,677

 

 

69,373

 

 

75,484

 

 

94,161

 

 

39,885

General and administrative

 

 

24,267

 

 

23,715

 

 

23,231

 

 

18,734

 

 

13,530

Total operating expenses

 

 

95,944

 

 

93,088

 

 

98,715

 

 

112,895

 

 

53,415

Loss from operations

 

 

(91,263)

 

 

(90,947)

 

 

(65,115)

 

 

(112,895)

 

 

(29,389)

Interest expense

 

 

(5,726)

 

 

(3,534)

 

 

 —

 

 

 —

 

 

 —

Other income (expense), net

 

 

2,352

 

 

3,187

 

 

1,955

 

 

508

 

 

(261)

Loss before provision for income taxes

 

 

(94,637)

 

 

(91,294)

 

 

(63,160)

 

 

(112,387)

 

 

(29,650)

Provision for (benefit from) income taxes

 

 

303

 

 

 4

 

 

1,179

 

 

 —

 

 

(29)

Net loss

 

$

(94,940)

 

$

(91,298)

 

$

(64,339)

 

$

(112,387)

 

$

(29,621)

Net loss per common share, basic and diluted

 

$

(1.47)

 

$

(1.62)

 

$

(1.36)

 

$

(2.80)

 

$

(1.29)

Shares used in computing net loss per share - basic and diluted

 

 

64,478,066

 

 

56,219,919

 

 

47,435,331

 

 

40,118,522

 

 

22,892,640

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As of  December 31, 

Balance Sheet Data:

    

2019

    

2018

    

2017

    

2016

    

2015

 

 

(in thousands)

Cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments

 

$

247,512

 

$

168,089

 

$

133,976

 

$

200,823

 

$

107,004

Total assets

 

 

259,782

 

 

183,332

 

 

157,903

 

 

213,131

 

 

116,946

Loan payable, net of current portion

 

 

48,831

 

 

49,209

 

 

 —

 

 

 —

 

 

 —

Accumulated deficit

 

 

(460,452)

 

 

(365,512)

 

 

(278,214)

 

 

(213,875)

 

 

(101,488)

Total stockholders' equity

 

 

186,655

 

 

115,813

 

 

139,312

 

 

193,151

 

 

108,901

 

61

Table of Contents

ITEM 7. 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 in conjunction with the section of this report entitled “Selected Financial Data” and our financial statements and related notes included elsewhere in this report. This discussion and other parts of this report contain forward-looking statements that involve risk and uncertainties, such as statements of our plans, objectives, expectations and intentions. Our actual results could differ materially from those discussed in these forward-looking statements. Factors that could cause or contribute to such differences include, but are not limited to, those discussed in the section of this report entitled “Risk Factors.” These forward-looking statements speak only as of the date hereof. Except as required by law, we assume no obligation to update or revise these forward-looking statements for any reason. Unless the context requires otherwise, the terms “Ardelyx”, “Company”, “we”, “us”, and “our” refer to Ardelyx, Inc.

OVERVIEW

We are a specialized biopharmaceutical company focused on developing first-in-class medicines to improve treatment for people with cardiorenal diseases. This includes patients with chronic kidney disease, or CKD, on dialysis suffering from elevated serum phosphorus, or hyperphosphatemia; and patients with CKD and/or heart failure patients with elevated serum potassium, or hyperkalemia.

Our portfolio is led by the development of tenapanor, a first-in-class medicine in late-stage clinical development for the control of serum phosphorus in patients with CKD on dialysis. Tenapanor has a unique mechanism of action and acts locally in the gut to inhibit the sodium hydrogen exchanger 3, or NHE3. This results in the tightening of the epithelial cell junctions, thereby significantly reducing paracellular uptake of phosphate, the primary pathway of phosphate absorption.  

We have evaluated tenapanor in a Phase 3 program for the control of serum phosphorus in CKD patients on dialysis. In December 2019, we reported statistically significant topline efficacy results from our second monotherapy Phase 3 clinical trial, the PHREEDOM trial. The PHREEDOM trial followed a successful monotherapy Phase 3 clinical trial completed in 2017, which achieved statistical significance for the primary endpoint. PHREEDOM is a one-year study with a 26-week open-label treatment period and a 12-week double-blind, placebo-controlled randomized withdrawal period followed by a 14-week open-label safety extension period. An active safety control group, for safety analysis only, received sevelamer, open-label, for the entire 52-week study period. Patients completing the PHREEDOM trial from both the tenapanor arm and the sevelamer active safety control arm had the option to participate in NORMALIZE, an ongoing open-label 18-month extension study. The goal of the NORMALIZE study is to further our understanding of the potential for the dual mechanism of tenapanor and sevelamer to reduce patients’ serum phosphorus levels towards normal (<4.6 mg/dL) while minimizing medication burden. In addition, in September 2019, we reported positive results from the AMPLIFY trial, a Phase 3 study evaluating tenapanor in patients with CKD on dialysis who had uncontrolled hyperphosphatemia despite phosphate binder treatment.

We are preparing to submit a New Drug Application, or NDA, to the United States Food and Drug Administration, or FDA, for tenapanor for the control of serum phosphorus in adult patients with CKD on dialysis in mid-2020. Tenapanor, if approved, would be the first therapy for phosphate management that is not a phosphate binder. As tenapanor is a novel, potent, small molecule there would be significantly less pill burden than with phosphate binders. Tenapanor is dosed as a single pill, twice-daily, which we believe could greatly improve patient adherence and compliance and free patients from having to take multiple pills before every meal.

 

We are also advancing a small molecule potassium secretagogue program, RDX013, for the potential treatment of hyperkalemia. Hyperkalemia is a common problem in patients with heart and kidney disease, particularly in patients taking common blood pressure medications known as RAAS inhibitors, which inhibit the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system. Similar to what we have done with tenapanor in developing a non-binder approach for the treatment of elevated serum phosphate levels, RDX013 is designed to offer a non-binder alternative to lowering elevated potassium with a much lower pill burden than potassium binders and we believe may provide significant advantages as a stand-alone agent or in combination with potassium binders.

62

Table of Contents

 

In addition to the development of tenapanor in our cardiorenal portfolio, we have developed tenapanor for the treatment of patients with irritable bowel syndrome with constipation, or IBS-C. On September 12, 2019, we received US FDA approval of IBSRELA® (tenapanor) for the treatment of IBS-C in adults. IBS-C is a burdensome GI disorder affecting a significant number of people. It is characterized by significant abdominal pain, constipation, straining during bowel movements, bloating and/or gas.

IBSRELA (tenapanor) is a locally acting inhibitor NHE3, an antiporter expressed on the apical surface of the small intestine and colon primarily responsible for the absorption of dietary sodium. By inhibiting NHE3 on the apical surface of the enterocytes, tenapanor reduces absorption of sodium from the small intestine and colon, resulting in an increase in water secretion into the intestinal lumen, which accelerates intestinal transit time and results in a softer stool consistency. Tenapanor has also been shown to reduce abdominal pain by decreasing visceral hypersensitivity and by decreasing intestinal permeability in animal models. In a rat model of colonic hypersensitivity, tenapanor reduced visceral hyperalgesia and normalized colonic sensory neuronal excitability.

We have developed a proprietary drug discovery and design platform to discover targets found in the GI tract that regulate processes in the body and design product candidates that act upon those targets to take advantage of the gut’s ability to communicate with other organs.

Since commencing operations in October 2007, substantially all our efforts have been dedicated to our research and development activities, including developing our clinical product candidate tenapanor and developing our proprietary drug discovery and design platform. We have not generated any revenues from product sales. As of December 31, 2019, we had an accumulated deficit of $460.5 million.

We expect to continue to incur substantial operating losses for the foreseeable future as a result of costs associated with the following activities: our continued development of tenapanor for the control of serum phosphorus in CKD patients on dialysis; the preparation of the NDA to seek marketing approval in the United States for tenapanor for the control of serum phosphorus in patients with CKD on dialysis; our preparations for the commercialization of tenapanor in the United States for the control of serum phosphorus in CKD patients on dialysis, including significant increased personnel costs associated with building out our commercial team; the performance of certain activities required as a result of our NDA approval of tenapanor for IBS-C, including costs associated with conducting the pediatric clinical trials for IBS-C; and the advancement of our research programs into the preclinical stage. To date, we have funded our operations from the sale and issuance of common stock and convertible preferred stock, funds from our collaboration partnerships, and funds from our Loan Agreement with Solar Capital Ltd. and Western Alliance Bank.

 

FINANCIAL OPERATIONS OVERVIEW

Revenue

Our revenue to date has been generated primarily through license, research and development collaborative agreements with various collaboration partners. We have not generated any revenue from product sales. In the future, we may generate revenue from a combination of license fees and other upfront payments, milestone payments, product sales and royalties in connection with our current or future collaborative partnerships. We expect that any revenue we generate will fluctuate in future periods as a result of, among other factors: the timing and progress of goods and services provided pursuant to our current or future collaborative partnerships; our or our collaborators’ achievement of preclinical, clinical, regulatory or commercialization milestones, to the extent achieved; the timing and amount of any payments to us relating to the aforementioned milestones; and the extent to which any of our product candidates are approved and successfully commercialized by us or a collaboration partner. If we, our current collaboration partners or any future collaboration partners fail to develop product candidates in a timely manner or to obtain regulatory approval for product candidates, our ability to generate future revenue from collaborative arrangements, and our results of operations and financial position, would be materially and adversely affected. Our past revenue performance is not necessarily indicative of results to be expected in future periods. See NOTE 2, SUMMARY OF SIGNIFICANT ACCOUNTING POLICIES, in the notes to our financial statements, included in Part II, Item 8, of this Annual Report on Form 10-K, for further details.  

63

Table of Contents

Cost of Revenue

Cost of revenue currently represents payments due to AstraZeneca, which under the terms of a termination agreement entered into in 2015 is entitled to (i) future royalties at a rate of 10% of net sales of tenapanor or other NHE3 products by us or our licensees, and (ii) 20% of non-royalty revenue received from a new collaboration partner should we elect to license, or otherwise provide rights to develop and commercialize tenapanor or certain other NHE3 inhibitors. We have agreed to pay AstraZeneca up to a maximum of $75.0 million in the aggregate for (i) and (ii). We recognize these expenses as cost of revenue when we recognize the corresponding revenue that gives rise to payments due to AstraZeneca. To date, we have recognized an aggregate of $10.5 million of the $75.0 million under the AZ Termination Agreement. See details in NOTE 13, COLLABORATION AND LICENSING AGREEMENTS, under AstraZeneca, in the notes to our financial statements, included in Part II, Item 8, of this Annual Report on Form 10-K

Research and Development

We recognize all research and development expenses as they are incurred to support the discovery, research, development and manufacturing of our product candidates. Research and development expenses consist of the following:

·

external research and development expenses incurred under agreements with consultants, third-party contract research organizations, or CROs, and investigative sites where a substantial portion of our clinical studies are conducted, and with contract manufacturing organizations where our clinical supplies are produced;

·

expenses associated with supplies and materials consumed in connection with our research operations;

·

employee-related expenses, which include salaries, bonuses, benefits, travel and stock-based compensation;

·

other costs associated with regulatory, clinical and non-clinical development activities; and

·

facilities and other allocated expenses, which include direct and allocated expenses for rent and maintenance of facilities, depreciation and amortization expense, information technology expense and other supplies.

We expect to continue to make substantial investments in research and development activities as we further progress the development of tenapanor, as well as our other product candidates, as we advance our research programs into the preclinical stage and as we continue our early stage research. The process of conducting preclinical studies and clinical trials necessary to obtain regulatory approval is costly and time-consuming. We may not succeed in achieving marketing approval for all of our product candidates, including tenapanor for the control of serum phosphorus. Additionally, for the marketing approval received in the United States for tenapanor for the treatment of IBS-C, we may not be successful in securing one or more collaboration partners to commercialize tenapanor in the United States or in other territories. The probability of success of each of the product candidates may be affected by numerous factors, including preclinical data, clinical data, market acceptance, sufficient third-party coverage or reimbursement, our ability to access capital on acceptable terms, competition, manufacturing capability and commercial viability.

We anticipate that we will make determinations as to which programs to pursue and how much funding to direct to each program on an ongoing basis in response to the scientific and clinical success of each product candidate, ongoing assessment as to each product candidate’s commercial potential, and our ability to access capital on acceptable terms. We will need to raise additional capital and will seek additional collaboration partnerships in order to complete the development and commercialization of tenapanor. If we are unable to access capital on a timely basis and on terms that are acceptable to us, we may be forced to restructure certain aspects of our business or identify and complete one or more strategic collaborations or other transactions in order to fund the development or commercialization of tenapanor or certain of our product candidates through the use of alternative structures.

64

Table of Contents

General and Administrative

General and administrative expenses consist primarily of salaries and related benefits, including stock-based compensation, for our executive, board, finance, legal, business development, market development, commercial and support staff. Other general and administrative expenses include facility related costs and professional fees for legal, accounting and audit, investor relations, other consulting services and allocated facility-related costs not otherwise included in research and development expenses.

We anticipate that our general and administrative expenses will increase in the future primarily because of increased pre-commercial activities, personnel costs and professional fees for services to support the potential launch and commercialization of tenapanor for the control of serum phosphorus in CKD patients on dialysis.

Interest Expense

 

Interest expense represents the interest paid on our loan payable.

 

Other Income, net

Other income consists of interest income earned on our cash and cash equivalents and held-to-maturity investments, the periodic revaluation of the exit fee related to our loan and currency exchange gains and losses.

 

Provision for Income Taxes

Our provision for income taxes includes current and deferred tax, including foreign withholding taxes paid on payments received from certain collaboration partners. Deferred income taxes reflect the tax effects of temporary differences between the carrying amounts of assets and liabilities for financial reporting purposes and the amounts used for income tax purposes. Our deferred tax assets continue to be fully offset by a valuation allowance, including deferred tax assets related to our net operating loss carryforwards, which may be subject to annual limitations as a result of ownership changes that may have occurred or could occur in the future.

 

CRITICAL ACCOUNTING POLICES AND ESTIMATES

A detailed discussion of our significant accounting policies can be found in NOTE 2, SUMMARY OF SIGNIFICANT ACCOUNTING POLICIES, in the notes to our financial statements, included in Part II, Item 8, of this Annual Report on Form 10-K. Critical accounting policies are those that require significant judgment and/or estimates by management at the time that financial statements are prepared such that materially different results might have been reported if other assumptions had been made. These estimates form the basis for making judgments about the carrying values of assets and liabilities. We base our estimates and judgments on historical experience and on various other assumptions that we believe to be reasonable under the circumstances. Actual results could differ materially from these estimates.

We consider certain accounting policies related to revenue recognition, accrued research and development expenses and stock-based compensation to be critical policies to understanding the judgments and estimates applied in our reported financial results.

Revenue Recognition

We generate revenue primarily from research and collaboration and license agreements with customers. Goods and services in the agreements may include the grant of licenses for the use of our technology, the provision of services associated with the research and development of product candidates, manufacturing services, and participation in joint steering committees. The terms of these arrangements typically include payment to us of one or more of the following:

65

Table of Contents

non-refundable, up-front license fees; research, development, regulatory and commercial milestone payments; reimbursement of research and development services; option payments; reimbursement of certain costs; payments for manufacturing supply services; and future royalties on net sales of licensed products.

 

When two or more contracts are entered into with the same customer at or near the same time, we evaluate the contracts to determine whether the contracts should be accounted for as a single arrangement. Contracts are combined and accounted for as a single arrangement if one or more of the following criteria are met: (i) the contracts are negotiated as a package with a single commercial objective; (ii) the amount of consideration to be paid in one contract depends on the price or performance of the other contract; or (iii) the goods or services promised in the contracts (or some goods or services promised in each of the contracts) are a single performance obligation.

 

In determining the appropriate amount of revenue to be recognized as we fulfill our obligations under each of our agreements, management performs the following steps: (i) identification of the promised goods or services in the contract; (ii) determination of whether the promised goods or services are performance obligations including whether they are distinct in the context of the contract; (iii) measurement of the transaction price, including any constraints on variable consideration; (iv) allocation of the transaction price to the performance obligations; and (v) recognition of revenue when (or as) we satisfy each performance obligation. As part of the accounting for contracts with customers, we develop assumptions that require judgment to determine whether promised goods and services represent distinct performance obligations and the standalone selling price for each performance obligation identified in the contract. This evaluation is subjective and requires us to make judgments about the promised goods and services and whether those goods and services are separable from other aspects of the contract. Further, determining the standalone selling price for performance obligations requires significant judgment, and when an observable price of a promised good or service is not readily available, we consider relevant assumptions to estimate the standalone selling price, including, as applicable, market conditions, development timelines, probabilities of technical and regulatory success, reimbursement rates for personnel costs, forecasted revenues, potential limitations to the selling price of the product and discount rates.

We apply judgment in determining whether a combined performance obligation is satisfied at a point in time or over time, and, if over time, concluding upon the appropriate method of measuring progress to be applied for purposes of recognizing revenue. We evaluate the measure of progress each reporting period and, as estimates related to the measure of progress change, related revenue recognition is adjusted accordingly. Changes in our estimated measure of progress are accounted for prospectively as a change in accounting estimate. We recognize collaboration revenue by measuring the progress toward complete satisfaction of the performance obligation using an input measure. In order to recognize revenue over the research and development period, we measure actual costs incurred to date compared to the overall total expected costs to satisfy the performance obligation. Revenues are recognized as the program costs are incurred. We will re-evaluate the estimate of expected costs to satisfy the performance obligation each reporting period and make adjustments for any significant changes.  Amounts received prior to satisfying the revenue recognition criteria are recorded as contract liabilities in our balance sheets. If the related performance obligation is expected to be satisfied within the next twelve months, this will be classified in current liabilities. Amounts recognized as revenue prior to receipt are recorded as contract assets in our balance sheets. If we expect to have an unconditional right to receive the consideration in the next twelve months, this will be classified in current assets. A net contract asset or liability is presented for each contract with a customer.

Milestone Payments: At the inception of each arrangement that includes research and development milestone payments, we evaluate whether the milestones are considered probable of being reached and estimate the amount to be included in the transaction price using the most likely amount method. Amounts of variable consideration are included in the transaction price to the extent that it is probable that a significant reversal in the amount of cumulative revenue recognized will not occur and when the uncertainty associated with the variable consideration is subsequently resolved. Milestone payments that are not within the control of us or the licensee, such as regulatory approvals, are not considered probable of being achieved until those approvals are received. The transaction price is then allocated to each performance obligation on a relative standalone selling price basis, for which we recognize revenue as or when the performance obligations under the contract are satisfied. At the end of each subsequent reporting period, we re-evaluate the probability of achievement of such development milestones and any related constraints, and if necessary, adjust our estimate of the overall transaction price. Any such adjustments are recorded on a cumulative catch-up basis, which would affect earnings in the period of adjustment.

66

Table of Contents

Manufacturing supply services: Arrangements that include a promise for the future supply of drug substance or drug product for either clinical development or commercial supply at the customer’s discretion are generally considered as options. We assess if these options provide a material right to the licensee and if so, they are accounted for as separate performance obligations. If we are entitled to additional payments when the customer exercises these options, any payments are recorded in other revenues when the customer obtains control of the goods, which is upon delivery.

Royalties: For arrangements that include sales-based royalties, including milestone payments based on the level of sales, and where the license is deemed to be the predominant item to which the royalties relate, we recognize revenue at the later of (i) when the related sales occur, or (ii) when the performance obligation to which some or all of the royalty has been allocated has been satisfied (or partially satisfied). To date, we have not recognized any royalty revenue resulting from any of our licensing arrangements.

Licenses of intellectual property: If a license granted to a customer to use our intellectual property is determined to be distinct from the other performance obligations identified in the arrangement, we recognize revenue from consideration allocated to the license when the license is transferred to the licensee and the licensee is able to use and benefit from the license. For licenses that are bundled with other promises, we apply judgment to assess the nature of the combined performance obligation to determine whether the combined performance obligation is satisfied over time or at a point in time and, if over time, to conclude upon the appropriate method of measuring progress for purposes of recognizing revenue related to consideration allocated to the performance obligation.

 

Options: Customer options, such as options granted to allow a licensee to choose to research, develop and commercialize licensed compounds are evaluated at contract inception in order to determine whether those options provide a material right (i.e., an optional good or service offered for free or at a discount) to the customer. If the customer options represent a material right, the material right is treated as a separate performance obligation at the outset of the arrangement. We allocate the transaction price to material rights based on the standalone selling price, and revenue is recognized when or as the future goods or services are transferred or when the option expires. Customer options that are not material rights do not give rise to a separate performance obligation, and as such, the additional consideration that would result from a customer exercising an option in the future is not included in the transaction price for the current contract. Instead, the option is deemed a marketing offer, and additional option fee payments are recognized or being recognized as revenue when the licensee exercises the option. The exercise of an option that does not represent a material right is treated as a separate contract for accounting purposes.

 

Contract costs: We recognize as an asset the incremental costs of obtaining a contract with a customer if the costs are expected to be recovered. We have elected a practical expedient wherein we recognize the incremental costs of obtaining a contract as an expense when incurred if the amortization period of the asset that we otherwise would have recognized is one year or less. To date, we have not incurred any material incremental costs of obtaining a contract with a customer.

 

Contract modifications: Contract modifications, defined as changes in the scope or price (or both) of a contract that are approved by the parties to the contract, such as a contract amendment, exist when the parties to a contract approve a modification that either creates new or changes existing enforceable rights and obligations of the parties to the contract. Depending on facts and circumstances, we account for a contract modification as one of the following: (i) a separate contract; (ii) a termination of the existing contract and a creation of a new contract; or (iii) a combination of the preceding treatments. A contract modification is accounted for as a separate contract if the scope of the contract increases because of the addition of promised goods or services that are distinct and the price of the contract increases by an amount of consideration that reflects our standalone selling prices of the additional promised goods or services. When a contract modification is not considered a separate contract and the remaining goods or services are distinct from the goods or services transferred on or before the date of the contract modification, we account for the contract modification as a termination of the existing contract and a creation of a new contract. When a contract modification is not considered a separate contract and the remaining goods or services are not distinct, we account for the contract modification as an add-on to the existing contract and as an adjustment to revenue on a cumulative catch-up basis.

 

We receive payments from our licensees as established in each contract. Upfront payments and fees are recorded as deferred revenue upon receipt or when due and may require deferral of revenue recognition to a future

67

Table of Contents

period until we perform our obligations under these arrangements. Where applicable, amounts are recorded as unbilled revenue when our right to consideration is unconditional. We do not assess whether a contract with a customer has a significant financing component if the expectation at contract inception is such that the period between payment by the licensees and the transfer of the promised goods or services to the licensees will be one year or less.

 

Accrued Research and Development Expenses

As part of the process of preparing our financial statements, we are required to estimate our accrued expenses. This process involves reviewing open contracts and purchase orders, communicating with our personnel to identify services that have been performed on our behalf 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 expenses as of each balance sheet date in our financial statements based on facts and circumstances known to us at that time. We periodically confirm the accuracy of our estimates with the service providers and make adjustments if necessary. Examples of estimated accrued research and development expenses include fees paid to:

·

CROs in connection with clinical studies;

·

investigative sites in connection with clinical studies;

·

vendors related to product manufacturing, development and distribution of clinical supplies;

·

collaborator entities in connection with our collaboration agreements; and

·

vendors in connection with preclinical development activities.

We record expenses related to clinical studies and manufacturing development activities based on our estimates of the services received and efforts expended pursuant to contracts with our CROs and manufacturing vendors that conduct and manage these activities 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. There may be instances in which payments made to our vendors will exceed the level of services provided and result in a prepayment of the expense. Payments under some of these contracts depend on factors such as the successful enrollment of subjects and the completion of clinical trial milestones. In accruing service fees, we estimate the time period over which each component of a service will be performed, and estimate, with vendor input if appropriate, the resulting level of completion of each component of the service, with such estimates often involving drivers that provide a surrogate measurement of completion such as number of enrolled subjects and/or number of sites activated in the calculation of clinical trial fee accruals. If the actual timing of the performance of services or the level of effort varies from our estimate, we adjust the accrued or prepaid expense balance accordingly. Although we do not expect our estimates to be materially different from amounts actually incurred, if our estimates of the status and timing of services performed differ from the actual status and timing of services performed, we may report amounts that are too high or too low in any particular period.

Stock-Based Compensation

We estimate the fair value of stock options and Employee Stock Purchase Plan, or ESPP, shares using the Black-Scholes valuation model. The Black-Scholes model requires the input of highly subjective assumptions which determine the fair value of stock-based awards. These assumptions include:

Expected Term—We have limited historical information to develop reasonable expectations about future exercise patterns and post-vesting employment termination behavior for our stock-option grants. As such, the expected term is estimated using the simplified method whereby the expected term equals the arithmetic average of the vesting term and the original contractual term of the option.

68

Table of Contents

Expected Volatility— Since January 1, 2017, we have used the historic volatility of our own stock over the retrospective period corresponding to the expected remaining term of the options, or the period since our shares were first quoted on The Nasdaq Global Market, if that is shorter, to compute our expected stock price volatility.

Risk-Free Interest Rate—The risk-free interest rate assumption is based on the zero-coupon U.S. Treasury instruments on the date of grant with a maturity date consistent with the expected term of our stock option grants.

Expected Dividend— To date, we have not declared or paid any cash dividends and do not have any plans to do so in the future. Therefore, we use an expected dividend yield of zero.

As required, we review our valuation assumptions at each grant date and, as a result, we are likely to change our valuation assumptions used to value employee stock-based awards granted in future periods. Employee and director stock-based compensation costs are to be recognized over the vesting period of the award, and we have elected to use the straight-line attribution method. Forfeitures are estimated at the time of grant and revised, if necessary, in subsequent periods if actual forfeitures differ from those estimates. We estimate forfeitures based on historical experience.

Restricted stock units, or RSUs, are measured at the fair value of our common stock on the date of grant and expensed over the period of vesting using the straight-line attribution approach.

Performance-based RSUs, or PRSUs, are valued at grant-date fair market value. The vesting of the PRSUs is based on performance conditions. Performance conditions include: (i) a specific performance criteria and (ii) the employee’s continuous employment by the company for a stated period of time in order to earn the right to the related PRSUs to vest. The Company recognizes compensation cost with respect to the vesting of the PRSUs on a ratable basis over the requisite service period, upon the performance conditions being deemed probable of achievement.

 

RESULTS OF OPERATIONS

Comparison of the Years Ended December 31, 2019 and 2018

Revenue

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Year Ended December 31, 

 

    

2019

    

2018

 

 

(in thousands)

Licensing revenue

 

$

4,500

 

$

2,320

Collaborative development revenue

 

 

459

 

 

 —

Other revenue

 

 

322

 

 

287

Total revenues

 

 

5,281

 

 

2,607

Dollar change from prior year

 

 

2,674

 

 

 

Percent change from prior year

 

 

103

%  

 

 

 

Total revenues for the year ended December 31, 2019 were $5.3 million, which represents an increase of $2.7 million, or 103%, as compared to total revenues of $2.6 million for the year ended December 31, 2018.  The licensing revenue of $4.5 million is attributable to the achievement of a milestone, which amounted to $3.0 million, pursuant to our exclusive license agreement with Fosun Pharma, entered into in December 2017 for the development, commercialization and distribution of tenapanor in China for both hyperphosphatemia and IBS-C, and the full recognition of the $1.5 million license fee related to the XuanZhu Agreement, as discussed in NOTE 13, COLLABORATION AND LICENSING AGREEMENTS, to our financial statements, included in Part II, Item 8 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

 

69

Table of Contents

The increase in collaborative development revenue of $0.5 million is attributable entirely to the revenue recognized, under the input method, during the fourth quarter of 2019 related to the 2019 KKC Agreement. We expect to recognize the remaining $9.5 million of the initial transaction price over the research and development period of the program that is currently expected to extend through the end of 2021. However, we will revisit our current estimates and timing of performance at the end of each future reporting period and adjust as necessary.

 

The other revenue of $0.3 million relates to the manufacturing supply of tenapanor and other materials sold to KKC in connection with that collaboration partner’s product development and clinical trials in Japan.

Cost of Revenue

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Year Ended December 31, 

 

 

    

2019

    

2018

    

 

 

(in thousands)

 

Cost of revenue

 

$

600

 

$

466

 

Dollar change from prior year

 

 

134

 

 

  

 

Percent change from prior year

 

 

29

%  

 

  

 

 

Cost of revenue was $0.6 million for the year ended December 31, 2019, an increase of $0.1 million, or 29%, compared to $0.5 million for the year ended December 31, 2018. The cost of revenue in both periods represent payments due to AstraZeneca under the AstraZeneca Termination Agreement and are related primarily to tenapanor-related up front and milestone payments from our collaboration partners.

 

Research and Development

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Year Ended December 31, 

 

 

    

2019

    

2018

 

 

 

(in thousands)

 

Research and development

 

$

71,677

 

$

69,373

 

Dollar change from prior year

 

 

2,304

 

 

 

 

Percent change from prior year

 

 

 3

%  

 

 

 

 

Research and development expenses were $71.7 million for the year ended December 31, 2019, an increase of $2.3 million, or 3%, compared to $69.4 million for the year ended December 31, 2018. The increase consisted of a $3.7 million increase in our internal program costs and a $1.4 million decrease in our external program costs.

The increase in our internal costs of $3.7 million was primarily due to an increase in headcount and related personnel costs and an increase in stock-based compensation expenses.

 

The decrease in our external program costs of $1.4 million included a $4.6 million decrease in expenses primarily related to manufacturing of tenapanor and regulatory expenses related to our IBS-C NDA in 2018, partially offset by $2.5 million increase in clinical development expenses related to our RDX013 program and a $0.7 million increase primarily related to our tenapanor clinical trial expenses that includes an out-of-period adjustment recorded during the second quarter of 2019 that reduced clinical trial expenses by $3.6 million related to our tenapanor clinical trials.  

 

General and Administrative

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Year Ended December 31, 

 

 

    

2019

    

2018

 

 

 

(in thousands)

 

General and administrative

 

$

24,267

 

$

23,715

 

Dollar change from prior year

 

 

552

 

 

 

 

Percent change from prior year

 

 

 2

%