rdhl_Current Folio_20-F

Table of Contents

 

UNITED STATES

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

Washington, D.C. 20549

 

FORM 20-F

 

REGISTRATION STATEMENT PURSUANT TO SECTION 12(b) OR (g) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

 

OR

 

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

 

For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2017

 

OR

 

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

 

OR

 

SHELL COMPANY REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

 

 

 

Date of event requiring this shell company report ________________

 

Commission file number 001-35773

 

 

RedHill Biopharma Ltd.

 

 

(Exact name of Registrant as specified in its charter)

 

 

 

 

 

N/A

 

 

(Translation of Registrant’s name into English)

 

 

 

 

 

Israel

 

 

(Jurisdiction of incorporation or organization)

 

 

 

21 Ha’arba’a Street, Tel Aviv 64739, Israel

(Address of principal executive offices)

 

Micha Ben Chorin, Chief Financial Officer

21 Ha’arba’a Street, Tel Aviv 64739, Israel

Tel: 972-3-541-3131; Fax: 972-3-541-3144

(Name, Telephone, E-mail and/or Facsimile number and Address of Company Contact Person)

 

Securities registered or to be registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act.

 

Title of class

 

Name of each exchange on which registered

American Depositary Shares, each representing ten Ordinary Shares (1)

 

NASDAQ Capital Market

 

 

 

Ordinary Shares, par value NIS 0.01 per share (2)

 

NASDAQ Capital Market

 

(1)

Evidenced by American Depositary Receipts.

(2)

Not for trading, but only in connection with the listing of the American Depositary Shares.

 

Securities registered or to be registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act:

 

None

(Title of Class)

 

Securities for which there is a reporting obligation pursuant to Section 15(d) of the Act:

 

None

(Title of Class)

 

Indicate the number of outstanding shares of each of the issuer’s classes of capital or common stock as of the close of the period covered by the annual report: 212,729,434 Ordinary Shares

 

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.

 

Yes ☐   No   ☒

 

If this report is an annual or transition report, indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act 1934.

 

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 and posted on its corporate Web site, if any, every Interactive Data File required to be submitted and posted 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 and post such files).

 

Yes ☒    No ☐

 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, or a non-accelerated filer. See definition of “accelerated filer and large accelerated filer” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act. (Check one):

 

Large Accelerated filer ☐

Accelerated filer ☒

Non-accelerated filer ☐
Emerging growth company ☒

 

If an emerging growth company that prepares its financial statements in accordance with U.S. GAAP, 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 which basis of accounting the registrant has used to prepare the financial statements included in this filing:

 

U.S. GAAP ☐

 

International Financing Reporting Standards as issued by the International Accounting

Standards Board ☒   Other ☐

 

If “Other” has been checked in response to the previous question, indicate by check mark which financial statement item the registrant has elected to follow.

 

Item 17 [  ] Item 18  [  ]

 

If this is an annual report, indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act).

 

Yes  ☐    No   ☒

 

We are an “emerging growth company” as defined in the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act of 2012, or the JOBS Act, and, as such, may elect to comply with certain reduced public company reporting requirements.

 

 

 

 


 

Table of Contents

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

 

 

 

ITEM 1. 

IDENTITY OF DIRECTORS, SENIOR MANAGEMENT AND ADVISERS

5

ITEM 2. 

OFFER STATISTICS AND EXPECTED TIMETABLE

5

ITEM 3. 

KEY INFORMATION

5

ITEM 4. 

INFORMATION ON THE COMPANY

41

ITEM 4A. 

UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS

79

ITEM 5. 

OPERATING AND FINANCIAL REVIEW AND PROSPECTS

79

ITEM 6. 

DIRECTORS, SENIOR MANAGEMENT AND EMPLOYEES

91

ITEM 7. 

MAJOR SHAREHOLDERS AND RELATED PARTY TRANSACTIONS

110

ITEM 8. 

FINANCIAL INFORMATION

111

ITEM 9. 

THE OFFER AND LISTING

111

ITEM 10. 

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

114

ITEM 11. 

QUANTITATIVE AND QUALITATIVE DISCLOSURES ABOUT MARKET RISK

127

ITEM 12. 

DESCRIPTION OF SECURITIES OTHER THAN EQUITY SECURITIES

128

ITEM 13. 

DEFAULTS, DIVIDEND ARREARAGES AND DELINQUENCIES

129

ITEM 14. 

MATERIAL MODIFICATIONS TO THE RIGHTS OF SECURITY HOLDERS AND USE OF PROCEEDS

130

ITEM 15. 

CONTROLS AND PROCEDURES

130

ITEM 16. 

[RESERVED]

131

ITEM 16A. 

AUDIT COMMITTEE FINANCIAL EXPERT

131

ITEM 16B. 

CODE OF ETHICS

131

ITEM 16C. 

PRINCIPAL ACCOUNTANT FEES AND SERVICES

131

ITEM 16D. 

EXEMPTIONS FROM THE LISTING STANDARDS FOR AUDIT COMMITTEES.

132

ITEM 16E. 

PURCHASES OF EQUITY SECURITIES BY THE ISSUER AND AFFILIATED PURCHASERS.

132

ITEM 16F. 

CHANGE IN REGISTRANT’S CERTIFYING ACCOUNTANT.

132

ITEM 16G. 

CORPORATE GOVERNANCE

132

ITEM 16H. 

MINE SAFETY DISCLOSURE

133

ITEM 17. 

FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

133

ITEM 18. 

FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

133

ITEM 19. 

EXHIBITS

133

EXHIBIT INDEX 

136

 


 

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Unless the context otherwise requires, all references to “RedHill,” “we,” “us,” “our,” the “Company” and similar designations refer to RedHill Biopharma Ltd., a limited liability company incorporated under the laws of the State of Israel, and its direct and indirect subsidiaries, including RedHill Biopharma Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary incorporated in Delaware in January 2017. The term “including” means “including but not limited to”, whether or not explicitly so stated. The term “NIS” refers to New Israeli Shekels, the lawful currency of the State of Israel, the terms “dollar”, “US$”, “$” or “U.S.” refer to U.S. dollars, the lawful currency of the United States of America. Our functional and presentation currency is the U.S. dollar. Unless otherwise indicated, U.S. dollar amounts herein (other than amounts originally receivable or payable in dollars) have been translated for the convenience of the reader from the original NIS amounts at the representative rate of exchange as of February 21, 2018 ($1 = NIS 3.501). The dollar amounts presented should not be construed as representing amounts that are receivable or payable in dollars or convertible into dollars, unless otherwise indicated. Foreign currency transactions in currencies other than U.S. dollars are translated in this Annual Report into U.S. dollars using exchange rates in effect at the date of the transactions.

All references to the term “therapeutic candidates” include both pharmaceuticals and programs related to their development, such as diagnostics and devices.


FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

Some of the statements under the sections entitled “Item 3. Key Information — Risk Factors,” “Item 4. Information on the Company,” “Item 5. Operating and Financial Review and Prospects” and elsewhere in this Annual Report may include forward-looking statements. These statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause our actual results, performance or achievements to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements. In some cases, you can identify forward-looking statements by terms including “anticipates,” “believes,” “could,” “estimates,” “expects,” “intends,” “may,” “plans,” “potential,” “predicts,” “projects,” “should,” “will,” “would,” and similar expressions intended to identify forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements reflect our current views with respect to future events and are based on assumptions and subject to risks and uncertainties. In addition, the sections of this Annual Report entitled “Item 4. Information on the Company” contain information obtained from independent industry and other sources that we may not have independently validated. You should not put undue reliance on any forward-looking statements. Unless we are required to do so under U.S. federal securities laws or other applicable laws, we do not intend to update or revise any forward-looking statements.

Factors that could cause our actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied in such forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to:

·

estimates of our expenses, future revenues, capital requirements and our needs for additional financing;

·

our ability to obtain additional financing;

·

our receipt of regulatory clarity and approvals for our therapeutic candidates, and the timing of other regulatory filings and approvals;

·

the initiation, timing, progress and results of our research, manufacturing, preclinical studies, clinical trials, and other therapeutic candidate development efforts, as well as the extent and number of additional studies that we may be required to conduct;

·

our ability to advance our therapeutic candidates into clinical trials or to successfully complete our preclinical studies or clinical trials;

·

our ability to establish and maintain corporate collaborations;

·

that products we promote or commercialize may be withdrawn from the market by regulatory authorities and our need to comply with continuing laws, regulations and guidelines to maintain clearances and approvals for our products;

·

our ability to acquire products approved for marketing in the U.S. that achieve commercial success and maintain our own marketing and commercialization capabilities;

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·

the research, manufacturing, clinical development, commercialization, and market acceptance of our therapeutic candidates or commercial products;

·

the interpretation of the properties and characteristics of our therapeutic candidates and of the results obtained with our therapeutic candidates in research, preclinical studies or clinical trials;

·

the implementation of our business model, strategic plans for our business, therapeutic candidates and commercial products;

·

the impact of other companies and technologies that compete with us within our industry;

·

our estimates of the markets, their size, characteristics and their potential for our therapeutic candidates and commercial products and our ability to serve those markets;

·

the scope of protection we are able to establish and maintain for intellectual property rights covering our therapeutic candidates and our ability to operate our business without infringing or violating the intellectual property rights of others;

·

parties from whom we license or acquire our intellectual property defaulting in their obligations towards us;

·

our ability to implement network systems and controls that are effective at preventing cyber-attacks, malware intrusions, malicious viruses and ransomware threats; and

·

the impact of the political and security situation in Israel and in the U.S. on our business.


 

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ITEM 1.           IDENTITY OF DIRECTORS, SENIOR MANAGEMENT AND ADVISERS

 

Not applicable.

 

ITEM 2.           OFFER STATISTICS AND EXPECTED TIMETABLE

 

Not applicable.

 

ITEM 3.           KEY INFORMATION

 

A.           Selected Financial Data

 

The following table sets forth our selected financial data, which is derived from our financial statements prepared in accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards (“IFRS”) as issued by the International Accounting Standards Board. We have derived the selected financial data as of December 31, 2017 and 2016 and for the years ended December 31, 2017, 2016 and 2015 from our audited financial statements included elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 20‑F. We have derived the selected financial data as of December 31, 2015, 2014 and 2013 and for the years ended December 31, 2014 and 2013 from our financial statements not included in this Annual Report. You should read this selected financial data and other information provided in this Annual Report in conjunction with, and is qualified in its entirety by, our historical financial information including “Item 5. Operating and Financial Review and Prospects” and our financial statements and related notes appearing elsewhere in this Annual Report.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Year Ended December 31

 

    

2017

    

2016

    

2015

    

2014

    

2013

 

 

(U.S. Dollars, in thousands, except per share and weighted average shares data)

Statement of Comprehensive Loss

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

Revenues

 

4,007 

 

101 

 

 

7,014 

 

12 

Cost of revenue

 

2,126 

 

— 

 

— 

 

1,050 

 

— 

Gross profit

 

1,881 

 

101 

 

 

5,964 

 

12 

Research and development expenses, net

 

32,969 

 

25,241 

 

17,771 

 

12,700 

 

8,100 

Selling, marketing and business development expenses

 

12,014 

 

 *1,555

 

 *1,386

 

 *900

 

 *570

General and administrative expenses

 

8,025 

 

 *3,848

 

 *2,748

 

 *3,111

 

 *2,114

Other (income) expenses

 

845 

 

— 

 

100 

 

(100)

 

— 

Operating loss

 

51,972 

 

30,543 

 

22,002 

 

10,647 

 

10,772 

Financial income

 

6,505 

 

1,548 

 

1,124 

 

319 

 

158 

Financial expenses

 

77 

 

375 

 

212 

 

383 

 

14 

Financial (income) expenses, net

 

(6,428)

 

(1,173)

 

(912)

 

64 

 

(144)

Loss and comprehensive loss

 

45,544 

 

29,370 

 

21,090 

 

10,711 

 

10,628 

Loss per Ordinary Share (in U.S. dollars)

 

 

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

Basic

 

0.26 

 

0.23 

 

0.19 

 

0.12 

 

0.17 

Diluted

 

0.26 

 

0.24 

 

0.19 

 

0.13 

 

0.17 

Weighted average number of Ordinary Shares used in computing loss per Ordinary Share

 

176,578,990 

 

128,513,729 

 

110,813,742 

 

86,610,126 

 

62,379,171 

Weighted average number of Ordinary Shares used in computing diluted loss per share

 

176,578,990 

 

128,808,543 

 

111,714,566 

 

87,222,188 

 

62,379,171 


*Reclassified to conform to the current year presentation.

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As of December 31

 

 

(U.S. Dollars, in thousands)

 

    

2017

    

2016

    

2015

    

2014

    

2013

Balance Sheet Data

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

Cash and short-term investments

 

46,205 

 

66,154 

 

58,138 

 

22,945 

 

12,113 

Working capital

 

39,846 

 

62,459 

 

54,996 

 

24,299 

 

10,186 

Total assets

 

57,343 

 

74,212 

 

66,828 

 

28,856 

 

14,340 

Total liabilities

 

12,278 

 

11,511 

 

6,751 

 

3,845 

 

2,415 

Accumulated deficit

 

(132,944)

 

(89,635)

 

(61,944)

 

(42,218)

 

(33,260)

Equity

 

45,065 

 

62,701 

 

60,077 

 

25,011 

 

11,925 

 

B.           Capitalization and Indebtedness

 

Not applicable.

 

C.           Reasons for the Offer and Use of Proceeds

 

Not applicable.

 

D.           Risk Factors

 

You should carefully consider the risks we describe below, in addition to the other information set forth elsewhere in this Annual Report, including our financial statements and the related notes beginning on page F-1, before deciding to invest in our ordinary shares (the “Ordinary Shares”) or our American Depositary Shares (“ADSs”). The risks and uncertainties described below in this annual report on Form 20-F for the year ended December 31, 2017 are not the only risks facing us. We may face additional risks and uncertainties not currently known to us or that we currently deem to be immaterial. Any of the risks described below or incorporated by reference in this Form 20-F, and any such additional risks, could materially adversely affect our business, financial condition or results of operations. In such case, you may lose all or part of your investment.

 

Risks Related to Our Financial Condition and Capital Requirements

 

Since our incorporation in 2009, we have focused primarily on the development and acquisition of late-clinical development stage therapeutic candidates and more recently on the acquisition of rights to commercial products for promotion and/or commercialization in the U.S. and we have a history of operating losses. We expect to incur additional losses in the future and may never be profitable.

 

Since our incorporation in 2009, we have focused primarily on the development and acquisition of late-clinical development stage therapeutic candidates. Most of our therapeutic candidates are in the late-clinical development stage and none of our therapeutic candidates are approved for sale.  However, in December 2016 we obtained certain rights to promote, but not to sell or distribute, Donnatal®  in certain U.S. territories pursuant to an exclusive agreement with a subsidiary of Concordia International Corp. (“Concordia”). In 2017, we obtained certain rights to commercialize EnteraGam®  (a prescription medical food product) in the U.S. and certain rights to promote Esomeprazole Strontium Delayed-Release Capsules 49.3 mg in certain U.S. territories.

 

Most of our therapeutic candidates will require additional clinical trials before we can obtain the regulatory approvals in order to initiate commercial sales of them, if at all. We have incurred losses since inception, principally as a result of research and development, selling, marketing and business development, and general and administrative expenses in support of our operations. We experienced net losses of approximately $45.5 million in 2017, $29.4 million in 2016 and $21.1 million in 2015.  As of December 31, 2017, we had an accumulated deficit of approximately $132.9 million.  We may incur significant additional losses as we continue to focus our resources on prioritizing, selecting and advancing our therapeutic candidates, promoting Donnatal® and Esomeprazole Strontium Delayed-Release Capsules 49.3 mg, commercializing EnteraGam®, and prioritizing, selecting, and advancing other products that we may promote or commercialize in the future.  Our ability to generate sufficient revenues to sustain our business operations in accordance

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with our plan and achieve profitability depends mainly upon our ability, alone or with others, to successfully develop our therapeutic candidates, obtain the required regulatory approvals in various territories and commercialize our therapeutic candidates, promote Donnatal® and Esomeprazole Strontium Delayed-Release Capsules 49.3 mg and commercialize EnteraGam®, and products that we may acquire or for which we may acquire commercialization rights in the future. We may be unable to achieve any or all of these goals with regard to our therapeutic candidates, our commercial products or products we may commercialize. As a result, we may never achieve sufficient revenues to sustain our business operations in accordance with our plan or be profitable.

 

Our limited operating history makes it difficult to evaluate our business and prospects.

 

We have a limited operating history, and our operations to date have been limited primarily to acquiring and in-licensing therapeutic candidates and rights to promote or commercialize products in certain U.S. territories, research and development, raising capital and recruiting scientific and management personnel and third-party partners. Except with respect to RHB-106 and related rights, which is out-licensed to Valeant Pharmaceuticals International, Inc. (“Valeant”) (which acquired Salix Pharmaceuticals, Ltd.) and is currently subject to discussion with Valeant, including renegotiation of its terms, we have not yet demonstrated an ability to commercialize or obtain regulatory approval for our therapeutic candidates. Consequently, any predictions about our future performance may not be accurate, and you may not be able to fully assess our ability to complete development or commercialization of our therapeutic candidates, the success of promoting Donnatal® and Esomeprazole Strontium Delayed-Release Capsules 49.3 mg, the success of EnteraGam® that we commercialize, and products that we may promote or commercialize in the future, obtain regulatory approvals, reimbursement by third-party payors, achieve market acceptance or competitive pricing for our therapeutic candidates or our current commercial products, Donnatal®, Esomeprazole Strontium Delayed-Release Capsules 49.3 mg and EnteraGam®, and products that we may promote or commercialize in the future.

 

Our current working capital is not sufficient to complete our research and development with respect to any or all of our therapeutic candidates or to commercialize our products or products to which we have rights, including EnteraGam®, and including promotion of Donnatal® and Esomeprazole Strontium Delayed-Release Capsules 49.3 mg. We will need to raise additional capital to achieve our strategic objectives of acquiring, in-licensing, developing and commercializing therapeutic candidates, promoting Donnatal®  and Esomeprazole Strontium Delayed-Release Capsules 49.3 mg, commercializing EnteraGam®, and products that we may promote or commercialize in the future, and our failure to raise sufficient capital or on favorable terms would significantly impair our ability to fund our operations, develop our therapeutic candidates, or commercialize EnteraGam® or the products we may commercialize in the future, or promote products such as Donnatal® and Esomeprazole Strontium Delayed-Release Capsules 49.3 mg, attract development or commercial partners and retain key personnel.

 

As of December 31, 2017, we had cash and short-term investments of approximately $46.2 million, and as of December 31, 2016, we had cash and short-term investments of approximately $66.2 million.  We have funded our operations primarily through public and private offerings of our securities. We plan to fund our future operations through commercialization and out-licensing of our therapeutic candidates, commercialization of in-licensed or acquired products and raising additional capital through the sale of equity or debt or through other financing that does not cause dilution to our shareholders. These amounts may not be sufficient to complete the research and development of all of our therapeutic candidates, and we are also not yet certain of the financial impact of our commercialization activities. Accordingly, we may need to raise additional capital in the future.

 

To date, our business has generated limited revenues. As we plan to continue expending funds in research and development, including clinical trials, as well as to continue to commercialize EnteraGam®, and promote Donnatal®  and Esomeprazole Strontium Delayed-Release Capsules 49.3 mg, and to acquire additional products, we will need to raise additional capital in the future through equity or debt financing or a non-dilutive financing or pursuant to development or commercialization agreements with third parties with respect to particular therapeutic candidates. However, we cannot be certain that we will be able to raise capital on commercially reasonable terms or at all, or that our actual cash requirements will not be greater than anticipated. We may have difficulty raising needed capital at all or on favorable terms, or securing a development or commercialization partner in the future as a result of, among other factors, our limited revenues from commercialization of the therapeutic candidates and promoting Donnatal® and Esomeprazole Strontium Delayed-Release Capsules 49.3 mg and commercializing EnteraGam® and products that we may promote or commercialize in the future, as

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well as the inherent business risks associated with our company, our therapeutic candidates, our current commercial products, Donnatal®, EnteraGam®, Esomeprazole Strontium Delayed-Release Capsules 49.3 mg and products that we may promote or commercialize in the future, and present and future market conditions. To the extent we are able to generate sufficient revenues to sustain our business operations in accordance with our plan, we may still need to raise capital because the revenues from Donnatal®, EnteraGam® and Esomeprazole Strontium Delayed-Release Capsules 49.3 mg, may not be sufficient to cover all of our operating expenses. In addition, global and local economic conditions may make it more difficult for us to raise needed capital or secure a development or commercialization partner in the future and may impact our liquidity. If we are unable to obtain future financing or obtain sufficient future financing, we may be forced to delay, reduce the scope of, or eliminate one or more of our research, development or commercialization programs for our therapeutic candidates or EnteraGam® or promotion of Donnatal® and Esomeprazole Strontium Delayed-Release Capsules 49.3 mg, and products that we may promote or commercialize in the future, any of which may have material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations. Moreover, to the extent we are able to raise capital through the issuance of debt or equity securities, it could result in substantial dilution and or cost of capital to existing shareholders.

 

Our long-term capital requirements are subject to numerous risks.

 

Our long-term capital requirements are expected to depend on many potential factors, including:

 

the number of therapeutic candidates in development;

the regulatory clarity and path of each of our therapeutic candidates;

the progress, success and cost of our clinical trials and research and development programs including manufacturing;

the identification and acquisition of additional therapeutic candidates;

the costs, timing and outcome of regulatory review and obtaining regulatory clarity and approval of our therapeutic candidates and addressing regulatory and other issues that may arise post-approval;

the costs of enforcing our issued patents and defending intellectual property-related claims;

the costs of manufacturing, developing and maintaining sales, marketing and distribution channels;

our ability to successfully commercialize our therapeutic candidates, promote Donnatal® and Esomeprazole Strontium Delayed-Release Capsules 49.3 mg, commercialize EnteraGam®, and products that we may promote or commercialize in the future, including through securing commercialization agreements with third parties and favorable pricing and market share or through securing and maintaining our own commercialization capabilities;

entrance of generics into the market that could compete with our products and erode the profitability of the products we are promoting or commercializing;

our ability to successfully commercialize products that we develop or acquire or for which we acquire commercialization rights; and

our consumption of available resources, especially a more rapid consumption than currently anticipated, resulting in the need for additional funding sooner than anticipated.

 

Risks Related to Our Business and Regulatory Matters

 

If we or our development or commercialization partners are unable to obtain or maintain the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) or other foreign regulatory clearance and approval for our therapeutic candidates or products we may promote or commercialize, we or our commercialization partners will be unable to commercialize our therapeutic candidates or products we may promote or commercialize.

 

To date, other than our limited experience in promoting Donnatal®  and Esomeprazole Strontium Delayed-Release Capsules 49.3 mg and commercializing EnteraGam®, we have not marketed, distributed or sold any therapeutic candidate or product. In June 2017, we commenced promoting Donnatal®  (Phenobarbital, Hyoscyamine Sulfate, Atropine Sulfate, Scopolamine Hydrobromide) in the U.S. Donnatal®  is an anticholinergic and barbiturate combination drug product used as an adjunctive therapy for irritable bowel syndrome (“IBS”), a condition characterized by abdominal pain, bloating, and diarrhea or constipation.  It may also be used as an adjunctive therapy for acute enterocolitis and duodenal ulcers. See “–We or our commercialization partners are subject to risks related to the regulatory environment of the Drug Efficacy Study Implementation review program with respect to Donnatal®”.

 

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In June 2017, we commenced commercializing EnteraGam® in certain territories in the U.S., and in September 2017, we commenced promoting Esomeprazole Strontium DR Capsules 49.3 mg to gastroenterologists in certain U.S. territories. EnteraGam® is an FDA-regulated “medical food” product intended for the dietary management of chronic diarrhea and loose stools, which must be administered under medical supervision. Esomeprazole Strontium DR Capsules 49.3 mg is an FDA-approved proton pump inhibitor (“PPI”) drug product indicated for adults for the treatment of gastroesophageal reflux disease (“GERD”), risk reduction of NSAID-associated gastric ulcer, Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) eradication to reduce the risk of duodenal ulcer recurrence and for pathological hypersecretory conditions, including Zollinger-Ellison syndrome.

 

Currently, we have six therapeutic candidates in late-clinical development stage: TALICIA® (RHB-105) for the eradication of H. pylori infection; RHB-104 for the treatment of Crohn’s disease with an ongoing first Phase III study, a completed proof-of-concept Phase IIa study for multiple sclerosis, and a planned pivotal Phase III study for Nontuberculous Mycobacteria (“NTM”) infections; RHB-106 (out-licensed to Valeant) for bowel preparation; BEKINDA® (RHB-102) for acute gastroenteritis and gastritis, irritable bowel syndrome with diarrhea (“IBS-D”), and other indications; YELIVA® (ABC294640), a sphingosine kinase-2 (“SK2”) selective inhibitor targeting multiple oncology, inflammatory and GI indications; and RHB-107 (MESUPRON) for targeting GI and other solid tumor cancers. Our therapeutic candidates are subject to extensive governmental laws, regulations and guidelines relating to development, clinical trials, manufacturing and commercialization of drugs. We may not be able to obtain marketing approval for any of our therapeutic candidates in a timely manner or at all.

 

In addition, although we have certain rights to promote Donnatal®  in certain U.S. territories, which is currently included in the FDA DESI review program, we cannot guarantee that our co-promotion partner will continue to be allowed to sell or promote Donnatal® in the U.S. without future regulatory developments that may lead to the FDA requiring Donnatal® to gain an NDA approval. In addition, future regulatory developments may lead to a loss of the right to commercialize EnteraGam® or the right to promote Esomeprazole Strontium Delayed-Release Capsules 49.3 mg.

 

Any material delay in obtaining or maintaining, or the failure to obtain or maintain, required regulatory clearances and approvals will increase our costs and materially adversely affect our ability to generate meaningful revenues. Any regulatory clearance or approval to market a therapeutic candidate, Donnatal®,  EnteraGam®  and Esomeprazole Strontium Delayed-Release Capsules 49.3 mg or other products that we may promote or commercialize may be subject to limitations on the indicated uses for marketing or may impose restrictive conditions of use, including cautionary information, thereby altering or eliminating the size of the market for the therapeutic candidate, Donnatal®, EnteraGam®  or Esomeprazole Strontium Delayed-Release Capsules 49.3 mg, or other products that we may promote or commercialize in the future. We also are, and will be, subject to numerous regulatory requirements from both the FDA and other foreign regulatory authorities that govern the conduct of clinical trials, manufacturing and marketing authorization, pricing and third-party reimbursement. Moreover, clearance or approval by one regulatory authority does not ensure clearance or approval by other regulatory authorities in separate jurisdictions. Each jurisdiction may have different approval processes and requirements and may impose additional testing, development and manufacturing requirements for our therapeutic candidates, our current commercial products, Donnatal®, EnteraGam® and Esomeprazole Strontium Delayed-Release Capsules 49.3 mg and products that we may promote or commercialize in the future. Additionally, the FDA or other foreign regulatory authorities may change its clearance or approval policies or adopt new laws, regulations or guidelines in a manner that materially delays or impairs our ability to obtain the necessary regulatory clearances or approvals or our ability to commercialize our therapeutic candidates, commercialize EnteraGam®, promote Donnatal®  and Esomeprazole Strontium Delayed-Release Capsules 49.3 mg and products that we may promote or commercialize in the future. See “–We or our commercialization partners are subject to risks related to the regulatory environment of the Drug Efficacy Study Implementation review program with respect to Donnatal®”.

 

We or our commercialization partners are subject to risks related to the regulatory environment of the Drug Efficacy Study Implementation review program with respect to Donnatal®.

 

Currently, we promote Donnatal®, which is a pre-1962 drug that is not FDA-approved, but is currently cleared to be marketed and sold in the U.S. as it is included in the Drug Efficacy Study Implementation (“DESI”) review program of the FDA. Donnatal® was first commercialized before Congress’s 1962 amendment to the Food Drug and Cosmetic Act. The 1962 amendment required evidence of efficacy to be granted FDA approval.  At that time, the FDA introduced the

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DESI program to evaluate the efficacy of drugs approved before 1962.  Under DESI, Donnatal® is not an FDA-approved drug, but it is cleared to be marketed and sold until a final determination regarding efficacy is made. To our knowledge at this time and based on our review of docketed correspondence with the FDA, the FDA has not made a final determination as to the efficacy of Donnatal®.

 

Based on our review of docketed correspondence with the FDA, our co-promotion partner, Concordia, is currently a party to the unresolved Notice of Opportunity Hearing for anticholinergic and barbiturate combination drug products. We make no assurances that the FDA will not seek to begin a hearing process to remove Donnatal®  from the market or otherwise remove Donnatal® from the market at any time. If this were to happen, it could have a material adverse effect on our reputation, business, financial condition, and results of operations. It is also the case that other manufacturers would try to take advantage of the regulatory uncertainty to launch illegal copies of Donnatal®. Any lack of action by the FDA or other regulatory body to remove from the market illegal copies of Donnatal® will harm our ability to successfully promote this product.

 

Our offering of EnteraGam® as a “medical food” in the U.S. may be challenged by regulatory authorities.

 

EnteraGam® is sold under physician supervision in the U.S. as a “medical food” on the basis of its meeting the criteria for “medical foods” in the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FDCA) and FDA regulations. The term “medical food” is defined in the FDCA as a food which is formulated to be consumed or administered entirely under the supervision of a physician and which is intended for the specific dietary management of a disease or condition for which distinctive nutritional requirements, based on recognized scientific principles, are established by medical evaluation. “Medical foods” are not required to undergo premarket review or approval by the FDA.

 

To our knowledge, EnteraGam® meets the criteria for “medical foods” established by the FDCA, and to date, the labeling and promoting of EnteraGam® is consistent with FDA regulatory requirements. However, our offering of EnteraGam® as a “medical food” could be challenged by the FDA. The FDA has previously issued warning letters to other companies challenging the classification of their products as “medical foods.” These letters indicate that the FDA may be applying a more narrow interpretation of what qualifies as a “medical food.” Given this enhanced focus on “medical food” companies, we cannot provide any assurance that we will not also receive such a letter, and the FDA could take the position that EnteraGam® may not be lawfully sold in the U.S. as a “medical food.” If such a challenge were to occur we could incur significant costs responding to such a claim and defending the status of EnteraGam® as a “medical food” and ultimately litigation. If we or Entera Health Inc. (“Entera Health”) are not able to demonstrate to the FDA’s satisfaction that the EnteraGam® meets the regulatory requirements for “medical foods,” we would need to suspend further commercialization of EnteraGam® in, and could be required to withdraw EnteraGam® from, the U.S. market. The drug development process can be lengthy and may involve the expenditure of substantial monetary and other resources. Furthermore, the process is uncertain, as there can be no assurance that EnteraGam® will ultimately be approved by the FDA as a drug. The U.S. is the only territory in which we have rights to commercialize EnteraGam®, and the cessation of such sales, even for a limited period, could have a material adverse effect on our operations, financial situation, operating results and business prospects.

 

Clinical trials and related non-clinical studies may involve a lengthy and expensive process with an uncertain outcome, and results of earlier studies and trials may not be predictive of future trial results. We or our development or commercialization partners will not be able to commercialize our therapeutic candidates and products we may promote or commercialize without completing such trials, even products that may have already been cleared or approved for marketing.

 

We have limited experience in conducting and managing the clinical trials that are required to obtain regulatory approvals and commence commercial sales of our therapeutic candidates. Clinical trials and related non-clinical studies are expensive, complex, can take many years and have uncertain outcomes. We cannot predict whether we, independently or through third parties, will encounter problems with any of the completed, ongoing or planned clinical trials that will cause delays, including suspension of a clinical trial, delay of data analysis or release of the final report. The clinical trials of our therapeutic candidates may take significantly longer to complete than estimated. Failure can occur at any stage of the testing, and we may experience numerous unforeseen events during, or as a result of, the clinical trial process that could materially delay or prevent the obtainment of a regulatory approval and commercialization of our current or future therapeutic candidates.

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In connection with the clinical trials for our therapeutic candidates and other therapeutic candidates that we may seek to develop in the future, either on our own or through licensing or partnering agreements, we face various risks and uncertainties, including but not limited to:

 

·

delays or failure in securing clinical investigators or trial sites for the clinical trials;

·

delays or failure in receiving import or other government approvals to ensure appropriate drug supply;

·

delays or failure in obtaining institutional review board (IRB) and other regulatory approvals to commence or continue a clinical trial;

·

expiration of clinical trial material before or during our trials as a result of delays, including suspension of a clinical trial, degradation of, or other damage to, the clinical trial material;

·

negative or inconclusive results or results that are not sufficiently positive from clinical trials;

·

the FDA or other foreign regulatory authorities may disagree with the number, design, size, conduct or implementation of our clinical studies;

·

the FDA or other foreign regulatory authorities may require us to conduct additional clinical trials or studies in connection with therapeutic candidates in development as well as for products that have already been cleared and approved for marketing;

·

inability to monitor patients adequately during or after treatment;

·

inability to retain patients;

·

problems with investigator or patient compliance with the trial protocols;

·

a therapeutic candidate may not prove safe or efficacious; there may be unexpected or even serious adverse events and side effects from the use of a therapeutic candidate;

·

the results with respect to any therapeutic candidate may not confirm the positive results from earlier preclinical studies or clinical trials;

·

the results may not meet the level of statistical significance required by the FDA or other foreign regulatory authorities;

·

the results may justify only limited or restrictive uses, including the inclusion of warnings and contraindications, which could significantly limit the marketability and profitability of a therapeutic candidate;

·

the clinical trials may be delayed or not completed due to the failure to recruit suitable candidates or if there is a lower rate of suitable candidates than anticipated or if there is a delay in recruiting suitable candidates; and

·

changes to the current regulatory requirements related to clinical trials which can delay, hinder or lead to unexpected costs in connection with our receiving the applicable regulatory clearances or approvals.

 

A number of companies in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries, including those with greater resources and experience than us, have suffered significant setbacks in advanced clinical trials, even after seeing promising results in earlier clinical trials. As such, despite the results reported in earlier clinical trials of our therapeutic candidates, we do not know if the clinical trials we conduct will demonstrate adequate safety and efficacy sufficient to obtain regulatory approval to market our therapeutic candidates. If any of the clinical trials of any of our current or future therapeutic candidates does not produce favorable results, our ability to obtain regulatory approval for the therapeutic candidate may be adversely impacted, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

 

If we are unable to establish collaborations for our therapeutic candidates or products we may promote or commercialize, or otherwise not be able to raise substantial additional capital, we will likely need to alter our development and commercialization plans.

 

Our drug development programs and the potential commercialization of our therapeutic candidates and products that we may promote or commercialize will require additional cash to fund expenses. As such, our strategy includes either selectively partnering or collaborating with multiple pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies to assist us in furthering development or potential commercialization of our therapeutic candidates, promoting or commercializing products, in whole or in part, in some or all jurisdictions or through securing our own commercialization capabilities. With respect to potential new third-party partners for the development or commercialization of our therapeutic candidates and development or commercialization of products that we may promote or commercialize, we may not be successful in entering into collaborations with third parties on acceptable terms, or at all. In addition, if we fail to negotiate and maintain

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suitable development, commercialization or promotion agreements or otherwise raise substantial additional capital to secure our own commercialization capabilities, we may have to limit the size or scope of our activities or we may have to delay one or more of our development or commercialization programs. Any failure to enter into development or commercialization agreements with respect to the development, marketing and commercialization of any therapeutic candidate or failure to develop, market and commercialize such therapeutic candidate independently may have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

 

Any collaborative arrangements that we have established or may establish may not be successful, or we may otherwise not realize the anticipated benefits from these collaborations, including our out-licensing of RHB-106, commercialization of EnteraGam®  as well as our promotion of Donnatal® and Esomeprazole Strontium Delayed-Release Capsules 49.3 mg. We do not control third parties with whom we have or may have collaborative arrangements, and we rely on such third parties to achieve results which may be significant to us. In addition, any future collaborative arrangements may place the development or commercialization of our therapeutic candidates, promotion of Donnatal®  and Esomeprazole Strontium Delayed-Release Capsules 49.3 mg or commercialization of EnteraGam® or products that we may promote or commercialize in the future outside our control may require us to relinquish important rights or may otherwise be on terms unfavorable to us.

 

Each of our collaborative arrangements requires us to rely on external consultants, advisors, and experts for assistance in several key functions, including clinical development, manufacturing, regulatory, market research, intellectual property and commercialization. We do not control these third parties, but we rely on such third parties to achieve results which may be significant to us. To date, we have out-licensed one of our therapeutic candidates, RHB-106, and related rights to Valeant. We do not control Valeant, but we rely on Valeant to clinically develop and commercialize RHB-106 and related rights. In addition, with respect to Donnatal®, EnteraGam® and Esomeprazole Strontium Delayed-Release Capsules 49.3 mg, we rely on Concordia, Entera Health and ParaPRO LLC (“ParaPRO”), respectively, as the party responsible for, among others, the manufacture, supply, and other operating responsibilities.

 

Relying upon collaborative arrangements to develop and commercialize our therapeutic candidates, such as RHB-106, Donnatal®  and Esomeprazole Strontium Delayed-Release Capsules 49.3 mg which are products that we promote, and commercialization of EnteraGam®  and other products that we may promote or commercialize in the future, subjects us to a number of risks, including but not limited to the following:

 

·

our collaborators may default on their obligations to us and we may be forced to either terminate, litigate or renegotiate such arrangements;

·

our collaborators may have claims that we breached our obligations to them which may result in termination, renegotiation, litigation or delays in performance of such arrangements;

·

we may not be able to control the amount and timing of resources that our collaborators may devote to our therapeutic candidates, our current commercial products, Donnatal® and Esomeprazole Strontium Delayed-Release Capsules 49.3 mg which are products that we promote, EnteraGam® which is a product we commercialize, or products that we may promote or commercialize in the future;

·

should a collaborator fail to comply with applicable laws, rules, or regulations when performing services for us, we could be held liable for such violations;

·

our collaborators may experience financial difficulties, making it difficult for them to fulfill their obligations to us, including payment obligations, or they may experience changes in business focus;

·

our collaborators’ partners may fail to secure adequate commercial supplies of our therapeutic candidates upon or after obtaining marketing approval, if at all, for Donnatal® or Esomeprazole Strontium Delayed-Release Capsules 49.3 mg, EnteraGam® which is a product we commercialize, or of products that we may promote or commercialize;

·

our collaborators' partners may have a shortage of qualified personnel;

·

we may be required to relinquish important rights, such as marketing and distribution rights;

·

business combinations or significant changes in a collaborator’s business or business strategy may adversely affect a collaborator’s willingness or ability to complete its obligations under any arrangement;

·

under certain circumstances, a collaborator could move forward with a competing therapeutic candidate or product developed either independently or in collaboration with others, including our competitors; and

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·

collaborative arrangements are often terminated or allowed to expire, which could delay the development and may increase the cost of developing our therapeutic candidates or may limit or terminate our rights to promote Donnatal®, Esomeprazole Strontium Delayed-Release Capsules 49.3 mg and commercialize EnteraGam®  in the U.S. or products we may promote or commercialize in the future.

 

In addition, our reliance upon our partners in connection with promotional activities subjects us to a number of additional risks, including but not limited to, the following:

 

·

we do not control our partners’ communications with the FDA, and the FDA may determine to withdraw the products from the market due to any action or inaction taken by our partners (see “–Donnatal®, EnteraGam® and Esomeprazole Strontium Delayed-Release Capsules 49.3 mg or products which we may promote or commercialize may be withdrawn from the market at any time due to product withdrawal requests by the FDA or other foreign regulatory authorities.”);

·

we rely on our partners to take enforcement action to protect the IP and regulatory protections, if any, of our commercial products. Their failure to diligently protect these products could materially affect our commercial success; in the case of Donnatal®, we rely on our partner to take action to proactively prevent illegal copies of the product from being marketed and sold and their failure to do so could materially affect our commercial success;

·

we rely on our partners to be responsible for the manufacture of Donnatal®, EnteraGam® and Esomeprazole Strontium Delayed-Release Capsules 49.3 mg through third-party manufacturers with the requisite quality and manufacturing standards as required under applicable laws and regulations, and we also rely on those same partners to supply their respective products, which may result in us having those respective products in insufficient quantities or on timelines insufficient to achieve adequate or successful promotion and sale of their respective products in the U.S.; 

·

our same partners may significantly create or change reimbursement agreements or increase or decrease the price of their respective products to a level that could adversely affect our sales or revenues;  

·

we rely on those same partners for most decisions relating to the promotion, sales and marketing of their respective products, and any action or inaction taken by those same partners may adversely affect the sales of their respective products;  

·

our partners may change or create new agreements with wholesalers, Pharmacy Benefit Managers or other important stakeholders, which may significantly impact our ability to achieve commercial success, or they may fail to negotiate reimbursement agreements with payors which could also negatively affect our commercial success;

·

our partners may change the price of their respective products to a level that could adversely affect our sales or revenues;

·

those same partners may not be successful in maintaining or expanding reimbursement from government or third-party payors, such as insurance companies, health maintenance organizations and other health plan administrators, which may adversely affect the sales of their respective products; and

·

those same partners may terminate their agreements with us after an agreed upon period for reasons set forth in those same partners’ respective agreements with us.

 

If any of these or other scenarios materialize, they could have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations.

 

As a result of Concordia's debt obligations, we are subject to the additional risks that Concordia may delay, reduce or cease payments to us under the Co-Promotion Agreement or otherwise be unable or unwilling to meet its obligations to us under the Co-Promotion Agreement, including its manufacture, supply, and other operating responsibilities. If any of these scenarios materialize, it could have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations.

 

Donnatal®, EnteraGam® and Esomeprazole Strontium Delayed-Release Capsules 49.3 mg or products which we may promote or commercialize in the future may be withdrawn from the market at any time due to product withdrawal requests by the FDA or other foreign regulatory authorities.

 

Products we acquire or to which we acquire certain commercialization rights may be subject to withdrawal requests by the FDA or other foreign regulatory authorities for various reasons.  For instance, certain products, such as Donnatal®, may

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be subject to regulatory review due to their classification as a DESI product, which the FDA has the right to determine as ineffective and impose limitations or request withdrawal of the product from the market. Donnatal® is currently subject to the FDA’s DESI proceedings to determine its effectiveness and the right to continue to be marketed in the U.S., and there is no assurance as to the outcome of such proceedings. To our knowledge at this time and based on our review of docketed correspondence with the FDA, the FDA has not made a final determination as to the efficacy of Donnatal®. In addition, the process and timing of any FDA DESI proceedings with respect to Donnatal® are unclear.  Historically, the FDA has generally permitted products to stay on the market during these proceedings, although there is no assurance as to the time of commencement of such proceedings or whether the FDA will in fact grant such permission to any future DESI-related proceedings, including for Donnatal®. EnteraGam® and Esomeprazole Strontium Delayed-Release Capsules 49.3 mg may also be subject to withdrawal requests by the FDA. The status of EnteraGam® as a “medical food” in the U.S. may be challenged by regulatory authorities which may result in its withdrawal from the market until additional regulatory requirements are met. Regulatory authorities in other jurisdictions may have similar procedures that may subject any product we may promote or commercialize to limitations or withdrawal requests. In addition, the FDA or other foreign regulatory authorities may determine that the chemistry, manufacturing and controls (“CMC”) of marketed products that we develop, acquire or to which we acquire commercialization rights, such as Donnatal®, EnteraGam® and Esomeprazole Strontium Delayed-Release Capsules 49.3 mg is unsatisfactory due to the manufacturing standards of the products. If either of these or any regulatory action is taken, Donnatal®, EnteraGam® and Esomeprazole Strontium Delayed-Release Capsules 49.3 mg or any product we promote or commercialize could be withdrawn from the market at any time. In addition, we may suffer from delays in further commercialization of any product we promote or commercialize.

 

We may not be successful in acquiring products or companies that own rights to, or otherwise acquire commercialization rights to, products cleared or approved for marketing in the U.S. or elsewhere that achieve commercial success or in further establishing our own marketing and commercialization capabilities.

 

Part of our strategy is to identify and acquire rights to products that have been cleared or approved for marketing in the U.S. or elsewhere, and in particular, those with a therapeutic focus on GI or cancer.  Specifically, we seek to acquire rights to products that are already commercialized, which would enable us to commercialize such products independently and further establish our own marketing and commercialization capabilities in the U.S.  We have entered into a Co-Promotion Agreement with Concordia pursuant to which we were granted certain rights to promote Donnatal® in certain U.S. territories which was our first agreement to commercialize a product being marketed in the U.S. We have also entered into a license agreement with Entera Health pursuant to which we were granted the exclusive rights to commercialize EnteraGam® in certain U.S. territories, and we have entered into an agreement with ParaPRO pursuant to which we were granted the exclusive rights to promote Esomeprazole Strontium Delayed-Release Capsules 49.3 mg to gastroenterologists in certain U.S. territories. However, there can be no assurance as to our ability to identify and acquire rights to any additional products, in particular those with a therapeutic focus on GI or cancer.  If we are not successful in acquiring any additional products, or in commercializing EnteraGam®, or in promoting Donnatal®, and Esomeprazole Strontium Delayed-Release Capsules 49.3 mg, we may not be able to further establish or maintain our own marketing and commercialization capabilities in the U.S. This may limit our ability to commercialize products on our own and may require us to contract with third-party development or commercialization partners which may not be on commercially favorable terms. Additionally, these efforts to further establish and maintain our commercial capabilities in the U.S. could be found more costly than our forecast and have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

 

In addition, there can be no assurance that we will accurately or consistently identify products approved or cleared for marketing that will achieve commercial success or that we will be able to successfully commercialize.

 

If we are unable to maintain, train and build an effective sales and marketing infrastructure, or establish and maintain compliant and adequate sales and marketing capabilities, we will not be able to commercialize and grow our products and product candidates successfully.

 

To further establish and maintain our own marketing and commercialization capabilities in the U.S. we may need to expand, among other things, our development, regulatory, manufacturing, marketing and sales capabilities and to increase or maintain our personnel to accommodate sales. We may not be able to secure sales personnel or organizations that are adequate in number or expertise to successfully market and sell our products in the U.S. If we are unable to expand our

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sales and marketing capability, train our sales force effectively or provide any other capabilities necessary to commercialize our products and therapeutic candidates, we may need to contract with third parties to market and sell our products.

 

Our employees and sales personnel must comply with applicable regulatory requirements and restrictions, including, but not limited to, “fair balance” promotion of our products and state and federal anti-kickback laws. If we are unable to establish and maintain compliant and adequate sales and marketing capabilities, we may not be able to increase our product revenue, may generate increased expenses and may be subject to regulatory and compliance investigation and enforcement.

 

Expanding and maintaining our commercial infrastructure for our commercial capabilities in the U.S. is a significant undertaking that requires substantial financial and managerial resources, and we may encounter delays or may not be successful in our efforts.

 

While we are currently promoting Donnatal® and Esomeprazole Strontium Delayed-Release Capsules 49.3 mg in certain U.S. territories, we have only recently begun to promote products in the U.S. and we have limited experience in promoting products.  We are currently commercializing EnteraGam® in the U.S., and we likewise have only recently begun to promote and commercialize products in the U.S., and we have limited experience in marketing and selling products. Establishing, maintaining and/or expanding the necessary capabilities are competitive and time-consuming, and the commercialization of EnteraGam®  and promotion of Donnatal® and Esomeprazole Strontium Delayed-Release Capsules 49.3 mg require a significant expenditure of operating, financial and management resources.  Even with those investments, we may not be able to effectively promote Donnatal® or Esomeprazole Strontium Delayed-Release Capsules 49.3 mg, commercialize EnteraGam®, or we may incur more expenditures than anticipated in order to maximize our sales.  We cannot guarantee that we will be able to establish, maintain and/or expand our sales, marketing, distribution and market access capabilities and enter into and maintain any agreements necessary for commercialization with payers and third-party providers on acceptable terms, if at all.  If we are unable to establish, maintain and/or expand such capabilities, either on our own or by entering into agreements with others, or are unable to do so in an efficient manner or on a timely basis, we will not be able to maximize our commercialization of EnteraGam®  or promotion of Donnatal®  or Esomeprazole Strontium Delayed-Release Capsules 49.3 mg, which would adversely affect our business, operating results and financial condition.

 

Even if the promotion of Donnatal®  and Esomeprazole Strontium Delayed-Release Capsules 49.3 mg and/or commercialization of EnteraGam®  are successful, we may fail to further our business strategy as anticipated or to achieve anticipated benefits and success.  We may incur higher than expected costs in connection with our promotion of Donnatal® or Esomeprazole Strontium Delayed-Release Capsules 49.3 mg or commercialization of EnteraGam®, and we may encounter general economic or business conditions that adversely affect these products.

 

In addition, if we incur higher than expected costs in connection with our promotion of Donnatal® or Esomeprazole Strontium Delayed-Release Capsules 49.3 mg, or commercialization of EnteraGam®, we may need to reduce or terminate our commercial activities, which may have a material adverse effect on our business.

 

We have no history of independently commercializing any of our therapeutic candidates that may be approved in the future and may have difficulty promoting Donnatal® or Esomeprazole Strontium Delayed-Release Capsules 49.3 mg, commercializing EnteraGam®, or promoting or commercializing any therapeutic candidates or products to which we may acquire the rights in the future.

 

We have no prior experience in commercializing therapeutic candidates or marketed products on our own, which may materially increase marketing and sales expenses or cause us to be ineffective in these efforts.  In June 2017, we began promoting Donnatal® and commercializing EnteraGam® in the U.S., and in September 2017 we began promoting Esomeprazole Strontium Delayed-Release Capsules 49.3 mg to gastroenterologists in certain U.S. territories. There can be no assurance we will successfully commercialize our therapeutic candidates, if approved in the future, or promote Donnatal® and Esomeprazole Strontium Delayed-Release Capsules 49.3 mg, or commercialize EnteraGam® or any products we may promote or commercialize in the future.

 

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In addition, many companies, both public and private, including well-known pharmaceutical companies and smaller niche-focused companies, are currently selling, marketing and distributing drug products that directly compete with the therapeutic candidates that we may seek to commercialize. Many of these companies have significantly greater financial capabilities, marketing and sales experience and resources than us. As a result, our competitors may be more successful than we are in commercializing products.

 

We rely on third parties to conduct our clinical trials and related non-clinical studies and those third parties may not perform satisfactorily, including but not limited to failing to meet established deadlines for the completion of such clinical trials.

 

We currently do not have the ability to independently conduct clinical trials and related non-clinical studies for our therapeutic candidates, and we rely on third parties, such as contract research organizations, medical institutions, contract laboratories, development and commercialization partners, clinical investigators and independent study monitors to perform these functions. Our reliance on these third parties for research and development activities reduces our control over these activities. Furthermore, these third parties may also have relationships with other entities, some of which may be our competitors. Although we have, in the ordinary course of business, entered into agreements with such third parties, other than with respect to RHB-106 and related rights, which we have out-licensed to Valeant, we continue to be responsible for confirming that each of our clinical trials and related non-clinical studies is conducted in accordance with its general investigational plan and protocol. Moreover, the FDA requires us to comply with regulations and standards, commonly referred to as good clinical practices (“GCP”), for conducting, recording and reporting the results of clinical trials to assure that data and reported results are credible and accurate and that the trial participants are adequately protected, and regulatory authorities in other jurisdictions may have similar responsibilities and requirements. Our reliance on third parties does not relieve us of these responsibilities and requirements. If these third parties do not successfully carry out their contractual duties or meet expected deadlines, we may be required to replace them or perform such functions independently. Although we believe that there are a number of other third-party contractors we could engage to continue these activities, it may result in a delay of the affected trial and additional costs. Accordingly, we may be materially delayed in obtaining regulatory approvals if any, for our therapeutic candidates and may be materially delayed in our efforts to successfully commercialize our therapeutic candidates for targeted diseases.

 

In addition, our ability to bring our therapeutic candidates to market depends on the quality and integrity of data that we present to regulatory authorities in order to obtain marketing authorizations. Although we attempt to audit and control the quality of third-party data, we cannot guarantee the authenticity or accuracy of such data, nor can we be certain that such data has not been fraudulently generated.

 

If third parties do not manufacture our therapeutic candidates or do not manufacture and sell any products we may promote or commercialize, including Donnatal®, EnteraGam® and Esomeprazole Strontium Delayed-Release Capsules 49.3 mg, in sufficient quantities, in the required timeframe, and at an acceptable cost and quality, clinical development and commercialization of our therapeutic candidates or promotion of products we may promote or commercialize could be delayed and sales of any product we may promote or commercialize may be adversely affected.

 

We do not currently own or operate manufacturing facilities. We rely, and expect to continue to rely, on third parties to manufacture clinical and commercial quantities of our therapeutic candidates and products that we may promote or commercialize. For Donnatal®, we rely on Concordia, which has a manufacturing agreement with a third party to provide sufficient quantities of Donnatal® in the required timeframe. For EnteraGam® we rely on Entera Health and the manufacturer, The Lauridsen Group, Inc., to provide sufficient quantities of EnteraGam® in the required timeframe, and for Esomeprazole Strontium Delayed-Release Capsules 49.3 mg we rely on ParaPRO, which has a manufacturing agreement with a third party to provide sufficient quantities of Esomeprazole Strontium Delayed-Release Capsules 49.3 mg in the required timeframe. Our reliance on third parties includes our reliance on them for quality assurance related to regulatory compliance. Our current and anticipated future reliance upon others for the manufacture of our therapeutic candidates and any products that we may promote or commercialize may adversely affect our future operations and our ability to develop therapeutic candidates and commercialize any therapeutic candidates and any products that we may promote or commercialize on a timely and competitive basis.

 

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We may not be able to maintain our existing or future third-party manufacturing arrangements on acceptable terms, if at all. If for some reason our manufacturers or our development or commercialization partners’ manufacturers do not perform as agreed or expected, we or our partners may be required to replace them, in which event we may incur added costs and delays in identifying, engaging, qualifying and training any such replacements, and such additional costs and delays may adversely impact our ability to obtain regulatory clearances and approvals to commercialize our therapeutic candidates or any product we may promote or commercialize, or make such commercialization or marketing economically unfeasible.

 

We rely on third parties to manufacture and supply us with high quality active pharmaceutical ingredients (“APIs”) in the quantities we require on a timely basis.

 

We currently do not manufacture any APIs ourselves. Instead, we rely on third-party vendors for the development, manufacture and supply of our APIs that are used to formulate our therapeutic candidates and products we may promote or commercialize. If these suppliers are incapable or unwilling to meet our current or future needs on acceptable terms or at all, we could experience a delay in obtaining regulatory clearances or approvals for our therapeutic candidates or products that we may promote or commercialize or in conducting clinical trials of our therapeutic candidates and incur additional costs or experience an adverse effect on our sale of any product we may promote or commercialize.

 

While there may be several alternative suppliers of APIs on the market, we have yet to conclude extensive investigations into the quality or availability of their APIs. As a result, we can provide no assurances that supply sources will not be interrupted from time to time. Changing API suppliers or finding and qualifying new API suppliers can be costly and take a significant amount of time. Many APIs require significant lead time to manufacture. There can also be challenges in maintaining similar quality or technical standards from one manufacturing batch to the next.

 

If we are not able to find stable, affordable, high quality, or reliable supplies of our APIs, we may not be able to produce enough supplies of our therapeutic candidates or products we may promote or commercialize, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations.

 

We anticipate continued reliance on third-party manufacturers if we are successful in obtaining marketing approval from the FDA and other regulatory agencies for any of our therapeutic candidates and reliance on third-party manufacturers for any products that we may promote or commercialize, including Donnatal®,  EnteraGam® and Esomeprazole Strontium Delayed-Release Capsules 49.3 mg.

 

To date, our therapeutic candidates have been manufactured in relatively small quantities for preclinical testing and clinical trials as well as for other regulatory purposes by third-party manufacturers. If the FDA or other regulatory agencies approve any of our therapeutic candidates for commercial sale, we expect that we would continue to rely, at least initially, on third-party manufacturers to produce commercial quantities of our approved therapeutic candidates. In addition, we rely on and we expect to continue to rely on third-party manufacturers to produce commercial quantities of Donnatal®, EnteraGam® and Esomeprazole Strontium Delayed-Release Capsules 49.3 mg or any product that we may gain the rights to in the future in order to promote or commercialize. These manufacturers may not be able to successfully increase or maintain the manufacturing capacity for any of our therapeutic candidates that may be approved in the future, Donnatal®, EnteraGam® and Esomeprazole Strontium Delayed-Release Capsules 49.3 mg or any product we may gain the rights to in order to promote or commercialize in the future, in a timely or economic manner, or at all. Except for current FDA regulations with respect to “medical foods,” significant scale-up of manufacturing may require additional validation studies, which the FDA must review and approve. Foreign regulatory agencies may also require approval of additional validation studies for scaling up the manufacturing process of any of our products including “medical foods” If the third-party manufacturers are unable to successfully increase or maintain the manufacturing capacity for a therapeutic candidate or for products that we may promote or commercialize, or if we are unable to secure replacement third-party manufacturers or unable to establish our own manufacturing capabilities, the commercial launch of any approved products may be delayed or there may be a shortage in supply which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations.

 

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We and our third-party manufacturers or our partners' manufacturers are, and will be, subject to regulations of the FDA and other foreign regulatory authorities.

 

We and our third-party manufacturers or our partners' manufacturers are, and will be, required to adhere to laws, regulations and guidelines of the FDA and other foreign regulatory authorities setting forth current good manufacturing practices (“cGMP”). These laws, regulations and guidelines cover all aspects of the manufacturing, testing, quality control and recordkeeping relating to our therapeutic candidates with varying cGMP rigors depending on what phase each of our respective therapeutic candidates is in with respect to its drug development process and any products we may promote or commercialize, including Donnatal®, EnteraGam® and Esomeprazole Strontium Delayed-Release Capsules 49.3 mg. We and our third-party manufacturers and our partners' manufacturers may not be able to comply with applicable laws, regulations and guidelines. We and our third-party manufacturers and our partners' manufacturers are and will be subject to unannounced inspections by the FDA, state regulators and similar foreign regulatory authorities outside the U.S. Our failure, or the failure of our third-party manufacturers or our partners' manufacturers, to comply with applicable laws, regulations and guidelines could result in the imposition of sanctions on us, including fines, injunctions, civil penalties, failure of regulatory authorities to grant marketing approval of our therapeutic candidates, delays, suspension or withdrawal of approvals, license revocation, seizures or recalls of our therapeutic candidates and commercially-marketed products, operating restrictions and criminal prosecutions, any of which could significantly and adversely affect regulatory approval and supplies of our therapeutic candidates and commercially-marketed products, and materially and adversely affect our reputation, business, financial condition and results of operations.

 

Our therapeutic candidates, our current commercial products, Donnatal®, EnteraGam® and Esomeprazole Strontium Delayed-Release Capsules 49.3 mg, and any product we may promote or commercialize in the future, even if all regulatory clearances and approvals are obtained, will be subject to ongoing regulatory review. If we fail to comply with continuing U.S. and applicable foreign laws, regulations and guidelines, we could lose those clearances and approvals, if required at all, and our reputation, business, financial condition and results of operations may be materially and adversely affected.

 

We and/or our commercialization partners, as applicable, will be subject to ongoing reporting obligations with respect to our therapeutic candidates, even if they receive regulatory clearance or approval, and with respect to Donnatal®, EnteraGam® and Esomeprazole Strontium Delayed-Release Capsules 49.3 mg and any cleared or approved product that we may gain the rights to promote or commercialize in the future, including pharmacovigilance.  In addition, the manufacturing operations of our therapeutic candidates, our current commercial products, Donnatal®, EnteraGam® and Esomeprazole Strontium Delayed-Release Capsules 49.3 mg, and any other product we may promote or commercialize, whether currently or in the future, will be subject to continuing regulatory review, including inspections by the FDA and other foreign regulatory authorities. The results of any ongoing review may result in withdrawal from the market of a therapeutic candidate or of one of our current commercial products, Donnatal®, EnteraGam® and Esomeprazole Strontium Delayed-Release Capsules 49.3 mg, or another product we may promote or commercialize, interruption of manufacturing operations or imposition of labeling or marketing limitations for such therapeutic candidate or product. Since many more patients are exposed to drugs following their marketing clearance or approval, serious but infrequent adverse reactions that were not observed in clinical trials may be observed during the commercial marketing of the therapeutic candidate or any product we may promote or commercialize, including Donnatal®, EnteraGam® and Esomeprazole Strontium Delayed-Release Capsules 49.3 mg.

 

As we develop our therapeutic candidates or commercialize our products, we may also periodically discuss with the FDA and other regulatory authorities certain clinical, regulatory and manufacturing matters and, our views may, at times, differ from those of the FDA and other regulatory authorities. For example, the FDA may seek to regulate our therapeutic candidates or any product we may promote or commercialize that consist of two or more active ingredients as combination drugs under its Combination Drug Policy. The Combination Drug Policy requires that we demonstrate that each active ingredient in a drug product contributes to the product’s claimed effect. If the FDA raises questions regarding whether available data and information provided to the FDA demonstrate the contribution of each active ingredient in such combination drug products, we may be required to provide additional information, which may require us to conduct additional preclinical studies or clinical trials. If we and/or our commercialization partners, as applicable, are required to conduct additional clinical trials or other testing of our therapeutic candidates or of our current commercial products, Donnatal®, EnteraGam® and Esomeprazole Strontium Delayed-Release Capsules 49.3 mg, or any other product we may

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promote or commercialize, we may face substantial additional expenses, be delayed in obtaining marketing clearance or approval, if required by the FDA, or may never obtain marketing clearance or approval for such therapeutic candidate or product we may promote or commercialize, including Donnatal®. In addition, Donnatal® is currently subject to the FDA’s DESI proceedings to determine its effectiveness and the right to continue to be marketed in the U.S., and there is no assurance as to the outcome of such proceedings.  To our knowledge at this time and based on our review of docketed correspondence with the FDA, the FDA has not made a final determination as to the efficacy of Donnatal®.  See “–  Donnatal®, EnteraGam® and Esomeprazole Strontium Delayed-Release Capsules 49.3 mg or products which we may promote or commercialize may be withdrawn from the market at any time due to product withdrawal requests by the FDA or other foreign regulatory authorities.”

 

In addition, in 2011, the FDA granted RHB-104 orphan drug designation for the treatment of Crohn’s disease in the pediatric population, and in 2017, the FDA granted YELIVA® orphan drug designation for the treatment of cholangiocarcinoma and granted RHB-107 orphan drug designation for pancreatic cancer.  If we fail to maintain the orphan drug designation exclusivity, our competitors may sell products equivalent to RHB-104, YELIVA® or to RHB-107 to treat the same indications and our revenues could be reduced.

 

In November 2014, the FDA granted TALICIA® a Qualified Infectious Disease Product (QIDP) designation. In January 2017, we announced that RHB-104 had been granted QIDP designation by the FDA for the treatment of NTM infections. If TALICIA®  and/or RHB-104 fails to maintain its QIDP designation, it could significantly increase the development time for TALICIA®  and RHB-104 for the treatment of NTM infections, as the case may be.

 

In addition, third-party manufacturers and the manufacturing facilities that we and our development or commercialization partners use to manufacture any therapeutic candidate and any other products that we may promote or commercialize, including Donnatal®, EnteraGam® and Esomeprazole Strontium Delayed-Release Capsules 49.3 mg, will be subject to periodic review and inspection by the FDA and may be subject to similar review by other regulatory authorities. Later discovery of previously unknown problems with any therapeutic candidate or product we may promote or commercialize, including Donnatal®, EnteraGam® and Esomeprazole Strontium Delayed-Release Capsules 49.3 mg, manufacturer or manufacturing process, or failure to comply with rules and regulatory requirements, may result in actions, including but not limited to the following:

 

·

restrictions on such therapeutic candidate, marketed product, manufacturer or manufacturing process;

·

warning letters from the FDA or other foreign regulatory authorities;

·

withdrawal of the therapeutic candidate or marketed product from the market;

·

suspension or withdrawal of regulatory approvals;

·

refusal to approve pending applications or supplements to approved applications that we or our development or commercialization partners submit;

·

voluntary or mandatory recall;

·

fines;

·

refusal to permit the import or export of our therapeutic candidates or products that we may promote or commercialize;

·

product seizure or detentions;

·

injunctions or the imposition of civil or criminal penalties; and

·

adverse publicity.

 

If we or our commercialization partners, suppliers, third-party contractors or clinical investigators are slow to adapt, or are unable to adapt, to changes in existing regulatory requirements or the adoption of new regulatory requirements or policies, we and our development or commercialization partners may lose marketing clearance or approval for any of our therapeutic candidates if any of our therapeutic candidates are approved, and we may lose marketing clearance or approval of any products already cleared or approved for marketing in any jurisdiction, resulting in decreased or lost revenue from such therapeutic candidates and products and could also result and other civil or criminal sanctions, including fines and penalties.

 

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Modifications to our therapeutic candidates, or to any product that we may promote or commercialize, may require new regulatory clearances or approvals or may require us or our development or commercialization partners, as applicable, to recall or cease marketing of any of our cleared or approved products, if any, or delay further studies of our therapeutic candidates in human subjects until clearances or approvals are obtained.

 

Modifications to our therapeutic candidates and any products we may promote or commercialize, including Donnatal®, EnteraGam® and Esomeprazole Strontium Delayed-Release Capsules 49.3 mg, after they have been cleared or approved for marketing, if at all, may require new regulatory clearance or approvals, and, if necessitated by a problem with a marketed product, may result in the recall or suspension of marketing of the previously approved and marketed product until clearances or approvals of the modified product are obtained. The FDA and other regulatory authorities require pharmaceutical product and device manufacturers to initially make and document a determination of whether or not a modification requires a new approval, supplement or clearance. A manufacturer may determine in conformity with applicable laws, regulations and guidelines that a modification may be implemented without pre-clearance by the FDA or other regulatory authorities. However, the FDA or other regulatory authorities can review a manufacturer’s decision and may disagree. The FDA or other regulatory authorities may also on their own initiative determine that a new clearance or approval is required. If the FDA or other regulatory authorities require new clearances or approvals of any pharmaceutical product for which we or our partners, including development or commercialization partners previously received marketing approval, we or our partners, including development or commercialization partners, may be required to recall and stop marketing such marketed product, which could require us or our partners, including development or commercialization partners to redesign the marketed product and may cause a material adverse effect on our reputation, business, financial condition and results of operations.

 

We may depend on our ability to identify and in-license or acquire additional therapeutic candidates to achieve commercial success, including products approved or cleared for marketing in the U.S. or elsewhere.

 

Our six late-clinical development stage therapeutic candidates were all acquired or licensed by us from third parties. We evaluate internally and with external consultants each therapeutic candidate we in-license or acquire. However, there can be no assurance as to our ability to accurately or consistently identify therapeutic candidates or products that have been approved or cleared for marketing in the U.S. that are likely to achieve commercial success. In addition, even if we identify additional therapeutic candidates or products that have been approved or cleared for marketing in the U.S. or elsewhere that are likely to achieve commercial success, there can be no assurance as to our ability to in-license or acquire such therapeutic candidates or products under favorable terms or at all.

 

We compete with other entities for some in-license or acquisition opportunities.

 

As part of our overall strategy, we pursue opportunities to in-license or acquire therapeutic candidates and products that have been approved or cleared for marketing in the U.S. We may compete for in-license and acquisition opportunities with other companies, including established and well-capitalized companies. As a result, we may be unable to in-license or acquire additional therapeutic candidates or products that have been approved or cleared for marketing in the U.S. at all or on favorable terms. Our failure to further in-license or acquire therapeutic candidates or products that have been approved or cleared for marketing in the U.S. in the future may materially hinder our ability to grow and could materially harm our business, financial condition and results of operations.

 

If we or a licensor or a partner of ours cannot meet our or their respective obligations under our acquisition, in-license or other development or commercialization agreements or renegotiate the obligations under such agreements, or if other events occur that are not within our control, such as bankruptcy of a licensor or a partner, we could lose the rights to our therapeutic candidates or products we may promote or commercialize, experience delays in developing or commercializing our therapeutic candidates or products we may promote or commercialize or incur additional costs, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

 

We acquired our rights to three of our therapeutic candidates, TALICIA®, RHB-104 and RHB-106, from a third party pursuant to an asset and purchase agreement. In addition, we in-licensed our rights to three other therapeutic candidates, BEKINDA®, YELIVA® and RHB-107 pursuant to license agreements in which we received exclusive perpetual licenses to certain patent rights and know-how related to these therapeutic candidates. We have also obtained certain rights to

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promote Donnatal® in certain U.S. territories under a co-promotion agreement, the exclusive U.S. rights to EnteraGam®  to commercialize in certain U.S. territories pursuant to a license agreement, and exclusive rights to promote Esomeprazole Strontium Delayed-Release Capsules 49.3 mg to gastroenterologists in certain U.S. territories pursuant to an agreement. These agreements require us to make payments and satisfy various performance obligations in order to maintain our rights and licenses with respect to these therapeutic candidates and marketed products. If we or our collaborators do not meet our or their respective obligations under these agreements, or if other events occur that are not within our control, such as the bankruptcy of a licensor, we could lose the rights to our therapeutic candidates, experience delays in developing or commercializing our therapeutic candidates or incur additional costs, any of which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

 

In addition, we are responsible for the cost of filing and prosecuting certain patent applications and maintaining certain issued patents licensed to us. If we do not meet our obligations under these agreements in a timely manner or if other events occur that are not within our control, such as the bankruptcy of a licensor, which impact our ability to prosecute certain patent applications and maintain certain issued patents licensed to us, we could lose the rights to our therapeutic candidates which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations. We manage a large portfolio of patents and may decide to discontinue maintaining certain patents in certain territories for various reasons, including costs, such as a current belief that the commercial market for the therapeutic candidate will not be large or that there is a near-term patent expiration that may reduce the value of the therapeutic candidate. In the event we discontinue maintaining such patents, we may not be able to enforce rights for our therapeutic candidates or protect our therapeutic candidates from competition in those territories.

 

Our business and operations would suffer in the event of computer system failures, cyber-attacks or deficiencies in our cyber-security.

 

In the ordinary course of our business, we collect and store sensitive data, including intellectual property, compliance –related data, research data, our proprietary business information and that of our suppliers, technical information about our products, clinical trial plans and employee records. Similarly, our third-party providers possess certain of our sensitive data and confidential information. The secure maintenance of this information is critical to our operations and business strategy. Despite the implementation of security measures, our internal computer systems, and those of third parties on which we rely, are vulnerable to damage from computer viruses, malware, ransomware, cyber fraud, 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. The risk of a security breach or disruption, 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. Any such breach could compromise our networks and the information stored there could be accessed, publicly disclosed, encrypted, lost or stolen. Any such access, inappropriate disclosure of confidential or proprietary information or other loss of information, including our data being breached at third-party providers, could result in legal claims or proceedings, liability or financial loss under laws that protect the privacy of personal information, disruption of our operations or our product development programs and damage to our reputation, which could adversely affect our business. 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.

 

Our business could suffer if we are unable to attract and retain key personnel.

 

The loss of the services of members of senior management or other key personnel could delay or otherwise adversely impact the successful completion of our planned clinical trials or the commercialization of our therapeutic candidates and any product we may promote or commercialize, including Donnatal®, EnteraGam® and Esomeprazole Strontium Delayed-Release Capsules 49.3 mg, or otherwise affect our ability to manage our company effectively and to carry out our business plan. These key personnel are Dror Ben-Asher, our Chief Executive Officer, Reza Fathi, Ph.D., our Senior Vice President for Research and Development, Gilead Raday, our Chief Operating Officer, Adi Frish, our Senior Vice President for Business Development and Licensing, Guy Goldberg, our Chief Business Officer and Micha Ben Chorin, our Chief Financial Officer. We do not maintain key-man life insurance. Although we have entered into employment or consultancy agreements with all of the members of our senior management team, members of our senior management team may resign

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at any time. High demand exists for senior management and other key personnel in the pharmaceutical industry. There can be no assurance that we will be able to continue to retain and attract such personnel.

 

Our growth and success also depend on our ability to attract and retain additional highly qualified scientific, technical, business development, marketing, sales, managerial and finance personnel. We experience intense competition for qualified personnel, and the existence of non-competition agreements between prospective employees and their former employers may prevent us from hiring those individuals or subject us to liability from their former employers. In addition, as part of our plan to promote Donnatal®, EnteraGam® and Esomeprazole Strontium Delayed-Release Capsules 49.3 mg and potentially products we may develop, we may need to expand and maintain our marketing and sales capabilities. While we attempt to provide competitive compensation packages to attract and retain key personnel, many of our competitors are likely to have greater resources and more experience than we have, making it difficult for us to compete successfully for key personnel. If we cannot attract and retain sufficiently qualified suitable employees on acceptable terms, we may not be able to develop and commercialize competitive therapeutic candidates and our commercialized products. Further, any failure to effectively integrate new personnel could materially prevent us from successfully growing our company.

 

We face several risks associated with international business.

 

We operate our business in multiple international jurisdictions. Such operations could be materially affected by changes in foreign exchange rates, capital and exchange controls, expropriation and other restrictive government actions, changes in intellectual property legal protections and remedies, trade regulations and procedures and actions affecting approval, production, pricing, and marketing of, reimbursement for and access to, our therapeutic candidates and products we may promote or commercialize, including Donnatal®, EnteraGam® and Esomeprazole Strontium Delayed-Release Capsules 49.3 mg, as well as by political unrest, unstable governments and legal systems and inter-governmental disputes. Any of these changes could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations. Additionally, because our corporate headquarters are in Israel while our commercial office is in the U.S., there is additional risk in our ability as a company to control the activities occurring in the U.S., due to the geographic separation within the company.

 

Uncertain geopolitical conditions could have a material adverse effect on our promotion of Esomeprazole Strontium Delayed-Release Capsules 49.3 mg.

 

We rely on ParaPRO to manage all aspects of manufacturing, including entering into agreements with third parties to provide sufficient quantities of Esomeprazole Strontium Delayed-Release Capsules 49.3 mg in the required timeframe.  This includes both the API and the finished dosage.  Major aspects of manufacturing have taken place in South Korea and may continue in the foreseeable future. Accordingly, geopolitical and military conditions in South Korea and the surrounding region may directly affect our promotion of Esomeprazole Strontium Delayed-Release Capsules 49.3 mg. In recent months, there have been heightened security concerns regarding North Korea’s nuclear weapons and long-range ballistic missile programs. This has resulted in increased uncertainty regarding both North Korea’s actions and those of the United States. If a party will take an aggressive action, including acts of war, we may not receive sufficient quantities of Esomeprazole Strontium Delayed-Release Capsules 49.3 mg in the required timeframe, and our promotion of Esomeprazole Strontium Delayed-Release Capsules 49.3 mg may be adversely affected.

 

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Risks Related to Our Industry

 

Even if our therapeutic candidates or any product we may promote or commercialize, receive, have received regulatory clearance or approval or do not require regulatory clearance or approval, they may not become commercially viable products.

 

None of our therapeutic candidates have been cleared or approved for marketing, and none of our therapeutic candidates is currently being marketed or commercialized in any jurisdiction. We were granted certain rights to promote Donnatal® and Esomeprazole Strontium Delayed-Release Capsules 49.3 mg in certain U.S. territories and to commercialize EnteraGam®, all three of which we recently began promoting in the U.S. Even if any of our therapeutic candidates or any product we may promote or commercialize receive, have received or do not require regulatory clearance or approval, it may not become a commercially viable product. For example, even if we or our development or commercialization partners receive regulatory clearance or approval to market a therapeutic candidate, or receive regulatory clearance or approval to promote or commercialize any product, the clearance or approval may be subject to limitations on the indicated uses or subject to labeling or marketing restrictions, which could materially and adversely affect their marketability and profitability. In addition, a new therapeutic candidate may appear promising at an early stage of development or after clinical trials but never reach the market, or it may reach the market but not result in sufficient product sales, if any. A therapeutic candidate or any product that we may promote or commercialize, may not result in commercial success for various reasons, including but not limited to:

 

·

difficulty in large-scale manufacturing, including yield and quality;

·

low market acceptance by physicians, healthcare payors, patients and the medical community as a result of lower demonstrated clinical safety or efficacy compared to products, prevalence and severity of adverse side effects, or other potential disadvantages relative to alternative treatment methods;

·

insufficient or unfavorable levels of reimbursement from government or third-party payors, such as insurance companies, health maintenance organizations and other health plan administrators;

·

infringement on proprietary rights of others for which we or our development or commercialization partners have not received licenses;

·

incompatibility with other therapeutic candidates or marketed products;

·

other potential advantages of alternative treatment methods and competitive forces that may make it more difficult for us to penetrate a particular market segment, if at all;

·

ineffective marketing, sales and distribution activities and support;

·

lack of significant competitive advantages over existing products on the market;

·

lack of cost-effectiveness or unfavorable pricing compared to other alternatives available on the market;

·

inability to generate sufficient revenues to sustain our business operations in accordance with our plan from the sale or marketing of a product in view of the economic arrangements that we have with commercialization or other partners;

·

changes to labels, indications or other regulatory requirements as they relate to the commercialization of our products;

·

inability to establish collaborations with third-party development or commercialization partners on acceptable terms, or at all, and our inability or unwillingness for cost or other reasons to commercialize the therapeutic candidates or any product we may promote or commercialize on our own; and

·

timing of market introduction of competitive products.

 

Physicians, various other health care providers, patients, payors or the medical community, in general, may be unwilling to accept, utilize or recommend any of our approved therapeutic candidates and any product we may promote or commercialize. If we are unable, either on our own or through third parties, to manufacture, commercialize or market our proposed formulations, therapeutic candidates or any product we may promote or commercialize when planned, or to develop them commercially, we may not achieve any market acceptance or generate meaningful revenue.

 

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Unexpected product safety or efficacy concerns may arise and cause any product we may promote or commercialize to fail to gain or lose market acceptance.

 

Unexpected safety or efficacy concerns can arise with respect to any product we may promote or commercialize, whether or not scientifically justified, potentially resulting in product recalls, withdrawals and/or declining sales, as well as product liability, consumer fraud and/or other claims. The market perception and reputation of any product we may promote or commercialize and their safety and efficacy are important to our business and the continued acceptance of any product we may promote or commercialize. Any negative publicity about any of our products, such as the pricing of any product we may promote or commercialize, discovery of safety issues with any product we may promote or commercialize, adverse events involving any product we may promote or commercialize, or even public rumors about such events, could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operation. In addition, the discovery of one or more significant problems with a product similar to one of any product we may promote or commercialize that implicate (or are perceived to implicate) an entire class of products or the withdrawal or recall of such similar products could have an adverse effect on the commercialization of any product we may promote or commercialize. New data about any product we may promote or commercialize, or products similar to any product we may promote or commercialize, could cause us reputational harm and could negatively impact demand for any product we may promote or commercialize due to real or perceived side effects or uncertainty regarding safety or efficacy and, in some cases, could result in product withdrawal. Any of the foregoing could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

 

The market for our therapeutic candidates and for any product we may promote or commercialize is rapidly changing and competitive, and new drug delivery mechanisms, drug delivery technologies, new drugs, treatments and products which may be developed by others could impair our ability to maintain and grow our business and remain competitive.

 

The pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry is highly competitive, and we face significant competition from many pharmaceutical, biopharmaceutical and biotechnology companies that are researching, developing and marketing products designed to address the indications for which we are currently developing therapeutic candidates or may develop therapeutic candidates in the future or for which we may promote or commercialize products. There are various other companies that currently market, are in the process of developing or may develop in the future products that address all of the indications or diseases treated by our therapeutic candidates or products that we may promote or commercialize. For information regarding our competition, see “Item 4. Information on the Company – B. Business Overview – Our Therapeutic Candidates.”

 

New drug delivery mechanisms, drug delivery technologies, new drugs and new treatments that have been developed or that are in the process of being developed or will be developed by others may render our therapeutic candidates and products we may promote or commercialize noncompetitive or obsolete, or we may be unable to keep pace with technological developments or other market factors. Some of these technologies may have an entirely different approach or means of accomplishing similar therapeutic effects compared to our therapeutic candidates and products we may promote or commercialize. In addition, Donnatal®, EnteraGam® and Esomeprazole Strontium Delayed-Release Capsules 49.3 mg and products we may promote or commercialize may compete with products of third parties for market share, and generic drugs or products that treat the same indications as Donnatal®, EnteraGam® and Esomeprazole Strontium Delayed-Release Capsules 49.3 mg or products we may promote or commercialize can have an adverse effect on our revenues by reducing our market share or requiring us to reduce the price of the products we market.  We are aware of at least two products that are, to our understanding, illegal copies of Donnatal®  that currently are being sold in the U.S. The FDA has not taken action against these products and this has had a negative effect on our commercial success.

 

Technological competition from, and commercial capabilities of, pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, universities, governmental entities and others is intense and is expected to increase. Many of these entities have significantly greater research and development capabilities, human resources and budgets than we do, as well as substantially more marketing, manufacturing, financial and managerial resources. These entities represent significant competition for us. Acquisitions of, or investments in, competing pharmaceutical or biotechnology companies by large corporations could increase such competitors’ financial, marketing, manufacturing and other resources.

 

The potential widespread acceptance of therapies that are alternatives to ours may limit market acceptance of our formulations, therapeutic candidates or products we may promote or commercialize, even if commercialized. Many of our

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targeted diseases and conditions can also be treated by other medications or drug delivery technologies. These treatments may be widely accepted in medical communities and have a longer history of use, among other possible advantages. The established use of these competitive drugs may limit the potential for our therapeutic candidates to receive widespread acceptance if commercialized and may limit the potential for widespread acceptance of promoting Donnatal®, EnteraGam® and Esomeprazole Strontium Delayed-Release Capsules 49.3 mg and for products we may promote or commercialize.

 

We could be adversely affected if healthcare reform measures substantially change the market for medical care or healthcare coverage in the U.S.

 

On March 23, 2010, President Obama signed the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” (P.L. 111-148) and on March 30, 2010, the President signed the “Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act” (P.L. 111-152), collectively commonly referred to as the “Healthcare Reform Law.” The Healthcare Reform Law included a number of new rules regarding health insurance, the provision of healthcare, conditions to reimbursement for healthcare services provided to Medicare and Medicaid patients, and other healthcare policy reforms. Through the law-making process, substantial changes have been and continue to be made to the current system for paying for healthcare in the U.S., including changes made in order to extend medical benefits to tens of millions of Americans who lacked insurance coverage and to contain or reduce healthcare costs (such as by reducing or conditioning reimbursement amounts for healthcare services and drugs, and imposing additional taxes, fees, and rebate obligations on pharmaceutical and medical device companies). This legislation is one of the most comprehensive and significant reforms ever experienced by the U.S. in the healthcare industry and has significantly changed the way healthcare is financed by both governmental and private insurers. This legislation has impacted the scope of healthcare insurance and incentives for consumers and insurance companies, among others. Additionally, the Healthcare Reform Law’s provisions are designed to encourage providers to find cost savings in their clinical operations. Pharmaceuticals represent a significant portion of the cost of providing care. Through modified reimbursement rates and other incentives, the U.S. government is requiring that providers identify the most cost-effective services, supplies and pharmaceuticals. This environment has caused changes in the purchasing habits of consumers and providers and resulted in specific attention to the pricing negotiation, product selection and utilization review surrounding pharmaceuticals. This attention may result in our therapeutic candidates and products we may promote or commercialize being chosen less frequently or the pricing being substantially lowered.  Some of the provisions of the Healthcare Reform Law have not yet been fully implemented and regulatory guidance continues to be issued.  At this stage, it is difficult to estimate the full extent of the direct or indirect impact of the Healthcare Reform Law on us.

 

These structural changes could entail further modifications to the existing system of private payors and government programs (such as Medicare, Medicaid and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program), creation of government-sponsored healthcare insurance sources, or some combination of both, as well as other changes. Restructuring the coverage of medical care in the U.S. could impact the reimbursement for prescribed drugs and pharmaceuticals, such as those we and our development or commercialization partners are currently developing or those that we may promote or commercialize in the future. If reimbursement for approved therapeutic candidates or any product we may promote or commercialize, if any, is substantially reduced or otherwise adversely affected in the future, or rebate obligations associated with them are substantially increased, it could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

 

Extending medical benefits to those who currently lack coverage will likely result in substantial cost to the U.S. federal government, which may force significant additional changes to the healthcare system in the U.S. Much of the funding for expanded healthcare coverage may be sought through cost savings. While some of these savings may come from realizing greater efficiencies in delivering care, improving the effectiveness of preventive care and enhancing the overall quality of care, much of the cost savings may come from reducing the cost of care and increased enforcement activities. Cost of care could be reduced further by decreasing the level of reimbursement for medical services or products (including those therapeutic candidates currently being developed by us or our development or commercialization partners or any product we may promote or commercialize, including Donnatal®, EnteraGam® and Esomeprazole Strontium Delayed-Release Capsules 49.3 mg), or by restricting coverage (and, thereby, utilization) of medical services or products. In either case, a reduction in the utilization of, or reimbursement for, any therapeutic candidate or any product we may promote or commercialize, including Donnatal®, EnteraGam® and Esomeprazole Strontium Delayed-Release Capsules 49.3 mg, or for which we receive marketing approval in the future, could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

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Several states and private entities initially mounted legal challenges to the Healthcare Reform Law, and they continue to litigate various aspects of the legislation. On July 26, 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court generally upheld the provisions of the Healthcare Reform Law at issue as constitutional. However, the U.S. Supreme Court held that the legislation improperly required the states to expand their Medicaid programs to cover more individuals. As a result, the states have a choice as to whether they will expand the number of individuals covered by their respective state Medicaid programs. Some states have determined that they will not expand their Medicaid programs and will develop other cost-saving and coverage measures to provide care to currently uninsured individuals. Many of these efforts to date have included the institution of Medicaid-managed care programs. The manner in which these cost-saving and coverage measures are implemented could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations. Further, the healthcare regulatory environment has seen significant changes in recent years and is still in flux.  Legislative initiatives to modify, limit, replace, or repeal the Healthcare Reform Law and judicial challenges continue, and may increase in light of the current administration and legislative environment.  We cannot predict the impact on our business of future legislative and legal challenges to the Healthcare Reform Law or other changes to the current laws and regulations.

 

If third-party payors do not adequately reimburse customers for any of our therapeutic candidates that are approved or cleared for marketing or for products that we may promote or commercialize, including Donnatal®, EnteraGam® and Esomeprazole Strontium Delayed-Release Capsules 49.3 mg, they might not be purchased or used, and our revenues and profits will not increase and they may decrease.

 

Our revenues and profits will depend heavily upon the availability of adequate reimbursement for the use of our approved or cleared therapeutic candidates, if any, and any products that we may promote or commercialize, from governmental or other third-party payors, both in the U.S. and in foreign markets. Reimbursement by a third-party payor may depend upon a number of factors, including to the third-party payor’s determination that the use of an approved or cleared therapeutic candidate and product is, among others:

 

a covered benefit under its health plan;

safe, effective and medically necessary;

appropriate for the specific patient;

cost-effective; and

neither experimental nor investigational.

 

Obtaining reimbursement approval for a therapeutic candidate or for any product that we may promote or commercialize from any government or other third-party payor is a time-consuming and costly process that could require us or our development or commercialization partners to provide supporting scientific, clinical and cost-effectiveness data for the use of our therapeutic candidates or any product that we may promote or commercialize to each payor. Even when a payor determines that a therapeutic candidate or any product that we may promote or commercialize is eligible for reimbursement, the payor may impose coverage limitations that preclude payment for some uses that are approved by the FDA or other foreign regulatory authorities. Reimbursement rates may vary according to the use of the therapeutic candidate or the use of any product that we may promote or commercialize and the clinical setting in which it used, may be based on payments allowed for lower-cost products that are already reimbursed, may be incorporated into existing payments for products or services, and may reflect budgetary constraints or imperfections in Medicare, Medicaid or other data used to calculate these rates. In particular, reimbursement for our products may not be available from Medicare and Medicaid, and reimbursement from other third-party payors may be limited. For example, reimbursement both from government and private payors for Donnatal®   may be limited or non-existent due to its status as a DESI product.  Also, successful commercialization of Esomeprazole Strontium Delayed-Release Capsules 49.3 mg requires a conducive reimbursement environment. If this product does not receive adequate reimbursement coverage, or if reimbursement coverage is reduced or otherwise adversely affected, then its commercial prospects could be severely limited. In addition, because EnteraGam® is a “medical food” it is subject to unique FDA regulations and requirements that could limit its market potential, and our ability to get reimbursement coverage could be limited because of this product.

 

In the U.S., there have been, and we expect that there will continue to be, federal and state proposals to constrain expenditures for medical products and services, which may affect payments for our therapeutic candidates or for any product that we may promote or commercialize in the U.S. In addition, there is a growing emphasis on comparative

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effectiveness research, both by private payors and by government agencies. To the extent other drugs or therapies are found to be more effective than our products, payors may elect to cover such therapies in lieu of our products or reimburse our products at a lower rate.  Legislation that reduces reimbursement for our therapeutic candidates could adversely impact how much or under what circumstances healthcare providers will prescribe or administer our therapeutic candidates, if approved, or for any product that we may promote or commercialize. This could materially and adversely impact our business, financial condition and results of operations by reducing our ability to generate meaningful revenue, raise capital, obtain additional collaborators and market. At this stage, we are unable to estimate the extent of the direct or indirect impact of any such federal and state proposals.

 

Furthermore, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services frequently change product descriptors, coverage policies, product and service codes, payment methodologies and reimbursement values. Third-party payors often follow Medicare coverage policy and payment limitations in setting their own reimbursement rates, and both the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and other third-party payors may have sufficient market power to demand significant price reductions. Price reductions or other significant coverage policies or payment limitations could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

 

We are subject to additional U.S. federal and state laws and regulations relating to our business, and our failure to comply with those laws could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

 

We are subject to additional healthcare regulation and enforcement by the U.S. federal government and the states in which we conduct or will conduct our business. The laws that may affect our ability to operate include, but are not limited to, the following:

 

·

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 government healthcare programs such as the Medicare and Medicaid programs;

·

the federal Anti-Inducement Law (also known as the Civil Monetary Penalties Law), which prohibits a person from offering or transferring remuneration to a Medicare or State healthcare program beneficiary that the person knows or should know is likely to influence the beneficiary’s selection of a particular provider, practitioner or supplier of any item or service for which payment may be made, in whole or in part, by Medicare or a State healthcare program;

·

the Ethics in Patient Referrals Act of 1989, commonly referred to as the Stark Law, which prohibits physicians from referring Medicare or Medicaid patients for certain designated health services where that physician or family member has a financial relationship with the entity providing the designated health service, unless an exception applies;

·

federal false claims laws that prohibit, among other things, individuals or entities from knowingly presenting, or causing to be presented, claims for payment from Medicare, Medicaid or other government healthcare programs that are false or fraudulent;

·

the so-called federal “Sunshine Act”, which requires certain pharmaceutical and medical device companies to monitor and report certain financial relationships with physicians and other healthcare providers to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services for disclosure to the public;

·

the federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, which among other things, strictly regulates drug product and medical device marketing, prohibits manufacturers from marketing such products for off-label use and regulates the distribution of samples;

·

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

·

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.

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Further, the Healthcare Reform Law, among other things, amends the intent requirement of the federal anti-kickback and criminal healthcare fraud statutes. A person or entity can now be found guilty of fraud or an anti-kickback violation without actual knowledge of the statute or specific intent to violate it. In addition, the Healthcare Reform Law provides that the government may assert that a claim including items or services resulting from a violation of the federal Anti-Kickback Statue constitutes a false or fraudulent claim for purposes of the False Claims Act. Possible sanctions for violation of these anti-kickback laws include monetary fines, civil and criminal penalties, exclusion from Medicare, Medicaid and other government programs and forfeiture of amounts collected in violation of such prohibitions. Any violations of these laws, or any action against us for violation of these laws, even if we successfully defend against it, could result in a material adverse effect on our reputation, business, financial condition and results of operations.

 

The Healthcare Reform Law also imposes reporting requirements on certain medical device and pharmaceutical manufacturers, among others, to make annual public disclosures of certain payments and other transfers of value to physicians and teaching hospitals and ownership or investment interests held by physicians or their immediate family members. Failure to submit required information may result in civil monetary penalties of up to an aggregate of $150,000 per year (or up to an aggregate of $1 million per year for “knowing failures”), for all payments, transfers of value or ownership or investment interests that are not reported. Manufacturers were required to begin data collection on August 1, 2013 and report such data to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services by March 31st of each year.  The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services made the data publicly available on its searchable database beginning in September 2014.

 

In addition, there has been a recent trend of increased federal and state regulation of payments made to physicians for marketing, medical directorships, and other purposes. Some states, such as California, Massachusetts and Vermont, mandate implementation of corporate compliance programs, along with the tracking and reporting of gifts, compensation and other remuneration to physicians, and some states limit or prohibit such gifts.

 

Most recently, there has been a trend in federal and state legislation aimed at requiring pharmaceutical companies to disclose information about their production and marketing costs, and ultimately lowering costs for drug products. Several states have passed or introduced bills that would require disclosure of certain pricing information for prescription drugs that have no threshold amount or are above a certain annual wholesale acquisition cost, and in June 2016 Vermont became the first state to pass legislation requiring certain drug companies to disclose information relating to justification of certain price increases. The U.S. Congress has also introduced bills targeting prescription drug price transparency.

 

Any such implementation of legislation requiring publication of drug costs could materially and adversely impact our business, financial condition and results of operations by promoting a reduction in drug prices. As such, patients may choose to use other low-cost, established drugs or therapies.

 

The scope and enforcement of these laws are uncertain and subject to change in the current environment of healthcare reform, especially in light of the lack of applicable precedent and regulations. We cannot predict the impact on our business, financial condition nor results of operations of any changes in these laws. Federal or state regulatory authorities may challenge our current or future activities under these laws. Any such challenge could have a material adverse effect on our reputation, business, financial condition and results of operations. Any state or federal regulatory review of us, regardless of the outcome, would be costly and time-consuming.

 

Our marketing, promotional and business practices, including with respect to pricing, as well as the manner in which sales forces interact with purchasers, prescribers and patients, are subject to extensive regulation and any material failure to comply could result in significant sanctions against us.

 

The marketing, promotional and business practices, including with respect to pricing, of pharmaceutical companies, as well as the manner in which companies’ in-house or third party sales forces interact with purchasers, prescribers, and patients, are subject to extensive regulation, enforcement of which may result in the imposition of civil and/or criminal penalties, injunctions, and/or limitations on marketing practices for some of our products and/or pricing restrictions or mandated price reductions for some of our products. Many companies have been the subject of claims related to these practices asserted by state or federal authorities. These claims have resulted in fines and other consequences, such as  

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entering into corporate integrity agreements with the U.S. government. Companies may not promote drugs for “off-label” uses-that is, uses that are not described in the product’s labeling and that differ from those approved by the FDA or other applicable regulatory agencies. A company that is found to have improperly promoted off-label uses may be subject to significant liability, including civil and administrative remedies, as well as criminal sanctions. In addition, management’s attention could be diverted from our business operations and our reputation could be damaged.

 

We must comply with the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

 

The U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (the “FCPA”) applies to companies, such as us, with a class of securities registered under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”). The FCPA to which various of our operations may be subject generally prohibits companies and their intermediaries from engaging in bribery or making other improper payments to officials for the purpose of obtaining or retaining business. In various jurisdictions, our operations require that we and third parties acting on our behalf routinely interact with government officials, including medical personnel who may be considered government officials for purposes of these laws because they are employees of state-owned or controlled facilities. Our policies mandate compliance with these anti-bribery laws; however, we operate in many parts of the world that have experienced governmental and/or private corruption to some degree. As a result, the existence and implementation of a robust anti-corruption program cannot eliminate all risk that unauthorized reckless or criminal acts have been or will be committed by our employees or agents. If our employees or other agents are found to have engaged in such practices, we could suffer severe penalties. Violations of the FCPA, or allegations of such violations, could disrupt our business and result in a material adverse effect on our financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.

 

We could be exposed to significant drug product liability claims which could be time consuming and costly to defend, divert management attention and adversely impact our ability to obtain and maintain insurance coverage.

 

The clinical trials that we conduct and the testing, manufacturing, marketing and commercial sale and use or misuse of our therapeutic candidates and any products we may promote or commercialize involve and will involve an inherent risk that significant liability claims may be asserted against us or our development or commercial partners. Product liability claims or other claims related to our therapeutic candidates and any products we may promote or commercialize, regardless of merit or their outcome, could require us to spend significant time and money in litigation or to pay significant settlement amounts or judgments. A product liability claim could also significantly harm our reputation and the market price of our shares and delay market acceptance of our therapeutic candidates and decrease demand for any products that we promote or commercialize, including Donnatal®, EnteraGam® and Esomeprazole Strontium Delayed-Release Capsules 49.3 mg. In addition, regardless of merit or eventual outcome, product liability claims may result in:

 

·

decreased demand for approved products;

·

impairment of our business reputation;

·

withdrawal of clinical trial participants;

·

initiation of investigations by regulators;

·

litigation costs;

·

distraction of management’s attention from our primary business;

·

substantial monetary awards to patients or other claimants;

·

loss of revenues; and

·

the inability to commercialize our product candidates.

 

We currently have a product liability policy that includes coverage for our clinical trials and our commercial operations However, our insurance may prove inadequate to cover claims or litigation costs, especially in the case of wrongful death claims. Any successful product liability or other claim may prevent us from obtaining adequate liability insurance in the future on commercially desirable or reasonable terms. An inability to obtain sufficient insurance coverage at an acceptable cost or otherwise to protect against potential product liability claims could prevent or inhibit the commercialization of our therapeutic candidates or products we may promote or commercialize.

 

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If serious adverse events or other undesirable side effects are identified during the use of our investigational new drugs that have not yet received regulatory marketing approval under the Expanded Access Program (EAP), it may adversely affect our development of such therapeutic candidates.

 

Patients who receive access to investigational new drugs that have not yet received regulatory marketing approval through expanded access programs may be suffering from life-threatening illnesses and poor prognosis and may have exhausted all other available therapies. The risk for serious adverse events in this patient population is high, which could have a negative impact on the prospects of our therapeutic candidates that are provided under EAP.

 

Serious adverse events or other undesirable side effects in connection with the use of our therapeutic candidates provided under EAP could cause significant delays or an inability to successfully develop or commercialize such therapeutic candidates, which would materially harm our business. In particular, any such serious adverse events or other undesirable side effects could cause us or regulatory authorities to interrupt, delay or halt non-clinical studies and clinical trials, or could make it more difficult for us to enroll patients in our clinical trials. If serious adverse events or other undesirable side effects, or unexpected characteristics of our investigational new drugs that have not yet received regulatory marketing approval are observed in patients who was granted expanded access to our investigational new drugs under the EAP, further clinical development of such product candidate may be delayed or we may not be able to continue development of such product candidates at all, and the occurrence of these events could have a material adverse effect on our business. Undesirable side effects caused by our therapeutic candidates could also result in the delay or denial of regulatory approval by the FDA or other regulatory authorities or in a more restrictive label than we expect.

 

Global economic conditions may make it more difficult for us to commercialize our therapeutic candidates and any products that we may promote or commercialize.

 

The pharmaceutical industry, like other industries and businesses, continues to face the effects of the challenging economic environment. Patients experiencing the effects of the challenging economic environment, including high unemployment levels and increases in co-pays, may switch to generic products, delay treatments, skip doses or use other less effective treatments to reduce their costs. Challenging economic conditions in the U.S. include the demands by payors for substantial rebates and formulary restrictions limiting access to brand-name drugs. In addition, in Europe and in a number of emerging markets there are government-mandated reductions in prices for certain pharmaceutical products, as well as government-imposed access restrictions in certain countries. All of the aforesaid may make it more difficult for us to commercialize our therapeutic candidates and any products that we may promote or commercialize including Donnatal®, EnteraGam® and Esomeprazole Strontium Delayed-Release Capsules 49.3 mg.

 

Our business involves risks related to handling regulated substances which could severely affect our ability to conduct research and development of our therapeutic candidates.

 

In connection with our or our development or commercialization partners’ research and clinical development activities, as well as the manufacture of materials and therapeutic candidates and any products that we may promote or commercialize, we and our development or commercialization partners are subject to federal, state and local laws, rules, regulations and policies governing the use, generation, manufacture, storage, air emission, effluent discharge, handling and disposal of certain materials, biological specimens and waste. We and our development or commercialization partners may be required to incur significant costs to comply with environmental and health and safety regulations in the future. Our research and clinical development, as well as the activities of our manufacturing and commercialization partners, both now and in the future, may involve the controlled use of hazardous materials, including but not limited to certain hazardous chemicals. We cannot completely eliminate the risk of accidental contamination or injury from these materials. In the event of such an occurrence, we could be held liable for any damages that result and any such liability could exceed our resources.

 

Security breaches and other disruptions could compromise our information and expose us to liability, which would cause our business and reputation to suffer.

 

In the ordinary course of our business, we may collect and store sensitive data, including intellectual property, our proprietary business information and that of our suppliers and business partners, as well as personally identifiable information of patients, clinical trial participants and employees. We also have outsourced elements of our information

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technology structure, and as a result, we are managing independent vendor relationships with third parties who may or could have access to our confidential information. Similarly, our business partners and other third-party providers possess certain of our sensitive data. The secure maintenance of this information is critical to our operations and business strategy. Despite our security measures, our information technology and infrastructure may be vulnerable to attacks by hackers or breached due to employee, vendor, or business partner error, malfeasance or other disruptions. We, our partners, vendors and other third-party providers could be susceptible to attacks on our, and their, information security systems, which attacks are of ever-increasing levels of sophistication and are made by groups and individuals with a wide range of motives and expertise, including criminal groups. Any such breach could compromise our, and their, networks and the information stored there could be accessed, publicly disclosed, lost or stolen. Any such access, disclosure or other loss of information could result in legal claims or proceedings, liability under laws that protect the privacy of personal information, disrupt our operations, and damage our reputation, any of which could adversely affect our business.

 

Risks Related to Intellectual Property

 

We may be unable to adequately protect or enforce our rights to intellectual property, causing us to lose valuable rights. Loss of patent rights may lead us to lose market share and anticipated profits.

 

Our success depends, in part, on our ability, and the ability of our development or commercialization partners to obtain patent protection for our therapeutic candidates and any products that we may promote or commercialize, maintain the confidentiality of our trade secrets and know-how, operate without infringing or violating on the proprietary rights of others and prevent others from infringing or violating on our proprietary rights.

 

We try to protect our proprietary position by, among other things, filing U.S., European, and other patent applications related to our therapeutic candidates, inventions and improvements that may be important to the continuing development of our therapeutic candidates, and we plan to try to do the same with products we may acquire, promote or commercialize in the future, where this is possible.

 

Because the patent position of pharmaceutical companies involves complex legal and factual questions, we cannot predict the scope, validity or enforceability of patents with certainty. Our issued patents and the issued patents of our development or commercialization partners may not provide us with any competitive advantages, may be held invalid or unenforceable as a result of legal challenges by third parties or could be circumvented. Ownership of the patent rights we in-license from our development or commercialization partners or the patent rights to the products already approved for marketing that we acquire or for which we acquire commercialization rights may be challenged, and as a result, the rights we in-license and the rights to products we acquire may turn out not to be exclusive or we may not actually have rights under the patents despite receiving representations from a development or commercialization partner. Our competitors may also independently develop drug delivery technologies or products similar to ours or design around or otherwise circumvent patents issued to, or licensed by, us. Thus, any patents that we own or license from others may not provide any protection against competitors. Our pending patent applications, those we may file in the future or those we may license from third parties may not result in patents being issued. If these patents are issued, they may not provide us with proprietary protection or competitive advantages. The degree of future protection to be afforded by our proprietary rights is uncertain because legal means afford only limited protection and may not adequately protect our rights or permit us to gain or keep our competitive advantage.

 

Patent rights are territorial; thus, the patent protection we do have will only extend to those countries in which we have issued patents. Even so, the laws of certain countries do not protect our intellectual property rights to the same extent as do the laws of the U.S. and the European Union. Competitors may successfully challenge our patents, produce similar drugs or products that do not infringe our patents, or produce drugs in countries where we have not applied for patent protection or that do not respect our patents. Furthermore, it is not possible to know the scope of claims that will be allowed in published applications and it is also not possible to know which claims of granted patents, if any, will be deemed enforceable in a court of law.

 

After the completion of development and registration of our patents, third parties may still manufacture or market products in infringement of our patent-protected rights. Such manufacture or market of products in infringement of our patent-protected rights is likely to cause us damage and lead to a reduction in the prices of our therapeutic candidates or any

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product we may promote or commercialize, including Donnatal®, EnteraGam® and Esomeprazole Strontium Delayed-Release Capsules 49.3 mg, thereby reducing our potential profits.

 

In addition, due to the extensive time needed to develop, test and obtain regulatory approval for our therapeutic candidates or any product we may promote or commercialize, any patents that protect our therapeutic candidate or any product we may promote or commercialize may expire early during commercialization. This may reduce or eliminate any market advantages that such patents may give us. Following patent expiration, we may face increased competition through the entry of generic products into the market and a subsequent decline in market share and profits.

 

In addition, in some cases we may rely on our licensors to conduct patent prosecution, patent maintenance or patent defense on our behalf. Therefore, our ability to ensure that these patents are properly prosecuted, maintained, or defended may be limited, which may adversely affect our rights in our therapeutic candidates and potential approval for marketing products. Any failure by our licensors or development or commercialization partners to properly conduct patent prosecution, patent maintenance, patent enforcement, or patent defense could materially harm our ability to obtain suitable patent protection covering our therapeutic candidates or products or ensure freedom to commercialize the products in view of third-party patent rights, thereby materially reducing our potential profits.

 

We are reliant on our licensing partner, Valeant, to prosecute, maintain and defend the patents and other intellectual property rights of RHB-106 which we have licensed to Valeant. If Valeant does not prosecute, maintain and defend the patents and other intellectual property rights of RHB-106, it could materially harm our ability to obtain suitable patent protection covering RHB-106 or ensure freedom to commercialize RHB-106 in view of third-party patent rights, thereby materially reducing our potential profits from RHB-106. Our out-license agreement with Valeant is currently subject to discussion with Valeant, including renegotiation of its terms.

 

In addition, Donnatal®, for which we were granted certain rights to promote Donnatal® in certain U.S. territories, and EnteraGam®, for which we were granted the exclusive U.S. rights to EnteraGam® for all indications for human use, are not protected by patents.   The third GI-specialty product, Esomeprazole Strontium Delayed-Release Capsules 49.3 mg, includes the active ingredient esomeprazole strontium, which is protected by a process patent covering methods of preparing esomeprazole salts. If the FDA proceedings related to Donnatal® designed to determine its effectiveness will be ongoing, only products that receive a New Drug Application (“NDA”) from the FDA, DESI products and those actively participating in the hearing process of the FDA may be marketed. However, other competing products may freely enter the market, and we and our partners may not have sufficient intellectual property rights in Donnatal® to protect it from such competition.  See “– Risks Related to Our Business and Regulatory Matters – Donnatal®, EnteraGam® and Esomeprazole Strontium Delayed-Release Capsules 49.3 mg or products which we may promote, sell or market may be withdrawn from the market at any time due to product withdrawal requests by the FDA or other foreign regulatory authorities. See “Item 3. Key Information – D. Risk Factors – Risks Related to Our Business and Regulatory Matters – We or our development or commercialization partners may be subject to product withdrawal requests by the FDA or other foreign regulatory authorities for Donnatal® or products which we may promote or commercialize.”

 

If we are unable to protect the confidentiality of our trade secrets or know-how, such proprietary information may be used by others to compete against us.

 

In addition to filing patents, we generally try to protect our trade secrets, know-how, and technology by entering into confidentiality or non-disclosure agreements with parties that have access to them, such as our development or commercialization partners, employees, contractors and consultants. We also enter into agreements that purport to require the disclosure and assignment to us of the rights to the ideas, developments, discoveries and inventions of our employees, advisors, research collaborators, contractors and consultants while we employ or engage them. However, these agreements can be difficult and costly to enforce or may not provide adequate remedies. Any of these parties may breach the confidentiality agreements and willfully or unintentionally disclose our confidential information, or our competitors might learn of the information in some other way. The disclosure to, or independent development by, a competitor of any trade secret, know-how or other technology not protected by a patent could materially adversely affect any competitive advantage we may have over any such competitor.

 

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To the extent that any of our employees, advisors, research collaborators, contractors or consultants independently develop, or use independently developed, intellectual property in connection with any of our projects, disputes may arise as to the proprietary rights to this type of information. If a dispute arises with respect to any proprietary right, enforcement of our rights can be costly and unpredictable and a court may determine that the right belongs to a third party.

 

Legal proceedings or third-party claims of intellectual property infringement and other challenges may require us to spend substantial time and money and could prevent us from developing or commercializing our therapeutic candidates and any products we may promote or commercialize.

 

The development, manufacture, use, offer for sale, sale or importation of our therapeutic candidates or any products that we may promote or commercialize may infringe on the claims of third-party patents or other intellectual property rights. The nature of claims contained in unpublished patent filings around the world is unknown to us and it is not possible to know which countries patent holders may choose for an extension of their filings under the Patent Cooperation Treaty or other mechanisms. We may also be subject to claims based on the actions of employees and consultants with respect to the usage or disclosure of intellectual property learned at other employers. The cost to us of any intellectual property litigation or other infringement proceeding, even if resolved in our favor, could be substantial. Some of our competitors may be able to sustain the costs of such litigation or proceedings more effectively because of their substantially greater financial resources. Uncertainties resulting from the initiation and continuation or defense of intellectual property litigation or other proceedings could have a material adverse effect on our ability to compete in the marketplace. Intellectual property litigation and other proceedings may also absorb significant management time. Consequently, we are unable to guarantee that we will be able to manufacture, use, offer for sale, sell or import our therapeutic candidates or any products we may promote or commercialize in the event of an infringement action.

 

In the event of patent infringement claims, or to avoid potential claims, we may choose or be required to seek a license from a 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, the rights may be non-exclusive, which could potentially limit our competitive advantage. Ultimately, we could be prevented from commercializing a therapeutic candidate and any products that we may promote or commercialize or be forced to cease some aspect of our business operations if, as a result of actual or threatened patent infringement or other claims, we are unable to enter into licenses on acceptable terms. This inability to enter into licenses or the ability to exclude others using proprietary rights, could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

 

We may be subject to other patent-related litigation or proceedings that could be costly to defend and uncertain in their outcome.

 

In addition to infringement claims against us, we may become a party to other patent litigation or proceedings before regulatory agencies, including post-grant review, inter parties review, interference or re-examination proceedings filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office or opposition proceedings in other foreign patent offices regarding intellectual property rights with respect to our therapeutic candidates or any products that we may promote or commercialize, as well as other disputes regarding intellectual property rights with development or commercialization partners, or others with whom we have contractual or other business relationships. Post-issuance proceedings challenging patent claims validity are not uncommon, and we and/or our development or commercialization partners will be required to defend these procedures as a matter of course. Such procedures may be costly, and there is a risk that we may not prevail which could harm our business significantly.

 

Risks Related to our Ordinary Shares and ADSs

 

We may be a “passive foreign investment company” for U.S. federal income tax purposes, which could result in adverse U.S. federal income tax consequences to U.S. investors.

 

While the determination of passive foreign investment company, or PFIC, status is fact-specific and generally cannot be made until the close of the taxable year in question, based on the value and composition of our assets, we may be a PFIC for U.S. federal income tax purposes for our current taxable year and future taxable years. A non-U.S. corporation will be considered a PFIC for any taxable year if either (1) at least 75% of its gross income for such year is passive income or (2)

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at least 50% of the value of its assets (based on an average of the quarterly values of the assets during such year) is attributable to assets that produce or are held for the production of passive income. Because the value of our assets for purposes of this determination will generally be determined by reference to the market price of the ADSs, our PFIC status will depend in large part on the market price of the ADSs. A separate determination must be made each taxable year as to whether we are a PFIC (after the close of each such taxable year). If we are a PFIC for any taxable year during which a U.S. Holder (as defined in “Item 10. Additional Information – Taxation — U.S. Federal Income Tax Considerations – Passive Foreign Investment Companies”) holds Ordinary Shares or ADSs, the U.S. Holder may be subject to adverse tax consequences, including (i) the treatment of all or a portion of any gain on disposition as ordinary income, (ii) the application of an interest charge with respect to such gain and certain dividends and (iii) compliance with certain reporting requirements. Each U.S. Holder is strongly urged to consult its own tax advisor regarding these issues. See “Item 10. Additional Information – E. Taxation – U.S. Federal Income Tax Considerations – Passive Foreign Investment Companies.”

 

The market price of our Ordinary Shares and our ADSs are subject to fluctuation, which could result in substantial losses by our investors.

 

The stock market in general and the market price of our Ordinary Shares on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (“TASE”) and our ADSs on the NASDAQ Capital Market in particular, are subject to fluctuation, and changes in the price of our securities may be unrelated to our operating performance. The market price of our Ordinary Shares on the TASE and the market price of our ADSs on the NASDAQ Capital Market have fluctuated in the past, and we expect they will continue to do so. The market price of our Ordinary Shares and ADSs are and will be subject to a number of factors, including but not limited to:

 

·

announcements of technological innovations or new therapeutic candidates or new products approved for marketing by us or others;

·

announcements by us of significant acquisitions, strategic partnerships, in-licensing, out-licensing, joint ventures or capital commitments;

·

expiration or terminations of licenses, research contracts or other development or commercialization agreements;

·

public concern as to the safety of drugs we, our development or commercialization partners or others develop or market;

·

the volatility of market prices for shares of biotechnology companies generally;

·

success or failure of research and development projects;

·

departure of or major events adversely affecting key personnel;

·

developments concerning intellectual property rights or regulatory approvals;

·

variations in our and our competitors’ results of operations;

·

changes in earnings estimates or recommendations by securities analysts, if our Ordinary Shares or ADSs are covered by analysts;

·

changes in government regulations or patent proceedings and decisions;

·

developments by our development or commercialization partners; and

·

general market conditions, geo-political conditions and other factors, including factors unrelated to our operating performance.

 

These factors and any corresponding price fluctuations may materially and adversely affect the market price of our Ordinary Shares or ADSs and result in substantial losses by our investors.

 

Additionally, market prices for securities of biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies historically have been very volatile. The market for these securities has from time to time experienced significant price and volume fluctuations for reasons unrelated to the operating performance of any one company. In the past, following periods of market volatility, shareholders have often instituted securities class action litigation. If we were involved in securities litigation, it could have a substantial cost and divert resources and attention of management from our business, even if we are successful.

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Future sales of our Ordinary Shares or ADSs could reduce the market price of our Ordinary Shares and ADSs.

 

All of our outstanding Ordinary Shares are registered and available for sale in Israel. In addition, as of December 31, 2017, we had options to purchase 25,781,798 Ordinary Shares under our Amended and Restated Award Plan (2010) (the "2010 Award Plan") outstanding and non-tradable warrants to purchase an aggregate of 2,025,458 ADSs (each representing 10 Ordinary Shares) outstanding. In addition, as of December 31, 2017, we had a balance of up to 3,530,951 Ordinary Shares reserved for issuance from the total number of Ordinary Shares reserved by our board of directors for issuance under our 2010 Award Plan (including Ordinary Shares subject to outstanding options under such plan). Substantial sales of our Ordinary Shares or ADSs, or the perception that such sales may occur in the future, including sales of Ordinary Shares issuable upon the exercise of options, warrants or other equity-based securities, may cause the market price of our Ordinary Shares or ADSs to decline. Moreover, the issuance of shares underlying our options and warrants will also have a dilutive effect on our shareholders, which could further reduce the price of our Ordinary Shares and ADSs on their respective exchanges.

 

Our Ordinary Shares and our ADSs are traded on different markets and this may result in price variations.

 

Our Ordinary Shares have been traded on the TASE since February 2011, and our ADSs have been listed on the NASDAQ Capital Market since December 27, 2012. Trading in our securities on these markets takes place in different currencies (U.S. dollars on the NASDAQ Capital Market and NIS on the TASE), and at different times (resulting from different time zones, different trading days and different public holidays in the U.S. and Israel). The trading prices of our securities on these two markets may differ due to these and other factors. Any decrease in the price of our securities on one of these markets could cause a decrease in the trading price of our securities on the other market.

 

There has been a limited market for our ADSs and our Ordinary Shares. We cannot ensure investors that an active market will continue or be sustained for our ADSs on the NASDAQ Capital Market and our Ordinary Shares on the TASE, and this may limit the ability of our investors to sell our ADSs in the U.S. and our Ordinary Shares on the TASE.

 

In the past, there was limited trading in our ADSs and our Ordinary Shares, and there is no assurance that an active trading market of our ADSs or our Ordinary Shares will continue or will be sustained. Limited or minimal trading in our ADSs and our Ordinary Shares has in the past, and may in the future, lead to dramatic fluctuations in market price and investors may not be able to liquidate their investment at all or at a price that reflects the value of the business.

 

While our ADSs began trading on the NASDAQ Capital Market in December 2012 and our Ordinary Shares on the TASE in February 2011, we cannot assure you that we will maintain compliance with all of the requirements for our ADSs and our Ordinary Shares to remain listed. Additionally, there can be no assurance that trading of our ADSs and our Ordinary Shares on such market will be sustained or desirable.

 

We have incurred additional increased costs as a result of the listing of our ADSs on the NASDAQ Capital Market, and we may need to devote substantial time and resources to new compliance initiatives and reporting requirements.

 

As a public company in the U.S. and Israel, we incur additional significant accounting, legal and other expenses as a result of the listing of our securities on both the NASDAQ Capital Market and the TASE. These include costs associated with the reporting requirements of the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) and the requirements of the NASDAQ Listing Rules, as well as requirements under Section 404 and other provisions of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (“Sarbanes-Oxley Act”). These rules and regulations have increased our legal and financial compliance costs, introduced new costs such as investor relations, travel costs, stock exchange listing fees and shareholder reporting, and made some activities more time-consuming and costly. Any future changes in the laws and regulations affecting public companies in the U.S. and Israel, including Section 404 and other provisions of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, the rules and regulations adopted by the SEC and the NASDAQ Listing Rules, as well as applicable Israeli reporting requirements, will result in increased costs to us as we respond to such changes. These laws, rules and regulations could make it more difficult and costly for us to obtain certain types of insurance, including director and officer liability insurance, and we may be forced to accept reduced policy limits and coverage or incur substantially higher costs to obtain the same or similar coverage. The

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impact of these requirements could also make it more difficult for us to attract and retain qualified persons to serve on our board of directors, our board committees or as executive officers and may require us to pay more for such positions.

 

Since we are an “emerging growth company,” as defined in the JOBS Act, we may take advantage of certain temporary exemptions from various reporting requirements, including, but not limited to, not being required to comply with the auditor attestation requirements of Section 404 of the Sarbanes Oxley Act (and the rules and regulations of the SEC thereunder). We will remain an emerging growth company until the earliest of: (a) the last day of our fiscal year during which we have total annual gross revenues of at least $1.07 billion; (b) the last day of our fiscal year following the fifth anniversary of the date of the first sale of our Ordinary Shares pursuant to an effective registration statement (in our case, December 31, 2018); (c) the date on which we have, during the previous three-year period, issued more than $1.0 billion in non-convertible debt; or (d) the date on which we are deemed to be a “large accelerated filer” under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, (the “Exchange Act”), which would occur if the market value of our Ordinary Shares held by non-affiliates is $700 million or more as of the last business day of our most recently completed fiscal quarter. When these exemptions cease to apply, we expect to incur additional expenses and devote increased management effort toward ensuring compliance with such reporting requirements. We cannot predict or estimate the amount of additional costs we may incur as a result of complying with these additional reporting requirements.

 

As a foreign private issuer, we are permitted to follow certain home country corporate governance practices instead of applicable SEC and NASDAQ Stock Market requirements, which may result in less protection than is accorded to investors under rules applicable to domestic issuers.

 

As a foreign private issuer, we are permitted to follow certain home country corporate governance practices instead of those otherwise required under the NASDAQ Listing Rules for domestic issuers. For instance, we follow home country practice in Israel with regard to, among other things, director nomination procedures and quorum at shareholders’ meetings. In addition, we follow our home country law, instead of the NASDAQ Listing Rules, which require that we obtain shareholder approval for certain dilutive events, such as for the establishment or amendment of certain equity-based compensation plans, an issuance that will result in a change of control of the Company, certain transactions other than a public offering involving issuances of a 20% or more interest in the Company and certain acquisitions of the stock or assets of another company. Following our home country governance practices as opposed to the requirements that would otherwise apply to a U.S. domestic issuer listed on the NASDAQ Stock Market may provide less protection than is accorded to investors under the NASDAQ Listing Rules applicable to domestic issuers.

 

In addition, as a foreign private issuer, we are exempt from the rules and regulations under the Exchange Act related to the furnishing and content of proxy statements, and our officers, directors and principal shareholders are exempt from the reporting and short-swing profit recovery provisions contained in Section 16 of the Exchange Act. In addition, we are not required under the Exchange Act to file annual, quarterly and current reports and financial statements with the SEC as frequently or as promptly as domestic companies whose securities are registered under the Exchange Act.

 

We may fail to maintain effective internal controls over financial reporting, which may adversely affect investor confidence in us and, as a result, may affect the value of our Ordinary Shares and ADSs.

 

We are required, pursuant to Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, to furnish a report by management on, among other things, the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting. Pursuant to the JOBS Act, we are classified as an “emerging growth company,” and we are exempt from certain reporting requirements, including the auditor attestation requirements of Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.  Under this exemption, our auditor will not be required to attest to and report on management’s assessment of our internal controls over financial reporting during a five-year transition period commencing in 2013.

 

Our management report regarding our internal control over financial reporting must include, among other things, disclosure of any material weaknesses identified by our management in our internal control over financial reporting. The continuous process of strengthening our internal controls and complying with Section 404 is complicated and time-consuming.

 

We have documented and tested our internal control systems and procedures in order for us to comply with the requirements of Section 404. While our assessment of our internal control over financial reporting resulted in our

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conclusion that as of December 31, 2017, our internal control over financial reporting was effective, we cannot predict the outcome of our testing in future periods. If we fail to maintain the adequacy of our internal controls, we may not be able to ensure that we can conclude on an ongoing basis that we have effective internal controls over financial reporting.  Failure to maintain effective internal control over financial reporting could result in investigation or sanctions by regulatory authorities, and could have a material adverse effect on our reputation, business, financial condition, results of operations, and investor confidence in the accuracy and completeness of our financial reports, which would cause the price of our Ordinary Shares and ADSs to decline.

 

We currently do not anticipate paying cash dividends, and accordingly, investors must rely on the appreciation in our ADSs and our Ordinary Shares for any return on their investment.

 

We currently anticipate that we will retain future earnings, if any, for the development, operation and expansion of our business and do not anticipate declaring or paying any cash dividends for the foreseeable future. Therefore, the success of an investment in our ADSs and our Ordinary Shares will depend upon any future appreciation in their value. There is no guarantee that our ADSs or our Ordinary Shares will appreciate in value or even maintain the price at which our investors have purchased their securities.

 

Investors in our ADSs may not receive the same distributions or dividends as those we make to the holders of our Ordinary Shares, and, in some limited circumstances, investors in our ADSs may not receive dividends or other distributions on our Ordinary Shares and may not receive any value for them, if it is illegal or impractical to make them available to investors in our ADSs.

 

The depositary for the ADSs has agreed to pay to investors in our ADSs the cash dividends or other distributions it or the custodian receives on Ordinary Shares or other deposited securities underlying the ADSs, after deducting its fees and expenses. Investors in our ADSs will receive these distributions in proportion to the number of Ordinary Shares such ADSs represent. However, the depositary is not responsible if it decides that it is unlawful or impractical to make a distribution available to any holders of ADSs. For example, it would be unlawful to make a distribution to a holder of ADSs if it consists of securities that require registration under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, but that are not properly registered or distributed under an applicable exemption from registration. In addition, conversion into U.S. dollars from a foreign currency that was part of a dividend made in respect of deposited Ordinary Shares may require the approval or license of, or a filing with, any government or agency thereof, which may be unobtainable. In these cases, the depositary may determine not to distribute such property and hold it as “deposited securities” or may seek to effect a substitute dividend or distribution, including net cash proceeds from the sale of the dividends that the depositary deems an equitable and practicable substitute. We have no obligation to register under U.S. securities laws any ADSs, Ordinary Shares, rights or other securities received through such distributions. We also have no obligation to take any other action to permit the distribution of ADSs, Ordinary Shares, rights or anything else to holders of ADSs. In addition, the depositary may deduct from such dividends or distributions its fees and may withhold amounts on account of taxes or other governmental charges to the extent the depositary believes it is required to make such withholding. This means that investors in our ADSs may not receive the same distributions or dividends as those we make to the holders of our Ordinary Shares, and, in some limited circumstances, investors in our ADSs may not receive any value for such distributions or dividends if it is illegal or impractical for us to make them available to investors in our ADSs. These restrictions may cause a material decline in the value of the ADSs.

 

Holders of ADSs must act through the depositary to exercise their rights as our shareholders.

 

Holders of our ADSs do not have the same rights as our shareholders and may only exercise the voting rights with respect to the underlying Ordinary Shares in accordance with the provisions of the deposit agreement for the ADSs. Under Israeli law, the minimum notice period required to convene a shareholders’ meeting is no less than 35 or 21 calendar days, depending on the proposals on the agenda for the shareholders’ meeting. When a shareholders’ meeting is convened, holders of our ADSs may not receive sufficient notice of a shareholders’ meeting to permit them to withdraw their Ordinary Shares to allow them to cast their vote with respect to any specific matter. In addition, the depositary and its agents may not be able to send voting instructions to holders of our ADSs or carry out their voting instructions in a timely manner. We will make all reasonable efforts to cause the depositary to extend voting rights to holders of our ADSs in a timely manner, but we cannot assure holders that they will receive the voting materials in time to ensure that they can instruct the

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depositary to vote their ADSs. Furthermore, the depositary and its agents are not responsible for any failure to carry out any instructions to vote, for the manner in which any vote is cast or for the effect of any such vote. As a result, holders of our ADSs may not be able to exercise their right to vote and they may lack recourse if their ADSs are not voted as they requested. In addition, in the capacity as an ADS holder, they are not able to call a shareholders’ meeting.

 

The depositary for our ADSs gives us a discretionary proxy to vote our Ordinary Shares underlying ADSs if a holder of our ADSs does not give voting instructions, except in limited circumstances, which could adversely affect their interests.

 

Under the deposit agreement for the ADSs, the depositary gives us a discretionary proxy to vote our Ordinary Shares underlying ADSs at shareholders’ meetings if a holder of our ADSs does not give voting instructions, unless:

 

we have instructed the depositary that we do not wish a discretionary proxy to be given;

we have informed the depositary that there is substantial opposition as to a matter to be voted on at the meeting; or

we have informed the depositary that a matter to be voted on at the meeting would have a material adverse impact on shareholders.

 

The effect of this discretionary proxy is that a holder of our ADSs cannot prevent our Ordinary Shares underlying such ADSs from being voted, absent the situations described above, and it may make it more difficult for holders of our ADSs to influence the management of our company. Holders of our Ordinary Shares are not subject to this discretionary proxy.

 

Risks Related to our Operations in Israel

 

We conduct our operations in Israel and therefore our results may be adversely affected by political, economic and military instability in Israel and the region.

 

We are incorporated under the laws of the State of Israel, our principal offices are located in central Israel and some of our officers, employees and directors are residents of Israel. Accordingly, political, economic and military conditions in Israel and the surrounding region may directly affect our business. Since the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, a number of armed conflicts have taken place between Israel and its Arab neighbors. Any hostilities involving Israel or the interruption or curtailment of trade within Israel or between Israel and its trading partners could adversely affect our operations and results of operations and could make it more difficult for us to raise capital. During the Second Lebanon War of 2006, between Israel and Hezbollah, a militant Islamic movement, thousands of rockets were fired from Lebanon up to 50 miles into Israel.  During the summer of 2014, Israel was engaged in an armed conflict with Hamas in Gaza, which involved missile strikes against civilian targets in various parts of Israel and negatively affected business conditions in Israel. In addition, recent political uprisings and conflicts in various countries in the Middle East, are affecting the political stability of those countries. It is not clear how this instability will develop and how it will affect the political and security situation in the Middle East. This instability has raised concerns regarding security in the region and the potential for armed conflict. In addition, Iran has threatened to attack Israel, and is also believed to have a strong influence among extremist groups in the region, such as Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon. Additionally, the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL), a violent jihadist group, is involved in hostilities in Iraq and Syria. The tension between Israel and Iran or these groups may escalate in the future and turn violent, which could affect the Israeli economy in general and us in particular. Any armed conflicts, terrorist activities or political instability in the region could adversely affect business conditions and could harm our results of operations. Parties with whom we do business have sometimes declined to travel to Israel during periods of heightened unrest or tension, forcing us to make alternative arrangements when necessary. In addition, the political and security situation in Israel may result in parties with whom we have agreements involving performance in Israel claiming that they are not obligated to perform their commitments under those agreements pursuant to force majeure provisions in such agreements.

 

Our commercial insurance does not cover losses that may occur as a result of events associated with the security situation in the Middle East. Although the Israeli government currently covers the reinstatement value of direct damages that are caused by terrorist attacks or acts of war, there is no assurance that this government coverage will be maintained, or if maintained, will be sufficient to compensate us fully for damages incurred. Any losses or damages incurred by us could

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have a material adverse effect on our business. Any armed conflicts or political instability in the region would likely negatively affect business conditions and could harm our results of operations.

 

The State of Israel and Israeli companies have been subject to economic boycotts. These restrictions and boycotts may have a material adverse impact on our operating results, financial condition or the expansion of our business.

 

Because a certain portion of our expenses is incurred in currencies other than the U.S. dollar, our results of operations may be harmed by currency fluctuations and inflation.

 

Our reporting and functional currency is the U.S. dollar. Most of our revenues and royalty payments from our agreements with our development or commercialization partners are in U.S. dollars, and we expect our revenues from future licensing and co-promotion agreements to be denominated mainly in U.S. dollars or in Euros. We pay a substantial portion of our expenses in U.S. dollars; however, a portion of our expenses, including salaries of the employees in Israel and payment to part of the service providers in Israel and other territories, are paid in NIS and in other currencies. In addition, a portion of our financial assets is held in NIS and in other currencies. As a result, we are exposed to the currency fluctuation risks. For example, if the NIS strengthens against the U.S. dollar, our reported expenses in U.S. dollars may be higher. In addition, if the NIS weakens against the U.S. dollar, the U.S. dollar value of our financial assets held in NIS will decline.

 

Provisions of the RedHill Biopharma Ltd. 2010 Award Plan, Israeli law and our articles of association may delay, prevent or otherwise impede a merger with, or an acquisition of, our Company, or an acquisition of a significant portion of our shares, which could prevent a change of control, even when the terms of such a transaction are favorable to us and our shareholders.

 

Our 2010 Award Plan provides that all options granted by us will be fully accelerated upon a “hostile takeover” of the Company. A “hostile takeover” is defined in our 2010 Award Plan as an event in which any person, entity or group that was not an “interested party”, as defined in the Israeli Securities Law – 1968, on the date of the initial public offering of our Ordinary Shares on the TASE, will become a “controlling shareholder” as defined in the Israel Securities Law, 1968, or a “holder,” as defined in the Israeli Securities Law, 1968, of 25% or more of the voting rights in the Company or any merger or consolidation involving the Company, in each case without a resolution by the board of directors of the Company supporting the transaction. In addition, if a “Significant Event” occurs and following which the employment of a grantee with the Company or a related company is terminated by the Company or a related company other than for “Cause”, and unless the applicable agreement provides otherwise, all the outstanding options held by or for the benefit of any such grantee will be accelerated and immediately vested and exercisable. A “Significant Event” is defined in our 2010 Award Plan as a consolidation or merger of the Company with or into another corporation approved by the board of directors of the Company in which the Company is the continuing or surviving corporation or in which the continuing or surviving corporation assumes the option or substitutes it with an appropriate option in the surviving corporation.

 

The Israeli Companies Law, 1999, or the Israeli Companies Law, regulates mergers, requires tender offers for acquisitions of shares or voting rights above specified thresholds, requires special approvals for transactions involving directors, officers or significant shareholders and regulates other matters that may be relevant to these types of transactions. For example, a merger may not be consummated unless at least 50 days have passed from the date that a merger proposal was filed by each merging company with the Israel Registrar of Companies and at least 30 days from the date that the shareholders of both merging companies approved the merger. In addition, a majority of each class of securities of the target company must approve a merger. Moreover, the Israeli Companies Law provides that certain purchases of securities of a public company are subject to tender offer rules. As a general rule, the Israeli Companies Law prohibits any acquisition of shares or voting power in a public company that would result in the purchaser holding 25% or more, or more than 45% of the voting power in the company, if there is no other person holding 25% or more, or more than 45% of the voting power in a company, respectively, without conducting a special tender offer. The Israeli Companies Law further provides that a purchase of shares or voting power of a public company or a class of shares of a public company, which will result in the purchaser’s holding 90% or more of the company’s shares, class of shares or voting rights, is prohibited unless the purchaser conducts a full tender offer for all of the company’s shares or class of shares. The purchaser will be allowed to purchase all of the company’s shares or class of shares (including those shares held by shareholders who did not respond to the offer), if either (i) the shareholders who do not accept the offer hold less than 5% of the issued and outstanding share capital of the company or of the applicable class, and more than half of the shareholders who do not have a personal interest

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in the offer accept the offer, or (ii) the shareholders who do not accept the offer hold less than 2% of the issued and outstanding share capital of the company or of the applicable class. The shareholders, including those who indicated their acceptance of the tender offer (except if otherwise detailed in the tender offer document), may, at any time within six months following the completion of the tender offer, petition the court to alter the consideration for the acquisition. At the request of an offeree of a full tender offer which was accepted, the court may determine that the consideration for the shares purchased under the tender offer was lower than their fair value and compel the offeror to pay to the offerees the fair value of the shares. Such application to the court may be filed as a class action.

 

In addition, the Israeli Companies Law provides for certain limitations on a shareholder that holds more than 90% of the company’s shares, or class of shares.

 

Pursuant to our articles of association, the size of our board of directors may be no less than five persons and no more than eleven, including any external directors whose appointment is required under law. The directors who are not external directors are divided into three classes, as nearly equal in number as possible. At each annual general meeting, the term of one class of directors expires, and the directors of such class are re-nominated to serve an additional three-year term that expires at the annual general meeting held in the third year following such election (other than any director originally nominated for election by virtue of the nomination right granted to any investor who purchased, in the Company's public offering which closed on December 27, 2016, together with its affiliates, at least $15 million of ADSs and warrants (excluding the proceeds, if any, from the exercise of warrants, whose term of office may expire earlier depending on the beneficial ownership by the investor of the Company's shares). This process continues indefinitely. Such provisions of our articles of association make it more difficult for a third party to effect a change in control or takeover attempt that our management and board of directors oppose.

 

Furthermore, Israeli tax considerations may, in certain circumstances, make potential transactions unappealing to us or to some of our shareholders. For example, Israeli tax law does not recognize tax-free share exchanges to the same extent as U.S. tax law. With respect to mergers, Israeli tax law allows for tax deferral in certain circumstances but makes the deferral contingent on the fulfillment of numerous conditions, including a holding period of two years from the date of the transaction during which sales and dispositions of shares of the participating companies are restricted. Moreover, with respect to certain share swap transactions, the tax deferral is limited in time, and when such time expires, the tax becomes payable even if no actual disposition of the shares has occurred.

 

These and other similar provisions could delay, prevent or impede an acquisition of us or our merger with another company, or an acquisition of a significant portion of our shares, even if such an acquisition or merger would be beneficial to us or to our shareholders. See “Item 10. Additional Information – B. Memorandum and Articles of Association.”

 

It may be difficult to enforce a U.S. judgment against us and our directors and officers in Israel or the U.S., or to serve process on our directors and officers.

 

We are incorporated in Israel. Most of our directors and executive officers reside outside of the U.S., and most of our assets and most of the assets of our directors and executive officers may be located outside of the U.S. Therefore, a judgment obtained against us or most of our executive officers and our directors in the U.S., including one based on the civil liability provisions of the U.S. federal securities laws, may not be collectible in the U.S. and may not be enforced by a U.S. or Israeli court. It may also be difficult to effect service of process on these persons in the U.S. or to assert U.S. securities law claims in original actions instituted in Israel.

 

The obligations and responsibilities of our shareholders are governed by Israeli law which may differ in some respects from the obligations and responsibilities of shareholders of U.S. companies. Israeli law may impose obligations and responsibilities on a shareholder of an Israeli company that are not imposed upon shareholders of corporations in the U.S.

 

We are incorporated under Israeli law. The obligations and responsibilities of the holders of our Ordinary Shares are governed by our articles of association and Israeli law. These obligations and responsibilities differ in some respects from the obligations and responsibilities of shareholders in typical U.S.-based corporations.  In particular, a shareholder of an Israeli company has a duty to act in good faith toward the company and other shareholders and to refrain from abusing its

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power in the company, including, among other things, in voting at the general meeting of shareholders on matters such as amendments to a company’s articles of association, increases in a company’s authorized share capital, mergers and acquisitions and interested party transactions requiring shareholder approval. In addition, a shareholder who knows that it possesses the power to determine the outcome of a shareholder vote or to appoint or prevent the appointment of a director or executive officer in the company has a duty of fairness toward the company. There is limited case law available to assist us in understanding the implications of these provisions that govern shareholders’ actions. These provisions may be interpreted to impose additional obligations and responsibilities on holders of our Ordinary Shares that are not typically imposed on shareholders of U.S. corporations.

 

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

 

The Israeli Companies Law and our articles of association permit us to indemnify our directors and officers for acts performed by them in their capacity as directors and officers. The Israeli Companies Law provides that a company may not exempt or indemnify a director or an officer nor enter into an insurance contract, which would provide coverage for any monetary liability incurred as a result of: (a) a breach by the director or officer of his duty of loyalty, except for insurance and indemnification where the director or officer acted in good faith and had a reasonable basis to believe that the act would not prejudice the company; (b) a breach by the director or officer of his duty of care if the breach was done intentionally or recklessly, except if the breach was solely as a result of negligence; (c) any act or omission done with the intent to derive an illegal personal benefit; or (d) any fine, civil fine, monetary sanctions, or forfeit imposed on the officer or director. Our articles of association provide that the Company may exempt or indemnify a director or an officer to the maximum extent permissible under law.  See “Item 6. Directors, Senior Management and Employees – C. Board Practices - Corporate Governance Practices - Exemption, Insurance and Indemnification of Directors and Officers.”

 

We have issued letters of indemnification to our directors and officers, pursuant to which we have agreed to indemnify them in advance for any liability or expense imposed on or incurred by them in connection with acts they perform in their capacity as a director or officer, subject to applicable law. The amount of the advance indemnity is limited to the higher of 25% of our then shareholders’ equity, per our most recent annual financial statements, or $5 million.

 

Our indemnification obligations limit the personal liability of our directors and officers for monetary damages for breach of their duties as directors by shifting the burden of such losses and expenses to us. Although we have obtained directors' and officers' liability insurance, certain liabilities or expenses covered by our indemnification obligations may not be covered by such insurance or the coverage limitation amounts may be exceeded. As a result, we may need to use a significant amount of our funds to satisfy our indemnification obligations, which could severely harm our business and financial condition and limit the funds available to who may choose to bring a claim against our Company. These provisions and resultant costs may also discourage us from bringing a lawsuit against directors and officers for breaches of their duties, and may similarly discourage the filing of derivative litigation by our shareholders against the directors and officers even though such actions, if successful, might otherwise benefit our security holders.

 

ITEM 4.           INFORMATION ON THE COMPANY

 

A.           History and Development of the Company

 

Our legal and commercial name is RedHill Biopharma Ltd.  Our company was incorporated on August 3, 2009, and was registered as a private company limited by shares under the laws of the State of Israel. Our principal executive offices are located at 21 Ha’arba’a Street, Tel Aviv, Israel and our telephone number is 972-3-541-3131.

 

In February 2011, we completed our initial public offering in Israel, pursuant to which we issued 14,302,300 Ordinary Shares, and 7,151,150 tradable Series 1 Warrants to purchase 7,151,150 Ordinary Shares for aggregate gross proceeds of approximately $14 million. On December 27, 2012, we completed the listing of our ADSs on the NASDAQ Capital Market. Our Ordinary Shares are traded on the Tel-Aviv Stock Exchange under the symbol “RDHL,” and our ADSs are traded on the NASDAQ Capital Market under the same symbol "RDHL".

 

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Our capital expenditures for the years ended December 31, 2017, 2016 and 2015 were approximately $146,000, $85,000 and $14,000, respectively. Our current capital expenditures involve equipment and leasehold improvements.

 

B.         Business Overview

 

We are a specialty biopharmaceutical company primarily focused on late-clinical development stage and commercialization of proprietary drugs for gastrointestinal ("GI") diseases and cancer. From inception to the end of the period covered by this Annual Report, we invested a total of $6.2 million on in-licensing and acquisitions of therapeutic candidates and related technologies.

 

Depending on the specific development program, our therapeutic candidates are designed to exhibit greater efficacy and provide improvements over existing drugs by one or more of the following: by improving their safety profile, reducing side effects, lowering the number of administrations, using a more convenient administration form or providing a cost advantage. Where applicable, we intend to seek FDA approval for the commercialization of certain of our therapeutic candidates through the alternative Section 505(b)(2) regulatory path under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act of 1938, as amended (“FDCA”), and in corresponding regulatory paths in other foreign jurisdictions. Our current pipeline consists of six late-clinical development stage therapeutic candidates.

 

We generate our pipeline of therapeutic candidates by identifying, rigorously validating and in-licensing or acquiring products that are consistent with our product strategy and that we believe exhibit a relatively high probability of therapeutic and commercial success. Our therapeutic candidates have not yet been approved for marketing and, to date, our therapeutic candidates have not generated meaningful sales. We intend to commercialize our therapeutic candidates through licensing and other commercialization arrangements with pharmaceutical companies on a global and territorial basis. We also evaluate, on a case by case basis, co-development and similar arrangements and the independent commercialization of our therapeutic candidates in the U.S.

 

In addition to our primary focus on the development of clinical-stage GI products, we have established commercial presence and capabilities in the U.S., intended primarily to support potential future launch of our GI-related therapeutic candidates currently under development in the U.S.  We pursue our commercial activities in the U.S. through RedHill Biopharma Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary we formed in Delaware in January 2017.  Through this subsidiary, we currently commercialize in the U.S., EnteraGam®  and promote Donnatal®  and Esomeprazole Strontium Delayed-Release Capsules 49.3 mg.

 

Our Strategy

 

Our goal is to become a significant player in the development and commercialization of pharmaceuticals for the treatment of GI diseases and cancer.

 

Key elements of our strategy are to:

 

identify and acquire rights to products from pharmaceutical companies that have encountered cash flow or operational problems or that decide to divest one or more of their products for various reasons. Specifically, we seek to acquire rights to and develop products that are intended to treat pronounced clinical needs, have patent or other protections, and have potential target markets totaling tens of millions to billions of dollars. Additionally, we seek to acquire rights to and develop products based on different technologies designed to reduce our dependency on any specific product or technology. We identify such opportunities through our broad network of contacts and other sources in the pharmaceutical field;

advance our initiative to become a revenue-generating, GI-focused, specialty biopharmaceutical company with a commercial presence in the U.S. to support potential future commercialization of our therapeutic candidates and products approved for marketing by identifying and acquiring rights to products that have been approved for marketing in the U.S. from pharmaceutical companies that are interested in divesting one or more of their products. Specifically, we seek to acquire rights to products that are already commercialized in the U.S., preferably with a therapeutic focus on GI or cancer, which would enable us to commercialize such products

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independently through our own marketing and commercialization capabilities. We identify such opportunities through our broad network of contacts and other sources in the pharmaceutical field;

enhance existing pharmaceutical products, including broadening their range of indications, or launching innovative and advantageous pharmaceutical products, based on existing active ingredients. Because there is a large knowledge base regarding existing products, the preclinical, clinical and regulatory requirements needed to obtain marketing approval for enhanced formulations are relatively well-defined. In particular, clinical trial designs, inclusion criteria and endpoints previously accepted by regulators may sometimes be re-used. In addition to reducing costs and time to market, we believe that targeting therapeutics with proven safety and efficacy profiles provides us a better prospect of clinical success;

where applicable, utilize the FDA’s 505(b)(2) regulatory pathway to potentially obtain more timely and efficient approval of our formulations of previously approved products. Under the 505(b)(2) process, we are able to seek FDA approval of a new dosage form, strength, route of administration, formulation, dosage regimen, or indication of a pharmaceutical product that has previously been approved by the FDA. This process enables us to partially rely on the FDA findings of safety or efficacy for previously approved drugs, thus avoiding the duplication of costly and time-consuming preclinical and various human studies. See “Item 4. Information on the Company – B. Business Overview – Government Regulations and Funding – Section 505(b)(2) New Drug Applications”; and

cooperate with third parties to develop or commercialize therapeutic candidates in order to share costs and leverage the expertise of others.

 

Our Therapeutic Candidates

 

Summary

 

Our six late-clinical development stage therapeutic candidates include “TALICIA®”, “RHB-104”, “BEKINDA®”, “RHB-106”, “YELIVA®” and “RHB-107” and related research and development programs, the most advanced of which are described below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Name of 
Product

    

Relevant Indication

    

Potential
Advantages
Over
Most Existing
Treatments

    

Development
Stage

    

Rights to the 
Product

TALICIA®

 

H. pylori infection

 

Improved efficacy; all-in-one pill

 

First Phase III study in the U.S. completed; confirmatory Phase III study in the U.S. ongoing

 

Acquired all rights to the composition and its use for the treatment of a GI disorder associated with H. pylori, worldwide and exclusive.  We filed our own IP applications directed to the proposed commercial formulation and use

RHB-104

 

Crohn’s disease

 

Novel mechanism of action and improved clinical benefit (targeting suspected underlying cause of Crohn's disease)

 

First Phase III study in N. America, Israel, Australia, New Zealand and Europe ongoing; open label extension Phase III study ongoing

 

Acquired all rights to the triple antibiotic combination, worldwide and exclusive.  We filed our own IP applications directed to the proposed commercial formulation and use

RHB-104

 

Nontuberculous Mycobacteria (NTM) infections

 

Oral formulation targeting suspected underlying cause of NTM infections

 

Phase III study design in planning

 

Acquired all rights to the triple antibiotic combination, worldwide and exclusive.  We filed our own IP applications directed to the proposed commercial formulation

RHB-104

 

Multiple sclerosis (MS)

 

Oral formulation and novel mechanism of action

 

Phase IIa proof of concept study in Israel completed

 

Acquired all rights to the triple antibiotic combination, worldwide and exclusive.  We filed our own IP directed to the proposed commercial use

BEKINDA®  24 mg

 

Acute gastroenteritis and gastritis

 

No other approved 5-HT3 serotonin receptor inhibitor for this indication; once-daily dosing

 

First Phase III study in the U.S. completed; confirmatory Phase III study in planning

 

Worldwide, exclusive license to the technology used in the commercial formulation.  We filed our own IP directed to the proposed commercial formulation and its use

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Name of 
Product

    

Relevant Indication

    

Potential
Advantages
Over
Most Existing
Treatments

    

Development
Stage

    

Rights to the 
Product

BEKINDA®  12 mg

 

IBS-D

 

Potential 5-HT3 serotonin receptor inhibitor with improved safety, while maintaining efficacy 

 

Phase II in the U.S. ongoing, pending final CSR; final results announced in January 2018

 

Worldwide, exclusive license to the technology used in the commercial formulation.  We filed our own IP directed to the proposed commercial formulation and its use

RHB-106

 

Bowel preparation

 

Oral pill, avoid severe bad taste of chemical solutions, no known nephrotoxicity issues

 

Licensed to Valeant

 

Worldwide rights licensed to Valeant

YELIVA®

 

Advanced unresectable cholangiocarcinoma

 

Oral administration, first-in-class SK2 selective inhibitor, with anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer activities.

 

Phase IIa study in the U.S. ongoing (ABC-108)

 

Worldwide exclusive license

YELIVA®

 

Refractory or relapsed multiple myeloma

 

Oral administration, first-in-class SK2 selective inhibitor, with anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer activities

 

Investigator-initiated Phase Ib/II study in the U.S. ongoing (ABC-103)

 

Worldwide exclusive license

YELIVA®

 

Advanced solid tumors

 

Oral administration, first-in-class SK2 selective inhibitor, with anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer activities

 

Phase I study in the U.S. completed (ABC-101)

 

Worldwide exclusive license

YELIVA®

 

Advanced hepatocellular carcinoma

 

Oral administration, first-in-class SK2 selective inhibitor, with anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer activities

 

Investigator-sponsored Phase II study in the U.S. ongoing (ABC-106)

 

Worldwide exclusive license

YELIVA®

 

Oncology support, radioprotectant, prevention of radiation - associated mucositis in the treatment of head and neck cancer

 

Oral administration, first-in-class SK2 selective inhibitor, with anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer activities

 

Phase Ib study in planning (ABC-104)

 

Worldwide exclusive license

YELIVA®

 

Moderate to severe ulcerative colitis

 

Oral administration, first-in-class SK2 selective inhibitor, with anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer activities

 

Phase II study in planning (ABC-105)

 

Worldwide exclusive license

RHB-107 (MESUPRON)

 

Gastrointestinal and other solid tumors

 

An orally-dosed small molecule compound with an established clinical safety profile; first-in-class specific inhibitor of five human serine proteases

 

Completed two Phase II studies; pre-clinical studies ongoing

 

Worldwide exclusive license; excludes China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macao

Combination against Ebola virus

 

Ebola virus disease

 

Unmet medical need

 

The first part of a pre-clinical research collaboration with a U.S. government agency completed; the second part has not yet been initiated

 

We filed our own IP directed to the use of a new combination therapy for treating an individual infected with or exposed to a filovirus

 

TALICIA®

 

TALICIA® is intended for the eradication of H. pylori bacterial infection in the GI tract. TALICIA® is a combination of three approved drug products – omeprazole, which is a proton pump inhibitor (prevents the secretion of hydrogen ions necessary for digestion of food in the stomach), amoxicillin and rifabutin, which are antibiotics. TALICIA® is administered to patients orally.

 

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Chronic infection with H. pylori irritates the mucosal lining of the stomach and small intestine. The original discovery of the H. pylori bacteria and its association with peptic ulcer disease warranted the Nobel Prize in 2005. H. pylori infection has since been associated with a variety of outcomes which include: dyspepsia (non-ulcer or functional), peptic ulcer disease (duodenal ulcer and gastric ulcer), primary gastric B-cell lymphoma, vitamin B12 deficiency, iron deficiency, anemia and gastric cancer.

 

Gastric cancer is one of the most commonly diagnosed cancers worldwide and one of the most common causes of cancer-related deaths, accounting for approximately 700,000 deaths annually. According to a 2010 report by Polk DB et al. published in Nature Reviews Cancer, H. pylori-induced gastritis is the strongest singular risk factor for cancers of the stomach, and eradication of H. pylori significantly decreases the risk of developing cancer in infected individuals without pre-malignant lesions.

 

TALICIA®  was granted Qualified Infectious Disease Product (“QIDP”) designation by the FDA in November 2014. The QIDP designation was granted under the FDA's Generating Antibiotic Incentives Now Act, which is intended to encourage the development of new antibiotic drugs for the treatment of serious or life-threatening infections that have the potential to pose a serious threat to public health. The granted QIDP designation allows us to benefit from Fast-Track development status with an expedited development pathway for TALICIA® and Priority Review status which potentially provides shorter review time by the FDA of a future potential marketing application. If approved, TALICIA® will also receive an additional five years of U.S. market exclusivity on top of the standard exclusivity period, for a total of eight years of market exclusivity.

 

TALICIA® is targeting a significantly broader indication than that of existing H. pylori therapies, as a first-line treatment of H. pylori infection, regardless of ulcer status.

 

We acquired the rights to TALICIA® pursuant to an agreement with Giaconda Limited. See “Item 4. Information on the Company – B. Business Overview – Acquisition, Commercialization and License Agreements – Acquisition of RHB-104, TALICIA® and RHB-106.”

 

Competition and Market

 

The first-line therapies for H. pylori infection recommended by the American College of Gastroenterology in 2017 commonly include clarithromycin or metronidazole antibiotics with amoxicillin and a proton pump inhibitor. Such current standard-of-care treatments fail in approximately 30% of the patients due to the development of antibiotic resistance, based on reports by Prof. David Y. Graham, M.D., et al. published in Nature Clinical Practice Gastroenterology & Hepatology in 2008 and in Gut in 2010 and by Malfertheiner P. et al. published in Gut in 2012.

 

As published in the 2006 study report by Dr. T.J. Borody, et al. in Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics, the potential advantage of TALICIA® over the current first-line therapies was shown in a Phase II study comprised of 130 subjects. In the study, a different formulation of TALICIA®, using the same antibiotic ingredients and a similar proton pump inhibitor, was shown to eradicate H. pylori in over 90% of treated patients who failed previous eradication attempts using standard-of-care treatments. Furthermore, final results from the first Phase III study in the U.S. (the “ERADICATE Hp Study”) conducted by us demonstrated 89.4% efficacy in eradicating H. pylori  infection with TALICIA® in 118 dyspepsia patients with confirmed H. pylori infection.

 

In the U.S., we estimate that approximately three million patients per annum present with first time dyspeptic symptoms caused by an H. pylori infection, based on a 2007 report by Colin W. Howden, M.D., et. al. published in The American Journal of Managed Care and a 2005 report by Nicholas J. Talley, M.D., et al. published in The American Journal of Gastroenterology. Based on this figure, combined with the price of branded treatments, we estimate the potential global and U.S. market for TALICIA® was approximately $4.83 billion and $1.45 billion in 2015, respectively.

 

Clinical Development

 

A Phase II clinical trial in Australia was completed with a different formulation of TALICIA®, using the same antibiotic ingredients and a similar proton pump inhibitor.   A first Phase III trial in the U.S., the ERADICATE Hp Study, which

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was completed in 2015, showed 89.4% eradication of H. pylori with TALICIA®  therapy while open-label standard-of-care yielded an H. pylori eradication rate of 63% in placebo subjects.

 

Professor David Y. Graham, MD, from Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas, served as the lead investigator of the ERADICATE Hp Study.

 

We met with the FDA in April 2016 to discuss the successful results of the ERADICATE Hp Study and the proposed design of the confirmatory Phase III study for the treatment of H. pylori infection. In light of the feedback received from the FDA, in January 2017 we entered into an agreement with ICON Clinical Research Limited to perform clinical trial services for the confirmatory Phase III study. Pursuant to a recommendation from the FDA, we completed a successful supportive pharmacokinetic (PK) program in May 2017 prior to initiating the confirmatory Phase III study. In June 2017, we initiated a confirmatory Phase III study with TALICIA® for the treatment of H. pylori infection (the “ERADICATE Hp2 study”), which is currently ongoing. The ERADICATE Hp2 study is a two-arm, randomized, double-blind, active comparator clinical study comparing TALICIA® against a dual therapy amoxicillin and omeprazole regimen at equivalent doses. The study is planned to enroll 444 non-investigated dyspepsia patients with confirmed H. pylori infection in up to 65 clinical sites in the U.S., with a primary endpoint of eradication of H. pylori infection at 43 through 71 days after initiation of treatment. We expect to receive top-line results from the ERADICATE Hp2 study in the second half of 2018. Subject to a successful outcome and any additional regulatory feedback, the ERADICATE Hp2 study is expected to complete the package required for a potential submission of an NDA for TALICIA®.

 

The following chart summarizes the clinical trial history and status of TALICIA®:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Clinical
trial name

    

Development
phase of the
clinical trial

    

Purpose of the
clinical trial

    

Clinical
trial site

    

Number of
subjects of
the trial

    

Nature and
status of
the trial

    

Schedule

-

 

Phase IIa

 

Examining the therapeutic candidate’s effectiveness in treating H. pylori infection in patients for whom standard of care had failed to treat the infection

 

Center for Digestive Disease, Australia

 

130

 

The trial was completed and indicated that the treatment is effective for H. pylori-infected patients for whom standard of care had failed to treat the infection

 

Completed in 2005

-

 

Comparative Bioavailability

 

Comparing the bioavailability of TALICIA® to the bioavailability of an equivalent dose of commercially available active ingredients

 

Algorithme Pharma, Canada

 

16

 

Completed

 

Completed in 2013

ERADICATE Hp Study

 

Phase III

 

Examining the effectiveness, safety and PK of the final formulation

 

13 sites in the U.S.

 

118

 

Completed

 

Completed in 2015

-

 

Comparative Bioavailability

 

Comparing the bioavailability of TALICIA® in fed and fasted state and to the bioavailability of the active comparator for the confirmatory Phase III study

 

Algorithme Pharma, Canada

 

18

 

Completed

 

Completed in 2017

ERADICATE Hp2

 

Phase III

 

Assess the safety and efficacy of TALICIA® as compared to active comparator

 

Up to 65 sites in the U.S.

 

444

 

Ongoing

 

Top-line results expected in H2/2018

 

We cannot predict with certainty our development costs, and such costs may be subject to change. See “Item 3. Key Information – D. Risk Factors – Risks Related to Our Financial Condition and Capital Requirements.”

 

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RHB-104

 

Crohn’s Disease

 

RHB-104 is intended to treat Crohn’s disease, which is a serious inflammatory disease of the GI system that may cause severe abdominal pain and bloody diarrhea, malnutrition and potentially life-threatening complications.

 

RHB-104 is a patented combination of clarithromycin, clofazimine, and rifabutin, three generic antibiotic ingredients, in a single capsule. The compound was developed to treat Mycobacterium avium paratuberculosis (“MAP”) infections in Crohn’s disease.

 

To date, Crohn’s disease has been considered an autoimmune disease, but the exact pathological mechanism is unclear. Dr. Robert J. Greenstein suggested in The Lancet Infectious Diseases, 2003 that Crohn’s disease is caused by MAP, the same organism responsible for a major cause of disease in animal agriculture production, domestic and wild animals. This hypothesis is supported by an expanding number of scientific and clinical studies published in peer-reviewed journals since a National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases conference that focused on MAP in Crohn’s disease took place in 1998. Specific genetic loci like NOD2 have been implicated in the pathogenesis of Crohn’s disease with mutations in NOD2 suspected of leading to defective recognition of MAP and increased compensatory immune activation in patients with Crohn’s disease. Recent advances in diagnostic technology have led to increasingly higher identification of MAP, with studies, such as Bull TJ et al. J Clin Microbiol, 2003 and Shafran I et al. Dig Dis Sci, 2002, demonstrating a high prevalence of MAP in Crohn’s disease patients. However, there is currently no FDA-approved commercial diagnostic test for MAP.

 

In 2011, we obtained FDA “Orphan Drug” status for RHB-104 for the treatment of Crohn’s disease in the pediatric population. See “Item 4. Information on the Company – B. Business Overview – Government Regulations and Funding – Orphan Drug Designation.”

 

The formulation for RHB-104 is presently complete, and manufacturing of the all-in-one capsules for our clinical trials is currently in process. Stability testing of the clinical trial material is ongoing.

 

We acquired the rights to RHB-104 pursuant to an asset purchase agreement with Giaconda Limited, an Australian company. See “Item 4. Information on the Company – B. Business Overview – Acquisition, Commercialization and License Agreements – Acquisition of RHB-104, TALICIA® and RHB-106.”

 

A diagnostic technology enabling the identification of the presence of MAP bacterial DNA in patients was developed and patented by Professor Saleh Naser of the University of Central Florida in Orlando, a leading investigator in the field of MAP and its association with Crohn’s disease. Professor Naser published the results of his study of 52 subjects where he found MAP via PCR in the blood in 46% of Crohn’s subjects and in 20% of subjects who did not have inflammatory bowel disease (The Lancet Vol 364 September 18, 2004). On September 15, 2011, we entered into an agreement with the University of Central Florida Research Foundation, Inc. (“UCF”), pursuant to which we acquired the exclusive rights in this patented diagnostic test. See “Item 4. Information on the Company – B. Business Overview – Acquisition, Commercialization and License Agreements – License Agreement related to RHB-104.”

 

On February 12, 2012, we entered into an agreement with Q Squared Solutions LLC (f/k/a Quest Diagnostics Ltd.) (“Q Squared”) to develop a commercial diagnostic test for detecting the presence of MAP bacterial DNA in the blood based upon the rights we acquired from UCF. Additional intellectual property covering other aspects of MAP detection was licensed from the University of Minnesota in December 2014 in order to potentially enhance our ability to detect MAP.  On January 29, 2015, we announced that, together with Q Squared, we concluded a pre-submission meeting with the device division of the FDA regarding the development path of a commercial companion diagnostic test for the detection of MAP in Crohn’s disease patients.

 

In October 2016 we reported the results from the MAP diagnostic development program, including an initial validation of our platform PCR (polymerase chain reaction) detection methodology licensed from UCF and developed by Professor Saleh A. Naser.  Further optimization of the processes for rapid detection of MAP is currently in progress. We believe that

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ensuring that any future commercial test is accurate and reproducible is an essential part of the RHB-104 Crohn’s disease program. Currently the development is ongoing, and we cannot assure when a commercially available diagnostic test will be validated as accurate or reproducible, if at all.

 

Competition and Market

 

According to GlobalData, a provider of market intelligence for the pharmaceutical sector, there were approximately 1.5 million diagnosed prevalent cases of Crohn's disease in the seven major markets in 2017. This number of prevalent cases is expected to increase to 1.75 million by 2022.

 

According to GlobalData, the sales of drug treatments for Crohn’s disease were estimated to exceed $7.7 billion in the seven major markets in 2020. The report also estimated that the sales of therapies for Crohn’s disease in these territories would exceed $12 billion in 2022.

 

Therapeutic interventions in Crohn’s disease patients are based on the disease location, severity and associated complications. Therapeutic approaches for the treatment of Crohn’s disease are individualized according to the patient’s symptomatic response and tolerance to the prescribed treatment. Since the existing treatments are not curative, the current therapeutic approaches are sequential and involve treatment of an acute disease or inducing clinical remission followed by maintenance of the response or remission to improve the patient’s quality of life.

 

Currently, available drugs on the market for the treatment of Crohn’s disease offer only symptomatic relief, the effects of which are largely temporary or partial and are accompanied by numerous adverse effects. The most commonly prescribed drugs for treatment of Crohn’s disease include 5 Aminosalicylates (5-ASA, such as mesalamine), corticosteroids (such as prednisone), immunosuppressant drugs (such as azathioprine and methotrexate) and biologic agents, including TNF-α inhibitors (such as Remicade®, Humira® and Cimzia®), integrin inhibitors (Tysabri®, Entyvio®) and an IL 12 and IL23 antagonist (Stelara®).

 

Unlike drugs currently on the market for the treatment of Crohn’s disease which are immunosuppressive agents, RHB-104 is intended to address the suspected cause of the disease - MAP bacterial infection. To the best of our knowledge, there are no drugs approved for marketing that target infections caused by MAP bacteria in Crohn’s disease patients.

 

We may also be exposed to potentially competitive products which may be under development to treat Crohn’s disease, including new biological therapies and other new therapies. Additionally, a number of clinical trials are being conducted by Valeant with the antibiotic rifaximin (Xifaxan®) for the treatment of Crohn’s disease.

 

Clinical Development

 

A Phase III clinical trial for RHB-104 was conducted in Australia, sponsored by Pharmacia, a Swedish company (which merged with Pfizer), with the primary endpoint of evaluating the ratio of patients with recurrent symptoms of Crohn’s disease following the initial induction of remission with 16 weeks of treatment. Subjects were subsequently assessed at 52, 104 and 156 weeks. The main secondary objective was the percentage of patients who achieved clinical remission at 16 weeks. The results of the trial were published by Professor Warwick Selby et al. in 2007 in the medical journal Gastroenterology. Although the study did not meet the main objective of showing a difference in relapse rate with long-term treatment, there was a statistically significant difference between the treatment groups in the percentage of subjects in remission at week 16. Professor Marcel Behr and Professor James Hanley from McGill University published a re-analysis of the study in The Lancet Infectious Diseases in June 2008, based on the intent-to-treat (ITT) principle and found that there was a significant statistical advantage for the active therapy over the placebo throughout the period of administration that disappeared once the active therapy was discontinued.

 

In June 2011, we entered into an agreement with our Canadian service provider which entered into a back-to-back agreement with PharmaNet Canada Inc. for the provision of clinical trial services for the RHB-104 adult studies in North America and Europe. PharmaNet was subsequently acquired by inVentiv Health, and our agreements were transferred to inVentiv. See “– Master Service Agreement with 7810962 Canada Inc. and see also "Clinical Services Agreement –  Clinical Services Agreement related to RHB-104."

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In October 2012, we entered into an agreement with our Canadian service provider which, in turn, entered into a back-to-back agreement with a Canadian manufacturer to complete the manufacturing and supply of RHB-104 for our clinical trials. In addition, we entered into additional manufacturing agreements directly with the Canadian manufacturer.

 

Subsequent to our discussions with the FDA for approval to conduct the North American trial based upon an Investigative New Drug (IND) approved by the FDA on July 18, 2007, we made a number of changes to the original protocol. On August 29, 2012, we revised the IND filed by Giaconda with the submission of a new Phase III protocol to the FDA, and after 30 days, the IND became effective. Based upon the response from the FDA on issues relating to the clinical study, additional changes have been made to the clinical study in North America, Israel, and other countries. Further amendments to the protocol were submitted to the FDA in 2014, 2016 and 2017 responding to recommendations from the investigators and in order to expedite recruitment and conclusion of the study.

 

We are currently conducting a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled first Phase III study with RHB-104 for Crohn’s disease (the “MAP US study”) in approximately 150 clinical sites in the U.S., Canada, Israel, Australia, New Zealand and Europe. In the fourth quarter of 2017, we accelerated the timelines for the ongoing MAP US study by curtailing the number of subjects enrolled in the study from 410 to 331 subjects, while maintaining statistical power of over 80% with a treatment effect of 15%. A review of the blended efficacy rate of the current blinded data, as well as additional input from experts, including statisticians and key opinion leaders, suggests that the total number of treatment successes is consistent with the predefined expected treatment outcomes and that the study has sufficient enrollment to potentially demonstrate efficacy. We estimate that as a result of the curtailment, the development program will be shortened by approximately one year. The curtailed enrollment has been completed in November 2017 with a total of 331 subjects, and top-line results are expected in mid-2018.  The estimated cost saving from the curtailment was approximately $14 million. We remain blinded to the data from the ongoing MAP US study and cannot ascertain the potential impact of the curtailed number of subjects on the study’s final outcome. Additional clinical studies are likely to be required to support an NDA for RHB-104. If the MAP US study results are positive, we intend to meet with the FDA and key opinion leaders to present the data package and discuss the preferred development path.

 

Two pre-planned independent Data and Safety Monitoring Board (“DSMB") meetings have been held to review data from the MAP US study, in which unanimous recommendations to continue the study without any changes to the protocol, investigator’s brochure, study conduct or informed consent form were given. At the first DSMB meeting, held in December 2016, safety data from the study was reviewed. At the second DSMB meeting, held in July 2017, safety and efficacy data from the first 222 subjects who had completed week 26 assessments of the study was reviewed.

 

In addition, in an ongoing open-label extension Phase III study (the “MAP US2 study”), we continue to evaluate the safety and efficacy of RHB-104 in subjects who remain with active Crohn’s disease (CDAI ≥ 150) after 26 weeks of blinded study therapy in the ongoing Phase III MAP US study. These subjects may have the opportunity to receive treatment with RHB-104 for a 52-week period in the open-label MAP US2 study. We expect that the data collected in the MAP US2 study will be supplemental to the MAP US study data. The MAP US2 study’s primary endpoint is disease remission at week 16, defined as CDAI of less than 150. The MAP US2 study is planned to enroll approximately 50 subjects in the U.S., Canada, Israel, New Zealand and Europe.

 

We have conducted several supportive studies with the current formulation of RHB-104, and a long-term population pharmacokinetic study is ongoing as part of the Phase III MAP US study. We also continue to advance the development program for a commercial companion diagnostic for the detection of MAP bacteria in Crohn’s disease patients in collaboration with several U.S. universities and with Q Squared.

 

The following chart summarizes the clinical trial history and status of RHB-104 and its earlier individual active agents:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Clinical trial
author/designation

    

Development
phase of the
clinical trial

    

Purpose of the
clinical trial

    

Clinical
trial site

    

Planned
number of
 subjects of
the trial

    

Nature and
status of
the trial

    

Schedule

Borody 2002

 

Phase IIa

 

Examining the effect of the treatment on Crohn’s disease patients

 

Center for Digestive Disease, Australia

 

12

 

Performed

 

Completed 2002

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Clinical trial
author/designation

    

Development
phase of the
clinical trial

    

Purpose of the
clinical trial

    

Clinical
trial site

    

Planned
number of
 subjects of
the trial

    

Nature and
status   of
the trial

    

Schedule

Borody 2005

 

Phase II

 

Examining the effect of the treatment on Crohn’s disease patients

 

Center for Digestive Disease, Australia

 

52

 

Performed

 

Completed 2005

Selby

 

Phase III

 

Examining the effect of the treatment with the product on Crohn’s disease patients

 

20 clinical centers in Australia

 

213

 

The trial was performed and indicated promising improvement rates, although it did not meet the main trial objective, as defined

 

Published in 2007

Biovail PK Study 2007

 

PK Study

 

Optimize the formulation of RHB-104 on a PK basis

 

Toronto, Ontario

 

24

 

Trial compared two formulations to determine the optimum formulation for RHB-104

 

Completed 2007

MAP US Study

 

Phase III

 

Assess the safety and efficacy of RHB-104 in Crohn’s disease patients

 

U.S., Canada. Israel, Australia, New Zealand and Europe

 

331

 

Ongoing

 

Top-line results expected mid-2018

Food Effect Study

 

PK Study

 

Determine the effect of food on the bioavailability of RHB-104 in healthy volunteers

 

Algorithme Pharma, Canada

 

84

 

Completed

 

Completed 2014

Drug-Drug Interaction Study

 

PK Study

 

To assess the net PK effect of multiple doses of RHB-104 on CYP3A4 enzymes in healthy volunteers

 

Algorithme Pharma, Canada

 

36

 

Ended

 

Ended 2014

MAP US2 Study

 

Phase III

 

Assess the safety and efficacy of RHB-104 in Crohn’s disease patients

 

U.S., Canada, Israel,  New Zealand and Europe

 

Approximately 50

 

Ongoing

 

TBD

 

We cannot predict with certainty our development costs, and such costs may be subject to change. See “Item 3. Key Information – D. Risk Factors – Risks Related to Our Financial Condition and Capital Requirements.”

 

Nontuberculous Mycobacteria Infections

 

In light of recent discussions with the FDA on our design of a single pivotal Phase III study in support of a potential NDA filing for a first-line treatment of NTM infections, we plan, subject to further input from the FDA, to initiate a pivotal Phase III study with RHB-104 for the treatment of NTM infections in mid-2018. The study is intended to assess the safety and efficacy of RHB-104 as a first-line treatment for NTM infections caused by mycobacterium avium complex (MAC).

 

According to Ryu YJ et al. (Tuberc Respir Dis, 2016) the incidence and prevalence of NTM lung disease are increasing worldwide, while treatment options remain limited, lengthy and challenging. NTM has high levels of drug resistance and requires long term dosing with three or more antibiotics. According to Prevots DR et al. (Am J Respir Crit Care Med, 2010), approximately 80% of pulmonary NTM cases in the U.S. are associated with MAC. RHB-104 is targeting an annual potential U.S. market for pulmonary NTM, estimated to have exceeded $500 million in 2017, based on an analysis by Foster Rosenblatt, a provider of analytic consulting and management development services for the life sciences industry.

 

In January 2017, we announced that RHB-104 had been granted QIDP designation by the FDA for the treatment of NTM infections.

 

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Multiple Sclerosis (“MS”)

 

MS is an inflammatory, demyelinating, and neurodegenerative disease of the central nervous system of uncertain etiology that exhibits characteristics of both infectious and autoimmune pathology. There is a growing consensus in the medical community that a dysregulated immune system plays a critical role in the pathogenesis of MS. In a study published in PLOS One (April 2011 | Volume 6 | Issue 4 | e18482) by Cusso et al., among 50 MS patients and 56 healthy patients, MAP was detected in 42% and 12% respectively.

 

Clinical Development

 

We have performed several preclinical studies, including studies in an experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) mouse model of MS, to investigate the potential impact of RHB-104 in treating MS. The first preclinical study measured cytokine production (biomarkers of inflammation) and demonstrated that the RHB-104 treatment led to a significant reduction of pro-inflammatory cytokine concentrations of IL-6 and TNF, which are associated with inflammation and MS, compared to the control group. The second preclinical study measured the efficacy of RHB-104 as prophylactic therapy, and the treatment with RHB-104 demonstrated a significant reduction in the inflammatory area and level of demyelination, compared with the control group. The third preclinical study measured relapses, demonstrating RHB-104’s efficacy in significantly reducing the incidence of relapse compared with the control group.

 

Following these preclinical studies, in June 2013, we initiated a Phase IIa proof-of-concept study with RHB-104 for relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (“RRMS”) (the “CEASE MS” study) at two clinical sites in Israel. The study was completed, and the final results (48 weeks) were announced in December 2016. The final results (48 weeks) were consistent with the interim results (24 weeks), suggesting meaningful positive safety and clinical signals upon 24 weeks of treatment with RHB-104 as an add-on therapy, including an encouraging relapse-free rate, Expanded Disability Status Scale scores and MRI results, which support further clinical development.

 

The following chart summarizes the development history and status of RHB-104-MS:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trial name

    

Development
phase

    

Purpose of
the trial

    

Clinical
trial sites

    

Planned
number of
subjects of 
the trial

    

Status of
the trial

EAE Mouse T-cell Function Study

 

Pre-Clinical

 

Measure cytokine production as a measure of inflammation in EAE mice treated with RHB-104 vs. negative controls

 

-

 

 -

 

 Completed 2012

EAE Prophylaxis Study

 

Pre-Clinical

 

Scoring EAE severity in mice treated prophylactically with RHB-104 vs. negative controls

 

-

 

 -

 

 Completed 2012

EAE Relapse Study

 

Pre-Clinical

 

Scoring EAE severity in mice treated with RHB-104 vs. negative and positive controls

 

-

 

 -

 

 Completed 2012

Lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced cytokine production study

 

Pre-Clinical

 

Measure LPS-induced cytokine production in C57BL/6 mice treated with RHB-104 vs. negative and positive controls

 

-

 

 -

 

 Completed 2013

CEASE-MS

 

Phase IIa 

 

Proof of concept study to assess the safety and efficacy of RHB-104 in RRMS

 

Israel

 

18

 

Completed 2016; Final results announced in December 2016

 

Additional trials will be required as part of the RHB-104 MS global development program and regulatory strategy.

 

We cannot predict with certainty our development costs, and such costs may be subject to change. See “Item 3. Key Information – D. Risk Factors – Risks Related to Our Financial Condition and Capital Requirements.”

 

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BEKINDA® (RHB-102)

 

BEKINDA® is a once-daily bi-modal extended-release oral formulation of ondansetron, a leading member of the family of 5-HT3 serotonin receptor inhibitors. We are developing BEKINDA® with two dosages: 24 mg and 12 mg. BEKINDA® is under development for the intended use in the following indications, which are novel and not yet FDA-approved indications for ondansetron targeting large potential markets:

 

1)

Acute gastroenteritis and gastritis - 24 mg strength

 

2)

Irritable Bowel Syndrome with Diarrhea (IBS-D) - 12 mg strength

 

BEKINDA® utilizes a technology called CDT® that uses salts to provide an extended release of ondansetron. The CDT® platform enables extended drug release (i.e., the measured rate of introduction of active drug) at a relatively low manufacturing cost.

 

In March 2014, we entered into a License Agreement with Temple University to secure direct rights to patents related to the CDT® platform. Previously, these rights were licensed to us from SCOLR in 2010, which announced that they had ceased business operations in 2013. See “Item 4. Information on the Company – B. Business Overview – Acquisition, Commercialization and License Agreements – License Agreement for CDT®  Technology used in the BEKINDA®  formulation”.

 

Acute Gastroenteritis and Gastritis

 

Acute gastroenteritis and gastritis both involve inflammation of the mucous membranes of the GI tract. Symptoms of gastroenteritis and gastritis include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain.  Acute gastroenteritis and gastritis are a major cause of emergency room visits, particularly for pediatrics. If approved, BEKINDA® could potentially decrease the number of emergency room visits for patients suffering from acute gastroenteritis and gastritis by offering them an effective and long-lasting treatment which can be taken in the comfort of their home.

 

Competition and Market

 

A single dose of BEKINDA® is intended to treat nausea and vomiting over a time window of approximately 24 hours. This is potentially advantageous for acute gastroenteritis and gastritis patients as it is intended to provide them with relief from nausea and vomiting symptoms for a full 24-hour period with a single oral tablet, thus avoiding the need to take additional drugs (tablets) during the day or receiving intravenously administered drugs.

 

If BEKINDA® is approved for the treatment of acute gastroenteritis and gastritis, it could potentially hold substantial advantages over existing treatments. If approved, BEKINDA® could be prescribed by primary care physicians to patients early on, potentially preventing emergency room visits, dehydration and the need to provide IV fluids.

 

BEKINDA® is targeting an annual potential worldwide market for acute gastroenteritis and gastritis treatment estimated to exceed $650 million, based on Graves S. Nancy, Acute Gastroenteritis, Prim Care Clin Office Pract 40 (2013) 727–741 and our analysis.

 

To the best of our knowledge, there are no other 5-HT3 serotonin receptor inhibitors indicated or in the clinical stage of development in the U.S. for this indication. Patients presenting at hospitals with gastroenteritis and gastritis are often treated primarily in IV administration with antiemetic drugs not indicated or approved for this condition, off-label, including 5-HT3 serotonin receptor inhibitors.

 

To the best of our knowledge, a product that potentially directly competes with BEKINDA® is EUR-1025 for controlled release of ondansetron, based on a different technology of controlled release originally developed by Eurand N.V. (now owned by Adare Pharmaceuticals, Inc.). According to Eurand N.V.’s press release from March 4, 2010, Eurand N.V. completed two pivotal pharmacokinetic studies of EUR-1025 intended to establish the bioequivalence of EUR-1025 versus Zofran® (ondansetron hydrochloride). To the best of our knowledge, EUR-1025 was being developed for the indication of

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postoperative-induced nausea and vomiting, for which Zofran® and generic ondansetron were already approved, and according to Eurand N.V.’s press release, a Phase III study was planned to be conducted in this indication. To the best of our knowledge, the Phase III study was not initiated and there has not been further clinical development of EUR-1025 since the completion of the above-mentioned pharmacokinetic studies.

 

Clinical Development

 

We completed a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel group Phase III study (the “GUARD study”) with BEKINDA® (RHB-102) 24 mg for acute gastroenteritis and gastritis, and positive top-line results from the GUARD study were announced in June 2017. The study successfully met its primary endpoint of efficacy in acute gastroenteritis and gastritis. BEKINDA® 24 mg was also found to be safe and well tolerated in this indication. The GUARD study evaluated the safety and efficacy of BEKINDA® 24 mg in treating acute gastroenteritis and gastritis in 321 adults and children over the age of 12 at 21 clinical sites in the U.S. The primary endpoint of the study was the proportion of patients without further vomiting, without rescue medication, and who were not given intravenous hydration from 30 minutes post first dose of the study drug until 24 hours post dose, compared to placebo. In September 2017, we met with the FDA to discuss the study results and the clinical and regulatory path towards potential marketing approval of BEKINDA® 24 mg in the U.S. Following the guidance provided at the meeting, we are currently working with the FDA to design a confirmatory Phase III study to support a potential NDA with BEKINDA®  24 mg for acute gastroenteritis and gastritis and plan to meet with the FDA in the first half of 2018 to discuss the design of this study.

 

Final results from the GUARD study showed improvement to the primary efficacy outcome by 21% in the Intent to Treat (ITT) population; 65.6% of BEKINDA®  treated patients as compared to 54.3% of placebo patients (p=0.04; n=192 in the BEKINDA®  group and n=129 in the placebo group).  In the Per Protocol (PP) population, which included patients who met all protocol entry criteria and for which the diagnosis of gastroenteritis was confirmed (n=177 in the BEKINDA®  group and n=122 in the placebo group), BEKINDA®  improved the efficacy outcome by 27%; 69.5% of patients in the BEKINDA®  group vs. 54.9% in the placebo group, (p=0.01).  An imbalance in baseline nausea was noted, with worse nausea in the BEKINDA®  treated group. In a post-hoc analysis, when results were adjusted for baseline nausea, the p-value for the ITT population was 0.0152, and for the PP population was 0.0037.  BEKINDA® 24 mg was also shown to be safe and well tolerated; electrocardiogram results showed no adverse changes with treatment. The benefit observed with BEKINDA® is evident across the spectrum of severity of nausea at baseline, including in patients with very severe nausea, suggesting that the drug works regardless of the initial severity of gastroenteritis.

 

The lead investigator for the Phase III study was Dr. Robert A. Silverman, MD, MS, Associate Professor at the Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine and an emergency medicine specialist.

 

The following chart summarizes the clinical trial history and status of BEKINDA®  for Gastroenteritis and Gastritis:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Clinical trial
name

    

Development
phase of the
clinical trial

    

Purpose of the
clinical trial

    

Clinical
trial site

    

Planned
number of
subjects
of the trial

    

Nature and
status of
the trial

    

Schedule

GUARD Study

 

Phase III

 

Randomized double-blind placebo-controlled Phase III study in acute gastroenteritis and gastritis

 

21 sites in the U.S.

 

321

 

Evaluated the safety and efficacy of BEKINDA® in acute gastroenteritis and gastritis

 

Completed 2017

TBD

 

Confirmatory Phase III

 

Support a potential NDA with BEKINDA®  24 mg for acute gastroenteritis and gastritis

 

TBD

 

TBD

 

TBD

 

TBD

 

We cannot predict with certainty our development costs, and such costs may be subject to changes. See “Item 3. Key Information – D. Risk Factors – Risks Related to Our Financial Condition and Capital Requirements.”

 

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Irritable Bowel Syndrome with Diarrhea (IBS-D)

 

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a multifactorial disorder marked by recurrent abdominal pain or discomfort and altered bowel function. Certain factors that alter GI function can contribute to IBS symptoms, including stress, prior gastroenteritis, and changes in the gut microbiome, bile acids and short-chain fatty acids, which may stimulate 5-HT3 serotonin release and increase colonic permeability and motility. (Source: http://www.mayoclinic.org/medical-professionals/clinical-updates/digestive-diseases/better-agents-needed-irritable-bowel-syndrome-diarrhea).

 

In preliminary studies, ondansetron has demonstrated activity in IBS-D (Garsed K, Chernova J, Hastings M, et al. Gut Published Online First December 12, 2013). Unlike alosetron (a currently approved 5-HT3 antagonist in IBS-D), ondansetron has not been noted to cause ischemic colitis (FDA labeling for Lotronex® (alosetron), 2010; FDA labeling for Zofran® (ondansetron), 2014).

 

In light of the activity of ondansetron demonstrated in the preliminary studies described above, and because of its extended-release properties and once-daily dosing, we believe BEKINDA® is a promising candidate for the treatment of IBS-D.

 

Competition and Market

 

IBS is one of the most common GI disorders, and IBS-D is the most prevalent diagnosed subtype of IBS in the seven major markets according to a report by GlobalData.

 

According to publications by Saito YA. et al. (The American Journal of Gastroenterology, 2002) and by Lovell RM et al.  (Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, 2012), it is estimated that up to 30 million Americans may suffer from IBS. According to Lovell RM et al, approximately 40% of IBS cases worldwide are of the IBS-D subtype.

 

According to a report from EvaluatePharma, the U.S. potential market for IBS-D treatments is estimated to reach approximately $870 million in 2018 and exceed $1 billion in 2021.

 

To the best of our knowledge, there is one other 5-HT3 serotonin receptor inhibitor indicated for this indication in the U.S. – alosetron (currently marketed under the brand name Lotronex® by Sebela Pharmaceuticals and generic versions marketed by Actavis plc, West-Ward and Amneal Pharmaceuticals). However, alosetron is approved only for the treatment of IBS in women with severe chronic IBS-D and is under a restricted prescribing program due to potential severe side effects. The active ingredient in BEKINDA®, ondansetron, is approved by the U.S. FDA as an oncology support antiemetic and has a good safety profile. Therefore, we believe that BEKINDA®, if approved for the treatment of IBS-D in the U.S., may provide improved safety while maintaining efficacy and has the potential to be a preferred 5-HT3 serotonin receptor inhibitor treatment for patients suffering from IBS-D. According to EvaluatePharma, the U.S. sales of Lotronex® were estimated at $105 million in 2017. Ramosetron, another 5-HT3 serotonin receptor inhibitor, is marketed by Astellas Pharma Inc. under the brand name Irribow® for the treatment of IBS-D in Japan and South Korea, for chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting in Japan, South Korea and China, and for and postoperative nausea and vomiting in South Korea. Additionally, Cadila Healthcare Ltd. markets ramosetron under the brand name Nozia® in India for both IBS-D and chemotherapy induced nausea and vomiting. To the best of our knowledge, there is currently no clinical development of ramosetron for marketing approval in the U.S. for any indication.

 

To the best of our knowledge, one of the main competitors of BEKINDA® for the treatment of IBS-D is Xifaxan® (rifaximin), marketed in the U.S. by Valeant. Xifaxan®  is an antibiotic treatment that was approved for the treatment of IBS-D in 2015. Xifaxan® is also approved in the U.S. for the treatment of hepatic encephalopathy and traveler's diarrhea and for the reduction in risk of overt hepatic encephalopathy recurrence in adults. According to a report by GlobalData, it is believed that Xifaxan®  is a gut-selective, broad-spectrum antibiotic with in vitro activity against both gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria. In the treatment of IBS-D patients, Xifaxan® is administered orally at a dose of 550 mg three times daily for two weeks. According to a GlobalData analysis, Xifaxan® is not widely prescribed due to safety concerns associated with the long-term use of antibiotics, such as the induction of antibiotic resistance and imbalance in the intestinal flora. According to a report by EvaluatePharma, the worldwide annual sales of Xifaxan® for the treatment of IBS are estimated to exceed $480 million in 2020.

 

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Viberzi® (eluxadoline) is another drug for the treatment of IBS-D approved by the FDA in 2015. Viberzi® is a locally-acting mu-opioid receptor agonist and a delta-opioid receptor antagonist marketed in the U.S. by Ironwood Pharmaceuticals and Allergan plc. According to EvaluatePharma, the worldwide sales of Viberzi® are estimated to reach $320 million in 2020.

 

Donnatal®  (Phenobarbital, Hyoscyamine Sulfate, Atropine Sulfate, Scopolamine Hydrobromide) is also used as a treatment for IBS and included in the FDA DESI review program, although it is not approved by the FDA. In December 2016, we were granted certain rights to promote Donnatal® (tablets and elixir) in the U.S. pursuant to an exclusive Co-Promotion Agreement with Concordia.

 

Clinical Development

 

In January 2018, we announced final results of a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel group Phase II clinical study of BEKINDA® (RHB-102) 12 mg for the treatment of diarrhea-predominant irritable bowel syndrome (IBS-D). The study successfully met its primary endpoint of improving primary efficacy outcome of stool consistency. BEKINDA® 12 mg was also found to be safe and well tolerated in this indication. The randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled Phase II study evaluated the safety and efficacy of BEKINDA® 12 mg in treating diarrhea-predominant irritable bowel syndrome (IBS-D) in 126 subjects over 18 years old at 16 clinical sites in the U.S.

 

The primary endpoint of the trial was the proportion of patients in each treatment group with response in stool consistency on study drug as compared to baseline. Response was defined as per FDA guidelines for the indication. Additional endpoints were analyzed including:

 

·

Proportion of patients in each treatment group who are pain responders, per FDA guidance definition

·

Proportion of patients in each treatment group who are overall responders, per FDA guidance definition

·

Differences between treatment groups in:

o

Abdominal pain

o

Abdominal discomfort

o

Frequency of defecation

o

Incidence and severity of adverse events

 

The BEKINDA® 12 mg Phase II study successfully met its primary endpoint, improving the primary efficacy outcome of stool consistency response (in accordance with the FDA guidance definition) by an absolute difference of 20.7%, with 56.0% responders of subjects treated with BEKINDA® (n=75) vs. 35.3% responders of the placebo subjects (n=51) (p=0.036). While not powered for statistical significance of the secondary efficacy endpoints, the study suggested clinically meaningful improvement in both secondary efficacy endpoints of abdominal pain response and overall response (combined stool consistency and abdominal pain response). Final results from the Phase II study demonstrated that BEKINDA® 12 mg improved the overall worst abdominal pain response rate by 11.5% vs. placebo (50.7% with BEKINDA® 12 mg (n=75) vs. 39.2% with placebo (n=51); (p=0.278)) and the overall response improved by an absolute difference of 14.5% in favor of the BEKINDA® 12 mg arm (40.0% with BEKINDA® 12 mg (n=75) vs. 25.5% with placebo (n=51); (p=0.135)).

 

BEKINDA® 12 mg was also shown to be safe and well tolerated. No serious adverse events or new or unexpected safety issues were noted in the study. We continue to analyze the data from the Phase II study with BEKINDA® 12 mg, including all secondary endpoints. We are designing one or two pivotal Phase III studies with BEKINDA® 12 mg for the treatment of IBS-D and plan to meet with the FDA in the first half of 2018 to discuss the design for these studies.

 

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The following chart summarizes the clinical trial history and status of BEKINDA® for IBS-D:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Clinical trial
name

    

Development
phase of the
clinical trial

    

Purpose of the
clinical trial

    

Clinical
trial site

    

Planned
number of
subjects
of the trial

    

Nature and
status of
the trial

    

Schedule

-

 

Phase II

 

Randomized double-blind placebo-controlled Phase II study in IBS-D

 

16 sites in the U.S.

 

126

 

Evaluating the safety and efficacy of BEKINDA® 12 mg in IBS-D

 

Completed 2018

TBD

 

Phase III

 

Randomized double-blind placebo-controlled Phase III study in IBS-D

 

TBD

 

TBD

 

TBD

 

TBD

 

We cannot predict with certainty our development costs and such costs may be subject to change. See “Item 3. Key Information – D. Risk Factors – Risks Related to Our Financial Condition and Capital Requirements.”

 

RHB-106

 

RHB-106 is a tablet intended for the preparation and cleansing of the GI tract prior to the performance of abdominal procedures, including diagnostic tests such as colonoscopy, barium enema or virtual colonoscopy, as well as surgical interventions, such as a laparotomy.

 

As noted above, we acquired the rights to RHB-106 pursuant to an agreement with Giaconda Limited. See “Item 4. Information on the Company – B. Business Overview – Acquisition, Commercialization and License Agreements – Acquisition of RHB-104, TALICIA® and RHB-106.”

 

On February 27, 2014, we entered into a licensing agreement with Salix Pharmaceuticals, Ltd. (“Salix”), which was later acquired by Valeant, pursuant to which Salix licensed the exclusive worldwide rights to our RHB-106 encapsulated formulation for bowel preparation and rights to other purgative developments. Pursuant to this agreement, we received an upfront payment of $7 million and are entitled to an additional potential $5 million in subsequent milestone payments. In addition, as part of the terms of the agreement, Salix agreed to pay us tiered royalties on net sales of RHB-106 and other rights, ranging from the low single-digits up to low double-digits. See “Item 4. Information on the Company – B. Business Overview – Acquisition, Commercialization and License Agreements – Exclusive License Agreement with Valeant Pharmaceuticals International, Inc.”

 

Competition and Market

 

According to a report by EvaluatePharma, the worldwide market of laxative products was estimated at approximately $880 million in 2017 and is expected to exceed $1 billion in 2021.

 

To the best of our knowledge, the main competitors of RHB-106 are GI cleansing products based on polyethylene glycol (PEG 3350). These products are delivered in the form of  a water-soluble powder and require users to drink between 2-4 liters of solution before the performance of the gastroenterological procedure. In addition to the need to drink considerable amounts of solution, a common side effect that raises difficulties with users is the accompanying harsh and unpleasant taste, leading to potential difficulties with patient compliance. RHB-106 offers the potential for improved patient compliance because it is tasteless and eliminates the need for drinking several liters of the ill-flavored electrolyte solution. RHB-106 also potentially has an advantage compared to currently available tablet products in the field in that it does not contain sodium phosphate, an active ingredient linked with a risk of nephrotoxicity.

 

An additional product, called PrepoPik® in the U.S., is marketed by Ferring Pharmaceuticals and received FDA approval on July 17, 2012. The product, marketed under the name PicoPrep® in other countries, is based on an active chemical ingredient called sodium picosulfate, the same active ingredient used in RHB-106. This product is intended to be used for clearing the GI system and it is given in the form of a water-soluble powder and requires drinking quantities of fluids. Clenpiq™ is another product by Ferring Pharmaceuticals which includes the active ingredient sodium picosulfate. Clenpiq™ (sodium picosulfate, magnesium oxide, and anhydrous citric acid) is a ready-to-drink cranberry-flavored oral

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solution for cleansing of the colon in adults undergoing a colonoscopy, was approved by the FDA in November 2017 and is planned to be launched in the first quarter of 2018. Another product, called Suprep® in the U.S., is marketed by BrainTree Laboratories Inc. and received FDA approval in 2010 as an osmotic laxative indicated for cleansing of the colon in preparation for colonoscopy in adults. Suprep®’s active ingredients include sodium sulfate, potassium sulfate and magnesium sulfate in oral solution, and it is administered as a split-dose regimen (taken in the evening before and on the day of the colonoscopy). In August 2016 Perrigo Company Plc announced tentative FDA approval of its generic version of Suprep®; however, it has not begun marketing the generic version of Suprep®, and, to the best of our knowledge, no other generic version of Suprep® is currently marketed in the U.S.

 

Products administered in the form of tablets or capsules that were released on the market in the U.S., such as OsmoPrep®  (marketed by Valeant), are based on a chemical substance called sodium phosphate. In December 2008, the FDA published a severe warning against the use of these products due to rare but severe side effects linked to kidney damage. As a consequence of this development, the FDA required in 2008 that oral sodium phosphate products carry a severe warning (black box label). As announced by Salix (now Valeant), following the black box warning received from the FDA, sales in 2009 of these products declined by 39% compared to 2008.

 

A leading product among the PEG 3350 family of products is MoviPrep®, marketed by Valeant in the U.S. and by Norgine B.V. in Europe. It requires drinking about two liters of solution, and some users report it has an unpleasant taste. The potential advantage of RHB-106 over the current competitor products of the PEG 3350 type (such as MoviPrep®), as well as over PicoPrep®, is that it is administered in an oral tablet, permits the patient to drink any clear liquid with the product and spares the patient the exposure to the unpleasant taste that may accompany these products. RHB-106 also does not fall under the black box warning against nephrotoxicity issued by the FDA in December 2008 with respect to currently marketed sodium phosphate capsule preparations.

 

Norgine B.V. is also developing a new PEG-based bowel preparation oral solution named Plenvu®, administered as a two-day split dose regimen. According to Norgine B.V., Plenvu® is intended to provide whole bowel cleansing, with an additional focus on the ascending colon. Norgine B.V. licensed the U.S. and Canada rights to Plenvu® to Salix Pharmaceuticals (now Valeant Pharmaceuticals International, Inc.), who announced in June 2017 that the FDA accepted the NDA submitted for Plenvu®. The PDUFA action date for the Plenvu® NDA is scheduled for May 2018. Plenvu® also received marketing approval in several European countries.

 

Salix (now Valeant), which acquired a worldwide exclusive license to RHB-106 and other purgative developments from us, estimated in its 2014 Investor Day that the peak year revenue from their encapsulated bowel prep would reach approximately $280 million.

 

Clinical Development

 

Following the acquisition of Salix by Valeant, we received confirmation, in July 2015, that Valeant is continuing the development of RHB-106.

 

The following chart summarizes the clinical trial history and status of RHB-106:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Clinical
trial name

    

Development
phase of the
clinical trial

    

Purpose of the
clinical trial

    

Clinical site

    

Number of
subjects of
the trial

    

Nature and
status of
the trial

    

Performance
schedule

-

 

Phase IIa

 

Comparison of the product’s effectiveness and safety with an existing product

 

Center for Digestive Disease, Australia

 

60

 

Completed

 

Completed in 2005

 

YELIVA® (ABC294640)

 

YELIVA® is a proprietary, first-in-class, orally-administered SK2 selective inhibitor, with anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer activities, targeting multiple oncology, inflammatory and GI indications.

 

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YELIVA® inhibits SK2, a lipid kinase that catalyzes the formation of the lipid signaling molecule sphingosine 1-phosphate (“S1P”). S1P promotes cancer growth and proliferation and pathological inflammation, including TNFα signaling and other inflammatory cytokine production. Specifically, by inhibiting the SK2 enzyme, YELIVA® blocks the synthesis of S1P which regulates fundamental biological processes such as cell proliferation, migration, immune cell trafficking and angiogenesis, and is also involved in immune-modulation and suppression of innate immune responses from T cells.

 

On March 30, 2015, we entered into an exclusive worldwide license agreement with Apogee Biotechnology Corporation (Apogee), pursuant to which Apogee granted us the exclusive worldwide development and commercialization rights to ABC294640 (which we then renamed to YELIVA®) and additional intellectual property for all indications. Under the terms of the agreement, as amended, we agreed to pay Apogee initial milestone payments of $3.5 million, of which $3 million has already been paid, as well as up to $2 million in potential development milestone payments, and tiered royalties starting in the low double-digits. See “Item 4. Information on the Item 4. Information on the Company – B. Business Overview – Acquisition, Commercialization and License Agreements – License Agreement for YELIVA®”.

 

Competi