ALQA: Alliqua Analysis and Research Report
2018-06-04 - by Asif , Contributing Analyst - 22 views
Alliqua is a regenerative technologies company that commercializes differentiated regenerative medical products which assist the body in the repair or replacement of soft tissue. Through its sales and distribution network, together with its proprietary products, the company believe the company offer solutions that allow clinicians to utilize the latest advances in regenerative technologies to bring improved patient outcomes to their practices. The company's contract manufacturing business provides custom hydrogels to the OEM market.
Completion of the Asset Sale Transaction with Celularity
On May 7, 2018, Alliqua BioMedical, Inc. (the “Company”) completed the sale under the Asset Purchase Agreement (the “APA”) of substantially all of the Company’s assets (the “Asset Sale Transaction”) to Celularity, Inc. (“Celularity”), including certain assets comprising its MIST, Biovance and Interfyl product lines pursuant to the terms of the APA, dated January 5, 2018 with Celularity. As consideration under the APA, Celularity paid a purchase price of $29 million in cash. No debt or significant liabilities were assumed by the Celularity.
Under the terms of the APA, the Company retained certain specified assets, including, among other things, cash, accounts receivable and its hydrogel contract manufacturing business, including its SilverSeal and Hydress product lines.
Earlier on May 7, 2018, in connection with the completion of the Asset Sale Transaction (the “AST”), the Company terminated its Credit Agreement and Guaranty (the “Credit Agreement”), dated as of May 29, 2015, as amended, by and among the Company, AquaMed Technologies, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of the Company (“Guarantor”), and Perceptive Credit Holdings LP (“Perceptive”). The Credit Agreement provided for a senior secured term loan in a single borrowing to the Company in the initial principal amount of approximately $15.5 million, of which approximately $12 million remained outstanding on the termination date. The full unpaid principal amount of the term loan was to mature on May 29, 2019. In connection with the termination of the Credit Agreement, the Company also paid to Perceptive an exit fee in the amount of $0.24 million and a prepayment premium of $0.24 million.
The Company also terminated the related Pledge and Security Agreement, dated as of May 29, 2015, by and among the Company, Guarantor and Perceptive.
On January 5, 2018, the company entered into an Asset Purchase Agreement (the “Asset Purchase Agreement”) with Celularity, Inc. (“Celularity”) pursuant to which the company agreed to sell substantially all of its assets to Celularity (the “Asset Sale Transaction”), including certain assets comprising its MIST, Biovance and Interfyl Product lines (the “Purchased Assets”). As consideration for the Purchased Assets, Celularity has agreed to pay it $29 million in cash. No debt or significant liabilities will be assumed by Celularity in the Asset Sale Transaction.
Under the terms of the Asset Purchase Agreement, the company will retain certain specified assets, including, among other things, cash, accounts receivable, and its hydrogel contract manufacturing business, including its SilverSeal and Hydress product lines.
The transactions contemplated by the Asset Purchase Agreement must be approved by the affirmative vote of a majority of the voting power of issued and outstanding shares of its common stock. In addition to the receipt of its approval of its stockholders, each party’s obligation to consummate the Asset Sale Transaction is conditioned upon certain other customary closing conditions. The company expect the consummation of the Asset Sale Transaction to be no later than May 31, 2018.
In addition, in order to add capital and to focus on future investments on commercializing its own regenerative technologies, on August 31, 2017, the company entered into an Asset Purchase Agreement (“the Argentum Purchase Agreement”) with Argentum Medical, LLC. (“Argentum”) whereby the company agreed to sell to Argentum all of its rights, including (i) all distribution rights, exclusivity rights, intellectual property rights and marketing rights to the TheraBond product line and (ii) the unsold inventory of TheraBond products and work in process previously purchased by it in existence as of the closing, which occurred upon execution and delivery of the Argentum Purchase Agreement. In consideration for the sale of the TheraBond product line and the unsold TheraBond inventory to Argentum by it, Argentum agreed to pay (i) $3.6 million for the TheraBond product line and certain other agreements between the parties and (ii) up to $112,000 for the unsold TheraBond inventory upon its completion of its obligations to deliver all remaining and qualifying unsold TheraBond inventory, as specified in the Argentum Purchase Agreement. Of the $3.6 million of consideration, $300,000 is deposited in an indemnity escrow account under standard terms and conditions.
On March 13, 2018, the Company, Guarantor and Perceptive entered into an Amendment Agreement (the “Amendment Agreement”), pursuant to which the parties agreed to certain amendments and modifications to the terms of the Credit Agreement. The Amendment Agreement provided for, among other things, an additional bridge term loan to the Company in the aggregate principal amount of $2,000,000 (the “Bridge Loan”) pursuant to a bridge loan note (the “Bridge Loan Note”). Under the Amendment Agreement, the Company agreed to pay an upfront fee of $250,000 and all fees, costs and expenses payable pursuant to the Credit Agreement (including reasonable attorney’s fees of Perceptive). The Bridge Loan Note bore interest at a rate per annum equal to the sum of (i) the greater of (x) LIBOR and (y) 1%, plus (ii) an applicable margin of 9.75%. The Bridge Loan Note was to mature on the earlier of (i) May 7, 2018 and (ii) the closing of the AST. In connection with the completion of the AST, the Company repaid its obligations to Perceptive under the Bridge Loan Note.
Products and Services
The disclosure in this section describes its commercial wound care portfolio as of December 31, 2017, including the assets the company intend to sell under the Asset Purchase Agreement with Celularity.
The company's commercial wound care portfolio currently consists of two product categories: wound bed preparation and human biologics. The company currently market MIST® Ultrasound Healing Therapy (“MIST Therapy”), which uses painless, noncontact low-frequency ultrasound to promote healing, Biovance® Amniotic Membrane Allograft (“Biovance”) and Interfyl® Human Connective Tissue Matrix (“Interfyl”), which are human biologic regenerative technologies. In addition, the company maintain its legacy contract manufacturing business, which provides custom hydrogels to the OEM market.
Wound Bed Preparation
On May 29, 2015, the company completed its acquisition of Celleration, Inc. (“Celleration”), a medical device company focused on developing and commercializing the MIST Therapy therapeutic ultrasound platform for the treatment of acute and chronic wounds. MIST Therapy is a painless, noncontact, low-frequency ultrasound delivered through a saline mist medium to the wound bed. The MIST Therapy system and UltraMIST® System (“UltraMIST”) consist of a portable countertop generator and handheld transducer. Attached to the transducer is a single-use disposable applicator, which includes an inlet for sterile saline. As the device is activated, the saline is introduced to the head of the transducer where it is atomized. This saline mist is the medium allowing the ultrasonic energy to be efficiently transmitted to the wounded area without direct contact of the device. The energy delivery via a fluid mist has been described as painless and often pain-relieving for the patient. The disposable applicator is designed for a single use only, to avoid any potential of contamination from patient to patient. Unlike most wound therapies that are limited to treating the wound surface, Alliqua has evidence that MIST Therapy sound wave energy promotes healing and reduces bacterial bioburden.
In November 2013, the company entered into a license, marketing and development agreement with Anthrogenesis Corporation d/b/a Celgene Cellular Therapeutics (“CCT”), an affiliate of Celgene Corporation, pursuant to which CCT granted it an exclusive, royalty-bearing license in its intellectual property related to certain placental based products for wound care and wound management, including those made from extracellular matrix (“ECM”) derived from the human placenta, and Biovance, a decellularized and dehydrated allograft produced from human amniotic membrane for the management of non-infected partial- and full-thickness wounds. On May 5, 2015, the license agreement was amended, pursuant to which the company received the additional right to develop and market CCT’s connective tissue matrix product known as Interfyl, its latest regenerative technology. In February 2016, Human Longevity Inc. (“HLI”), a genomics-based, technology-driven company, acquired the assets of CCT related to ECM, Biovance and Interfyl, among other select assets. All of CCT’s rights and obligations under the license agreement were assigned to HLI in connection with this acquisition. In June 2017, Celularity, Inc. (“Celularity”) acquired some of the assets of HLI, including the agreements between HLI and the Company. The initial term of the license agreement ends on November 14, 2023, unless sooner terminated pursuant to the termination rights under the license agreement, and will extend for additional two-year terms unless either party gives written notice within a specified period prior to the end of a term. The license agreement is terminable on a product-by-product basis, and not with respect to the entire license agreement (i) by either Celularity or it, if the company fail to meet certain sales thresholds or other conditions, and (ii) by either party upon written notice if outside legal counsel recommends discontinuance of commercialization of a product because of significant safety, legal, or economic risk as a result of a claim, demand or action or as a result of a change in the interpretation of law by a governmental or regulatory authority.
The license agreement permits it to commercialize Biovance and Interfyl in the United States. The development and application of the intellectual property covered under the license agreement is managed by a joint steering committee, composed of members of its company and Celularity. The company pay Celularity annual license fees, designated amounts when certain milestone events occur and royalties on all sales of licensed products, with such amounts being variable and contingent on various factors. On September 30, 2014, the license agreement was amended to give it the exclusive right to market Biovance for podiatric and orthopedic applications.
In connection with the Biovance products, on November 14, 2013, the company also entered into a supply agreement with CCT, as subsequently amended on each of April 10, 2014 and September 30, 2014, pursuant to which CCT agreed to supply it with its entire requirement of Biovance for distribution and sale in the United States. On April 10, 2014, the company and CCT entered into a supply agreement for ECM, on substantially the same terms as the supply agreement for Biovance. On April 23, 2014, the company initiated its sales and marketing efforts for Biovance at the Spring 2014 Symposium on Advanced Wound Care and had its first commercial sale on May 1, 2014. In February 2016, HLI assumed all of CCT’s rights and obligations under the supply agreement in connection with the acquisition and the assignment of the license agreement. In June 2017, Celularity acquired this agreement from HLI and assumed all of HLI’s rights and obligations thereunder.
In connection with the Interfyl products, on April 15, 2016, the company entered into a supply agreement with HLI, pursuant to which HLI agreed to supply it with its entire requirements of Interfyl for distribution and sale in the United States. In September 2016, the company announced the commercial introduction of Interfyl in the United States and had its first commercial sale. In June 2017, Celularity acquired this agreement from HLI and assumed all of HLI’s rights and obligations thereunder. The company offer Interfyl in both particulate and flowable forms. In these forms, Interfyl can be used to fill voids and correct defects in soft tissue, providing mechanical and structural support to facilitate the tissue repair process or replace missing or inadequate soft tissue.
On December 1, 2017, the company received notice from Celularity that Alliqua is in material breach of its License, Marketing and Development Agreement with Celularity (or its affiliates) dated as of November 14, 2013, as amended from time to time (the “License Agreement”) and its Supply Agreements with Celularity (or its affiliates), dated as of April 15, 2016 and November 14, 2013, respectively, as amended from time to time (the “Supply Agreements”) for failure to purchase the required amounts of materials under the Supply Agreements and failure to use commercially reasonable best efforts to undertake development activities for the licensed products under the License Agreement (the “Notices”). Celularity estimated that an additional purchase of at least $842,000 would have to be made by it to remedy the breach under the Supply Agreements. Celularity has agreed to forbear from exercising its right to terminate the Supply Agreements and License Agreements until the closing of the Asset Sale Transaction or termination of the Asset Purchase Agreement for any reason. The company believe that Celularity’s notice of material breach of the License Agreement is without merit.
Biovance and Interfyl are derived from the placenta of healthy, full-term pregnancies. Both Biovance and Interfyl are regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) under Section 361 of the Public Health Service Act (“PHS Act”) as a 361 HCT/P, or human tissue product. Human tissues contain collagen, fibronectin, and other proteins and biochemicals that support healing. These important components are maintained in their native architecture throughout Celularity’s processing. However, essentially no cells are contained in the finished products (Biovance and Interfyl are decellularized), which is different from other placenta-based products, and this decellularization together with the gentle minimal manipulation of the tissues contribute to minimization of irritation and inflammation related to immune responses that can interfere with healing. When the scaffold or extracellular matrix of Biovance and Interfyl is placed in a wound or an area with damaged or deficient soft tissue, it can serve as a platform that allows the body’s own cells to migrate into the matrix and attach. Once attached, the cells release growth factors to signal other activities to progress healing.
Biovance is intended for use as a biological membrane covering that provides extracellular matrix while supporting the repair of damaged tissue. As a barrier membrane, Biovance is intended to protect the underlying tissue and preserve tissue plane boundaries with minimized adhesion or fibrotic scarring. Indications include, but are not limited to, surgical covering, wrap or barrier, application to partial- and full-thickness, acute and chronic wounds (such as, traumatic and complex wounds, burns, surgical and Mohs surgery sites; and diabetic, venous, arterial, pressure and other ulcers), including wounds with exposed tendon, muscle, bone or other vital structures.
The company believe Interfyl treats deep wounds or soft tissue voids for which a sheet format such as Biovance is not as well suited. Interfyl is indicated for the replacement or supplementation of damaged or inadequate integumental soft tissue. There are podiatric and orthopedic applications, as well as wound management opportunities for homologous use of Interfyl.
Interfyl is intended for use as the replacement or supplementation of damaged or inadequate integumental tissue. Indications include, but are not limited to, treatment of soft tissue voids, correction of soft tissue defects, soft tissue augmentation during repair of dehisced or complicated surgical closures and repair of small surgical defects resulting from either medical or surgical conditions including those with exposed vital structures (bone, tendon, ligament, or nerve). Interfyl is also intended for use as the replacement or supplementation of damaged or inadequate integumental tissue. Indications include, but are not limited to: augmentation of deficient/inadequate soft tissue and treatment of deep dermal wounds; surgical wounds; soft tissue voids as a result of tunneling wounds, fistula tracts, or dermal undermining–including those with exposed vital structures (bone, tendon, ligament, or nerve).
Any further development and commercialization of ECM is not planned by it at this time.
In connection with its legacy contract manufacturing business; the company develop, manufacture and market high water content, electron beam cross-linked, aqueous polymer hydrogels, or gels, used for wound care, medical diagnostics, transdermal drug delivery and cosmetics. The company specialize in custom gels by capitalizing on proprietary manufacturing technologies. The company's products are manufactured using proprietary and non-proprietary mixing, coating and cross-linking technologies. Together, these technologies enable it to produce gels that can satisfy rigid tolerance specifications with respect to a wide range of physical characteristics (e.g., thickness, water content, adherence, absorption, moisture vapor transmission rate (a measure of the passage of water vapor through a substance) and release rate) while maintaining product integrity. Additionally, Alliqua has the manufacturing ability to offer broad choices in the selection of liners onto which the gels are coated. Consequently, its customers are able to determine tolerances in moisture vapor transmission rate and active ingredient release rates while personalizing color and texture.
Planned Future Operations
If the company consummate the Asset Sale Transaction, Alliqua ,and not its stockholders, will receive the proceeds from the Asset Sale Transaction. The company do not intend to liquidate following the Asset Sale Transaction. The company's Board will evaluate alternatives for the use of the cash proceeds to be received at closing, which alternatives are expected to include using a portion of the proceeds to repay its outstanding indebtedness (including prepayment fees) to Perceptive Credit Opportunities Fund, L.P. (“Perceptive”) of approximately $12.6 million in full and to pay transaction and other expenses of approximately $3 million. In addition, the company intend to continue to maximize stockholder interests with a goal of returning value to its stockholders. Although its Board has not made any determination, such alternatives may include paying a special dividend, a share repurchase or other return of capital to its stockholders. The company intend to use the remainder of the proceeds, together with any other sources of liquidity available to it at that time, to support operations at its contract manufacturing plant and to pursue strategic opportunities including, without limitation, a reverse merger transaction or a strategic acquisition. The amounts and timing of its actual expenditures, however, will depend upon numerous factors, and the company may find it necessary or advisable to use portions of the proceeds from the Asset Sale Transaction for different or presently non-contemplated purposes.
If the company do not receive stockholder approval, the Asset Sale Transaction will not occur. Instead, the company will retain the assets and liabilities proposed to be sold in the Asset Sale Transaction and will not receive the $29 million cash consideration from Celularity. Alliqua is currently in default of a covenant pertaining to trailing twelve-month revenue under the Credit Agreement as a result of its failure to achieve $24,600,000, $27,200,000, $30,300,000, $33,800,000 and $37,800,000 of gross revenue for the twelve-month periods ended December 31, 2016, March 31, 2017, June 30, 2017, September 30, 2017 and December 31, 2017, respectively. The Company is also currently in default of a minimum cash balance requirement under the Credit Agreement due to the Company having a cash balance of less than $2,000,000. As of the date hereof, the lender has agreed to forbear from exercising any rights and remedies related to each such event of default. In addition, on December 1, 2017, the company received the Notices from Celularity.
Without receipt of the cash consideration from Celularity, the company will not be able to repay its indebtedness under the Credit Agreement and will be unable to purchase materials under the Supply Agreements. The lender under the Credit Agreement may pursue the rights and remedies available to it under the Credit Agreement including, but not limited to, declaring all or any portion of the outstanding principal amount to be immediately due and payable, imposing a default rate of interest as specified in the Credit Agreement, or pursing the lender’s rights and remedies as a secured party under the UCC as a secured lender. In addition, the lender has a lien on substantially all of its assets and, as a result of the default, may seek to foreclose on some or substantially all of its assets. If the company do not consummate the Asset Sale Transaction with Celularity and transfer the License Agreement and Supply Agreements to Celularity as part of the Purchased Assets, the company may face termination or litigation with respect to the Supply Agreements and the License Agreement. If the company were to lose its rights to license Biovance, Interfyl or other products from Celularity under the License Agreement, it will have a material adverse effect on its business, financial condition and results of operations which could force the Company to file for bankruptcy.
Subject to the risks mentioned above, if the Asset Sale Transaction does not close the company will explore other strategic options including sale of some or all of the assets proposed to be sold in the Asset Sale Transaction. In addition, the company may seek merger or licensing opportunities to bring additional assets into its product portfolio.
Industry and Markets
According to medical market research firm BioMedGPS, LLC SmartTRAK™ data, the U.S. market for wound care management products, which had revenues of approximately $5.9 billion in 2015, is expected to grow to $7.4 billion by 2019, which is a compound annual growth rate of 5% for 2015 to 2019. Growth in the U.S. wound care market will likely come from new therapies that result in decreasing healing times and subsequent cost savings and a growing focus on special populations such as diabetics and the obese.
Alliqua has targeted four specific market segments within the wound care industry:
- Lower Extremity. According to SmartTRAK there will be an estimated 14 million orthopedic procedures in the U.S. in 2018, a number which is growing at 5% per year, representing a $146 million market growing at 21% per year (estimates for 2018 from SmartTRAK). Alliqua has focused the sales and marketing of its biologics products on lower extremity and primarily foot and ankle procedures, which are a sub-segment of the orthopedic procedures market, and the company estimate that there are currently approximately 2.5 million estimated foot and ankle procedures on an annual basis.. However, while Alliqua has chosen to focus on a specific segment of the wound care industry, the company believe its biologics products are suitable for all types of wounds because of their HCTP-361 designation, and, as such, have applications across all wound types.
- Diabetic Ulcers. According to the National Diabetes Clearinghouse (“National Diabetes Fact Sheet, 2014” available at www.cdc.gov), there are over 29 million diabetics in the U.S., or more than 9.3% of the U.S. population. Almost 11.2 million people over the age of 65 are diabetic, which equates to almost 26% of all people in this age group. Furthermore, more than 60% of nontraumatic lower-limb amputations occur in people with diabetes. A study published by Wild, et. al. (Diabetes Care, May 2004) estimates that the worldwide number of diabetics is projected to be 366 million people by the year 2030. Boulton, et. al. (“Neuropathic Diabetic Foot Ulcers,” New England Journal of Medicine, July 2004) reported that diabetic foot ulcers (DFUs) develop in approximately 15% of patients with diabetes and precede 84% of all diabetes-related lower leg amputations. The company believe that its wound care products can aid in the healing of these diabetic foot ulcers, thereby lessening the need for amputation.
- Pressure Ulcers. Dorner, et. al. (“The Role of Nutrition in Pressure Ulcer Prevention and Treatment,” The National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel, 2009) stated that according to The Joint Commission, more than 2.5 million patients in U.S. acute-care facilities suffer from pressure ulcers. Dorner, et. al. also stated that the prevalence of pressure ulcers in the U.S. is widespread in all settings, with estimates of 10% to 18% in acute care and 2.3% to 28% in long-term care. The study further noted that these pressure ulcers can reduce overall quality of life and may also contribute to premature mortality in some patients, therefore any intervention that may help to prevent or treat them once they occur is important to reduce the cost of pressure ulcer care and improve the quality of life for affected individuals. Park-Lee, et. al. (“Pressure Ulcers Among Nursing Home Residents: United States, 2004,” The National Center for Health Statistics Data Brief, No. 14, February 2009) reported that 35% of nursing home residents with stage 2 or higher pressure ulcers received special wound care by specially trained professionals. The company believe that its wound care products can aid in the treatment of pressure sores and ulcers, thereby increasing quality of life and decreasing the amount of time spent in wound care facilities.
- Venous Stasis Ulcers. These wounds are believed to occur due to improper functioning of venous valves, usually of the legs. According to the University of Washington Medical Center (available at www.uwmedicine.org/health-library/Pages/venous-stasis-ulcers.aspx), the main risk of venous stasis ulcers is the spread of infection from a persistent wound. Failure to address the condition appropriately could ultimately result in limb loss. As these ulcers are typically small, they are often undertreated, which leads to larger ulcers which require more complex treatments. Brem, et. al. (“Protocol for the Successful Treatment of Venous Ulcers,” American Journal of Surgery, July 2004) reported in one study that up to 48% of venous ulcers had recurred by the fifth year after healing. These often chronic ulcers affect up to 2.5 million U.S. citizens annually. The company believe that its wound care products can aid in the treatment of venous stasis ulcers and increase the quality of life for those affected.
Sales and Marketing
The company continue to focus on sales and marketing efforts in the United States. As of December 31, 2017, the company had 34 employees dedicated to sales, all of whom have experience in the wound care industry. Additionally, Alliqua has developed an independent network of agents to sell its wound care products through its extensive channel reach through a network of distributors. In addition, Alliqua has assembled a Medical/Surgical Advisory Board to help it target improvements and new applications for its products and assist in its marketing efforts. The company also market its advanced wound care products at conferences, trade shows and other educational events.
During the year ended December 31, 2017, one customer accounted for 67% of its contract manufacturing revenue and 6% of its total net revenue from continuing operations. Alliqua is uncertain as to this customer’s intentions to use its services during the fiscal year ending December 31, 2018.
Leading competitors in the tissue-based wound care area that will compete with its biologic products, Biovance and Interfyl include companies such MiMedx Group, Inc., Osiris Therapeutics, Inc., Organogenesis Inc., Integra LifeSciences Corporation, as well as a significant number of smaller companies.
The company believe that MIST Therapy has no direct competition in the advanced wound care market. As a result, the company believe that MIST Therapy may compete favorably on the basis of broad application. Notwithstanding the lack of direct competition, the company expect many physicians and allied professionals to continue to employ other treatment approaches and technologies to treat chronic and hard-to-heal wounds.
The company's ability to establish sales in a market with many larger manufacturers may be difficult. The company continue to recruit veterans of the medical device industry to leverage its product offerings into the most beneficial distribution channels. The company's competitors may still have greater resources to support their products and may not allow it to take any market share from them.
Sources and Availability of Raw Materials; Principal Suppliers
In general, raw materials essential to its businesses are readily available from multiple sources. For reasons of quality assurance, availability, or cost effectiveness, certain components and raw materials are available only from a sole supplier. The company's policy is to maintain sufficient inventory of components so that its production will not be significantly disrupted even if a particular component or material is not available for a period of time.
The company purchase MIST Therapy applicators and the saline bottles included with each applicator from single sources. The company purchase the MIST systems from one supplier. The company and its suppliers purchase many of the components and raw materials in manufacturing the MIST products from numerous suppliers in various countries. Alliqua has been able to obtain adequate supplies of such raw materials and components and work closely with suppliers to try to ensure continuity of supply while maintaining high quality and reliability.
Under its Supply Agreements the company receive the finished goods of Biovance and Interfyl from Celularity.
On December 1, 2017, the company received notice from Celularity that Alliqua is in material breach of its supply agreements with Celuarity, for failure to purchase the required amounts of materials under the Supply Agreement. Celularity estimated that an additional purchase of at least $842,000 would have to be made by it to remedy this breach. Celularity has agreed to forbear from exercising its right to terminate the supply agreement until the closing of the Asset Sale Transaction or termination of the Asset Purchase Agreement for any reason.
Because Alliqua has no direct control over these suppliers, interruptions or delays in the products and services provided by these parties may be difficult to remedy in a timely fashion. In addition, if such suppliers are unable or unwilling to deliver the necessary products or raw materials, the company may be unable to redesign or adapt its technology to work without such raw materials or products or find alternative suppliers or manufacturers. In such events, the company could experience interruptions, delays, increased costs or quality control problems, or be unable to sell the applicable products, all of which could have a significant adverse impact on its revenue.
Other than as discussed above, the company believe that, due to the size and scale of production of its suppliers, there should be adequate supply of raw materials from its manufacturers.
Patents, Proprietary Rights and Trademarks
The company own or license trademarks covering its company and its products. The company's policy is to file patent applications to protect technology, inventions and improvements that are important to the development of its business. The company also rely upon trade secrets and continuing technological innovations to develop and maintain its competitive position.
As of December 31, 2017, Alliqua has beneficial ownership of 15 issued U.S. utility patents, 2 issued U.S. design patents, 17 foreign patents, and several pending U.S. and foreign patent applications covering aspects of its MIST Therapy platform. Specifically, the MIST Therapy patent rights cover both medical and device aspects of wound care using non-contact ultrasound, as well as other clinical ultrasound applications.
In November 2013, the company entered into a license, marketing and development agreement with CCT, as subsequently amended on each of September 30, 2014 and May 6, 2015, pursuant to which the company hold an exclusive, royalty-bearing license in CCT’s intellectual property related to certain placental based products, including DRS(ECM), Interfyl and Biovance, to develop and commercialize these products in the United States. In January 2016, HLI assumed all of CCT’s rights and obligations under the license agreement in connection with HLI’s acquisition of the assets of CCT related to DRS and Biovance, among other select assets. In June 2017, Celularity, Inc. (“Celularity”) acquired some of the assets of HLI, including the agreements between HLI and the Company. The development and application of the intellectual property covered under the license agreement is managed by a joint steering committee, composed of members of it and Celularity. Following the commencement of commercial sales of each licensed product, the license agreement requires it to pay Celularity certain annual license fees, royalty payments based on a percentage of net sales, as well as financial and performance milestone payments, subject to the terms and conditions set forth in the license agreement. The initial term of the license agreement expires on November 14, 2023, unless sooner terminated pursuant to the termination rights under the license agreement, and will automatically renew for additional two-year periods unless either party gives written notice within a specified period prior to the end of a term. The license agreement may be terminated (i) by Celularity if the company or any of its affiliates challenges the validity, enforceability or scope of certain enumerated Celularity patents anywhere in the world; (ii) by either party if there is a final decree that a licensed product infringed on the intellectual property of a third party and the parties cannot cure such third party infringement; (iii) by either party for breach and failure to cure such breach of the license agreement; or (iv) by either party if the other party is the subject of insolvency proceedings, either voluntary or involuntary. In addition, the license agreement is terminable on a product-by-product basis, and not with respect to the entire license agreement: (i) by Celularity, if the company fail to meet certain minimum sales thresholds for the second year of commercial sales, and by either Celularity or it if the company fail to meet certain minimum sales thresholds for the third or any subsequent year of commercial sales and (ii) by either party upon written notice if outside legal counsel recommends discontinuance of commercialization of a product because of an actual, threatened, or perceived significant safety, legal, or economic risk as a result of a claim, demand or action or as a result of a change in the interpretation of law by a governmental or regulatory authority. Each year of commercial sales are referred to in the license agreement as “launch years” and the calendar period constituting each launch year for each licensed product is determined in accordance with the terms of the license agreement. See “Item 1A. Risk Factors - If the company fail to meet certain minimum sales thresholds for products licensed pursuant to its agreement with Celularity, the company could lose its right to license such products.”
On December 1, 2017, the company received notice from Celularity that Alliqua is in material breach of the License Agreement for failure to use commercially reasonable best efforts to undertake development activities for the licensed products under the License Agreement. Celularity has agreed to forbear from exercising its right to terminate the License Agreement until the closing of the Asset Sale Transaction or termination of the Asset Purchase Agreement for any reason. The company believe that Celularity’s notice of material breach of the License Agreement is without merit.
Research and Development Costs
For the years ended December 31, 2017 and 2016, the company incurred research and development costs of approximately $121,000 and $859,000, respectively, related to a randomized controlled trial for its Biovance product in chronic diabetic foot ulcers. The company experienced slower than expected patient enrollment and projected costs to complete the trial were significantly higher than the company had previously expected. In addition, the company believed there was no longer a business need for this trial due to the amount of patient data currently available, its success in getting government and commercial insurance coverage for Biovance, and its recent increase in Biovance sales. Due to these factors, the company decided to terminate patient enrollment for the Biovance trial. The company completed its study during the first half of 2017.
The company bear its own research and development costs and do not directly pass along its research and development costs to its customers.
The company intend to commit capital resources to research and development only as its cash resources allow. Alliqua has incurred all costs associated with the launch of its proprietary products and will only require research and development expenses for product enhancements and modifications and to obtain additional reimbursement coverage, which the company do not expect to be significant.
As of December 31, 2017, the company had 60 full-time employees. Of these employees, 46 are involved with finance, sales, marketing, and administration and 14 are involved with manufacturing, clinical and regulatory matters. The company's employees are not represented by a labor union or other collective bargaining groups, and the company consider relations with its employees to be good. The company currently plan to retain and utilize the services of outside consultants for additional research, testing, regulatory, legal compliance and other services on an as needed basis.