VICE PRESIDENT EMPLOYMENT AGREEMENT
This Employment Agreement
(the “Agreement”), made between Lipocine Inc. (the “Company”) and Nachiappan Chidambaram
(“Vice President”) (each a “Party” and collectively, the “Parties”), is
effective as of November 5, 2018.
WHEREAS, the Company
desires for Vice President to provide services to the Company;
WHEREAS, Vice President
is willing to perform services for the Company on the terms and conditions set forth in this Agreement;
in consideration of the mutual promises and covenants contained herein and for other good and valuable consideration, the receipt
and sufficiency of which is hereby acknowledged, the Parties hereto agree as follows:
by the Company.
Vice President shall serve as the Company’s Vice President, Product Development. During the term of Vice President’s
employment with the Company, Vice President will devote substantially all of Vice President’s business time and attention
to the business of the Company, except for approved vacation periods and reasonable periods of illness or other incapacities permitted
by the Company’s general employment policies.
President shall perform such duties as are required by the Company’s Chief Executive Officer, to whom Vice President will
report. Vice President’s primary office location shall be the Company’s offices located in Salt Lake City, Utah. The
Company reserves the right to reasonably require Vice President to perform Vice President’s duties at places other than Vice
President’s primary office location from time to time.
and Procedures. The employment relationship between the Parties shall be governed by the general employment policies and practices
of the Company, except that when the terms of this Agreement differ from or are in conflict with the Company’s general employment
policies or practices, this Agreement shall control.
services to be rendered hereunder, Vice President shall initially receive a base salary at the rate of Two Hundred Thirty Four
Thousand Dollars ($234,000) per year (the “Base Salary”), subject to standard payroll deductions and withholdings
payable in accordance with the Company’s regular payroll schedule.
Vice President will be eligible for an annual discretionary bonus (“Annual Bonus”) of up to Twenty-Two percent
(22%) of Vice President’s applicable Base Salary or such higher amount as may be determined by the Company’s Board
of Directors (“Board”) (or compensation committee thereof) from time to time. Whether Vice President receives
an annual bonus, and the amount of any such annual bonus, will be determined by the Board in its sole discretion based upon the
Company’s and Vice President’s achievement of objectives and milestones to be determined on an annual basis by the
Board. Bonuses are generally paid by March 15 following the applicable bonus year, and Vice President must be an active employee
on the date any Annual Bonus is paid in order to earn any such Annual Bonus. Vice President will not be eligible for, and will
not earn, any Annual Bonus (including a prorated bonus) if Vice President employment terminates for any reason before the date
Annual Bonuses are paid.
Company Benefits. Vice President shall be entitled to participate in all employee benefit programs for which Vice President
is eligible under the terms and conditions of the benefit plans that may be in effect from time to time and provided by the Company
to its employees. The Company reserves the right to cancel or change the benefit plans or programs it offers to its employees at
The Company will reimburse Vice President for reasonable business travel, entertainment or other expenses, including cellular phone,
incurred by Vice President in furtherance or in connection with the performance of Vice President’s duties hereunder, in
accordance with the Company’s expense reimbursement policy as in effect from time to time.
of Employment; Severance.
Employment. Vice President’s employment relationship is at-will. Either Vice President or the Company may terminate the
employment relationship at any time, with or without Cause or advance notice. Upon termination for any reason, Vice President shall
receive (i) all unpaid salary and unpaid vacation accrued through the separation date; (ii) any payments/benefits to
which the Vice President is entitled under the express terms of any applicable Company employee benefit plan; and (iii) any
unreimbursed valid business expenses for which the Vice President has submitted properly documented reimbursement requests. Vice
President’s right to payment under any then outstanding equity awards shall be governed by their applicable terms.
Without Cause; Resignation for Good Reason.
Company may terminate Vice President’s employment with the Company at any time without Cause (as defined below). Further,
Vice President may resign at any time for Good Reason (as defined below).
the event Vice President’s employment with the Company is terminated by the Company without Cause, or Vice President resigns
for Good Reason, then provided such termination constitutes a “separation from service” (as defined under Treasury
Regulation Section 1.409A-1(h), without regard to any alternative definition thereunder, a “Separation from Service”),
and provided that Vice President remains in compliance with the terms of this Agreement and the Company’s policies applicable
to Vice President and satisfies the requirements set forth in Section 4, then Vice President shall receive the following severance
(the “Severance”) in an amount equal to twenty-six weeks of Base Salary as in effect immediately prior to the
separation date. The Severance shall be subject to standard payroll deductions and withholdings, and will be payable in a lump-sum
on the 60th day following Vice President’s Separation from Service.
months accelerated vesting of all of Vice President’s equity interests in the Company.
Vice President’s termination without Cause or resignation for Good Reason occurs as a result of or immediately prior to the
closing of a Change-in-Control (and provided such termination or resignation constitutes a Separation from Service), and provided
that Vice President remains in compliance with the terms of this Agreement and the Company’s policies applicable to Vice
President and satisfies the requirements set forth in Section 4, then in lieu of the benefits set forth in Section 3.2(ii)(a)
and (b), Vice President shall receive the following severance benefits:
in an amount equal to the sum of the following (shall be subject to standard payroll deductions and withholdings, and payable in
a lump-sum on the 60th day following Vice President’s Separation from Service):
weeks of Base Salary as in effect immediately prior to the separation date; and
bonus equal to the product of (A) Vice President’s Base Salary as in effect immediately prior to the separation date,
multiplied by (B) Vice President’s annual bonus percentage target as in effect immediately prior to the separation date.
vesting of all of Vice President’s equity interests in the Company shall be accelerated such that all equity interests shall
be deemed vested and exercisable as of Vice President’s last day of employment.
for Cause; Resignation Without Good Reason; Death or Disability.
Company may terminate Vice President’s employment with the Company at any time for Cause. Further, Vice President may resign
at any time without Good Reason. Vice President’s employment with the Company may also be terminated due to Vice President’s
death or disability.
Vice President resigns without Good Reason, or the Company terminates Vice President’s employment for Cause, or upon Vice
President’s death or disability, then (a) Vice President will no longer vest in any equity interests that are subject
to vesting, (b) all payments of compensation by the Company to Vice President under this Agreement will terminate immediately
(except as to amounts already earned), and (c) Vice President will not be entitled to any severance benefits hereunder, including
to Receipt of the Severance Benefits. Vice President’s receipt of the severance benefits set forth in Sections 3.2(ii)
and (iii) will be subject to Vice President signing and not revoking a separation agreement and release of claims in a form reasonably
satisfactory to the Company (the “Separation Agreement”). No severance benefits will be paid or provided until
the Separation Agreement becomes effective.
5. Section 409A.
It is intended that all of the severance benefits and other payments payable under this Agreement satisfy, to the greatest extent
possible, the exemptions from the application of Code Section 409A provided under Treasury Regulations 1.409A 1(b)(4), 1.409A
1(b)(5) and 1.409A 1(b)(9), and this Agreement will be construed to the greatest extent possible as consistent with those provisions,
and to the extent no so exempt, this Agreement (and any definitions hereunder) will be construed in a manner that complies with
Section 409A. For purposes of Code Section 409A (including, without limitation, for purposes of Treasury Regulation Section 1.409A
2(b)(2)(iii)), Vice President’s right to receive any installment payments under this Agreement (whether severance payments,
reimbursements or otherwise) shall be treated as a right to receive a series of separate payments and, accordingly, each installment
payment hereunder shall at all times be considered a separate and distinct payment. Notwithstanding any provision to the contrary
in this Agreement, if Vice President is deemed by the Company at the time of Vice President’s Separation from Service to
be a “specified employee” for purposes of Code Section 409A(a)(2)(B)(i), and if any of the payments upon Separation
from Service set forth herein and/or under any other agreement with the Company are deemed to be “deferred compensation”,
then to the extent delayed commencement of any portion of such payments is required in order to avoid a prohibited distribution
under Code Section 409A(a)(2)(B)(i) and the related adverse taxation under Section 409A, such payments shall not be provided
to Vice President prior to the earliest of (i) the expiration of the six-month period measured from the date of Vice President’s
Separation from Service with the Company, (ii) the date of Vice President’s death or (iii) such earlier date as
permitted under Section 409A without the imposition of adverse taxation. Upon the first business day following the expiration
of such applicable Code Section 409A(a)(2)(B)(i) period, all payments deferred pursuant to this Paragraph shall be paid in
a lump sum to Vice President, and any remaining payments due shall be paid as otherwise provided herein or in the applicable agreement.
No interest shall be due on any amounts so deferred.
For purposes of this Agreement, “Cause” for termination means (a) conviction of, or the entry of a plea of guilty
or no contest to, a felony or any crime that may materially adversely affect the business, standing or reputation of the Company;
(b) dishonesty, fraud, embezzlement or other misappropriation of funds; (c) material breach of this Agreement that remains uncured
30 days after written notice of breach; (d) willful refusal to perform the lawful, good faith and reasonable directives of the
Company’s Chief Executive Officer; or (e) termination of Vice President’s employment pursuant to Sections 10.2 and
10.3 of this Agreement.
Reason. For purposes of this Agreement, Vice President shall have “Good Reason” for resignation of employment
with the Company if any of the following actions are taken by the Company without Vice President’s prior written consent:
(a) a material reduction in Vice President’s Base Salary, unless the reduction is proportional to an across-the-board
decrease affecting all senior Vice Presidents; or (b) a material reduction in Vice President’s duties and responsibilities.
Notwithstanding the foregoing, the Company may change Vice President’s duties and responsibilities to fit the needs of the
Company so long as such change(s) do not materially reduce Vice President’s duties to the Company. In order to resign for
Good Reason, Vice President must provide written notice to the Company’s Board within 30 days after the first occurrence
of the event giving rise to Good Reason setting forth the basis for Vice President’s resignation, allow the Company at least
30 days from receipt of such written notice to cure such event, and if such event is not reasonably cured within such period,
Vice President must resign from all positions Vice President then holds with the Company not later than 90 days after the
expiration of the cure period.
For purposes of this Agreement, “Change-in-Control” will have the meaning set forth in the Amended and Restated
Lipocine Inc. 2014 Equity Incentive Plan.
Information Obligations. Vice President shall be required to execute and abide by the Company’s standard form of Employee
Proprietary Information and Inventions Agreement. Pursuant to Section 8, Vice President shall also be required to execute and abide
by the Company’s form of Employee Restrictive Covenant Agreement.
Activities During Employment.
Business. Except with the prior written consent of the Board, Vice President will not during the term of Vice President’s
employment with the Company undertake or engage in any other employment, occupation or business enterprise, other than ones in
which Vice President is a passive investor. Vice President is permitted to serve as a member of the board of directors of one company
provided that such company is not a competitor of the Company. Vice President may engage in civic and not-for-profit activities
so long as such activities do not materially interfere with the performance of Vice President’s duties hereunder.
Adverse Interests. Vice President agrees not to acquire, assume or participate in, directly or indirectly, any position, investment
or interest known to be adverse or antagonistic to the Company, its business or prospects, financial or otherwise.
Section 280G. If any payment or benefit Vice President would receive from the Company or otherwise in connection with
a Corporate Transaction or other similar transaction (“Payment”) would (i) constitute a “parachute
payment” within the meaning of Section 280G of the Code and (ii) but for this sentence, be subject to the excise
tax imposed by Section 4999 of the Code (the “Excise Tax”), then such Payment will be equal to the Reduced
Amount. The “Reduced Amount” will be either (x) the largest portion of the Payment that would result in
no portion of the Payment being subject to the Excise Tax, or (y) the largest portion, up to and including the total, of the
Payment, whichever amount ((x) or (y)), after taking into account all applicable federal, state and local employment taxes, income
taxes, and the Excise Tax (all computed at the highest applicable marginal rate), results in Vice President’s receipt of
the greater economic benefit notwithstanding that all or some portion of the Payment may be subject to the Excise Tax. If a Reduced
Amount will give rise to the greater after tax benefit, the reduction in the Payments will occur in the following order: (a) reduction
of cash payments; (b) cancellation of accelerated vesting of equity awards in such a manner as to produce the least amount
of reduction necessary; and (c) reduction of other benefits paid to Vice President. Within any such category of payments and
benefits (that is, (a), (b) or (c)), a reduction will occur first with respect to amounts that are not “deferred compensation”
within the meaning of Section 409A and then with respect to amounts that are. In the event that acceleration of compensation
from Vice President’s equity awards is to be reduced, such acceleration of vesting will be canceled, subject to the immediately
preceding sentence, in the reverse order of the date of grant, except to the extent a different chronology is necessary to produce
the least amount of reduction. The registered public accounting firm engaged by the Company for general audit purposes as of the
day prior to the effective date of the event described in Section 280G(b)(2)(A)(i) of the Code will perform the foregoing
calculations. If the registered public accounting firm so engaged by the Company is serving as accountant or auditor for the acquirer
or is otherwise unable or unwilling to perform the calculations, the Company will appoint a nationally recognized firm that has
expertise in these calculations to make the determinations required hereunder. The Company will bear all expenses with respect
to the determinations by such independent registered public accounting firm required to be made hereunder. Any good faith determinations
of the independent registered public accounting firm made hereunder will be final, binding and conclusive upon the Company and
Agreements of Vice President.
Restrictions. Vice President warrants and represents that he is not bound by any employment contract, restrictive covenant
or any other restriction preventing Vice President from entering into employment with the Company or limiting Vice President’s
ability to conduct the activities contemplated by this Agreement or to carry out his responsibilities to the Company, or which
is in any other way inconsistent with the terms of this Agreement.
For purposes of federal immigration law, Vice President will be required to provide to the Company documentary evidence of Vice
President’s identity and eligibility for employment in the United States. Vice President agrees to provide such documentation
within three (3) business days of his date of hire. If Vice President does not provide such documentation within three (3) business
days of his date of hire, Vice President’s employment with the Company may be terminated.
Check. Vice President’s employment under this Agreement is subject to Vice President passing a standard criminal background
check, testing for any recent use of illegal drugs, Food and Drug Administration debarment certification and any other employment
related issues that may negatively affect Vice President’s performance under this Agreement. Vice President hereby consents
to such background check. If Vice President does not pass the criminal background check, Vice President’s employment with
the Company may be terminated.
by Vice President. Vice President shall not voluntarily retire, resign or otherwise terminate his relationship with the Company
or any of its affiliates without first giving the Company at least sixty (60) days prior written notice of the effective date of
such retirement, resignation or other termination. Such written notice shall be sent by certified mail to Lipocine Inc., Attn:
President and CEO, 675 Arapeen Dr. Suite 202, SLC, UT 84124. The Company retains the right to waive the notice requirement in whole
or in part or to place you on paid leave for all or part of this sixty (60) day period.
Solicitation. Vice President agrees that if his employment is terminated for any reason by either Party, Vice President shall
not for a period of one (1) year after such termination, without the Company’s prior written consent, directly or indirectly:
(a) solicit or induce, or cause or encourage others to solicit or induce, approach, counsel, attempt or cause or induce, or encourage
others to solicit or induce, any employees of the Company to leave the Company; (b) hire or cause others to hire any employees
of the Company; or (c) encourage or assist in the hiring process of any employees of the Company, or cause others to participate,
encourage or assist in the hiring process of any employees of the Company.
of Confidential Information. Vice President shall not at any time, whether during Vice President’s employment or following
the termination of Vice President’s employment, for any reason, directly or indirectly disclose or furnish to any entity,
firm, corporation or person any confidential or proprietary information of the Company with respect to any aspect of its operation,
business or clients. Vice President shall be allowed to disclose confidential information to the extent that such disclosure is
(a) duly approved in writing by the Company; (b) necessary for Vice President to enforce his rights under this Agreement in connection
with a legal proceeding; or (c) required by law or by the order of a court or similar judicial or administrative body, provided
that Vice President notify the Company of such required disclosure promptly and cooperate with the Company in any lawful action
to contest or limit the scope of such required disclosure. Confidential or proprietary information shall mean information not generally
known to the public to which Vice President gains access by reason of Vice President’s employment by the Company and includes,
but is not limited to, information relating to all present or past customers, trade secrets, business and marketing plans, research
and development plans, financial data and strategies, salaries and employment benefits, and operational costs. This provision shall
survive the expiration of this Agreement.
Property. All records, files, memoranda, reports, customer information, client lists, documents and equipment relating to the
business of the Company, whether in electronic or any other format, which Vice President prepares, possesses or comes in contact
with while he is an employee of the Company, shall remain the sole property of the Company. Vice President agrees upon termination
of Vice President’s employment, that Vice President shall provide to the Company all documents, papers, files, electronic
media, or other material in Vice President’s possession and under Vice President’s control that are connected with
or derived from Vice President’s services to the Company. Vice President agrees that the Company owns all work products,
patents, copyrights, trademarks, trade secrets and other material produced by Vice President during Vice President’s employment
with the Company. This provision shall survive the expiration of this Agreement.
In the event Vice President breaches his obligations under this Agreement, the Company, in addition to being entitled to exercise
all rights granted by the law, including recovery of damages, will be entitled to specific performance of its rights under this
Agreement. Vice President acknowledges that the Company shall suffer irreparable harm in the event of a breach or prospective breach
of any of the provisions of this Section 10 and that any monetary damages would not be adequate relief. Accordingly, the Company
shall be entitled to injunctive relief in any federal or state court of competent jurisdiction located in Salt Lake County in the
State of Utah, or in any state in which Vice President resides.
Any notices provided must be in writing and will be deemed effective upon the earlier of personal delivery (including personal
delivery by fax) or the next day after sending by overnight carrier, to the Company at its primary office location and to Vice
President at the address as listed on the Company payroll.
Whenever possible, each provision of this Agreement will be interpreted in such manner as to be effective and valid under applicable
law, but if any provision of this Agreement is held to be invalid, illegal or unenforceable in any respect under any applicable
law or rule in any jurisdiction, such invalidity, illegality or unenforceability will not affect any other provision or any other
jurisdiction, but this Agreement will be reformed, construed and enforced in such jurisdiction to the extent possible in keeping
with the intent of the parties.
Any waiver of any breach of any provisions of this Agreement must be in writing to be effective, and it shall not thereby be deemed
to have waived any preceding or succeeding breach of the same or any other provision of this Agreement.
Agreement. This Agreement and the other agreements referred to herein constitute the entire agreement between Vice President
and the Company with regard to this subject matter and is the complete, final, and exclusive embodiment of the Parties’ agreement
with regard to this subject matter. This Agreement is entered into without reliance on any promise or representation, written or
oral, other than those expressly contained herein, and it supersedes any other such promises, warranties or representations. It
is entered into without reliance on any promise or representation other than those expressly contained herein, and it cannot be
modified or amended except in a writing signed by a duly authorized officer of the Company.
This Agreement may be executed in separate counterparts, any one of which need not contain signatures of more than one party, but
all of which taken together will constitute one and the same Agreement.
The headings of the paragraphs hereof are inserted for convenience only and shall not be deemed to constitute a part hereof nor
to affect the meaning thereof.
and Assigns. This Agreement is intended to bind and inure to the benefit of and be enforceable by Vice President and the Company,
and their respective successors, assigns, heirs, executors and administrators, except that Vice President may not assign any of
his duties hereunder. In addition, Vice President may not assign any of his rights hereunder without the written consent of the
Withholding and Indemnification. All payments and awards contemplated or made pursuant to this Agreement will be subject to
withholdings of applicable taxes in compliance with all relevant laws and regulations of all appropriate government authorities.
Vice President acknowledges and agrees that the Company has neither made any assurances nor any guarantees concerning the tax treatment
of any payments or awards contemplated by or made pursuant to this Agreement. Vice President has had the opportunity to retain
a tax and financial advisor and fully understands the tax and economic consequences of all payments and awards made pursuant to
of Law. All questions concerning the construction, validity and interpretation of this Agreement will be governed by the laws
of the State of Utah, without regards to conflicts of law. Any dispute arising out of this Agreement, or the breach thereof, shall
be brought in a court of competent jurisdiction in Salt Lake County, the State of Utah; the parties expressly consenting to venue
in Salt Lake County, the State of Utah. Each Party shall be responsible for its own costs and expenses (including attorney fees)
incurred in connection with the enforcement of such Party’s rights hereunder.
[Signature Page Follows]
Witness Whereof, the Parties have executed this Agreement on the date indicated.
|Date: November 5, 2018
||/s/ Mahesh Patel|
||Mahesh Patel, Ph.D.|
||President and CEO|
|Date: November 5, 2018
||/s/ Nachiappan Chidambaram|
[Signature Page to Employment Agreement –