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EX-32.1 - EX-32.1 - ARCA biopharma, Inc.abio-ex321_8.htm
EX-31.2 - EX-31.2 - ARCA biopharma, Inc.abio-ex312_7.htm
EX-31.1 - EX-31.1 - ARCA biopharma, Inc.abio-ex311_9.htm

 

 

UNITED STATES

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

WASHINGTON, D.C. 20549

 

FORM 10-Q

 

(Mark One)

QUARTERLY REPORT UNDER SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

FOR THE QUARTERLY PERIOD ENDED MARCH 31, 2020

OR

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

FOR THE TRANSITION PERIOD FROM              TO             

Commission File Number 000-22873

 

ARCA BIOPHARMA, INC.

(Exact Name of Registrant as Specified in Its Charter)

 

 

Delaware

 

36-3855489

(State or Other Jurisdiction of
Incorporation or Organization)

 

(I.R.S. Employer
Identification Number)

 

 

11080 CirclePoint Road, Suite 140, Westminster, CO

 

80020

(Address of Principal Executive Offices)

 

(Zip Code)

(720) 940-2200

(Registrant’s Telephone Number, including Area Code)

 

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

Title of each class

Trading Symbol(s)

Name of each exchange on which registered

Common Stock, par value $0.001 per share

ABIO

Nasdaq Capital Market

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

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

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, smaller reporting company, or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company,” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.

 

Large accelerated filer

 

  

Accelerated filer

 

 

 

 

 

Non-accelerated filer

 

☒  

  

Smaller reporting company

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Emerging growth company

 

 

 

 

 

 

If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act. 

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

Indicate the number of shares outstanding of each of the issuer’s classes of common stock, as of the latest practicable date.

Class

  

Number of
Shares Outstanding

Common Stock, par value $0.001 per share

  

On May 5, 2020: 1,594,070

 

 


 

 

 

ARCA BIOPHARMA, INC.

FORM 10-Q

FOR THE QUARTER ENDED MARCH 31, 2020

 

 

 

 

2

 


PART I. FINANCIAL INFORMATION

 

ITEM 1. FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

ARCA BIOPHARMA, INC.

BALANCE SHEETS

(Unaudited)

 

 

 

 

 

March 31,

 

 

December 31,

 

 

2020

 

 

2019

 

 

(in thousands, except share

and per share amounts)

 

ASSETS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Current assets:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cash and cash equivalents

$

6,674

 

 

$

8,363

 

Other current assets

 

704

 

 

 

117

 

Total current assets

 

7,378

 

 

 

8,480

 

Right-of-use asset - operating

 

49

 

 

 

22

 

Property and equipment, net

 

10

 

 

 

10

 

Other assets

 

24

 

 

 

24

 

Total assets

$

7,461

 

 

$

8,536

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LIABILITIES AND STOCKHOLDERS’ EQUITY

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Current liabilities:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Accounts payable

$

167

 

 

$

418

 

Accrued compensation and employee benefits

 

189

 

 

 

129

 

Accrued expenses and other liabilities

 

799

 

 

 

379

 

Total current liabilities

 

1,155

 

 

 

926

 

Commitments and contingencies

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stockholders’ equity:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Common stock, $0.001 par value; 100 million shares authorized

   at March 31, 2020 and December 31, 2019; 1,594,070

   and 1,594,070 shares issued and outstanding at

   March 31, 2020 and December 31, 2019, respectively

 

2

 

 

 

2

 

Additional paid-in capital

 

152,040

 

 

 

152,024

 

Accumulated deficit

 

(145,736

)

 

 

(144,416

)

Total stockholders’ equity

 

6,306

 

 

 

7,610

 

Total liabilities and stockholders’ equity

$

7,461

 

 

$

8,536

 

 

See accompanying Notes to Financial Statements

 

 

 

3

 


ARCA BIOPHARMA, INC.

STATEMENTS OF OPERATIONS

(unaudited)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Three Months Ended

 

 

March 31,

 

 

2020

 

 

2019

 

 

(in thousands, except share

and per share amounts)

 

Costs and expenses:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Research and development

$

365

 

 

$

662

 

General and administrative

 

975

 

 

 

1,119

 

Total costs and expenses

 

1,340

 

 

 

1,781

 

Loss from operations

 

(1,340

)

 

 

(1,781

)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Interest and other income

 

24

 

 

 

38

 

Interest expense

 

(4

)

 

 

(3

)

Loss before income taxes

 

(1,320

)

 

 

(1,746

)

Income tax benefit

 

 

 

 

82

 

Net loss

$

(1,320

)

 

$

(1,664

)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Net loss per share:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Basic and diluted

$

(0.83

)

 

$

(1.86

)

Weighted average shares outstanding:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Basic and diluted

 

1,594,070

 

 

 

895,970

 

 

See accompanying Notes to Financial Statements

 

 

 

4

 


 

ARCA BIOPHARMA, INC.

STATEMENTS OF STOCKHOLDERS’ EQUITY

(unaudited)

 

 

Stockholders’ Equity

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Additional

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Common stock

 

 

Paid-In

 

 

Accumulated

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shares

 

 

Amount

 

 

Capital

 

 

Deficit

 

 

Total

 

 

(in thousands, except share amounts)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Balance, December 31, 2018

 

773,558

 

 

$

1

 

 

$

144,965

 

 

$

(138,934

)

 

$

6,032

 

Issuance of common stock for cash,

   net of offering costs

 

325,304

 

 

 

 

 

 

2,900

 

 

 

 

 

 

2,900

 

Share-based compensation

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

50

 

 

 

 

 

 

50

 

Adjustment for fractional shares

 

(49

)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Net loss

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(1,664

)

 

 

(1,664

)

Balance, March 31, 2019

 

1,098,813

 

 

 

1

 

 

 

147,915

 

 

 

(140,598

)

 

 

7,318

 

Issuance of common stock for cash,

   net of offering costs

 

356,743

 

 

 

 

 

 

3,262

 

 

 

 

 

 

3,262

 

Share-based compensation

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

45

 

 

 

 

 

 

45

 

Net loss

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(1,436

)

 

 

(1,436

)

Balance, June 30, 2019

 

1,455,556

 

 

 

1

 

 

 

151,222

 

 

 

(142,034

)

 

 

9,189

 

Issuance of common stock for cash,

   net of offering costs

 

138,514

 

 

 

1

 

 

 

736

 

 

 

 

 

 

737

 

Share-based compensation

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

29

 

 

 

 

 

 

29

 

Net loss

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(1,156

)

 

 

(1,156

)

Balance, September 30, 2019

 

1,594,070

 

 

 

2

 

 

 

151,987

 

 

 

(143,190

)

 

 

8,799

 

Share-based compensation

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

27

 

 

 

 

 

 

27

 

Other

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10

 

 

 

 

 

 

10

 

Net loss

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(1,226

)

 

 

(1,226

)

Balance, December 31, 2019

 

1,594,070

 

 

 

2

 

 

 

152,024

 

 

 

(144,416

)

 

 

7,610

 

Share-based compensation

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

16

 

 

 

 

 

 

16

 

Net loss

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(1,320

)

 

 

(1,320

)

Balance, March 31, 2020

 

1,594,070

 

 

$

2

 

 

$

152,040

 

 

$

(145,736

)

 

$

6,306

 

 

 

See accompanying Notes to Financial Statements


5

 


 

ARCA BIOPHARMA, INC.

STATEMENTS OF CASH FLOWS

(unaudited)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Three Months Ended

 

 

March 31,

 

 

2020

 

 

2019

 

 

(in thousands)

 

Cash flows from operating activities:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Net loss

$

(1,320

)

 

$

(1,664

)

Adjustments to reconcile net loss to net cash used

   in operating activities:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Depreciation

 

3

 

 

 

5

 

Amortization of right-of-use asset - operating

 

22

 

 

 

16

 

Share-based compensation

 

16

 

 

 

50

 

Change in operating assets and liabilities:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Other current assets

 

(75

)

 

 

5

 

Accounts payable

 

(293

)

 

 

(2

)

Accrued compensation and employee benefits

 

60

 

 

 

56

 

Accrued expenses and other liabilities

 

(99

)

 

 

(32

)

Net cash used in operating activities

 

(1,686

)

 

 

(1,566

)

Cash flows from investing activities:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Purchases of property and equipment

 

(3

)

 

 

 

Net cash used in investing activities

 

(3

)

 

 

 

Cash flows from financing activities:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Proceeds from the issuance of common stock

 

 

 

 

3,081

 

Common stock offering costs

 

 

 

 

(117

)

Net cash provided by financing activities

 

 

 

 

2,964

 

Net (decrease) increase in cash and cash equivalents

 

(1,689

)

 

 

1,398

 

Cash and cash equivalents, beginning of period

 

8,363

 

 

 

6,608

 

Cash and cash equivalents, end of period

$

6,674

 

 

$

8,006

 

Supplemental cash flow information:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Interest paid

$

 

 

$

 

Income tax refund received

$

 

 

$

82

 

Supplemental disclosure of noncash investing and financing

   transactions:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vendor finance agreement

$

408

 

 

$

349

 

Common stock offering costs accrued but not yet paid

$

 

 

$

64

 

Leased assets obtained in exchange for operating lease liabilities, upon adoption and extension

$

49

 

 

$

60

 

 

 

See accompanying Notes to Financial Statements

 

 

6

 


 

ARCA BIOPHARMA, INC.

 

NOTES TO FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

(unaudited)

 

(1) The Company and Summary of Significant Accounting Policies

Description of Business

ARCA biopharma, Inc. (the Company or ARCA), a Delaware corporation, is headquartered in Westminster, Colorado. The Company is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company applying a precision medicine approach to the development and commercialization of genetically targeted therapies for cardiovascular diseases. The Company’s lead product candidate, Gencaro™ (bucindolol hydrochloride), is a pharmacogenetically-targeted beta-adrenergic receptor antagonist with mild vasodilator properties that ARCA is developing to treat cardiovascular disease, focusing on atrial fibrillation (AF) in patients with chronic heart failure (HF).  

In 2018, the Company completed its Phase 2B clinical superiority trial, known as GENETIC-AF, which evaluated Gencaro for the treatment of AF in HF patients. In the trial, Gencaro was evaluated against an active comparator, the beta-blocker TOPROL-XL (metoprolol succinate), a drug indicated for the treatment of HF patients that is commonly prescribed for HF patients with AF.   Enrollment in GENETIC-AF was limited to patients that possess the specific genotype that the Company believes responds best to Gencaro. The planned development program of Gencaro is, in part, based on the results of the Company’s completed GENETIC-AF Phase 2B clinical trial and a prospectively designed DNA substudy of adrenergic receptor polymorphisms in the BEST trial, a previous Phase 3 study of HF patients. Following review of the Phase 2B GENETIC-AF clinical trial results, as well as its alignment with previous Phase 3 pharmacogenetic substudy data from the BEST trial, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) stated that data from a single pivotal Phase 3 clinical trial may be sufficient to support approval of Gencaro for the treatment of AF in patients with HF. In 2019, the Company reached an agreement with the FDA known as a Special Protocol Assessment (SPA), for the requirements of the Gencaro Phase 3 clinical trial. Based on the SPA agreement, the planned Phase 3 clinical trial, if successful, may support a New Drug Application (NDA) for the marketing approval of Gencaro.  

The Company’s other product candidate, AB171, is a thiol-substituted isosorbide mononitrate, which ARCA plans to develop as a genetically-targeted treatment for HF and peripheral arterial disease.

Liquidity and Going Concern

The Company devotes substantially all of its efforts towards obtaining regulatory approval and raising capital necessary to fund its operations and it is subject to a number of risks associated with clinical research and development, including dependence on key individuals, the development of and regulatory approval of commercially viable products, the need to raise adequate additional financing necessary to fund the development and commercialization of its products, and competition from larger companies. The Company has not generated revenue to date and has incurred substantial losses and negative cash flows from operations since its inception.  The Company has historically funded its operations through issuances of common and preferred stock.  

The Company believes that its current cash and cash equivalents will be sufficient to fund its operations, at its projected cost structure, after giving effect to potential cost reductions, through the end of the third quarter of 2020. In light of the significant uncertainties regarding clinical development timelines and costs for developing drugs such as Gencaro, the Company will need to raise additional capital to finance the Company’s future operations and any additional development of Gencaro or any other product candidates. If the Company is delayed in completing or is unable to complete additional financing and/or a strategic transaction, the Company may discontinue its development activities or operations.

In March 2020, the World Health Organization declared the outbreak of COVID-19, a novel strain of Coronavirus, a global pandemic.  This outbreak is causing major disruptions to businesses and markets worldwide as the virus spreads. The Company cannot predict what the long term effects of this pandemic and the resulting economic disruptions may have on the Company’s results of operations. The extent of the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Company’s results of operations will depend on a number future developments, including the duration, spread and intensity of the pandemic, and governmental, regulatory and private sector responses, all of which are uncertain and difficult to predict.  The COVID-19 pandemic may make it more difficult for the Company to enroll patients in any future clinical trials, including PRECISION-AF, and the economic uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic may dramatically reduce the Company’s ability to secure equity or debt financing necessary to support the Company’s operations. The Company is unable to currently estimate the financial effect of the pandemic. If the pandemic continues to be a severe worldwide crisis, it could have a material adverse effect on the Company’s business, results of operations, financial condition and cash flows.  The financial statements do not reflect any adjustments as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

7

 


 

Due to the current status of the Gencaro development program, the current amount of cash and cash equivalents held, the anticipated costs to be incurred for existing operations as well as exploring other corporate strategic alternatives, and the uncertainty of the Company’s ability to raise a significant amount of capital and the continuing economic uncertainty resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, management has determined there is substantial doubt about the Company’s ability to continue as a going concern from one year after the Company’s financial statements have been issued. The Company has implemented efforts to reduce personnel costs, including reduction of executive management salaries. The Company could delay or cancel certain planned expenditures related to its drug development programs and/or implement additional cost reduction measures to conserve its cash balances; however, there is no assurance that those measures would be adequate to allow the Company to continue as a going concern for a period beyond one year from the issuance of these financial statements.  These financial statements have been prepared with the assumption that the Company will continue as a going concern and will be able to realize its assets and discharge its liabilities in the normal course of business and do not include any adjustments to reflect the possible future effects on the recoverability and classification of assets or the amounts and classification of liabilities that may result from the inability of the Company to continue as a going concern. The Company may not be able to raise sufficient capital on acceptable terms, or at all, to continue development of Gencaro or to otherwise continue operations and may not be able to execute any strategic transaction.

The Company’s liquidity, and its ability to raise additional capital or complete any strategic transaction, depends on a number of factors, including, but not limited to, the following:

 

the costs and timing for the potential additional clinical trials in order to gain possible regulatory approval for Gencaro or any other product candidate;

 

the market price of the Company’s stock and the availability and cost of additional equity capital from existing and potential new investors;

 

the Company’s ability to retain the listing of its common stock on the Nasdaq Capital Market;

 

general economic and industry conditions affecting the availability and cost of capital, including as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic;

 

the Company’s ability to control costs associated with its operations;

 

the costs of filing, prosecuting, defending and enforcing any patent claims and other intellectual property rights; and

 

the terms and conditions of the Company’s existing collaborative and licensing agreements.

The sale of additional equity or convertible debt securities would likely result in substantial additional dilution to the Company’s stockholders. If the Company raises additional funds through the incurrence of indebtedness, the obligations related to such indebtedness would be senior to rights of holders of the Company’s capital stock and could contain covenants that would restrict the Company’s operations. The Company also cannot predict what consideration might be available, if any, to the Company or its stockholders, in connection with any strategic transaction. Should strategic alternatives or additional capital not be available to the Company, or not be available on acceptable terms, the Company may be unable to realize value from its assets and discharge its liabilities in the normal course of business which may, among other alternatives, cause the Company to further delay, substantially reduce or discontinue operational activities to conserve its cash resources.

Basis of Presentation

The accompanying unaudited financial statements of the Company were prepared in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles for interim financial information and instructions to Form 10-Q and pursuant to Regulation S-X. Accordingly, these financial statements do not include all of the information and footnotes required by accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America (GAAP) for complete financial statements.  In the opinion of management, these financial statements include all normal and recurring adjustments considered necessary for a fair presentation of these interim financial statements.  The results of operations for the three months ended March 31, 2020 are not necessarily indicative of results expected for the full year ending December 31, 2020.  The Company has generated no revenue to date and its activities have consisted of seeking regulatory approval, research and development, exploring strategic alternatives for further developing and commercializing Gencaro, and raising capital. These unaudited financial statements should be read in conjunction with the audited financial statements and footnotes thereto for the year ended December 31, 2019 included in the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Amounts presented are rounded to the nearest thousand, where indicated, except per share data and par values.

8

 


 

Concentrations of Credit Risk

Financial instruments that potentially subject the Company to significant concentrations of credit risk consist primarily of cash and cash equivalents. The Company has no off-balance-sheet concentrations of credit risk, such as foreign exchange contracts, option contracts, or foreign currency hedging arrangements. The Company maintains cash and cash equivalent balances in the form of bank demand deposits and money market fund accounts with financial institutions that management believes are creditworthy. Such balances may at times exceed the insured amount.

 

Comprehensive Loss

 

Comprehensive loss is defined as the change in equity during a period from transactions and other events and/or circumstances from non-owner sources. If the Company had comprehensive gains (losses), they would be reflected in the statement of operations and comprehensive loss and as a separate component in the statement of stockholders’ equity. There were no elements of comprehensive loss during the three months ended March 31, 2020 and 2019.

Leases

The Company determines if an arrangement is a lease at inception.  Operating leases are included in right-of-use (ROU) asset – operating and lease obligations are included in accrued expenses and other liabilities on the Company’s March 31, 2020 and December 31, 2019 balance sheets.

ROU lease assets represent the Company’s right to use an underlying asset for the lease term and lease obligations represent the Company’s obligation to make lease payments arising from the lease. Operating ROU lease assets are recognized at the commencement date based on the present value of lease payments over the lease term. As the Company’s lease does not provide an implicit rate, the Company uses its incremental borrowing rate based on the information available at the commencement date in determining the present value of lease payments.  The Company’s lease terms may include options to extend or terminate the lease when it is reasonably certain that the Company will exercise that option. Lease expense for lease payments is recognized on a straight-line basis over the lease term.

Accrued Outsourcing Expenses

As part of the process of preparing its financial statements, the Company is required to estimate accrued outsourcing expenses. This process involves identifying services that third parties have performed on the Company’s behalf and estimating the level of service performed and the associated cost incurred for these services as of the balance sheet date. Examples of estimated accrued outsourcing expenses include contract service fees, such as fees payable to contract manufacturers in connection with the production of materials related to the Company’s drug product, and service fees from clinical research organizations. The Company develops estimates of liabilities using its judgment based upon the facts and circumstances known at the time.

Recent Accounting Pronouncements

The Company reviewed recently issued accounting pronouncements and concluded that they were either not applicable or not expected to have a significant impact to the financial statements.

 

(2) Net Loss Per Share

The Company calculates basic earnings per share by dividing net loss by the weighted average common shares outstanding during the period. Diluted earnings per share is computed by dividing net loss by the weighted average number of common shares outstanding during the period increased to include, if dilutive, the number of additional common shares that would have been outstanding if the potential common shares had been issued. The Company’s potentially dilutive shares include stock options and warrants for common stock.

 

9

 


 

Because the Company reported a net loss for the three months ended March 31, 2020 and 2019, all potentially dilutive shares of common stock have been excluded from the computation of the dilutive net loss per share for all periods presented.  Such potentially dilutive shares of common stock consist of the following:

 

 

 

March 31,

 

 

2020

 

 

2019

 

Potentially dilutive securities, excluded:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Outstanding stock options

 

30,890

 

 

 

33,281

 

Warrants to purchase common stock

 

133,401

 

 

 

135,862

 

 

 

164,291

 

 

 

169,143

 

 

 

(3) Fair Value Disclosures

There were no marketable securities as of March 31, 2020 or December 31, 2019.  

 

Fair value is defined as the price that would be received to sell an asset or paid to transfer a liability in an orderly transaction between market participants at the measurement date (exit price). Inputs used to measure fair value are classified into the following hierarchy:

 

Level 1—Unadjusted quoted prices in active markets for identical assets or liabilities.  The Company’s Level 1 assets consist of money market investments.  The Company does not have any Level 1 liabilities.

 

Level 2—Unadjusted quoted prices in active markets for similar assets or liabilities; unadjusted quoted prices for identical or similar assets or liabilities in markets that are not active; or inputs other than quoted prices that are observable for the asset or liability.  The Company does not have any Level 2 assets or liabilities.

 

Level 3—Unobservable inputs for the asset or liability.  The Company does not have any Level 3 assets or liabilities.

 

As of March 31, 2020 and December 31, 2019, the Company had $6.7 million and $8.3 million, respectively, of cash equivalents consisting of money market funds with original maturities of 90 days or less. The Company has the ability to liquidate these investments without restriction.  The Company determines fair value for these money market funds with Level 1 inputs through quoted market prices. There were no transfers of assets between fair value hierarchy levels during the three-month periods ended March 31, 2020 and year ended December 31, 2019.

Fair Value of Other Financial Instruments

The carrying amount of other financial instruments, including accounts payable and a vendor finance agreement, which are included in Accounts payable and Accrued expenses and other liabilities, approximated fair value due to their short maturities.

 

(4) Property and Equipment

 

Property and equipment consist of the following (in thousands):

 

 

Estimated Life

 

March 31, 2020

 

 

December 31,

2019

 

Computer equipment

3 years

 

$

57

 

 

$

54

 

Lab equipment

5 years

 

 

142

 

 

 

142

 

Furniture and fixtures

5 years

 

 

61

 

 

 

61

 

Computer software

3 years

 

 

61

 

 

 

61

 

Leasehold improvements

Lesser of useful life or life of the lease

 

 

59

 

 

 

59

 

 

 

 

 

380

 

 

 

377

 

Accumulated depreciation and amortization

 

 

 

(370

)

 

 

(367

)

Property and equipment, net

 

 

$

10

 

 

$

10

 

 

For the three months ended March 31, 2020 and 2019, depreciation and amortization expense was $3,000 and $5,000, respectively.

10

 


 

 

(5) Related Party Arrangements

Transactions with the Company’s President and Chief Executive Officer

The Company has entered into unrestricted research grants with its President and Chief Executive Officer’s academic research laboratory at the University of Colorado. Funding of any unrestricted research grants is contingent upon the Company’s financial condition, and can be deferred or terminated at the Company’s discretion. Total expense under these arrangements for the three months ended March 31, 2020 and 2019 was $70,000 and $70,000 respectively.  

 

(6) Commitments and Contingencies

The Company has or is subject to the following commitments and contingencies.

Employment Agreements

The Company maintains employment agreements with several key executive employees. The agreements may be terminated at any time by the Company with or without cause upon written notice to the employee, and entitle the employee to wages in lieu of notice for periods not exceeding one calendar year from the date of termination without cause or by the employee for good reason. Certain of these agreements also provide for payments to be made under certain conditions related to a change in control of the Company.

Operating Lease

On August 1, 2013 the Company entered into a lease agreement for approximately 5,300 square feet of office facilities in Westminster, Colorado which has served as the Company’s primary business office since October 1, 2013.  

In March 2016, October 2019 and February 2020 the lease was amended to extend the lease term.  Effective February 24, 2020, the lease was renewed for an additional six month term beginning April 1, 2020 and expiring on September 30, 2020 (the February 2020 Amendment). Under the February 2020 Amendment, the Company has no further rights to extend or renew this lease agreement.  The lease includes real estate taxes and insurance, which is not a lease component and is not included in the lease obligation.  In addition, common area maintenance charges are based on actual costs incurred and are a non-lease component that is not included in the lease obligation.  Below is a summary of the future undiscounted minimum lease payments committed for the Company’s facility in Westminster, Colorado as of March 31, 2020 (in thousands):

 

Remainder of 2020

$

51

 

Total future minimum lease payments

$

51

 

 

 

Rent expense, which is included in general and administrative expense, for the three months ended March 31, 2020 and 2019 was $23,000 and $17,000, respectively.

 

As of March 31, 2020 and December 31, 2019, the lease liability was $50,000 and $25,000, respectively, and is included in accrued expenses and other liabilities. Cash paid for amounts included in the measurement of lease liabilities and the operating cash flows from operating leases for the three months ended March 31, 2020 and 2019 were $25,000 and $23,000, respectively. The weighted-average remaining lease term for the operating lease as of March 31, 2020 is 0.5 years. The weighted-average discount rate for the operating lease is 7.5%.

11

 


 

Cardiovascular Pharmacology and Engineering Consultants, LLC

ARCA has licensed worldwide rights to all preclinical and clinical data from development of bucindolol through the BEST trial from Cardiovascular Pharmacology and Engineering Consultants, LLC (CPEC), who has licensed rights to this data from Bristol Myers Squib (BMS). CPEC is a licensing subsidiary of Indevus Pharmaceuticals Inc. (a wholly owned subsidiary of Endo Pharmaceuticals), holding ownership rights to certain clinical trial data of Gencaro.  Under the terms of its license agreement with CPEC, the Company will incur milestone and royalty obligations upon the occurrence of certain events.  If the FDA grants marketing approval for Gencaro, the license agreement states that the Company will owe CPEC a milestone payment of $8.0 million within six months after FDA approval. The license agreement states that a milestone payment of up to $5.0 million in the aggregate shall be paid upon regulatory marketing approval in Europe and Japan.  The license agreement also states that the Company’s royalty obligation ranges from 12.5% to 25% of revenue from the related product based on achievement of specified product sales levels, including a 5% royalty that CPEC is obligated to pay under its original license agreement for Gencaro. The agreement states that the Company has the right to buy down the royalties to a range of 12.5% to 17% by making a payment to CPEC within six months of regulatory approval.

In October 2017, the Company entered into an agreement with CPEC’s minority owner, Aeolus Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Aeolus) pursuant to which the Company acquired Aeolus’ minority membership interest in CPEC.  The transaction effectively bought out Aeolus’ royalty interest thereby reducing or eliminating the stated milestone and royalty obligations that could be payable by the Company, if Gencaro receives regulatory approval and is commercialized.  As a result of this transaction, the Company, together with Endo Pharmaceuticals, Inc., indirectly hold the remaining licensee rights of CPEC to certain Gencaro clinical data, discussed above.  The acquisition cost of this interest did not have a material impact on the Company’s financial statements.

 

(7) Equity Financings and Warrants

At the Market Equity Financing

 

On January 11, 2017, the Company entered into a Capital on Demand TM Sales Agreement (the Sales Agreement) with JonesTrading Institutional Services LLC, as agent (JonesTrading), pursuant to which the Company may offer and sell, from time to time through JonesTrading, shares of the Company’s common stock, par value $0.001 per share (the Common Stock), having an aggregate offering price of up to $7.3 million.  On August 21, 2017, January 25, 2019, March 11, 2019, May 9, 2019, May 20, 2019 and June 28, 2019, the Company amended its Capital on Demand Sales Agreement. The amendments, among other things, increased the maximum aggregate offering value of shares of the Company’s common stock which the Company may issue and sell from time to time under the Sales Agreement from $7.3 million to $17.5 million (the Shares).  

Under the amended Sales Agreement, JonesTrading may sell the Shares by any method permitted by law and deemed to be an “at the market offering” as defined in Rule 415 promulgated under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, including sales made directly on or through the Nasdaq Capital Market, on any other existing trading market for the Common Stock or to or through a market maker. In addition, under the amended Sales Agreement, JonesTrading may sell the Shares by any other method permitted by law, including in negotiated transactions. The Company may instruct JonesTrading not to sell Shares if the sales cannot be effected at or above the price designated by the Company from time to time.

The Company is not obligated to make any sales of the Shares under the amended Sales Agreement. The offering of Shares pursuant to the amended Sales Agreement will terminate upon the earlier of (a) the sale of all of the Shares subject to the amended Sales Agreement or (b) the termination of the amended Sales Agreement by JonesTrading or the Company, as permitted therein.

The Company paid JonesTrading a commission rate equal to 3.0% of the aggregate gross proceeds from each sale of Shares and agreed to provide JonesTrading with customary indemnification and contribution rights. The Company will also reimburse JonesTrading for certain specified expenses in connection with entering into and amending the Sales Agreement.

 

12

 


 

Under the amended Sales Agreement, the Company sold an aggregate of 820,561 shares of Common Stock, for net proceeds of approximately $6.9 million, during the year ended December 31, 2019, including initial expenses for executing the “at the market offering” and commissions to the placement agent. There were no sales sold under this offering in the three months ended March 31, 2020.  

 

As of March 31, 2020, the Company had sold all shares available for this offering under its prospectus to the Company’s registration statement on Form S-3 (No. 333-217459).

Warrants

Warrants to purchase shares of common stock were previously granted as part of various financing and business agreements.  All outstanding warrants were recorded in additional paid-in capital at their estimated fair market value at the date of grant using a Black-Scholes option-pricing model.

As of March 31, 2020, these warrants, by year of expiration, are summarized below:

 

Year of Expiration

 

Number

of Warrants

 

 

Weighted Average

Exercise Price

 

2022

 

 

133,401

 

 

$

109.80

 

 

(8) Share-based Compensation

For the three month periods ended March 31, 2020 and 2019, the Company recognized the following non-cash, share-based compensation expense in the statements of operations (in thousands):

 

 

Three Months

Ended March 31,

 

 

2020

 

 

2019

 

Research and development

$

9

 

 

$

23

 

General and administrative

 

7

 

 

 

27

 

Total

$

16

 

 

$

50

 

 

 

Stock option transactions for the three month period ended March 31, 2020 under the Company’s stock incentive plans were as follows:

 

 

Number

of Options

 

 

Weighted Average Exercise Price

 

 

Weighted

Average

Remaining

Contractual

Term

(in years)

 

Options outstanding at December 31, 2019

 

31,136

 

 

$

84.50

 

 

 

6.26

 

Granted

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Exercised

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Forfeited and cancelled

 

(246

)

 

 

591.88

 

 

 

 

 

Options outstanding at March 31, 2020

 

30,890

 

 

$

80.46

 

 

 

6.06

 

Options exercisable at March 31, 2020

 

30,526

 

 

$

81.38

 

 

 

6.05

 

Options vested and expected to vest

 

30,890

 

 

$

80.46

 

 

 

6.06

 

 

(9) Income Taxes

In accordance with GAAP, a valuation allowance should be provided if it is more likely than not that some or all of the Company’s deferred tax assets will not be realized.  The Company’s ability to realize the benefit of its deferred tax assets will depend on the generation of future taxable income. Due to the uncertainty of future profitable operations and taxable income, the Company has recorded a full valuation allowance against its net deferred tax assets.  The Company believes its tax filing positions and deductions related to tax periods subject to examination will be sustained upon audit and, therefore, has no reserve for uncertain tax positions.

13

 


 

Income tax benefit of $82,000 for the three months ended March 31, 2019 primarily was related to the reduction in the recorded valuation allowance as a result of the realization of research and experimentation credit carryforwards under the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015 (PATH Act).  As of December 31, 2019, the Company had realized the full amount available under the PATH Act.

 

 

 

 

14

 


 

ITEM 2. MANAGEMENT’S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS

This Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations contains “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, or the Securities Act, Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, or the Exchange Act, and the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Examples of these statements include, but are not limited to, statements regarding the following: potential future development plans for Gencaro, including our ability to secure sufficient financing to support our anticipated Phase 3 clinical trial of Gencaro, the likelihood that any Phase 3 clinical trial results for Gencaro to satisfy the requirements of our Special Protocol Assessment agreement, the expected features and characteristics of Gencaro, including the potential for genetic variations to predict individual patient response to Gencaro or AB171, Gencaro’s potential to treat atrial fibrillation, or AF, future treatment options for patients with AF, the potential for Gencaro to be the first genetically-targeted AF prevention treatment, statements regarding potential Phase 3 development plans for Gencaro, including the timing and results thereof, the expected features and characteristics of AB171 as a potential genetically-targeted treatment for peripheral arterial disease, or PAD, and for heart failure, or HF, the potential timeline for development of AB171, including any Investigational New Drug, or IND, application submission related thereto, and the ability of ARCA’s financial resources to support its operations through the end of the third quarter of 2020, the sufficiency of our current capital to reach certain of our corporate objectives, our ability to obtain additional funding when needed or enter into a strategic or other transaction, including our ability to raise sufficient capital to fund any Phase 3 clinical trials for Gencaro and our other operations, the extent to which our issued and pending patents may protect our products and technology, the potential of such product candidates to lead to the development of safe or effective therapies, our ability to enter into collaborations, our ability to maintain listing of our common stock on a national exchange, our future operating expenses, our future losses, our future expenditures, and the sufficiency of our cash resources to maintain operations. Actual results and performance could differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking statements as a result of many factors discussed herein and elsewhere. These and other factors are identified and described in more detail in ARCA’s filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, or the SEC, including without limitation our annual report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2019, and subsequent filings. Forward-looking statements may be identified by words including “will,” “plan,” “anticipate,” “believe,” “intend,” “estimates,” “expect,” “should,” “may,” “potential” and similar expressions. We disclaim any intent or obligation to update these forward-looking statements.

The terms “ARCA,” “the Company,” “we,” “us,” “our” and similar terms refer to ARCA biopharma, Inc.

Overview

We are a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company applying a precision medicine approach to the development and commercialization of genetically targeted therapies for cardiovascular diseases. Precision medicine refers to the tailoring of medical treatment to the individual characteristics of patients, using genomic and other information that extends beyond general diagnostic categorization. We believe that when implemented correctly precision medicine can enhance therapeutic response, improve patient outcomes, and reduce healthcare costs.

Our lead product candidate, Gencaro™ (bucindolol hydrochloride), is a pharmacogenetically-targeted beta-adrenergic receptor antagonist with mild vasodilator properties that we are developing as a fourth-generation beta-blocker based on its pharmacogenetic targeting. We believe the pharmacology of Gencaro is unique and has the potential for enhanced efficacy in patients with a specific genetic characteristic for the beta-1 adrenergic receptor, termed the beta-1 389 arginine homozygous genotype. The beta-1 389 arginine homozygous genotype is present in approximately 50% of the North American and European general populations, and it can be detected by a genetic test currently performed in a centralized laboratory or in the future potentially at the point of care during a patient visit.

We are developing Gencaro to treat cardiovascular disease, focusing on atrial fibrillation, or AF, in patients with chronic heart failure, or HF. HF is a chronic condition in which the heart is unable to pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs. AF is a disruption of the heart’s normal rhythm or rate, which commonly occurs in patients with HF. In HF patients, the presence of AF leads to worsening symptoms, and increased risk of hospitalization and death. Current treatment options for AF in HF patients are limited, and can be invasive, costly and dangerous.

Gencaro was previously studied in the BEST trial, a Phase 3 HF mortality trial in 2,708 patients. The BEST trial included a DNA substudy of over 1,000 patients, which was used to evaluate the effect of genetic variations in cardiac adrenergic receptors on the response to Gencaro. Data from this substudy showed that patients with the beta-1 389 arginine homozygous genotype had substantial improvements in mortality, hospitalization and the prevention of arrhythmias. We believe that these genetically determined receptor variations, which are detectable using standard DNA testing technology, can serve as diagnostic markers for predicting enhanced therapeutic response to Gencaro.  

15

 


 

Our current clinical development of Gencaro is focused on AF in HF patients who have a left ventricular ejection fraction, or LVEF, of 40% and higher and the specific genotype we believe responds best to Gencaro. There are currently no drug therapies approved to treat AF or HF in this population, which encompasses more than half of all HF in the United States and Europe. We believe that, if approved, there are additional indication expansion opportunities for Gencaro in other HF populations and cardiac arrhythmias, as well as the potential for new formulation developments to extend marketing exclusivity.  

In May 2019, we published the results of our Phase 2B clinical trial that examined Gencaro for the prevention of AF in HF patients, in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology: Heart Failure. In this trial, known as GENETIC-AF, we compared Gencaro against TOPROL‑XL (metoprolol succinate), a beta-blocker that is commonly prescribed for HF patients with AF. GENETIC-AF enrolled 267 HF patients with LVEF values ranging from 12% to 55% who had recently experienced AF and had the specific genotype we believe responds best to Gencaro. Our analysis of the results identified what we believe is a targeted patient population for Phase 3 development; one showing greater response to Gencaro compared to TOPROL-XL for multiple clinical assessments, including the primary endpoint of time to AF recurrence, maintenance of normal sinus rhythm, cumulative AF burden, and AF-related clinical interventions and complications.

In July 2019, we reached an agreement with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, or FDA, known as a Special Protocol Assessment, or SPA, for the requirements of the Gencaro Phase 3 clinical trial. Based on the SPA agreement, our planned Phase 3 clinical trial, if successful at a statistical threshold of at least p ≤ 0.01, may support a New Drug Application, or NDA, for the marketing approval of Gencaro. PRECISION‑AF, the clinical trial specified by the SPA, is anticipated to enroll approximately 400 HF patients with LVEF values ranging from 40% to 55% who have recently experienced AF and have the specific genotype we believe responds best to Gencaro. The clinical trial design is similar to GENETIC-AF, including the active comparator, TOPROL‑XL, and the primary endpoint of time to AF recurrence during a 6-month follow-up period. Secondary objectives will examine other important endpoints, such as AF burden and AF treatment-related interventions. Subject to available financing, we plan to initiate enrollment of PRECISION-AF in the fourth quarter of 2020 and project that topline data will be available in approximately two and a half years from our initiation of patient enrollment. If the trial meets the criteria specified in the SPA, we plan to file for approval of Gencaro with the FDA, European Medicines Agency, and other regulatory authorities.

We believe that patients with HF and AF represent a major unmet medical need, and that this need is most pronounced in patients with LVEF values of 40% and above. This LVEF range constitutes more than half of all chronic HF in the United States and Europe, and there are currently no approved or guideline recommended therapies for these patients to treat either their AF or HF. AF is a very common complication in these patients, with estimates of AF incidence ranging from 40% to 60%. Beta-blockers approved for HF are commonly used off-label to treat AF and HF in these patients, but they are only moderately effective in preventing AF and none are approved for patients with LVEF ≥ 40%. Other anti-arrhythmic drugs approved for the treatment of AF have adverse side effects and in HF patients are either contraindicated or have label warnings for use due to an increased risk of mortality. Interventional procedures for AF, such as catheter ablation and electrical cardioversion, are invasive, expensive, and often temporary; typically requiring the continued use of beta blockers post-intervention to manage both AF and HF.

We believe that Gencaro, if approved, may be a safe and more effective therapy for the treatment of HF patients with AF. We believe there are several potentially important attributes that would differentiate Gencaro from existing therapies, including:

 

more effective rhythm control compared to the current standard of care;

 

reduction in the need for catheter ablation, electrical cardioversion, or toxic anti-arrhythmic drugs;

 

effective rate control with lower risk of treatment-limiting bradycardia;

 

foundational beta-blocker benefits for HF and unique evidence of efficacy in HF patients with AF; and

 

the only drug therapy approved for AF in HF patients with LVEF ≥ 40%.

We have exclusive development and commercial rights for Gencaro in all indications. We have an international patent portfolio for Gencaro in the United States, the European Union, or EU, and other major markets, as well as new chemical entity status, which we believe will give us a strong intellectual property position to approximately 2031 in the United States and approximately ten years from approval in the EU. Additional issued and pending patents have the potential for longer exclusivity in these and other markets. We have developed a laboratory platform to perform the genetic test that was approved by FDA for use in the Phase 2B clinical trial. We retain all rights to this test platform which we expect to use in future clinical trials, and which we believe could be used for commercialization.

To support the continued development of Gencaro, including the planned PRECISION-AF clinical trial, we will need additional financing to fund the Phase 3 clinical trial and our general and administrative costs through its projected completion. Considering the substantial time and costs associated with the development of Gencaro and the risk that we may be unable to raise a significant amount

16

 


 

of capital on acceptable terms, we are also pursuing co-development and commercialization partnering opportunities with large pharmaceutical and/or specialty pharmaceutical companies and may pursue a strategic combination or other strategic transactions. If we are delayed in obtaining financing or are unable to complete a strategic transaction, we may discontinue our development activities on Gencaro or discontinue our operations.  

We believe our cash and cash equivalents balance as of March 31, 2020 will be sufficient to fund our operations, at our current cost structure, after giving effect to potential cost reductions, through the end of the third quarter of 2020. However, changing circumstances may cause us to consume capital significantly faster or slower than we currently anticipate. We have based these estimates on assumptions that may prove to be wrong, and we could exhaust our available financial resources sooner than we currently anticipate. For instance, in March 2020, the World Health Organization declared the outbreak of COVID-19, a novel strain of Coronavirus, a global pandemic.  This outbreak is causing major disruptions to businesses and markets worldwide as the virus spreads. We are unable to currently estimate the financial effect of the pandemic. If the pandemic continues to be a severe worldwide crisis, it could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, financial condition and cash flows.

In 2017, we entered into a sales agreement, with an agent to sell, from time to time, our common stock having an aggregate offering price of up to $10.2 million, in an “at the market offering.” In 2019, we further amended the sales agreement to increase the maximum aggregate value of shares which we may issue and sell from time to time under this sales agreement from $10.2 million to $17.5 million. As of March 31, 2020, we had sold an aggregate of 1,087,858 shares of our common stock pursuant to the terms of such sales agreement, as amended, for aggregate gross proceeds of approximately $17.4 million. Net proceeds received in this offering were approximately $16.4 million, after deducting expenses for executing the “at the market offering” and commissions paid to the placement agent.

 

The Proposed Phase 3 AF Clinical Trial (PRECISION-AF)

Our planned Phase 3 development program of Gencaro is based on the results from GENETIC-AF and a prospectively designed DNA substudy of adrenergic receptor polymorphisms in the BEST trial, a previous Phase 3 study of bucindolol in 2,708 HF patients that showed potential evidence of enhanced efficacy in treating AF and in reducing mortality and hospitalizations in HF patients with the beta-1 389 arginine homozygous genotype.

The PRECISION-AF Phase 3 clinical trial is designed as a double-blind, active-controlled, multicenter, international, adaptive study comparing Gencaro with TOPROL-XL for the prevention of recurrent AF/atrial flutter, or AF/AFL, or all-cause mortality, or ACM, in HF patients. The study is expected to enroll approximately 400 patients at investigative sites in the United States, Europe and Australia. Eligible patients will have LVEF ≥ 40% and ≤ 55%, a recent AF event, and the beta-1 389 arginine homozygous genotype which we believe responds best to Gencaro. The planned trial will use a significance criterion for the primary endpoint of p ≤ 0.05; however, the proposed sample size has greater than 90% power for a p-value ≤ 0.01, the regulatory threshold specified in the SPA agreement to allow for approval based on a single Phase 3 clinical trial. The trial will include an interim analysis after a portion of total patients have been enrolled that is designed to assess safety, validate initial study assumptions and maintain adequate statistical power for the primary endpoint. Subject to securing additional financing, we plan to initiate enrollment of PRECISION-AF in the fourth quarter of 2020. Any future development of Gencaro, including initiating any Phase 3 clinical trial, is dependent on obtaining significant additional financing.

 

The GENETIC-AF Phase 2B Clinical Trial

GENETIC-AF enrolled 267 patients from the United States, Canada and Europe. The primary analysis compared the evidence of safety and efficacy of Gencaro versus an active comparator, TOPROL-XL. The primary endpoint of the trial was time to first event of AF/AFL or ACM during a 24-week follow-up period after the establishment of sinus rhythm. Randomized patients had a LVEF ≤ 55%, a history of AF in the past 6 months, and the beta-1 389 arginine homozygous genotype that we believe responds best to Gencaro. Laboratory Corporation of America, or LabCorp, developed the genetic test, obtained an Investigational Device Exemption, or IDE, from the FDA and provided the companion diagnostic test and services to support our GENETIC‑AF clinical trial.

For the primary endpoint of time to AF recurrence, Gencaro demonstrated a similar treatment benefit in the overall population (p = 0.961) compared to the active comparator, TOPROL-XL. However, based on further analysis of the trial, we believe we have identified a population that shows greater response to Gencaro compared to TOPROL-XL across multiple important clinical assessments, including the primary endpoint of time to AF recurrence, maintenance of normal sinus rhythm, cumulative AF burden, and AF-related clinical interventions and complications. We plan to study this population in our first Phase 3 clinical trial.

17

 


 

We believe that the inclusion of a small number of patients in the trial (13.9% of overall population) with long-standing and heavily pretreated HF and AF led to attenuation of the treatment effect estimates for the primary endpoint of GENETIC-AF. Therefore, in accordance with procedures outlined in the statistical analysis plan, post-hoc analyses were performed that excluded 37 patients with extraordinarily long durations of HF and AF, which showed a trend for benefit in favor of Gencaro compared to TOPROL-XL (32% reduction; p = 0.064). The onset of AF relative to the development of HF was also identified in our post-hoc analyses to have a relationship to treatment effect. In these analyses, there was an attenuation of the treatment effect estimates for the primary endpoint in patients who had long-standing AF prior to developing HF. We believe this is due to differences in the underlying pathophysiology for AF patients who eventually develop HF compared to HF patients who subsequently develop AF. Therefore, a post-hoc analysis was performed in the above patient population that excluded patients who had developed AF for more than 2 years prior to developing HF. In this population, termed the precision therapeutic phenotype, or PTP cohort, a significant reduction in the primary endpoint was observed (46% reduction; p = 0.011), which was retained in a subgroup of this cohort with LVEF values ≥ 40% and ≤ 55% (58% reduction; p = 0.017). These data were published in May of 2019 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology: Heart Failure (print version July 2019).  

Based upon our analysis of the GENETIC-AF data, we believe further clinical development of Gencaro can be successful using entry criteria to identify patients with the characteristics for disease duration and onset described above and outlined in the following table:

GENETIC-AF Subgroup Analysis: Time to First AF/AFL/ACM Event

   Population
             Subpopulation

Time to AF/AFL/ACM

  All Patients

N = 267

1%

p = 0.961

       HF and AF for less than 12 years

N = 230

32%

p = 0.064

             AF not more than 2 years prior to HF (PTP cohort)

N = 196

46%

p = 0.011

                       LVEF ≥ 40% and ≤ 55%

N = 91

58%

p = 0.017

Stratified Cox proportional hazards model with adjustment for: 1) HF etiology, 2) LVEF, 3) rhythm at randomization,
4) device type, 5) previous Class 3 antiarrhythmic drug use (subpopulations only).

Additional analyses of patients entering efficacy follow-up demonstrate additional benefits of Gencaro compared to TOPROL-XL in preventing adverse consequences of developing AF. Maintenance of normal sinus rhythm, as assessed by routine ECG monitoring, was increased by 15% (p = 0.022) in the overall population and by increased 28% (p < 0.001) in the PTP cohort with Gencaro compared to TOPROL-XL. A composite endpoint that includes AF interventions (i.e., electrical cardioversion, catheter ablation, and initiation of Class III antiarrhythmics), cardiovascular adverse events, and death was reduced by 30% (p = 0.008) in the overall population and by 46% (p = 0.001) in the PTP cohort with Gencaro compared to TOPROL-XL. A composite endpoint of AF interventions and death was reduced by 33% (p = 0.009) in the overall population and by 51% (p < 0.001) in the PTP cohort with Gencaro compared to TOPROL-XL. Similarly, the composite endpoint of sinus bradycardia or death was reduced by 55% (p < 0.001) in the overall population and by 49% (p < 0.001) in the PTP cohort with Gencaro compared to TOPROL-XL. Furthermore, patients who experienced sinus bradycardia in GENETIC-AF had a 4‑fold higher incidence of study drug dose reductions (P < 0.001). Improvements in all of the above endpoints were retained in a subgroup of the PTP cohort with LVEF values ≥ 40% and ≤ 55% (see table below). Therefore, in addition to the prevention of AF recurrence, these data suggest that HF patients with AF potentially receive downstream clinical and pharmacoeconomic benefits with Gencaro compared to non-genetically targeted beta blockers such as TOPROL-XL. Subject to available financing, we anticipate these findings will be further examined in the anticipated Phase 3 PRECISION-AF clinical trial.

18

 


 

Our cumulative analyses of important AF-related clinical outcomes are summarized in the following table:

GENETIC-AF Subgroup Analysis: Cumulative Events During Efficacy Follow-up Period

Cohort

Entire Cohort
(N=259)

PTP Cohort

(N=190)

PTP Cohort
LVEF ≥ 40% and ≤ 55%
(N = 87)

Maintenance of
Normal Sinus Rhythm

15%

p = 0.022

28%

p < 0.001

28%

p = 0.019

AF Interventions and CV AEs

30%

p = 0.008

46%

p = 0.001

55%

p = 0.005

AF Interventions

33%

p = 0.009

51%

p < 0.001

58%

p = 0.006

Sinus Bradycardia

55%

p < 0.001

49%

p < 0.001

61%

p < 0.001

All events: IRR (95% CI) for all patients entering efficacy follow-up period.
Maintenance of Normal Sinus Rhythm = cumulative number of ECGs in normal sinus rhythm

AF Interventions = electrical cardioversion, ablation, or initiation of class 3 antiarrhythmic therapy after start of follow-up.
Sinus Bradycardia = sinus bradycardia on ECG as assessed by the investigator.

Deaths included as events due to competing risk. Incidence Rate Ratio (IRR) = Incidence RateBUC / Incidence RateMET

A subgroup of patients underwent continuous (24/7) heart rhythm monitoring via implanted loop recorders or other implanted therapeutic devices of Medtronic, Inc., or Medtronic, a global healthcare solutions company, to evaluate daily AF burden, or AFB. A prespecified time-to-first event analysis was conducted using a total AFB of at least 6 hours per day to define an event of AF recurrence. For the time-to-first event of AF or ACM endpoint, a trend for benefit in favor of Gencaro over TOPROL-XL was observed in the overall substudy cohort (69 patients; 25% reduction; p = 0.315) and in the PTP substudy cohort (49 patients; 41% reduction; p = 0.140). Cumulative AFB was also evaluated in the device substudy to determine the total number of days in AF during the efficacy follow-up period. In this cumulative analysis, a significant reduction in AFB was observed for Gencaro compared to TOPROL-XL in in the overall substudy cohort (23% reduction; p < 0.001) and in the PTP substudy cohort (37% reduction; p < 0.001).  

Gencaro was generally safe and well-tolerated, with 84% of patients attaining their target dose compared to 72% of patients receiving TOPROL-XL. The most frequently reported adverse events were similar in both groups and consistent with the known safety profile of the beta-blocker class of drugs. Adverse events assessed as related to study drug by the investigator occurred in 23.8% of patients in the Gencaro group and in 30.1% of patients in the TOPROL-XL group. Of note, adverse events of bradycardia were less frequently reported in the Gencaro group (3.7%) compared to patients receiving TOPROL-XL (12.0%). During the 24-week efficacy follow-up period there were three deaths (ACM) in the TOPROL-XL group and none in the Gencaro group. Three patients died in the long-term treatment extension period after receiving Gencaro for more than a year.

The BEST Phase 3 Heart Failure Trial

Gencaro was the subject of a major HF study known as the BEST trial, a double-blind, placebo-controlled, multicenter study of bucindolol on mortality and morbidity in an advanced chronic HF population with LVEF < 35%. The primary endpoint of the BEST trial was ACM, and the pre-specified main secondary endpoint was progression of HF, defined as death from HF, cardiac transplant, HF hospitalization, or an emergency room visit for the treatment of worsening HF not requiring hospitalization. The trial was projected to enroll 2800 patients and run four and one-half years. The trial enrolled a total of 2,708 chronic HF patients primarily from U.S. sites. The trial was notable for including a major DNA bank, in which 1,040 of the BEST patients participated by providing blood for DNA analysis. The DNA bank provided the basis for the genetic substudies that discovered Gencaro’s modulation by genetic variations of the beta-1 adrenergic receptor.

The BEST trial was terminated early because, after positive mortality results from two HF trials involving other beta-blockers had been reported, a substantial number of BEST trial investigators concluded that it was unethical to continue to give placebo to BEST trial participants. It was initially reported the trial had failed to reach its primary endpoint of ACM, showing a 10% risk reduction in mortality with a p-value of 0.10. Our reanalysis of the BEST results in accordance with the FDA approved, pre-specified statistical analysis plans (which had not been performed by the sponsors of BEST) demonstrated a 13% risk reduction on the primary endpoint of ACM in the BEST trial with a p-value of 0.053.

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The results of the genetic substudies that were conducted using the BEST DNA bank were not available until several years after the completion of the trial. Importantly, these substudies indicated a significant enhancement of response on the major HF clinical endpoints from the BEST trial in patients with the beta-1 389 arginine homozygous genotype. As shown in the table below, the risk reduction on HF clinical efficacy endpoints such as mortality and hospitalization ranged from 34% to 48% in this genotype.

BEST Trial Clinical Responses by Genotype Groups

Endpoint

ADRB1 Arg389Arg
(n = 493)

ADRB1 389Gly carrier
(n = 547)

All-cause mortality (ACM)

38%

p = 0.030

10%

p = 0.570

CV mortality (CVM)

48%

p = 0.014

22%

p = 0.233

CV Hospitalization

36%

p = 0.002

7%

p = 0.588

HF Hospitalization

36%

p = 0.006

14%

p = 0.300

ACM or HF Hospitalization

34%

p = 0.004

13%

p = 0.250

CVM or HF Hospitalization

38%

p = 0.002

17%

p = 0.170

AF Prevention

74%

p < 0.001

1%

p = 0.969

VT/VF Prevention

74%

p < 0.001

40%

p = 0.085

Endpoints presented as time to event analyses, with hazard ratios from a COX model and p-values generated using the log-rank statistic.

 

The BEST study data were further analyzed focusing on AF prevention, as well as rate control and clinical outcomes for patients with established AF. Based on adverse events and surveillance ECGs, 7.9% of patients in the overall trial developed new onset AF, with a greater incidence observed in the placebo group (9.7%) compared to the Gencaro group (6.2%). This corresponded to a 36% reduction in the incidence of new onset AF (based on crude event rates) for patients receiving bucindolol (p = 0.002). In a time to event analysis, the risk of new onset AF was reduced in the overall population by 41% (p < 0.001) with Gencaro compared to placebo. However, analysis from the DNA substudy showed that the Gencaro response for AF prevention was genotype specific, with a 74% reduction (p < 0.001) observed in patients with the beta-1 389 arginine homozygous genotype compared to no risk reduction (p = 0.969) in patients who did not have the beta-1 389 arginine homozygous genotype (i.e., beta-1 389 Gly carriers).

Gencaro also demonstrated the potential for efficacy against the serious arrhythmias of VT/VF, which also appears to be genetically regulated. A 58% reduction in the incidence of VT/VF (p < 0.001) was observed in the overall population of the BEST trial, with a 74% reduction (p < 0.001) observed in patients with the beta-1 389 arginine homozygous genotype and no significant risk reduction
(p = 0.085) seen in beta-1 389 arginine Gly carrier genotype.

In patients with established AF, Gencaro may also have favorable effects on ventricular response rate control and other clinical outcomes. Of the 303 patients in the BEST trial with AF at baseline, ventricular response rate control, defined as a resting heart rate of less than or equal to 80 beats per minute without symptomatic bradycardia, was observed in 67% of those receiving Gencaro compared to 49% in the placebo group (p < 0.005). In patients with ventricular response rate control, Gencaro produced a 39% reduction in cardiovascular mortality/cardiovascular hospitalizations (p = 0.025). Gencaro was also associated with a 72% decrease in cardiovascular mortality/cardiovascular hospitalizations (p = 0.039) in patients with the beta-1 389 arginine homozygous genotype who were in AF at baseline (N=52).  

 

AB171

AB171 is a thiol-containing derivative of isosorbide mononitrate. Pre-clinical data indicate that AB171 may have antioxidant properties and may be favorably differentiated from other nitrates for prevention of myocardial remodeling, anti-atherosclerotic effects and the loss of effectiveness when used as a sustained therapy. We believe the unique pharmacology of AB171, coupled with targeting to genetically identified enhanced response subpopulations, has the potential to translate to better long-term responses than currently available treatments. We have identified what we believe to be a pharmacogenetic target for AB171 that is the basis for our patents, and which may enable genetically targeted cardiovascular development programs in two cardiovascular indications: HF and PAD. The European Patent Office has issued a patent to us on methods of treating cardiovascular disease and conditions with a thiol-substituted

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isosorbide mononitrate based on genetic targeting. The European patent has been validated in ten countries in the EMA: We also have related patent applications pending in the United States Patent Office and Canadian Intellectual Property Office. Subject to availability of capital, we plan to initiate non-clinical studies to support a potential IND submission and initiation of clinical development in 2021 for AB171 as a potential genetically targeted treatment for HF and PAD.

Results of Operations

Research and Development Expenses

Research and development, or R&D, expense is comprised primarily of personnel costs, clinical development, manufacturing process development, and regulatory activities and costs. Our R&D expense continues to be almost entirely generated by our activities relating to the development of Gencaro.

R&D expense for the three months ended March 31, 2020 was $0.4 million compared to $0.7 million for the corresponding period of 2019, a decrease of approximately $0.3 million.

R&D personnel costs decreased approximately $0.2 million for the three months ended March 31, 2020, as compared to the corresponding period of 2019. The remaining decrease is primarily a result of lower outside services and consulting costs.

Subject to securing significant additional financing, we plan to initiate enrollment of our PRECISION‑AF clinical trial in the fourth quarter of 2020. R&D expense in 2020 is expected to be higher than 2019, if we initiate our PRECISION‑AF clinical trial. If we are unable to initiate our PRECISION‑AF clinical trial, then R&D expense is expected to be consistent with 2019.  

General and Administrative Expenses

General and administrative, or G&A, expenses primarily consist of personnel costs, consulting and professional fees, insurance, facilities and depreciation expenses, and various other administrative costs.

G&A expenses were relatively unchanged at $1.0 million and $1.1 million for the three months ended March 31, 2020 and 2019, respectively. The $0.1 million decrease was primarily a result of lower personnel costs and lower outside services and consulting costs in 2020.    

G&A expenses in 2020 are expected to be consistent with those in 2019 as we maintain administrative activities to support our ongoing operations.

Interest and Other Income

Interest and other income was $24,000 and $38,000 in the three months ended March 31, 2020 and 2019, respectively. We expect interest income to be consistent with 2019 as we continue to use our cash and cash equivalents to fund our operations.

Interest Expense

Interest expense was $4,000 and $3,000 for the three months ended March 31, 2020 and 2019, respectively. Based on our current capital structure, interest expense for the remainder of 2020 is expected to be negligible.

Income Tax Benefit

There was no income tax benefit for the three months ended March 31, 2020.  Income tax benefit was $82,000 for the three months ended March 31, 2019. The benefit was primarily related to the reduction in the recorded valuation allowance as a result of the realization of research and experimentation credit carryforwards under the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015, or PATH Act. In 2019, the benefit was fully monetized and we do not expect additional significant income tax benefit in 2020.

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Liquidity and Capital Resources

Cash and Cash Equivalents

 

 

March 31,

 

 

December 31,

 

 

2020

 

 

2019

 

 

(in thousands)

 

Cash and cash equivalents

$

6,674

 

 

$

8,363

 

 

As of March 31, 2020, we had total cash and cash equivalents of $6.7 million, as compared to $8.4 million as of December 31, 2019. The net decrease of $1.7 million primarily reflects cash used in operating activities during the three months ended March 31, 2020, as discussed below.      

 

Cash Flows from Operating, Investing and Financing Activities

 

 

Three Months Ended March 31,

 

 

2020

 

 

2019

 

 

(in thousands)

 

Net cash (used in) provided by:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Operating activities

$

(1,686

)

 

$

(1,566

)

Investing activities

 

(3

)

 

 

 

Financing activities

 

 

 

 

2,964

 

Net (decrease) increase in cash and cash equivalents

$

(1,689

)

 

$

1,398

 

 

Net cash used in operating activities for the three months ended March 31, 2020 increased $0.1 million compared with the same period in 2019. This was primarily due to higher outflows related to changes in operating assets and liabilities, offset by a lower net loss in 2020, as discussed in Results of Operations above.

Net cash used in investing activities for the three months ended March 31, 2020 was $3,000 for the purchase of property and equipment. There was no net cash (used in) provided by investing activities for the three months ended March 31, 2019.

There was no net cash (used in) provided by financing activities for the three months ended March 31, 2020. Net cash provided by financing activities was $3.0 million for the three months ended March 31, 2019 representing $3.0 million in net proceeds from sales of our common stock in our “at the market” equity offering in the period.

Sources and Uses of Capital

Our primary sources of liquidity to date have been capital raised from issuances of shares of our preferred and common stock. The primary uses of our capital resources to date have been to fund operating activities, including research, clinical development and drug manufacturing expenses, license payments, and spending on capital items.

In 2017, we entered into a sales agreement, with an agent to sell, from time to time, our common stock having an aggregate offering price of up to $10.2 million, in an “at the market offering.” In 2019, we further amended the sales agreement to increase the maximum aggregate value of shares which we may issue and sell from time to time under this sales agreement from $10.2 million to $17.5 million. As of March 31, 2020, we had sold an aggregate of 1,087,858 shares of our common stock pursuant to the terms of such sales agreement, as amended, for aggregate gross proceeds of approximately $17.4 million. Net proceeds received in this offering were approximately $16.4 million, after deducting expenses for executing the “at the market offering” and commissions paid to the placement agent.

As of March 31, 2020, we had sold all shares available for this offering under its prospectus to our registration statement on Form S-3 (No. 333-217459).

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Our ability to execute our Gencaro development program in accordance with our projected time line depends on a number of factors, including, but not limited to, the following:

 

the costs and timing for the potential additional clinical trials, including PRECISION‑AF, in order to gain possible regulatory approval for Gencaro or any other product candidate;

 

the market price of our stock and the availability and cost of additional equity capital from existing and potential new investors;

 

our ability to retain the listing of our common stock on the Nasdaq Capital Market;

 

our ability to control costs associated with its operations;

 

general economic and industry conditions affecting the availability and cost of capital, including as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic;

 

the costs of filing, prosecuting, defending and enforcing any patent claims and other intellectual property rights; and

 

the terms and conditions of our existing collaborative and licensing agreements.  

 

We believe our cash and cash equivalents balance as of March 31, 2020 will be sufficient to fund our operations, at our current cost structure, after giving effect to potential cost reductions, through the end of the third quarter of 2020. However, our forecast of the period of time through which our financial resources will be adequate to support our current and forecasted operations could vary materially. In May 2019, we implemented efforts to reduce personnel costs, including reduction of executive management salaries. We may be required to take similar actions again in the future.

 

In March 2020, the World Health Organization declared the outbreak of COVID-19 a global pandemic.  This outbreak is causing major disruptions to businesses and markets worldwide as the virus spreads. We cannot predict what the long term effects of this pandemic and the resulting economic disruptions may have on our results of operations. The extent of the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on our results of operations will depend on a number future developments, including the duration, spread and intensity of the pandemic, and governmental, regulatory and private sector responses, all of which are uncertain and difficult to predict.  The COVID-19 pandemic may make it more difficult for us to enroll patients in any future clinical trials, including PRECISION-AF, and the economic uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic may dramatically reduce our ability to secure equity or debt financing necessary to support our operations. We are unable to currently estimate the financial effect of the pandemic. If the pandemic continues to be a severe worldwide crisis, it could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, financial condition and cash flows.

 

We will need to raise additional capital to fund future operations, additional development of Gencaro or any other product candidates, or complete a strategic transaction. Such financing would likely result in dilution to our existing stockholders. If we raise additional funds through the incurrence of indebtedness, the obligations related to such indebtedness would be senior to rights of holders of our capital stock and could contain covenants that would restrict our operations. The significant uncertainties surrounding the clinical development timelines and costs and the ability to raise a significant amount of capital and the continuing economic uncertainty resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic raises substantial doubt about our ability to continue as a going concern from one year after our financial statements have been issued.  

Critical Accounting Policies and Estimates

A critical accounting policy is one that is both important to the portrayal of our financial condition and results of operation and requires our management’s most difficult, subjective or complex judgments, often as a result of the need to make estimates about the effect of matters that are inherently uncertain. Our significant accounting policies are described in Note 1 of “Notes to Financial Statements” included within our 2019 Annual Report on Form 10-K filed with the SEC. Following is a discussion of the accounting policies that we believe involve the most difficult, subjective or complex judgments and estimates.

Accrued Outsourcing Expenses

As part of the process of preparing our financial statements, we are required to estimate accrued outsourcing expenses. This process involves identifying services that third parties have performed on our behalf and estimating the level of service performed and the associated cost incurred for these services as of the balance sheet date. Examples of estimated accrued outsourcing expenses include contract service fees, such as fees payable to contract manufacturers in connection with the production of materials related to our drug product, and service fees from clinical research organizations. We develop estimates of liabilities using our judgment based upon the facts and circumstances known at the time.

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Off-Balance Sheet Arrangements

We have not participated in any transactions with unconsolidated entities, such as special purpose entities, which would have been established for the purpose of facilitating off-balance sheet arrangements.

Indemnifications

In the ordinary course of business, we enter into contractual arrangements under which we may agree to indemnify certain parties from any losses incurred relating to the services they perform on our behalf or for losses arising from certain events as defined within the particular contract. Such indemnification obligations may not be subject to maximum loss clauses. We have entered into indemnity agreements with each of our directors, officers and certain employees. Such indemnity agreements contain provisions, which are in some respects broader than the specific indemnification provisions contained in Delaware law. We also maintain an insurance policy for our directors and executive officers insuring against certain liabilities arising in their capacities as such.

 

ITEM 3. QUANTITATIVE AND QUALITATIVE DISCLOSURES ABOUT MARKET RISK

Not applicable.

 

ITEM 4. CONTROLS AND PROCEDURES

Evaluation of Disclosure Controls and Procedures

We maintain disclosure controls and procedures that are designed to ensure that information required to be disclosed in the reports that we file under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 is recorded, processed, summarized and reported within the time periods specified in the rules and forms of the SEC, and that such information is accumulated and communicated to our management, including our principal executive officer and principal financial officer, as appropriate, to allow timely decisions regarding required disclosures. In designing and evaluating the disclosure controls and procedures, management recognized that any controls and procedures, no matter how well designed and operated, can provide only reasonable assurance of achieving the desired control objectives, and management necessarily was required to apply its judgment in evaluating the cost-benefit relationship of possible controls and procedures.

As required by Rule 13a-15(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, an evaluation was carried out under the supervision and with the participation of management, including our principal executive officer and principal financial officer, of the effectiveness of our disclosure controls and procedures (as defined in Rules 13a-15(e) and 15d-15(e) under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934) as of the end of the quarter covered by this report. Based on the foregoing, our principal executive officer and principal financial officer concluded that our disclosure controls and procedures were effective at a reasonable level of assurance.

Changes in Internal Control over Financial Reporting

There has been no change in our internal control over financial reporting during our most recent fiscal quarter that would materially affect or is reasonably likely to materially affect, our internal control over financial reporting.

 

 

 

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PART II. OTHER INFORMATION

 

ITEM 1. LEGAL PROCEEDINGS

None

 

Item 1A. Risk Factors

An investment in our securities involves certain risks, including those set forth below and elsewhere in this report. In addition to the risks set forth below and elsewhere in this report, other risks and uncertainties not known to us, that are beyond our control or that we deem to be immaterial may also materially adversely affect our business operations. You should carefully consider the risks described below as well as other information and data included in this report.

Risks Related to Our Business and Financial Condition

We will need to raise substantial additional funds through public or private equity transactions and/or complete one or more strategic transactions, to continue development of Gencaro or any of our other product candidates. If we are unable to raise such financing or complete such a transaction, we may not be able to continue operations.

In light of the expected development timeline to potentially obtain FDA approval for Gencaro, if at all, the substantial additional costs associated with the development of Gencaro and our other product candidates, including the costs associated with clinical trials related thereto, and the substantial cost of commercializing Gencaro, if it is approved, we will need to raise substantial additional funding through public or private equity or debt transactions or a strategic combination or partnership. If we are delayed in obtaining funding or are unable to complete a strategic transaction, we may discontinue our development activities on Gencaro and our other product candidates or discontinue our operations. Even if we are able to fund continued development and Gencaro or any of our other product candidates is approved, we expect that we will need to complete a strategic transaction or raise substantial additional funding through public or private equity or debt securities to successfully commercialize Gencaro or any other product candidate.

We believe our cash and cash equivalents balance as of March 31, 2020 will be sufficient to fund our operations, at our projected cost structure, after giving effect to potential cost reductions, through the end of the third quarter of 2020. In 2017, we entered into a sales agreement with an agent to sell, from time to time, our common stock pursuant to which we have sold an aggregate of 1,087,858 shares of our common stock, for aggregate gross proceeds of approximately $17.4 million. Net proceeds received in this offering were approximately $16.4 million, after deducting initial expenses for executing the “at the market offering” and commissions paid to the placement agent. Sales of our common stock dilute the ownership interest of our stockholders and may cause the price per share of our common stock to decrease. Changing circumstances may cause us to consume capital significantly faster or slower than we currently anticipate. We have based these estimates on assumptions that may prove to be wrong, and we could exhaust our available financial resources sooner than we currently anticipate.

Additionally, in March 2020, the World Health Organization declared the outbreak of COVID-19 a global pandemic.  This outbreak is causing major disruptions to businesses and markets worldwide as the virus spreads. The economic uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic may dramatically reduce our ability to secure equity or debt financing necessary to support our operations. We are unable to currently estimate the financial effect of the pandemic. If the pandemic continues to be a severe worldwide crisis, economic conditions may cause capital not to be available to us, or not be available on acceptable terms, regardless of our business efforts.

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Our liquidity, and our ability to raise additional capital or complete any strategic transaction, depends on a number of factors, including, but not limited to, the following:

 

the costs and timing for potential additional clinical trials in order to gain possible regulatory approval for Gencaro and our other product candidates;

 

the market price of our stock and the availability and cost of additional equity capital from existing and potential new investors;

 

our ability to retain the listing of our common stock on the Nasdaq Capital Market;

 

general economic and industry conditions affecting the availability and cost of capital, including as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic;

 

our ability to control costs associated with our operations;

 

the costs of filing, prosecuting, defending and enforcing any patent claims and other intellectual property rights; and

 

the terms and conditions of our existing collaborative and licensing agreements.

The sale of additional equity or convertible debt securities would likely result in substantial dilution to our stockholders.  If we raise additional funds through the incurrence of indebtedness, the obligations related to such indebtedness would be senior to rights of holders of our capital stock and could contain covenants that would restrict our operations. We also cannot predict what consideration might be available, if any, to us or our stockholders, in connection with any strategic transaction. Should strategic alternatives or additional capital not be available to us, or not be available on acceptable terms, we may be unable to realize value from our assets and discharge our liabilities in the normal course of business which may, among other alternatives, cause us to further delay, substantially reduce or discontinue operational activities to conserve our cash resources.

Our management, as of March 31, 2020 and December 31, 2019, and our independent registered public accounting firm, in their report on our financial statements as of and for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2019, have concluded that due to our need for additional capital, and the uncertainties surrounding our ability to raise such funding, substantial doubt exists as to our ability to continue as a going concern.

Our financial statements for the three months ended March 31, 2020 and our audited financial statements for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2019 were prepared assuming that we will continue as a going concern. The going concern basis of presentation assumes that we will continue in operation for the foreseeable future and will be able to realize our assets and discharge our liabilities and commitments in the normal course of business and do not include any adjustments to reflect the possible future effects on the recoverability and classification of assets or the amounts and classification of liabilities that may result from our inability to continue as a going concern. As of March 31, 2020, our management concluded that, due to our need for additional capital and the uncertainties surrounding our ability to raise such funding, substantial doubt exists as to our ability to continue as a going concern for a period from one year after our quarterly financial statements have been issued.  As of December 31, 2019, our management and our independent registered public accounting firm concluded that, due to our need for additional capital and the uncertainties surrounding our ability to raise such funding, substantial doubt existed as to our ability to continue as a going concern for a period from one year after our annual financial statements had been issued.  We believe our cash and cash equivalents balance as of March 31, 2020 will be sufficient to fund our operations, at our projected cost structure, after giving effect to potential cost reductions, through the end of the third quarter of 2020. We cannot be certain that we will be able to make any other sale of our common stock in any future offering to cover our future capital needs, or at all. Changing circumstances may cause us to consume capital significantly faster or slower than we currently anticipate. If we are delayed in completing or are unable to complete additional funding and/or a strategic transaction, we may discontinue our development activities or operations, but there are no assurances that these reductions would be sufficient to allow us to continue to operate as a going concern. Therefore, even if we resolve this uncertainty, our independent registered public accountants and/or management could conclude that uncertainty as to our ability to continue as a going concern could exist at a future date.

We have based these estimates on assumptions that may prove to be wrong, and we could exhaust our available financial resources sooner than we currently anticipate. We may be forced to reduce our operating expenses and raise additional funds to meet our working capital needs, principally through the additional sales of our securities or debt financings. However, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to obtain sufficient additional funds when needed or that such funds, if available, will be obtainable on terms satisfactory to us. If we are unable to raise sufficient additional capital or complete a strategic transaction, we may be unable to continue to fund our operations, develop Gencaro or our other product candidates, or realize value from our assets and discharge our liabilities in the normal course of business. If we cannot raise sufficient funds, we may have to liquidate our assets, and might realize significantly less than the values at which they are carried on our financial statements, and stockholders may lose all or part of their investment in our common stock.

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If we are not able to successfully develop, obtain FDA approval for, and provide for the commercialization of Gencaro in a timely manner, we may not be able to continue our business operations.

We currently have no products that have received regulatory approval for commercial sale. The process to develop, obtain regulatory approval for and commercialize potential product candidates is long, complex and costly. For instance, we began screening patients for our Phase 2B GENETIC-AF clinical trial in April 2014 and enrolled our first patient in June 2014. Enrollment was completed in August 2017 having randomized 267 HF patients with AF. The Phase 2B clinical trial completed the patient treatment phase in December 2017 and we reported top-line data in February 2018. We received guidance from the FDA following an End-of-Phase 2 meeting regarding the Phase 3 program for Gencaro as a potential genetically-targeted treatment for AF patients with HF with the beta‑1 389 arginine homozygous genotype. While, in consultation with the FDA, we developed key elements of the Phase 3 clinical trial needed to support a potential NDA, details of which were confirmed via the FDA SPA process, there is no guarantee that any Phase 3 clinical trial for Gencaro will not be subject to similar enrollment periods as GENETIC‑AF. Any future development of Gencaro, including initiating the Phase 3 clinical trial, is dependent on obtaining additional financing, even if we enter into a strategic collaboration. 

Failure to demonstrate that a product candidate, including Gencaro, is safe and effective, or significant delays in demonstrating such safety and efficacy, would adversely affect our business. Failure to obtain marketing approval of Gencaro from appropriate regulatory authorities, or significant delays in obtaining such approval, would also adversely affect our business and could, among other things, preclude us from completing a strategic transaction or obtaining additional financing necessary to continue as a going concern.

Even if approved for sale, a product candidate must be successfully commercialized to generate value. We do not currently have the capital resources or management expertise to commercialize Gencaro or any of our other product candidates and, as a result, will need to complete a strategic transaction, or, alternatively, raise substantial additional funds to enable commercialization of Gencaro or any of our other product candidates, if approved. Failure to successfully provide for the commercialization of Gencaro or any other product candidate, if approved, would damage our business.

We have received an SPA agreement from the FDA relating to our planned Phase 3 program for Gencaro. This SPA agreement does not guarantee approval of Gencaro or any other particular outcome from regulatory review.

In 2019, we received an SPA agreement from the FDA for our planned Phase 3 clinical trial of Gencaro. The FDA’s SPA process is designed to facilitate the FDA’s review and approval of drugs by allowing the FDA to evaluate the proposed design and size of certain clinical trials that are intended to form the primary basis for determining a drug product’s efficacy. Upon specific request by a clinical trial sponsor, the FDA will evaluate the protocol and respond to a sponsor’s questions regarding, among other things, primary efficacy endpoints, trial conduct and data analysis, within 45 days of receipt of the request. The FDA ultimately assesses whether the protocol design and planned analysis of the trial are acceptable to support regulatory approval of the product candidate with respect to the effectiveness of the indication studied. All agreements and disagreements between the FDA and the sponsor regarding a SPA must be clearly documented in a SPA letter or the minutes of a meeting between the sponsor and the FDA.

However, an SPA agreement does not guarantee approval of a product candidate, even if the trial is conducted in accordance with the protocol. Moreover, the FDA may revoke or alter our SPA agreement in certain circumstances. In particular, a SPA agreement is not binding on the FDA if public health concerns emerge that were unrecognized at the time of the SPA agreement, other new scientific concerns regarding product safety or efficacy arise, we fail to comply with the agreed upon trial protocols, or the relevant data, assumptions or information provided by us in our request for the SPA change or are found to be false or omit relevant facts. In addition, even after an SPA agreement is finalized, the SPA agreement may be modified, and such modification will be deemed binding on the FDA review division, except under the circumstances described above, if the FDA and the sponsor agree in writing to modify the protocol and such modification is intended to improve the study. The FDA retains significant latitude and discretion in interpreting the terms of the SPA agreement and the data and results from any study that is the subject of the SPA agreement.

Even though we obtained an agreement on our SPA, we cannot assure you that our planned Phase 3 clinical trial will succeed, will be deemed binding by the FDA under our SPA agreement, or will result in any FDA approval for Gencaro. Moreover, if the FDA revokes or alters its agreement under our SPA, or interprets the data collected from the clinical trial differently than we do, the FDA may not deem the data sufficient to support an application for regulatory approval, which could materially adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

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If we are not able to maintain the requirements for listing on the Nasdaq Capital Market, we could be delisted, which could have a material adverse effect on our ability to raise additional funds as well as the price and liquidity of our common stock.

Our common stock is currently listed on the Nasdaq Capital Market. To maintain the listing of our common stock on the Nasdaq Capital Market we are required to meet certain listing requirements, including, among others, (i) a minimum closing bid price of $1.00 per share, (ii) a market value of publicly held shares (excluding shares held by our executive officers, directors and 10% or more stockholders) of at least $1 million and (iii) either: (x) stockholders’ equity of at least $2.5 million; or (y) a total market value of listed securities of at least $35 million.

We have received three potential delisting notices from Nasdaq since 2012. In each of 2012, 2015 and 2018, we received notification from Nasdaq of potential delisting of our shares from the Nasdaq Capital Market because the closing bid price of our common stock had not met the minimum closing bid price of $1.00 per share during the preceding 30 business days. We subsequently regained compliance with Nasdaq’s minimum closing bid price requirements related to the 2012, 2015 and 2018 notices, by effecting a 1‑for‑6 reverse split of our common stock in March 2013, a 1‑for‑7 reverse split of our common stock in September 2015 and a 1-for-18 reverse split of our common stock in April 2019. Despite effecting a 1-for-18 reverse split of our common stock in April 2019, there can be no assurance that the market price per share of our common stock will remain in excess of the $1.00 minimum bid price for a sustained period of time. The continuing effect of our reverse stock split on the market price of our common stock cannot be predicted with any certainty, and the history of similar stock split combinations for companies in like circumstances is varied. It is possible that the per share price of our common stock after the reverse stock split will not rise in proportion to the reduction in the number of shares of common stock outstanding resulting from the reverse stock split, effectively reducing our market capitalization, and there can be no assurance that the market price per post-reverse split share will either exceed or remain in excess of the $1.00 minimum bid price for a sustained period of time. The market price of our common stock may vary based on other factors that are unrelated to the number of shares outstanding, including our future performance.

The delisting of our common stock from a national exchange could impair the liquidity and market price of the common stock. It could also materially, adversely affect our access to the capital markets, and any limitation on market liquidity or reduction in the price of the common stock as a result of that delisting could adversely affect our ability to raise capital on terms acceptable to us, or at all.

In future periods, if we do not meet the minimum stockholders’ equity, minimum closing bid price requirements, or any other listing requirements, we would be subject to delisting from the Nasdaq Capital Market.

As of May 5, 2020, the closing price of our common stock was $3.79 per share, and the total market value of our listed securities was approximately $6.0 million. As of March 31, 2020, we had stockholders’ equity of $6.3 million.

Our business could be adversely affected by the effects of health epidemics, including the ongoing COVID-19 global pandemic, in regions where we or third parties on which we rely may have clinical trial sites or other business operations. We anticipate having clinical trial sites in countries that have been directly affected by COVID-19 and depend on third party manufacturing operations for various stages of our supply chain.

 

Our business could be adversely affected by health epidemics, including the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, in regions where we may have concentrations of future clinical trial sites or other business operations.

 

If the recent COVID-19 outbreak continues to spread, we may need to further limit operations or implement limitations, including work-from-home policies. There is a risk that other countries or regions may be less effective at containing COVID-19, or it may be more difficult to contain if the outbreak reaches a larger population or broader geography, in which case the risks described herein could be elevated significantly.

 

In particular, our anticipated clinical trials, including PRECISION-AF, may be affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. Site initiation, patient enrollment, distribution of drug product candidates, study monitoring, and data collection may be delayed due to changes in hospital policies, local regulations, and/or prioritization of hospital resources toward the COVID-19 outbreak. If COVID-19 continues to spread, some patients and clinical investigators may not be able to comply with clinical trial protocols. For example, quarantines may impede patient movement, affect sponsor access to study sites, or interrupt healthcare services, and we may be required to delay patient enrollment or unable to obtain patient data as a result.

 

In addition, third party manufacturing of our drug product candidates and suppliers of the materials used in the production of our drug product candidates may be impacted by restrictions resulting from the COVID-19 outbreak which may disrupt our supply chain or limit our ability to manufacture drug product candidates for our clinical trials.

 

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The ultimate impact of the COVID-19 outbreak or a similar future health epidemic is highly uncertain and subject to change. We do not yet know the full extent of potential delays or impacts on our business, our clinical trials, healthcare systems or the global economy as a whole. However, these effects could have a material impact on our operations, and we will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation closely.

 

If we encounter difficulties enrolling patients in any future clinical trials, our future trials could be delayed or otherwise adversely affected.

If we have difficulty enrolling a sufficient number of patients in any future clinical trial, we may need to delay or terminate our trial, which would have a negative impact on our business. Delays in enrolling patients in any future clinical trials would also adversely affect our ability to generate any product, milestone and royalty revenues under collaboration agreements, if any, and could impose significant additional costs on us or on any future collaborators.

The GENETIC-AF clinical trial required that we identify and enroll a large number of patients with the condition under investigation and the trial enrolled only those patients having a specific genotype, and certain patients who have or are willing to have a Medtronic device implanted for monitoring and recording AFB data. As a result, enrollment for GENETIC-AF was slower than expected, with our first patient enrolled in June 2014 and enrollment completed in August 2017. Because of the rigorous enrollment criteria, our clinical trial timelines were delayed from our original projections. We anticipate that any future Phase 3 clinical trial of Gencaro, including PRECISION-AF, may have similar enrollment criteria, and we cannot guarantee that we will not have similar enrollment issues in any future clinical trials.

We may also encounter difficulty enrolling a sufficient number of patients in any future clinical trial, including PRECISION-AF, due to circumstances which are outside our control, including as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. See “Our business could be adversely affected by the effects of health epidemics, including the ongoing COVID-19 global pandemic, in regions where we or third parties on which we rely have clinical trial sites or other business operations. We anticipate having clinical trial sites in countries that have been directly affected by COVID-19 and depend on third party manufacturing operations for various stages of our supply chain” for a discussion of the risks that the COVID-19 pandemic poses to, among other things, our anticipated clinical trials.

Our clinical trials for our product candidates may not yield results that will enable us to further develop our products and obtain regulatory approvals necessary to sell them.

We will receive regulatory approval for our product candidates only if we can demonstrate in carefully designed and conducted clinical trials that the product candidate is safe and effective. We do not know whether any current or future clinical trials for Gencaro or any other product candidate will demonstrate sufficient safety and efficacy to obtain the requisite regulatory approvals or will result in marketable products.

For example, GENETIC-AF was designed as an adaptive trial. The DSMB conducted a pre-specified interim analysis of study endpoints for efficacy, safety and futility. Based on the efficacy and safety data of the interim analysis, the DSMB recommended completing the Phase 2B clinical trial with no changes to the trial design, rather than transition GENETIC-AF to a Phase 3 clinical trial. In February 2018, we announced top-line results of the Phase 2B clinical trial, which indicated that Gencaro demonstrated a similar treatment benefit compared to the active comparator, metoprolol succinate (TOPROL-XL). We have not determined if these results of GENETIC-AF, and cannot predict if the results from a future Phase 3 clinical trial, even with a SPA agreement, would allow us to obtain regulatory approval for Gencaro.

Clinical trials are lengthy, complex and expensive processes with uncertain results. We have spent, and expect to continue to spend, significant amounts of time and money in the clinical development of our product candidates. We have never conducted a Phase 3 clinical trial and have limited staff with the requisite experience to do so. We therefore rely on contract research organizations, or CROs, to conduct certain aspects of our clinical trial. While certain of our employees have experience in designing and administering clinical trials, these employees have no such experience as employees of ARCA.

The results we obtain in preclinical testing and early clinical trials may not be predictive of results that are obtained in later studies. We may suffer significant setbacks in advanced clinical trials, even after seeing promising results in earlier studies. Based on results at any stage of clinical trials, we may decide to repeat or redesign a trial or discontinue development of one or more of our product candidates. If we fail to adequately demonstrate the safety and efficacy of our products under development, we will not be able to obtain the required regulatory approvals to commercialize our product candidates, and our business, results of operations and financial condition would be materially adversely affected.

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Administering our product candidates to humans may produce undesirable side effects. These side effects could interrupt, delay or halt clinical trials of our product candidates and could result in the FDA or other regulatory authorities denying approval of our product candidates for any or all targeted indications.

If clinical trials for a product candidate are unsuccessful, we will be unable to commercialize the product candidate. If one or more of our clinical trials are delayed, we will be unable to meet our anticipated development timelines. Either circumstance could cause the market price of our common stock to decline.

We will rely on contract research organizations to conduct substantial portions of our clinical trials, including any future clinical trial of Gencaro, and as a result, we will be unable to directly control the timing, conduct and expense of all aspects of our clinical trials.

We do not currently have sufficient staff with the requisite experience to conduct our clinical trials and therefore will rely on third parties to conduct certain aspects of any future clinical trials. We previously contracted with a CRO to conduct components of our GENETIC-AF clinical trial and anticipate contracting with a CRO to conduct components of any future clinical trial for Gencaro or any future clinical trials for our other product candidates. As a result, we will have less control over many details and steps of any clinical trial, the timing and completion of any clinical trial, the required reporting of adverse events and the management of data developed through any clinical trial than would be the case if we were relying entirely upon our own staff. Communicating with outside parties can also be challenging, potentially leading to mistakes as well as difficulties in coordinating activities. Outside parties, such as CROs, may have staffing difficulties, may undergo changes in priorities or may become financially distressed, adversely affecting their willingness or ability to conduct our clinical trial. We may experience unexpected cost increases that are beyond our control. Problems with the timeliness or quality of the work of a CRO may lead us to seek to terminate the relationship and use an alternative service provider. However, making any change may be costly and may delay ongoing trials, if any, and contractual restrictions may make such a change difficult or impossible. Additionally, it may be impossible to find a replacement organization that can conduct clinical trials in an acceptable manner and at an acceptable cost.  

Even though we anticipate relying on CROs in the future, we will likely have to devote substantial resources and rely on the expertise of our employees to manage the work being done by the CROs. Due to our limited experience in managing clinical trials, we cannot guarantee our employees will do so effectively.

We may not achieve our projected development goals in the time frames we announce and expect.

We set goals for, and make public statements regarding, the timing of certain accomplishments, such as, the commencement and completion of clinical trials, particularly with respect to steps for commencing and continuing our clinical trials, the disclosure of trial results, the obtainment of regulatory approval and the sale of drug product, which we sometimes refer to as milestones. These milestones may not be achieved, and the actual timing of these events can vary dramatically due to a number of factors such as delays or failures in our clinical trials, disagreements with any collaborative partners, the uncertainties inherent in the regulatory approval process and manufacturing scale-up, delays in achieving manufacturing or marketing arrangements sufficient to commercialize our products or an inability to finance in a timely manner. For instance, we previously planned to initiate PRECISION-AF in the first quarter of 2020, subject to securing additional financing. We now plan to initiate enrollment of PRECISION-AF in the fourth quarter of 2020 due to our continued financing needs. We cannot guarantee if we will be able to secure such financing in order to initiate PRECISION-AF in a timely fashion. FDA approval of Gencaro or any other product candidate, if it occurs, is expected to require years of additional clinical development, including the completion of genetic trials. There can be no assurance that we will make regulatory submissions or receive regulatory approvals as planned. If we fail to achieve one or more of these milestones as planned, our business will be materially adversely affected.

We expect to depend on existing and future collaborations with third parties for the development of some of our product candidates. If those collaborations are not successful, we may not be able to complete the development of these product candidates.

We had a collaboration agreement with Medtronic that supported our GENETIC-AF clinical trial. If our arrangement with Medtronic, as amended, is continued as part of our future development of Gencaro, we will have limited control over the amount and timing of resources that they dedicate to the development of Gencaro. This is also likely to be true in any future collaboration with third parties and we may seek additional third party collaborators for the development of Gencaro or other product candidates. Our ability to benefit from these arrangements will depend on our collaborators’ abilities to successfully perform the functions assigned to them in these arrangements.

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Collaborations involving our product candidates pose the following risks to us:

 

collaborators have significant discretion in determining the efforts and resources that they will apply to these collaborations;

 

collaborators may not pursue development and commercialization of our product candidates or may elect not to continue or renew development or commercialization programs based on clinical trial results, changes in the collaborator’s strategic focus or available funding, or external factors such as an acquisition that diverts resources or creates competing priorities;

 

collaborators may delay clinical trials, provide insufficient funding for a clinical trial program, stop a clinical trial or abandon a product candidate, repeat or conduct new clinical trials or require a new formulation of a product candidate for clinical testing;

 

collaborators could independently develop, or develop with third parties, products that compete directly or indirectly with our product candidates if the collaborators believe that competitive products are more likely to be successfully developed or can be commercialized under terms that are more economically attractive than ours;

 

collaborators may not properly maintain or defend our intellectual property rights or may use our proprietary information in such a way as to invite litigation that could jeopardize or invalidate our proprietary information or expose us to potential litigation;

 

disputes may arise between the collaborators and us that result in the delay or termination of the research, development or commercialization of our product candidates or that result in costly litigation or arbitration that diverts management attention and resources;

 

collaborations may be terminated and, if terminated, may result in a need for additional capital to pursue further development or commercialization of the applicable product candidates;

 

collaborators may elect to take over manufacturing rather than retain us as manufacturers and may encounter problems in starting up or gaining approval for their manufacturing facility and so be unable to continue development of product candidates;

 

we may be required to undertake the expenditure of substantial operational, financial and management resources in connection with any collaboration;

 

we may be required to issue equity securities to collaborators that would dilute our existing stockholders’ percentage ownership;

 

we may be required to assume substantial actual or contingent liabilities;

 

collaborators may not commit adequate resources to the marketing and distribution of our product candidates, limiting our potential revenues from these products; and

 

collaborators may experience financial difficulties.

We face a number of challenges in seeking additional collaborations. Collaborations are complex and any potential discussions may not result in a definitive agreement for many reasons. For example, whether we reach a definitive agreement for a collaboration will depend, among other things, upon our assessment of the collaborator’s resources and expertise, the terms and conditions of the proposed collaboration, and the proposed collaborator’s evaluation of a number of factors, such as the design or results of our clinical trials, the potential market for our product candidates, the costs and complexities of manufacturing and delivering our product candidates to patients, the potential of competing products, the existence of uncertainty with respect to ownership or the coverage of our intellectual property, and industry and market conditions generally. If we were to determine that additional collaborations for our Gencaro development is necessary and were unable to enter into such collaborations on acceptable terms, we might elect to delay or scale back the development or commercialization of Gencaro in order to preserve our financial resources or to allow us adequate time to develop the required physical resources and systems and expertise ourselves.

Collaboration agreements may not lead to development or commercialization of our product candidates in the most efficient manner, or at all. In addition, there have been a significant number of recent business combinations among large pharmaceutical companies that have resulted in a reduced number of potential future collaborators. If a present or future collaborator of ours were to be involved in a business combination, the continued pursuit and emphasis on our product development or commercialization program could be delayed, diminished or terminated.

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Any future clinical trial for Gencaro will require the use of a third-party diagnostic services provider to administer a genetic test needed to identify the patient receptor genotypes of clinical trial participants, and as a result, we will be unable to directly control the timing, conduct and expense of the genetic test.

We anticipate that any future clinical trial of Gencaro, if any, will require a companion diagnostic test that identifies the patient’s receptor genotype. The trial would only enroll those patients with the receptor that has the potential for enhanced efficacy, the beta-1 389 Arg receptor as detected by a beta-1 389 Arg/Arg genotype. Accordingly, we anticipate that any future clinical trial for Gencaro will require the use of a third-party diagnostic service to perform the genetic testing. There has been limited experience in our industry in prospective development of companion diagnostics required to perform the required molecular profiling. We entered into an agreement with LabCorp to provide the diagnostic services of the genetic test needed to support our GENETIC-AF clinical trial. To provide those services, LabCorp obtained from the FDA an investigational device exemption, or IDE, for the companion diagnostic test being used in our GENETIC-AF clinical trial. We would expect a similar agreement and approval would be necessary for any companion diagnostic used in any future clinical trials for Gencaro.

The FDA and similar regulatory authorities outside the United States regulate companion diagnostics. Companion diagnostics require separate or coordinated regulatory approval prior to commercialization. Changes to regulatory advice could delay our development programs or delay or prevent eventual marketing approval for our product candidates that may otherwise be approvable. In July 2011, the FDA issued draft guidance that stated that if safe and effective use of a therapeutic depends on an in vitro diagnostic, the FDA generally will not approve the therapeutic unless the FDA approves or clears this “in vitro companion diagnostic device” at the same time that the FDA approves the therapeutic. The approval or clearance of the companion diagnostic would occur through the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health. In 2014, the FDA issued guidance on in vitro companion diagnostic devices. The guidance allows for flexibility by the FDA in the case of therapeutic products to treat serious conditions for which no alternative treatment exists and the benefits of using the companion diagnostic outweigh the risk, but it is unclear how this discretion may be applied by the agency with respect to the companion diagnostic test related to any Gencaro clinical trials. The FDA’s evolving position on the topic of companion diagnostics could affect our clinical development programs that utilize companion diagnostics. In particular, the FDA may limit our ability to use retrospective data, otherwise disagree with our approaches to trial design, biomarker qualification, clinical and analytical validity, and clinical utility, or make us repeat aspects of a trial or initiate new trials.

Given our limited experience in developing diagnostics, we expect to rely primarily on third parties for the design and manufacture of the companion diagnostics for our product candidates. If we, or any third parties that we engage to assist us, are unable to successfully develop companion diagnostics for our product candidates that require such diagnostics, or experience delays in doing so, the development of our product candidates may be adversely affected, our product candidates may not receive marketing approval and we may not realize the full commercial potential of any products that receive marketing approval. As a result, our business could be materially harmed.

We will need to establish a collaborative arrangement with a third-party diagnostics services provider to obtain marketing clearance or approval of the companion genetic test. There is no guarantee that the FDA will grant timely clearance or approval of the genetic test, if at all, and failure to obtain such timely clearance or approval would adversely affect our ability to market Gencaro.

The drug label we intend to seek for Gencaro would identify the patient receptor genotype for which the drug is approved. Accordingly, we believe developing a genetic test that is simple to administer and widely available will be critical to the successful commercialization of Gencaro. The genetic test will be subject to regulation by the FDA and by comparable agencies in various foreign countries. The process of complying with the requirements of the FDA and comparable agencies is costly, time consuming and burdensome.

Despite the time and expense expended, regulatory clearance or approval is never guaranteed. If regulatory clearance or approval is delayed, or if one or more third-party diagnostic services providers are unable to obtain FDA approval of the genetic test at all or in parallel with the approval of Gencaro, or are unable to commercialize the test successfully and in a manner that effectively supports the commercial efforts for Gencaro, or if the information concerning the differential response to Gencaro resulting from certain genetic variation is not included in the approval label for Gencaro, the commercial launch of Gencaro may be significantly and adversely affected.

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Regulatory approval is required for the genetic test to be used in our Gencaro clinical trials and to support the commercialization of the test, if approved. Delays or failures in obtaining such regulatory approval, including any required validation analyses may prevent a third-party diagnostics provider from commercializing such genetic test and will adversely affect our business, operating results and prospects.

Before a genetic test can be used commercially, including in conjunction with Gencaro, if it is approved for marketing, the third-party diagnostics provider must obtain FDA Premarket Approval, or PMA, for such test. The FDA may require additional validation of the genetic test we used in GENETIC-AF prior to any approval of Gencaro or the genetic test or prior to the use of such test in any future clinical trials for Gencaro. We anticipate the genetic test will be required as a condition to prescribing Gencaro. There is no guarantee the FDA will approve the anticipated PMA submission for the genetic test. Even if the genetic test is eventually approved, performing additional validation work necessary to support the PMA, if required, for current or future genetic test products, including one associated with Gencaro, would require additional time and expense and the outcome would be uncertain. Moreover, such delays or increased costs or failures could adversely affect our business, operating results and prospects for commercializing the genetic test.

If a third-party diagnostics provider responsible for the genetic test or certain of its third-party suppliers fails to comply with ongoing FDA or other foreign regulatory authority requirements, or if there are unanticipated problems with the genetic test, these products could be subject to restrictions or withdrawal from use in a trial or from the market.

Any diagnostic for which a third-party diagnostics provider obtains clearance or approval, and the manufacturing processes, reporting requirements, post-approval clinical data and promotional activities for such product, will be subject to continued regulatory review, oversight and periodic inspections by the FDA and other domestic and foreign regulatory bodies. With respect to the genetic test, to the extent applicable, any third-party diagnostics provider and certain of its suppliers will be required to comply with the FDA’s Quality System Regulation, or QSR, and International Standards Organization, or ISO, requirements which cover the methods and documentation of the design, testing, production, control, quality assurance, labeling, packaging, storage and shipping of any product for which clearance or approval is obtained. Regulatory bodies, such as the FDA, enforce the QSR and other regulations through periodic inspections. The failure by a third-party diagnostics provider, or certain of its third-party manufacturers or suppliers, as the case may be, to comply with applicable statutes and regulations administered by the FDA and other regulatory bodies, or the failure to timely and adequately respond to any adverse inspectional observations or product safety issues, could result in, among other things, enforcement actions. If any of these actions were to occur, it could harm our reputation and cause product sales and profitability of Gencaro, if approved, to suffer and may prevent us from generating revenue or utilizing the genetic test further in any clinical trial. Even if regulatory clearance or approval is granted, such clearance or approval may be subject to limitations on the intended uses for which the product may be marketed and reduce our potential to successfully commercialize the product and generate revenue from the product.

Future sales of Gencaro may suffer if its marketplace acceptance is negatively affected by the genetic test.

The genetic test is an important component of the commercial strategy for Gencaro in addition to being required for our clinical trials. We believe that the genetic test helps predict patient response to Gencaro, and that this aspect of the drug is important to its ability to compete effectively with current therapies. The genetic test adds an additional step in the prescribing process, an additional cost for the patient and payors, the risk that the test results may not be rapidly available and the possibility that it may not be available at all to hospitals and medical centers. Although we anticipate that Gencaro, if approved in a timely manner, would be the first genetically-targeted cardiovascular drug, Gencaro will be one of a number of successful drugs in the beta-blocker class currently on the market. Prescribers may be more familiar with these other beta-blockers, and may be resistant to prescribing Gencaro as an AF therapy in patients with HF. For instance, the top-line results of our Phase 2B GENETIC-AF clinical trial indicated that Gencaro demonstrated a similar treatment benefit compared to the active comparator, metoprolol succinate (TOPROL-XL). If our future clinical trials in Gencaro do not show that Gencaro has a clear therapeutic benefit as compared to other drugs in the beta-blocker class currently on the market, then prescribers may be unlikely to prescribe Gencaro to patients, even if approved. Any one of these factors could affect prescriber behavior, which in turn may substantially impede market acceptance of the genetic test, which could cause significant harm to Gencaro’s ability to compete, and in turn harm our business.

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Our failure to raise substantial additional funding or enter into a strategic transaction may materially and adversely affect our business.

Unless we are able to raise substantial additional funding for the development of Gencaro through other means, we will need to complete a strategic transaction to continue the development of Gencaro through its next phase of clinical development, the regulatory submission process, the commercialization phase, and to continue our other operations. The strategic transactions that we may consider include a potential combination or partnership. Our board of directors and management team have and will continue to devote substantial time and resources to obtaining additional capital or the consideration and implementation of any such strategic transaction. In addition, conditions in the financial markets may lead to an increased number of biotechnology companies that are also seeking to enter into strategic transactions, which may limit our ability to negotiate favorable terms for any such transaction. Further, our current employees do not have experience in the strategic transaction process, and our previous efforts to enter into a strategic transaction have not been successful. As a result of these and other factors, there is substantial risk that we may not be able to complete a strategic transaction on favorable terms, or at all. The failure to complete such a strategic transaction may materially and adversely affect our business.

We may be limited in our ability to access sufficient funding through a public or private equity offering or convertible debt offering.

Nasdaq rules impose restrictions on our ability to raise funds through a private offering of our common stock, convertible debt or similar instruments without obtaining stockholder approval. Under Nasdaq rules, an offering of more than 20% of our total shares outstanding at a price per share less than (i) the closing price of our common stock on the Nasdaq Capital Market immediately preceding the signing of the binding agreement, or (ii) the average closing price of our common stock on the Nasdaq Capital Market for the five trading days immediately preceding the signing of the binding agreement requires stockholder approval unless the offering qualifies as a “public offering” for purposes of the Nasdaq rules. As of March 31, 2020, we had approximately 1.6 million shares of common stock outstanding, 20% of which is approximately 319,000 shares. SEC rules impose restrictions on our ability to raise funds through the registered offering of our securities pursuant to a “shelf” registration statement on Form S-3. Under SEC rules, we are prohibited from selling securities under such a registration statement if the aggregate market value of the securities sold thereunder in any twelve-month period exceeds one-third of the market value of our outstanding common stock held by non-affiliates. In the twelve-months prior to May 5, 2020, we sold an aggregate of 495,257 shares of our common stock pursuant to the terms of such sales agreement, as amended, for aggregate gross proceeds of approximately $4.2 million. Due to these sales, we may be limited in our ability to sell securities registered on Form S-3 over the next 12 months, which may substantially limit our ability to effect future financings. In addition, we are currently subject to certain contractual rights of investors arising from our public and private equity financing transactions that limit the nature and price of future public and private financing transactions that we may effect.  

Unless we are able to generate sufficient product revenue, we will continue to incur losses from operations and will not achieve or maintain profitability. We are years away from commercializing a product and generating product revenue.

Our historical losses have had and will continue to have an adverse effect on our stockholders’ equity and working capital, among other things. We are years away from commercializing a product and generating any product revenue. As a result, we expect to continue to incur significant operating losses for the foreseeable future. Even if we ultimately receive regulatory approval for Gencaro or our other product candidates, sales of such products may not generate sufficient revenue for it to achieve or maintain profitability. Because of the numerous risks and uncertainties associated with developing therapeutic drugs, we may experience larger than expected future losses and may never reach profitability.

Our product candidates are subject to extensive regulation, which can be costly and time-consuming, and unsuccessful or delayed regulatory approvals could increase our future development costs or impair our future revenue.

The preclinical and clinical development, testing, manufacture, safety, efficacy, labeling, storage, recordkeeping, and subsequent advertising, promotion, sale, marketing, and distribution, if approved, of our product candidates are subject to extensive regulation by the FDA and other regulatory authorities in the United States and elsewhere. These regulations also vary in important, meaningful ways from country to country. We are not permitted to market a potential drug in the United States until we receive approval of an NDA from the FDA for such drug. We have not received an NDA approval from the FDA for Gencaro or any of our other product candidates. There can be no guarantees with respect to our product candidates that clinical studies will adequately support an NDA, that the products will receive necessary regulatory approvals, or that they will prove to be commercially successful.

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To receive regulatory approval for the commercial sale of any product candidates, we must demonstrate safety and efficacy in humans to the satisfaction of regulatory authorities through preclinical studies and adequate and well-controlled clinical trials of the product candidates. This process is expensive and can take many years, and failure can occur at any stage of the testing. Our failure to adequately demonstrate the safety and efficacy of our product candidates will prevent regulatory approval and commercialization of such products. In 2008, we submitted and the FDA accepted our NDA filing for Gencaro for the treatment of chronic HF. In 2009, the FDA issued a Complete Response Letter, or CRL, in which the FDA stated that it could not approve the Gencaro NDA in its current form and specified actions required for approval of the NDA, including conducting an additional Phase 3 clinical trial of Gencaro in patients with HF. We completed a Phase 2B clinical study of Gencaro in HFrEF patients to assess its efficacy in reducing or preventing AF. We enrolled 267 HFrEF patients with AF in the Phase 2B clinical trial. We reported top-line Phase 2B data in February 2018. In the third quarter of 2018, we submitted a SPA to the FDA for a Phase 3 clinical trial. In 2019, the FDA approved our SPA request for a Phase 3 clinical trial of Gencaro. Even though the FDA approved our SPA, this product candidate will require years of additional clinical development. Even if we conduct additional studies in accordance with our SPA agreement or further FDA guidance and submit or file a new or amended NDA, the FDA may ultimately decide that the NDA does not satisfy the criteria for approval.

In the event that we or our collaborators conduct preclinical studies that do not comply with Good Laboratory Practices, or GLP, or incorrectly design or carry out human clinical trials in accordance with Good Clinical Practices, or GCP, or those clinical trials fail to demonstrate clinical significance, it is unlikely that we will be able to obtain FDA approval for product development candidates. Our inability to successfully initiate and effectively complete clinical trials for any product candidate on schedule, or at all, will severely harm our business. Significant delays in clinical development could materially increase product development costs or allow our competitors to bring products to market before we do, impairing our ability to effectively commercialize any future product candidate. We do not know whether planned clinical trials will begin on time, will need to be redesigned or will be completed on schedule, if at all. Clinical trials can be delayed for a variety of reasons, including:

 

 

 

delays or failures in obtaining regulatory authorization to commence a trial because of safety concerns of regulators relating to our product candidates or similar product candidates of our competitors or failure to follow regulatory guidelines;

 

 

 

delays or failures in obtaining clinical materials and manufacturing sufficient quantities of the product candidates for use in trials;

 

 

 

delays or failures in reaching agreement on acceptable terms with prospective study sites;

 

 

 

delays or failures in obtaining approval of our clinical trial protocol from an institutional review board to conduct a clinical trial at a prospective study site;

 

 

 

delays in recruiting patients to participate in a clinical trial, which may be due to the size of the patient population, eligibility criteria, protocol design, perceived risks and benefits of the drug, availability of other approved and standard of care therapies or, availability of clinical trial sites;

 

 

 

other clinical trials seeking to enroll subjects with similar profile;

 

 

 

failure of our clinical trials and clinical investigators to be in compliance with GCP;

 

 

 

unforeseen safety issues, including negative results from ongoing preclinical studies;

 

 

 

inability to monitor patients adequately during or after treatment;

 

 

 

difficulty recruiting and monitoring multiple study sites;

 

 

 

failure of our third-party contract research organizations, clinical site organizations and other clinical trial managers, to satisfy their contractual duties, comply with regulations or meet expected deadlines; and

 

 

 

an insufficient number of patients who have, or are willing to have, a Medtronic device implanted for monitoring and recording AF burden data.

In addition, any approvals we may obtain may not cover all of the clinical indications for which we seek approval or permit us to make claims of superiority over currently marketed competitive products. Also, an approval might contain significant limitations in the form of narrow indications, warnings, precautions or contraindications with respect to conditions of use. If the FDA determines that a risk evaluation and mitigation strategy, or REMS, is necessary to ensure that the benefits of the drug outweigh the risks, we may be required to include as part of the NDA a proposed REMS that may include a package insert directed to patients, a plan for communication with healthcare providers, restrictions on a drug’s distribution, or a Medication Guide, to provide better information to consumers about the drug’s risks and benefits. Finally, an approval could be conditioned on our commitment to conduct further clinical trials, which we may not have the resources to conduct or which may negatively impact our financial situation.

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The manufacture and tableting of Gencaro is done by third party suppliers, who must also meet cGMP requirements and pass a pre-approval inspection of their facilities before we can obtain marketing approval.

All of our product candidates are prone to the risks of failure inherent in drug development. The results from preclinical animal testing and early human clinical trials may not be predictive of results obtained in later human clinical trials. Further, although a new product may show promising results in preclinical or early human clinical trials, it may subsequently prove unfeasible or impossible to generate sufficient safety and efficacy data to obtain necessary regulatory approvals. The data obtained from preclinical and clinical studies are susceptible to varying interpretations that may delay, limit or prevent regulatory approval, and the FDA and other regulatory authorities in the United States and elsewhere exercise substantial discretion in the drug approval process. The numbers, size and design of preclinical studies and clinical trials that will be required for FDA or other regulatory approval will vary depending on the product candidate, the disease or condition for which the product candidate is intended to be used and the regulations and guidance documents applicable to any particular product candidate. The FDA or other regulators can delay, limit or deny approval of any product candidate for many reasons, including, but not limited to:

 

 

 

side effects;

 

 

 

safety and efficacy;

 

 

 

defects in the design of clinical trials;

 

 

 

the fact that the FDA or other regulatory officials may not approve our or our third party manufacturer’s processes or facilities; or

 

 

 

the fact that new regulations may be enacted by the FDA or other regulators may change their approval policies or adopt new regulations requiring new or different evidence of safety and efficacy for the intended use of a product candidate.

In light of widely publicized events concerning the safety of certain drug products, regulatory authorities, members of Congress, the Government Accountability Office, medical professionals and the general public have raised concerns about potential drug safety issues. These events have resulted in the withdrawal of certain drug products, revisions to certain drug labeling that further limit use of the drug products and establishment of risk management programs that may, for instance, restrict distribution of drug products. The increased attention to drug safety issues may result in a more cautious approach by the FDA to clinical trials and approval. Data from clinical trials may receive greater scrutiny with respect to safety and the product’s risk/benefit profile, which may make the FDA or other regulatory authorities more likely to terminate clinical trials before completion, or require longer or additional clinical trials that may result in substantial additional expense, and a delay or failure in obtaining approval or approval for a more limited indication than originally sought. Aside from issues concerning the quality and sufficiency of submitted preclinical and clinical data, the FDA may be constrained by limited resources from reviewing and determining the approvability of the Gencaro NDA in a timely manner.

In pursuing clinical development of Gencaro for an AF indication, we will be required to amend the Gencaro HF NDA or prepare a new NDA. The FDA could approve Gencaro, but without including some or all of the prescribing information that we have requested. For instance, the FDA could approve Gencaro for AF in a more limited patient population or include additional warnings in the drug’s label. This, in turn, could substantially and detrimentally impact our ability to successfully commercialize Gencaro and effectively protect our intellectual property rights in Gencaro.

If our product candidates receive regulatory approval, we would be subject to ongoing regulatory obligations and restrictions, which may result in significant expenses and limit our ability to develop and commercialize other potential products.

If a product candidate of ours is approved by the FDA or by another regulatory authority, we would be held to extensive regulatory requirements over product manufacturing, testing, distribution, labeling, packaging, adverse event reporting and other reporting to regulatory authorities, storage, advertising, marketing, promotion, distribution, and record keeping. Regulatory approvals may also be subject to significant limitations on the indicated uses or marketing of the product candidates. Potentially costly follow-up or post-marketing clinical studies may be required as a condition of approval to further substantiate safety or efficacy, or to investigate specific issues of interest to the regulatory authority. Previously unknown problems with the product candidate, including adverse events of unanticipated severity or frequency, may result in additional regulatory controls or restrictions on the marketing or use of the product or the need for post marketing studies, and could include suspension or withdrawal of the products from the market.

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Furthermore, our third-party manufacturers and the manufacturing facilities that they use to make our product candidates are regulated by the FDA. Quality control and manufacturing procedures must continue to conform to cGMP after approval. Drug manufacturers and their subcontractors are required to register their facilities and products manufactured annually with the FDA and certain state agencies and are subject to periodic unannounced inspections by the FDA, state and/or other foreign authorities. Any subsequent discovery of problems with a product, or a manufacturing or laboratory facility used by us or our collaborators, may result in restrictions on the product, or on the manufacturing or laboratory facility, including a withdrawal of the drug from the market or suspension of manufacturing. Any changes to an approved product, including the way it is manufactured or promoted, often require FDA approval before the product, as modified, can be marketed. We and our third-party manufacturers will also be subject to ongoing FDA requirements for submission of safety and other post-market information.

The marketing and advertising of our drug products by our collaborators or us will be regulated by the FDA, certain state agencies or foreign regulatory authorities. Violations of these laws and regulations, including promotion of our products for unapproved uses or failing to disclose risk information, are punishable by criminal and civil sanctions and may result in the issuance of enforcement letters or other enforcement action by the FDA, U.S. Department of Justice, state agencies, or foreign regulatory authorities that could jeopardize our ability to market the product.

In addition to the FDA,