Document
FOIA Confidential Treatment Requested by 2seventy bio, Inc.
Pursuant to 17 CFR 200.83

Confidential draft submission submitted to the Securities and Exchange Commission on August 12, 2021.
This draft registration statement has not been filed publicly with the Securities and Exchange Commission and all information contained herein remains confidential.
File No. 001-        
UNITED STATES
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549
FORM 10
GENERAL FORM FOR REGISTRATION OF SECURITIES
PURSUANT TO SECTION 12(b) OR 12(g) OF
THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
2seventy bio, Inc.
(Exact name of Registrant as specified in its charter)
Delaware86-3658454
(State or other jurisdiction of
incorporation or organization)
(I.R.S. Employer
Identification No.)
60 Binney Street
Cambridge, Massachusetts
(Address of principal executive offices)
02142
(Zip Code)
(339) 499-9300
(Registrant's telephone number, including area code)
Securities to be registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
Title of Each Class
to be so Registered
 Name of Each Exchange on which
each class is to be registered
Common Stock, par value $0.0001 per share
 The Nasdaq Stock Market LLC
Securities to be registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: None
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. ☐


FOIA Confidential Treatment Requested by 2seventy bio, Inc.
Pursuant to 17 CFR 200.83
2seventy bio, Inc.
INFORMATION REQUIRED IN REGISTRATION STATEMENT
CROSS-REFERENCE SHEET BETWEEN INFORMATION STATEMENT
AND ITEMS OF FORM 10
Certain information required to be included in this Form 10 is incorporated by reference to specifically identified portions of the body of the information statement filed with this Form 10 as Exhibit 99.1. None of the information contained in the information statement shall be incorporated by reference in this Form 10 or deemed to be a part of this Form 10 unless such information is specifically incorporated by reference.
Item 1.Business.
The information required by this item is contained under the sections of the information statement entitled “Information Statement Summary,“ “Risk Factors,” “Cautionary Statement Concerning Forward-Looking Statements,” “Unaudited Pro Forma Combined Financial Statements,” “Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations,” “Business,” “Certain Relationships and Related Person Transactions,” “Where You Can Find More Information” and “Index to Combined Financial Statements” and the financial statements referenced in the information statement. Those sections are incorporated herein by reference.
Item 1A. Risk Factors.
The information required by this item is contained under the section of the information statement entitled “Risk Factors.” That section is incorporated herein by reference.
Item 2.Financial Information.
The information required by this item is contained under the sections of the information statement entitled “Summary Historical and Unaudited Pro Forma Combined Financial Information,” “Unaudited Pro Forma Combined Financial Statements,” “Capitalization” and “Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations.” Those sections are incorporated herein by reference.
Item 3.Properties.
The information required by this item is contained under the section of the information statement entitled “Business—Facilities.” That section is incorporated herein by reference.
Item 4.Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management.
The information required by this item is contained under the section of the information statement entitled “Security Ownership by Certain Beneficial Owners and Management.” That section is incorporated herein by reference.
Item 5.Directors and Executive Officers.
The information required by this item is contained under the section of the information statement entitled “Management.” That section is incorporated herein by reference.
Item 6.Executive Compensation.
The information required by this item is contained under the section of the information statement entitled “Executive Compensation.” That section is incorporated herein by reference.


FOIA Confidential Treatment Requested by 2seventy bio, Inc.
Pursuant to 17 CFR 200.83
Item 7.Certain Relationships and Related Transactions, and Director Independence.
The information required by this item is contained under the sections of the information statement entitled “Management,” “Executive Compensation” and “Certain Relationships and Related Person Transactions.” Those sections are incorporated herein by reference.
Item 8.Legal Proceedings.
The information required by this item is contained under the section of the information statement entitled “Business.” That section is incorporated herein by reference.
Item 9.Market Price of, and Dividends on, the Registrant's Common Equity and Related Stockholder Matters.
The information required by this item is contained under the sections of the information statement entitled “Risk Factors,” “Dividend Policy,” “Capitalization,” “The Separation and Distribution” and “Description of 2seventy bio's Capital Stock.” Those sections are incorporated herein by reference.
Item 10.Recent Sales of Unregistered Securities.
The information required by this item is contained under the section of the information statement entitled “Description of 2seventy bio's Capital Stock—Sale of Unregistered Securities.” That section is incorporated herein by reference.
Item 11.Description of Registrant's Securities to be Registered.
The information required by this item is contained under the sections of the information statement entitled “Risk Factors,” “Dividend Policy,” “Capitalization,” “The Separation and Distribution” and “Description of 2seventy bio's Capital Stock.” Those sections are incorporated herein by reference.
Item 12.Indemnification of Directors and Officers.
The information required by this item is contained under the section of the information statement entitled “Executive Compensation—Limitations on Liability and Indemnification Maters.” That section is incorporated herein by reference.
Item 13.Financial Statements and Supplementary Data.
The information required by this item is contained under the section of the information statement entitled “Index to Combined Financial Statements” and the financial statements referenced therein. That section is incorporated herein by reference.
Item 14.Changes in and Disagreements with Accountants on Accounting and Financial Disclosure.
None.
Item 15.Financial Statements and Exhibits.
(a)Financial Statements
The information required by this item is contained under the section of the information statement entitled “Index to Combined Financial Statements” and the financial statements referenced therein. That section is incorporated herein by reference.


FOIA Confidential Treatment Requested by 2seventy bio, Inc.
Pursuant to 17 CFR 200.83
(b)Exhibits
The following documents are filed as exhibits hereto:
Exhibit NumberExhibit Description
2.1*Form of Separation Agreement by and between bluebird bio, Inc. and 2seventy bio, Inc.
3.1*Form of Certificate of Incorporation of 2seventy bio, Inc.
3.2*Form of Bylaws of 2seventy bio, Inc.
10.1*Form of Transition Services Agreement by and between bluebird bio, Inc. and 2seventy bio, Inc.
10.2*Form of Transition Services Agreement by and between 2seventy bio, Inc. and bluebird bio, Inc.
10.3*Form of Tax Matters Agreement by and between bluebird bio, Inc. and 2seventy bio, Inc.
10.4*Form of Employee Matters Agreement by and between bluebird bio, Inc. and 2seventy bio, Inc.
10.5*
Form of Intellectual Property License Agreement by and between bluebird bio, Inc. and 2seventy bio, Inc.
10.6*+
Form of Indemnification Agreement between2seventy bio, Inc. and individual directors and officers
10.7*+
Form of 2seventy bio, Inc. 2021 Employee Stock Purchase Plan
10.8*+
Form of 2seventy bio, Inc. 2021 Stock Option and Incentive Plan and forms of award agreement thereunder
99.1Information Statement of 2seventy bio, Inc., preliminary and subject to completion, dated May 11, 2021
99.2*Form of Notice of Internet Availability of Information Statement Materials
_______________
*To be filed by amendment.
+Management contract or compensatory plan or arrangement.


FOIA Confidential Treatment Requested by 2seventy bio, Inc.
Pursuant to 17 CFR 200.83
SIGNATURES
Pursuant to the requirements of Section 12 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, the registrant has duly caused this registration statement to be signed on its behalf by the undersigned, thereunto duly authorized.
2seventy bio, Inc.
By:
 Name:
 Title:
Date:                        , 2021

Document
Exhibit 99.1
Dear bluebird bio, Inc. Stockholder:
In January 2021, we announced a transformative milestone for bluebird bio, Inc.—our intent to separate our oncology portfolio and programs from our severe genetic disease portfolio and programs, thereby creating two independent, publicly traded companies. The strategic objectives of the separation are to unlock value, enhance operational performance and strategic flexibility and tailor the capital structures to best serve these distinct businesses.
We believe the best way to realize the full potential of this separation is for bluebird bio, Inc. and 2seventy bio, Inc. to operate independently, with distinct management teams and boards of directors dedicated to their unique business strategies. Through this separation, we have the potential to create two focused, durable businesses that are well-positioned with the resources, talent and foundation to be industry leaders in their respective fields.
Going forward, bluebird bio, Inc. intends to focus primarily on its programs in severe genetic disease, including betibeglogene autotemcel (beti-cel; formerly LentiGlobin gene therapy for β-thalassemia), LentiGlobin gene therapy for sickle cell disease, and elivaldogene autotemcel (eli-cel; formerly Lenti-D gene therapy for cerebral adrenoleukodystrophy). 2seventy bio, Inc. plans to focus primarily on the discovery and development of novel engineered cell therapies for cancer, including chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) and T cell receptor (TCR) T cell therapies. 2seventy bio, Inc. expects to commercialize idecabtagene vicleucel (ide-cel; being commercialized as Abecma) in the United States and develop bb21217 through its collaboration arrangement with Bristol-Myers Squibb.
Upon completion of the separation, 2seventy bio, Inc. will be spun out of bluebird bio, Inc. and established as an independent, publicly traded company. The separation is anticipated to be tax-free to bluebird bio, Inc. stockholders. Under the terms of the distribution, each bluebird bio, Inc. stockholder will receive one share of 2seventy bio, Inc. common stock for every              shares of bluebird bio, Inc. common stock held of record on          , 2021, the record date for the distribution. You do not need to take any action to receive the common stock of 2seventy bio, Inc. to which you are entitled as a bluebird bio, Inc. stockholder as of the record date.
Please read the attached information statement, which is being shared with all bluebird bio, Inc. stockholders as of the record date for the distribution. It describes the separation in detail and contains important information about bluebird bio, Inc. and 2seventy bio, Inc.
We thank you for your continued support of bluebird bio, Inc.
Sincerely,
Daniel S. Lynch
Chairman of the Board
bluebird bio, Inc.


Exhibit 99.1
Dear Future 2seventy bio, Inc. Stockholder:
On behalf of the entire future 2seventy bio, Inc. team, I am pleased to welcome you as a future stockholder of our new company.
2seventy bio, Inc. will be a cell and gene therapy company focused on the research, development, and commercialization of transformative treatments for cancer. Its programs will be based on chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) technology and T cell receptor technology. At launch, 2seventy bio, Inc.’s programs will include idecabtagene vicleucel; ide-cel, or Abecma, and bb21217, CAR-T cell product candidates for the treatment of multiple myeloma, which are partnered under a collaboration arrangement with Bristol-Myers Squibb. We believe our team’s expertise in T cell engineering technology and lentiviral vector gene delivery approaches, experience in research, development, and manufacturing of cell therapies and a suite of technologies will enable us to develop a pipeline of highly innovative, targeted cellular therapies for patients with cancer.
We have applied to have our common stock listed on the Nasdaq Global Market under the symbol “TSVT” in connection with the distribution of our company’s common stock by bluebird bio, Inc.
I invite you to learn more about 2seventy bio, Inc. by reviewing the enclosed information statement. We look forward to our future as an independent company, and to your support as a 2seventy bio, Inc. stockholder as we begin this new and exciting chapter.
Sincerely,
Nick Leschly
Chief Executive Officer
2seventy bio, Inc.


Exhibit 99.1
Information contained herein is subject to completion or amendment. A Registration Statement on Form 10 relating to these securities has been filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended.
PRELIMINARY AND SUBJECT TO COMPLETION, DATED AUGUST 12, 2021
INFORMATION STATEMENT
2seventy bio, Inc.
This information statement is being furnished to you as a holder of common stock of bluebird bio, Inc. (“bluebird bio”) in connection with the distribution of shares of common stock of 2seventy bio, Inc., or 2seventy bio. 2seventy bio, which is currently a wholly owned subsidiary of bluebird bio, will hold, directly or indirectly, assets and liabilities related to bluebird bio’s oncology portfolio and programs. To implement the distribution, bluebird bio will distribute all of the outstanding shares of 2seventy bio common stock on a pro rata basis to holders of bluebird bio common stock in a manner that is intended to be tax-free to bluebird bio stockholders for U.S. federal income tax purposes.
You will receive            shares of 2seventy bio common stock for every              shares of bluebird bio common stock held of record by you as of the close of business on             , 2021, the record date for the distribution. Holders of bluebird bio common stock will receive cash in lieu of any fractional shares of 2seventy bio common stock that those holders would have received after application of the above ratio. As discussed under “The Separation and Distribution—Trading Between the Record Date and Distribution Date,” if you sell your shares of bluebird bio common stock in the “regular way” market after the record date and before the distribution, you also will be selling your right to receive shares of 2seventy bio common stock in connection with the distribution. 2seventy bio expects that shares of its common stock will be distributed by bluebird bio to you on            , 2021. The date of distribution of 2seventy bio common stock is referred to in this information statement as the “distribution date.”
No vote of bluebird bio stockholders is required for the distribution. Therefore, you are not being asked for a proxy, and you are requested not to send bluebird bio a proxy, in connection with the distribution. You do not need to pay any consideration, exchange or surrender your existing shares of bluebird bio common stock or take any other action to receive your shares of 2seventy bio common stock.
There is no current trading market for 2seventy bio common stock. 2seventy bio expects that a limited market, commonly known as a “when issued” trading market, will develop on or shortly before the record date for the distribution, and that “regular way” trading of 2seventy bio common stock will begin on the first trading day following the completion of the distribution. 2seventy bio has applied for listing of its common stock on the Nasdaq Global Market under the symbol “TSVT”.
We are an “emerging growth company” as that term is used in the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act of 2012, or the JOBS Act. As an emerging growth company, we will be subject to reduced public company reporting requirements.
In reviewing this information statement, you should carefully consider the matters described under the caption “Risk Factors” beginning on page 21.
Neither the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission nor any state securities commission has approved or disapproved these securities or determined if this information statement is truthful or complete. Any representation to the contrary is a criminal offense.
This information statement does not constitute an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy any securities.
A Notice of Internet Availability of Information Statement Materials containing instructions for how to access this information statement is first being mailed to bluebird bio stockholders on or about                 , 2021.
This information statement will be mailed to bluebird bio stockholders who previously elected to receive a paper copy of bluebird bio's materials.
The date of this information statement is                 , 2021.


Exhibit 99.1
TABLE OF CONTENTS
i

Exhibit 99.1
PRESENTATION OF INFORMATION
Except as otherwise indicated or unless the context otherwise requires, the information included in this information statement about 2seventy bio assumes the completion of all of the transactions referred to in this information statement in connection with the separation and distribution.
Unless the context otherwise requires, references in this information statement to the following terms shall have the following respective meanings:
“bluebird bio” refers to bluebird bio, Inc., a Delaware corporation, and its consolidated subsidiaries;
“distribution” refers to the distribution by bluebird bio to bluebird bio stockholders of record as of the record date of all of the outstanding shares of 2seventy bio, as further described in this information statement;
“separation” refers to the separation of bluebird bio's oncology portfolio and programs from bluebird bio's severe genetic disease portfolio and programs, and the creation, as a result of the distribution, of an independent, publicly traded company, 2seventy bio, that holds the oncology portfolio and programs, as further described in this information statement; and
“2seventy bio,” “we,” “us,” “our,” “our company” and “the company” refer to 2seventy bio, Inc., a Delaware corporation, together with its subsidiaries, as the context requires, in each case as they will exist, assuming the completion of all the transactions referred to in this information statement in connection with the separation and the distribution.
This information statement describes the portfolio and programs to be transferred to 2seventy bio by bluebird bio in the separation as if the transferred portfolio and programs were 2seventy bio's portfolio and programs for all historical periods described. References in this information statement to 2seventy bio's historical assets, liabilities, products, businesses or activities of 2seventy bio's portfolio and programs are generally intended to refer to the historical assets, liabilities, products, businesses or activities of the transferred portfolio and programs as they were conducted as part of bluebird bio prior to the separation.
You should not assume that the information contained in this information statement is accurate as of any date other than the date set forth on the cover. Changes to the information contained in this information statement may occur after that date, and we undertake no obligation to update the information, except in the normal course of our public disclosure obligations or as required by applicable law.
Websites described in this information statement and the content therein or connected thereto shall not be deemed incorporated into this information statement.
Explanatory Note
Pursuant to the applicable provisions of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, we are omitting our combined financial statements as of and for the three months ended March 31, 2021 and 2020. While this financial information is otherwise required by Regulation S-X, we reasonably believe that it will not be required to be included in the Registration Statement on Form 10 to which this information statement is an exhibit at the time the securities registered thereby will be distributed. We intend to amend this registration statement to include all financial information required by Regulation S-X prior to mailing a copy of this information statement to bluebird bio’s stockholders.
Trademarks, Trade Names and Service Marks
2seventy bio owns and has rights to use the trademarks, service marks and trade names that it uses in conjunction with the operation of its business, including 2seventy bio, 2seventybio, and 2seventy. In addition,
1

Exhibit 99.1
2seventy bio's trademarks are undergoing examination and registration in the United States and other jurisdictions. 2seventy bio's trademark rights may be limited to select markets. Each trademark, trade name or service mark of any other company appearing in this information statement is, to 2seventy bio's knowledge, owned by such other company.
2

Exhibit 99.1
Industry and Other Data
This information statement contains estimates, projections and other information concerning our industry, our business, and the markets for certain diseases, including data regarding the estimated size of those markets, and the incidence and prevalence of certain medical conditions. Information that is based on estimates, forecasts, projections, market research or similar methodologies is inherently subject to uncertainties and actual events or circumstances may differ materially from events and circumstances reflected in this information. Unless otherwise expressly stated, we obtained this industry, business, market and other data from reports, research surveys, studies and similar data prepared by market research firms and other third parties, industry, medical and general publications, government data and similar sources.
3

Exhibit 99.1
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS ABOUT THE SEPARATION AND DISTRIBUTION
What is 2seventy bio and why is bluebird bio separating 2seventy bio’s portfolio and programs and distributing 2seventy bio's common stock?2seventy bio, which is currently a wholly owned subsidiary of bluebird bio, was formed to hold bluebird bio's oncology portfolio and programs. The separation of 2seventy bio from bluebird bio and the distribution of 2seventy bio common stock are intended to provide you with equity investments in two separate, independent public companies, each of which is able to focus on its respective business strategies. bluebird bio and 2seventy bio believe the separation will enable each business to pursue focused growth and investment strategies in its respective therapeutic areas of expertise resulting in the enhanced long-term performance of each business, as discussed in “The Separation and Distribution—Overview” and “The Separation and Distribution—Reasons for the Separation.”
Why am I receiving this document?bluebird bio is delivering this information statement to you because you are a holder of record of shares of bluebird bio common stock. If you remain a holder of shares of bluebird bio common stock as of the close of business on             , 2021, you will be entitled to receive one share of 2seventy bio common stock for every            shares of bluebird bio common stock that you held of record at the close of business on such date. This information statement will help you understand how the separation will affect your investment in bluebird bio and your investment in 2seventy bio after the distribution.
How will the separation of 2seventy bio from bluebird bio work?
To accomplish the separation, bluebird bio will distribute all of the outstanding shares of 2seventy bio common stock to bluebird bio stockholders on a pro rata basis.
Why is the separation of 2seventy bio structured as a distribution?bluebird bio believes that a tax-free distribution for U.S. federal income tax purposes of shares of 2seventy bio common stock to the bluebird bio stockholders is an efficient way to separate its oncology portfolio and programs in a manner that will create long-term value for bluebird bio, 2seventy bio and their respective stockholders. For more information, see “The Separation and Distribution—Conditions to the Distribution.”
What is the record date for the distribution?The record date for the distribution will be            , 2021.
When will the distribution occur?It is expected that all of the shares of 2seventy bio common stock will be distributed by bluebird bio on            , 2021, to holders of record of bluebird bio common stock as of the close of business on            , 2021. We refer to the date on which shares of 2seventy bio common stock are distributed as the “distribution date.”
4

Exhibit 99.1
What do stockholders need to do to participate in the distribution?
Nothing. Stockholders of bluebird bio as of the record date will not be required to take any action to receive 2seventy bio common stock, but are urged to read this entire information statement carefully. No stockholder approval of the distribution is required or sought. Therefore, you are not being asked for a proxy to vote on the separation, and you are requested not to send us a proxy. You will neither be required to pay anything for the shares of 2seventy bio common stock nor be required to surrender any shares of bluebird bio common stock to participate in the distribution. Please do not send in your bluebird bio stock certificates.
The distribution will not affect the number of outstanding shares of bluebird bio common stock or any rights of bluebird bio stockholders, although it will affect the market value of each outstanding share of bluebird bio common stock. See “Questions and Answers about the Separation and Distribution—Will the distribution affect the market price of my bluebird bio common stock?” for more information.
How will bluebird bio distribute shares of 2seventy bio common stock?
Registered stockholders: If you are a registered stockholder (meaning you hold physical bluebird bio stock certificates or you own your shares of bluebird bio common stock directly through an account with bluebird bio’s transfer agent, American Stock Transfer & Trust, LLC), the distribution agent, American Stock Transfer & Trust Company, LLC, will credit the number of whole shares of 2seventy bio common stock you receive in the distribution to your book-entry account on or shortly after the distribution date, and the distribution agent will mail you a check for any cash in lieu of fractional shares you are entitled to receive.

Street name” or beneficial stockholders: If you own your shares of bluebird bio common stock beneficially through a bank, bluebird bio or other nominee, your bank, broker or other nominee will credit your account with the number of whole shares of 2seventy bio common stock you receive in the distribution on or shortly after the distribution date. Please contact your bank, broker or other nominee for further information about your account.
We will not issue any physical stock certificates to any stockholders receiving shares in the distribution, even if requested. See “The Separation and Distribution—When and How You Will Receive the Distribution” for more information.
5

Exhibit 99.1
How many shares of 2seventy bio common stock will I receive in the distribution?
bluebird bio will distribute to you one share of 2seventy bio common stock for every            shares of bluebird bio common stock you hold of record as of the close of business on            , 2021, the record date. Based on approximately            shares of bluebird bio common stock outstanding as of            , 2021,      , a total of approximately            shares of 2seventy bio common stock will be distributed. For more information, see “The Separation and Distribution—The Number of Shares of 2seventy bio Common Stock You Will Receive.”
Will 2seventy bio issue fractional shares in the distribution?2seventy bio will not distribute fractional shares of its common stock in the distribution. Instead, all fractional shares that bluebird bio registered stockholders would otherwise have been entitled to receive will be aggregated into whole shares and sold in the open market by the distribution agent. We expect the distribution agent, acting on behalf of bluebird bio, to take about two weeks after the distribution date to fully distribute the aggregate net cash proceeds of these sales on a pro rata basis (based on the fractional share such holder would otherwise be entitled to receive) to those stockholders who would otherwise have been entitled to receive fractional shares. Recipients of cash in lieu of fractional shares will not be entitled to any interest on the amounts of payment made in lieu of fractional shares. For more information, see “The Separation and Distribution—The Number of Shares of 2seventy bio Common Stock You Will Receive.”
What are the conditions to the distribution?
The distribution is subject to the satisfaction (or waiver by bluebird bio in its sole discretion) of a number of conditions to be set forth in the separation agreement, including, among others, that bluebird bio will have received a private letter ruling from the Internal Revenue Service, or the IRS, and an opinion from Goodwin Procter LLP, both satisfactory to bluebird bio’s board of directors, together confirming that the distribution, together with certain related transactions, generally is tax-free for U.S. federal income tax purposes under Sections 355 and 368(a)(1)(D) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, or the Code.
bluebird bio and 2seventy bio cannot assure you that any or all of these conditions will be met, and bluebird bio may waive any of these conditions to the distribution. In addition, bluebird bio can determine, at any time, not to proceed with the distribution. For more information, see “The Separation and Distribution—Conditions to the Distribution.”
6

Exhibit 99.1
What is the expected date of completion of the distribution?The completion and timing of the distribution are dependent upon a number of conditions. It is expected that the shares of 2seventy bio common stock will be distributed by bluebird bio on            , 2021 to the holders of record of shares of bluebird bio common stock as of the close of business on the record date. However, no assurance can be provided as to the timing of the distribution or that all conditions to the distribution will be met.
Can bluebird bio decide to cancel the distribution of 2seventy bio common stock even if all the conditions have been met?Yes, until the distribution has occurred, bluebird bio has the right to terminate the distribution, even if all of the conditions are satisfied. See “The Separation and Distribution—Conditions to the Distribution” for more information.
What if I want to sell my bluebird bio common stock or my 2seventy bio common stock?You should consult with your advisors, such as your broker, bank or tax advisor.
What is “regular way” and “ex-distribution” trading of bluebird bio stock?
Beginning on or shortly before the record date and continuing up to and including the distribution date, it is expected that there will be two markets in shares of bluebird bio common stock: a “regular way” market and an “ex-distribution” market. Shares of bluebird bio common stock that trade in the “regular way” market will trade with an entitlement to shares of 2seventy bio common stock distributed pursuant to the distribution. Shares that trade in the “ex-distribution” market will trade without an entitlement to shares of 2seventy bio common stock distributed pursuant to the distribution.
If you hold shares of bluebird bio common stock on the record date and you decide to sell any shares of bluebird bio common stock before the distribution date, you should make sure your broker, bank or other nominee understands whether you want to sell your shares of bluebird bio common stock with or without your entitlement to receive 2seventy bio common stock pursuant to the distribution. See “The Separation and Distribution—Trading Between the Record Date and Distribution Date” for more information.
Where will I be able to trade shares of 2seventy bio common stock?
Currently, there is no public market for 2seventy bio common stock. 2seventy bio has applied to have its common stock authorized for listing on the Nasdaq Global Market under the symbol “TSVT”.
7

Exhibit 99.1
2seventy bio anticipates that trading in shares of its common stock will begin on a “when issued” basis on or shortly before the record date for the distribution and will continue up to and including the distribution date. “When issued” trading in the context of a separation refers to a sale or purchase made conditionally on or before the distribution date because the securities of the separated entity have not yet been distributed. “When issued” trades generally settle within two weeks after the distribution date. On the first trading day following the distribution date, any “when issued” trading of our common stock will end and “regular way” trading will begin. “Regular way” trading refers to trading after the security has been distributed and typically involves a trade that settles on the second full trading day following the date of the trade. See “The Separation and Distribution—Trading Between the Record Date and Distribution Date” for more information. We cannot predict the trading prices for our common stock before, on or after the distribution date.
What will happen to the listing of shares of bluebird bio common stock?Shares of bluebird bio common stock will continue to trade on the Nasdaq Global Select Market after the distribution.
Will the number of shares of bluebird bio common stock that I own change as a result of the distribution?No. The number of shares of bluebird bio common stock that you own will not change as a result of the distribution.
Will the distribution affect the market price of my bluebird bio common stock?
Yes. As a result of the distribution, bluebird bio expects the trading price of shares of bluebird bio common stock immediately following the distribution to be lower than the “regular way” trading price of such shares immediately prior to the distribution because the trading price will no longer reflect the value of the oncology portfolio and programs. Furthermore, as the market assesses bluebird bio following the separation, the trading price of shares of bluebird bio common stock may fluctuate. There can be no assurance that, following the distribution, the combined trading prices of bluebird bio common stock and 2seventy bio common stock will equal or exceed what the trading price of bluebird bio common stock would have been in the absence of the separation, and it is possible the post-distribution combined equity value of bluebird bio and 2seventy bio will be less than bluebird bio’s equity value prior to the distribution.
8

Exhibit 99.1
What are the material U.S. federal income tax consequences of the distribution?
It is a condition to the distribution that bluebird bio receive a private letter ruling from the IRS and an opinion from Goodwin Procter LLP, both satisfactory to bluebird bio’s board of directors, together confirming that the distribution, together with certain related transactions, generally is tax-free for U.S. federal income tax purposes under Sections 355 and 368(a)(1)(D) of the Code. Assuming that the distribution, together with certain related transactions, so qualifies, for U.S. federal income tax purposes, no gain or loss will be recognized by you and no amount will be included in your income upon receipt of shares of 2seventy bio common stock pursuant to the distribution. You will, however, recognize gain or loss for U.S. federal income tax purposes with respect to cash received in lieu of a fractional share of 2seventy bio common stock.
You should consult your own tax advisor as to the particular consequences of the distribution to you, including the applicability and effect of any U.S. federal, state and local tax laws, as well as non-U.S. tax laws. For more information regarding the material U.S. federal income tax consequences of the distribution, see “Material U.S. Federal Income Tax Consequences.”
How will I determine my tax basis in the shares of 2seventy bio common stock I receive in the distribution?
For U.S. federal income tax purposes, your aggregate basis in the common stock that you hold in bluebird bio and the new 2seventy bio common stock received in the distribution (including any fractional share interest in 2seventy bio common stock for which cash is received) will equal the aggregate basis in the shares of bluebird bio common stock held by you immediately before the distribution, allocated between your shares of bluebird bio common stock and 2seventy bio common stock (including any fractional share interest in 2seventy bio common stock for which cash is received) you receive in the distribution in proportion to the relative fair market value of each on the distribution date.
You should consult your own tax advisor as to the particular consequences of the distribution to you, including the application of the tax basis allocation rules and the application of state, local and non-U.S. tax laws.
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Exhibit 99.1
What will 2seventy bio's relationship be with bluebird bio following the distribution?
To effect a decisive and efficient separation into two thriving companies, 2seventy bio intends to enter into a separation agreement and certain other agreements with bluebird bio, including a tax matters agreement, an employee matters agreement, an intellectual property license agreement, a transition services agreement under which we will temporarily receive certain services from bluebird bio and a second transition services agreement under which we will temporarily provide certain services to bluebird bio. These agreements will provide for the separation between bluebird bio and 2seventy bio of the assets, employees, liabilities and obligations (including investments, property and employee benefits) of bluebird bio attributable to periods prior to, at and after the distribution and will govern the relationship between bluebird bio and 2seventy bio subsequent to the completion of the distribution. For additional information regarding the separation agreement and other transaction agreements, see “Risk Factors—Risks Related to the Separation” and “Certain Relationships and Related Person Transactions—Agreements with bluebird bio.”
Who will manage 2seventy bio after the distribution?
2seventy bio will benefit from having in place a management team with a substantial background in the biotechnology business. 2seventy bio's management team possesses deep knowledge of and experience in its industry. 2seventy bio's management team is expected to include Nick Leschly, bluebird bio’s president and chief executive officer who is expected to be 2seventy bio's president and chief executive officer after the distribution, William D. Baird, bluebird bio’s chief financial officer who is expected to be 2seventy bio's chief financial officer after the distribution, and Philip Gregory who is expected to be 2seventy bio’s chief scientific officer after the distribution. For more information regarding bluebird bio’s expected management team and leadership structure, see “Management.”
Are there risks associated with owning 2seventy bio common stock?
Yes. Ownership of 2seventy bio common stock is subject to both general and specific risks related to 2seventy bio’s business, the industry in which it operates, its ongoing relationships with bluebird bio and its status as a separate, publicly traded company. Ownership of 2seventy bio common stock is also subject to risks related to the separation. These risks are described in the “Risk Factors” section of this information statement beginning on page 21. You are encouraged to read that section carefully.
Does 2seventy bio plan to pay dividends?
2seventy bio does not expect to pay a regular cash dividend following the distribution. The payment of any dividends in the future, and the timing and amount thereof, is within the discretion of 2seventy bio's board of directors. See “Dividend Policy.”
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Exhibit 99.1
Who will be the distribution agent, transfer agent and registrar for the 2seventy bio common stock?
The distribution agent, transfer agent and registrar for 2seventy bio common stock will be American Stock Transfer & Trust Company, LLC. For registered holders with questions relating to the transfer or mechanics of the stock distribution, you should contact:
Address:
Tel:
E-mail:
How can I contact bluebird bio or 2seventy bio with any questions?
Before the distribution, if you have any questions relating to bluebird bio or 2seventy bio's business performance, you should contact:
bluebird bio, Inc.
Investor Relations Department
60 Binney Street
Cambridge, MA 02142
Tel: 617-245-2107
E-mail: investor@bluebirdbio.com
After the distribution, 2seventy bio stockholders who have any questions relating to 2seventy bio's business performance should contact 2seventy bio at:
2seventy bio, Inc.
Investor Relations Department
Address:
Tel:
E-mail:
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INFORMATION STATEMENT SUMMARY
The following is a summary of material information discussed in this information statement. This summary may not contain all the details concerning the separation or other information that may be important to you. To better understand the separation and 2seventy bio's business and financial position, you should carefully review this entire information statement, including the risks discussed under “Risk Factors.”
Except as otherwise indicated or unless the context otherwise requires, the information included in this information statement assumes the completion of all of the transactions referred to in this information statement in connection with the separation. Some of the statements in this summary constitute forward-looking statements. See “Cautionary Statement Concerning Forward-Looking Statements.”
Overview
2seventy bio is a cell and gene therapy company focused on the research, development, and commercialization of transformative treatments for cancer. We are led by an accomplished team with significant expertise and experience in this field, from discovery through clinical development to regulatory approval of Abecma (idecabtagene vicleucel, or ide-cel), the first FDA-approved chimeric antigen receptor technology (CAR T) cell therapy for multiple myeloma. Our approach combines our expertise in T cell engineering technology and lentiviral vector gene delivery approaches, experience in research, development, and manufacturing of cell therapies and a suite of technologies that can be selectively deployed to develop highly innovative, targeted cellular therapies for patients with cancer. We are advancing multiple preclinical and clinical programs in oncology and, together with our partner Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS), delivering Abecma to multiple myeloma patients in the United States following approval by the FDA of Abecma in March 2021 for the treatment of adults with multiple myeloma who have received at least four prior lines of therapy, including an immunomodulatory agent, a proteasome inhibitor and an anti-CD38 monoclonal antibody.
In recent years, growing understanding of cancer cell metabolism and genomics, as well as of the body’s immune response to tumor cells, has led to the development of new classes of therapies against cancer targets and pathways that have dramatically reshaped the treatment landscape. The advent of immunotherapy, particularly engineered cell therapies, has offered the potential of moving past the treatment paradigm of maintenance of cancer as a “chronic” disease. However, there remain few curative therapies and, in some settings such as solid tumors, current approaches do not offer significant depth or durability of outcome for most cancer types and patients. Monotherapies have historically been of limited efficacy in cancer, and drugs are typically combined to deliver an outsized effect relative to the action of any of the individual components. One potential advantage of combination therapies is the ability to address the heterogeneity of single target expression and/or mechanisms for relapse and resistance specific to a particular mechanism or target.
While medicines such as Abecma have highlighted the power of first-generation CAR T cell therapy by achieving previously unobtainable levels of efficacy in the late line setting, we believe that to be broadly successful in the treatment of cancer, a combination therapy approach is necessary, and that our multiplex approach to next-generation autologous cellular therapy, which allows multiple encoded mechanisms of action to be delivered within a single drug product, represents an attractive solution. Based on our experience in the research and development of Abecma, we believe we can develop next-generation, engineered cell therapies to bring new options to patients suffering from a broad range of different tumor types.
In designing our next-generation product candidates, we aim to address the limitations of first-generation T cell therapies by augmenting them with additional technologies. Our approach is to create multiplex engineered cell therapies by combining: (1) CAR and T cell receptor technology, which programs T cells to recognize and kill cancer cells based on the cell surface expression or presentation of intracellular protein targets, respectively; (2) dual-targeting CAR architecture for multi-target tumor cell recognition; (3) our core lentiviral gene transfer technology which delivers these genetic cargos (and more) to program a patient’s own T cells to the kill the cancer cells; (4) our megaTAL-based gene editing technology which allows us to perform site specific gene addition or deletion from the genome to improve the properties of the T cell; and (5) genetically encoded technologies for
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engineering T cells to enhance the cytotoxic activity and reprogram the tumor microenvironment for more effective anti-tumor responses.
Our Strategy
Our strategy is to apply our broad range of technologies to design multiplex product candidates that address the key treatment challenges in cancer. Unlike other oncology-focused companies in our space, we believe our breadth of technology enables us to develop tailored products focused on the specific areas of cancer biology we have identified. We selectively combine the relevant features and components from our range of tools and technologies to address the defined attributes of a cellular therapy necessary for anti-tumor effect.
To execute on our strategy, we plan to:
Commercialize Abecma and develop bb21217 through our collaboration with BMS, the learnings from which allow us to leverage our clinical experience and product revenue stream to further invest in our next-generation proprietary programs.
Leverage our leadership position in autologous CAR T therapies to advance into the clinic our next-generation programs in B cell non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, acute myeloid leukemia, and multiple myeloma.
Apply our multiplex approach to the discovery and design of transformative cell and gene therapy products for the treatment of solid tumors.
Seek to extend our approach to other cell types beyond T cells and to include allogeneic approaches, as we gain additional experience in our autologous T cell programs.
Build upon our existing internal lentiviral vector manufacturing know-how and experience through selective investments in manufacturing collaborations and expanding our internal capabilities over time, with the objectives of enabling rapid iteration on clinical learnings into research and development, increasing the efficiency of manufacturing processes, and improving the overall patient and healthcare professional experience.
Our Technologies
Our oncology programs use a lentiviral vector to deliver the genetic cargo necessary to program a patient’s own T cells to recognize specific proteins or protein fragments on the surface of cancer cells to kill the cancer cells. Our current programs are based on CAR technology to program T cells to recognize cancer cells based on expression of specific cell surface antigens, and T cell receptor technology to program T cells to recognize cancer cells based on protein fragments derived from either intracellular or extracellular proteins displayed on the tumor cell surface. The genetically engineered T cells are designed to supplement a patient’s immune system and may be further engineered to overcome immune evasion mechanisms employed by cancer cells. Our approach is to create multiplex engineered cell therapies by combining our foundational lentiviral vector and CAR/T cell receptor (TCR) technology with next-generation tools to address the challenges in existing cancer treatments.
Dual-Targeting Polyclonal responses are a hallmark of adaptive immunity, but most T cell therapies have been devised with antigen receptors specific to a single target antigen. There are now many documented cases of cancer deploying its intrinsic genetic plasticity to escape mono-targeted T cell therapies (both with cellular and more classical modalities, such as small molecules and antibodies). In such cases, our solution is to utilize a dual-targeting antigen receptor, including a multi-chain, dual-targeting architecture that is able to respond when either target antigen is present on a cancer cell, as well as an architecture that leverages the unique properties of humanized single-domain camelid-derived antibodies.
DARIC. We have developed a pharmacologically-regulated split antigen receptor architecture, which we refer to as DARIC, that comprises separate antigen targeting and signal transduction componentry. DARIC
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receptors become poised for anti-tumor function only when the two components are brought together as heterodimers, a process that is strictly dependent on the bridging function of the drug rapamycin. This technology enables pharmacological, ‘on-demand’ control of engineered T cell responses. Controlling the ‘on’ and ‘off’ states of engineered T cells also creates opportunities to pursue cancers and cancer targets with disease characteristics and expression profiles that are incompatible with constitutively responsive antigen receptors.
Reversal of immunosuppression. Patients who present in the clinic with advanced metastatic disease are host to tumors that have evolved to evade endogenous immunity via a variety of mechanisms. Tumor infiltrating T cells lose potency over time due to repetitive antigen stimulation and exhaustion in a tumor microenvironment that suppresses T cell function. Checkpoint engagement, hypoxia, poor nutrient conditions, and exposure to immunosuppressive cell types and cytokines all significantly blunt T cell potency and thwart attempts to regress tumors in clinically meaningful ways. We have developed a suite of synthetic biology innovations that antagonize and rewire immunosuppressive signaling and response pathways. We have focused significant attention on transforming growth factor beta (TGFβ), a profoundly immunosuppressive cytokine found at high levels in many solid tumors. Our chimeric TGFβ flip receptor (CTBR) technology converts this suppressive signal into a supportive interleukin receptor signal that enhances T cell function. Suppressive to enhancing signal conversion operates in a localized, engineered T cell intrinsic manner, enhancing potency within the microenvironment of the tumor where the highest concentrations of activated TGFβ ligand are present. We have also developed several approaches to modulate T cell metabolism to allow for enhanced function and potency in the metabolically challenging tumor microenvironment.
Co-stimulation. Parallel track costimulatory domains, also known as chimeric costimulatory receptors, offer a unique set of functional attributes that culminate in enhanced anti-tumor activity. This technology pairs enhanced targeting breadth with a qualitatively distinct and more potent functional response, simultaneously countering two potential mechanisms of resistance.
Gene editing. megaTALs are highly specific, compact nucleases that efficiently catalyze the formation and mutagenic resolution of double-stranded breaks at pre-specified genetic target sequences. Using our megaTAL gene editing platform, we have demonstrated that disrupting genes that intersect with T cell signaling and response pathways can promote more potent immune responses. In addition, we have developed a full suite of on-target editing assays, functional bioassays, and off-target discovery and verification analytics to deeply characterize gene editing events and their functional consequences in target cells enabling the potential application of this technology in the clinical setting.
mRNA capabilities. We have also developed messenger RNA (mRNA) capabilities that enable transient gene expression, both in cells cultured ex vivo and for organ-specific in vivo delivery. We manufacture mRNA starting from a proprietary plasmid template outfitted with an encoded poly-A tract, an approach that results in highly homogenous mRNA species following in vitro transcription. Our purification process includes double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) depletion steps to minimize immunogenicity and optimize cell viability. A robust suite of analytical assays is in place to ensure that consistently pure and potent material is generated. We have developed clinical-scale electroporation processes for ex vivo mRNA delivery and are actively using these processes to improve T cell potency via our megaTAL gene editing platform. This technology can potentially be further leveraged to transiently express other factors that may be advantageous to ex vivo manufactured T cells.
Cellular chassis. Beyond genetic modifications we are also developing approaches aimed at selecting for or enriching distinct cell types for tumor targeting that may be broadly applicable to both autologous and allogeneic settings. For instance, our bb21217 program utilizes a PI3K-inhibiting small molecule to enrich for memory-like T cells with the goal of extending the durability of action of our CAR T cells for multiple myeloma. In addition, we have developed approaches for the selection, transduction and expansion of gamma delta T cells. We believe gamma delta T cells may be useful in the allogeneic setting due to the absence of alloreactivity or graft-versus-host disease while demonstrating potent anti-tumor activity.
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Further, we continue to invest in our core foundational technologies and build upon our leadership position in autologous engineered cell therapy products based on CAR and TCR approaches:
Next-generation lentiviral vector design. With decades of experience in this technology, we have extensively refined the componentry and methodology behind lentiviral vector design and manufacturing. Our transfer plasmid design elements include several innovations that have created advanced gene expression tuning capabilities and the delivery of large and complex genetic payloads via transgene stacking. We have developed proprietary codon optimization algorithms, promoter variants, and regulatory elements that together enable constitutive and/or responsive expression profiles across a range of transgene expression levels. These mature capabilities enable highly efficient transfer of sophisticated genetic modules, such as the multiplex product concepts represented by our next-generation programs.
Target selection and validation. Cancer targets with profiles that make them appropriate for cell therapy development have diverse structural features, biochemical properties, and sub-cellular distribution characteristics. To support novel target identification, we have developed significant in-house expertise and external collaborations in the areas of data mining, functional genomics, and primary tissue analysis. We have also built a full suite of target validation assays to perform confirmatory studies assessing tumor and normal tissue expression properties. In addition, we have developed significant internal expertise specific to the de-risking of potential off-target liabilities of TCR engineered T cells. We have focused the bulk of our efforts on select hematological and solid tumor indications. This approach allows us to deeply interrogate the target landscape in cancers where T cell therapies may have the highest potential for technical success.
Receptor engineering. We have access to state-of-the-art binder capabilities through our collaboration arrangements that cover the full range of potential cancer targets. For intracellular targets of interest, our partners develop TCRs and fully humanized ‘peptide-in-groove’ (PiG) scFv reagents. For surface proteins, we have multiple providers of immunization-sourced, fully humanized scFv and single-domain reagents.
Manufacturing process innovations. Our analytical development, clinical bioassays, correlative research, and data sciences teams have unique access to clinical trial data using CAR T therapies. We are continuously interrogating these data sets to isolate key manufacturing variables and correlates of clinical signals that enable hypothesis testing. These activities derive insights that inform process research directions for optimizing T cell manufacturing through reagents, processes, and culture timing, and for the discovery of underlying biological relationships between clinical and correlative data.
Summary of Risk Factors
An investment in 2seventy bio’s common stock is subject to a number of risks, including risks related to our business, risks related to the separation and risks related to our common stock. The following list of risk factors is not exhaustive. Please read the information in the section captioned “Risk Factors” for a more thorough description of these and other risks.
Risks Related to Our Business
Because we have a limited operating history, valuing our business and predicting our prospects is challenging.
Our business has incurred significant losses and we anticipate that we will continue to incur significant losses for the foreseeable future.
We will need to raise additional funding to advance our product candidates, which may not be available on acceptable terms, or at all.
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Research and development of biopharmaceutical products is inherently risky. We may encounter substantial delays in our clinical studies, or we may fail to demonstrate safety and efficacy to the satisfaction of applicable regulatory authorities.
If we encounter difficulties in enrolling subjects in our clinical studies, we could be delayed or prevented from proceeding with clinical trials of our product candidates.
If the market opportunities for our approved product, Abecma, or any future products are smaller than we believe they are, and if we are not able to successfully identify patients and achieve significant market share, our revenues may be adversely affected and our business may suffer.
We cannot predict when or if we will obtain marketing approval to commercialize our product candidates, and the marketing approval of our product and any future products may ultimately be for more narrow indications than we expect.
Delays in the commencement and completion of clinical trials could increase costs and delay or prevent regulatory approval and commercialization of our product candidates.
If our product candidates are ultimately not approved for any reason, our business, prospects, results of operations and financial condition would be adversely affected.
Patients receiving T cell-based immunotherapies, such as Abecma or bb21217 in ongoing clinical trials, may experience serious adverse events, including neurotoxicity and cytokine release syndrome.
Negative public opinion and increased regulatory scrutiny of gene therapy and genetic research may damage public perception of our product and any future product candidates.
We may not be successful in our efforts to identify or discover additional product candidates.
We are dependent on BMS for the successful commercialization of Abecma and successful development of bb21217.
Obtaining and maintaining regulatory approval of our product candidates in one jurisdiction does not mean that we will be successful in obtaining regulatory approval of our product candidates in other jurisdictions.
We rely on third parties to conduct some or all aspects of our lentiviral vector production, drug product manufacturing, and testing, and these third parties may not perform satisfactorily.
We may not be successful in obtaining or maintaining necessary rights to gene therapy product components and processes for our development pipeline through acquisitions and in-licenses.
We have limited experience as a commercial company and the marketing and sale any future approved drugs may be unsuccessful or less successful than anticipated.
We are subject, directly or indirectly, to federal and state healthcare fraud and abuse laws, false claims laws and health information privacy and security laws.
Even if we obtain regulatory approval for our product candidates, our product candidates may not achieve broad market acceptance by patients, physicians, healthcare payors or others in the medical community, which would limit the revenue that we generate from their sales.
We face intense competition and rapid technological change and the possibility that our competitors may develop therapies that are more advanced or effective than ours, which may adversely affect our financial condition and our ability to successfully commercialize our product and any future products.
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Our prospects for success depend on our ability to retain our management team and to attract, retain and motivate qualified personnel.
We will need to expand our organization and we may experience difficulties in managing this growth, which could disrupt our operations.
Risks Related to the Separation
We may not achieve some or all of the expected benefits of the separation, and the separation could harm our business, prospects, financial condition and results of operations.
We have no history of operating as an independent company, and we expect to incur increased administrative and other costs following the separation by virtue of our status as an independent public company.
The separation may impede our ability to attract and retain key personnel, which could materially harm our business.
The separation may result in disruptions to, and harm our relationships with, our strategic business partners.
If the distribution, together with certain related transactions, does not qualify as a transaction that is tax-free for U.S. federal income tax purposes, bluebird bio and its stockholders could be subject to significant tax liabilities, and we could be required to indemnify bluebird bio for material taxes pursuant to indemnification obligations under the tax matters agreement.
We may not be able to engage in attractive strategic or capital-raising transactions following the separation.
Our agreements with bluebird bio may not reflect terms that would have resulted from negotiations with unaffiliated third parties.
The combined post-separation value of bluebird bio and our common stock may not equal or exceed the pre-separation value of bluebird bio common stock.
If the distribution occurs and you do not want to receive our common stock in the distribution, your sole recourse will be to divest yourself of your bluebird bio common stock prior to the record date.
The Separation and Distribution
In January 2021, bluebird bio announced its plans to separate its oncology portfolio and programs from its severe genetic disease portfolio and programs, and spin off its oncology portfolio and programs into a separate publicly traded company. The distribution is generally intended to be tax-free for U.S. federal income tax purposes to bluebird bio stockholders. See “The Separation and Distribution—Conditions to the Distribution” for more information.
In furtherance of this plan, on                        , 2021, bluebird bio’s board of directors approved the distribution of all of the issued and outstanding shares of 2seventy bio common stock on the basis of              shares of 2seventy bio common stock for every             shares of bluebird bio common stock issued and outstanding on                        , 2021, the record date for the distribution. As a result of the distribution, 2seventy bio will become an independent, publicly traded company.
Immediately following the distribution, we estimate that           shares of 2seventy bio common stock will be issued and outstanding based on the number of shares of bluebird bio common stock outstanding as of           , 2021. The actual number of shares of 2seventy bio common stock issued in the distribution will be determined on              , 2021, the record date.
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2seventy bio's Post-Distribution Relationship with bluebird bio
2seventy bio intends to enter into a separation agreement with bluebird bio, which is referred to in this information statement as the “separation agreement,” and various other agreements with bluebird bio, including a tax matters agreement, an employee matters agreement, an intellectual property license agreement, a transition services agreement under which we will temporarily receive certain services from bluebird bio and a second transition services agreement under which we will temporarily provide certain services to bluebird bio. These agreements will effectuate the separation and govern 2seventy bio's relationship with bluebird bio after the distribution. These agreements will provide for the allocation between bluebird bio and 2seventy bio of bluebird bio’s assets, employees, liabilities and obligations (including investments, property and employee benefits and tax-related assets and liabilities) attributable to periods prior to and after 2seventy bio's separation from bluebird bio. These agreements will also govern certain relationships between bluebird bio and 2seventy bio after the separation. For additional information regarding the separation agreement and the other related agreements, see “Risk Factors—Risks Related to the Separation” and “Certain Relationships and Related Person Transactions—Agreements with bluebird bio.”
Reasons for the Separation
The bluebird bio board of directors believes that separating its oncology portfolio and programs from its severe genetic disease portfolio and programs is in the best interests of bluebird bio and its stockholders for a number of reasons, including that:
the separation will allow each business to pursue its own operational and strategic priorities and more quickly respond to trends, developments and opportunities in its respective markets;
the separation will create two separate and distinct management teams focused on each business's unique strategic priorities, target markets and corporate development opportunities;
the separation will give each business opportunity and flexibility by pursuing its own investment, capital allocation and growth strategies consistent with its long-term objectives;
the separation will enable the boards and management teams of each business to better align corporate performance goals with the specific vision, strategy, and objectives of each business; and
the separation will allow investors to separately value each business based on the unique merits, performance and future prospects of each business, providing investors with two distinct investment opportunities.
The bluebird bio board of directors considered a number of other factors in evaluating the separation, including risks relating to the creation of a stand-alone company and possible increased overall costs as well as one-time separation costs, but concluded that the potential benefits of the separation outweighed these factors. For more information, see “The Separation and Distribution—Reasons for the Separation” and “Risk Factors” included elsewhere in this information statement.
Corporate Information
2seventy bio, Inc. was incorporated in the State of Delaware on April 26, 2021 for the purpose of holding bluebird bio’s oncology portfolio and programs in connection with the separation described in this information statement. The contribution of the oncology portfolio and programs to 2seventy bio is occurring over a period of time prior to the distribution, and 2seventy bio will have no operations prior to such contribution. At the time of the distribution, the address of 2seventy bio's principal executive offices will be             . 2seventy bio's telephone number will be            . 2seventy bio will also maintain a website at            .
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Reason for Furnishing this Information Statement
This information statement is being furnished solely to provide information to stockholders of bluebird bio who will receive shares of 2seventy bio common stock in the distribution. It is not, and is not to be construed as, an inducement or encouragement to buy or sell any of 2seventy bio's securities.
Implications of Being an Emerging Growth Company
2seventy bio qualifies as an “emerging growth company” as defined in the JOBS Act. As an emerging growth company, we may take advantage of specified reduced disclosure and other obligations that are otherwise applicable generally to public companies. These may include the following:
reduced disclosure obligations regarding executive compensation in our periodic reports, proxy statements and registration statements;
exemption from the requirements for holding a non-binding advisory vote on executive compensation or golden parachute arrangements;
extended transition period for complying with new or revised accounting standards; and
exemption from the auditor attestation requirement in the assessment of our internal control over financial reporting.
We may take advantage of these provisions for up to five years or such earlier time that we are no longer an emerging growth company. We will cease to be an emerging growth company on the date that is the earliest of (i) the last day of the fiscal year in which we have total gross annual revenues of $1.07 billion or more; (ii) the last day of our fiscal year following the fifth anniversary of the date of the distribution; (iii) the date on which we have issued more than $1 billion in nonconvertible debt during the previous three years; or (iv) the date on which we are deemed to be a large accelerated filer under the rules of the SEC.
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SUMMARY HISTORICAL AND UNAUDITED PRO FORMA COMBINED
FINANCIAL INFORMATION
The following table presents our summary historical and unaudited pro forma combined financial information. We derived the summary historical combined financial data as of December 31, 2020 and 2019 and for the years ended December 31, 2020, 2019 and 2018 from our audited combined financial statements included elsewhere in this information statement.
The summary historical combined financial data includes certain expenses of bluebird bio that were allocated to us for certain corporate functions, including senior management, legal, human resources, finance and information technology. These costs may not be representative of the future costs we will incur as an independent, publicly traded company. In addition, our historical financial information does not reflect changes that we expect to experience in the future as a result of our separation from bluebird bio, including changes in our cost structure, personnel needs, tax structure, capital structure, financing and business operations.
The following unaudited pro forma combined statement of operations for the year ended December 31, 2020 gives effect to the separation as if it had occurred on January 1, 2020. The following unaudited pro forma combined balance sheet as of December 31, 2020 gives effect to the separation as if it had occurred on December 31, 2020. The unaudited pro forma adjustments are based on assumptions that management believes are reasonable under the circumstances and given the information available at this time. Refer to the notes to the unaudited pro forma combined financial statements included elsewhere in this information statement for a discussion of adjustments reflected in the unaudited pro forma combined financial statements. Consequently, the financial information included here may not necessarily reflect our financial position, results of operations and cash flows in the future or what our financial position, results of operations and cash flows would have been had we been an independent, publicly traded company during the periods presented.
For a better understanding of the financial information included here, this section should be read in conjunction with the discussion in "Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations" and the "Unaudited Pro Forma Combined Financial Statements" and corresponding notes, and the audited combined financial statements and corresponding notes included elsewhere in this information statement.
Year ended December 31,
(in thousands)
Pro Forma
2020
202020192018
Statement of Operations:
Total revenues$248,122 $44,296 $54,579 
Research and development expense296,467 297,645 200,490 
Selling, general and administrative expense
90,897 81,646 53,631 
Net loss
(120,114)(320,594)(199,749)

As of December 31,
(in thousands)
Pro Forma
2020
20202019
Balance Sheet:
Total assets$312,620 $314,949 
Total current liabilities75,868 103,397 
Total liabilities
237,991 271,257 

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RISK FACTORS
You should consider carefully the following risks and conditions, together with all the other information in this information statement, including our financial statements and notes thereto, when evaluating our common stock. The impact from these risks and conditions may be materially adverse to our business, prospects, financial condition and results of operations. The risks described below are not the only risks we face. Additional risks and uncertainties not currently known to us or those we currently view to be immaterial also may materially harm our business, prospects, financial condition and results of operations. As a result, the trading price of our common stock could decline, which could decrease the value of the shares you hold.
Our business may be materially and adversely affected by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic has had, and will likely continue to have, an impact on various aspects of our business and that of third parties on which we rely. The extent to which the COVID-19 pandemic impacts our business will depend in part on future developments, which are uncertain and unpredictable in nature.
In December 2019, a novel strain of coronavirus (COVID-19) was reported and in March 2020, the World Health Organization characterized COVID-19 as a pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic, which has continued to spread, and the related adverse public health developments, including orders to shelter-in-place, travel restrictions, and the imposition of additional requirements on businesses, have adversely affected workforces, organizations, healthcare communities, economies, and financial markets globally, leading to an economic downturn and increased market volatility. It has also disrupted the normal operations of businesses across industries, including ours. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are experiencing disruptions in our operations and business, and those of third parties upon whom we rely. We cannot reasonably assess or predict at this time the full extent of the negative impact that the COVID-19 pandemic and related effects may have on our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows. We expect to continue experiencing these disruptions in our operations and those of our third parties for an unknown period of time, as the trajectory of the COVID-19 pandemic remains uncertain and continues to evolve in the United States and globally. These impacts, which may materially and adversely affect our business, include the following:
We currently rely on BMS to continue to develop, manufacture, and commercialize Abecma, including conducting ongoing clinical studies. The COVID-19 pandemic has had, and will likely continue to have, an impact on various aspects of BMS’s development and commercialization efforts. For example, policies at various clinical sites and federal, state, local and foreign laws, rules and regulations are continuing to evolve, including through the implementation of quarantines and travel restrictions, and direction of healthcare resources toward pandemic response efforts. Additionally, BMS and third parties in its supply chain may be subject to restrictions in operations arising from the COVID-19 pandemic and have experienced operational disruptions, which may affect activities necessary for the continued research, development, and commercialization efforts. Uncertainty as to when normal clinical study enrollment and patient treatment activities will resume may continue to affect BMS’s operations. It is unknown how long these disruptions could continue.
Health regulatory agencies globally may experience disruptions in their operations as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The FDA and comparable foreign regulatory agencies may have slower response times or lack resources to continue to monitor our clinical studies or to engage in other activities related to review of regulatory submissions in drug development. As a result, review, inspection, and other timelines may be materially delayed for an unknown period of time.
We have implemented policies at our locations to mitigate the risk of exposure to COVID-19 by our personnel, including restrictions on the number of staff in any given research and development laboratory or manufacturing facility, a work-from-home policy applicable to the majority of our personnel, and a phased approach to bringing personnel back to our locations over time. Our increased reliance on personnel working from home may negatively impact productivity, or disrupt, delay, or otherwise adversely impact our business. In addition, this could increase our cyber security risk, create data accessibility concerns, and make us more susceptible to communication disruptions, any of which could adversely impact our business
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operations or delay necessary interactions with local and federal regulators, ethics committees, manufacturing sites, research or clinical study sites and other important agencies and contractors. Furthermore, since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, our employees and contractors conducting research and development activities have been limited in the activities that they may conduct, and will continue to be subject to policies restricting access to our laboratories for an extended period of time. As a result, this could delay timely completion of preclinical activities, including completing Investigational New Drug-enabling studies or our ability to select future development candidates, and initiation of additional clinical trials for our development programs.
The trading prices for shares of biopharmaceutical companies have been highly volatile as a result of the economic volatility and uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, we may face difficulties raising capital through sales of shares of our common stock or such sales may be on unfavorable terms. In addition, a recession, depression or other sustained adverse market event resulting from the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic will materially and adversely affect our business, the value of our common stock, and our ability to operate under our operating plan and execute our strategy.
The extent of the impacts described above will depend on numerous evolving factors that we may not be able to accurately predict, including:
the duration, severity, and scope of the pandemic in the United States and globally;
the effectiveness of governmental, business and individuals’ protocols and actions that have been and continue to be taken in response to the pandemic;
the impact of the pandemic on economic activity and actions taken in response;
the effect on patients, healthcare providers and business partners;
demand for our products, including as a result of reduced patient visits to healthcare providers, travel restrictions, social distancing, quarantines and other containment measures;
the ability to obtain or deliver sufficient and timely supplies, given the disruptions to the production capabilities of manufacturers and suppliers of Abecma, particularly with respect to the priority given to the development and manufacture of COVID-19 vaccines;
our access to the debt and equity markets on satisfactory terms, or at all;
disruptions in regulatory oversight and actions, as a result of significant and unexpected resources expended to address the COVID-19 by regulators and industry professionals; and
any closures of our and our partners’ offices, operations and facilities.
The ultimate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our business operations is highly uncertain and subject to change and will depend on future developments which are difficult to predict, including the duration of the pandemic, the ultimate geographic spread of the disease, additional or modified government actions, new information that will emerge concerning the severity and impact of COVID-19 and other actions taken to contain or address its impact in the short and long term, among others. We do not yet know the full extent of potential delays or impacts on our business, our commercialization efforts, our clinical studies, our research programs, healthcare systems or the global economy, and if the ultimate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting uncertain economic and healthcare environment is more severe than we anticipated, we may not be able to execute on our current operating plan or on our strategy. If the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic and the associated period of business and social restrictions and economic uncertainty is longer than we anticipated, our cash, cash equivalents, and marketable securities may not be sufficient to fund the activities under our operating plan for the time period that we anticipated, and we may be required to revise our operating plan. To the extent the COVID-19 pandemic
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adversely affects our business and financial results, it may also have the effect of heightening many of the other risks described in this “Risk Factors” section.
Risks Related to Our Financial Position and Capital Needs
Because we have a limited operating history, valuing our business and predicting our prospects is challenging.
We were incorporated in April 2021. Although our business was conducted within bluebird bio prior to that time, we have no history as an independent company. We are developing an oncology pipeline of cell and gene therapies for cancer, the first of which, Abecma (ide-cel), was approved by FDA in March 2021. FDA granted approval of Abecma to Bristol Myers Squibb, bluebird bio’s co-development partner, and although we intend to jointly commercialize this product with Bristol Myers Squibb through our co-development and co-promotion arrangement, we have never recognized revenue from product sales. Our operating activities to date have been limited primarily to organizing and staffing our company, business planning, raising capital, developing our technology, identifying potential product candidates and conducting a clinical trial of our most advanced product candidate, investigational B-cell maturation antigen (BCMA) directed chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell therapy, bb21217.
To date, we have not engaged, on our own or through a third party, in commercial scale manufacturing of the lentiviral vector for Abecma, or conducted significant sales and marketing activities necessary for the commercialization of Abecma or obtained marketing approval of any of our other product candidates. Our short operating history offers limited insight into our prospects for success or even viability and we expect our operating results to be subject to frequent fluctuations. We will encounter challenges frequently experienced by early-stage biopharmaceutical companies in rapidly evolving fields, and we have not yet demonstrated an ability to successfully navigate such challenges. If we do not address the challenges we face successfully, our business, prospects, financial condition and results of operations will be materially harmed.
Our business has incurred significant losses and we anticipate that we will continue to incur significant losses for the foreseeable future. We have never recognized revenue from product sales and may never be profitable.
Our business has incurred operating losses due to costs incurred in connection with our research and development activities and general and administrative expenses associated with our operations. Our net losses (on a carve-out basis) for the years ended December 31, 2019 and 2020 were $320.6 million and $120.1 million, respectively. We expect to incur significant losses for several years, as we continue our research activities and conduct development of, and seek regulatory approvals for, our product candidates.
The amount of our future net losses will depend, in part, on the rate of our future expenditures and our ability to recognize revenues. We have devoted significant financial resources to research and development, including our clinical and preclinical development activities, which we expect to continue for the foreseeable future. Following marketing approval, our future revenues will depend upon the size of any markets in which our product and any future products have received approval, and our ability to achieve sufficient market acceptance, reimbursement from third-party payors and adequate market share for our product and any future products in those markets.
We expect to continue to incur significant expenses and increasing operating losses for the foreseeable future. We anticipate that our expenses will increase substantially if and as we:
continue our research and preclinical and clinical development of our product candidates, including any additional clinical trials of Abecma, which we are co-developing with BMS;
conduct commercialization activities for Abecma, which we are co-promoting with BMS;
obtain, build and expand manufacturing capacity, including capacity at third-party manufacturers;
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initiate additional research, preclinical, clinical or other programs as we seek to identify and validate additional product candidates;
acquire or in-license other product candidates and technologies;
maintain, protect and expand our intellectual property portfolio;
attract and retain skilled personnel; and
experience any delays or encounter issues with any of the above.
We expect to continue to incur significant losses for the foreseeable future. Our expenses could increase beyond expectations if we are required by the FDA, the European Medicines Agency, or the EMA, or other regulatory agencies, domestic or foreign, to perform clinical and other studies in addition to those that we currently anticipate. Even though Abecma has been approved by the FDA, and even if one or more of the product candidates that we develop is approved for commercial sale, we may never recognize revenue in amounts sufficient to achieve and maintain profitability. The net losses we incur may fluctuate significantly from quarter to quarter and year to year, such that a period-to-period comparison of our results of operations may not be a good indication of our future performance. In any particular quarter or quarters, our operating results could be below the expectations of securities analysts or investors, which could cause our stock price to decline.
We will need to raise additional funding to advance our product candidates, which may not be available on acceptable terms, or at all. Failure to obtain capital when needed may force us to delay, limit or terminate our product development efforts or other operations. Raising additional capital may dilute our existing stockholders, restrict our operations or cause us to relinquish valuable rights.
Following the completion of the separation, we expect that our cash and cash equivalents will be $          million. Our management believes that our cash and cash equivalents at the time of separation will be sufficient to fund our current operating plan through          .
We will require significant additional funding to advance our product candidates, alone or with strategic partners, through clinical studies and to seek marketing approval, as well as to continue advancing our research and development efforts with our other product candidates. We may also need to raise additional funds sooner than currently anticipated if we choose to pursue additional indications or geographies for our product candidates, identify additional product candidates to advance through clinical development or otherwise expand more rapidly than we presently anticipate. In addition, if we obtain marketing approval for any of our product candidates, we expect to incur significant expenses related to product sales, medical affairs, marketing, manufacturing and distribution.
Any additional fundraising efforts may divert our management from their day-to-day activities, which may adversely affect our ability to develop and commercialize our approved product and product candidates. In addition, we cannot guarantee that financing will be available in sufficient amounts or on terms acceptable to us, if at all. Moreover, the terms of any financing may adversely affect the holdings or the rights of our stockholders and the issuance of additional securities, whether equity or debt, by us, or the possibility of such issuance, may cause the market price of our shares to decline. The sale of additional equity or convertible securities would dilute all of our stockholders. The incurrence of indebtedness would result in increased fixed payment obligations and we may be required to agree to certain restrictive covenants, such as limitations on our ability to incur additional debt, limitations on our ability to acquire, sell or license intellectual property rights and other operating restrictions that could adversely impact our ability to conduct our business. We could also be required to seek funds through arrangements with collaborative partners or otherwise at an earlier stage than otherwise would be desirable and we may be required to relinquish rights to some of our technologies or product candidates or otherwise agree to terms unfavorable to us, any of which may have a material adverse effect on our business, operating results and prospects. Regardless of the terms of our debt or equity financing, our agreements and obligations under the tax matters agreement with bluebird bio may limit our ability to issue stock. See "—Risks Related to the Separation."
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If we are unable to obtain funding on a timely basis, or if revenues from collaboration arrangements or product sales are less than we have projected, we may be required to significantly curtail, delay or discontinue one or more of our research or development programs or the commercialization of any product candidates or be unable to expand our operations or otherwise capitalize on our business opportunities, as desired, which could materially affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Risks Related to the Discovery, Product Development and Regulatory Approval of Our Product Candidates
Research and development of biopharmaceutical products is inherently risky. We may encounter substantial delays in our clinical studies, or we may fail to demonstrate safety and efficacy to the satisfaction of applicable regulatory authorities.
Our business depends heavily on successful clinical development, regulatory approvals and commercialization of Abecma and our product candidate, bb21217. Our current product candidates,other than bb21217 are still in preclinical development. Our current product candidates, as well as any we may discover in the future, will require substantial additional development and testing, as well as regulatory approvals, prior to commercialization.
Before obtaining regulatory approvals for the commercial sale of any of our product candidates, we must demonstrate through lengthy, complex and expensive preclinical and clinical studies that our product candidates are both safe and effective for use in each target indication. Each product candidate must demonstrate an adequate benefit-risk profile for its intended use in its intended patient population. In some instances, significant variability in safety or efficacy appear in different clinical studies of the same product candidate due to numerous factors, including changes in study protocols, differences in the number and characteristics of the enrolled subjects, variations in the dosing regimen and other clinical study parameters or the dropout rate among study participants. Product candidates in later stages of clinical studies often fail to demonstrate adequate safety and efficacy despite encouraging preclinical study and earlier clinical trial results. A number of companies in the biopharmaceutical industry have suffered significant setbacks in later-stage clinical studies. Most product candidates that begin clinical studies are never approved for commercialization by regulatory authorities.
If we encounter difficulties in enrolling subjects in our clinical studies, we could be delayed or prevented from proceeding with clinical trials of our product candidates.
Identifying and qualifying patients to participate in clinical studies of our product candidates is critical to our success. The timing of our clinical studies depends in part on the speed at which we can recruit patients to participate in testing our product candidates. The estimated incidence of our initial target indications, including non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and acute myeloid leukemia, the target indications for our product candidates, varies considerably. Determining the incidence of these conditions, including in specific geographies or demographic groups, is challenging. The lower the actual incidence of these conditions, the more challenges we will encounter enrolling subjects in our clinical studies, which could delay development of our product candidates. Clinical trial enrollment may also encounter difficulties for a variety of other reasons. The number of patients eligible for a clinical trial may be substantially limited by stringent eligibility criteria in a study protocol, such as the inclusion of biomarker-driven identification or other highly specific criteria related to stage of disease progression or to specific patient reported outcome measures. The number of patients required to power the statistical analysis of the study's endpoints may be very large leading to an extended enrollment period. Issues such as the proximity of subjects to a study site, the complexity of the study design, our ability to recruit investigators with appropriate skill and experience, competing clinical studies for similar therapies or targeting similar subjects, perceptions of the benefit-risk profile of the product candidate relative to other available therapies or product candidates, and ability to obtain and maintain institutional review board, or IRB, approvals and patient consents all could have a substantial impact on the timing of clinical trial enrollment. If we are unable to enroll sufficient subjects in clinical studies in a timely way, obtaining study results will be delayed, which may harm our business, prospects, financial condition, and results of operations.
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If the market opportunities for our product or any future products are smaller than we believe they are, and if we are not able to successfully identify patients and achieve significant market share, our revenues may be adversely affected and our business may suffer.
We focus our research and development efforts on treatments for cancer. Our projections of both the number of people who have these diseases, as well as the subset of people with these diseases who have the potential to benefit from treatment with our product or any future products, are based on estimates. These estimates have been derived from a variety of sources, including scientific literature, surveys of clinics, patient foundations, or market research, and may prove to be incorrect. Further, new studies may change the estimated incidence or prevalence of these diseases. The number of patients may turn out to be lower or more difficult to identify than expected. Additionally, the potentially addressable patient population for our product and any future products may be limited or may not be amenable to treatment with our products.
Even if we obtain significant market share for a product within an approved indication, because the potential target populations for our product and for the product candidates in our pipeline are small, we may never achieve profitability without obtaining marketing approval for additional indications. In the field of cancer, the FDA often approves new therapies initially only for use in patients with relapsed or refractory advanced disease. We expect to initially seek approval of our engineered cell therapy product candidates in cancer in this context. Subsequently, for those products that prove to be sufficiently beneficial, if any, we would expect to seek approval in earlier lines of treatment and potentially as a first line therapy, but there is no guarantee that our product candidates, even if approved, would be approved for earlier lines of therapy, and, prior to any such approvals, we may have to conduct additional clinical trials. For example, BMS received marketing approval from the FDA for Abecma as a treatment for adult patients with relapsed and refractory multiple myeloma who have not responded to, or whose disease has returned after, at least four prior lines of therapy. BMS is conducting additional studies with the intention to generate data to support marketing approvals for earlier lines of therapy in multiple myeloma, but there is no assurance that such studies will be successful or be sufficient.
Any of these factors may negatively affect our ability to recognize revenues from sales of our product and any future products and our ability to achieve and maintain profitability and, as a consequence, our business may suffer.
We cannot predict when or if we will obtain marketing approval to commercialize our product candidates, and the marketing approval of our product and any future products may ultimately be for more narrow indications than we expect. If our product candidates are not approved in a timely manner or at all for any reason, our business prospects, results of operations, and financial condition would be adversely affected.
Before obtaining marketing approval from regulatory authorities for the commercialization of our product candidates, we must conduct extensive clinical studies to demonstrate the safety, purity and potency, and efficacy, of the product candidates in humans. Clinical testing is expensive, time-consuming and uncertain as to outcome. There is a high failure rate for drugs and biologics proceeding through clinical studies. A number of companies in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries have suffered significant setbacks in later stage clinical studies even after achieving encouraging results in earlier stage clinical studies. We cannot guarantee that any clinical studies will be conducted as planned or completed on schedule, if at all. A failure of one or more clinical studies can occur at any stage of testing. Events that may prevent successful or timely completion of clinical development include:
delays in reaching a consensus with regulatory agencies on study design;
imposition of a clinical hold by regulatory agencies, after an inspection of our clinical study operations or study sites or due to unforeseen safety issues;
delays in the testing, validation, manufacturing and delivery of our product candidates to the clinical sites;
failure to obtain sufficient cells from patients to manufacture enough drug product or achieve target cell doses;
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delays in having patients complete participation in a study or return for post-treatment follow-up;
clinical study sites or patients dropping out of a study;
occurrence of serious adverse events associated with the product candidate that are viewed to outweigh its potential benefits; or
changes in regulatory requirements and guidance that require amending or submitting new clinical protocols.
Furthermore, the timing of our clinical studies depends on the speed at which we can recruit eligible patients to participate in testing our product candidates. The conditions for which we plan to evaluate our current product candidates in severe genetic diseases are rare disorders with limited patient pools from which to draw for clinical studies. The eligibility criteria of our clinical studies will further limit the pool of available study participants, and the process of finding and diagnosing patients may prove costly. Patients may be unwilling to participate in our studies because of negative publicity from adverse events in the biotechnology or gene therapy industries or for other reasons, including competitive clinical studies for similar patient populations. We may not be able to identify, recruit and enroll a sufficient number of patients, or those with required or desired characteristics to achieve diversity in a study, to complete our clinical studies in a timely manner. We have experienced delays in some of our clinical studies in the past, and we may experience similar delays in the future.
Results from previous or ongoing studies are not necessarily predictive of our future clinical study results, and initial or interim results may not continue or be confirmed upon completion of the study. There is limited data concerning long-term safety and efficacy following treatment with our engineered cell therapy product candidates. These data, or other positive data, may not continue or occur for these patients or for any future patients in our ongoing or future clinical studies, and may not be repeated or observed in ongoing or future studies involving our product candidates. Furthermore, our product candidates may also fail to show the desired safety and efficacy in later stages of clinical development despite having successfully advanced through initial clinical studies. There can be no assurance that any of these studies will ultimately be successful or support further clinical advancement or marketing approval of our product candidates. For instance, patients with relapsed and refractory multiple myeloma who have been treated with Abecma or the bb21217 product candidate in clinical trials have experienced disease progression. We have experienced unexpected results in the past, and we may experience unexpected results in the future.
Even if our product candidates demonstrate safety and efficacy in clinical studies, regulatory delays or rejections may be encountered as a result of many factors, including changes in regulatory policy during the period of product development. We may experience delays or rejections based upon additional government regulation from future legislation or administrative action, changes in regulatory agency policy, or additional regulatory feedback or guidance during the period of product development, clinical studies and the review process. The field of engineered cell therapy is evolving, and as more products are reviewed by regulatory authorities, regulatory authorities may impose additional requirements that were not previously anticipated. Regulatory agencies also may approve a treatment candidate for fewer or more limited indications than requested or may grant approval subject to the performance of post-marketing studies. In addition, regulatory agencies may not approve the labeling claims that are necessary or desirable for the successful commercialization of our treatment candidates. Furthermore, approvals by the EMA and the European Commission may not be indicative of what the FDA may require for approval. In general, the FDA requires the successful completion of two pivotal trials to support approval of a biologics licensing application, or BLA, but in certain circumstances, will approve a BLA based on only one pivotal trial. Additionally, certain factors beyond our and our collaborators’ control may impact the timeliness of the regulatory reviews of our submissions or any applications for approval.
If our product candidates are ultimately not approved for any reason, our business, prospects, results of operations and financial condition would be adversely affected.
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Delays in the commencement and completion of clinical trials could increase costs and delay or prevent regulatory approval and commercialization of our product candidates.
We cannot guarantee that clinical trials of our product candidates will be initiated or conducted as planned or completed on schedule, if at all. A failure of one or more clinical trials can occur at any stage of the clinical trial process, and other events may cause us to temporarily or permanently stop a clinical trial. Events that may prevent successful or timely commencement and completion of clinical development include:
negative preclinical data;
delays in receiving the required regulatory clearance from the appropriate regulatory authorities to commence clinical trials or amend clinical trial protocols, including any objections to our INDs or protocol amendments from the FDA;
delays in reaching, or a failure to reach, a consensus with regulatory authorities on study design;
delays in reaching, or failure to reach, agreement on acceptable terms with prospective CROs and clinical trial sites, the terms of which can be subject to extensive negotiation and may vary significantly among different CROs and trial sites;
difficulties in obtaining IRB approval at each site;
challenges in recruiting suitable patients to participate in a trial;
the inability to enroll a sufficient number of patients in clinical trials to ensure adequate statistical power to detect statistically significant treatment effects;
difficulties in having patients complete a trial or return for post-treatment follow-up;
our CROs or clinical trial sites failing to comply with regulatory requirements or meet their contractual obligations to us in a timely manner, or at all, deviating from the protocol or dropping out of a clinical trial;
unforeseen safety issues, including occurrence of treatment emergent adverse events associated with the product candidate that are viewed to outweigh the product candidate’s potential benefits;
difficulties in adding new clinical trial sites;
ambiguous or negative interim results;
lack of adequate funding to continue the clinical trial;
difficulties in manufacturing sufficient quantities of acceptable product candidate for use in clinical trials in a timely manner, or at all; or
the COVID-19 pandemic, which may result in clinical site closures, delays to patient enrollment, patients discontinuing their treatment or follow up visits or changes to trial protocols.
We could encounter delays if a clinical trial is suspended or terminated by us, by the IRBs of the institutions in which such trials are being conducted, by a Data Safety Monitoring Board, or DSMB, for such trial or by the FDA or other regulatory authorities. Such authorities may impose such a suspension or termination due to a number of factors, including failure to conduct the clinical trial in accordance with regulatory requirements or our clinical protocols, inspection of the clinical trial operations or trial site by the FDA or other regulatory authorities resulting in the imposition of a clinical hold, unforeseen safety issues or adverse side effects, failure to demonstrate a benefit from using a drug, changes in governmental regulations or administrative actions or lack of adequate funding to
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continue the clinical trial. If we experience delays in the completion of, or termination of, any clinical trial of our product candidates, the commercial prospects of our product candidates will be harmed, and our ability to recognize product revenues from any of these product candidates will be delayed. In addition, any delays in completing our clinical trials will increase our costs, slow down our product candidate development and approval process and jeopardize our ability to commence product sales and recognize revenues. Any of these occurrences may harm our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects significantly. In addition, many of the factors that cause, or lead to, a delay in the commencement or completion of clinical trials may also ultimately lead to the denial of regulatory approval of our product candidates.
In addition, data obtained from trials and studies are susceptible to varying interpretations, and regulators may not interpret our data as favorably as we do, which may delay, limit or prevent regulatory approval. Our clinical trial results may not be successful, or even if successful, may not lead to regulatory approval.
The regulatory approval processes of the FDA and comparable foreign regulatory authorities are lengthy, time-consuming and inherently unpredictable. If we are ultimately unable to obtain regulatory approval for our product candidates, we will be unable to recognize product revenue and our business will be substantially harmed.
We cannot commercialize a product until the appropriate regulatory authorities have reviewed and approved the product candidate. The time required to obtain approval by the FDA and comparable foreign regulatory authorities is unpredictable, typically takes many years following the commencement of clinical studies and depends upon numerous factors, including the type and complexity of the product candidates involved. Regulatory authorities have substantial discretion in the approval process and may refuse to accept an application for review, or may decide that our data are insufficient for approval and require additional preclinical, clinical or other studies. We have not requested or obtained regulatory approval for any product candidate, and it is possible that none of our existing product candidates or any product candidates we may seek to develop in the future will ever obtain
In September 2020, the FDA accepted for Priority Review the BLA submitted by BMS for Abecma (ide-cel) as a treatment for relapsed and refractory multiple myeloma and the FDA approved this BLA in March 2021. However, obtaining one regulatory approval does not guarantee that the FDA will conclude that the information BMS may submit for additional or expanded indications for Abecma will be sufficient to support approval and BMS may fail to obtain additional regulatory approvals in the United States for Abecma. Additionally, certain factors beyond our and BMS’ control may impact the timeliness of the regulatory reviews of our submissions or any applications for approval.
If our product candidates are ultimately not approved for any reason, our business, prospects, results of operations and financial condition would be adversely affected.
Our ongoing clinical studies may not be completed on schedule, and our planned clinical studies may not begin on schedule, if at all. The completion or commencement of clinical studies can be delayed or prevented for a number of reasons, including, among others:
the FDA or other regulatory bodies may not authorize us or our investigators to commence planned clinical studies, or require that we suspend ongoing clinical studies through imposition of clinical holds;
negative results from our ongoing studies or other industry studies involving engineered cell therapy product candidates;
delays in reaching or failing to reach agreement on acceptable terms with prospective contract research organizations, or CROs, and clinical study sites, the terms of which can be subject to considerable negotiation and may vary significantly among different CROs and study sites;
inadequate quantity or quality of a product candidate or other materials necessary to conduct clinical studies, for example delays in the manufacturing of sufficient supply of finished drug product;
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difficulties obtaining ethics committee or IRB, approval to conduct a clinical study at a prospective site or sites;
challenges in recruiting and enrolling subjects to participate in clinical studies, the proximity of subjects to study sites, eligibility criteria for the clinical study, the nature of the clinical study protocol, the availability of approved effective treatments for the relevant disease and competition from other clinical study programs for similar indications;
severe or unexpected drug-related side effects experienced by subjects in a clinical study, such as severe neurotoxicity and cytokine release syndrome;
we may decide, or regulatory authorities may require us, to conduct additional clinical studies or abandon product development programs;
the FDA may disagree with our clinical study design and our interpretation of data from clinical studies, or may change the requirements for approval even after it has reviewed and commented on the design for our clinical studies;
reports from preclinical or clinical testing of other competing candidates that raise safety or efficacy concerns; and
difficulties retaining subjects who have enrolled in a clinical study but may be prone to withdraw due to rigors of the clinical studies, lack of efficacy, side effects, personal issues, or loss of interest.
Clinical studies may also be delayed or terminated as a result of ambiguous or negative interim results. In addition, a clinical study may be suspended or terminated by us, the FDA or other comparable authorities, the IRBs or ethic committees at the sites where the IRBs or ethic committees are overseeing a clinical study, a data and safety monitoring board overseeing the clinical study at issue or other regulatory authorities due to a number of factors, including, among others:
failure to conduct the clinical study in accordance with regulatory requirements or our clinical protocols;
inspection of the clinical study operations or study sites by the FDA or other regulatory authorities that reveals deficiencies or violations that require us to undertake corrective action, including in response to the imposition of a clinical hold;
unforeseen safety issues, including any that could be identified in our ongoing studies, adverse side effects or lack of effectiveness;
changes in government regulations or administrative actions;
problems with clinical supply materials; and
lack of adequate funding to continue clinical studies.
In addition, regulatory agencies may not approve the labeling claims that are necessary or desirable for the successful commercialization of our treatment candidates. Even if regulatory approval is secured for any of our product candidates, the terms of such approval may limit the use of any approved product, which will limit its prospects for commercialization, which could have a material and adverse effect on our business, prospects, financial condition and results of operations.
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Patients receiving T cell-based immunotherapies, such as Abecma or the bb21217 product candidate may experience serious adverse events, including neurotoxicity and cytokine release syndrome. If our product or any of our product candidates are revealed to have high and unacceptable severity and/or prevalence of side effects or unexpected characteristics, its clinical development, marketing approval, and commercial potential will be negatively impacted, which will significantly harm our business, financial condition and prospects.
Abecma and the bb21217 product candidate are chimeric antigen receptor, or CAR, T cell-based immunotherapies. In previous and ongoing clinical studies involving CAR T cell products, including those involving ide-cel and the bb21217 product candidate, patients experienced side effects such as neurotoxicity and cytokine release syndrome. There have been life-threatening events related to severe neurotoxicity and cytokine release syndrome, requiring intense medical intervention such as intubation or pressor support, and in several cases, resulted in death. Severe neurotoxicity is a condition that is currently defined clinically by cerebral edema, confusion, drowsiness, speech impairment, tremors, seizures, or other central nervous system side effects, when such side effects are serious enough to lead to intensive care. In some cases, severe neurotoxicity was thought to be associated with the use of certain lymphodepletion regimens used prior to the administration of the CAR T cell products. Cytokine release syndrome is a condition that is currently defined clinically by certain symptoms related to the release of cytokines, which can include fever, chills, low blood pressure, when such side effects are serious enough to lead to intensive care with mechanical ventilation or significant vasopressor support. The exact cause or causes of cytokine release syndrome and severe neurotoxicity in connection with treatment of CAR T cell products is not fully understood at this time. In addition, patients have experienced other adverse events in these studies, such as a reduction in the number of blood cells (in the form of neutropenia, thrombocytopenia, anemia or other cytopenias), febrile neutropenia, chemical laboratory abnormalities (including elevated liver enzymes), and renal failure.
Undesirable side effects caused by Abecma or the bb21217 product candidate, other CAR T product candidates targeting BCMA, or our other engineered cell therapy product candidates, could cause us or regulatory authorities to interrupt, delay or halt clinical studies and could result in a more restrictive label or the delay or denial of marketing approval by the FDA or other comparable foreign regulatory authorities. In some cases, side effects such as neurotoxicity or cytokine release syndrome have resulted in clinical holds of ongoing clinical trials and/or discontinuation of the development of the product candidate. Results of our studies could reveal a high and unacceptable severity and prevalence of side effects or unexpected characteristics. Treatment-related side effects could also affect patient recruitment or the ability of enrolled patients to complete the studies or result in potential product liability claims. In addition, these side effects may not be appropriately recognized or managed by the treating medical staff, as toxicities resulting from engineered cell therapies are not normally encountered in the general patient population and by medical personnel. Medical personnel may need additional training regarding engineered cell therapies to understand their side effects. Inadequate training in recognizing or failure to effectively manage the potential side effects of engineered cell therapies could result in patient deaths. Any of these occurrences may harm our business, financial condition and prospects significantly.
Negative public opinion and increased regulatory scrutiny of gene therapy and genetic research may damage public perception of our product and any future products or adversely affect our ability to conduct our business or obtain and maintain marketing approvals for our product and product candidates.
Public perception may be influenced by claims that gene therapy, including gene editing technologies, is unsafe or unethical, and research activities and adverse events in the field, even if not ultimately attributable to us or our product or product candidates, could result in increased governmental regulation, unfavorable public perception, challenges in recruiting patients to participate in our clinical studies, potential regulatory delays in the testing or approval of our potential products, stricter labeling requirements for those product candidates that are approved, and a decrease in demand for any such product. More restrictive government regulations or negative public opinion would have a negative effect on our business or financial condition and may delay or impair the development and commercialization of our product candidates or demand for any approved products.
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Changes in regulatory requirements, FDA guidance or unanticipated events during our preclinical studies and clinical studies of our product candidates may occur, which may result in changes to preclinical or clinical study protocols or additional preclinical or clinical study requirements, which could result in increased costs to us and could delay our development timeline.
Changes in regulatory requirements, FDA guidance or unanticipated events during our preclinical studies and clinical studies may force us to amend preclinical studies and clinical study protocols or the FDA may impose additional preclinical studies and clinical study requirements. Amendments or changes to our clinical study protocols would require resubmission to the FDA and IRBs for review and approval, which may increase the cost or delay the timing or successful completion of clinical studies. Similarly, amendments to our preclinical studies may increase the cost or delay the timing or successful completion of those preclinical studies. If we experience delays completing, or if we terminate, any of our preclinical or clinical studies, or if we are required to conduct additional preclinical or clinical studies, the commercial prospects for our product candidates may be harmed and our ability to recognize product revenue will be delayed.
Obtaining and maintaining regulatory approval of our product candidates in one jurisdiction does not mean that we will be successful in obtaining regulatory approval of our product candidates in other jurisdictions.
In order to market any product outside of the United States, we must establish and comply with the numerous and varying safety, efficacy and other regulatory requirements of other countries. Obtaining and maintaining regulatory approval of our product candidates in one jurisdiction does not guarantee that we will be able to obtain or maintain regulatory approval in any other jurisdiction, but a failure or delay in obtaining regulatory approval in one jurisdiction may have a negative effect on the regulatory approval process in others. For example, even if the FDA or other comparable foreign regulatory authority grants marketing approval of a product candidate, comparable regulatory authorities in foreign jurisdictions must also approve the manufacturing, marketing and promotion of the product candidate in those countries. Approval procedures vary among jurisdictions and can involve requirements and administrative review periods different from those in the United States, including additional preclinical or clinical studies, as studies conducted in one jurisdiction may not be accepted by regulatory authorities in other jurisdictions. The marketing approval processes in other countries may implicate all of the risks detailed above regarding FDA approval in the United States, as well as other risks. In many jurisdictions outside the United States, a product candidate must be approved for reimbursement before it can be approved for sale in that jurisdiction. In some cases, the price that we intend to charge for our product candidates is also subject to approval.
Obtaining foreign regulatory approvals and compliance with foreign regulatory requirements could result in significant delays, difficulties and costs for us and could delay or prevent the introduction of our products in certain countries. Failure to obtain marketing approval in other countries or any delay or other setback in obtaining such approval would impair our ability to market our product candidates in such countries. Any such impairment would reduce the size of our potential market, which could have a material adverse impact on our business, prospects, financial condition and results of operations.
We may not be successful in our efforts to identify or discover additional product candidates.
The success of our business depends primarily upon our ability to identify, develop and commercialize products based on our engineered cell therapy technologies. Our research programs in oncology may fail to identify other potential product candidates for clinical development for a number of reasons. We may be unsuccessful in identifying potential product candidates or our potential product candidates may be shown to have harmful side effects or may have other characteristics that may make the products unmarketable or unlikely to receive marketing approval. Research programs to identify new product candidates require substantial technical, financial and human resources. We may focus our efforts and resources on potential programs or product candidates that ultimately prove to be unsuccessful. If any of these events occur, we may be forced to abandon our research, development or commercialization efforts for a program or programs, which would have a material adverse effect on our business and could potentially cause us to cease operations.
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Risks Related to Our Reliance on Third Parties
We are dependent on BMS for the successful development and commercialization of Abecma and bb21217. If BMS does not devote sufficient resources to the commercialization and further development of Abecma and the development of bb21217, is unsuccessful in its efforts, or chooses to terminate its agreements with us, our business will be materially harmed.
We are co-developing and co-promoting ide-cel, being marketed as Abecma in the United States, with BMS under our amended and restated co-development and co-promotion agreement with BMS, or the Ide-cel CCPS. Under the Ide-cel CCPS, we and BMS share the obligation to develop and commercialize ide-cel in the United States, and we will be solely dependent on BMS to develop and commercialize ide-cel outside of the United States. In addition, we have exclusively licensed to BMS the right to develop and commercialize the bb21217 product candidate, and we retain an option to co-develop and co-promote bb21217 in the United States under our license agreement with BMS. With respect to bb21217, we are responsible for completing the ongoing CRB-402 study, but BMS is responsible for further clinical development and commercialization costs, unless we choose to exercise our option to co-develop and co-promote bb21217 in the United States. If we exercise our option to co-develop and co-promote bb21217 in the United States, we and BMS will share the obligation to develop and commercialize bb21217 in the United States, and we will be solely dependent on BMS to develop and commercialize bb21217 outside of the United States.
In our partnership with BMS, BMS is obligated to use commercially reasonable efforts to develop and commercialize ide-cel and bb21217. BMS may determine however, that it is commercially reasonable to de-prioritize or discontinue the development of ide-cel and bb21217. These decisions may occur for many reasons, including internal business reasons (including due to the existence of other BMS programs that are potentially competitive with ide-cel and bb21217), results from clinical trials or because of unfavorable regulatory feedback. Further, on review of the safety and efficacy data, the FDA may impose requirements on one or both of the programs that render them commercially nonviable. In addition, under our agreements with BMS, BMS has certain decision-making rights in determining the development and commercialization plans and activities for the programs. We may disagree with BMS about the development strategy it employs, but we will have limited rights to impose our development strategy on BMS. Similarly, BMS may decide to seek marketing approval for, and limit commercialization of, ide-cel or bb21217 to narrower indications than we would pursue. More broadly, if BMS elects to discontinue the development of ide-cel or bb21217, we may be unable to advance the product candidate ourselves.
This partnership may not be scientifically or commercially successful for us due to a number of important factors, including the following:
BMS has wide discretion in determining the efforts and resources that it will apply to its partnership with us. The timing and amount of any development milestones, and downstream commercial profits, milestones and royalties that we may receive under such partnership will depend on, among other things, BMS’s efforts, allocation of resources and successful development and commercialization of ide-cel, bb21217 and other product candidates that are the subject of its collaboration with us.
BMS may develop and commercialize, either alone or with others, products that are similar to or competitive with ide-cel, bb21217 and other product candidates that are the subject of its collaboration with us. For example, BMS is currently commercializing a number of its existing products, including lenalidomide and pomalidomide, for certain patients with relapsed and refractory multiple myeloma , as well as a CAR-T product candidate targeting BCMA.
BMS may terminate its partnership with us without cause and for circumstances outside of our control, which could make it difficult for us to attract new strategic partners or adversely affect how we are perceived in scientific and financial communities.
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BMS may develop or commercialize our product candidates in such a way as to elicit litigation that could jeopardize or invalidate our intellectual property rights or expose us to potential liability.
BMS may not comply with all applicable regulatory requirements, or may fail to report safety data in accordance with all applicable regulatory requirements.
If BMS were to breach its arrangements with us, we may need to enforce our right to terminate the agreement in legal proceedings, which could be costly and cause delay in our ability to receive rights back to the relevant product candidates. If we were to terminate an agreement with BMS due to BMS's breach or BMS terminated the agreement without cause, the development and commercialization of ide-cel or bb21217 product candidates that are the subject of its collaboration with us could be delayed, curtailed or terminated because we may not have sufficient financial resources or capabilities to continue development and commercialization of these product candidates on our own if we choose not to, or are unable to, enter into a new collaboration for these product candidates.
BMS may enter into one or more transactions with third parties, including a merger, consolidation, reorganization, sale of substantial assets, sale of substantial stock or other change in control, which could divert the attention of its management and adversely affect BMS’s ability to retain and motivate key personnel who are important to the continued development of the programs under the strategic partnership with us. In addition, the third-party to any such transaction could determine to re-prioritize BMS’s development programs such that BMS ceases to diligently pursue the development of our programs and/or cause the respective collaboration with us to terminate. The acquisition of Celgene by BMS in 2019 may result in organizational and personnel changes, shifts in business focus or other developments that may have a material adverse effect on our collaboration.
We expect to rely on third parties to conduct, supervise and monitor our clinical studies, and if these third parties perform in an unsatisfactory manner, it may harm our business.
We expect to rely on CROs and clinical study sites to ensure our clinical studies are conducted properly and on time. While we will have agreements governing their activities, we will have limited influence over their actual performance. We will control only certain aspects of our CROs’ activities. Nevertheless, we will be responsible for ensuring that each of our clinical studies is conducted in accordance with the applicable protocol, legal, regulatory and scientific standards, and our reliance on the CROs does not relieve us of our regulatory responsibilities.
We and our CROs are required to comply with the FDA’s and other regulatory authorities’ GCPs for conducting, recording and reporting the results of clinical studies to assure that the data and reported results are credible and accurate and that the rights, integrity and confidentiality of clinical study participants are protected. If we or our CROs fail to comply with applicable GCPs, the clinical data generated in our future clinical studies may be deemed unreliable and the FDA and other regulatory authorities may require us to perform additional clinical studies before approving any marketing applications.
If our CROs do not successfully carry out their contractual duties or obligations, fail to meet expected deadlines, or if the quality or accuracy of the clinical data they obtain is compromised due to the failure to adhere to our clinical protocols or regulatory requirements, or for any other reasons, our clinical studies may be extended, delayed or terminated, and we may not be able to obtain marketing approval for, or successfully commercialize our product candidates. As a result, our financial results and the commercial prospects for our product candidates would be harmed, our costs could increase, and our ability to recognize revenues could be delayed.
We rely on third parties to conduct some or all aspects of our lentiviral vector production, drug product manufacturing, and testing, and these third parties may not perform satisfactorily.
We do not independently conduct all aspects of our lentiviral vector production, drug product manufacturing, and testing. We currently rely, and expect to continue to rely, on third parties with respect to these items, including manufacturing and testing in the commercial context.
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Our reliance on these third parties for manufacturing, testing, research and development activities reduce our control over these activities but will not relieve us of our responsibility to ensure compliance with all required regulations and study protocols. For example, for products that we develop and commercialize on our own, we will remain responsible for ensuring that each of our IND-enabling studies and clinical studies are conducted in accordance with the study plan and protocols, and that our lentiviral vectors and drug products are manufactured in accordance with GMP as applied in the relevant jurisdictions.
If these third parties do not successfully carry out their contractual duties, meet expected deadlines, conduct our studies in accordance with regulatory requirements or our stated study plans and protocols, or manufacture our lentiviral vectors and drug products in accordance with GMP, whether due to the impacts of COVID-19 or otherwise, we will not be able to complete, or may be delayed in completing, the preclinical and clinical studies and manufacturing process validation activities required to support future IND, MAA and BLA submissions and approval of our product candidates, or to support commercialization of our products, if approved. Many of our agreements with these third parties contain termination provisions that allow these third parties to terminate their relationships with us at any time. If we need to enter into alternative arrangements, our product development and commercialization activities could be delayed.
Reliance on third-party manufacturers entails risks to which we would not be subject if we manufactured the products ourselves, including:
the inability to negotiate manufacturing agreements with third parties under commercially reasonable terms;
reduced control as a result of using third-party manufacturers for all aspects of manufacturing activities;
the risk that these activities are not conducted in accordance with our study plans and protocols;
termination or nonrenewal of manufacturing agreements with third parties in a manner or at a time that is costly or damaging to us; and
disruptions to the operations of our third-party manufacturers or suppliers caused by conditions unrelated to our business or operations, including the bankruptcy of the manufacturer or supplier.
We may be forced to manufacture lentiviral vector and drug product ourselves, for which we may not have the capabilities or resources, or enter into an agreement with a different manufacturer, which we may not be able to do on reasonable terms, if at all. In some cases, the technical skills required to manufacture our lentiviral vector or drug product candidates may be unique or proprietary to the original manufacturer, and we may have difficulty or there may be contractual restrictions prohibiting us from, transferring such skills to a back-up or alternate supplier, or we may be unable to transfer such skills at all. Any of these events could lead to clinical study delays or failure to obtain marketing approval, or impact our ability to successfully commercialize our product or any future products. Some of these events could be the basis for FDA action, including injunction, recall, seizure or total or partial suspension of production. In addition, if we are required to change third-party manufacturers for any reason, we will be required to verify that the new manufacturer maintains facilities and procedures that comply with quality standards and with all applicable regulations. We will also need to verify, such as through a manufacturing comparability study, that any new manufacturing process will produce our product candidate according to the specifications previously submitted to the FDA or another regulatory authority. The delays associated with the verification of a new third-party manufacturer could negatively affect our ability to develop product candidates or commercialize our products in a timely manner or within budget. In addition, changes in manufacturers often involve changes in manufacturing procedures and processes, which could require that we conduct bridging studies between our prior clinical supply used in our clinical trials and that of any new manufacturer. We may be unsuccessful in demonstrating the comparability of clinical supplies which could require the conduct of additional clinical trials.
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We and our contract manufacturers are subject to significant regulation with respect to manufacturing our product and product candidates. The manufacturing facilities on which we rely may not continue to meet regulatory requirements and have limited capacity.
All entities involved in the preparation of therapeutics for clinical studies or commercial sale, including our existing contract manufacturers for our product and product candidates, are subject to extensive regulation. Some components of a finished therapeutic product approved for commercial sale or used in late-stage clinical studies must be manufactured in accordance with GMP. These regulations govern manufacturing processes and procedures (including record keeping) and the implementation and operation of quality systems to control and assure the quality of investigational products and products approved for sale. Poor control of production processes can lead to the introduction of adventitious agents or other contaminants, or to inadvertent changes in the properties or stability of our product and product candidates that may not be detectable in final product testing. We or our contract manufacturers must supply all necessary documentation in support of a BLA or MAA on a timely basis and where required, must adhere to the FDA’s or other regulator’s good laboratory practices, or GLP, and GMP regulations enforced by the FDA or other regulator through facilities inspection programs. Some of our contract manufacturers have not produced a commercially-approved product and therefore have not obtained the requisite FDA or other marketing approvals to do so. Our facilities and quality systems and the facilities and quality systems of some or all of our third-party contractors must pass a pre-approval inspection for compliance with the applicable regulations as a condition of marketing approval of our product and potential products. In addition, the regulatory authorities may, at any time, audit or inspect a manufacturing facility involved with the preparation of our products or the associated quality systems for compliance with the regulations applicable to the activities being conducted. If these facilities do not pass a pre-approval plant inspection, FDA or other marketing approval of the products will not be granted.
The regulatory authorities also may, at any time following approval of a product for sale, audit the manufacturing facilities of our third-party contractors. If any such inspection or audit identifies a failure to comply with applicable regulations or if a violation of our product specifications or applicable regulations occurs independent of such an inspection or audit, we or the relevant regulatory authority may require remedial measures that may be costly and/or time-consuming for us or a third party to implement and that may include the temporary or permanent suspension of a clinical study or commercial sales or the temporary or permanent closure of a facility. Any such remedial measures imposed upon us or third parties with whom we contract could materially harm our business.
If we or any of our third-party manufacturers fail to maintain regulatory compliance, the FDA or other regulators can impose regulatory sanctions including, among other things, refusal to approve a pending application for a biologic product, or revocation of a pre-existing approval. As a result, our business, financial condition and results of operations may be materially harmed.
Additionally, if supply from one approved manufacturer is interrupted, there could be a significant disruption in commercial supply. The number of manufacturers with the necessary manufacturing capabilities is limited. In addition, an alternative manufacturer would need to be qualified through a BLA supplement or similar regulatory submission which could result in further delay. The regulatory agencies may also require additional studies if a new manufacturer is relied upon for commercial production. Switching manufacturers may involve substantial costs and is likely to result in a delay in our desired clinical and commercial timelines.
These factors could cause the delay of clinical studies, regulatory submissions, required approvals or commercialization of our product and any future products, cause us to incur higher costs and prevent us from commercializing our products successfully. Furthermore, if our suppliers fail to meet contractual requirements, and we are unable to secure one or more replacement suppliers capable of production at a substantially equivalent cost, our clinical studies may be delayed or we could lose potential revenues.
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Our reliance on third parties requires us to share our trade secrets, which increases the possibility that a competitor will discover them or that our trade secrets will be misappropriated or disclosed.
Because we rely on third parties to manufacture our vectors and our drug products, and because we collaborate with various organizations and academic institutions on the advancement of our engineered cell therapy technologies, we must, at times, share trade secrets with them. We seek to protect our proprietary technology in part by entering into confidentiality agreements and, if applicable, material transfer agreements, collaborative research agreements, consulting agreements or other similar agreements with our collaborators, advisors, employees and consultants prior to beginning research or disclosing proprietary information. These agreements typically limit the rights of the third parties to use or disclose our confidential information, such as trade secrets. Despite the contractual provisions employed when working with third parties, the need to share trade secrets and other confidential information increases the risk that such trade secrets become known by our competitors, are inadvertently incorporated into the technology of others, or are disclosed or used in violation of these agreements. Given that our proprietary position is based, in part, on our know-how and trade secrets, a competitor’s discovery of our trade secrets or other unauthorized use or disclosure would impair our competitive position and may have a material adverse effect on our business.
In addition, these agreements typically restrict the ability of our collaborators, advisors, employees and consultants to publish data potentially relating to our trade secrets. Our academic collaborators typically have rights to publish data, provided that we are notified in advance and may delay publication for a specified time in order to secure our intellectual property rights arising from the collaboration. In other cases, publication rights are controlled exclusively by us, although in some cases we may share these rights with other parties. We also conduct joint research and development programs that may require us to share trade secrets under the terms of our research and development partnerships or similar agreements. Despite our efforts to protect our trade secrets, our competitors may discover our trade secrets, either through breach of these agreements, independent development or publication of information including our trade secrets in cases where we do not have proprietary or otherwise protected rights at the time of publication. A competitor’s discovery of our trade secrets would impair our competitive position and have an adverse impact on our business.
Any collaboration or license arrangements that we may enter into in the future may not be successful, which could impede our ability to develop and commercialize our product candidates.
We may seek collaboration or license arrangements for the commercialization, or potentially for the development, of certain of our product candidates depending on the merits of retaining commercialization rights for ourselves as compared to entering into collaboration or license arrangements. We will face, to the extent that we decide to enter into such arrangements, significant competition in seeking appropriate partners. Moreover, collaboration and license arrangements are complex and time-consuming to negotiate, document, implement and maintain. We may not be successful in our efforts to establish and implement such arrangements should we so chose to enter into them. The terms of any collaborations, licenses or other arrangements that we may establish may not be favorable to us.
Any future collaboration or license arrangements that we enter into may not be successful. The success of such arrangements will depend heavily on the efforts and activities of our partners. Collaboration and license arrangements are subject to numerous risks, which may include risks that:
partners have significant discretion in determining the efforts and resources that they will apply to collaborations;
a partner with marketing, manufacturing and distribution rights to one or more products may not commit sufficient resources to or otherwise not perform satisfactorily in carrying out these activities;
partners may not properly maintain or defend our intellectual property rights or may use our intellectual property or proprietary information in a way that gives rise to actual or threatened litigation that could
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jeopardize or invalidate our intellectual property or proprietary information or expose us to potential liability;
collaboration and license arrangements may be terminated, and, if terminated, this may result in a need for additional capital to pursue further development or commercialization of the applicable current or future product candidates;
partners may own or co-own intellectual property covering products that results from our collaborating with them, and in such cases, we would not have the exclusive right to develop or commercialize such intellectual property;
disputes may arise with respect to the ownership of any intellectual property developed pursuant to our collaboration or license arrangements; and
a partner's sales and marketing activities or other operations may not be in compliance with applicable laws resulting in civil or criminal proceedings.
Risks Related to Our Intellectual Property Rights
If we are unable to obtain or protect intellectual property rights related to our product candidates, we may not be able to compete effectively in our markets.
We rely upon a combination of patents, trade secret protection and confidentiality agreements to protect the intellectual property related to our product candidates. The strength of patents in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical field involves complex legal and scientific questions and can be uncertain. The patent applications that we own or in-license may fail to result in issued patents with claims that cover our product candidates in the United States or in other foreign countries. There is no assurance that all of the potentially relevant prior art relating to our patents and patent applications has been found, which can invalidate a patent or prevent a patent from issuing from a pending patent application. Even if patents do successfully issue and even if such patents cover our product candidates, third parties may challenge their validity, enforceability or scope, which may result in such patents being narrowed or invalidated. Furthermore, even if they are unchallenged, our patents and patent applications may not adequately protect our intellectual property, provide exclusivity for our product candidates or prevent others from designing around our claims. Any of these outcomes could impair our ability to prevent competition from third parties, which may have an adverse impact on our business.
If the patent applications we hold or have in-licensed with respect to our programs or product candidates fail to issue, if their breadth or strength of protection is threatened, or if they fail to provide meaningful exclusivity for our product candidates, it could dissuade companies from collaborating with us to develop product candidates, and threaten our ability to commercialize, future products. Several patent applications covering our product candidates have been filed recently. We cannot offer any assurances about which, if any, patents will issue, the breadth of any such patent or whether any issued patents will be found invalid and unenforceable or will be threatened by third parties. Any successful opposition to these patents or any other patents owned by or licensed to us could deprive us of rights necessary for the successful commercialization of any product candidates that we may develop. Further, if we encounter delays in regulatory approvals, the period of time during which we could market a product candidate under patent protection could be reduced. Since patent applications in the United States and most other countries are confidential for a period of time after filing, and some remain so until issued, we cannot be certain that we were the first to file any patent application related to a product candidate. Furthermore, if third parties have filed such patent applications, an interference proceeding in the United States can be initiated by a third-party to determine who was the first to invent any of the subject matter covered by the patent claims of our applications. In addition, patents have a limited lifespan. In the United States, the natural expiration of a patent is generally 20 years after it is filed. Various extensions may be available however the life of a patent, and the protection it affords, is limited. Even if patents covering our product candidates are obtained, once the patent life has expired for a product, we may be open to competition from generic medications.
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In addition to the protection afforded by patents, we rely on trade secret protection and confidentiality agreements to protect proprietary know-how that is not patentable or that we elect not to patent, processes for which patents are difficult to enforce and any other elements of our product candidate discovery and development processes that involve proprietary know-how, and information or technology that is not covered by patents. However, trade secrets can be difficult to protect. We seek to protect our proprietary technology and processes, in part, by entering into confidentiality agreements with our employees, consultants, scientific advisors and contractors. We also seek to preserve the integrity and confidentiality of our data and trade secrets by maintaining physical security of our premises and physical and electronic security of our information technology systems. While we have confidence in these individuals, organizations and systems, agreements or security measures may be breached, and we may not have adequate remedies for any breach. In addition, our trade secrets may otherwise become known or be independently discovered by competitors.
Although we expect all of our employees and consultants to assign their inventions to us, and all of our employees, consultants, advisors and any third parties who have access to our proprietary know-how, information or technology to enter into confidentiality agreements, we cannot provide any assurances that all such agreements have been duly executed or that our trade secrets and other confidential proprietary information will not be disclosed or that competitors will not otherwise gain access to our trade secrets or independently develop substantially equivalent information and techniques. Misappropriation or unauthorized disclosure of our trade secrets could impair our competitive position and may have a material adverse effect on our business. Additionally, if the steps taken to maintain our trade secrets are deemed inadequate, we may have insufficient recourse against third parties for misappropriating the trade secret. In addition, others may independently discover our trade secrets and proprietary information. For example, the FDA, as part of its Transparency Initiative, is currently considering whether to make additional information publicly available on a routine basis, including information that we may consider to be trade secrets or other proprietary information, and it is not clear at the present time how the FDA’s disclosure policies may change in the future, if at all.
Further, the laws of some foreign countries do not protect proprietary rights to the same extent or in the same manner as the laws of the United States. As a result, we may encounter significant problems in protecting and defending our intellectual property both in the United States and abroad. If we are unable to prevent material disclosure of the non-patented intellectual property related to our technologies to third parties, and there is no guarantee that we will have any such enforceable trade secret protection, we may not be able to establish or maintain a competitive advantage in our market, which could materially adversely affect our business, results of operations and financial condition.
Third-party claims of intellectual property infringement may prevent or delay our development and commercialization efforts.
Our commercial success depends in part on our avoiding infringement of the patents and proprietary rights of third parties. There is a substantial amount of litigation, both within and outside the United States, involving patent and other intellectual property rights in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries, including patent infringement lawsuits, interferences, oppositions, ex parte reexaminations, post-grant review, and inter partes review proceedings before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, or U.S. PTO, and corresponding foreign patent offices. Numerous U.S. and foreign issued patents and pending patent applications, which are owned by third parties, exist in the fields in which we are pursuing development candidates. As the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries expand and more patents are issued, the risk increases that our product candidates may be subject to claims of infringement of the patent rights of third parties.
Third parties may assert that we are employing their proprietary technology without authorization. There may be third-party patents or patent applications with claims to materials, formulations, methods of manufacture or methods for treatment related to the use or manufacture of our product candidates. Because patent applications can take many years to issue, there may be currently pending patent applications which may later result in issued patents that our product candidates may infringe. In addition, third parties may obtain patents in the future and claim that use of our technologies infringes upon these patents. If any third-party patents were held by a court of competent jurisdiction to cover the manufacturing process of any of our product candidates, any molecules formed during the
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manufacturing process or any final product itself, the holders of any such patents may be able to block our ability to commercialize such product candidate unless we obtained a license under the applicable patents, or until such patents expire. Similarly, if any third-party patents were held by a court of competent jurisdiction to cover aspects of our formulations, processes for manufacture or methods of use, including combination therapy, the holders of any such patents may be able to block our ability to develop and commercialize the applicable product candidate unless we obtained a license or until such patent expires. In either case, such a license may not be available on commercially reasonable terms or at all.
Parties making claims against us may obtain injunctive or other equitable relief, which could effectively block our ability to further develop and commercialize one or more of our product candidates. Defense of these claims, regardless of their merit, would involve substantial litigation expense and would be a substantial diversion of employee resources from our business. In the event of a successful claim of infringement against us, we may have to pay substantial damages, including treble damages and attorneys’ fees for willful infringement, pay royalties, redesign our infringing products or obtain one or more licenses from third parties, which may be impossible or require substantial time and monetary expenditure.
We may not be successful in obtaining or maintaining necessary rights to gene therapy product components and processes for our development pipeline through acquisitions and in-licenses.
Presently we have rights to the intellectual property, through licenses from third parties and under patents that we own, to develop our product candidates and commercialize our approved product. Because our programs may involve additional product candidates that may require the use of proprietary rights held by third parties, the growth of our business will likely depend in part on our ability to acquire, in-license or use these proprietary rights. In addition, our product candidates may require specific formulations to work effectively and efficiently and these rights may be held by others. We may be unable to acquire or in-license any compositions, methods of use, processes or other third-party intellectual property rights from third parties that we identify. The licensing and acquisition of third-party intellectual property rights is a competitive area, and a number of more established companies are also pursuing strategies to license or acquire third-party intellectual property rights that we may consider attractive. These established companies may have a competitive advantage over us due to their size, cash resources and greater clinical development and commercialization capabilities.
For example, we sometimes collaborate with U.S. and foreign academic institutions to accelerate our preclinical research or development under written agreements with these institutions. Typically, these institutions provide us with an option to negotiate a license to any of the institution’s rights in technology resulting from the collaboration. Regardless of such right of first negotiation for intellectual property, we may be unable to negotiate a license within the specified time frame or under terms that are acceptable to us. If we are unable to do so, the institution may offer the intellectual property rights to other parties, potentially blocking our ability to pursue our program.
In addition, companies that perceive us to be a competitor may be unwilling to assign or license rights to us. We also may be unable to license or acquire third-party intellectual property rights on terms that would allow us to make an appropriate return on our investment. If we are unable to successfully obtain rights to required third-party intellectual property rights, our business, financial condition and prospects for growth could suffer.
If we fail to comply with our obligations in the agreements under which we license intellectual property rights from third parties or otherwise experience disruptions to our business relationships with our licensors, we could lose license rights that are important to our business.
We are a party to a number of intellectual property license agreements that are important to our business and expect to enter into additional license agreements in the future. Our existing license agreements impose, and we expect that future license agreements will impose, various diligence, milestone payment, royalty and other obligations on us. If we fail to comply with our obligations under these agreements, or we are subject to a bankruptcy, the licensor may have the right to terminate the license, in which event we would not be able to market products covered by the license.
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We may need to obtain licenses from third parties to advance the development of our product candidates or allow commercialization of our approved product, and we have done so from time to time. We may fail to obtain any of these licenses at a reasonable cost or on reasonable terms, if at all. In that event, we may be required to expend significant time and resources to develop or license replacement technology. If we are unable to do so, we may be unable to develop or commercialize the affected product candidates, which could harm our business significantly. We cannot provide any assurances that third-party patents do not exist which might be enforced against our current product candidates, approved product, or future products, resulting in either an injunction prohibiting our sales, or, with respect to our sales, an obligation on our part to pay royalties and/or other forms of compensation to third parties.
In many cases, patent prosecution of our licensed technology is controlled solely by the licensor. If our licensors fail to obtain and maintain patent or other protection for the proprietary intellectual property we license from them, we could lose our rights to the intellectual property or our exclusivity with respect to those rights, and our competitors could market competing products using the intellectual property. In certain cases, we control the prosecution of patents resulting from licensed technology. In the event we breach any of our obligations related to such prosecution, we may incur significant liability to our licensing partners. Licensing of intellectual property is of critical importance to our business and involves complex legal, business and scientific issues and is complicated by the rapid pace of scientific discovery in our industry. Disputes may arise regarding intellectual property subject to a licensing agreement, including:
the scope of rights granted under the license agreement and other interpretation-related issues;
the extent to which our technology and processes infringe on intellectual property of the licensor that is not subject to the licensing agreement;
the sublicensing of patent and other rights under our collaborative development relationships;
our diligence obligations under the license agreement and what activities satisfy those diligence obligations;
the ownership of inventions and know-how resulting from the joint creation or use of intellectual property by our licensors and us and our partners; and
the priority of invention of patented technology.
If disputes over intellectual property that we have licensed prevent or impair our ability to maintain our current licensing arrangements on acceptable terms, we may be unable to successfully develop and commercialize the affected approved product or product candidates.
We may be involved in lawsuits to protect or enforce our patents or the patents of our licensors, which could be expensive, time-consuming and unsuccessful.
Competitors may infringe our patents or the patents of our licensors. To counter infringement or unauthorized use, we may be required to file infringement claims, which can be expensive and time-consuming. In addition, in an infringement proceeding, a court may decide that a patent of ours or our licensors is not valid, is unenforceable and/or is not infringed, or may refuse to stop the other party from using the technology at issue on the grounds that our patents do not cover the technology in question. In patent litigation in the United States, defendant counterclaims alleging invalidity and/or unenforceability are commonplace. Grounds for a validity challenge could be an alleged failure to meet any of several statutory requirements, including patent eligible subject matter, lack of novelty, obviousness or non-enablement. Grounds for an unenforceability assertion could be an allegation that someone connected with prosecution of the patent withheld relevant information from the U.S. PTO, or made a misleading statement, during prosecution. Third parties may also raise similar claims before administrative bodies in the United States or abroad, even outside the context of litigation. Such mechanisms include re-examination, post grant review, and equivalent proceedings in foreign jurisdictions (e.g., opposition proceedings). Such proceedings could result in revocation or amendment to our patents in such a way that they no longer cover our product candidates. The
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outcome following legal assertions of invalidity and unenforceability is unpredictable. With respect to the validity question, for example, we cannot be certain that there is no invalidating prior art, of which we and the patent examiner were unaware during prosecution. If a defendant were to prevail on a legal assertion of invalidity and/or unenforceability, we would lose at least part, and perhaps all, of the patent protection on our approved product and/or product candidates. Such a loss of patent protection would have a material adverse impact on our business.
Interference proceedings provoked by third parties or brought by us may be necessary to determine the priority of inventions with respect to our patents or patent applications or those of our licensors. An unfavorable outcome could require us to cease using the related technology or to attempt to license rights to it from the prevailing party. Our business could be harmed if the prevailing party does not offer us a license on commercially reasonable terms. Our defense of litigation or interference proceedings may fail and, even if successful, may result in substantial costs and distract our management and other employees. We may not be able to prevent, alone or with our licensors, misappropriation of our intellectual property rights, particularly in countries where the laws may not protect those rights as fully as in the United States.
Furthermore, because of the substantial amount of discovery required in connection with intellectual property litigation, there is a risk that some of our confidential information could be compromised by disclosure during this type of litigation. There could also be public announcements of the results of hearings, motions or other interim proceedings or developments. If securities analysts or investors perceive these results to be negative, it could have a material adverse effect on the price of our common stock.
We may be subject to claims that our employees, consultants or independent contractors have wrongfully used or disclosed confidential information of third parties or that our employees have wrongfully used or disclosed alleged trade secrets of their former employers.
We employ individuals who were previously employed at universities or other biotechnology or pharmaceutical companies, including our competitors or potential competitors. Although we try to ensure that our employees, consultants and independent contractors do not use the proprietary information or know-how of others in their work for us, we may be subject to claims that we or our employees, consultants or independent contractors have inadvertently or otherwise used or disclosed intellectual property, including trade secrets or other proprietary information, of any of our employee’s former employer or other third parties. Litigation may be necessary to defend against these claims. If we fail in defending any such claims, in addition to paying monetary damages, we may lose valuable intellectual property rights or personnel, which could adversely impact our business. Even if we are successful in defending against such claims, litigation could result in substantial costs and be a distraction to management and other employees.
We may be subject to claims challenging the inventorship or ownership of our patents and other intellectual property.
We may also be subject to claims that former employees, collaborators or other third parties have an ownership interest in our patents or other intellectual property. We have had in the past, and we may also have in the future, ownership disputes arising, for example, from conflicting obligations of consultants or others who are involved in developing our product candidates. Litigation may be necessary to defend against these and other claims challenging inventorship or ownership. If we fail in defending any such claims, in addition to paying monetary damages, we may lose valuable intellectual property rights, such as exclusive ownership of, or right to use, valuable intellectual property. Such an outcome could have a material adverse effect on our business. Even if we are successful in defending against such claims, litigation could result in substantial costs and be a distraction to management and other employees.
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Obtaining and maintaining our patent protection depends on compliance with various procedural, document submission, fee payment and other requirements imposed by governmental patent agencies, and our patent protection could be reduced or eliminated for non-compliance with these requirements.
Periodic maintenance fees, renewal fees, annuity fees and various other governmental fees on patents and/or applications will be due to be paid to the U.S. PTO and various governmental patent agencies outside of the United States in several stages over the lifetime of the patents and/or applications. We have systems in place to remind us to pay these fees, and we employ an outside firm and rely on our outside counsel to pay these fees due to non-U.S. patent agencies. The U.S. PTO and various non-U.S. governmental patent agencies require compliance with a number of procedural, documentary, fee payment and other similar provisions during the patent application process. We employ reputable law firms and other professionals to help us comply, and in many cases, an inadvertent lapse can be cured by payment of a late fee or by other means in accordance with the applicable rules. However, there are situations in which non-compliance can result in abandonment or lapse of the patent or patent application, resulting in partial or complete loss of patent rights in the relevant jurisdiction. In such an event, our competitors might be able to enter the market and this circumstance would have a material adverse effect on our business.
Changes in U.S. patent law could diminish the value of patents in general, thereby impairing our ability to protect our products.
As is the case with other biotechnology companies, our success is heavily dependent on intellectual property, particularly patents. Obtaining and enforcing patents in the biotechnology industry involve both technological and legal complexity, and is therefore costly, time-consuming and inherently uncertain. In addition, the United States has recently enacted and is currently implementing wide-ranging patent reform legislation. Recent U.S. Supreme Court rulings have narrowed the scope of patent protection available in certain circumstances and weakened the rights of patent owners in certain situations. In addition to increasing uncertainty with regard to our ability to obtain patents in the future, this combination of events has created uncertainty with respect to the value of patents, once obtained. Depending on decisions by the U.S. Congress, the federal courts, and the U.S. PTO, the laws and regulations governing patents could change in unpredictable ways that would weaken our ability to obtain new patents or to enforce our existing patents and patents that we might obtain in the future.
We may not be able to protect our intellectual property rights throughout the world.
Filing, prosecuting and defending patents on product candidates in all countries throughout the world would be prohibitively expensive, and our intellectual property rights in some countries outside the United States can be less extensive than those in the United States. In addition, the laws of some foreign countries do not protect intellectual property rights to the same extent as federal and state laws in the United States. Consequently, we may not be able to prevent third parties from practicing our inventions in all countries outside the United States, or from selling or importing products made using our inventions in and into the United States or other jurisdictions. Competitors may use our technologies in jurisdictions where we have not obtained patent protection to develop their own products and further, may export otherwise infringing products to territories where we have patent protection, but enforcement is not as strong as that in the United States. These products may compete with our products and our patents or other intellectual property rights may not be effective or sufficient to prevent them from competing.
Many companies have encountered significant problems in protecting and defending intellectual property rights in foreign jurisdictions. The legal systems of certain countries, particularly certain developing countries, do not favor the enforcement of patents, trade secrets and other intellectual property protection, particularly those relating to biotechnology products, which could make it difficult for us to stop the infringement of our patents or marketing of competing products in violation of our proprietary rights generally. Proceedings to enforce our patent rights in foreign jurisdictions could result in substantial costs and divert our efforts and attention from other aspects of our business, could put our patents at risk of being invalidated or interpreted narrowly and our patent applications at risk of not issuing and could provoke third parties to assert claims against us. We may not prevail in any lawsuits that we initiate and the damages or other remedies awarded, if any, may not be commercially meaningful. Accordingly, our efforts to enforce our intellectual property rights around the world may be inadequate to obtain a significant commercial advantage from the intellectual property that we develop or license.
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Risks Related to the Commercialization of Our Product Candidates
We have limited experience as a commercial company and the marketing and sale any future approved drugs may be unsuccessful or less successful than anticipated.
Although BMS has responsibility for, and is undertaking, the key commercialization activities for Abecma, to the extent we are required to participate in commercialization activities we have limited experience in doing so, and there is limited information about our ability to successfully overcome many of the risks and uncertainties encountered by companies commercializing drugs in the biopharmaceutical industry. To execute our business plan, in addition to successfully marketing and selling any future drugs for which we gain regulatory approval, we will need to successfully:
establish and maintain our relationships with healthcare providers who will be treating the patients who may receive our drugs and any future drugs;
obtain adequate pricing and reimbursement for any future drugs, if approved;
gain regulatory acceptance for the development and commercialization of the drug candidates in our pipeline;
develop and maintain successful strategic alliances; and
manage our spending as costs and expenses increase due to clinical trials, marketing approvals, and commercialization.
If we are unsuccessful in accomplishing these objectives, we may not be able to successfully develop drug candidates, commercialize any future drugs, if approved, raise capital, expand our business or continue our operations.
We may not be successful in supporting the commercialization of Abecma.
To date, we have not recognized any revenue from commercial sales of Abecma, and we do not know when, or if, we will recognize any revenue from commercial sales of Abecma. BMS is primarily responsible for the launch and commercialization of Abecma, and there can be no guarantee that BMS will be able to launch and commercialize Abecma successfully.
We do not expect to recognize significant revenue until BMS begins to sell Abecma. Our ability to recognize revenue depends on a number of factors, including, but not limited to, BMS’ ability to:
set an acceptable price for Abecma;
obtain commercial quantities of Abecma, at acceptable cost levels;
establish a commercial sales force team for Abecma;
obtain third-party coverage or adequate reimbursement for Abecma;
achieve market acceptance of Abecma, in the medical community and with third-party payors; and
including placement in accepted clinical guidelines for the conditions for which Abecma is intended to target.
We expect to incur significant sales and marketing costs as we and our partner BMS prepare for the commercialization of Abecma pursuant to our co-development and co-promotion agreement. Even if we expend
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these costs, Abecma may not be commercially successful. We may not recognize significant, or any, revenue from Abecma. If we are unable to recognize product revenue, we may be unable to continue operations without additional funding, which may be dilutive to our stockholders.
If we are unable to establish sales and marketing capabilities or enter into agreements with third parties to sell and market any future product candidates, if approved, we may not be successful in commercializing those product candidates if and when they are approved.
We do not currently have an infrastructure for the sale, marketing, market access, patient service and distribution of pharmaceutical products. In order to market our product candidates, if approved by the FDA or any other regulatory authority outside the United States, we must build our sales, marketing, managerial and other non-technical capabilities, or arrange with third parties to perform these services. There are risks involved with both establishing our own commercial capabilities and entering into arrangements with third parties to perform these services. For example, recruiting and training a sales force or reimbursement specialists is expensive and time-consuming and could delay any product candidate launch. If commercialization is delayed or does not occur, we would have prematurely or unnecessarily incurred such expenses. This may be costly, and our investment would be lost if we cannot retain or reposition our commercialization personnel.
If we enter into arrangements with third parties to perform sales, marketing, commercial support and distribution services, our product revenue or the profitability of product revenue may be lower than if we were to market and sell any products we may develop ourselves. In addition, we may fail to enter into arrangements with third parties to commercialize our product candidates or may be unable to do so on terms that are favorable to us. We may have little control over such third parties, and any of them may fail to devote the necessary resources and attention to sell and market our products effectively. If we do not establish commercialization capabilities successfully, either on our own or in collaboration with third parties, or if we are unable to do so on commercially reasonable terms, we will not be successful in commercializing our product candidates if approved and our business, prospects, financial condition and results of operations will be materially harmed.
Even if we obtain regulatory approval for our product candidates, our product candidates may not achieve broad market acceptance by patients, physicians, healthcare payors or others in the medical community, which would limit the revenue that we recognize from their sales.
The future commercial success of our product candidates, if approved by the FDA or other applicable regulatory authorities outside the United States, will depend upon the awareness and acceptance of our product candidates among the medical community, including patients, physicians, and healthcare payors. If any of our product candidates are approved but do not achieve an adequate level of acceptance by patients, physicians, healthcare payors and others in the medical community, we may not recognize sufficient revenue to become, or remain, profitable. Market acceptance of our product candidates, if approved, will depend on a number of factors, including, among others:
the efficacy and safety of our approved product candidates as demonstrated in clinical trials;
the clinical indications for which our product candidates are approved;
limitations or warnings contained in the labeling approved for our product candidates by the FDA or other applicable regulatory authorities;
any restrictions on the use of our products together with other medications or restrictions on the use of our products in certain types of patients;
the prevalence and severity of any adverse effects associated with our product candidates;
the size of the target patient population, and the willingness of the target patient population to try new therapies and of physicians to prescribe these therapies;
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the safety, efficacy, cost, and other potential advantages of our approved product candidates compared to other available therapies;
our ability to generate cost effectiveness data that supports a profitable price;
our ability to obtain sufficient reimbursement and pricing by third-party payors and government authorities;
the willingness of patients to pay out-of-pocket in the absence of sufficient payor coverage.
the effectiveness of our sales and marketing strategies; or
publicity concerning our products or competing products and treatments.
If our product candidates are approved but do not achieve an adequate level of acceptance by patients, physicians and payors, we may not recognize sufficient revenue from our product candidates to become or remain profitable. Before granting reimbursement approval, healthcare payors may require us to demonstrate that our product candidates, in addition to treating these target indications, also provide incremental health benefits to patients. Our efforts to educate the medical community and third-party payors about the benefits of our product candidates may require significant resources and may never be successful.
Reimbursement may be limited or unavailable in certain market segments for our product candidates, which could make it difficult for us to sell our products profitably. Price controls may be imposed in foreign markets, which may harm our future profitability.
In the United States and markets in other countries, patients generally rely on third-party payors to reimburse all or part of the costs associated with their treatment. Adequate coverage and reimbursement from governmental healthcare programs, such as Medicare and Medicaid, and commercial payors is critical to new product acceptance. Market acceptance and sales of any approved product candidates will depend significantly on the availability of adequate coverage and reimbursement from third-party payors and government authorities and may be affected by existing and future health care reform measures. Government authorities and third-party payors, such as private health insurers and health maintenance organizations, decide which drugs they will pay for and establish reimbursement levels. There is also significant uncertainty related to the insurance coverage and reimbursement of newly approved products and coverage may be more limited than the purposes for which the medicine is approved by the FDA or comparable foreign regulatory authorities. In the United States, the principal decisions about reimbursement for new medicines are typically made by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, or CMS, an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, or HHS. CMS decides whether and to what extent a new medicine will be covered and reimbursed under Medicare and private payors tend to follow CMS to a substantial degree. Reimbursement by a third-party payer may depend upon a number of factors, including the third-party payor's determination that use of a product is: a covered benefit under its health plan; safe, effective and medically necessary; appropriate for the specific patient; cost-effective; and neither experimental nor investigational.
Obtaining coverage and reimbursement approval for a product from a government or other third-party payor is a time consuming and costly process that could require us to provide supporting scientific, clinical and cost-effectiveness data for the use of our products to the payor. We or our partners may not be able to provide data sufficient to gain acceptance with respect to coverage and reimbursement. We cannot be sure that coverage or adequate reimbursement will be available for any of our product candidates. Also, we cannot be sure that reimbursement amounts will not reduce the demand for, or the price of, our products. If reimbursement is not available or is available only to limited levels, we may not be able to commercialize certain of our products. In addition, in the United States, third-party payors are increasingly attempting to contain health care costs by limiting both coverage and the level of reimbursement of new drugs. As a result, significant uncertainty exists as to whether and how much third-party payors will reimburse patients for their use of newly approved drugs, which in turn will put pressure on the pricing of drugs.
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Net prices for drugs may be reduced by mandatory discounts or rebates required by government healthcare programs or private payors and by any future relaxation of laws that presently restrict imports of drugs from countries where they may be sold at lower prices than in the United States. Increasingly, third-party payors are requiring that drug companies provide them with predetermined discounts from list prices and are challenging the prices charged for medical products. We cannot be sure that reimbursement will be available for any product candidate that we commercialize and, if reimbursement is available, the level of reimbursement. In addition, many pharmaceutical manufacturers must calculate and report certain price reporting metrics to the government, such as average sales price, or ASP, and best price. Penalties may apply in some cases when such metrics are not submitted accurately and timely. Further, these prices for drugs may be reduced by mandatory discounts or rebates required by government healthcare programs.
In some countries, particularly member states of the European Union, the pricing of prescription drugs is subject to governmental control. In these countries, pricing negotiations with governmental authorities can take considerable time after receipt of marketing approval for a product. In addition, there can be considerable pressure by governments and other stakeholders on prices and reimbursement levels, including as part of cost containment measures. Political, economic and regulatory developments may further complicate pricing negotiations, and pricing negotiations may continue after reimbursement has been obtained. Reference pricing used by various European Union member states and parallel distribution, or arbitrage between low-priced and high-priced member states, can further reduce prices. In some countries, we or our partners may be required to conduct a clinical trial or other studies that compare the cost-effectiveness of our product candidates to other available therapies in order to obtain or maintain reimbursement or pricing approval. Publication of discounts by third-party payors or authorities may lead to further pressure on the prices or reimbursement levels within the country of publication and other countries. If reimbursement of our products is unavailable or limited in scope or amount, or if pricing is set at unsatisfactory levels, our business could be harmed.
Even though BMS has obtained marketing approval for Abecma, it, and any future approved product, will remain subject to regulatory scrutiny.
Even if we or our collaborators obtain marketing approval in a jurisdiction, regulatory authorities may still impose significant restrictions on the indicated uses or marketing of any approved products, or impose ongoing requirements for potentially costly post-approval studies, post-market surveillance or patient or drug restrictions. For example, the FDA typically advises that patients treated with gene therapy undergo follow-up observations for potential adverse events for a 15-year period. Additionally, the holder of an approved BLA is obligated to monitor and report adverse events and any failure of a product to meet the specifications in the BLA. The holder of an approved BLA must also submit new or supplemental applications and obtain FDA approval for certain changes to the approved product, product labeling or manufacturing process. Advertising and promotional materials must comply with FDA rules and are subject to FDA review, in addition to other potentially applicable federal and state laws.
In addition, product manufacturers and their facilities are subject to payment of user fees and continual review and periodic inspections by the FDA and other regulatory authorities for compliance with good manufacturing practices, or GMP, and adherence to commitments made in the BLA. If we, our collaborators, or a regulatory agency discovers previously unknown problems with a product such as adverse events of unanticipated severity or frequency, or problems with the facility where the product is manufactured, a regulatory agency may impose restrictions relative to that product or the manufacturing facility, including requiring recall or withdrawal of the product from the market or suspension of manufacturing.
If we fail to comply with applicable regulatory requirements following marketing approval for a product, a regulatory agency may:
issue a warning letter asserting that we are in violation of the law;
seek an injunction or impose civil or criminal penalties or monetary fines;
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suspend or withdraw marketing approval;
suspend any ongoing clinical studies;
refuse to approve a pending marketing application, such as a BLA or supplements to a BLA submitted by us;
seize product; or
refuse to allow us to enter into supply contracts, including government contracts.
Any government investigation of alleged violations of law could require us to expend significant time and resources in response and could generate negative publicity. The occurrence of any event or penalty described above may inhibit our ability to commercialize any approved product and recognize revenues.
Regulatory approval by the FDA or comparable foreign regulatory authorities is limited to those specific indications and conditions for which approval has been granted, and we may be subject to substantial fines, criminal penalties, injunctions, or other enforcement actions if we are determined to be promoting the use of our products for unapproved or “off-label” uses, or in a manner inconsistent with the approved labeling, resulting in damage to our reputation and business.
We must comply with requirements concerning advertising and promotion for any product candidates for which we or our collaborators obtain marketing approval. Promotional communications with respect to therapeutics are subject to a variety of legal and regulatory restrictions and continuing review by the FDA or comparable foreign regulatory authorities, Department of Justice, Department of Health and Human Services’, or HHS, Office of Inspector General, state attorneys general, members of Congress, and the public. When the FDA or comparable foreign regulatory authorities issue a regulatory approval for a product candidate, the regulatory approval is limited to those specific uses and indications for which a product is approved. If we or our collaborators are not able to obtain FDA or comparable foreign regulatory authority approval for desired uses or indications for our products or current product candidates and any future product candidates, we and our collaborators may not market or promote them for those indications and uses, referred to as off-label uses, and our business, financial condition, results of operations, stock price and prospects will be materially harmed. We also must sufficiently substantiate any claims that we make for our products, including claims comparing our products to other companies’ products, and must abide by the FDA or a comparable foreign regulatory authority’s strict requirements regarding the content of promotion and advertising.
While physicians may choose to prescribe products for uses that are not described in the product’s labeling and for uses that differ from those tested in clinical trials and approved by the regulatory authorities, we and any third parties engaged on our behalf are prohibited from marketing and promoting the products for indications and uses that are not specifically approved by the FDA or comparable foreign regulatory authorities. Regulatory authorities in the United States generally do not restrict or regulate the behavior of physicians in their choice of treatment within the practice of medicine. Regulatory authorities do, however, restrict communications by biopharmaceutical companies concerning off-label use.
If we are found to have impermissibly promoted any of our current products and any current or future product candidates, we may become subject to significant liability and government fines. The FDA and other agencies actively enforce the laws and regulations regarding product promotion, particularly those prohibiting the promotion of off-label uses, and a company that is found to have improperly promoted a product may be subject to significant sanctions. The federal government has levied large civil and criminal fines against companies for alleged improper promotion and has enjoined several companies from engaging in off-label promotion. The FDA has also requested that companies enter into consent decrees or permanent injunctions under which specified promotional conduct is changed or curtailed.
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Furthermore, the use of our products for indications other than those approved by the FDA or comparable foreign regulatory authorities may not effectively treat such conditions. Any such off-label use of our products could harm our reputation in the marketplace among physicians and patients. There may also be increased risk of injury to patients if physicians attempt to use our products for these uses for which they are not approved, which could lead to product liability suits that that might require significant financial and management resources and that could harm our reputation.
We are subject, directly or indirectly, to federal and state healthcare fraud and abuse laws, false claims laws and health information privacy and security laws. If we are unable to comply, or have not fully complied, with such laws, we could face substantial penalties, reputational harm, and diminished profits and future earnings.
In the United States, the research, manufacturing, distribution, sale, and promotion of drugs and biologic products are subject to regulation by various federal, state, and local authorities in addition to FDA, including CMS, other divisions of the HHS, (e.g., the Office of Inspector General), the United States Department of Justice offices of the United States Attorney, the Federal Trade Commission and state and local governments. Our operations are directly, or indirectly through our prescribers, customers and purchasers, subject to various federal and state fraud and abuse laws and regulations including but not limited to: the federal Anti-Kickback Statute, which prohibits, among other things, persons or entities from knowingly and willfully soliciting, receiving, offering or paying any remuneration (including any kickback, bribe or rebate), directly or indirectly, overtly or covertly, in cash or in kind, to induce, or in return for, the purchase, lease, order, arrangement, or recommendation of any good, facility, item or service for which payment may be made, in whole or in part, under a federal healthcare program, such as the Medicare and Medicaid programs. A person or entity does not need to have actual knowledge of the federal Anti-Kickback Statute or specific intent to violate it to have committed a violation. Violations are subject to civil and criminal fines and penalties for each violation, plus up to three times the remuneration involved, imprisonment, and exclusion from government healthcare programs. In addition, the government may assert that a claim including items or services resulting from a violation of the federal Anti-Kickback Statute constitutes a false or fraudulent claim for purposes of the federal False Claims Act or federal civil money penalties. On December 2, 2020, the Office of Inspector General, or OIG, published further modifications to the federal Anti-Kickback Statute. Under the final rules, OIG added safe harbor protections under the Anti-Kickback Statute for certain coordinated care and value-based arrangements among clinicians, providers, and others. This rule (with exceptions) became effective January 19, 2021. Implementation of this change and new safe harbors for point-of-sale reductions in price for prescription pharmaceutical products and pharmacy benefit manager service fees are currently under review by the Biden administration and may be amended or repealed. We continue to evaluate what effect, if any, the rule will have on our business;
the federal civil and criminal false claims laws and civil monetary penalty laws, such as the federal False Claims Act, which impose criminal and civil penalties and authorize civil whistleblower or qui tam actions, against individuals or entities for, among other things: knowingly presenting, or causing to be presented, to the federal government, claims for payment that are false or fraudulent; knowingly making, using or causing to be made or used, a false statement of record material to a false or fraudulent claim or obligation to pay or transmit money or property to the federal government or knowingly concealing or knowingly and improperly avoiding or decreasing an obligation to pay money to the federal government. Manufacturers can be held liable under the federal False Claims Act even when they do not submit claims directly to government payors if they are deemed to “cause” the submission of false or fraudulent claims. The federal False Claims Act also permits a private individual acting as a “whistleblower” to bring actions on behalf of the federal government alleging violations of the federal False Claims Act and to share in any monetary recovery;
the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, or HIPAA, which created new federal criminal statutes that prohibit a person from knowingly and willfully executing, or attempting to execute, a scheme to defraud any healthcare benefit program or obtain, by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, representations or promises, any of the money or property owned by, or under the custody or
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control of, any healthcare benefit program, regardless of the payor (e.g., public or private) and knowingly and willfully falsifying, concealing or covering up by any trick or device a material fact or making any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statements or representations in connection with the delivery of, or payment for, healthcare benefits, items or services relating to healthcare matters; similar to the federal Anti-Kickback Statute, a person or entity does not need to have actual knowledge of the statute or specific intent to violate it in order to have committed a violation;
HIPAA, as amended by the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act of 2009, or HITECH and their respective implementing regulations, including the Final Omnibus Rule published in January 2013, which impose requirements on certain covered healthcare providers, health plans, and healthcare clearinghouses as well as their respective business associates, independent contractors or agents of covered entities, that perform services for them that involve the creation, maintenance, receipt, use, or disclosure of, individually identifiable health information relating to the privacy, security and transmission of individually identifiable health information. HITECH also created new tiers of civil monetary penalties, amended HIPAA to make civil and criminal penalties directly applicable to business associates, and gave state attorneys general new authority to file civil actions for damages or injunctions in federal courts to enforce the federal HIPAA laws and seek attorneys’ fees and costs associated with pursuing federal civil actions. In addition, there may be additional federal, state and non-U.S. laws which govern the privacy and security of health and other personal information in certain circumstances, many of which differ from each other in significant ways and may not have the same effect, thus complicating compliance efforts;
the U.S. federal transparency requirements under the ACA, including the provision commonly referred to as the Physician Payments Sunshine Act, and its implementing regulations, which requires applicable manufacturers of drugs, devices, biologics and medical supplies for which payment is available under Medicare, Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program to report annually to CMS, information related to payments or other transfers of value made to physicians (defined to include doctors, dentists, optometrists, podiatrists and chiropractors) and teaching hospitals, as well as ownership and investment interests held by the physicians described above and their immediate family members. Effective January 1, 2022, these reporting obligations will extend to include transfers of value made to certain non-physician providers such as physician assistants and nurse practitioners;
federal government price reporting laws, which require us to calculate and report complex pricing metrics in an accurate and timely manner to government programs;
federal consumer protection and unfair competition laws, which broadly regulate marketplace activities and activities that potentially harm consumers;
Additionally, we are subject to state and foreign equivalents of each of the healthcare laws and regulations described above, among others, some of which may be broader in scope and may apply regardless of the payor. Many U.S. states have adopted laws similar to the federal Anti-Kickback Statute and False Claims Act, and may apply to our business practices, including, but not limited to, research, distribution, sales or marketing arrangements and claims involving healthcare items or services reimbursed by non-governmental payors, including private insurers. In addition, some states have passed laws that require pharmaceutical companies to comply with the April 2003 Office of Inspector General Compliance Program Guidance for Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and/or the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America’s Code on Interactions with Healthcare Professionals. Several states also impose other marketing restrictions or require pharmaceutical companies to make marketing or price disclosures to the state and require the registration of pharmaceutical sales representatives. State and foreign laws, including for example the European Union General Data Protection Regulation, which became effective May 2018 also govern the privacy and security of health information in some circumstances, many of which differ from each other in significant ways and often are not preempted by HIPAA, thus complicating compliance efforts. There are ambiguities as to what is required to comply with these state requirements and if we fail to comply with an applicable state law requirement we could be subject to penalties. Finally, there are state and foreign laws
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governing the privacy and security of health information, many of which differ from each other in significant ways and often are not preempted by HIPAA, thus complicating compliance efforts.
These laws apply to, among other things, our sales, marketing and educational programs. State and federal regulatory and enforcement agencies continue actively to investigate violations of health care laws and regulations, and the United States Congress continues to strengthen the arsenal of enforcement tools. Most recently, the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 increased the criminal and civil penalties that can be imposed for violating certain federal health care laws, including the Anti-Kickback Statute. Enforcement agencies also continue to pursue novel theories of liability under these laws. In particular, government agencies have recently increased regulatory scrutiny and enforcement activity with respect to programs supported or sponsored by pharmaceutical companies, including reimbursement and co-pay support, funding of independent charitable foundations and other programs that offer benefits for patients. Several investigations into these programs have resulted in significant civil and criminal settlements.
Because of the breadth of these laws and the narrowness of the statutory exceptions and safe harbors available, it is possible that some of our business activities could be subject to challenge under one or more of such laws. If our operations are found to be in violation of any of the laws described above or any other government regulations that apply to us, we may be subject to penalties, including civil and criminal penalties, damages, fines, exclusion from participation in government health care programs, such as Medicare and Medicaid, imprisonment and the curtailment or restructuring of our operations, any of which could adversely affect our ability to operate our business and our results of operations. Even if we are not determined to have violated these laws, government investigations into these issues typically require the expenditure of significant resources and generate negative publicity, which could harm our financial condition and divert the attention of our management from operating our business.
In addition, we may be subject to patient privacy laws by both the federal government and the states in which we conduct our business. For example, HIPAA, as amended by the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act of 2009, or HITECH, and their respective implementing regulations, imposes requirements on certain covered healthcare providers, health plans, and healthcare clearinghouses as well as their respective business associates that perform services for them that involve the use, or disclosure of, individually identifiable health information, relating to the privacy, security and transmission of individually identifiable health information. HITECH also created new tiers of civil monetary penalties, amended HIPAA to make civil and criminal penalties directly applicable to business associates, and gave state attorneys general new authority to file civil actions for damages or injunctions in federal courts to enforce the federal HIPAA laws and seek attorneys’ fees and costs associated with pursuing federal civil actions In addition to HIPAA, as amended by HITECH, and their respective implementing regulations, California recently enacted the California Consumer Privacy Act, or CCPA, which creates new individual privacy rights for California consumers (as defined in the law) and places increased privacy and security obligations on entities handling personal data of consumers or households. The CCPA will require covered companies to provide certain disclosures to consumers about its data collection, use and sharing practices, and to provide affected California residents with ways to opt-out of certain sales or transfers of personal information. The CCPA went into effect on January 1, 2020, and the California Attorney General was able to commence enforcement actions against violators beginning July 1, 2020. While there is currently an exception for protected health information that is subject to HIPAA, as currently written, the CCPA may impact our business activities. The California Attorney General has proposed draft regulations, which have not been finalized to date, that may further impact our business activities if they are adopted. The uncertainty surrounding the implementation of CCPA exemplifies the vulnerability of our business to the evolving regulatory environment related to personal data and protected health information.
In the European Union, interactions between pharmaceutical companies, healthcare professionals, and patients are also governed by strict laws, regulations, industry self-regulation codes of conduct and physicians’ codes of professional conduct in the individual EU member states. The provision of benefits or advantages to healthcare professionals to induce or encourage the prescription, recommendation, endorsement, purchase, supply, order or use of medicinal products is prohibited in the European Union. Also, direct-to-consumer advertising of prescription-only medicinal products is prohibited at the European Union level and in the individual member states. In addition, the UK Bribery Act applies to any company incorporated in or “carrying on business” in the UK, irrespective of where
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in the world the alleged bribery activity occurs, which could have implications for our interactions with physicians both in and outside of the UK. Infringement of these laws could result in substantial fines and imprisonment.
Payments made to physicians in certain European Union member states must be publicly disclosed. Moreover, agreements with physicians often must be the subject of prior notification and approval by the physician’s employer, his or her competent professional organization and/or the regulatory authorities of the individual European Union member states. These requirements are provided in the national laws, industry codes or professional codes of conduct, applicable in the European Union member states. Failure to comply with these requirements could result in reputational risk, public reprimands, administrative penalties, fines or imprisonment.
EU member states, Switzerland and other countries have also adopted data protection laws and regulations, which impose significant compliance obligations. In the European Union, the collection and use of personal health data is currently governed by the provisions of the General Data Protection Regulation, or the GDPR. The GDPR, together with the national legislation of the individual EU member states governing the processing of personal data, impose strict obligations and restrictions on the ability to collect, analyze and transfer personal data, including health data from clinical trials and adverse event reporting. In particular, these obligations and restrictions concern the consent of the individuals to whom the personal data relates, the information provided to the individuals for the consent to be considered valid, the transfer of personal data out of the European Economic Area, security breach notifications, the use of third-party processors in connection with the processing of the personal data, confidentiality of the personal data, as well as substantial potential fines for breaches of the data protection obligations. Data protection authorities from the different EU member states may interpret the GDPR and national laws differently and impose additional requirements, which add to the complexity of processing personal data in the European Union. The GDPR also imposes strict rules on the transfer of personal data to countries outside the European Union, including the United States, and permits data protection authorities to impose large penalties for violations of the GDPR, including potential fines of up to €20 million or 4% of annual global revenues, whichever is greater. The GDPR also confers a private right of action on data subjects and consumer associations to lodge complaints with supervisory authorities, seek judicial remedies, and obtain compensation for damages resulting from violations of the GDPR. Compliance with the GDPR is a rigorous and time-intensive process that may increase our cost of doing business or require us to change our business practices, and despite those efforts, there is a risk that we may be subject to fines and penalties, litigation, and reputational harm in connection with any activities falling within the scope of the GDPR. Further, Brexit has created uncertainty with regard to data protection regulation in the United Kingdom. In particular, it is unclear how data transfers to and from the United Kingdom will be regulated.
We face intense competition and rapid technological change and the possibility that our competitors may develop therapies that are more advanced or effective than ours, which may adversely affect our financial condition and our ability to successfully commercialize our product and any future products. If our competitors obtain orphan drug exclusivity for products that regulatory authorities determine constitute the same drug and treat the same indications as our product or any future products, we may not be able to have competing products approved by the applicable regulatory authority for a significant period of time.
We are engaged in the development of gene therapies for cancer and this field is competitive and rapidly changing. We have competitors both in the United States and internationally, including major multinational pharmaceutical companies, biotechnology companies and universities and other research institutions. Many of our competitors have substantially greater financial, technical and other resources, such as larger research and development staff, manufacturing capabilities, experienced marketing and manufacturing organizations. Competition may increase further as a result of advances in the commercial applicability of technologies and greater availability of capital for investment in these industries. Our competitors may succeed in developing, acquiring or licensing on an exclusive basis, products that are more effective, safer, or less costly than any products that we may develop, or achieve patent protection, marketing approval, product commercialization and market penetration earlier than us. Additionally, technologies developed by our competitors may render our potential products uneconomical or obsolete, and we may not be successful in marketing our product candidates against competitors.
Even if we are successful in achieving marketing approval to commercialize a product candidate faster than our competitors, we may face competition from biosimilars due to the changing regulatory environment. In the United
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States, the Biologics Price Competition and Innovation Act of 2009 created an abbreviated approval pathway for biological products that are demonstrated to be “highly similar,” or biosimilar, to or “interchangeable” with an FDA-approved biological product. This pathway could allow competitors to reference data from biological products already approved after 12 years from the time of approval. In Europe, the European Commission has granted marketing authorizations for several biosimilars pursuant to a set of general and product class-specific guidelines for biosimilar approvals issued over the past few years. In Europe, a competitor may reference data from biological products already approved, but will not be able to get on the market until 10 years after the time of approval. This 10-year period will be extended to 11 years if, during the first eight of those 10 years, the marketing authorization holder obtains an approval for one or more new therapeutic indications that bring significant clinical benefits compared with existing therapies. In addition, companies may be developing biosimilars in other countries that could compete with our products. If competitors are able to obtain marketing approval for biosimilars referencing our products, our products may become subject to competition from such biosimilars, with the attendant competitive pressure and consequences. Expiration or successful challenge of our applicable patent rights could also trigger competition from other products, assuming any relevant exclusivity period has expired.
In addition, although Abecma and bb21217 have been granted orphan drug status by the FDA and EMA, there are limitations to the exclusivity. In the United States, the exclusivity period for orphan drugs is seven years, while pediatric exclusivity adds six months to any existing patents or exclusivity periods. In Europe, orphan drugs may be able to obtain 10 years of marketing exclusivity and up to an additional two years on the basis of qualifying pediatric studies. However, orphan exclusivity may be reduced to six years if the drug no longer satisfies the original designation criteria. Additionally, a marketing authorization holder may lose its orphan exclusivity if it consents to a second orphan drug application or cannot supply enough drug. Orphan drug exclusivity also can be lost when a second applicant demonstrates its drug is “clinically superior” to the original orphan drug. Generally, if a product with an orphan drug designation receives the first marketing approval for the indication for which it has such designation, the product is entitled to a period of marketing exclusivity, which precludes the FDA or the European Commission from approving another marketing application for a product that constitutes the same drug treating the same indication for that marketing exclusivity period, except in limited circumstances. If another sponsor receives such approval before we do (regardless of our orphan drug designation), we will be precluded from receiving marketing approval for our product for the exclusivity period for the applicable indication.
Finally, as a result of the expiration or successful challenge of our patent rights, we could face more litigation with respect to the validity and/or scope of patents relating to our competitors’ products. The availability of our competitors’ products could limit the demand, and the price we are able to charge, for any products that we may develop and commercialize.
We face potential product liability, and, if successful claims are brought against us, we may incur substantial liability and costs. If the use of any of our product candidates and, if approved, our products harms patients, or is perceived to harm patients even when such harm is unrelated to such product candidate or product, our marketing approvals could be revoked or otherwise negatively impacted and we could be subject to costly and damaging product liability claims.
The use of our product candidates in clinical studies and the sale of any products for which we obtain marketing approval exposes us to the risk of product liability claims. Product liability claims might be brought against us by patients participating in clinical trials, consumers, healthcare providers, pharmaceutical companies or others selling or otherwise coming into contact with our product or product candidates. There is a risk that our product candidates or any product for which we obtain marketing approval may induce adverse events. If we cannot successfully defend against product liability claims, we could incur substantial liability and costs. In addition, regardless of merit or eventual outcome, product liability claims may result in:
impairment of our business reputation;
withdrawal of clinical study participants;
costs due to related litigation;
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distraction of management’s attention from our primary business;
substantial monetary awards to patients or other claimants;
the inability to develop our product candidates or commercialize any approved product; and
decreased demand for any approved product.
We carry product liability insurance and we believe our product liability insurance coverage is sufficient in light of our current clinical programs; however, we may not be able to maintain insurance coverage at commercially reasonable cost or in sufficient amounts to protect us against losses due to liability. On occasion, large judgments have been awarded in class action lawsuits based on drugs or medical treatments that had unanticipated adverse effects. A successful product liability claim or series of claims brought against us could cause our stock price to decline and, if judgments exceed our insurance coverage, could adversely affect our results of operations and business.
Patients with the diseases targeted by our product candidates are often already in severe and advanced stages of disease and have both known and unknown significant pre-existing and potentially life-threatening health risks. During the course of treatment, patients may suffer adverse events, including death, for reasons that may be related to our product candidates. Such events could subject us to costly litigation, require us to pay substantial amounts of money to injured patients, delay, negatively impact or end our opportunity to receive or maintain marketing approval for any approved product, or require us to suspend or abandon our commercialization efforts for any approved product. Even in a circumstance in which we do not believe that an adverse event is related to our products the investigation into the circumstance may be time-consuming or inconclusive. These investigations may impact and limit the type of marketing approval our product candidates may receive or any approved product maintains. As a result of these factors, a product liability claim, even if successfully defended, could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations.
Healthcare legislative reform measures may have a material adverse effect on our business and results of operations.
The United States and many foreign jurisdictions have enacted or proposed legislative and regulatory changes affecting the healthcare system that could prevent or delay marketing approval of our product candidates or any future product candidates, restrict or regulate post-approval activities and affect our ability to profitably sell any product for which we obtain marketing approval. Changes in regulations, statutes or the interpretation of existing regulations could impact our business in the future by requiring, for example: (i) changes to our manufacturing arrangements; (ii) additions or modifications to product labeling; (iii) the recall or discontinuation of our products; or (iv) additional record-keeping requirements. If any such changes were to be imposed, they could adversely affect the operation of our business.
In the United States, there have been and continue to be a number of legislative initiatives to contain healthcare costs. For example, in March 2010, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, as amended by the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010, or the Affordable Care Act or ACA, was passed, which substantially changed the way health care is financed by both governmental and private insurers, and significantly impacts the U.S. pharmaceutical industry. The Affordable Care Act, among other things, addressed a new methodology by which rebates owed by manufacturers under the Medicaid Drug Rebate Program are calculated for drugs that are inhaled, infused, instilled, implanted or injected, increased the minimum Medicaid rebates owed by manufacturers under the Medicaid Drug Rebate Program and extended the rebate program to individuals enrolled in Medicaid managed care organizations, established annual fees and taxes on manufacturers of certain branded prescription drugs, expanded the types of entities eligible for the 340B drug discount program, and a new Medicare Part D coverage gap discount program, in which manufacturers must agree to offer 50% (increased to 70% pursuant to the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, effective as of 2019) point-of-sale discounts off negotiated prices of applicable brand drugs to eligible beneficiaries during their coverage gap period, as a condition for the manufacturer’s outpatient drugs to be covered under Medicare Part D.
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Since its enactment, there have been numerous judicial, administrative, executive, and legislative challenges to certain aspects of the Affordable Care Act, and we expect there will be additional challenges and amendments to the Affordable Care Act in the future. Various portions of the Affordable Care Act are currently undergoing legal and constitutional challenges in the Fifth Circuit Court and the United States Supreme Court. It is unclear whether the Affordable Care Act will be overturned, repealed, replaced, or further amended. We cannot predict what effect further changes to the Affordable Care Act would have on our business.
In addition, other legislative changes have been proposed and adopted since the Affordable Care Act was enacted. In August 2011, President Obama signed into law the Budget Control Act of 2011, which, among other things, created the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction to recommend to Congress proposals in spending reductions. The Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction did not achieve a targeted deficit reduction, which triggered the legislation’s automatic reduction to several government programs. This includes aggregate reductions to Medicare payments to providers of, on average, 2% per fiscal year through 2025 unless Congress takes additional action. These reductions were extended through 2030 through subsequent legislative amendments. Pursuant to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, also known as the CARES Act, as well as subsequent legislation, these reductions have been suspended from May 1, 2020 through March 31, 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Proposed legislation, if passed, would extend this suspension until the end of the pandemic. In January 2013, the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, among other things, further reduced Medicare payments to several providers, including hospitals and cancer treatment centers, and increased the statute of limitations period for the government to recover overpayments to providers from three to five years.
There has been increasing legislative and enforcement interest in the United States with respect to specialty drug pricing practices. Specifically, there have been several recent U.S. Congressional inquiries and proposed federal and state legislation designed to, among other things, bring more transparency to drug pricing, reduce the cost of prescription drugs under Medicare, review the relationship between pricing and manufacturer patient programs, and reform government program reimbursement methodologies for drugs.
The former Trump administration’s budget proposal for fiscal year 2021 included a $135 billion allowance to support legislative proposals seeking to reduce drug prices, increase competition, lower out-of-pocket drug costs for patients, and increase patient access to lower-cost generic and biosimilar drugs. On March 10, 2020, the former Trump administration sent “principles” for drug pricing to Congress, calling for legislation that would, among other things, cap Medicare Part D beneficiary out-of-pocket pharmacy expenses, provide an option to cap Medicare Part D beneficiary monthly out-of-pocket expenses, and place limits on pharmaceutical price increases. Further, the former Trump administration also previously released a “Blueprint” to lower drug prices and reduce out of pocket costs of drugs that contains additional proposals to increase manufacturer competition, increase the negotiating power of certain federal healthcare programs, incentivize manufacturers to lower the list price of their products and reduce the out of pocket costs of drug products paid by consumers. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, or HHS, has already started the process of soliciting feedback on some of these measures and, at the same time, is immediately implementing others under its existing authority. For example, in May 2019, CMS issued a final rule to allow Medicare Advantage Plans the option of using step therapy for Part B drugs beginning January 1, 2020. However, it is unclear whether the Biden administration will challenge, reverse, revoke or otherwise modify these executive and administrative actions after January 20, 2021.
In 2020, former President Trump announced several executive orders related to prescription drug pricing that seek to implement several of the administration's proposals. In response FDA released a final rule on September 24, 2020, which went into effect on November 30, 2020, providing guidance for states to build and submit importation plans for drugs from Canada. Further, on November 20, 2020 CMS issued an Interim Final Rule implementing the Most Favored Nation, or MFN, Model under which Medicare Part B reimbursement rates will be calculated for certain drugs and biologicals based on the lowest price drug manufacturers receive in Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development countries with a similar gross domestic product per capita. The MFN Model regulations mandate participation by identified Part B providers and would have applied to all U.S. states and territories for a seven-year period beginning January 1, 2021, and ending December 31, 2027. However, in response to a lawsuit filed by several industry groups, on December 28, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California issued a nationwide preliminary injunction enjoining government defendants from implementing the
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MFN Rule pending completion of notice-and-comment procedures under the Administrative Procedure Act. On January 13, 2021, in a separate lawsuit brought by industry groups in the U.S. District of Maryland, the government defendants entered a joint motion to stay litigation on the condition that the government would not appeal the preliminary injunction granted in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California and that performance for any final regulation stemming from the MFN Interim Final Rule shall not commence earlier than 60 days after publication of that regulation in the Federal Register. Further, authorities in Canada have passed rules designed to safeguard the Canadian drug supply from shortages. If implemented, importation of drugs from Canada and the MFN Model may materially and adversely affect the price we receive for any of our product candidates. Additionally, on December 2, 2020, HHS published a regulation removing safe harbor protection for price reductions from pharmaceutical manufacturers to plan sponsors under Part D, either directly or through pharmacy benefit managers, unless the price reduction is required by law. The rule also creates a new safe harbor for price reductions reflected at the point-of-sale, as well as a safe harbor for certain fixed fee arrangements between pharmacy benefit managers and manufacturers. Pursuant to an order entered by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, the portion of the rule eliminating safe harbor protection for certain rebates related to the sale or purchase of a pharmaceutical product from a manufacturer to a plan sponsor under Medicare Part D has been delayed to January 1, 2023. Further, implementation of this change and new safe harbors for point-of-sale reductions in price for prescription pharmaceutical products and pharmacy benefit manager service fees are currently under review by the Biden administration and may be amended or repealed. Although a number of these and other proposed measures may require authorization through additional legislation to become effective, and the Biden administration may reverse or otherwise change these measures, Congress has indicated that it will continue to seek new legislative measures to control drug costs.
At the state level, legislatures have increasingly passed legislation and implemented regulations designed to control pharmaceutical and biological product pricing, including price or patient reimbursement constraints, discounts, restrictions on certain product access and marketing cost disclosure and transparency measures, and, in some cases, designed to encourage importation from other countries and bulk purchasing.
We expect that the healthcare reform measures that have been adopted and may be adopted in the future, may result in more rigorous coverage criteria and in additional downward pressure on the price that we receive for any approved product and could seriously harm our future revenues. Any reduction in reimbursement from Medicare or other government programs may result in a similar reduction in payments from private third-party payors.
The delivery of healthcare in the European Union, including the establishment and operation of health services and the pricing and reimbursement of medicines, is almost exclusively a matter for national, rather than EU, law and policy. National governments and health service providers have different priorities and approaches to the delivery of health care and the pricing and reimbursement of products in that context. In general, however, the healthcare budgetary constraints in most EU member states have resulted in restrictions on the pricing and reimbursement of medicines by relevant health service providers. Coupled with ever-increasing EU and national regulatory burdens on those wishing to develop and market products, this could prevent or delay marketing approval of our product candidates, restrict or regulate post-approval activities and affect our ability to commercialize any products for which we obtain marketing approval.
There have been, and likely will continue to be, legislative and regulatory proposals at the foreign, federal and state levels directed at broadening the availability of healthcare and containing or lowering the cost of healthcare. The implementation of cost containment measures or other healthcare reforms may prevent us from being able to recognize revenue, attain profitability, or commercialize our product. Such reforms could have an adverse effect on anticipated revenue from product candidates that we may successfully develop and for which we may obtain marketing approval and may affect our overall financial condition and ability to develop product candidates.
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Our future growth may depend, in part, on our ability to commercialize our product candidates outside the United States, where we would be subject to additional regulatory burdens and other risks and uncertainties.
Our future profitability may depend, in part, on our ability to commercialize our product candidates outside the United States for which we may rely on partnerships with third parties. If we commercialize our product candidates outside the United States, we would be subject to additional risks and uncertainties, including:
our customers' ability to obtain reimbursement for our product candidates outside the United States;
our ability to gain reimbursement in foreign markets at a price that is profitable;
our inability to directly control commercial activities because we are relying on third parties;
the burden of complying with complex and changing foreign regulatory, tax, accounting and legal requirements;
different medical practices and customs in foreign countries affecting acceptance in the marketplace;
import or export licensing requirements;
longer accounts receivable collection times;
longer lead times for shipping;
language barriers for technical training;
reduced protection of intellectual property rights in some foreign countries;
the existence of additional potentially relevant third-party intellectual property rights;
foreign currency exchange rate fluctuations; and
the interpretation of contractual provisions governed by foreign laws in the event of a contract dispute.
Foreign sales of our product candidates could also be harmed by the imposition of governmental controls, political and economic instability, trade restrictions and changes in tariffs.
Risks Related to Our Business Operations
Our prospects for success depend on our ability to retain our management team and to attract, retain and motivate qualified personnel.
We are highly dependent on our management, scientific and medical personnel, including our chief executive officer, chief financial officer, and chief scientific officer. Despite our efforts to retain valuable employees, members of our management, scientific and development teams may terminate their employment with us on short notice. The loss of the services of any of our executive officers, other key employees and other scientific and medical advisors and an inability to find suitable replacements could result in delays in product development and harm our business. Our success also depends on our ability to continue to attract, retain and motivate highly skilled junior, mid-level and senior managers as well as junior, mid-level and senior scientific and medical personnel.
We may not be able to attract or retain qualified management and scientific personnel in the future due to the intense competition for a limited number of qualified personnel among biopharmaceutical, biotechnology, pharmaceutical and other businesses. Many of the other pharmaceutical companies that we compete against for qualified personnel have greater financial and other resources, different risk profiles and a longer history in the
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industry than we do. They also may provide more diverse opportunities and better chances for career advancement. Some of these characteristics may be more appealing to high quality candidates than what we may be able to offer. We also experience competition for the hiring of scientific personnel from universities and research institutions. The failure to succeed in preclinical or clinical studies may make it more challenging to recruit and retain qualified personnel. In addition, in order to induce employees to continue their employment with us, we have provided equity awards that vest over time and the value to our employees of such equity awards may be significantly affected by movements in our stock price that are beyond our control and may be at any time insufficient to counteract more lucrative offers from other companies. If we are unable to continue to attract and retain high quality personnel, the rate and success at which we can develop and commercialize product candidates will be limited.
Our operating results may fluctuate significantly, which would have the result of making our future operating results difficult to predict and could cause our operating results to fall below expectations or our guidance.
Our operating results will likely fluctuate from quarter to quarter and year to year and be difficult to predict. This uncertainty is heightened by the unpredictable scope of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has adversely affected the operations of third parties upon which we rely in our commercialization efforts, patient access to hospitals, physicians’ offices, clinics and other administration sites, and global economic conditions, as well as caused a re-prioritization of healthcare services.
In addition, our licensing and collaboration agreements with other companies include research and development funding and milestone payments to us, and we expect that amounts earned from our collaboration agreements will be an important source of our revenues. Accordingly, our revenues will also depend on research and development funding and the achievement of development and clinical milestones under our existing collaboration and license agreements, including, in particular, our collaborations with BMS and Regeneron, as well as entering into potential new collaboration and license agreements. These payments may vary significantly from quarter to quarter and any such variance could cause a significant fluctuation in our operating results from one quarter to the next.
Further, changes in our operations, such as increased development, manufacturing and clinical trial expenses in connection with our expanding pipeline programs, or our undertaking of additional programs, or business activities, or entry into strategic transactions, including potential future acquisitions of products, technologies or businesses may also cause significant fluctuations in our expenses.
The cumulative effects of these factors, further exacerbated by the impacts of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic on healthcare systems and economic conditions, will likely result in large fluctuations and unpredictability in our quarterly and annual operating results. As a result, comparing our operating results on a period-to-period basis may not be meaningful. Investors should not rely on our past results as an indication of our future performance. This variability and unpredictability could also result in our failing to meet the expectations of industry or financial analysts or investors for any period. If our revenue or operating results fall below the expectations of analysts or investors or below any forecasts we may provide to the market, or if the forecasts we provide to the market are below the expectations of analysts or investors, the price of our common stock could decline substantially. Such a stock price decline could occur even when we have met any previously publicly stated revenue or earnings guidance we may provide.
We will need to expand our organization and we may experience difficulties in managing this growth, which could disrupt our operations.
As of                  , we had                    full-time employees. As we mature, we expect to expand our full-time employee base and to hire more consultants and contractors. Our management may need to divert a disproportionate amount of its attention away from our day-to-day activities and devote a substantial amount of time to managing these growth activities. We may not be able to effectively manage the expansion of our operations, which may result in weaknesses in our infrastructure, operational mistakes, loss of business opportunities, loss of employees and reduced productivity among remaining employees. Our expected growth could require significant capital expenditures and may divert financial resources from other projects, such as the development of additional product candidates. If our management is unable to effectively manage our growth, our expenses may increase more than
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expected, our ability to recognize and/or grow revenues could be reduced and we may not be able to implement our business strategy. Our future financial performance and our ability to commercialize product candidates and compete effectively will depend, in part, on our ability to effectively manage any future growth.
We will incur increased costs as a result of operating as a public company. If we fail to maintain proper and effective internal controls, our ability to produce accurate and timely financial statements could be impaired, which could result in sanctions or other penalties that would harm our business.
Following the distribution, we will be subject to the reporting requirements of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, or the Exchange Act, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, or the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, and the rules and regulations of The Nasdaq Global Market . Our financial results historically were included within the consolidated results of bluebird bio, and until the distribution occurs, we have not been and will not be directly subject to reporting and other requirements of the Exchange Act and Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. After the distribution, we will qualify as an "emerging growth company". For so long as we remain an emerging growth company, we will be exempt from Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, which requires auditor attestation to the effectiveness of internal control over financial reporting. We will cease to be an emerging growth company on the date that is the earliest of (i) the last day of the fiscal year in which we have total gross annual revenues of $1.07 billion or more; (ii) the last day of our fiscal year following the fifth anniversary of the date of the distribution; (iii) the date on which we have issued more than $1 billion in nonconvertible debt during the previous three years; or (iv) the date on which we are deemed to be a large accelerated filer under the rules of the SEC. We cannot predict if investors will find our common stock less attractive because we may rely on the exemptions available to us as an emerging growth company. If some investors find our common stock less attractive as a result, there may be a less active trading market for our common stock and our stock price may be more volatile.
We will, however, be immediately subject to Section 404(a) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and, as of the expiration of our emerging growth company status, we will be broadly subject to enhanced reporting and other requirements under the Exchange Act and Sarbanes-Oxley Act. This will require, among other things, annual management assessments of the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting beginning in our second annual report filed after the distribution and a report by our independent registered public accounting firm addressing these assessments. These and other obligations will place significant demands on our management, administrative and operational resources, including accounting and information technology resources. To comply with these requirements, we anticipate that we will need to further upgrade our systems, including duplicating computer hardware infrastructure, implement additional financial and management controls, reporting systems and procedures and hire additional accounting, finance and information technology staff. Our management and other personnel will need to devote a substantial amount of time to these compliance initiatives. Moreover, these rules and regulations will increase our legal and financial compliance costs and will make some activities more time-consuming and costlier. If we are unable to do this in a timely and effective fashion, our ability to comply with our financial reporting requirements and other rules that apply to reporting companies could be impaired and our business, prospects, financial condition and results of operations could be harmed.
We may discover weaknesses in our system of internal financial and accounting controls and procedures that could result in a material misstatement of our financial statements. Our internal control over financial reporting will not prevent or detect all errors and all fraud. A control system, no matter how well designed and operated, can provide only reasonable, not absolute, assurance that the control system's objectives will be met. Because of the inherent limitations in all control systems, no evaluation of controls can provide absolute assurance that misstatements due to error or fraud will not occur or that all control issues and instances of fraud will be detected.
If we are not able to comply with the requirements of Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act in a timely manner, or if we are unable to maintain proper and effective internal controls over financial reporting, we may not be able to produce timely and accurate financial statements. If that were to happen, our investors could lose confidence in our reported financial information, the market price of our stock could decline, and we could be subject to sanctions or investigations by the SEC or other regulatory authorities.
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Unfavorable global economic conditions could harm our business, prospects, financial condition and results of operations.
Our results of operations could be harmed by general conditions in the global economy and in the global financial markets. A severe or prolonged economic downturn could result in a variety of risks to our business, including, weakened demand for our product candidates and our ability to raise additional capital when needed on acceptable terms, if at all. A weak or declining economy could also strain our suppliers, possibly resulting in supply disruption, or cause our customers to delay making payments for our services. Any of the foregoing could harm our business, prospects, financial condition and results of operations.
Our computer systems, or those of our third-party collaborators, service providers, contractors or consultants, may fail or suffer security breaches, which could result in a material disruption of our product candidates’ development programs and have a material adverse effect on our reputation, business, financial condition or results of operations.
Our computer systems and those of our current or future third-party collaborators, service providers, contractors and consultants may fail and are vulnerable to damage from computer viruses, unauthorized access, natural disasters, terrorism, war and telecommunication and electrical failures. The size and complexity of our information technology systems, and those of our collaborators, service providers, contractors and consultants, and the large amounts of information stored on those systems make those systems vulnerable to service interruptions, security breaches, or other failures, resulting from inadvertent or intentional actions by our employees or those of third-party business partners, or from cyber-attacks by malicious third parties. Attacks on information technology systems are increasing in their frequency, levels of persistence, sophistication and intensity, and they are being conducted by increasingly sophisticated and organized groups and individuals with a wide range of motives and expertise. In addition to extracting sensitive information, such attacks could include the deployment of harmful malware, ransomware, denial-of-service attacks, social engineering and other means to affect service reliability and threaten the confidentiality, integrity and availability of information. The prevalent use of mobile devices also increases the risk of data security incidents. If we experience a material system failure, accident or security breach that causes interruptions in our operations or the operations of third-party collaborators, service providers, contractors and consultants, it could result in significant reputational, financial, legal, regulatory, business or operational harm. For example, the loss of clinical trial data for our product candidates could result in delays in our marketing approval efforts and significantly increase our costs to recover or reproduce the data. To the extent that any disruption or security breach results in a loss of or damage to our data or applications or other data or applications relating to our technology or product candidates, or inappropriate disclosure of confidential or proprietary information, we could incur liabilities and the further development of our product candidates could be delayed. In addition, we rely on third-party service providers for management of the manufacture and delivery of drug product to patients in the commercial context, including for chain of identity and chain of custody. We also rely on third-party service providers for aspects of our internal control over financial reporting and such service providers may experience a material system failure or fail to carry out their obligations in other respects, which may impact our ability to produce accurate and timely financial statements, thus harming our operating results, our ability to operate our business, and our investors’ view of us. In addition, our liability insurance may not be sufficient in type or amount to cover us against claims related to material failures, security breaches, cyberattacks and other related breaches.
Any failure or perceived failure by us or any third-party collaborators, service providers, contractors or consultants to comply with our privacy, confidentiality, data security or similar obligations to third parties, or any data security incidents or other security breaches that result in the unauthorized access, release or transfer of sensitive information, including personally identifiable information, may result in governmental investigations, enforcement actions, regulatory fines, litigation or public statements against us. These events could cause third parties to lose trust in us or could result in claims by third parties asserting that we have breached our privacy, confidentiality, data security or similar obligations, any of which could have a material adverse effect on our reputation, business, financial condition or results of operations. Moreover, data security incidents and other security breaches can be difficult to detect, and any delay in identifying them may lead to increased harm. While we have implemented data security measures intended to protect our information technology systems and infrastructure, there can be no assurance that such measures will successfully prevent service interruptions or data security incidents.
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Our employees may engage in misconduct or other improper activities, including violating applicable regulatory standards and requirements or engaging in insider trading, which could significantly harm our business.
We are exposed to the risk of employee fraud or other misconduct. Misconduct by employees could include intentional failures to comply with the regulations of the FDA and applicable foreign regulators, provide accurate information to the FDA and applicable foreign regulators, comply with healthcare fraud and abuse laws and regulations in the United States and abroad, report financial information or data accurately and/or disclose unauthorized activities to us. In particular, research and development, sales, marketing and business arrangements in the healthcare industry are subject to considerable laws and regulations intended to prevent fraud, misconduct, kickbacks, self-dealing and other abusive practices. These laws and regulations restrict, regulate or prohibit a wide range of activities pertaining to clinical trials including the informed consent process, data integrity, and conducting the study in accordance with the investigational plan, and for approved products, pricing, discounting, marketing and promotion, sales commission, customer incentive programs and other business arrangements. Employee misconduct could also involve the improper use of, including trading on, information obtained in the course of clinical trials, which could result in regulatory sanctions and serious harm to our reputation. Prior to effecting the distribution of any approved products, we will adopt a code of conduct, but it is not always possible to identify and deter employee misconduct, and the precautions we take to detect and prevent this activity may be ineffective in controlling unknown or unmanaged risks or losses or in protecting us from governmental investigations or other actions or lawsuits stemming from a failure to comply with these laws or regulations. Additionally, we are subject to the risk that a person could allege such fraud or other misconduct, even if none occurred. If any such actions are instituted against us, and we are not successful in defending ourselves or asserting our rights, those actions could have a significant impact on our business, including the imposition of significant fines or other sanctions, possible exclusions from participation in Medicare, Medicaid and other U.S. federal healthcare programs, contractual damages and reputational harm.
If we or any contract manufacturers and suppliers we engage fail to comply with environmental, health and safety laws and regulations, we could become subject to fines or penalties or incur costs that could have a material adverse effect on the success of our business.
We and any contract manufacturers and suppliers we engage are subject to numerous federal, state and local environmental, health and safety laws, regulations and permitting requirements, including those governing laboratory procedures; the generation, handling, use, storage, treatment and disposal of hazardous and regulated materials and wastes; the emission and discharge of hazardous materials into the ground, air and water; and employee health and safety. Under certain environmental laws, we could be held responsible for costs relating to any contamination at our current or past facilities and at third-party facilities. We also could incur significant costs associated with civil or criminal fines and penalties.
We could be adversely affected by violations of the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, or the FCPA, and other worldwide anti-bribery laws.
We are subject to the FCPA, which prohibits U.S. corporations and their representatives from offering, promising, authorizing or making payments to any foreign government official, government staff member, political party or political candidate in an attempt to obtain or retain business abroad. The scope of the FCPA includes interactions with certain healthcare professionals in many countries. Other countries have enacted similar anti-corruption laws and/or regulations. In some countries in which we operate, the pharmaceutical and life sciences industries are exposed to a high risk of corruption associated with the conduct of clinical trials and other interactions with healthcare professionals and institutions. While we intend to conduct any foreign operations in compliance with the FCPA, any such activities could expose us to potential liability under the FCPA, which may result in us incurring significant criminal and civil penalties and to potential liability under the anti-corruption laws and regulations of other jurisdictions in which we operate. In addition, the costs we may incur in defending against an FCPA investigation could be significant.
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Risks Related to the Separation
We may not achieve some or all of the expected benefits of the separation, and the separation could harm our business, prospects, financial condition and results of operations.
We may not be able to achieve some or all of the anticipated strategic, financial, operational, marketing or other benefits expected to result from the separation, or such benefits may be delayed or not occur at all. These actions may not provide the benefits we currently expect, and could lead to disruption of our operations, loss of or inability to recruit, key personnel needed to operate and grow our businesses following the separation, weakening of our internal standards, controls or procedures and impairment of our key collaborations and supplier relationships. In addition, completion of the separation has and will continue to require significant amounts of management's time and effort, which may divert management's attention from operating and growing our businesses.
By separating from bluebird bio, we may become more susceptible to market fluctuations and other adverse events than we would have been if we were still a part of the current bluebird bio organizational structure. As part of bluebird bio, we have been able to benefit from bluebird bio’s experience and expertise as a commercial-stage company developing multiple products, and opportunities to pursue integrated strategies with bluebird bio’s other business activities. We have also benefited from bluebird bio’s strategic advantages as an established market participant, including its improved negotiating power and historical partnerships. Additionally, as part of bluebird bio, we benefited from bluebird bio’s market reputation, historical performance and brand identity when operating our business. As a newly formed, independent, publicly traded company, we will not have, and may never develop, a comparable market reputation, performance or brand identity of our own, which may limit our ability to recruit and retain personnel, pursue and negotiate strategic transactions, and access the capital markets to finance our operations. If we fail to achieve some or all of the benefits that we expect to achieve as an independent company, or do not achieve them in the time we expect, our business, prospects, financial condition and results of operations may be materially harmed.
The spin-off may not be successful and as an independent, publicly traded company, we will not enjoy the same benefits that we did as a portfolio business within bluebird bio.
Upon completion of the spin-off, we will be a stand-alone public company. The process of becoming a stand-alone public company may distract our management from focusing on our business and strategic priorities. Further, we may not be able to issue debt or equity on terms acceptable to us or at all and we may not be able to attract and retain employees as desired. We also may not fully realize the anticipated benefits of the separation and of being a stand-alone public company, or the realization of such benefits may be delayed, if any of the risks identified in this “Risk Factors” section, or other events, were to occur.
As a separate public company, we will be a smaller and less diversified company than bluebird bio, and we may not have access to financial and other resources comparable to those available to bluebird bio prior to the spin-off or enjoy certain other benefits that we did while part of bluebird bio. We cannot predict the effect that the spin-off will have on our relationship with partners or employees or our relationship with government regulators. We may also be unable to obtain goods, technology and services at prices and on terms as favorable as those available to us prior to the spin-off. Furthermore, as a less diversified company, we may be more likely to be negatively impacted by changes in global market conditions, regulatory reforms and other industry factors, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, prospects, financial condition and results of operations.
We may be unable to make, on a timely or cost-effective basis, the changes necessary to operate as an independent company, and we will be reliant on bluebird bio for the provision of certain services for a period of time.
We have historically operated as part of bluebird bio’s corporate organization, and bluebird bio has assisted us by providing various corporate and other business functions. Following the separation, bluebird bio will have no obligation to assist our operations or growth strategy, other than providing certain services pursuant to agreements described under "Certain Relationships and Related Person Transactions—Agreements with bluebird bio." For a
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period of time following the separation, we will be substantially reliant on bluebird bio to provide these limited services, and if bluebird bio is unable or unwilling to satisfy its obligations under these agreements, we could incur operational difficulties or losses that could have a material and adverse effect on our business, prospects, financial condition and results of operations.
Furthermore, the services to be provided by bluebird bio under this agreement do not include every service or all of the information and technology systems that we have received from bluebird bio in the past or that are necessary to successfully operate our business, and bluebird bio is only obligated to provide these services for limited periods of time from the distribution date. Accordingly, following the separation, we will need to develop internal capabilities to perform these services, or obtain from other third parties services we currently receive from bluebird bio. If we are unable to efficiently implement our own systems and services, or if we are unable to negotiate agreements with third-party providers of these services in a timely manner or on terms and conditions as favorable as those we receive from bluebird bio, we may not be able to operate our business effectively and our financial condition may decline. Furthermore, if we fail to develop high-quality internal capabilities, or obtain comparable services from third-party providers, in a cost-effective manner, we may be unable to operate our existing business or execute our strategic priorities successfully and efficiently, and our operating results and financial condition may be materially harmed.
We have no history of operating as an independent company and we expect to incur increased administrative and other costs following the separation by virtue of our status as an independent public company. Our historical and pro forma financial information is not necessarily representative of the results that we would have achieved as a separate, publicly traded company and should not be relied upon as an indicator of our future results.
Our historical information provided in this information statement refers to our business as operated by and integrated with bluebird bio. Our historical and pro forma financial information included in this information statement is derived from the consolidated financial statements and accounting records of bluebird bio. Accordingly, the historical and pro forma financial information included in this information statement may not reflect the operating results, financial condition or cash flows that we would have achieved as a separate, publicly traded company during the periods presented, or the financial results we will achieve in the future. In particular, our future financial results may vary from the historical and pro forma financial information included in this information statement as a result of the following factors, among others:
our historical combined financial data does not reflect the separation;
our historical financial data reflects expense allocations for certain support functions that are provided on a centralized basis within bluebird bio, such as expenses for corporate administrative services, including information technology, research and development, finance, legal, insurance, compliance and human resources activities, that may be lower than the comparable expenses we would have actually incurred, or will incur in the future, as a stand-alone company;
our cost of debt and our capital structure will be different from that reflected in our historical combined financial statements;
significant increases may occur in our cost structure as a result of becoming a stand-alone public company, including costs related to public company reporting, investor relations and compliance with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act; and
the separation may have a material effect on our relationships with our suppliers, collaborators and other business relationships.
Our financial condition and future results of operations, after giving effect to the separation, will be materially different from amounts reflected in our historical financial statements included elsewhere in this prospectus. As a result of the separation, it may be difficult for investors to compare our future results to historical results or to evaluate our relative performance or trends in our business.
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Our ability to operate our business effectively may suffer if we do not, quickly and cost effectively, establish our own administrative and support functions necessary to operate as a stand-alone public company.
In connection with our separation from bluebird bio, we are creating our own financial, administrative, corporate governance, and listed company compliance and other support systems, including for the services bluebird bio had historically provided to us, or expect to contract with third parties to replace bluebird bio systems that we are not establishing internally. We expect this process to be complex, time consuming and costly. In addition, we are also establishing or expanding our own tax, treasury, internal audit, investor relations, corporate governance, and listed company compliance and other corporate functions. These corporate functions fall beyond the scope of the operational service domains formerly provided by bluebird bio and will require us to develop new stand-alone corporate functions. We may need to make significant investments to replicate, or will need to outsource from other providers, these corporate functions to replace these additional corporate services that bluebird bio historically provided us prior to the separation. bluebird bio will continue to provide support for certain of our key business functions after the spin-off for a limited period of time, pursuant to the Transition Services Agreement and certain other agreements we will enter into with bluebird bio. Any failure or significant downtime in our own financial, administrative or other support systems or in the bluebird bio financial, administrative or other support systems during the transitional period in which bluebird bio provides us with support could negatively impact our results of operations or prevent us from paying our suppliers and employees, executing business combinations and foreign currency transactions or performing administrative or other services on a timely basis, which could negatively affect our results of operations.
Further, as a stand-alone public company, we will incur significant legal, accounting and other expenses that we did not incur as part of bluebird bio. The provisions of SOX, as well as rules subsequently adopted by the SEC and Nasdaq, have imposed various requirements on public companies, including changes in corporate governance practices. For example, SOX requires, among other things, that we maintain and periodically evaluate our internal control over financial reporting and disclosure controls and procedures. In particular, we and our managers will have to perform system and process evaluation and testing of our and their internal control over financial reporting to allow management to report on the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting, as required by Section 404 of SOX.
Although bluebird bio has historically tested, and currently tests, its internal controls over financial reporting on a regular basis, we have never done so as a stand-alone entity. Doing so for ourselves will require our management and other personnel to devote a substantial amount of time to comply with these requirements and will also increase our legal and financial compliance costs. In particular, compliance with Section 404 of SOX will require a substantial accounting expense and significant management efforts. We cannot be certain at this time that all of our controls will be considered effective and our internal control over financial reporting may not satisfy the regulatory requirements when they become applicable to us.
The separation may impede our ability to attract and retain key personnel, which could materially harm our business.
Our success depends in large part upon the leadership and performance of our management team and other key employees. Operating as an independent company will demand a significant amount of time and effort from our management and other employees and may give rise to increased employee turnover. If we lose the services of members of our management team or other key employees, we may not be able to successfully manage our business or achieve our business objectives.
Following the separation, we will need to continue to attract and retain qualified key personnel in a highly competitive environment. Our ability to attract, recruit and retain such talent will depend on a number of factors, including the hiring practices of our competitors, the performance of our development programs, our compensation and benefits, work location and work environment and economic conditions affecting our industry generally. If we cannot effectively hire and retain qualified employees, our business, prospects, financial condition and results of operations could suffer.
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The separation may result in disruptions to, and harm our relationships with, our strategic business partners.
Uncertainty related to the separation may lead the suppliers, research organizations, and other parties with which we currently do business or may do business in the future to terminate or attempt to negotiate changes in our existing business relationships, or cause them to delay entering into business relationships with us or consider entering into business relationships with parties other than us. These disruptions could have a material and adverse effect on our business, prospects, financial condition and results of operations. The effect of such disruptions could be exacerbated by any delays in the completion of the separation.
If the distribution, together with certain related transactions, does not qualify as a transaction that is tax-free for U.S. federal income tax purposes, bluebird bio and its stockholders could be subject to significant tax liabilities, and we could be required to indemnify bluebird bio for material taxes pursuant to indemnification obligations under the tax matters agreement.
It is a condition to the distribution that bluebird bio receive a private letter ruling from the IRS, and an opinion from Goodwin Procter LLP, both satisfactory to bluebird bio’s board of directors, together confirming that the distribution, together with certain related transactions, generally is tax-free for U.S. federal income tax purposes under Sections 355 and 368(a)(1)(D) of the Code. Any opinion of Goodwin Procter LLP and any IRS private letter ruling will be based, among other things, on various facts and assumptions, as well as certain representations, statements and undertakings from us and bluebird bio (including those relating to the past and future conduct of us and bluebird bio). If any of these facts, assumptions, representations, statements or undertakings is, or becomes, inaccurate or incomplete, or if we or bluebird bio breach any of our respective covenants relating to the separation, any IRS private letter ruling and any tax opinion may be invalid. Accordingly, notwithstanding receipt of an IRS private letter ruling and an opinion of Goodwin Procter LLP, the IRS could determine that the distribution and certain related transactions should be treated as taxable transactions for U.S. federal income tax purposes if it determines that any of the facts, assumptions, representations, statements or undertakings that were included in the request for any such IRS private letter ruling or on which any such opinion was based are false or have been violated. In addition, an opinion of Goodwin Procter LLP represents the judgment of Goodwin Procter LLP, which is not binding on the IRS or any court, and any IRS private letter ruling will not address all of the issues that are relevant to determining whether the distribution, together with certain related transactions, qualifies as a transaction that is generally tax-free for U.S. federal income tax purposes. Accordingly, notwithstanding receipt by bluebird bio of the tax opinion referred to above and an IRS private letter ruling, the IRS could assert that the distribution and certain related transactions do not qualify for tax-free treatment for U.S. federal income tax purposes.
If the distribution, together with certain related transactions, were to fail to qualify as a transaction that is generally tax-free under Sections 355 and 368(a)(1)(D) of the Code, in general, for U.S. federal income tax purposes, bluebird bio would recognize taxable gain as if it has sold our distributed common stock in a taxable sale for its fair market value and bluebird bio stockholders who receive shares of our common stock in the distribution would be subject to tax as if they had received a taxable distribution equal to the fair market value of such shares. For more information, see "Material U.S. Federal Income Tax Consequences of the Distribution."
In connection with the distribution, we and bluebird bio will enter into a tax matters agreement pursuant to which we will be responsible for certain liabilities and obligations following the distribution. In general, under the terms of the tax matters agreement, if the distribution, together with certain related transactions, were to fail to qualify as a transaction that is generally tax-free, for U.S. federal income tax purposes, under Sections 355 and 368(a)(1)(D) of the Code, and if and to the extent that such failure results from a prohibited change of control in bluebird bio under Section 355(e) of the Code or an acquisition of bluebird bio stock or assets or certain actions, omissions or failures to act, by bluebird bio, then bluebird bio will bear any resulting taxes, interest, penalties and other costs. If and to the extent that such failure results from a prohibited change of control in 2seventy bio under Section 355(e) of the Code or an acquisition of our stock or assets or certain actions by us, then we will indemnify bluebird bio for any resulting taxes, interest, penalties and other costs, including any reductions in bluebird bio’s net operating loss carryforwards or other tax assets. If such failure does not result from a prohibited change of control in bluebird bio or 2seventy bio under Section 355(e) of the Code and both we and bluebird bio are responsible for such failure, liability will be shared according to relative fault. If neither we nor bluebird bio is responsible for such
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failure, bluebird bio will bear any resulting taxes, interest, penalties and other costs. For a discussion of the tax matters agreement, see “Certain Relationships and Related Person Transactions—Agreements with bluebird bio —Tax Matters Agreement.” Our indemnification obligations to bluebird bio under the tax matters agreement are not expected to be limited in amount or subject to any cap. If we are required to pay any taxes or indemnify bluebird bio and its subsidiaries and their respective officers and directors under the circumstances set forth in the tax matters agreement, we may be subject to substantial liabilities.
We may not be able to engage in attractive strategic or capital-raising transactions following the separation.
To preserve the tax-free treatment of the separation and the distribution for U.S. federal income tax purposes, for the four-year period beginning two years before and ending two years after the distribution, we will be prohibited under the tax matters agreement, except in specific circumstances, from: (i) entering into or approving any transaction involving the acquisition of outstanding or newly issued 2seventy bio equity that, when combined with other changes in ownership of our capital stock, results in a change in ownership of          % or more; (ii) liquidating or partially liquidating, or merging or consolidating (unless we are the survivor); (iii) making or changing any entity classification election; (iv) ceasing to be engaged in an active trade or business, or selling, transferring or disposing of           % or more of the assets of any active trade or business; (v) amending any of our organizational documents or taking any action affecting the voting rights of our capital stock; (vi) redeeming or otherwise repurchasing any of our outstanding stock or options; or (vii) taking or failing to take any other action that would prevent the distribution and certain related transactions from qualifying as a transaction that is generally tax-free for U.S. federal income tax purposes under Sections 355 and 368(a)(1) (D) of the Code. These restrictions may limit for a period of time our ability to pursue certain strategic transactions, equity issuances or repurchases or other transactions that we may believe to be in the best interests of our stockholders or that might increase the value of our business. For more information, see “Certain Relationships and Related Person Transactions—Agreements with bluebird bio—Tax Matters Agreement.”
In connection with the separation, we will assume and agree to indemnify bluebird bio for certain liabilities. If we are required to make payments pursuant to these indemnities to bluebird bio, we may need to divert cash to meet those obligations and our financial results could be harmed.
Pursuant to the separation agreement and certain other agreements we intend to enter into with bluebird bio, we will assume and agree to indemnify bluebird bio for certain liabilities for uncapped amounts, which may include, among other items, associated defense costs, settlement amounts and judgments, as discussed further in "Certain Relationships and Related Person Transactions—Agreements with bluebird bio " and "Index to Financial Statements—Audited Combined Financial Statements—Notes to Combined Financial Statements." Payments pursuant to these indemnities may be significant and could harm our business, particularly indemnities relating to our actions that could impact the tax-free nature of the distribution and certain related transactions. Third parties could also seek to hold us responsible for any of the liabilities of the bluebird bio business. bluebird bio will agree to indemnify us for liabilities of the bluebird bio business, but such indemnity from bluebird bio may not be sufficient to protect us against the full amount of such liabilities, and bluebird bio may not fully satisfy its indemnification obligations. Moreover, even if we ultimately succeed in recovering from bluebird bio any amounts for which we are held liable, we may be temporarily required to bear these losses ourselves. Each of these risks could harm our business, prospects, financial condition and results of operations
Our agreements with bluebird bio may not reflect terms that would have resulted from negotiations with unaffiliated third parties.
The agreements related to the separation, including, among others, the separation agreement, the employment matters agreement, the tax matters agreement, the intellectual property license agreement, the transition services agreement and the development agreement, will have been entered into in the context of the separation while we are still controlled by bluebird bio. Until the distribution occurs, bluebird bio will effectively have the sole and absolute discretion to determine and change the terms of the separation, including the terms of any agreements between bluebird bio and us and the establishment of the record date and distribution date. As a result, any changes could be unfavorable to us and may not reflect terms that would have resulted from negotiations between unaffiliated third
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parties. In addition, bluebird bio may decide at any time not to proceed with all or any part of the separation. For a more detailed description, see "Certain Relationships and Related Person Transactions—Agreements with bluebird bio."
bluebird bio may compete with us.
bluebird bio will not be restricted from competing with us in the development or commercialization of products treating the same indications as our product candidates. Although bluebird bio has informed us it has no current intention to compete with us or our product candidates, if bluebird bio in the future decides to engage in the type of business we conduct, it may have a competitive advantage over us, which may cause our business, prospects, financial condition and results of operations to be materially harmed.
Certain of our directors and officers may have actual or potential conflicts of interest relating to bluebird bio.
Certain of our directors and officers may own shares of bluebird bio common stock or other equity awards as a result of their prior service as bluebird bio directors or officers. For certain of these individuals, their holdings of bluebird bio common stock or equity awards may be significant compared to their total assets. Additionally, Nick Leschly, our chief executive officer, is expected to serve as executive chair of bluebird bio following the separation. Mr. Leschly’s leadership positions at both our company and bluebird bio, as well as the ownership of any bluebird bio equity or equity awards by certain of our directors and officers creates, or may create the appearance of, conflicts of interest when Mr. Leschly or our other directors or officers are faced with decisions that could have different implications for bluebird bio than for us.
The combined post-separation value of bluebird bio and our common stock may not equal or exceed the pre-separation value of bluebird bio common stock.
As a result of the distribution, bluebird bio expects the trading price of bluebird bio common stock immediately following the distribution to be lower than the trading price of such common stock immediately prior to the distribution because the trading price will no longer reflect the value of our business held by bluebird bio. Furthermore, following the distribution, the trading price of our common stock may not reflect the full value of our business and assets, due to market inefficiencies in the initial trading of our shares or variations in investor views regarding our business and prospects, among other market forces. The aggregate market value of bluebird bio common stock and our common stock following the separation may be higher or lower than the market value of bluebird bio common stock immediately prior to the separation, and may fluctuate, particularly during the period immediately following the distribution.
No vote of bluebird bio stockholders is required in connection with this distribution. As a result, if the distribution occurs and you do not want to receive our common stock in the distribution, your sole recourse will be to divest yourself of your bluebird bio common stock prior to the record date.
No vote of the bluebird bio stockholders is required in connection with the distribution. Accordingly, if the distribution occurs and you do not want to receive our common stock in the distribution, your only recourse will be to divest yourself of your bluebird bio common stock prior to the record date for the distribution.
Risks Related to Ownership of Our Common Stock
There is no existing market for our shares of common stock and an active trading market may not develop for our shares. Once our shares of common stock begin trading, the market price of these shares may fluctuate widely.
There is currently no public market for our shares of common stock. It is anticipated that on or prior to the record date for the distribution, trading of our shares of common stock will begin on a "when issued" basis and will continue up to and including through the distribution date. On the first trading day following the distribution date, any "when issued" trading of our common stock would end and "regular way" trading would begin. However, there
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can be no assurance that an active trading market for our shares of common stock will develop as a result of the distribution or be sustained in the future.
We cannot predict the prices at which our shares of common stock may trade after the distribution. The market price of our shares of common stock may fluctuate widely, depending upon many factors, some of which are beyond our control, including the following:
a relatively low-volume trading market for our shares of common stock may result, which could cause trades of small blocks of shares to have a significant impact on the price of our shares of common stock;
results and timing of preclinical studies and clinical studies of our product candidates;
the commercial performance of our products, if approved, as well as the costs associated with such activities;
results of clinical studies of our competitors' products;
failure to adequately protect our trade secrets;
our inability to raise additional capital and the terms on which we raise it;
commencement or termination of any strategic partnership or licensing arrangement;
regulatory developments with respect to our products or our competitors' products, including any developments, litigation or public concern about the safety of such products;
announcements concerning product development results, including clinical trial results, the introduction of new products or intellectual property rights of us or others;
actual or anticipated fluctuations in our financial condition and our quarterly and annual operating results; • deviations in our operating results from any guidance we may provide or the estimates of securities analysts;
additions and departures of key personnel;
the passage of legislation or other regulatory developments affecting us or our industry;
fluctuations in the valuation of companies perceived by investors to be comparable to us;
sales of our common stock by us, our insiders or our other stockholders;
strategic decisions by us or our competitors, such as acquisitions, divestitures, spin-offs, joint ventures, strategic investments or changes in business strategy;
announcement or expectation of additional financing efforts;
publication of research reports by securities analysts about us or our competitors or our industry and speculation regarding our company or our stock price in the financial or scientific press or in online investor communities;
changes in market conditions in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology sector; and
changes in general market and economic conditions.
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In addition, if the market for stocks in our industry or industries related to our industry, or the stock market in general, experiences a loss of investor confidence, the trading price of our common stock could decline for reasons unrelated to our business, results of operations, financial condition and prospects. If any of the foregoing occurs, it could cause our stock price to fall and may expose us to lawsuits that, even if unsuccessful, could be costly to defend and a distraction to management.
Substantial sales of shares of our common stock may occur immediately following the distribution which could cause the market price of shares of our common stock to decline.
It is possible that many of bluebird bio’s stockholders will sell the shares of our common stock that they receive in the distribution immediately in the public market because our business profile or market capitalization does not fit their investment objectives, because the shares are not included in certain indices or for other reasons. The sale of significant amounts of our shares or the perception in the market that this will occur may result in the lowering of the market price of our shares. We can offer no assurance that bluebird bio’s stockholders will continue to hold the shares they receive in the distribution.
The combined post-spin-off value of our shares and the bluebird bio shares may not equal or exceed the aggregate pre-spin-off value of the bluebird bio shares and our shares.
After the spin-off, the bluebird bio shares will continue to be listed and traded on the Nasdaq Global Select Market. Our shares will be traded under the symbol “TSVT” on the Nasdaq Global Market. We have no current plans to apply for listing on any additional stock exchanges. As a result of the spin-off, bluebird bio expects the trading prices of bluebird bio shares at market open on                , 2021 to be lower than the trading prices at market close on                , 2021, because the trading prices will no longer reflect the value of our business. There can be no assurance that the aggregate market value of the bluebird bio shares and our shares following the spin-off will be higher than, equal to or lower than the market value of the bluebird bio shares if the spin-off did not occur. This means, for example, that the combined trading prices of one bluebird bio share and one share of our common stock after market open on                , 2021 may be equal to, greater than or less than the trading price of one bluebird bio share before          , 2021. In addition, following the close of business on                , 2021 but before the commencement of trading on                , 2021, your bluebird bio shares will reflect an ownership interest solely in bluebird bio and will not include the right to receive any of our shares in the spin-off, but may not yet accurately reflect the value of such bluebird bio shares excluding our business.
If securities or industry analysts fail to initiate or maintain coverage of our stock, publish a negative report or change their recommendations regarding our stock adversely, our stock price and trading volume could decline.
The trading market for our common stock will be influenced by the research and reports that industry or securities analysts publish about us, our business, our market or our competitors. If securities or industry analysts fail to initiate coverage of our stock, the lack of exposure to the market could cause our stock price or trading volume to decline. If any of the analysts who cover us or may cover us in the future publish a negative report or change their recommendation regarding our stock adversely, or provide more favorable relative recommendations about our competitors, our stock price would likely decline. If any analyst who covers us or may cover us in the future were to cease coverage of our company or fail to regularly publish reports on us, we could lose visibility in the financial markets, which in turn could cause our stock price or trading volume to decline.
Actual or potential sales of our common stock by our employees, including our executive officers, pursuant to pre-arranged stock trading plans could cause our stock price to fall or prevent it from increasing for numerous reasons, and actual or potential sales by such persons could be viewed negatively by other investors.
In accordance with the guidelines specified under Rule 10b5-1 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, and the policies that we intend to adopt prior to the distribution regarding stock transactions, a number of our employees, including executive officers and members of our board of directors, may adopt stock trading plans pursuant to which they arrange to sell shares of our common stock from time to time in the future. Generally, sales under such plans by our executive officers and directors will require public filings. Actual or potential sales of our
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common stock by such persons could cause the price of our common stock to fall or prevent it from increasing for numerous reasons.
Future sales and issuances of our common stock or rights to purchase common stock, including pursuant to the equity incentive plans that we intend to adopt prior to the distribution, could result in additional dilution of the percentage ownership of our stockholders and could cause our stock price to fall.
In the future, your percentage ownership in the company may be diluted because of equity issuances for acquisitions, capital market transactions or otherwise, including equity awards that we plan to grant to our directors, officers and employees pursuant to the equity incentive plans that we intend to adopt prior to the distribution. Such awards will have a dilutive effect on our earnings per share, which could adversely affect the market price of our common stock.
In addition, our amended and restated certificate of incorporation will authorize us to issue, without the approval of our stockholders, one or more classes or series of preferred stock having such designation, powers, preferences and relative, participating, optional and other special rights, including preferences over our common stock with respect to dividends and distributions, as our board of directors may determine. The terms of one or more classes or series of preferred stock could dilute the voting power or reduce the value of our common stock. For example, we could grant the holders of preferred stock the right to elect some number of directors in all events or on the happening of specified events or the right to veto specified transactions. Similarly, the repurchase or redemption rights or liquidation preferences we could assign to holders of preferred stock could affect the residual value of the common stock. See "Description of 2seventy bio’s Capital Stock."
We do not expect to pay any cash dividends for the foreseeable future.
We do not anticipate that we will pay any cash dividends to holders of our common stock in the foreseeable future. Instead, we plan to retain any earnings to maintain and expand our operations. In addition, any future debt financing arrangement may contain terms prohibiting or limiting the amount of dividends that may be declared or paid on our common stock. Accordingly, investors must rely on sales of their common stock after price appreciation, which may never occur, as the only way to realize any return on their investment. As a result, investors seeking cash dividends should not purchase our common stock.
Provisions in our amended and restated certificate of incorporation and by-laws, as well as provisions of Delaware law, could make it more difficult for a third party to acquire us or increase the cost of acquiring us, even if doing so would benefit our stockholders or remove our current management.
Our amended and restated certificate of incorporation and amended and restated bylaws will contain, and Delaware law contains, provisions that may have the effect of delaying or preventing a change in control of us or changes in our management. Our amended and restated certificate of incorporation and by-laws, include provisions that:
authorize “blank check” preferred stock, which could be issued by our board of directors without stockholder approval and may contain voting, liquidation, dividend and other rights superior to our common stock;
create a classified board of directors whose members serve staggered three-year terms;
specify that special meetings of our stockholders can be called only by our board of directors, the chairperson of our board of directors, our chief executive officer or our president;
prohibit stockholder action by written consent;
establish an advance notice procedure for stockholder approvals to be brought before an annual meeting of our stockholders, including proposed nominations of persons for election to our board of directors;
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provide that our directors may be removed only for cause;
provide that vacancies on our board of directors may be filled only by a majority of directors then in office, even though less than a quorum;
specify that no stockholder is permitted to cumulate votes at any election of directors;
expressly authorize our board of directors to modify, alter or repeal our amended and restated by-laws; and
require supermajority votes of the holders of our common stock to amend specified provisions of our amended and restated certificate of incorporation and amended and restated by-laws.
These provisions, alone or together, could delay or prevent hostile takeovers and changes in control or changes in our management.
In addition, because we are incorporated in Delaware, we are governed by the provisions of Section 203 of the Delaware General Corporation Law, which limits the ability of stockholders owning in excess of 15% of our outstanding voting stock to merge or combine with us.
Any provision of our amended and restated certificate of incorporation or amended and restated by-laws or Delaware law that has the effect of delaying or deterring a change in control could limit the opportunity for our stockholders to receive a premium for their shares of our common stock, and could also affect the price that some investors are willing to pay for our common stock.
Our amended and restated bylaws will designate certain specified courts as the sole and exclusive forums for certain disputes between us and our stockholders, which could limit our stockholders’ ability to obtain a favorable judicial forum for disputes with us or our directors, officers, or employees.
Our amended and restated bylaws will provide that, unless we consent in writing to the selection of an alternative forum, the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware, or the Chancery Court, will be the sole and exclusive forum for state law claims for (i) any derivative action or proceeding brought on our behalf, (ii) any action asserting a claim of, or a claim based on, a breach of a fiduciary duty owed by any of our directors, officers or other employees to us or our stockholders, (iii) any action asserting a claim pursuant to any provision of the Delaware General Corporation Law, our certificate of incorporation or our bylaws, (iv) any action to interpret, apply, enforce or determine the validity of our certificate of incorporation or bylaws, or (v) any action asserting a claim governed by the internal affairs doctrine, or the Delaware Forum Provision. The Delaware Forum Provision does not apply to any causes of action arising under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, or the Securities Act, or the Exchange Act. Our amended and restated bylaws will further provide that, unless we consent in writing to the selection of an alternative forum, the federal district courts of the United States of America will be the sole and exclusive forum for resolving any complaint asserting a cause of action arising under the Securities Act, or the Federal Forum Provision. Our amended and restated bylaws will provide that any person or entity purchasing or otherwise acquiring any interest in shares of our capital stock is deemed to have notice of and consented to the foregoing Delaware Forum Provision and the Federal Forum Provision; provided, however, that stockholders cannot and will not be deemed to have waived our compliance with the federal securities laws and the rules and regulations thereunder.
The Delaware Forum Provision and the Federal Forum Provision may impose additional litigation costs on stockholders in pursuing the claims identified above, particularly if the stockholders do not reside in or near the State of Delaware. Additionally, the Delaware Forum Provision and the Federal Forum Provision may limit a stockholder’s ability to bring a claim in a judicial forum that it finds favorable for disputes with us or our directors, officers or other employees, which may discourage such lawsuits. In addition, while the Delaware Supreme Court ruled in March 2020 that federal forum selection provisions purporting to require claims under the Securities Act be brought in federal court are “facially valid” under Delaware law, there is uncertainty as to whether other courts will enforce our Federal Forum Provision. If the Federal Forum Provision is found to be unenforceable in an action, we may incur additional costs associated with resolving such an action. The Federal Forum Provision may also impose
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additional litigation costs on stockholders who assert that the provision is not enforceable or invalid. The Chancery Court or the federal district courts of the United States of America may also reach different judgments or results than would other courts, including courts where a stockholder considering an action may be located or would otherwise choose to bring the action, and such judgments may be more or less favorable to us than our stockholders.
General risks
Changes in tax law could adversely affect our business and financial condition.
The rules dealing with U.S. federal, state, and local income taxation are constantly under review by persons involved in the legislative process and by the Internal Revenue Service and the U.S. Treasury Department. Changes to tax laws (which changes may have retroactive application) could adversely affect us or holders of our common stock. In recent years, many such changes have been made and changes are likely to continue to occur in the future. For example, on March 27, 2020, President Trump signed into law the “Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act” or the CARES Act, which included certain changes in tax law intended to stimulate the U.S. economy in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, including temporary beneficial changes to the treatment of net operating losses, interest deductibility limitations and payroll tax matters. On December 27, 2020, President Trump signed into law the “Consolidated Appropriations Act”, which included additional stimulus relief for the COVID-19 pandemic in the form of modifications to the refundable employee retention credit under the CARES Act and credit extenders, and spending bill for the 2021 fiscal year. Future changes in tax laws could have a material adverse effect on our business, cash flow, financial condition or results of operations. We urge investors to consult with their legal and tax advisers regarding the implications of potential changes in tax laws on an investment in our common stock.
If the estimates we make, or the assumptions on which we rely, in preparing our combined financial statements are incorrect, our actual results may vary from those reflected in our projections and accruals.
Our combined financial statements have been prepared in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America, or GAAP. The preparation of these combined financial statements requires us to make estimates and judgments that affect the reported amounts of our assets, liabilities, revenues and expenses, and related disclosure of contingent assets and liabilities. We base our estimates on historical experience and on various other assumptions that we believe to be reasonable under the circumstances. We cannot assure you, however, that our estimates, or the assumptions underlying them, will be correct.
Further, from time to time we issue financial guidance relating to our expectations for our cash, cash equivalents, and marketable securities available for operations, which guidance is based on estimates and the judgment of management. If, for any reason, our expenses differ materially from our guidance or we utilize our cash more quickly than anticipated, we may have to adjust our publicly announced financial guidance. If we fail to meet, or if we are required to change or update any element of, our publicly disclosed financial guidance or other expectations about our business, our stock price could decline.
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CAUTIONARY STATEMENT CONCERNING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS
This information statement and other materials we have filed or will file with the SEC include, or will include, forward-looking statements. All statements in this information statement, in other materials we have filed or will file with the SEC and in related comments by our management, other than statements of historical facts, including statements about future events, future financial position, business strategy, budgets, projected costs, plans and objectives of management for future operations, are forward-looking statements that involve certain risks and uncertainties. Use of the words “may,” “will,” “would,” “could,” “should,” “believes,” “estimates,” “projects,” “potential,” “expects,” “plans,” “seeks,” “intends,” “evaluates,” “pursues,” “anticipates,” “continues,” “designs,” “impacts,” “affects,” “forecasts,” “target,” “outlook,” “initiative,” “objective,” “designed,” “priorities,” “goal” or the negative of those words or other similar expressions may identify forward-looking statements that represent our current judgment about possible future events, but the absence of these words does not necessarily mean that a statement is not forward-looking.
Forward-looking statements are based on our current expectations and assumptions regarding our business, the economy and other future conditions. Because forward-looking statements relate to the future, by their nature, they are subject to inherent uncertainties, risks and changes in circumstances that are difficult to predict. As a result, our actual results may differ materially from those contemplated by the forward-looking statements. Important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements include regional, national or global political, economic, business, competitive, market and regulatory conditions and the following:
the completion and timing of the separation, the business and operations of 2seventy bio following the separation and any benefits or costs of the separation, including the tax treatment;
our post-separation relationships with bluebird bio, third parties, collaborators and our employees;
our ability to operate as a stand-alone company and execute our strategic priorities;
our ability to finance our operations and business initiatives and obtain funding for such activities;
the timing, investment and associated activities involved in developing, obtaining regulatory approval for, launching, and commercializing our product candidates;
our plans with respect to the development, manufacture or sale of our product candidates and the associated timing thereof, including the design and results of pre-clinical and clinical studies;
the safety profile and related adverse events of our product candidates;
the efficacy and perceived therapeutic benefits of our product candidates and the potential indications and market opportunities therefor;
U.S. and foreign regulatory requirements for our product candidates, including any post-approval development and regulatory requirements, and the ability of our product candidates to meet such requirements;
our ability to attract and retain key employees needed to execute our business plans and strategies and our expectations regarding our ability to manage the impact of any loss of key employees;
our ability to obtain and maintain intellectual property protection for our product candidates and the strength thereof;
our future financial performance, revenues, expense levels, payments, cash flows, profitability, tax obligations, capital raising and liquidity sources, real estate needs and concentration of voting control, as well as the timing and drivers thereof, and internal control over financial reporting;
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our ability to compete with other companies that are or may be developing or selling products that are competitive with our product candidates;
the status of government regulation in the life sciences industry, particularly with respect to healthcare reform;
potential indemnification liabilities 2seventy bio may owe to bluebird bio after the separation;
the tax treatment of the distribution and the limitations imposed on 2seventy bio under the tax matters agreement that 2seventy bio will enter into with bluebird bio; and
trends and challenges in our potential markets.
SeeRisk Factors” for a further description of these and other factors. Although we have attempted to identify important risk factors, there may be other risk factors not presently known to us or that we presently believe are not material that could cause actual results and developments to differ materially from those made in or suggested by the forward-looking statements contained in this information statement. If any of these risks materialize, or if any of the above assumptions underlying forward-looking statements prove incorrect, actual results and developments may differ materially from those made in or suggested by the forward-looking statements contained in this information statement. For the reasons described above, we caution you against relying on any forward-looking statements, which should also be read in conjunction with the other cautionary statements that are included elsewhere in this information statement. Any forward-looking statement made by us in this information statement speaks only as of the date thereof. Factors or events that could cause our actual results to differ may emerge from time to time, and it is not possible for us to predict all of them. We undertake no obligation to publicly update or to revise any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future developments, or otherwise, except as may be required by law.
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DIVIDEND POLICY
We currently intend to retain all available funds and any future earnings, if any, to fund the development and expansion of our business and we do not anticipate paying any cash dividends in the foreseeable future. Any future determination to pay dividends will be made at the discretion of our board of directors and will depend on various factors, including applicable laws, our results of operations, financial condition, future prospects and any other factors deemed relevant by our board of directors.
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CAPITALIZATION
The following table sets forth 2seventy bio's capitalization as of December 31, 2020 on a historical basis and on a pro forma basis to give effect to the pro forma adjustments included in 2seventy bio's unaudited pro forma combined financial information. The information below is not necessarily indicative of what 2seventy bio's capitalization would have been had the separation and distribution been completed as of December 31, 2020. In addition, it is not indicative of 2seventy bio's future capitalization. This table should be read in conjunction with “Unaudited Pro Forma Combined Financial Statements,” “Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations,” “Summary Historical and Unaudited Pro Forma Combined Financial Information” and the audited combined financial statements and corresponding notes included elsewhere in this information statement.
 
As of December 31, 2020
(in thousands)ActualPro Forma
(unaudited)
Cash and cash equivalents$— 
Debt:
Long-term debt$— 
Total debt— 
Equity:
Common stock— 
Additional paid-in capital— 
Net parent investment74,629 
Total Capitalization
$74,629 $— 
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UNAUDITED PRO FORMA COMBINED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS
The unaudited pro forma combined financial data of 2seventy bio consists of an unaudited pro forma combined statement of operations for the year ended December 31, 2020 and an unaudited pro forma combined balance sheet as of December 31, 2020 that have been prepared by management in accordance with Article 11, Pro Forma Financial Information, under Regulation S-X of the Exchange Act, and are for illustrative and informational purposes only. The unaudited pro forma combined financial data reported below should be read in conjunction with “Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations,” “Summary Historical and Unaudited Pro Forma Combined Financial Information” and the audited combined financial statements and corresponding notes included elsewhere in this information statement.
The following unaudited pro forma combined financial data is subject to assumptions and adjustments described in the accompanying notes. 2seventy bio's management believes these assumptions and adjustments are reasonable under the circumstances and given the information available at this time. However, these adjustments are subject to change as bluebird bio and 2seventy bio finalize the terms of the separation, including the separation agreement and related transaction agreements. The unaudited pro forma combined financial data does not purport to represent what 2seventy bio's financial position and results of operations actually would have been had the separation occurred on the dates indicated, or to project 2seventy bio's financial performance for any future period following the separation.
The unaudited pro forma combined statement of operations for the year ended December 31, 2020 gives effect to the separation as if it had occurred on January 1, 2020. The unaudited pro forma balance sheet as of December 31, 2020 gives effect to the separation as if it had occurred on December 31, 2020. The unaudited pro forma combined financial data includes adjustments to reflect the following:
the contribution by bluebird bio to 2seventy bio, pursuant to the separation agreement, of all the assets and liabilities that comprise 2seventy bio's business;
the expected transfer to 2seventy bio, upon completion of the separation, of certain assets and liabilities that were not included in 2seventy bio's historical combined financial statements; and
the impact of the separation agreement, tax matters agreement, employee matters agreement, transition services agreements and other agreements between 2seventy bio and bluebird bio.
2seventy bio's historical financial information, which was the basis for the unaudited pro forma combined financial statements, was prepared on a carve-out basis as 2seventy bio was not operated as a separate, independent company for the periods presented. Accordingly, such historical financial information reflects an allocation for certain business and support functions that are provided on a centralized basis within bluebird bio, including senior management, legal, human resources, finance and information technology. These historical allocations may not be indicative of 2seventy bio's future cost structure.
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2seventy bio
Unaudited Pro Forma Combined Statement of Operations
Year Ended December 31, 2020
(in thousands)
2seventy bio
As Reported
Transaction Accounting AdjustmentsNotesPro Forma
Revenue:
Service revenue$111,452 $111,452 
Collaborative arrangement revenue115,594 115,594 
Royalty and other revenue21,076 21,076 
Total revenues248,122 — 248,122 
Operating expenses:
Research and development296,467 296,467 
Selling, general and administrative90,897 90,897 
Cost of royalty and other revenue5,396 5,396 
Change in fair value of contingent consideration(6,468)(6,468)
Total operating expenses386,292 — 386,292 
Loss from operations(138,170)— (138,170)
Other income, net18,056 18,056 
Loss before income taxes(120,114)— (120,114)
Income tax (expense) benefit— — 
Net loss$(120,114)$— $(120,114)
Net loss per share - basic and dilutedN/A(E, F)
Weighted-average number of common shares - basic and dilutedN/A(E, F)
See Notes to Unaudited Pro forma Combined Financial Data.
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2seventy bio
Unaudited Pro Forma Combined Balance Sheet
As of December 31, 2020
(in thousands)
2seventy bio
As Reported
Transaction Accounting AdjustmentsNotesPro Forma
Assets:
Current assets:
Cash and cash equivalents$— (A)$— 
Prepaid expenses14,413 14,413 
Receivables10,691 10,691 
Total current assets25,104 — 25,104 
Property, plant and equipment, net144,025 144,025 
Intangible assets, net5,644 5,644 
Goodwill13,128 13,128 
Operating lease right-of-use assets116,456 116,456 
Other non-current assets8,263 8,263 
Total assets$312,620 $— $312,620 
Liabilities and Equity:
Current liabilities:
Accounts payable$7,152 $7,152 
Accrued expenses and other current liabilities43,347 43,347 
Operating lease liability, current portion15,313 15,313 
Deferred revenue, current portion820 820 
Collaboration research advancement, current portion9,236 9,236 
Total current liabilities75,868 — 75,868 
Deferred revenue, net of current portion25,762 25,762 
Collaboration research advancement, net of current portion21,581 21,581 
Operating lease liability, net of current portion112,290 112,290 
Other non-current liabilities2,490 2,490 
Total liabilities237,991 — 237,991 
Equity:
Common stock— (D)— 
Additional paid-in capital— (A, D)— 
Net parent investment74,629 (D)74,629 
Total equity74,629 — 74,629 
Total liabilities and equity$312,620 $— $312,620 
See Notes to Unaudited Pro forma Combined Financial Data.
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Notes to Unaudited Pro Forma Combined Financial Data
(A)  Reflects the impact of the initial cash contribution of $           million from bluebird bio to 2seventy bio in connection with the separation.
(B)  Reflects the impact of assets, liabilities and related expenses that we expect to assume from bluebird bio that were not included in our audited combined financial statements. There may be additional assets, liabilities or related expenses transferred to us in the separation for which the transfer has not been finalized.
(C)  Reflects the tax effects of the pro forma adjustments at the applicable effective income tax rate of        % for the year ended December 31, 2020. The effective tax rate of 2seventy bio could be different (either higher or lower) depending on activities subsequent to the separation. The impact of pro forma adjustments on long-term deferred tax assets and liabilities were offset against existing long-term deferred tax assets and liabilities reflected in our historical combined balance sheet, all of which are offset by valuation allowance in full.
(D) Reflects the distribution of 2seventy bio common stock to bluebird bio stockholders, calculated based on          shares of bluebird bio common stock outstanding on          , and a distribution ratio of          shares of 2seventy bio common stock for every                shares of bluebird bio common stock. This amount is allocated between common stock and additional paid-in capital based on the number of shares of 2seventy bio common stock outstanding on the distribution date.
(E)  The number of shares of 2seventy bio common stock used to compute basic earnings per share is based on the number of shares of 2seventy bio common stock assumed to be outstanding on the distribution date, after giving effect to the distribution, calculated based on          shares of bluebird bio common stock outstanding on          , and a distribution ratio of          shares of 2seventy bio common stock for every                shares of bluebird bio common stock.
(F)  The number of shares of 2seventy bio common stock used to compute diluted earnings per share is based on the number of shares of 2seventy bio common stock as described in Note (E) above, plus incremental shares assuming exercise of dilutive options, restricted stock units and other common stock equivalents issued in connection with the separation. This calculation may not be indicative of the dilutive effect that will actually result from 2seventy bio's share-based awards issued in connection with the adjustment of outstanding bluebird bio share-based awards or the grant of new share-based awards. The number of dilutive shares of common stock underlying 2seventy bio's share-based awards issued in connection with the adjustment of outstanding bluebird bio share-based awards will not be determined until the distribution date or shortly thereafter.
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MANAGEMENT'S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS
The following discussion of our financial condition and results of operations should be read in conjunction with "Unaudited Pro Forma Combined Financial Statements," "Summary Historical and Unaudited Pro Forma Combined Financial Information" and the audited combined financial statements and corresponding notes included elsewhere in this information statement.
In addition to historical information, this report contains forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties which may cause our actual results to differ materially from plans and results discussed in forward-looking statements. We encourage you to review the risks and uncertainties discussed in the sections captioned “Risk Factors” and “Forward-Looking Statements”, included elsewhere in this information statement. The risks and uncertainties can cause actual results to differ significantly from those forecast in forward-looking statements or implied in historical results and trends.
We caution readers not to place undue reliance on any forward-looking statements made by us, which speak only as of the date they are made. We disclaim any obligation, except as specifically required by law and the rules of the SEC, to publicly update or revise any such statements to reflect any change in our expectations or in events, conditions or circumstances on which any such statements may be based, or that may affect the likelihood that actual results will differ from those set forth in the forward-looking statements.
Overview
2seventy bio is a cell and gene therapy company focused on the research, development, and commercialization of transformative treatments for cancer. We were incorporated in April 2021 and are led by an accomplished team with significant expertise and experience in this field, from discovery through clinical development to regulatory approval of Abecma. Our approach combines our expertise in T cell engineering technology and lentiviral vector gene delivery approaches, experience in research, development, and manufacturing of cell therapies and a suite of technologies that can be selectively deployed to develop highly innovative, targeted cellular therapies for patients with cancer. We are advancing multiple preclinical and clinical programs in oncology and, together with our partner, delivering Abecma to multiple myeloma patients in the United States following approval by the FDA of Abecma in March 2021 for the treatment of adults with multiple myeloma who have received at least four prior lines of therapy, including an immunomodulatory agent, a proteasome inhibitor and an anti-CD38 monoclonal antibody.
Separation from bluebird bio, Inc.
In January 2021, bluebird bio announced its plans to separate its oncology portfolio and programs from its severe genetic disease, or SGD, portfolio and programs through a pro rata distribution of our common stock to stockholders of bluebird bio. As a part of the separation, bluebird bio intends to transfer the assets, liabilities and operations of its oncology portfolio and programs to us, pursuant to the terms of a separation agreement to be entered into between us and bluebird bio. On the distribution date, each bluebird bio stockholder will receive          shares of our common stock for every          shares of bluebird bio common stock held of record at the close of business on the record date for the distribution. Registered stockholders will receive cash in lieu of any fractional shares of our common stock that they would have received as a result of the application of the distribution ratio. Following the distribution, we will operate as a separate, independent, publicly traded company. The distribution of our common stock as described in this information statement is subject to the satisfaction or waiver by bluebird bio of certain conditions. For a more detailed description of these conditions, see the section of this information statement captioned "The Separation and Distribution—Conditions to the Distribution."
Our historical financial statements have been prepared on a carve-out basis and are derived from bluebird bio’s consolidated financial statements and accounting records. Our financial statements are presented in conformity with generally accepted accounting principles in the United States, or GAAP. See Note 2, Summary of significant accounting policies and basis of presentation, in the notes to the combined financial statements appearing elsewhere in this information statement for additional information on the preparation and basis of presentation of the combined
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financial statements. Our financial position, results of operations and cash flows historically operated, and will continue to operate, as part of bluebird bio’s financial position, results of operations and cash flows prior to and until the distribution of our common stock to bluebird bio’s stockholders. The historical combined financial statements may not be indicative of our future performance and do not necessarily reflect what our combined results of operations, financial condition and cash flows would have been had we operated as a separate, publicly traded company during the periods presented. We expect that changes will occur in our operating structure and our capitalization as a result of the separation from bluebird bio. See the section of this information statement captioned "The Separation and Distribution" for additional detail.
Financial Operations Overview
Revenue
To date, we have not recognized any revenues from the sale of products. Our revenues have been derived from collaboration arrangements and out-licensing arrangements.
Revenue recognized under collaborative arrangements has been generated primarily from a collaboration arrangement with BMS that will be attributed to us in connection with the separation. The terms of the arrangement with respect to ide-cel contain multiple promised goods or services, which include at inception: (i) research and development services, (ii) a license to ide-cel, and (iii) manufacture of vectors and associated payload for incorporation into ide-cel under the license. As of September 2017, the collaboration also included the following promised goods or services with respect to bb21217: (i) research and development services, (ii) a license to bb21217, and (iii) manufacture of vectors and associated payload for incorporation into bb21217 under the license. An agreement was entered into with BMS to co-develop and co-promote ide-cel in March 2018, which was subsequently amended in May 2020, as part of which both parties will share equally in U.S. costs and profits. Revenue from our collaborative arrangements is recognized as the underlying performance obligations are satisfied.
We analyze our collaboration arrangements to assess whether they are within the scope of ASC 808, Collaborative Arrangements (“ASC 808”) to determine whether such arrangements involve joint operating activities performed by parties that are both active participants in the activities and exposed to significant risks and rewards dependent on the commercial success of such activities. This assessment is performed throughout the life of the arrangement based on changes in the responsibilities of all parties in the arrangement. For collaboration arrangements within the scope of ASC 808, we first determine which elements of the collaboration are deemed to be within the scope of ASC 808 and those that are more reflective of a vendor-customer relationship and therefore within the scope of ASC 606, Revenue from Contracts with Customers (“Topic 606” or "ASC 606"). For elements of collaboration arrangements that are accounted for pursuant to ASC 808, an appropriate recognition method is determined and applied consistently, generally by analogy to Topic 606. Amounts that are owed to collaboration partners are recognized as an offset to collaborative arrangement revenues as such amounts are incurred by the collaboration partner. Where amounts owed to a collaboration partner exceed our collaborative arrangement revenues in a quarterly period, such amounts in excess are classified as research and development expense. For those elements of the arrangement that are accounted for pursuant to Topic 606, we apply the five-step model prescribed in Topic 606.
Effective January 1, 2020, we adopted Accounting Standards Update ("ASU") No. 2018-18, Collaborative Arrangements (Topic 808): Clarifying the Interaction between Topic 808 and Topic 606 ("ASU 2018-18") on a retrospective basis. As a result, prior periods are presented in accordance with the new standard. As we recognize revenue under our collaborative arrangements both within and outside the scope of Topic 606, we present revenue on our combined statements of operations and comprehensive loss as follows: service revenue includes revenue from collaborative partners recognized within the scope of Topic 606 and collaborative arrangement revenue includes only revenue from collaborative partners recognized outside the scope of Topic 606.
Nonrefundable license fees are recognized as revenue upon delivery of the license provided there are no unsatisfied performance obligations in the arrangement. License revenue has historically been generated from out-
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license agreements, under which we may also recognize revenue from potential future milestone payments and royalties.
For arrangements with licenses of intellectual property that include sales-based royalties, including milestone payments based on the level of sales, and the license is deemed to be the predominant item to which the royalties relate, we recognize revenue at the later of (i) when the related sales occur, or (ii) when the performance obligation to which the royalty has been allocated has been satisfied.
Research and Development Expenses
Research and development expenses consist primarily of costs incurred for the development of our product candidates, which include:
employee-related expenses, including salaries, benefits, travel and stock-based compensation expense;
expenses incurred under agreements with clinical research organizations (“CROs”) and clinical sites that conduct our clinical studies;
reimbursable costs to our partners for collaborative activities;
facilities, depreciation, and other expenses, which include direct and allocated expenses for rent and maintenance of facilities, information technology, insurance, and other supplies in support of research and development activities;
costs associated with our research platform and preclinical activities;
milestones and upfront license payments;
costs associated with our regulatory, quality assurance and quality control operations; and
amortization of certain intangible assets.
Research and development costs are expensed as incurred. Costs for certain development activities are recognized based on an evaluation of the progress to completion of specific tasks using information and data provided to us by our vendors and our clinical sites. We cannot determine with certainty the duration and completion costs of the current or future clinical studies of our product candidates or if, when, or to what extent we will generate revenues from the commercialization and sale of any of our product candidates that obtain regulatory approval. We may not succeed in achieving regulatory approval for all of our product candidates. The duration, costs, and timing of clinical studies and development of our product candidates will depend on a variety of factors, any of which could mean a significant change in the costs and timing associated with the development of our product candidates including:
the scope, rate of progress, and expense of our ongoing as well as any additional clinical studies and other research and development activities we undertake;
future clinical study results;
uncertainties in clinical study enrollment rates;
new manufacturing processes or protocols that we may choose to or be required to implement in the manufacture of our lentiviral vector or drug product;
regulatory feedback on requirements for regulatory approval, as well as changing standards for regulatory approval; and
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the timing and receipt of any regulatory approvals.
We plan to increase our research and development expenses for the foreseeable future as we continue to conduct research and development activities and fund our share of the costs of development of Abecma and bb21217 (if we exercise our option to co-develop and co-commercialize this product candidate) in collaboration with BMS. Our research and development expenses include expenses associated with the following activities:
CRB-401 study – an open label, single-arm, multi-center, phase 1 study to examine the safety and efficacy of ide-cel in the treatment of patients with relapsed and refractory multiple myeloma.
KarMMA study – an open label, single-arm, multi-center phase 2 study to examine the efficacy and safety of ide-cel in the treatment of patients with relapsed and refractory multiple myeloma.
KarMMa-2 study – a multi-cohort, open-label, multicenter phase 2 study to examine the safety and efficacy of ide-cel in the treatment of patients with relapsed and refractory multiple myeloma and in high-risk multiple myeloma.
KarMMa-3 study – a multicenter, randomized, open-label phase 3 study comparing the efficacy and safety of ide-cel versus standard triplet regimens in patients with relapsed and refractory multiple myeloma.
KarMMa-4 study – a multi-cohort, open-label, multicenter phase 1 study intended to determine the optimal target dose and safety of ide-cel in subjects with newly-diagnosed multiple myeloma.
CRB-402 study – an open label, single-arm, multicenter, phase 1 study to examine the safety and efficacy of the bb21217 product candidate in the treatment of patients with relapsed and refractory multiple myeloma.
We will continue to incur costs related to the manufacture of clinical study materials in support of our clinical studies.
We expect that the timing of investment in our ongoing clinical studies will reflect COVID-19 related delays in these studies.
Our direct research and development expenses consist principally of external costs, such as fees paid to investigators, consultants, central laboratories and CROs in connection with our clinical studies, and costs related to acquiring and manufacturing clinical study materials. We allocate salary and benefit costs directly related to specific programs. We do not allocate personnel-related discretionary bonus or stock-based compensation costs, laboratory and related expenses, certain license and other collaboration costs, depreciation or other indirect costs that are
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deployed across multiple projects under development and, as such, the costs are separately classified as other research and development expenses in the table below:
Year ended December 31,
202020192018
ide-cel$105,240 $121,182 $75,667 
bb2121723,511 19,827 15,624 
Preclinical programs52,778 48,505 50,115 
Total direct research and development expense181,529 189,514 141,406 
Employee- and contractor-related expenses22,008 21,128 12,820 
Stock-based compensation expense
30,935 33,853 21,846 
Laboratory and related expenses2,292 2,721 831 
License and other collaboration expenses12,089 4,333 3,726 
Facility expenses46,402 44,661 18,948 
Other expenses1,212 1,435 913 
Total other research and development expenses114,938 108,131 59,084 
Total research and development expense$296,467 $297,645 $200,490 
Selling, General and Administrative Expenses
Selling, general and administrative expenses consist primarily of salaries and related costs for personnel, including stock-based compensation and travel expenses for our employees in executive, operational, finance, legal, business development, commercial, information technology, and human resource functions. Other selling, general and administrative expenses include facility-related costs, professional fees for accounting, tax, legal and consulting services, directors’ fees and expenses associated with obtaining and maintaining patents.
Cost of Royalty and Other Revenue
Cost of royalty and other revenue represents expenses associated with amounts owed to third-party licensors as a result of revenue recognized under our out-license arrangements.
Change in Fair Value of Contingent Consideration
On June 30, 2014, bluebird bio acquired Pregenen. All assets and liabilities related to the Pregenen acquisition, including the resulting intangible assets, goodwill and contingent consideration, will be attributed to us in connection with the separation. The agreement provided for up to $135.0 million in future contingent cash payments upon the achievement of certain preclinical, clinical and commercial milestones related to the Pregenen technology.
As of December 31, 2020, there were $120.0 million in future contingent cash payments, of which $20.1 million relates to clinical milestones and $99.9 million relates to commercial milestones. We estimate future contingent cash payments have a fair value of $1.5 million as of December 31, 2020, which are classified within other non-current liabilities on our combined balance sheet.
Interest Expense
For the year ended December 31, 2018, interest expense consisted primarily of the financing lease obligation for our headquarters at 60 Binney Street in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Upon adoption of ASU 2016-02, Leases (Topic 842), on January 1, 2019, we de-recognized the financing lease obligation and, as a result, no longer recognize interest expense associated with the financing lease obligation.
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Other Income, Net
Other income, net consists primarily of income resulting from the allocation of facility-related, depreciation and amortization expense to bluebird bio for its proportional use of assets that will be attributed to us, as well as expense resulting from the allocation of facility-related, depreciation and amortization expense to us for our proportional use of assets that will not be attributed to us. Other income, net also includes immaterial gains and losses on disposal of assets.
Critical Accounting Policies and Significant Judgments and Estimates
Our management’s discussion and analysis of our financial condition and results of operations are based on our combined financial statements, which have been prepared in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles in the United States. The preparation of these financial statements requires us to make estimates and judgments that affect the reported amounts of assets, liabilities, and expenses and the disclosure of contingent assets and liabilities in our financial statements. Estimates and judgments are used in the following areas, among others: allocations of revenue, expenses, assets and liabilities from bluebird bio's historical consolidated financial statements to us, future undiscounted cash flows and subsequent fair value estimates used to assess potential and measure any impairment of long-lived assets, including goodwill and intangible assets, the measurement of right-of-use assets and lease liabilities, contingent consideration, stock-based compensation expense, accrued expenses, income taxes, and the assessment of our ability to fund operations for at least the next twelve months from the date of issuance of our combined financial statements. On an ongoing basis, we evaluate our estimates and judgments, including expected business and operational changes, sensitivity and volatility associated with the assumptions used in developing estimates, and whether historical trends are expected to be representative of future trends. We base our estimates on historical experience, known trends and events and various other factors that are believed to be reasonable under the circumstances, the results of which form the basis for making judgments about the carrying values of assets and liabilities that are not readily apparent from other sources. Actual results may differ from these estimates under different assumptions or conditions. In making estimates and judgments, management employs critical accounting policies.
While our significant accounting policies are described in more detail in the notes to our combined financial statements appearing elsewhere in this information statement, we believe the following accounting policies to be most critical to the judgments and estimates used in the preparation of our financial statements.
Revenue Recognition
Revenue Recognition
Under Topic 606, Revenue from Contracts with Customers, an entity recognizes revenue when its customer obtains control of promised goods or services, in an amount that reflects the consideration that the entity expects to receive in exchange for those goods or services. To determine revenue recognition for arrangements that an entity determines are within the scope of Topic 606, the entity performs the following five steps: (i) identify the contract(s) with a customer; (ii) identify the performance obligations in the contract; (iii) determine the transaction price, including variable consideration, if any; (iv) allocate the transaction price to the performance obligations in the contract; and (v) recognize revenue when (or as) the entity satisfies a performance obligation. We only apply the five-step model to contracts when it is probable that the entity will collect the consideration to which it is entitled in exchange for the goods or services it transfers to the customer.
Once a contract is determined to be within the scope of Topic 606, we assess the goods or services promised within each contract and determine those that are performance obligations. Arrangements that include rights to additional goods or services that are exercisable at a customer’s discretion are generally considered options. We assess if these options provide a material right to the customer and if so, they are considered performance obligations. The identification of material rights requires judgments related to the determination of the value of the underlying license relative to the option exercise price, including assumptions about technical feasibility and the
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probability of developing a candidate that would be subject to the option rights. The exercise of a material right is accounted for as a contract modification for accounting purposes.
We assess whether each promised good or service is distinct for the purpose of identifying the performance obligations in the contract. This assessment involves subjective determinations and requires management to make judgments about the individual promised goods or services and whether such are separable from the other aspects of the contractual relationship. Promised goods and services are considered distinct provided that: (i) the customer can benefit from the good or service either on its own or together with other resources that are readily available to the customer (that is, the good or service is capable of being distinct) and (ii) the entity’s promise to transfer the good or service to the customer is separately identifiable from other promises in the contract (that is, the promise to transfer the good or service is distinct within the context of the contract). In assessing whether a promised good or service is distinct, we consider factors such as the research, manufacturing and commercialization capabilities of the collaboration partner and the availability of the associated expertise in the general marketplace. We also consider the intended benefit of the contract in assessing whether a promised good or service is separately identifiable from other promises in the contract. If a promised good or service is not distinct, an entity is required to combine that good or service with other promised goods or services until it identifies a bundle of goods or services that is distinct.
The transaction price is then determined and allocated to the identified performance obligations in proportion to their stand-alone selling prices (“SSP”) on a relative SSP basis. SSP is determined at contract inception and is not updated to reflect changes between contract inception and when the performance obligations are satisfied. Determining the SSP for performance obligations requires significant judgment. In developing the SSP for a performance obligation, we consider applicable market conditions and relevant entity-specific factors, including factors that were contemplated in negotiating the agreement with the customer and estimated costs. We validate the SSP for performance obligations by evaluating whether changes in the key assumptions used to determine the SSP will have a significant effect on the allocation of arrangement consideration between multiple performance obligations.
If the consideration promised in a contract includes a variable amount, we estimate the amount of consideration to which we will be entitled in exchange for transferring the promised goods or services to a customer. We determine the amount of variable consideration by using the expected value method or the most likely amount method. We include the unconstrained amount of estimated variable consideration in the transaction price. The amount included in the transaction price is constrained to the amount for which it is probable that a significant reversal of cumulative revenue recognized will not occur. At the end of each subsequent reporting period, we re-evaluate the estimated variable consideration included in the transaction price and any related constraint, and if necessary, adjust our estimate of the overall transaction price. Any such adjustments are recorded on a cumulative catch-up basis in the period of adjustment.
If an arrangement includes development and regulatory milestone payments, we evaluate whether the milestones are considered probable of being reached and estimate the amount to be included in the transaction price using the most likely amount method. If it is probable that a significant revenue reversal would not occur, the associated milestone value is included in the transaction price. Milestone payments that are not within our control or the licensee’s control, such as regulatory approvals, are generally not considered probable of being achieved until those approvals are received.
For arrangements with licenses of intellectual property that include sales-based royalties, including milestone payments based on the level of sales, and the license is deemed to be the predominant item to which the royalties relate, we recognize royalty revenue and sales-based milestones at the later of (i) when the related sales occur, or (ii) when the performance obligation to which the royalty has been allocated has been satisfied.
In determining the transaction price, we adjust consideration for the effects of the time value of money if the timing of payments provides us with a significant benefit of financing. We do not assess whether a contract has a significant financing component if the expectation at contract inception is such that the period between payment by the licensees and the transfer of the promised goods or services to the licensees will be one year or less. We assessed
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each of our revenue generating arrangements in order to determine whether a significant financing component exists and concluded that a significant financing component does not exist in any of our arrangements.
We then recognize as revenue the amount of the transaction price that is allocated to the respective performance obligation when (or as) each performance obligation is satisfied, either at a point in time or over time, and if over time recognition is based on the use of an output or input method.
We recognize revenue within the following financial statement captions:
Service Revenue
To date, our service revenue has primarily been generated from the elements of the collaboration arrangement with BMS that are accounted for pursuant to Topic 606, using the five-step model described above. As discussed further in Collaborative arrangement revenue below, we analyze our collaboration arrangements to assess whether they are within the scope of ASC 808, Collaborative Arrangements (“ASC 808”) or Topic 606. For the elements of the arrangement which are more reflective of a vendor-customer relationship and therefore within the scope of Topic 606, we record the related revenue as service revenue on the combined statement of operations and comprehensive loss. Refer to —Collaborative arrangement revenue below for additional discussion around our policy for recognizing collaborative arrangement revenue and the determination of whether elements of a collaboration arrangement are within the scope of ASC 808 or Topic 606.
Collaborative Arrangement Revenue
To date, collaborative arrangement revenue has been primarily generated from the collaboration arrangements with BMS and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc. ("Regeneron"), as further described in Note 8, Collaborative arrangements, in the notes to our combined financial statements appearing elsewhere in this information statement.
We analyze our collaboration arrangements to assess whether they are within the scope of ASC 808 to determine whether such arrangements involve joint operating activities performed by parties that are both active participants in the activities and exposed to significant risks and rewards dependent on the commercial success of such activities. This assessment is performed throughout the life of the arrangement based on changes in the responsibilities of all parties in the arrangement. For collaboration arrangements within the scope of ASC 808 that contain multiple elements, we first determine which elements of the collaboration are deemed to be within the scope of ASC 808 and those that are more reflective of a vendor-customer relationship and therefore within the scope of Topic 606 (refer above for further discussion of our policy for recognizing service revenue). For elements of collaboration arrangements that are accounted for pursuant to ASC 808, an appropriate recognition method is determined and applied consistently, generally by analogy to Topic 606. Amounts that are owed to collaboration partners are recognized as an offset to collaborative arrangement revenues as such amounts are incurred by the collaboration partner. Where amounts owed to a collaboration partner exceed our collaborative arrangement revenues in each quarterly period, such amounts are classified as research and development expense.
The recognition of service revenue and collaborative arrangement revenue (expense) require management judgment due to the fact that the terms of our collaboration arrangements are complicated and the nature of the collaborative activities change over time. This process includes the identification of costs that we incur that relate to each particular collaboration arrangement, evaluating the nature of these costs (for example, whether the costs relate to a particular geography or territory or whether the costs relate to clinical or commercial activities), and applying the terms of the respective collaborative arrangement to determine the portion of such costs that are the responsibility of the collaboration partner, which in certain circumstances requires significant judgment.
Leases
Effective January 1, 2019, we adopted ASU 2016-02, Leases (Topic 842), (“ASU 2016-02” or “ASC 842”), using the required modified retrospective approach and utilizing the effective date as the date of initial application. As a result, prior periods are presented in accordance with the previous guidance in ASC 840, Leases (“ASC 840”).
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At the inception of an arrangement, we determine whether the arrangement is or contains a lease based on the relevant facts and circumstances present in the arrangement. Leases with a term greater than one year are recognized on the balance sheet as right-of-use assets and short-term and long-term lease liabilities, as applicable. We do not have material financing leases.
Operating lease liabilities and their corresponding right-of-use assets are initially recorded based on the present value of lease payments over the expected remaining lease term. Certain adjustments to the right-of-use asset may be required for items such as incentives received. The interest rate implicit in lease contracts is typically not readily determinable. As a result, we utilize our incremental borrowing rate to discount lease payments, which reflects the fixed rate at which we could borrow on a collateralized basis the amount of the lease payments in the same currency, for a similar term, in a similar economic environment. To estimate our incremental borrowing rate, a credit rating applicable to us is estimated using a synthetic credit rating analysis since we do not currently have a rating agency-based credit rating.
We have elected not to recognize leases with an original term of one year or less on the balance sheet. We typically only includes an initial lease term in our assessment of a lease arrangement. Options to renew a lease are not included in our assessment unless there is reasonable certainty that we will renew.
Assumptions that we made at the commencement date are re-evaluated upon occurrence of certain events, including a lease modification. A lease modification results in a separate contract when the modification grants the lessee an additional right of use not included in the original lease and when lease payments increase commensurate with the stand-alone price for the additional right of use. When a lease modification results in a separate contract, it is accounted for in the same manner as a new lease.
ASC 842 Transition Practical Expedients and Application of Transition Provisions to Leases at the Transition Date
We elected the following practical expedients, which must be elected as a package and applied consistently to all of our leases at the transition date (including those for which we are a lessee or a lessor): i) we did not reassess whether any expired or existing contracts are or contain leases; ii) we did not reassess the lease classification for any expired or existing leases (that is, all existing leases that were classified as operating leases in accordance with ASC 840 are classified as operating leases, and all existing leases that were classified as capital leases in accordance with ASC 840 are classified as finance leases); and iii) we did not reassess initial direct costs for any existing leases.
For leases that existed prior to the date of initial application of ASC 842 (which were previously classified as operating leases), a lessee may elect to use either the total lease term measured at lease inception under ASC 840 or the remaining lease term as of the date of initial application of ASC 842 in determining the period for which to measure its incremental borrowing rate. In transition to ASC 842, we utilized the remaining lease term of its leases in determining the appropriate incremental borrowing rates.
Application of ASC 842 Policy Elections to Leases Post Adoption
We have made certain policy elections to apply to our leases executed post adoption, or subsequent to January 1, 2019, as further described below.
In accordance with ASC 842, components of a lease should be split into three categories: lease components, non-lease components, and non-components. The fixed and in-substance fixed contract consideration (including any consideration related to non-components) must be allocated based on the respective relative fair values to the lease components and non-lease components.
Entities may elect not to separate lease and non-lease components. Rather, entities would account for each lease component and related non-lease component together as a single lease component. We have elected to account for lease and non-lease components together as a single lease component for all underlying assets and allocate all of the contract consideration to the lease component only.
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ASC 842 allows for the use of judgment in determining whether the assumed lease term is for a major part of the remaining economic life of the underlying asset and whether the present value of lease payments represents substantially all of the fair value of the underlying asset. We apply the bright line thresholds referenced in ASC 842-10-55-2 to assist in evaluating leases for appropriate classification. The aforementioned bright lines are applied consistently to our entire portfolio of leases.
Accrued Research and Development Expenses
As part of the process of preparing our financial statements, we are required to estimate our accrued expenses. This process involves reviewing open contracts and purchase orders, communicating with our personnel to identify services that have been performed on our behalf and estimating the level of service performed and the associated cost incurred for the service when we have not yet been invoiced or otherwise notified of the actual cost. The majority of our service providers invoice us monthly in arrears for services performed or when contractual milestones are met. We make estimates of our accrued expenses as of each balance sheet date in our financial statements based on facts and circumstances known to us at that time.
We recognize expenses related to clinical studies based on our estimates of the services received and efforts expended pursuant to contracts with multiple CROs that conduct and manage clinical studies on our behalf. The financial terms of these agreements are subject to negotiation, vary from contract to contract and may result in uneven payment flows. There may be instances in which payments made to our vendors will exceed the level of services provided and result in a prepayment of the clinical expense. Payments under some of these contracts depend on factors such as the successful enrollment of subjects and the completion of clinical study milestones. In accruing service fees, we estimate the time period over which services will be performed and the level of effort to be expended in each period and adjust accordingly.
Other examples of estimated accrued research and development expenses include fees paid to:
collaboration partners for research performed in connection with ongoing collaboration arrangements;
investigative sites in connection with clinical studies;
vendors in connection with preclinical development activities; and
vendors related to the development, manufacturing, and distribution of clinical trial materials.
Recent Accounting Pronouncements
See Note 2, Summary of significant accounting policies and basis of presentation, in the notes to the combined financial statements appearing elsewhere in this information statement for a description of recent accounting pronouncements applicable to our business.
Results of Operations
Historically, our operations have been managed in the normal course of business as part of bluebird bio. Accordingly, certain shared costs have been allocated to us and reflected as expenses in the stand-alone combined financial statements, as described in greater detail in the notes to the combined financial statements appearing elsewhere in this information statement. We considered the allocation methodologies used to be a reasonable and appropriate reflection of the historical bluebird bio expenses attributable to us for purposes of the stand-alone financial statements. The expenses reflected in the combined financial statements may not be indicative of expenses that will be incurred by us in the future. The following discussion summarizes the key factors we believe are necessary for an understanding of our combined financial statements.
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Comparison of the Years Ended December 31, 2020 and 2019:
Year ended December 31,
20202019Change
(in thousands)
Revenue:
Service revenue$111,452 $30,351 $81,101 
Collaborative arrangement revenue115,594 5,740 109,854 
Royalty and other revenue21,076 8,205 12,871 
Total revenues248,122 44,296 203,826 
Operating expenses:
Research and development296,467 297,645 (1,178)
Selling, general and administrative90,897 81,646 9,251 
Cost of royalty and other revenue5,396 2,978 2,418 
Change in fair value of contingent consideration(6,468)2,747 (9,215)
Total operating expenses386,292 385,016 1,276 
Loss from operations(138,170)(340,720)202,550 
Other income, net18,056 20,126 (2,070)
Loss before income taxes(120,114)(320,594)200,480 
Income tax (expense) benefit— — — 
Net loss$(120,114)$(320,594)$200,480 
Revenue. Total revenue was $248.1 million for the year ended December 31, 2020, compared to $44.3 million for the year ended December 31, 2019. The increase of $203.8 million was primarily attributable to a cumulative catch-up adjustment to revenue recorded in connection with the May 2020 BMS contract modification, as well as an increase in royalty and other revenue primarily attributable to revenue recognized under an out-license agreement.
Research and Development Expenses. Research and development expenses were $296.5 million for the year ended December 31, 2020, compared to $297.6 million for the year ended December 31, 2019. The decrease of $1.2 million was primarily attributable to $26.5 million of decreased material production and other platform costs, primarily due to BMS assuming the contract manufacturing agreements relating to ide-cel adherent lentiviral vector under the May 2020 contract modification.
These decreased costs were partially offset by the following increases:
$14.0 million of increased collaboration research funding costs, primarily due to an increase in collaboration costs incurred by BMS, of which we pay a portion, as a result of BMS assuming the contract manufacturing agreements relating to ide-cel adherent lentiviral vector under the May 2020 contract modification;
$7.3 million of increased license and milestone fees;
$3.2 million of increased consulting fees; and
$1.5 million of increased research and development related IT and facility-related costs.
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Selling, General and Administrative Expenses. Selling, general and administrative expenses were $90.9 million for the year ended December 31, 2020, compared to $81.6 million for the year ended December 31, 2019. The increase of $9.3 million was primarily due to the following:
$7.5 million of increased employee compensation, benefit, and other headcount related expenses, which is primarily driven by an increase in headcount to support overall growth, including an increase of $1.9 million in stock-based compensation expense;
$2.6 million of increased IT and facility-related costs; and
$1.8 million of increased costs related to commercial activities.
These increased costs were partially offset by a $2.4 million decrease in consulting costs.
Cost of Royalty and Other Revenue. Cost of royalty and other revenue was $5.4 million for the year ended December 31, 2020, compared to $3.0 million for the year ended December 31, 2019. The increase is attributable to increased royalty revenue in the same periods.
Change in Fair Value of Contingent Consideration. The change in fair value of contingent consideration was primarily due to the change in significant unobservable inputs used in the fair value measurement of contingent consideration, including the probabilities of successful achievement of clinical and commercial milestones and discount rates.
Other Income, Net. The decrease in other income, net was primarily related to a decrease of $2.3 million in other income resulting from the allocation of facility-related and depreciation expense to bluebird bio for its proportional use of assets that will be attributed to us.
Comparison of the Years Ended December 31, 2019 and 2018:
Year ended December 31,
20192018Change
(in thousands)
Revenue:
Service revenue$30,351 $44,533 $(14,182)
Collaborative arrangement revenue5,740 7,820 (2,080)
Royalty and other revenue8,205 2,226 5,979 
Total revenues44,296 54,579 (10,283)
Operating expenses:
Research and development297,645 200,490 97,155 
Selling, general and administrative81,646 53,631 28,015 
Cost of royalty and other revenue2,978 885 2,093 
Change in fair value of contingent consideration2,747 2,999 (252)
Total operating expenses385,016 258,005 127,011 
Loss from operations(340,720)(203,426)(137,294)
Interest expense— (15,486)15,486 
Other income, net
20,126 19,163 963 
Loss before income taxes(320,594)(199,749)(120,845)
Income tax benefit (expense)— — — 
Net loss$(320,594)$(199,749)$(120,845)
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Revenue. Total revenue was $44.3 million for the year ended December 31, 2019, compared to $54.6 million for the year ended December 31, 2018. The decrease of $10.3 million was primarily attributable to a decrease in service revenue recognized for the ide-cel license and manufacturing services under the BMS agreement. This decrease was partially offset by an increase in royalty and other revenue.
Research and Development Expenses. Research and development expenses were $297.6 million for the year ended December 31, 2019, compared to $200.5 million for the year ended December 31, 2018. The increase of $97.2 million was primarily attributable to the following:
$32.0 million of increased laboratory expenses, material production, and other platform costs;
$30.9 million of increased employee compensation, benefit, and other headcount related expenses, which is primarily driven by an increase in research and development headcount to support overall growth, including an increase of $12.0 million in stock-based compensation expense;
$26.3 million of increased collaboration research funding costs;
$25.9 million of increased research and development related IT and facility related costs, which includes the impact of adopting ASU 2016-02; and
$1.7 million of increased consulting and market research costs.
These increased costs were partially offset by $18.3 million of decreased license and milestone fees and $1.5 million of decreased clinical trial costs.
Selling, General and Administrative Expenses. Selling, general and administrative expenses were $81.6 million for the year ended December 31, 2019, compared to $53.6 million for the year ended December 31, 2018. The increase of $28.0 million was primarily due to the following:
$21.1 million of increased employee compensation, benefit, and other headcount related expenses, which is primarily driven by an increase in selling, general, and administrative headcount to support overall growth, including an increase of $9.2 million in stock-based compensation expense;
$5.0 million of increased consulting fees;
$1.2 million of increased IT and facility related costs; and
$0.8 million of increased costs related to commercial-readiness activities.
Cost of Royalty and Other Revenue. Cost of royalty and other revenue was $3.0 million for the year ended December 31, 2019, compared to $0.9 million for the year ended December 31, 2018. The increase is attributable to increased royalty revenue in the same periods.
Change in Fair Value of Contingent Consideration. The change in fair value of contingent consideration was primarily due to the change in significant unobservable inputs used in the fair value measurement of contingent consideration, including the probabilities of successful achievement of clinical and commercial milestones and discount rates.
Interest Expense. The decrease in interest expense was due to the de-recognition of the financing lease obligation associated with our corporate headquarters at 60 Binney Street related to the adoption of ASU 2016-02 on January 1, 2019.
Other Income, Net. The increase in other income, net was primarily related to $2.6 million in additional income resulting from the allocation of facility-related expense to bluebird bio for its proportional use of assets that will be
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attributed to us, partially offset by a decrease of $0.9 million in other income resulting from the allocation of depreciation expense to bluebird bio for its proportional use of equipment that will be attributed to us and an increase of $0.7 million in other expense resulting from the allocation of facility-related and depreciation expense to us for our proportional use of bluebird bio assets.
Liquidity and Capital Resources
We have historically participated in bluebird bio's centralized approach to cash management, and, therefore, there were no cash amounts specifically attributable to us for the historical periods presented. Historically, the primary source of liquidity for our business was cash flow allocated to us from bluebird bio. Prior to separation, transfers of cash to and from bluebird bio have been reflected in net parent investment in the historical combined balance sheets, statements of cash flows and statements of equity. We have not reported cash or cash equivalents for the periods presented in the combined balance sheets. We expect bluebird bio to continue to fund our cash needs through the date of the separation.
Going Concern
Our ability to fund our operations and capital needs will depend on our ongoing ability to generate cash from operations and access to capital markets and other sources of capital, as further described below. We have incurred losses and have experienced negative operating cash flows for all historical periods presented. During the year ended December 31, 2020, we incurred a loss of $120.1 million and used $67.8 million of cash in operations. As bluebird bio manages our cash and financing arrangements, excess cash generated, if any, is deemed remitted to bluebird bio and all sources of cash are deemed funded by bluebird bio. We expect to continue to generate operating losses and negative operating cash flows for the next few years. Our continued operations are dependent on our ability to raise additional funding. If we are unable to obtain additional funding on a timely basis, we may be forced to significantly curtail, delay, or discontinue one or more of our planned research or development programs or be unable to expand our operations. Based on our recurring losses from operations incurred, expectation of continuing operating losses for the next few years, and the need to raise additional funding to finance our future operations, as of May 11, 2021, the issuance date of the combined financial statements for the year ended December 31, 2020, we have concluded that there is substantial doubt about our ability to continue as a going concern for a period of one year from the date that our combined financial statements are issued. See Note 1, Description of the business, to our combined financial statements appearing elsewhere in this information statement.
Cash Flows
The following table summarizes our cash flow activity:
Year ended December 31,
202020192018
(in thousands)
Net cash used in operating activities$(67,793)$(207,957)$(146,215)
Net cash used in investing activities(22,261)(59,765)(50,827)
Net cash provided by financing activities90,054 267,722 197,042 
Increase (decrease) in cash, cash equivalents and restricted cash$— $— $— 
Operating Activities. Net cash used in operating activities was $67.8 million for the year ended December 31, 2020 and primarily consisted of a net loss of $120.1 million adjusted for non-cash items, including stock-based compensation of $61.0 million, depreciation and amortization of $13.2 million, and the change in fair value of the contingent consideration of $6.5 million, as well as the change in our net working capital.
Net cash used in operating activities was $208.0 million for the year ended December 31, 2019 and primarily consisted of a net loss of $320.6 million adjusted for non-cash items, including stock-based compensation of $62.0
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million, depreciation and amortization of $12.6 million, and the change in fair value of the contingent consideration of $2.7 million, as well as the change in our net working capital.
Net cash used in operating activities was $146.2 million for the year ended December 31, 2018 and primarily consisted of a net loss of $199.7 million adjusted for non-cash items, including stock-based compensation of $40.8 million, depreciation and amortization of $13.3 million, and the change in fair value of the contingent consideration of $3.0 million, as well as the change in our net working capital.
Investing Activities. Net cash used in investing activities for the year ended December 31, 2020 was $22.3 million and was due to the purchase of property, plant and equipment.
Net cash used in investing activities for the year ended December 31, 2019 was $59.8 million and was due to the purchase of property, plant and equipment.
Net cash used in investing activities for the year ended December 31, 2018 was $50.8 million and was due to the purchase of property, plant and equipment.
Financing Activities. As bluebird bio manages our cash and financing arrangements, all excess cash generated through earnings is deemed remitted to bluebird bio and all sources of cash are deemed funded by bluebird bio.
Net cash provided by financing activities for the year ended December 31, 2020 was $90.1 million and was due to cash transferred to us from bluebird bio based on changes in our cash used for operating and investing activities.
Net cash provided by financing activities for the year ended December 31, 2019 was $267.7 million and was due to cash transferred to us from bluebird bio based on changes in our cash used for operating and investing activities.
Net cash provided by financing activities for the year ended December 31, 2018 was $197.0 million and was primarily due to cash transferred to us from bluebird bio based on changes in our cash used for operating and investing activities.
Funding Requirements
We expect our expenses to increase in connection with our ongoing activities, particularly as we advance the preclinical activities and clinical trials of our product candidates. In addition, following the distribution, we expect to incur additional costs associated with operating as a public company. Our expenses will also increase as we:
leverage our programs to continue advancing our product candidates into preclinical and clinical development;
seek regulatory approvals for any product candidates that successfully complete clinical trials;
hire additional clinical, quality control and scientific personnel;
expand our operational, financial and management systems and increase personnel, including personnel to support our clinical development and our operations as a public company; and
maintain, expand and protect our intellectual property portfolio.
We believe that our initial cash capitalization following the completion of the separation will enable us to fund our operating expenses and capital expenditure requirements through          . We have based this estimate on assumptions that may prove to be wrong, and we could exhaust our available capital resources sooner than we expect.
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Because of the numerous risks and uncertainties associated with research, development and commercialization of product candidates, we are unable to estimate the exact amount of our working capital requirements. The scope of our future funding requirements will depend on, and could increase significantly as a result of, many factors, including:
the scope, progress, results and costs of researching and developing our product candidates, and conducting preclinical studies and clinical trials;
the costs, timing and outcome of regulatory review of our product candidates;
the costs of future activities, including medical affairs, manufacturing and distribution, for any of our product candidates for which we receive marketing approval;
the cost and timing of hiring new employees to support our continued growth;
the cost of establishing sales, marketing and distribution capabilities for any products for which we may receive regulatory approval;
the costs of preparing, filing and prosecuting patent applications, maintaining and enforcing our intellectual property rights and defending intellectual property-related claims; and
the timing, receipt and amount of sales of, or milestone payments related to or royalties on, our current or future product candidates, if any.
A change in the outcome of any of these or other variables with respect to the development of any of our product candidates could significantly change the costs and timing associated with the development of that product candidate. Further, our operating plans may change in the future, and we may need additional funds to meet operational needs and capital requirements associated with such operating plans.
Until such time, if ever, as we can generate substantial product revenue, we expect to finance our cash needs through a combination of public or private equity offerings, debt financings, collaborations, strategic alliances or licensing arrangements with third parties. To the extent that we raise additional capital through the sale of equity or convertible debt securities, your ownership interest may be materially diluted, and the terms of such securities could include liquidation or other preferences that adversely affect your rights as a common stockholder. Debt financing and preferred equity financing, if available, may involve agreements that include restrictive covenants that limit our ability to take specified actions, such as incurring additional debt, making capital expenditures or declaring dividends. In addition, debt financing would result in increased fixed payment obligations.
If we raise funds through collaborations, strategic alliances or licensing arrangements with third parties, we may have to relinquish valuable rights to our technologies, future revenue streams, research programs or product candidates or grant licenses on terms that may not be favorable to us.
If we are unable to raise additional funds when needed, we may be required to delay, reduce or eliminate our product development or future commercialization efforts, or grant rights to develop and market product candidates that we would otherwise prefer to develop and market ourselves.
Contractual Obligations and Commitments
Lease Commitments
60 Binney Street Lease
In September 2015, bluebird bio entered into a lease agreement, which will be attributed to us in connection with the separation, for office and laboratory space located at 60 Binney Street, Cambridge, Massachusetts. Under
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the terms of the lease, starting on October 1, 2016, we leased approximately 253,108 square feet of office and laboratory space at $72.50 per square foot per year, or $18.4 million per year in base rent, which is subject to scheduled annual rent increases of 1.75% plus certain operating expenses and taxes. bluebird bio currently maintains a $13.8 million collateralized letter of credit and, subject to the terms of the lease and certain reduction requirements specified therein, including market capitalization requirements, this amount may decrease to $9.2 million over time. The lease will continue until March 31, 2027. Pursuant to a work letter entered into in connection with the lease, the landlord contributed an aggregate of $42.4 million toward the cost of construction and tenant improvements for the building.
Seattle, Washington Leases
In July 2018, bluebird bio entered into a lease agreement for office and laboratory space located in a portion of a building in Seattle, Washington. This lease will be attributed to us in connection with the separation. The lease was amended in October 2018 to increase the total rentable space to approximately 36,126 square feet at $54.00 per square foot in base rent per year, which is subject to scheduled annual rent increases of 2.5% plus certain operating expenses and taxes. The lease commenced on January 1, 2019 and the lease term will continue through January 31, 2027. We moved into the facility in June 2019. The lease allowed for a tenant improvement allowance of up to $215.00 per square foot, or approximately $8.0 million. We utilized the $8.0 million tenant improvement allowance and it has been fully reimbursed by the landlord as of December 31, 2020.
In September 2019, we entered into a second amendment to the lease (the “Second Amendment”). The Second Amendment added approximately 22,188 square feet to the existing space and extended the lease term of the entire premises by 16 months, or until April 2028. Fixed monthly rent for the expanded space will be incurred at a rate of $62.80 per square foot per year beginning in January 2021, subject to annual increases of 2.5%. The Second Amendment includes a five-year option to extend the term. In September 2020, bluebird bio entered into a sublease agreement for the 22,188 square feet added under the Second Amendment at a fixed monthly rent of $62.80 per square foot per year beginning in January 2021, subject to annual increases of 2.5%. The sublease term will continue through April 2028.
Contingent Consideration Related to Business Combinations
In connection with the Pregenen acquisition, bluebird bio agreed to make contingent cash payments to the former equityholders of Pregenen. All assets and liabilities related to the Pregenen acquisition, including the resulting goodwill and contingent consideration, will be attributed to us in connection with the separation. In accordance with accounting guidance for business combinations, these contingent cash payments are recorded as a component of other non-current liabilities on our combined balance sheets at fair value. During the second quarter of 2017, a $5.0 million preclinical milestone was achieved, which resulted in a $5.0 million payment to the former equityholders of Pregenen during the third quarter of 2017. The aggregate remaining undiscounted amount of contingent consideration potentially payable is $120.0 million. As of December 31, 2020, and 2019, $1.5 million and $8.0 million, respectively, is reflected as a non-current liability in the combined balance sheets, which represents the fair value of our contingent consideration obligations as of that date.
Contingent Milestone and Royalty Payments
We also have obligations to make future payments to third parties that become due and payable on the achievement of certain development, regulatory and commercial milestones (such as the start of a clinical trial, filing of a BLA, approval by the FDA or product launch). We do not recognize these commitments in our financial statements until they become payable or have been paid.
Based on our development plans as of December 31, 2020, we may be obligated to make future development, regulatory and commercial milestone payments and royalty payments on future sales of specified products associated with our collaboration and license agreements. Payments under these agreements generally become due and payable upon achievement of such milestones or sales. Because the achievement of these milestones or sales had not occurred as of December 31, 2020, such contingencies have not been recorded in our financial statements.
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Amounts related to contingent milestone payments and sales-based royalties are not yet considered contractual obligations as they are contingent upon success.
Under a license agreement with Biogen Inc., which will be attributed to us in the separation, pursuant to which we license certain patents and patent applications related to our ide-cel and bb21217 product candidates, we will be required to make certain payments related to certain development milestone obligations and must report on our progress in achieving these milestones on a periodic basis. We may be obligated to pay up to $23.0 million in the aggregate for each licensed product upon the achievement of remaining milestones. Upon commercialization of our products covered by the in-licensed intellectual property, we will be obligated to pay a percentage of net sales as a royalty in the low single digits.
Under a license agreement with the National Institutes of Health, or NIH, which will be attributed to us in the separation, pursuant to which we license certain patent applications related to our ide-cel and bb21217 product candidates, we have agreed to certain development and regulatory milestone obligations and must report on our progress in achieving these milestones on a periodic basis. We may be obligated to pay up to $9.7 million in the aggregate for a licensed product upon the achievement of these milestones. Upon commercialization of our products covered by the in-licensed intellectual property, we will be obligated to pay NIH a percentage of net sales as a royalty in the low single digits. The royalties payable under this license agreement are subject to reduction for any third-party payments required to be made, with a minimum floor in the low single digits. During the year ended December 31, 2020, we paid NIH $1.0 million upon milestones reached for a product covered by in-licensed intellectual property.
Under a license and collaboration agreement with Gritstone Oncology Inc., or Gritstone, which will be attributed to us in the separation, we may utilize Gritstone’s proprietary technology platform to identify and validate tumor-specific targets, among other activities under our research plan. We may be obligated to pay up to $129.0 million in the aggregate per therapy product and $27.5 million in the aggregate per target product for development, regulatory, and commercial milestones as well as low single-digit tiered royalty payments based on annual net sales.
Under a license and collaboration agreement with Inhibrx, Inc., or Inhibrx, which will be attributed to us in the separation, we will research, develop and commercialize chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell therapies using Inhibrx’s proprietary single domain antibody (sdAb) platform to multiple cancer targets. We may be obligated to pay up to $51.5 million in the aggregate per target for development, regulatory, and commercial milestones as well as mid single-digit tiered royalty payments based on annual net sales.
Transition From bluebird bio and Costs to Operate as an Independent Company
The combined financial statements reflect our operating results and financial position as it was operated by bluebird bio, rather than as an independent company. We will incur additional ongoing operating expenses to operate as an independent company. These costs will include the cost of various corporate headquarters functions, incremental information technology-related costs and incremental costs to operate stand-alone accounting, legal and other administrative functions. We will also incur non-recurring expenses and non-recurring capital expenditures.
As an independent company, our information technology operating costs may be higher than the costs allocated in the historical combined financial statements. In addition, we will incur non-recurring expenses and capital expenditures to establish independent information technology systems.
We are currently building our accounting and other administrative infrastructure. We expect to enter into a transition services agreement with bluebird bio that will provide us with certain services and resources related to corporate functions for an initial term of          years (as applicable). This transition services agreement will allow us to operate our business independently prior to establishing stand-alone infrastructure. During the transition from bluebird bio, we will incur non-recurring expenses to expand our infrastructure.
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It is not practicable to estimate the costs that would have been incurred in each of the periods presented in the historical financial statements for the functions described above. Actual costs that would have been incurred if we operated as a stand-alone company during these periods would have depended on various factors, including organizational design, outsourcing and other strategic decisions related to corporate functions, information technology and back office infrastructure.
Transactions with Related and Certain Other Parties
Prior to or concurrently with the distribution, we expect to enter into certain agreements with bluebird bio resulting from and relating to the separation, including a separation agreement, transition services agreement, a tax matters agreement, an intellectual property license agreement and an employee matters agreement. The terms of these agreements, including information on the business purpose of such agreements, transaction prices, related ongoing contractual commitments and any related special risks or contingencies are discussed in greater detail in the section captioned "Certain Relationships and Related Party Transactions", appearing elsewhere in this information statement.
Off-Balance Sheet Arrangements
As of December 31, 2020, we did not have any off-balance sheet arrangements as defined in the rules and regulations of the SEC.
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BUSINESS
Overview
2seventy bio is a cell and gene therapy company focused on the research, development, and commercialization of transformative treatments for cancer. We are led by an accomplished team with significant expertise and experience in this field, from discovery through clinical development to regulatory approval of Abecma (idecabtagene vicleucel, or ide-cel), the first FDA-approved CAR T cell therapy for multiple myeloma. Our approach combines our expertise in T cell engineering technology and lentiviral vector gene delivery approaches, experience in research, development, and manufacturing of cell therapies and a suite of technologies that can be selectively deployed to develop highly innovative, targeted cellular therapies for patients with cancer. We are advancing multiple preclinical and clinical programs in oncology and, together with our partner Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS), delivering Abecma to multiple myeloma patients in the United States following approval by the FDA of Abecma in March 2021 for the treatment of adults with multiple myeloma who have received at least four prior lines of therapy, including an immunomodulatory agent, a proteasome inhibitor and an anti-CD38 monoclonal antibody.
In recent years, growing understanding of cancer cell metabolism and genomics, as well as of the body’s immune response to tumor cells, has led to the development of new classes of therapies against cancer targets and pathways that have dramatically reshaped the treatment landscape. The advent of immunotherapy, particularly engineered cell therapies, has offered the potential of moving past the treatment paradigm of maintenance of cancer as a “chronic” disease. However, there remain few curative therapies and, in some settings such as solid tumors, current approaches do not offer significant depth or durability of outcome for most cancer types and patients. Monotherapies have historically been of limited efficacy in cancer, and drugs are typically combined to deliver an outsized effect relative to the action of any of the individual components. One potential advantage of combination therapies is the ability to address the heterogeneity of single target expression and/or mechanisms for relapse and resistance specific to a particular mechanism or target.
While medicines such as Abecma have highlighted the power of first-generation CAR T cell therapy by achieving previously unobtainable levels of efficacy in the late line setting, we believe that to be broadly successful in the treatment of cancer, a combination therapy approach is necessary, and that our multiplex approach to next-generation autologous cellular therapy, which allows multiple encoded mechanisms of action to be delivered within a single drug product, represents an attractive solution. Based on our experience in the research and development of Abecma, we believe we can develop next-generation, engineered cell therapies to bring new options to patients suffering from a broad range of different tumor types.
In designing our next-generation product candidates, we aim to address the limitations of first-generation T cell therapies by augmenting them with additional technologies. These limitations include: (1) targeting a single tumor-associated antigen that may be lost or down regulated; (2) heterogeneous target expression resulting in the sparing of tumor cells devoid of antigen; and/or (3) expression of immunosuppressive molecules such as TGFβ or PDL-1 in the tumor microenvironment.
Our Approach
Our approach is to create multiplex engineered cell therapies by combining: (1) CAR and T cell receptor technology, which programs T cells to recognize and kill cancer cells based on the cell surface expression or presentation of intracellular protein targets, respectively; (2) dual-targeting CAR architecture for multi-target tumor cell recognition; (3) our core lentiviral gene transfer technology which delivers these genetic cargos (and more) to program a patient’s own T cells to the kill the cancer cells; (4) our megaTAL-based gene editing technology which allows us to perform site specific gene addition or deletion from the genome to improve the properties of the T cell; and (5) genetically encoded technologies for engineering T cells to enhance the cytotoxic activity and reprogram the tumor microenvironment for more effective anti-tumor responses. This approach is differentiated by (1) careful analysis of clinical and correlative data with the goal of precisely defining the key attributes of a cellular therapy
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necessary for anti-tumor effect; (2) the ability to design and then engineer a cell with these key attributes; combined with (3) a technology suite capable of delivering multiple innovations within a single drug product.
We believe this approach will allow us to address the challenges of achieving deep and durable clinical benefit to patients with cancers. We believe the ability of tumors to evade the immune system and escape the action of a single drug intervention can be addressed by cellular therapies pre-armed with multi-layered strategies for tumor eradication and control. These multiplex cell therapies may have the potential to achieve a depth and durability of response, independent of the tumor type, that is not measured in weeks but in months or years. We believe that our approach will allow us to improve how cell and gene therapies are discovered, developed, and manufactured, with the potential to transform the care of patients with cancer. For example, bbT369, our product candidate for B cell non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (B-NHL), uses multiple technologies to address the two main modes of failure observed with CD19-targeted T cell approaches: loss or diminution of antigen expression and reduction in T cell activation through loss or diminution of co-receptor signaling.
Our past experience in the clinical setting also provides us with a unique advantage, given the relative nascency of the CAR T cell field and the consequent paucity of large data sets of autologous cellular therapies in cancer. We, and through our collaborators at BMS, have treated hundreds of patients with multiple myeloma in the clinical setting, and the clinical and correlative data sets from the studies of Abecma and the bb21217 product candidate provides us with a deep, data-based understanding of the biology of the tumor itself, its interplay with immune cells and which cell therapy attributes are key to patient response. We believe that understanding is critical to identifying the key barriers in the treatment of the cancer. Specifically, we believe that understanding the heterogeneity of target expression combined with any tumor-specific mechanisms of immune evasion at play can help define the components of a cellular therapy with the potential for maximal anti-tumor activity. This understanding will be key to our product candidate design and selection, manufacturing process design and execution, and clinical trial design and development strategy.
In designing our next-generation product candidates, we start with the concept of a tumor-redirected T cell (via CAR or engineered TCR technology) and then add one or more additional features or components from the suite of proprietary technologies we have developed with the purpose of overcoming specific limitations of first-generation T-cell therapies. For example, these additional technologies may address:
Tumor targets with off-tumor expression, through the application of our regulatable CAR T technology, dimerizing agent–regulated immunoreceptor complex (DARIC);
Immunosuppressive molecules in the tumor microenvironment, through the application of our chimeric TGFβ flip receptor (CTBR) technology which turns a suppressive signal into a T cell supportive interleukin receptor signal;
Antigen loss or down-regulation resulting in escape, through application of our dual-targeting CAR T cell technology; or
Incomplete T cell activation or proliferation resulting in a loss of T cell potency, through application of our gene editing technology to knock-out intracellular checkpoints.
Our lead preclinical programs in B cell non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and acute myeloid leukemia are illustrations of our multiplex approach applied to address the specific challenges of treating those cancers.
We are developing our bbT369 product candidate as a treatment for patients with B-NHL. The advent of the first generation of anti-CD19 CAR T products represents a significant advancement in the field of B-NHL and has established a new standard for the treatment of patients with relapsed and refractory B-NHL. However, more than half of patients treated with an anti-CD19 CAR T do not achieve durable remission. Prognosis remains poor for these patients, with median overall survival after axi-cel of approximately 6 months for patients initially responding and less than 2 months for patients without initial response. The main limitations of the first-generation CAR T therapies are the lack of complete response in some patients and the potential for late relapse, indicating a need for
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deeper and more durable treatment responses. We take a differentiated approach from the approved anti-CD19 CAR T therapies: we have designed a dual-targeting CAR to target antigens that are co-expressed in many B-NHL tumors to limit antigen escape (as has been seen with CD19-targeted therapies). We provide split co-stimulation to drive maximal activation of the T cell in response to antigens. We include a gene edit designed to drive increased expansion, resist anergy, and maintain potency in sub-optimal conditions for T cell activation. Together, we believe these technologies have the potential to enable bbT369 to drive rapid tumor clearance, a hallmark of the CD19 CAR T cell patients who proceed to achieve complete responses. We plan to file an Investigational New Drug Application (IND) for the Phase 1 clinical study for bbT369 in the fourth quarter of 2021.
Although CAR T therapy has shown transformative potential and durable efficacy in other hematologic tumors, the use of CAR T therapy in the treatment of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) has been complicated by the expression of key targets such as CD33 across healthy myeloid cells in addition to leukemic blasts and stem cells. In other words, a highly potent CAR T cell directed towards one of these targets carries the significant risk of “on-target, off-tumor” toxicity because of broad myeloid aplasia. In our program for AML, we seek to address the challenge of balancing potency and safety risk by combining advanced CAR T receptor technology with our DARIC technology, a pharmacologically controlled “on-off” switch to reversibly regulate the activity of the CAR T cell. We have designed the CAR to target both full-length and alternatively spliced CD33 variants to address heterogeneity in the disease, and to reduce the risk of antigen escape and disease relapse. We believe that the DARIC switch will give treating physicians the ability to turn off highly potent CAR T cell activity to allow for myeloid recovery, while being able to re-activate CAR T cell activity on demand. We expect an investigator-initiated proof-of-concept clinical trial of our DARIC33 product candidate in pediatric relapsed and refractory AML patients will begin in the first half of 2022.
Our Strengths
We believe that the capabilities and experience that our team has accrued provide us with a unique opportunity to capitalize on recent progress in the understanding of genetics, gene editing, gene expression, tumor biology, immunology, process analytics, computational biology and data analytics to discover, develop and bring to the market next-generation cell and gene therapies for cancer:
Extensive suite of gene modification technologies allows us to create multiplex product concepts: We have access to a broad range of technologies that we can leverage to selectively combine in addressing the challenges of specific cancers. With internal capabilities to knock-in, knock-out, modify, and control expression of genes across multiple modalities with gene addition, gene editing, cell engineering, and synthetic biology approaches, we have the ability to apply a combination of technologies to design multiplex next-generation cell and gene therapies for cancer.
Deep clinical experience and expertise with data science-driven iteration: From having treated hundreds of patients with multiple myeloma in CAR T programs through our collaboration with BMS, we have gained a deep understanding of cell therapy itself as well as an appreciation for the value of iterating on clinical data to inform our product candidate design, selection, manufacturing, clinical trial design and development strategy. Additionally, we are employing data analytics in manufacturing to understand the critical product attributes of successful cellular products.
Manufacturing experience: Our team has accumulated significant experience in the manufacturing, analytical testing, and quality aspects from both lentiviral vectors and autologous lentiviral vector-transduced cellular drug products, from shepherding Abecma through clinical development, regulatory approval, and to commercialization in the United States, as well as from bluebird bio’s betibeglogene autotemcel in Europe. Moreover, we have successfully scaled-up our suspension-based manufacturing process for lentiviral vector (sLVV), which is being utilized in ongoing clinical trials for ide-cel. We believe our experience spanning first-in-human to commercial manufacturing, quality control and quality assurance represents know-how critical to the efficient translation and development of our multiplex product candidates.
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Collaboration and connectivity: We have a strategic network of collaborations across industry, academic scientists, and medical experts to access technologies and expertise that supplement our proprietary technologies. We believe these collaborations and partnerships provide us with a rich suite of technologies permitting the design of impactful multiplex product candidates.
Who We Are
Our people form the most vital core of our company. We have assembled a diverse group of experienced scientists and researchers, manufacturing experts, and engineers to execute our strategic plan. We have a passionate and energized team with a bold culture of innovation, focused on the discovery and development of therapies that have the potential to be first-in-class or best-in-class, and who are committed to the research and development of therapeutic approaches that have the potential to transform the lives of patients with cancer.
2seventy bio’s incoming chief executive officer, Nick Leschly, launched bluebird bio in 2010 and has led the growth of the pioneering gene and cell therapy company, leveraging his deep business strategy and entrepreneurial skills built over the last two decades. William “Chip” Baird, chief financial officer of bluebird bio since 2019 and future chief financial officer of 2seventy bio, is leading the separation of the companies and launch of the new company. Mr. Baird has more than 20 years of financial and strategic planning experience in the biopharmaceutical sector. Philip Gregory, D. Phil, has held the reigns as chief scientific offer at bluebird bio since 2015 and will transition to chief scientific officer of 2seventy bio. Dr. Gregory has led the scientific development of products for a range of diseases with our three gene therapy technology platforms: gene addition with lentiviral gene delivery, cell therapy and megaTAL-enabled gene editing.
In addition to our executive leadership team, we have structured the company to include more than          individuals with deep experience and expertise in building high growth, disruptive companies, including key scientists and researchers who have made important discoveries and progress across our technologies.
Our Strategy
Our strategy is to apply our broad range of technologies to design multiplex product candidates that address the key treatment challenges in cancer. Unlike other oncology-focused companies in our space, we believe our breadth of technology enables us to develop tailored products focused on the specific areas of cancer biology we have identified. We selectively combine the relevant features and components from our range of tools and technologies to address the defined attributes of a cellular therapy necessary for anti-tumor effect.
To execute on our strategy, we plan to:
Commercialize Abecma and develop bb21217 through our collaboration with BMS, the learnings from which allow us to leverage our clinical experience and product revenue stream to further invest in our next-generation proprietary programs.
Leverage our leadership position in autologous CAR T therapies to advance into the clinic our next-generation programs in B cell non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, acute myeloid leukemia, and multiple myeloma.
Apply our multiplex approach to the discovery and design of transformative cell and gene therapy products for the treatment of solid tumors.
Seek to extend our approach to other cell types beyond T cells and to include allogeneic approaches, as we gain additional experience in our autologous T cell programs.
Build upon our existing internal lentiviral vector manufacturing know-how and experience through selective investments in manufacturing collaborations and expanding our internal capabilities over time, with the objectives of enabling rapid iteration on clinical learnings into research and development,
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increasing the efficiency of manufacturing processes, and improving the overall patient and healthcare professional experience.
Background
Cancer is a leading cause of death worldwide. It is characterized by the uncontrolled growth of cells with the ability to evade recognition by the immune system’s surveillance. Cancer cells are abnormal cells that have developed mutations in essential cellular functions, driving increased cell division and growth as well as acquiring the ability to escape immune surveillance. In recent years, growing knowledge of cancer cell metabolism and genomics, as well as of the body’s immune response, has led to new classes of therapies against cancer targets and pathways that have dramatically reshaped the treatment landscape. Despite these advances, there continues to be a high unmet medical need for additional products and treatments, especially for patients with recurrent tumors or cancer types that are resistant to current therapeutic options.
The advent of immunotherapy, and specifically engineered cell therapies, has offered the potential of moving past the treatment paradigm of treatment of cancer as a “chronic” disease. By using engineered T cells, the first generation of engineered cell therapies directed the body’s natural immune response against cancer cells. Compelling efficacy data in cancers with historically bleak outcomes, with patients experiencing deep responses lasting for extended periods of time across multiple indications, showed the potential for engineered cell therapy to achieve a functional cure for some patients. However, there remain major tumor types that do not respond to current cell and gene therapy approaches, and even within tumor types where cell and gene therapy has been broadly successful, many patients fail to receive an optimal outcome.
Challenges that remain in the discovery and development of engineered cell therapies for cancer reflect the difficulties in striking balance between efficacy and safety in these therapies. These challenges include:
Selecting an appropriate target tumor antigen. If a potential cancer target antigen is also expressed or presented on normal tissues, the risk of on-target, off-tumor toxicity is increased. If an engineered T cell is designed to target a singular antigen, the risk of tumor escape mechanisms increase, if the expression of the antigen is reduced or lost due to selective pressure or due to cellular internalization. If any of these occur, the safety and/or efficacy of the engineered cell therapy would be compromised.
Engineering an optimal receptor. The properties of the receptor and receptor construct are critical for the overall success of the therapy. These properties include the affinity and flexibility of the antigen-binding domains (which are important for tumor-specific recognition), and the co-stimulatory domains for CAR T cell activation (which are important for the metabolism, function and persistence of T cells).
Complex manufacturing. The manufacture of individualized cell and gene therapies may be lengthy and complex. Patients typically wait approximately approximately three weeks to two months to be treated with autologous engineered cells, and in the meantime such patients may experience complications or progressions from underlying disease without bridging therapies, which may introduce additional risk and toxicities for the patients, rendering them ineligible for treatment. In addition, the “process is the product” in the case of engineered cell therapies because of the complex nature of their manufacture compared to other common biologically derived modalities such as recombinant proteins and antibodies. Such therapies are inherently more complex to characterize and control in part due to the variability of collected cells from the individual patients, and the process and analytical sciences to enable scale-up for commercial manufacturing are still significantly less advanced than that of proteins and antibodies, which limits access to patients.
Recent significant progress in the understanding of genetics, gene editing, gene expression, tumor biology, immunology, process analytics and computational biology have converged to create an opportunity to markedly increase the breadth and depth of the potential impact of cell and gene therapies, and we believe that we have a unique opportunity with our capabilities to capitalize on this opportunity to discover, develop and bring to the market next-generation cell and gene therapies for cancer.
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Our Technologies
Our oncology programs use a lentiviral vector to deliver the genetic cargo necessary to program a patient’s own T cells to recognize specific proteins or protein fragments on the surface of cancer cells to kill the cancer cells. Our current programs are based on CAR technology to program T cells to recognize cancer cells based on expression of specific cell surface antigens, and T cell receptor technology to program T cells to recognize cancer cells based on protein fragments derived from either intracellular or extracellular proteins displayed on the tumor cell surface. The genetically engineered T cells are designed to supplement a patient’s immune system and may be further engineered to overcome immune evasion mechanisms employed by cancer cells. Our approach is to create multiplex engineered cell therapies by combining our foundational lentiviral vector and CAR/TCR technology with next-generation tools to address the challenges in existing cancer treatments.
Dual-Targeting. Polyclonal responses are a hallmark of adaptive immunity, but most T cell therapies have been devised with antigen receptors specific to a single target antigen. There are now many documented cases of cancer deploying its intrinsic genetic plasticity to escape mono-targeted T cell therapies (both with cellular and more classical modalities, such as small molecules and antibodies). In such cases, our solution is to utilize a dual-targeting antigen receptor, including a multi-chain, dual-targeting architecture that is able to respond when either target antigen is present on a cancer cell, as well as an architecture that leverages the unique properties of humanized single-domain camelid-derived antibodies.
DARIC. We have developed a pharmacologically-regulated split antigen receptor architecture, which we refer to as DARIC, that comprises separate antigen targeting and signal transduction componentry. DARIC receptors become poised for anti-tumor function only when the two components are brought together as heterodimers, a process that is strictly dependent on the bridging function of the drug rapamycin. This technology enables pharmacological, “on-demand” control of engineered T cell responses. Controlling the “on” and “off” states of engineered T cells also creates opportunities to pursue cancers and cancer targets with disease characteristics and expression profiles that are incompatible with constitutively responsive antigen receptors.
Reversal of immunosuppression. Patients who present in the clinic with advanced metastatic disease are host to tumors that have evolved to evade endogenous immunity via a variety of mechanisms. Tumor infiltrating T cells lose potency over time due to repetitive antigen stimulation and exhaustion in a tumor microenvironment that suppresses T cell function. Checkpoint engagement, hypoxia, poor nutrient conditions, and exposure to immunosuppressive cell types and cytokines all significantly blunt T cell potency and thwart attempts to regress tumors in clinically meaningful ways. We have developed a suite of synthetic biology innovations that antagonize and rewire immunosuppressive signaling and response pathways. We have focused significant attention on transforming growth factor beta (TGFβ), a profoundly immunosuppressive cytokine found at high levels in many solid tumors. Our chimeric TGFβ flip receptor (CTBR) technology converts this suppressive signal into a supportive interleukin receptor signal that enhances T cell function. Suppressive to enhancing signal conversion operates in a localized, engineered T cell intrinsic manner, enhancing potency within the microenvironment of the tumor where the highest concentrations of activated TGFβ ligand are present. We have also developed several approaches to modulate T cell metabolism to allow for enhanced function and potency in the metabolically challenging tumor microenvironment.
Co-stimulation. Parallel track costimulatory domains, also known as chimeric costimulatory receptors, offer a unique set of functional attributes that culminate in enhanced anti-tumor activity. This technology pairs enhanced targeting breadth with a qualitatively distinct and more potent functional response, simultaneously countering two potential mechanisms of resistance.
Gene editing. megaTALs are highly specific, compact nucleases that efficiently catalyze the formation and mutagenic resolution of double-stranded breaks at pre-specified genetic target sequences. Using our megaTAL gene editing platform, we have demonstrated that disrupting genes that intersect with T cell signaling and response pathways can promote more potent immune responses. In addition, we have
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developed a full suite of on-target editing assays, functional bioassays, and off-target discovery and verification analytics to deeply characterize gene editing events and their functional consequences in target cells enabling the potential application of this technology in the clinical setting.
mRNA capabilities. We have also developed messenger RNA (mRNA) capabilities that enable transient gene expression, both in cells cultured ex vivo and for organ-specific in vivo delivery. We manufacture mRNA starting from a proprietary plasmid template outfitted with an encoded poly-A tract, an approach that results in highly homogenous mRNA species following in vitro transcription. Our purification process includes double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) depletion steps to minimize immunogenicity and optimize cell viability. A robust suite of analytical assays is in place to ensure that consistently pure and potent material is generated. We have developed clinical-scale electroporation processes for ex vivo mRNA delivery and are actively using these processes to improve T cell potency via our megaTAL gene editing platform. This technology can potentially be further leveraged to transiently express other factors that may be advantageous to ex vivo manufactured T cells.
Cellular chassis. Beyond genetic modifications, we are also developing approaches aimed at selecting for or enriching distinct cell types for tumor targeting that may be broadly applicable to both autologous and allogeneic settings. For instance, our bb21217 program utilizes a PI3K-inhibiting small molecule to enrich for memory-like T cells with the goal of extending the durability of action of our CAR T cells for multiple myeloma. In addition, we have developed approaches for the selection, transduction and expansion of gamma delta T cells. We believe gamma delta T cells may be useful in the allogeneic setting due to the absence of alloreactivity or graft versus host disease while demonstrating potent anti-tumor activity.
In addition, we continue to invest in our core foundational technologies and build upon our leadership position in autologous engineered cell therapy products based on CAR and TCR approaches:
Next-generation lentiviral vector design. With decades of experience in this technology, we have extensively refined the componentry and methodology behind lentiviral vector design and manufacturing. Our transfer plasmid design elements include several innovations that have created advanced gene expression tuning capabilities and the delivery of large and complex genetic payloads via transgene stacking. We have developed proprietary codon optimization algorithms, promoter variants, and regulatory elements that together enable constitutive and/or responsive expression profiles across a range of transgene expression levels. These mature capabilities enable highly efficient transfer of sophisticated genetic modules, such as the multiplex product concepts represented by our next-generation programs.
Target selection and validation. Cancer targets with profiles that make them appropriate for cell therapy development have diverse structural features, biochemical properties, and sub-cellular distribution characteristics. To support novel target identification, we have developed significant in-house expertise and external collaborations in the areas of data mining, functional genomics, and primary tissue analysis. We have also built a full suite of target validation assays to perform confirmatory studies assessing tumor and normal tissue expression properties. In addition, we have developed significant internal expertise specific to the de-risking of potential off-target liabilities of TCR engineered T cells. We have focused the bulk of our efforts on select hematological and solid tumor indications. This approach allows us to deeply interrogate the target landscape in cancers where T cell therapies may have the highest potential for technical success.
Receptor engineering. We have access to state-of-the-art binder capabilities through our collaboration arrangements that cover the full range of potential cancer targets. For intracellular targets of interest, our partners develop TCRs and fully humanized “peptide-in-groove” (PiG) scFv reagents. For surface proteins, we have multiple providers of immunization-sourced, fully humanized scFv and single-domain reagents.
Manufacturing process innovations. Our analytical development, clinical bioassays, correlative research, and data sciences teams have unique access to clinical trial data using CAR T therapies. We are continuously interrogating these data sets to isolate key manufacturing variables and correlates of clinical signals that enable hypothesis testing. These activities derive insights that inform process research
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directions for optimizing T cell manufacturing through reagents, processes, and culture timing, and for the discovery of underlying biological relationships between clinical and correlative data.
Our Programs
B-Cell Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
We are developing our bbT369 product candidate as a treatment for patients with B-cell non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma (B-NHL), a heterogeneous group of neoplasms that can result in enlarged nodes across the body, neck, and abdomen, often coinciding with “B-symptoms” that are significant to the prognosis and staging of the disease, such as fever, drenching night sweats, and rapid and extreme weight loss. B-cell NHLs represent more than 85% of all NHL cases worldwide, and we plan to develop bbT369 to treat several subtypes of B-cell NHLs, specifically Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphoma (DLBCL), High-Grade B-Cell Lymphoma (HGBCL), Primary Mediastinal Large B-Cell Lymphoma (PMBCL), Follicular Lymphoma (FL), or Transformed Follicular Lymphoma (TFL). DLBCL is the most common form of NHL, accounting for a third of all NHL cases, with annual incidence in the United States estimated at approximately 25,000. DLBCL is a particularly aggressive form of NHL that requires immediate therapy upon diagnosis (with a median overall survival of approximately one year in untreated patients).
CAR T cells targeting CD19 represent a significant advancement in the field of B-NHL establishing a new standard of treatment for relapsed and refractory patients and the potential for curative therapy. Specifically, anti-CD19 CAR T products axicabtagene ciloleucel, tisagenlecleucel, and lisocabtagene maraleucel have been approved for the treatment of adult patients with relapsed and refractory large B Cell lymphoma (including DLBCL, HGBCL and TFL) after two or more lines of systemic therapy. However, survival for certain high-risk subtypes (e.g., non-GCB, DHL) and relapsed and refractory patients is poor. More than half of patients treated with CD19 CAR T do not achieve durable remission, and prognosis is poor with a median overall survival of approximately five months. The main limitations of the currently available CAR T treatments are the lack of complete response in some patients, and the potential for late relapse, indicating a need for deeper and more durable treatment options.
Our multiplex approach is intended to enhance the depth and duration of response in patients currently underserved by existing options. bbT369 is a non-CD19-containing CAR T that addresses the limitations of the currently available therapies by using unique layered technologies, designed with the following key features:
A novel combination of dual targets (non-CD19-containing) that are co-expressed in many B-NHL tumors to both allow treatment of CD19 negative / CD19 low tumors and to limit the potential for antigen escape;
Split co-stimulation to drive optimal and complete immune signaling; and
A gene edit to drive increased expansion, resist anergy, and maintain potency in sub-optimal tumor conditions.
In preclinical models, bbT369 clears a variety of B-NHL tumors, including both dual and single target positive tumors, and outperforms CD19 in cells with varying levels of antigen expression. Additionally, the gene edit demonstrates increased cytokine production and expansion in vitro, and when compared to the same dual-targeted, but unedited, construct, bbT369 results in a lower rate of late tumor relapses.
Our planned first-in-human clinical trial is expected to be an open label, multi-site Phase 1/2 clinical trial, that will enroll patients who are either naïve to CD19 CAR T or who have relapsed after CD19 CAR T. We anticipate that the phase 1 portion will be a dose-escalation study, with the phase 2 stage allowing continued investigation of these two different patient populations at the recommended dose. We are planning to file the IND for this Phase 1/2 clinical trial in late 2021.
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Acute Myeloid Leukemia
We are developing our DARIC33 product candidate for the treatment of patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Systemic therapy (including chemotherapy, hypomethylating agents, and targeted biologics) alongside hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT) are the mainstays of AML treatment today. Of note, many adult patients are unfit for such intensive therapy, which in turn leads to less favorable clinical outcomes. Though HSCT provides meaningful clinical benefit to those who are eligible, the unmet need in this heterogenous and aggressive disease remains high. Prognosis is typically poor for adult patients, with a 5-year survival rate of 10-35% depending on disease subtype. In children and adolescents, the 5-year survival rate is 50 to 70%, with variation by subtype and other risk factors as seen in adults. Of note, median overall survival in adults with relapsed and refractory AML is less than 12 months, indicating a particularly high unmet need for these patients.
Although CAR T therapy have shown transformative potential and durable efficacy in other hematologic tumors, their use in the treatment of AML is complicated by the expression of key AML targets, such as CD33, across healthy myeloid cells in addition to leukemic blasts and stem cells. Thus, a highly potent CAR T cell directed towards one of these targets carries the potential risk of significant “on-target, off-tumor” toxicity because of broad myeloid aplasia. Achieving durable remission with a CAR T while balancing the safety risks is a critical challenge for the treatment of AML with CAR T therapy.
We seek to address this challenge with our DARIC33 product candidate, which combines CAR T technology with DARIC, our dimerizing agent-regulated immunoreceptor complex technology. In our DARIC33 product candidate, the traditional components of an anti-CD33 CAR are separated into two subunits which only enable T cell activation in the presence of sub-immunosuppressive doses of rapamycin, an orally-administered small molecule, which functions as an “on-off” toggle switch. In vitro and in vivo studies have shown that this regulated activation is reversible upon withdrawal of rapamycin and can be subsequently re-activated upon re-administration of rapamycin. Our DARIC33 product candidate is designed to utilize this on-off toggle switch in the context of an autologous CD33-directed DARIC-T cell to drive deep responses in AML while “on” and allow myeloid compartment recovery while “off”.
In collaboration with Seattle Children’s Therapeutics (a non-profit enterprise associated with Seattle Children’s Research Institute), we are planning an investigator-initiated proof-of-concept clinical trial of DARIC33 in pediatric relapsed and refractory AML patients, which we expect to begin in early 2022. This dose-finding trial is aimed at establishing safety, manufacturability, and early efficacy signals for DARIC33 and we expect to conduct correlative analyses to confirm rapamycin-driven regulation in humans. In parallel, we are also advancing next-generation, preclinical product concepts for pediatric and adult AML in partnership with Seattle Children’s Research Institute. These concepts include multiplex targeting and additional enhancement technologies to address the heterogeneity of disease and prevent relapse.
Multiple Myeloma
Multiple myeloma is a blood cancer caused by malignant plasma cells and typically originates in the bone marrow. In the United States, more than 34,000 new cases of multiple myeloma are estimated to be diagnosed in 2021. Despite advances in treatment, multiple myeloma remains an aggressive and incurable disease characterized by periods of remission and relapse. Most patients experience relapse following initial therapies, and depth and duration of response as well as survival outcomes decrease with each successive treatment. No standard of care has been established for patients who have disease progression despite receiving the three main classes of myeloma therapy (immunomodulatory drugs, proteasome inhibitors, and anti-CD38 antibodies), and outcomes are poor, with very low response rates (20% to 30%), a median progression-free survival of three to four months, and a median overall survival of eight to nine months. Through our collaboration with BMS, Abecma and bb21217 are our lead programs in multiple myeloma. The terms of our arrangements with BMS are described more fully below under “Strategic collaborations in oncology—Our strategic alliance with BMS.” We are also conducting next-generation discovery programs in multiple myeloma on our own.
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Abecma. In March 2021, Abecma (idecabtagene vicleucel; ide-cel) was approved by the FDA in the United States for the treatment of adults with multiple myeloma who have received at least four prior lines of therapy, including an immunomodulatory agent, a proteasome inhibitor, and an anti-CD38 monoclonal antibody. Abecma is the first-in-class B cell maturation antigen (BCMA) CAR T therapy for the treatment of multiple myeloma, and represents our first oncology product candidate that has progressed from our internal research programs, through clinical development to approval and commercialization, together with our collaboration partner, BMS. BCMA is a cell surface protein that is nearly universally expressed on cancer cells in multiple myeloma, and on normal plasma cells and mature B cells, but not other cells. As the first CAR T cell therapy approved for multiple myeloma, Abecma is a potentially transformative, single-infusion, individualized treatment that offers patients who have limited effective treatment options the potential for long-term disease control. The approval of Abecma in the United States was based on positive results from the pivotal KarMMa study. In the KarMMa study, the overall response rate was 73%, and 33% of patients achieved a complete response. Onset of response was rapid with a median time to response of one month. Median duration of response was 10.7 months and 19 months for those who achieved a complete response. Abecma has a well-established and predictable safety profile with mostly low-grade cytokine release syndrome (Grade ≥3: 6%) and neurologic toxicities (Grade ≥3: 3.1%) with early onset and resolution. Results from the KarMMa study were published in the February 24, 2021 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. The FDA and EMA have granted Orphan Drug status to ide-cel for the treatment of patients with relapsed and refractory multiple myeloma. The EMA has granted PRIME eligibility to ide-cel for relapsed and refractory multiple myeloma. BMS is conducting studies to support the use of Abecma in earlier lines of therapy.
bb21217. The bb21217 product candidate is an investigational BCMA-targeted CAR T cell therapy that uses the same CAR molecule as ide-cel, but is cultured with a PI3K inhibitor to enrich for T cells displaying a memory-like phenotype with the intention of increasing the in vivo persistence and function of CAR T cells. We believe that the persistence of functional CAR T cells after infusion may be one determinant of duration of response. The clinical development program for bb21217 includes an ongoing Phase 1 CRB-402 study, a first-in-human study of bb21217 in patients with relapsed and refractory multiple myeloma, designed to assess safety, pharmacokinetics, efficacy, and duration of effect. Data from CRB-402 were presented, together with our collaboration partners at BMS, at the annual meeting of the American Society of Hematology in December 2020. As of the September 1, 2020 cutoff date, 69 patients were treated with bb21217. The study has completed enrollment and follow-up is ongoing as data continue to mature. The safety profile of bb21217 in this Phase 1 study was consistent with known toxicities of BCMA CAR T-cell therapies, with low rates of cytokine release syndrome (Grade ≥3) and neurotoxicity. Clinical endpoints including overall response rate, complete response, and MRD negativity rates that we believe are encouraging were observed across the study and at the recommended Phase 2 dose. Consistent with our hypothesis that enriching drug product for memory-like T cells may translate to improved durability of response, the estimated median duration of response was 17.0 months across doses. Long-term CAR T cell persistence was observed in six of eleven evaluable patients at Month 12 and three of six evaluable patients at Month 18.
Next-generation approaches. CAR T therapies have transformed the treatment landscape in multiple myeloma and created the possibility for outcomes that were not possible with traditional therapies. Despite the significant advances that the current generation of CAR T therapies brought to patients, there are still significant challenges such as the need to improve duration of response and reduce manufacturing turnaround time. Our next-generation multiple myeloma program strategy is focused on leveraging our clinical experience from Abecma and bb21217, translational and correlative data, and technology platforms to solve definable and meaningful problems in the field. Leveraging our leadership in autologous CAR T therapy, our next-generation autologous multiple myeloma program utilizes multiple technologies including process improvements and dual targeting, with the goal of achieving best-in-class efficacy through deeper and more durable responses than the current generation of autologous CAR T products. We are also pursuing an allogeneic program that leverages our expertise with BCMA targeting and an innovative gamma-delta T-cell chassis to develop an off-the-shelf CAR T cell therapy that avoids the risk of toxicities such as graft versus host disease, while potentially offering additional advantages such as increasing manufacturing robustness, decreasing manufacturing turnaround time, and lowering cost of goods.
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Solid Tumors
Solid tumors represent the next frontier for cell and gene therapies. Survival expectations in patients with solid tumor who have relapsed after existing therapies are often less than one year. While cell and gene therapies have demonstrated durable remission in hematologic malignancies, none have yet been approved for treating solid tumors. Key challenges to the discovery and development of cell and gene therapies in solid tumors includes the lack of strongly and selectively expressed targets as well as a hostile tumor microenvironment that serves as a barrier for T cells accessing the tumor and suppresses immune-mediated responses. We believe that our exclusive set of technologies, partnerships and cell and gene therapy experience enables the engineering of multiplex products to uniquely address the key challenges of solid tumors. Our research-stage programs in solid tumors include tumors expressing the MAGE-A4 antigen. Over ten types of solid tumors express the MAGE-A4 antigen, making it a promising target for cell therapy, including lung, head and neck, gynecologic and gastric cancers. Our MAGE-A4 program addresses the challenges of solid tumors in a three-pronged way: (1) we have identified a potent T cell receptor targeting a prevalent intracellular peptide antigen from MAGE-A4, (2) engineered this receptor for a strong anti-tumor response, and(3) incorporated an innovative switch receptor (CTBR12) that converts the highly suppressive TGFβ signal in the hostile tumor microenvironment into a potent T cell intrinsic activation signal. The TGFβ signaling pathway has been broadly implicated as a key suppressive factor in the TME of multiple MAGEA4+ indications, including non-small cell lung, bladder, ovarian, and head and neck carcinomas.
Manufacturing
We have internal lentiviral vector manufacturing capability at our facility in Durham, North Carolina. We manufacture vector supply for our pipeline programs at this facility, and we intend to support commercial manufacturing of vector supply for Abecma at this facility, pending regulatory approvals. Our internal lentiviral vector manufacturing capability is a core pillar of our strategy to rapidly iterate on clinical learnings in the clinical development of our pipeline programs, and to increase the efficiency of manufacturing processes for cell and gene therapies to reduce the cost of supply and enable patient access. In addition, we have entered into agreements with external manufacturing partners in the United States and Europe to support our various preclinical and clinical programs in oncology.
Strategic Collaborations
Given our multiplex approach to the discovery and development of next-generation cell and gene therapies for cancer, we have partnered strategically to access complementary technologies and disease-area expertise. We have historically also formed collaborations to access the substantial funding and other resources required to develop and commercialize cell and gene therapies for cancer. Currently, our strategic collaborations in oncology include:
BMS. In connection with the separation of bluebird bio’s oncology programs and portfolios from its severe genetic disease programs and portfolios, bluebird bio will assign to us all of the agreements relating to its collaboration with BMS. bluebird bio began a collaboration with BMS in 2013 under a broad-ranging Master Collaboration Agreement between bluebird bio and Celgene Corporation (now BMS following its acquisition of Celgene in November 2019). Currently, the collaboration focuses on the co-development and co-promotion of Abecma in multiple myeloma, as well as the development of bb21217, also in multiple myeloma. Additionally, in March 2013, bluebird bio entered into a Platform Technology Sublicense Agreement (the “Sublicense Agreement”) with BMS pursuant to which bluebird bio obtained a sublicense to certain intellectual property from BMS, originating under BMS’s license from Baylor College of Medicine, for use in the collaboration.
BMS Amended Collaboration Agreement
In June 2015, bluebird bio and BMS amended and restated the Master Collaboration Agreement (the “Amended BMS Collaboration Agreement”). Under the Amended BMS Collaboration Agreement, the parties narrowed the focus of the collaboration to exclusively work on anti- B-cell maturation antigen (“BCMA”) product candidates for a new three-year term. Under the terms of the Amended BMS Collaboration Agreement, for up to two product candidates selected for development under the collaboration, bluebird bio was responsible for conducting and
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funding all research and development activities performed up through completion of the initial phase 1 clinical study of such product candidate. On a product candidate-by-product candidate basis, up through a specified period following enrollment of the first patient in an initial phase 1 clinical study for such product candidate, bluebird bio had granted BMS an option to obtain an exclusive worldwide license to develop and commercialize such product. Following BMS’s license of each product candidate, we are entitled to elect to co-develop and co-promote each product candidate in the U.S.
BMS Ide-cel License Agreement
In February 2016, BMS exercised its option to obtain an exclusive worldwide license to develop and commercialize ide-cel (now commercialized as Abecma), the first product candidate under the Amended BMS Collaboration Agreement, pursuant to an executed license agreement (“Ide-cel License Agreement”) entered into by the parties in February 2016 and paid the associated $10.0 million option fee. Pursuant to the Ide-cel License Agreement, BMS was responsible for development and related funding of ide-cel after the substantial completion of the phase 1 clinical trial. bluebird bio was responsible for the manufacture of vector and associated payload throughout development and upon BMS’s request, throughout commercialization, the costs of which were reimbursable by BMS in accordance with the terms of the Amended and Restated Co-Development, Co-Promote and Profit Share Agreement, as further described below. BMS was responsible for the manufacture of drug product throughout development and commercialization. Under the Ide-cel License Agreement, bluebird bio was eligible to receive U.S. milestones of up to $85.0 million for the first indication to be addressed by ide-cel and royalties for U.S. sales of ide-cel. Additionally, bluebird bio was eligible to receive ex-U.S. milestones of up to $55.0 million and royalties for ex-U.S. sales of ide-cel.
BMS Ide-cel Co-Development, Co-Promote and Profit Share Agreement
In March 2018, bluebird bio elected to co-develop and co-promote ide-cel within the United States pursuant to the execution of the Amended and Restated Co-Development, Co-Promote and Profit Share Agreement (“Ide-cel CCPS”), which replaced the Ide-cel License Agreement. As a result of executing the Ide-cel CCPS, the responsibilities of the parties remained unchanged from those under the Ide-cel License Agreement, however, bluebird bio has, and we will, share equally with BMS in all profits and losses relating to developing, commercializing and manufacturing ide-cel within the United States and have the right to participate in the development and promotion of ide-cel in the U.S. BMS is responsible for the costs incurred to manufacture vector and associated payload for use outside of the U.S., plus a mark-up. As a result of electing to co-develop and co-promote ide-cel within the United States, the milestones and royalties payable under the Ide-cel License Agreement were adjusted. Under the Ide-cel CCPS, bluebird bio was eligible to receive a $10.0 million milestone related to the development of ide-cel in the U.S. and, for the first indication to be addressed by ide-cel, ex-U.S. regulatory and commercial milestones of up to $60.0 million. Additionally, bluebird bio was eligible to receive royalties for ex-U.S. sales of ide-cel, but not for U.S. sales of ide-cel. Under the Ide-cel CCPS, the $10.0 million development milestone was achieved in the second quarter of 2019 and subsequently paid by BMS.
In May 2020, the First Amendment to the Amended and Restated Co-Development, Co-Promote and Profit Share Agreement (as amended, the "Amended Ide-cel CCPS") was executed, which amended the Ide-cel CCPS. Under the Amended Ide-cel CCPS, the parties will continue to share equally in all profits and losses relating to developing, commercializing and manufacturing ide-cel within the U.S. Under the Amended Ide-cel CCPS and the Amended bb21217 License Agreement, described further below, BMS was relieved of its obligations to pay future ex-U.S. milestones and royalties on ex-U.S. sales for each of ide-cel and bb21217 in exchange for an up-front, non-refundable, non-creditable payment of $200.0 million, which represents the aggregate of the probability-weighted, net present value of the future ex-U.S. milestones and royalties on ex-U.S. sales for each of ide-cel and bb21217. In connection with these amendments, BMS assumed the contract manufacturing agreements relating to ide-cel adherent lentiviral vector. Over time, BMS is assuming responsibility for manufacturing ide-cel suspension lentiviral vector outside of the United States, with 2seventy remaining responsible for manufacturing ide-cel suspension lentiviral vector in the United States. In addition, under the Amended Ide-cel CCPS and the Amended bb21217 License Agreement, described further below, the parties are released from future exclusivity related to BCMA-directed T cell therapies. There are no remaining milestones or royalties under the Amended Ide-cel CCPS.
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Ide-cel is marketed as Abecma in the United States following its approval by the FDA in March 2021 for the treatment of adult patients with relapsed or refractory multiple myeloma after four or more prior lines of therapy, including an immunomodulatory agent, a proteasome inhibitor, and an anti-CD38 monoclonal antibody.
BMS bb21217 License Agreement
In September 2017, BMS exercised its option to obtain an exclusive worldwide license to develop and commercialize bb21217, the second product candidate under the Amended BMS Collaboration Agreement, pursuant to an executed license agreement (“bb21217 License Agreement”) entered into by the parties in September 2017 and paid an option fee of $15.0 million. Pursuant to the bb21217 License Agreement, BMS is responsible for development and related funding of bb21217 after the substantial completion of the ongoing phase 1 clinical trial. In 2019, the parties amended the protocol for the ongoing phase 1 clinical trial to enroll additional patients for which we will be reimbursed based upon an agreed-upon amount per patient. Under the bb21217 License Agreement, bluebird bio has been, and we will be, eligible to receive U.S. milestones of up to $85.0 million for the first indication to be addressed by bb21217 and royalties for U.S. sales of bb21217. Additionally, bluebird bio was eligible to receive ex-U.S. milestones of up to $55.0 million and royalties for ex-U.S. sales of bb21217.
In May 2020, the Second Amended and Restated License Agreement ("Amended bb21217 License Agreement") was executed, which replaced the bb21217 License Agreement. Under the Amended bb21217 License Agreement, over time, BMS is assuming responsibility for manufacturing suspension lentiviral vector outside of the U.S., with 2seventy responsible for manufacturing suspension lentiviral vector in the United States. Under the Amended bb21217 License Agreement, expenses incurred by us associated with these activities are fully reimbursable by BMS at cost plus a mark-up. Throughout both development and commercialization, BMS is responsible for the manufacture of drug product. There are no remaining milestones and royalties related to the ex-U.S. development or commercialization of bb21217 following execution of the Amended bb21217 License Agreement.
We expect we will exercise our option to co-develop and co-promote bb21217 within the U.S. Our election to co-develop and co-promote bb21217 must be made by the substantial completion of the on-going phase 1 clinical trial of bb21217. If elected, we expect the responsibilities of the parties to remain largely unchanged, however, the we expect we will share equally in all profits and losses relating to developing, commercializing and manufacturing bb21217 within the U.S. and to have the right to participate in the development and promotion of bb21217 in the U.S. Under this scenario, the U.S. milestones and royalties payable under the Amended bb21217 License Agreement would be adjusted and we would be eligible to receive a $10.0 million development milestone payment related to the development of bb21217 within the U.S. We would not be eligible for royalties on U.S. sales of bb21217 under this scenario. In the event we do not exercise its option to co-develop and co-promote bb21217, we will receive an additional fee in the amount of $10.0 million. Under this scenario, there would be no change to the U.S. milestones and royalties for U.S. sales of bb21217, as previously described above, for which we would be eligible to receive.