424B5
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Filed Pursuant to Rule 424(b)(5)
Registration No. 333-233134

CALCULATION OF REGISTRATION FEE

 

 

Title of Each Class of

Securities to be Registered

 

Amount

to be

Registered

 

Proposed

Maximum

Offering Price

Per Share

 

Proposed

Maximum

Aggregate

Offering Price

  Amount of
Registration Fee (1)

Common Stock, par value $0.0001 per share

  10,925,000(2)   $13.75   $150,218,750.00   $19,498.40

 

 

1)

Calculated pursuant to Rule 457(r) under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “Securities Act”). The fee payable in connection with the offering of the shares of Common Stock pursuant to this prospectus supplement has been paid in accordance with Rule 456(b) under the Securities Act.

2)

Equals the aggregate number of shares of Common Stock to be registered hereunder and includes 1,425,000 shares of Common Stock that may be offered and sold pursuant to the exercise in full of the underwriters’ option to purchase additional shares of Common Stock.


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Prospectus Supplement

(To prospectus dated August 8, 2019)

9,500,000 Shares

 

LOGO

Common stock

 

 

We are offering 9,500,000 shares of our common stock.

The common stock is quoted on The Nasdaq Global Market under the symbol “ADVM.” The last reported sale price of the common stock on February 11, 2020 was $14.355 per share.

 

 

See “Risk Factors” beginning on page S-8 of this prospectus supplement and page 6 of the accompanying prospectus to read about factors you should consider before buying shares of the common stock.

 

 

Neither the Securities and Exchange Commission nor any other regulatory body has approved or disapproved of these securities or passed upon the accuracy or adequacy of this prospectus supplement or the accompanying prospectus. Any representation to the contrary is a criminal offense.

 

 

 

     Per Share      Total  

Initial price to public

   $ 13.750      $ 130,625,000  

Underwriting discounts and commissions (1)

   $ 0.825      $ 7,837,500  

Proceeds, before expenses, to us

   $ 12.925      $ 122,787,500  

 

(1)

See “Underwriting” for additional information regarding underwriting compensation.

The underwriters have the option to purchase up to an additional 1,425,000 shares of our common stock at the initial price to public less the underwriting discounts and commissions.

One of our directors has agreed to purchase 10,000 shares of our common stock in this offering at the public offering price.

 

 

The underwriters expect to deliver the shares against payment in New York, New York on February 14, 2020.

Joint Book-Running Managers

 

Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC   Cowen   SVB Leerink

Lead Manager

LifeSci Capital LLC

 

 

Prospectus Supplement dated February 11, 2020


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TABLE OF CONTENTS

PROSPECTUS SUPPLEMENT

 

     Page  

About this Prospectus Supplement

     S-ii  

Prospectus Supplement Summary

     S-1  

Risk Factors

     S-8  

Special Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements

     S-55  

Use of Proceeds

     S-57  

Dilution

     S-58  

Capitalization

     S-60  

Material U.S. Federal Income Tax Considerations For Non-U.S. Holders

     S-62  

Underwriting

     S-66  

Legal Matters

     S-72  

Experts

     S-72  

Where You Can Find Additional Information

     S-72  

Incorporation of Certain Information By Reference

     S-73  

PROSPECTUS

 

About this Prospectus

     i  

Prospectus Summary

     1  

Risk Factors

     6  

Special Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements

     7  

Use of Proceeds

     8  

Description of Capital Stock

     8  

Description of Debt Securities

     13  

Description of Warrants

     20  

Legal Ownership of Securities

     22  

Plan of Distribution

     25  

Legal Matters

     27  

Experts

     27  

Where You Can Find Additional Information

     28  

Incorporation of Certain Information By Reference

     28  

We have not authorized anyone to provide any information or to make any representations other than those contained or incorporated by reference in this prospectus supplement, the accompanying prospectus or in any free writing prospectuses we have prepared. We take no responsibility for, and can provide no assurance as to the reliability of, any other information that others may give you. This prospectus supplement and the accompanying prospectus is an offer to sell only the shares offered hereby, but only under circumstances and in jurisdictions where it is lawful to do so. The information contained in this prospectus supplement and the accompanying prospectus is current only as of the respective dates of such documents.

 

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ABOUT THIS PROSPECTUS SUPPLEMENT

This prospectus supplement and the accompanying prospectus dated August 8, 2019 form part of a registration statement on Form S-3 that we filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”), utilizing a “shelf” registration process. This document is in two parts. The first part is this prospectus supplement, which describes the specific terms of this common stock offering and also adds to and updates information contained in the accompanying prospectus and the documents incorporated by reference herein. The second part, the accompanying prospectus, provides more general information. Generally, when we refer to this prospectus, we are referring to both parts of this document combined. To the extent there is a conflict between the information contained in this prospectus supplement and the information contained in the accompanying prospectus or any document incorporated by reference therein filed prior to the date of this prospectus supplement, you should rely on the information in this prospectus supplement; provided that if any statement in one of these documents is inconsistent with a statement in another document having a later date—for example, a document incorporated by reference in the accompanying prospectus—the statement in the document having the later date modifies or supersedes the earlier statement.

We further note that the representations, warranties and covenants made by us in any agreement that is filed as an exhibit to any document that is incorporated by reference herein were made solely for the benefit of the parties to such agreement, including, in some cases, for the purpose of allocating risk among the parties to such agreements, and should not be deemed to be a representation, warranty or covenant to you. Moreover, such representations, warranties or covenants were accurate only as of the date when made. Accordingly, such representations, warranties and covenants should not be relied on as accurately representing the current state of our affairs.

We have not, and the underwriters have not, authorized anyone to provide any information other than that contained or incorporated by reference in this prospectus supplement, the accompanying prospectus or in any free writing prospectus that we have authorized for use in connection with this offering. We and the underwriters take no responsibility for, and can provide no assurance as to the reliability of, any other information that others may give you. This prospectus supplement and the accompanying prospectus do not constitute an offer to sell, or a solicitation of an offer to purchase, the securities offered by this prospectus supplement and the accompanying prospectus in any jurisdiction to or from any person to whom or from whom it is unlawful to make such offer or solicitation of an offer in such jurisdiction. The information contained in this prospectus supplement, the accompanying prospectus, any free writing prospectus that we have authorized for use in connection with this offering, including the documents incorporated by reference herein or therein, is accurate only as of the respective dates thereof, regardless of the time of delivery of this prospectus supplement and the accompanying prospectus or of any sale of our common stock. It is important for you to read and consider all information contained in this prospectus supplement, the accompanying prospectus and any free writing prospectus that we have authorized for use in connection with this offering, including the documents incorporated by reference herein and therein, in making your investment decision. You should also read and consider the information in the documents to which we have referred you in the sections titled “Where You Can Find Additional Information” and “Incorporation of Certain Information by Reference” in this prospectus supplement and the accompanying prospectus.

We and the underwriters are offering to sell, and seeking offers to buy, shares of our common stock only in jurisdictions where offers and sales are permitted. The distribution of this prospectus supplement and the accompanying prospectus and the offering of the common stock in certain jurisdictions may be restricted by law. Persons outside the United States who come into possession of this prospectus supplement and the accompanying prospectus must inform themselves about, and observe any restrictions relating to, the offering of the common stock and the distribution of this prospectus supplement and the accompanying prospectus outside the United States. This prospectus

 

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supplement and the accompanying prospectus do not constitute, and may not be used in connection with, an offer to sell, or a solicitation of an offer to buy, any securities offered by this prospectus supplement and the accompanying prospectus by any person in any jurisdiction in which it is unlawful for such person to make such an offer or solicitation.

Except as otherwise indicated herein or as the context otherwise requires, references in this prospectus supplement to “Adverum,” “the company,” “we,” “us,” “our” and similar references refer to Adverum Biotechnologies, Inc., a corporation under the laws of the State of Delaware, and its wholly owned subsidiaries.

 

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PROSPECTUS SUPPLEMENT SUMMARY

This summary highlights certain information about us, this offering and selected information contained elsewhere in or incorporated by reference into this prospectus supplement. This summary is not complete and does not contain all of the information that you should consider before deciding whether to invest in our common stock. For a more complete understanding of our company and this offering, you should read and consider carefully the more detailed information included or incorporated by reference in this prospectus supplement, the accompanying prospectus and any free writing prospectus that we have authorized for use in connection with this offering, including the factors described in the section titled “Risk Factors” in this prospectus supplement beginning on page S-8, as well as in any free writing prospectus we have authorized for use in connection with this offering. You also should carefully read the other information incorporated by reference into this prospectus supplement and the accompanying prospectus, including our financial statements, other information and the exhibits to the registration statement of which this prospectus supplement and the accompanying prospectus are a part.

Company Overview

Adverum is a clinical-stage gene therapy company targeting unmet medical needs in ocular and rare diseases. We develop gene therapy product candidates designed to provide durable efficacy by inducing sustained expression of a therapeutic protein. Our core capabilities include novel vector discovery, preclinical and clinical development, and in-house manufacturing expertise, specifically in scalable process development, assay development, and current Good Manufacturing Practices (“cGMP”) quality control.

Our lead product candidate ADVM-022 is a single intravitreal (IVT) injection gene therapy targeting the treatment of wet age-related macular degeneration (“wet AMD”) and diabetic retinopathy (“DR”). ADVM-022 utilizes a propriety vector capsid, AAV.7m8, carrying an aflibercept coding sequence under the control of a proprietary expression cassette. ADVM-022 is administered as a one-time IVT injection and is designed to deliver long-term efficacy and reduce the burden of frequent anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (“anti-VEGF”) injections, optimize patient compliance, and improve vision outcomes for patients with wet AMD or diabetic retinopathy.

Wet AMD is a leading cause of vision loss in patients over 60 years of age, with a prevalence of approximately 1.2 million individuals in the U.S. and 3 million worldwide. In recognition of the need for new treatment options for wet AMD, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) granted Fast Track designation for ADVM-022 for the treatment of wet AMD. Diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of vision impairment and blindness among working-age adults, with a prevalence of 8 million individuals in the U.S. and is growing with the prevalence of diabetes.

For wet AMD, we are conducting the OPTIC trial, designed as a multi-center, open-label, Phase 1, dose-ranging safety trial of ADVM-022 in patients who have demonstrated responsiveness to anti-VEGF treatment. Patients in OPTIC are treatment-experienced, and previously required frequent anti-VEGF injections to control their wet AMD and to maintain functional vision.

In OPTIC, patients are dosed with a single IVT injection of ADVM-022. Patients in cohort 1 (n=6) were treated with a higher dose of ADVM-022 (6 x 10^11 vg/eye). Patients in cohort 2 (n=6) were



 

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treated with a three-fold lower dose of ADVM-022 (2 x 10^11 vg/eye). The most recent data (with vision maintenance and retinal anatomy improvement data for Cohort 1 as of December 1, 2019 and all other data as of January 1, 2020) include:

 

   

ADVM-022 has demonstrated a robust efficacy signal and evidence of a dose response (see table below):

 

   

Cohort 1: 6 of 6 patients remain rescue injection free at a median follow up of 50 weeks with 3 patients at 52 weeks (see graph below)

 

   

Cohort 2: 4 of 6 patients remain rescue injection free at 24 weeks at the lower dose

 

   

In both cohorts combined, 10 of 12 (83%) patients remain rescue injection free. For these patients:

 

   

Vision was maintained, demonstrated by stable mean best corrected visual acuity (“BCVA”) compared to baseline

 

   

Retinal anatomy improvements were achieved and maintained, as observed by mean central subfield thickness (“CST”) compared to baseline

 

   

ADVM-022 continues to be well-tolerated with no drug-related or procedure-related serious adverse events (“SAEs”), no drug-related systemic adverse events and no adverse events meeting the criteria for dose-limiting toxicities (“DLTs”)

 

   

ADVM-022-related adverse events (“AEs”) have been mild (71%) to moderate (29%)

 

   

Low-grade ocular inflammation was commonly reported and was responsive to steroid eye drops. In cohorts 3 and 4, patients are receiving prophylactic topical steroid eye drops for a total of 6 weeks instead of 13 days of prophylactic oral steroids that were used in cohorts 1 and 2.

 

LOGO



 

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OPTIC Phase 1 Clinical Trial Data:

 

Results Following a

Single ADVM-022 Dose:

  

Cohort 1

  

Cohort 2

Patients    6    6
Dose ADVM-022   

Higher Dose

6 x 10^11 vg/eye

  

Lower Dose

2 x 10^11 vg/eye

Follow-up (median)    50 weeks    24 weeks

Rescue Injections:

     
Number of patients requiring anti-VEGF rescue injections    0/6 patients    2/6 patients
Total anti-VEGF rescue injections    0 injections    6 injections

Safety:

     
Systemic adverse events    0    0
Dose-limiting toxicities (DLTs)    0    0
Serious adverse events (SAEs)1    1    0
Drug/procedure related SAEs    0    0
Follow-up    44 weeks (median)                24 weeks
Change in BCVA2:       Full cohort    Rescue-free patients
Mean (ETDRS letters)3    -1.0    -4.8    -0.8
Range (ETDRS letters)    -7 / +7    -19 / +16    -14 / +16

Change in CRT3:

     
Mean (µm)4    -25.5    -27.8    -30.8
Range (µm)4    -117 / +32    -61 /-8    -61 / -8

 

1 

This event (retinal detachment) was deemed unrelated to ADVM-022 or any study procedure.

2 

Best corrected visual acuity (BCVA) as measured by Early Treatment Diabetic Retinopathy Study (ETDRS) (i.e., sight charts). Data through December 1, 2019 (Cohort 1).

3

Central retinal thickness (CRT), also referred to as central subfield thickness (CST) assessed using Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) imaging and measured by an independent Central Reading Center Data through December 1, 2019 (Cohort 1).

4 

BCVA and CST values for patient with retinal detachment (unrelated to study treatment) used last observations prior to detachment.

As we advance the OPTIC trial, in the first quarter of 2020, we expect to complete patient dosing in cohort 3 (n=9, lower dose of 2 x 10^11 vg/eye), begin enrollment in cohort 4 (n=9, higher dose of 6 x 10^11 vg/eye), and determine if additional cohorts are needed in the OPTIC trial. In the first half of 2020, we plan to present 52-week data from cohort 1. In the second half of 2020, we plan to present longer-term data from cohorts 1 and 2 as well as data from cohorts 3 and 4 of OPTIC.

For diabetic retinopathy, we intend to file an investigational new drug (“IND”) application in the first half of 2020. We plan to begin enrolling patients in a planned Phase 1/2 clinical trial in the second half of 2020 to expand our clinical development pipeline. In our preclinical pipeline, we are developing an investigational gene therapy candidate for the treatment of hereditary angioedema.

Our partnered programs include vectors we are developing under collaboration agreements. Our agreement with Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (“Regeneron”) provides for development of up to eight distinct ocular therapeutic targets, four of which are already identified, including AVA-311 for the treatment of juvenile X-Linked Retinoschisis. In addition, we have licensed the right to use AAV.7m8 to



 

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GenSight Biologics S.A. (“GenSight”) to deliver certain therapeutic transgenes, including channelrhodopsin protein, which GenSight is using in their product candidate GS030 for retinitis pigmentosa, currently in clinical development.

In January 2020, we moved into our new facility in Redwood City, California. This new 80,000 square foot facility serves as our corporate headquarters and will include expanded laboratory space and manufacturing process capabilities.

Risks Associated with our Business

Our business is subject to numerous risks. You should read these risks before you invest in our common stock. In particular, our risks include, but are not limited to, the following:

 

   

We have incurred significant operating losses since inception, and we expect to incur significant losses for the foreseeable future. We may never become profitable or, if achieved, be able to sustain profitability;

 

   

Our business will depend substantially on the success of one or more of our product candidates. If we are unable to develop, obtain regulatory approval for, or successfully commercialize, any or all of our product candidates, our business will be materially harmed;

 

   

Our gene therapy platform is based on a novel technology, which makes it difficult to predict the time and cost of product candidate development and subsequently obtain regulatory approval;

 

   

The results of preclinical studies and early clinical trials are not always predictive of future results. Any product candidate we or any of our future development partners advance into clinical trials may not have favorable results in later clinical trials, if any, or receive regulatory approval;

 

   

Preliminary and interim data from our clinical trials that we may announce or publish from time to time may change as each clinical trial progresses;

 

   

Our product candidates are subject to extensive regulation, compliance with which is costly and time consuming, and such regulation may cause unanticipated delays or prevent the receipt of the required approvals to commercialize our product candidates;

 

   

If we encounter difficulties enrolling patients in our clinical trials, our clinical development activities could be delayed or otherwise adversely affected;

 

   

The occurrence of serious complications or side effects in connection with use of our product candidates, either in preclinical studies or clinical trials or post-approval, could lead to discontinuation of our clinical development program, refusal of regulatory authorities to approve our product candidates or, post-approval, revocation of marketing authorizations or refusal to approve new indications, which could severely harm our business prospects, financial condition and results of operations;

 

   

We rely on third parties to conduct some preclinical testing and all of our planned clinical trials. If these third parties do not meet our deadlines or otherwise fail to conduct the trials as required, our clinical development programs could be delayed or unsuccessful and we may not be able to obtain regulatory approval for or commercialize our product candidates when expected or at all;

 

   

We have relied, and expect to continue to rely, on third parties to conduct some or all aspects of our vector production, product manufacturing, product testing, protocol development and research, and these third parties may not perform satisfactorily;



 

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Any suspension of, or delays in the commencement or completion of, clinical trials for our product candidates could result in increased costs to us, delay or limit our ability to generate revenue and adversely affect our commercial prospects; and

 

   

Our management will have broad discretion over the use of the net proceeds from this offering, you may not agree with how we use the proceeds and the proceeds may not be invested successfully.

Recent Developments

Our financial statements for the year ended December 31, 2019 are not yet available. Accordingly, the information presented below reflects our preliminary estimate subject to the completion of our financial closing procedures and any adjustments that may result from the completion of the audit of our financial statements. As a result, this preliminary estimate may differ from the actual results that will be reflected in our audited financial statements when they are completed and publicly disclosed. This preliminary estimate may change and the change may be material. Additional information and disclosures are required for a more complete understanding of our financial position and results of operations as of and for the year ended December 31, 2019.

Our expectation with respect to our cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments as of December 31, 2019 is based upon management estimates and are the responsibility of management. Our independent registered public accounting firm has not audited, reviewed or performed any procedures with respect to this preliminary result and, accordingly, does not express an opinion or any other form of assurance about it.

We estimate our total cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments as of December 31, 2019 were approximately $166.0 million.

In August 2017 we entered into an at-the-market offering program sales agreement with Cowen and Company, LLC, or Cowen. In the three months ended December 31, 2019 we sold an aggregate of 2,436,065 shares of our common stock for gross proceeds of $26.8 million. There is no capacity remaining on the at-the-market offering program.

Corporate Information

We were incorporated in Delaware in 2006 under the name “Avalanche Biotechnologies, Inc.” We completed the initial public offering of our common stock in August 2014. On May 11, 2016, upon the completion of our acquisition of Annapurna Therapeutics SAS, we changed our name to “Adverum Biotechnologies, Inc.” Our common stock is currently listed on The Nasdaq Global Market under the symbol “ADVM.”

Our principal executive offices are located at 800 Saginaw Drive, Redwood City, CA 94063, and our telephone number is (650) 656-9323. Our internet address is www.adverum.com. The information on our website is not incorporated by reference into this prospectus and should not be considered to be a part of this prospectus. Our internet address is included in this prospectus as an inactive textual reference only.

All brand names or trademarks appearing in this prospectus supplement are the property of their respective holders. Use or display by us of other parties’ trademarks, trade dress, or products in this prospectus supplement and the accompanying prospectus is not intended to, and does not, imply a relationship with, or endorsements or sponsorship of, us by the trademark or trade dress owners.



 

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The Offering

 

Common stock offered by us

   9,500,000 shares of common stock.

Common stock to be outstanding immediately after this offering

  


74,081,538 shares of common stock.

Option to purchase additional common stock

   We have granted the underwriters an option for a period of 30 days from the date of this prospectus supplement to purchase up to 1,425,000 additional shares of common stock.

Use of proceeds

  

We estimate that the net proceeds to us from this offering, after deducting estimated underwriting discounts and commissions and estimated offering expenses payable by us, will be $122.4 million, or $140.8 million if the underwriters exercise in full their option to purchase additional shares of common stock.

 

We currently intend to use the net proceeds from this offering for general corporate purposes. General corporate purposes may include, without limitation, the research and development of our gene therapy pipeline and our AAV vector discovery platform, process development and manufacturing improvements, acquisitions or in-licenses of complementary companies or businesses, working capital and capital expenditures. See “Use of Proceeds” on page S-57 of this prospectus supplement.

Insider participation

   One of our directors has agreed to purchase 10,000 shares of our common stock in this offering at the public offering price.

Risk factors

   Investing in our common stock involves significant risks. See “Risk Factors” on page S-8 of this prospectus supplement.

The Nasdaq Global Market symbol

   Our shares are listed on The Nasdaq Global Market under the symbol “ADVM.”

The number of shares of common stock to be outstanding after the offering is based on the number of shares outstanding as of September 30, 2019. As of that date, we had 64,581,538 shares of common stock outstanding, excluding:

 

   

8,654,706 shares of common stock underlying options outstanding as of September 30, 2019, at a weighted average exercise price of $7.15 per share;

 

   

90,000 shares of common stock underlying warrants outstanding as of September 30, 2019, at a weighted average exercise price of $6.77 per share;

 

   

1,137,078 shares of common stock issuable upon the vesting of restricted stock units outstanding as of September 30, 2019;



 

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4,956,481 shares of common stock available for future grant under our equity incentive plans as of September 30, 2019 plus an additional 2,691,529 shares of common stock reserved for issuance on January 1, 2020 as a result of “evergreen” provisions in our 2014 equity incentive plan;

 

   

1,910,315 shares of common stock available for future issuance under our employee stock purchase plan as of September 30, 2019, plus an additional 672,882 shares of common stock reserved for issuance on January 1, 2020 as a result of “evergreen” provisions in our employee stock purchase plan; and

 

   

2,436,065 shares of common stock issued under our at-the-market offering program in the fourth quarter of 2019.



 

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RISK FACTORS

Investing in our common stock involves a high degree of risk. You should carefully consider the risk factors described below, as well as the information contained or incorporated by reference in this prospectus supplement and the accompanying prospectus, including our financial statements and the related notes, as may be updated by our subsequent filings under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (“Exchange Act”), and in any free writing prospectus that we have authorized for use in connection with this offering before acquiring shares of our common stock. These risks could have a material and adverse impact on our business, results of operations, financial condition and growth prospects, which may cause the trading price of our common stock to decline and you could lose all or part of your investment.

Risks Related to this Offering

Management will have broad discretion as to the use of the proceeds from this offering, and we may not use the proceeds effectively.

Our management will have broad discretion in the application of the net proceeds from this offering, and could spend the proceeds in ways that do not improve our results of operations or enhance the value of our common stock. Our failure to apply these funds effectively could have a material adverse effect on our business and cause the price of our common stock to decline.

If you purchase shares of common stock in this offering, you will experience immediate dilution in your investment. You will experience further dilution if we issue additional equity securities in future fundraising transactions.

Purchasers of common stock in this offering will pay a price per share in this offering that exceeds the net tangible book value per share of our common stock. Based on the public offering price of $13.75 per share and our net tangible book value as of September 30, 2019, if you purchase shares of our common stock in this offering, you will experience immediate dilution of $9.88 per share, representing the difference between the public offering price and our as adjusted net tangible book value per share as of September 30, 2019, after giving effect to this offering. See the section titled “Dilution” below for a more detailed illustration of the dilution you would incur if you purchase common stock in this offering.

You may experience further dilution if we issue additional equity securities in future fundraising transactions.

To raise additional capital, we may in the future offer additional shares of our common stock or other securities convertible into or exchangeable for our common stock at prices that may not be the same as the price per share in this offering. We may sell shares or other securities in any other offering at a price per share that is less than the price per share paid by investors in this offering, and investors purchasing shares or other securities in the future could have rights superior to existing stockholders. The price per share at which we sell additional shares of our common stock, or securities convertible or exchangeable into common stock, in future transactions may be higher or lower than the price per share paid by investors in this offering. Further, we have a significant number of stock options, warrants and restricted stock units outstanding. The exercise of outstanding stock options and warrants and vesting of restricted stock units may result in further dilution of your investment.

Risks Related to Our Financial Position and Need for Capital

We have incurred significant operating losses since inception, and we expect to incur significant losses for the foreseeable future. We may never become profitable or, if achieved, be able to sustain profitability.

We have incurred significant operating losses since we were founded in 2006 and expect to incur significant losses for the foreseeable future as we continue development of our product candidates.

 

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Losses have resulted principally from costs incurred in our research and development programs and from our general and administrative expenses. In the future, we intend to continue to conduct research and development, regulatory compliance activities and, if any of our product candidates is approved, sales and marketing activities that, together with anticipated general and administrative expenses, will likely result in us incurring significant losses for the next several years.

We currently generate no revenue from sales, and we may never be able to commercialize any of our product candidates. We do not currently have the required approvals to market any of our product candidates, and we may never receive such approvals. We may not be profitable even if we or any of our future development partners succeed in commercializing any of our product candidates. Because of the numerous risks and uncertainties associated with developing and commercializing our product candidates, we are unable to predict the extent of any future losses or when we will become profitable, if at all.

We expect that our cash, cash equivalents, and short-term investments will be sufficient to fund our lead gene therapy programs into 2021. If this expectation proves to be wrong, we may be forced to delay, limit or terminate certain of our development efforts.

We currently expect this cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments to fund our planned operations into 2021. However, this estimate is based on a number of assumptions that may prove to be wrong, including our expectations about the timing of planned clinical trials and expected investments into our manufacturing capabilities, and changing circumstances beyond our control may cause capital to be consumed more rapidly than currently anticipated. As a result, our operating plan may change, and we may need to seek additional funds sooner than planned, through collaboration agreements and public or private financings. If we run low on capital before we are able to achieve meaningful clinical data for some or all of our product candidates, we may be unable to successfully raise additional funds, and, consequentially, may need to significantly curtail some or all of our development activities.

We will need to raise additional funding, which may not be available on acceptable terms, or at all. If we fail to obtain additional capital necessary to fund our operations, we will be unable to successfully develop and commercialize our product candidates.

We will require substantial future capital in order to complete the preclinical and clinical development for our product candidates and potentially to commercialize these product candidates. Any future clinical trials or expansion of ongoing clinical trials of our product candidates would cause an increase in our spending levels, as would other corporate activities. The amount and timing of any expenditure needed to implement our development and commercialization programs will depend on numerous factors, including:

 

   

the type, number, scope, progress, expansion costs, results of and timing of any future preclinical studies and clinical trials of any of our product candidates which we are pursuing or may choose to pursue in the future;

 

   

the need for, and the progress, costs and results of, any additional clinical trials or nonclinical studies of our product candidates we may initiate based on the results of any clinical trials that we may plan or discussions with the FDA, including any additional clinical trials or nonclinical studies the FDA or other regulatory agencies may require evaluating the safety of our product candidates;

 

   

the costs of obtaining, maintaining and enforcing our patents and other intellectual property rights;

 

   

the costs and timing of obtaining or maintaining manufacturing for our product candidates, including commercial manufacturing;

 

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the costs and timing of establishing sales and marketing capabilities and enhanced internal controls over financial reporting;

 

   

the terms and timing of establishing collaborations, license agreements and other partnerships;

 

   

costs associated with any new product candidates that we may develop, in-license or acquire;

 

   

the effect of competing technological and market developments;

 

   

our ability to establish and maintain partnering arrangements for development; and

 

   

the costs associated with being a public company.

Some of these factors are outside of our control. We do not expect our existing capital resources to be sufficient to enable us to fund the completion of our clinical trials and remaining development programs through commercial introduction. We expect that we will need to raise additional funds in the future.

We have no product candidate approved by any regulatory authority, have not sold any products, and we do not expect to sell or derive revenue from any product sales for the foreseeable future. We may seek additional funding through collaboration agreements and public or private financings. Additional funding may not be available to us on acceptable terms or at all and the terms of any financing may adversely affect the holdings or the rights of our stockholders. In addition, the issuance of additional shares by us, or the possibility of such issuance, may cause the market price of our shares to decline.

If we are unable to obtain funding on a timely basis, we will be unable to complete any future clinical trials for our product candidates and we may be required to significantly curtail some or all of our activities. We also could be required to seek funds through arrangements with collaborative partners or otherwise that may require us to relinquish rights to our product candidates or some of our technologies or otherwise agree to terms unfavorable to us.

Risks Related to the Discovery and Development of Our Product Candidates

Our business will depend substantially on the success of one or more of our product candidates. If we are unable to develop, obtain regulatory approval for, or successfully commercialize, any or all of our product candidates, our business will be materially harmed.

Our product candidates are in the early stages of development and will require substantial preclinical and/or clinical development and testing, manufacturing process improvement and validation, bridging studies and regulatory approval prior to commercialization. It is critical to our business to successfully develop and ultimately obtain regulatory approval for one or more of these product candidates. Our ability to commercialize our product candidates effectively will depend on several factors, including the following:

 

   

successful completion of preclinical studies and clinical trials, including the ability to demonstrate safety and efficacy of our product candidates;

 

   

receipt of marketing approvals for any future products for which we complete clinical trials, including securing regulatory exclusivity to the extent available;

 

   

establishing commercial manufacturing capabilities, for example, by engaging third-party manufacturers that can provide products and services to support clinical development and the market demand for our product candidates, if approved;

 

   

successful launch and commercial sales of the product, whether alone or in collaboration with potential partners;

 

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acceptance of the product as a viable treatment option by patients, the medical community and third-party payers;

 

   

establishing market share while competing with other therapies;

 

   

a continued acceptable safety profile of our products following regulatory approval;

 

   

maintaining compliance with post-approval regulations and other requirements; and

 

   

qualifying for, identifying, registering, maintaining, enforcing and defending intellectual property rights and claims covering our product candidates.

If we or our collaborators do not achieve one or more of these factors in a timely manner or at all, we could experience significant delays or an inability to commercialize our product candidates, which would materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.

In April 2019, the FDA placed our IND application for ADVM-022 for the treatment of wet AMD on clinical hold and requested certain information and requirements related to chemistry, manufacturing and controls (“CMC”). We subsequently responded to the FDA, and in May 2019, the FDA lifted the clinical hold, allowing dose escalation up to 2 x 10^12 vg/eye in the OPTIC trial. However, our IND remains on partial clinical hold for dosing patients with a dose of 6 x 10^12 vg/eye. Given the preliminary robust anatomical response we observed from patients in the first cohort, we dosed patients in the second cohort with a lower dose of 2 x 10^11 vg/eye. We do not currently intend to dose patients at 6 x 10^12 vg/eye, but should we need to, there is no guarantee that the FDA will lift the partial clinical hold promptly, if at all. Further, the FDA imposed additional CMC requirements that we are working to resolve in order to advance the clinical development of ADVM-022 for the treatment of wet AMD. If we are unable to respond to these CMC requirements and the requirements related to the partial clinical hold to the FDA’s satisfaction and within the timeframe we expect, the FDA will not remove the clinical hold, which may prevent us from advancing our clinical program and our business may be harmed.

Of the large number of biologics and drugs in development in the pharmaceutical industry, only a small percentage result in the submission of a biologics license application (“BLA”) to the FDA and even fewer are approved for commercialization. Furthermore, even if we do receive regulatory approval to market any of our product candidates, any such approval may be subject to limitations on the indicated uses for which we may market the product, or limitations related to its distribution. Accordingly, even if we are able to obtain the requisite financing to continue to fund our development programs, there can be no assurance that any of our product candidates will be successfully developed or commercialized. If we or any of our future development partners are unable to develop, or obtain regulatory approval for, or, if approved, successfully commercialize, any of our product candidates, we may not be able to generate sufficient revenue to continue our business.

Our gene therapy platform is based on a novel technology, which makes it difficult to predict the time and cost of product candidate development and subsequently obtaining regulatory approval.

We have concentrated our research and development efforts on our gene therapy platform and our future success depends on the successful development of product candidates based on this platform. There can be no assurance that any development problems we have experienced or may experience in the future related to our platform will not cause significant delays or unanticipated costs, or that such development problems can be solved. We may also experience delays in developing a sustainable, reproducible and scalable manufacturing process or transferring that process to commercial partners, which may prevent us from completing our clinical trials or commercializing our product candidates on a timely or profitable basis, if at all.

 

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In addition, the clinical trial requirements of the FDA, the European Medicines Agency (“EMA”) and other regulatory agencies and the criteria these regulators may use to determine the safety and efficacy of a product candidate vary substantially according to the type, complexity, novelty and intended use and market of the potential products. The regulatory approval process for novel gene therapy products such as ours can be more expensive and take longer than for other product types, which are better known or more extensively studied to date. Regulatory approaches and requirements for gene therapy products continue to evolve, and any changes could create significant delay and unpredictability for product development and approval as compared to technologies with which regulatory agencies have more substantial experience. For example, the FDA issued a series of gene therapy draft guidance documents in January 2020 that we are evaluating and that may impact our future development efforts and clinical trial designs.

Also, before a clinical study can begin, that clinical site’s institutional review board (“IRB”) and its Institutional Biosafety Committee will have to review the proposed clinical trial to assess appropriateness to conduct the clinical study at that site. In addition, adverse developments in clinical trials of gene therapy products conducted by others may cause the FDA or other oversight bodies to change the requirements for human research on or for approval of any of our product candidates.

These regulatory review committees and advisory groups and the guidelines they promulgate may lengthen our regulatory review process, require us to perform additional studies, increase our development costs, increase or otherwise change CMC requirements, lead to changes in our regulatory positions and interpretations, delay or prevent approval and commercialization of our product candidates or lead to significant post-approval limitations or restrictions. As we advance our product candidates, we will usually be required to consult with these, and potentially other, regulatory and advisory groups and comply with applicable guidelines or recommendations. If we fail to do so, we may be required to delay or discontinue development of our product candidates. Delay or failure to obtain, or unexpected costs incurred in obtaining, the regulatory approval necessary to bring a potential product to market could decrease our ability to generate sufficient product revenue to maintain our business.

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 platform. Our research programs may fail to identify other potential product candidates for clinical development for a number of reasons. For example, our research methodology may be unsuccessful in identifying potential product candidates or our potential product candidates may be shown to lack efficacy, have harmful side effects, or may have other characteristics that may make the products unmarketable or unlikely to receive marketing approval.

If any of these events occur, we may be forced to abandon our development efforts for a program or programs, which would have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations, and prospects and could potentially cause us to cease operations. 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 may ultimately prove to be unsuccessful.

Few of our product candidates and proprietary viral vectors have been tested in clinical trials.

Drug development has inherent risk. Few of our product candidates and proprietary viral vectors have been evaluated in clinical trials in patients. Our lead product candidate, ADVM-022 for the treatment of wet AMD and diabetic retinopathy, uses a proprietary vector, AAV.7m8, which has undergone limited human testing, and may experience unexpected results in clinical trials in the future.

 

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We, or any licensee or development partner, will be required to demonstrate through adequate and well-controlled clinical trials that our product candidate or another party’s product candidate containing one of our proprietary viral vectors are safe and effective for use in their target indications before seeking regulatory approvals for commercial sale. Drug development is a long, expensive and uncertain process, and delay or failure can occur at any stage of development, including after commencement of any of our clinical trials or any clinical trials using our proprietary viral vectors. Any such delay or failure could significantly harm our business prospects, financial condition and results of operations.

The results of preclinical studies and early clinical trials are not always predictive of future results. Any product candidate we or any of our future development partners advance into clinical trials may not have favorable results in later clinical trials, if any, or receive regulatory approval.

If our product candidates are not shown to be safe and effective, we may not realize the value of our investment in our technology. Promising preclinical results generated with a product candidate in animal models do not guarantee similar results when the candidate is tested in humans. For example, the levels of protein expression achieved from a vector in a preclinical model, including non-human primate (“NHP”) models, may be significantly higher than the level of protein expression achieved in humans. Similarly, human subjects administered our product candidates may develop side effects that were not observed in animal models and/or are more severe than those observed in animal models. In addition, even industry-accepted animal models may not accurately replicate human disease. For example, the laser-induced choroidal neovascularization model in NHP is the industry accepted animal model for wet AMD, where efficacy is assessed by reduction of the number of clinically relevant neovascular lesions. Even so, this model does not replicate all aspects of wet AMD in humans, some of which may be relevant to the success of ADVM-022. Success in pre-clinical studies or in early clinical trials does not mean that later clinical trials will be successful, because product candidates in later-stage clinical trials may fail to demonstrate sufficient safety or efficacy despite having progressed through pre-clinical and initial clinical testing. Further, safety and/or efficacy issues with a product candidate may only become apparent when the candidate is tested in human patients suffering the relevant disease. For example, while pre-clinical testing of our product candidate ADVM-043, including in animal models, showed promise in the ADVANCE trial, A1AT protein did not reach a clinically meaningful level of expression in humans, and we subsequently decided to discontinue development of ADVM-043. In addition, in clinical trials, such as our OPTIC trial, each cohort of patients may be treated with a different dose of the tested drug or different prophylactic steroid regimen, potentially resulting in different safety profiles or efficacy levels in each of the cohorts. Furthermore, the initiation of future trials for a product candidate will be dependent upon demonstrating sufficient safety and efficacy to the relevant regulatory authorities in preceding or other ongoing trials using the same product candidate. Companies frequently suffer significant setbacks in advanced clinical trials, even after earlier clinical trials have shown promising results. In addition, only a small percentage of products under development result in the submission of a marketing application and even fewer are approved for commercialization. Even if our clinical trials successfully meet their endpoints for safety and efficacy, FDA and/or other regulatory agencies may still conclude that the product candidate has not demonstrated a beneficial risk/benefit profile or otherwise does not meet the relevant standard for approval.

We cannot guarantee that results from any clinical trials that we plan will be successful, and any safety or efficacy concerns observed in any one of our clinical trials in our targeted indications could limit the prospects for regulatory approval of our product candidates in those and other indications.

 

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Preliminary and interim data from our clinical trials that we may announce or publish from time to time may change as each clinical trial progresses.

From time to time, we may announce or publish preliminary or interim data from our clinical trials. Preliminary and interim results of a clinical trial are not necessarily predictive of final results. Preliminary and interim data are subject to the risk that one or more of the clinical outcomes may materially change as patient enrollment continues or further patient follow up occurs and more patient data become available. For example, although we have periodically announced interim data from the first and second cohorts of patients in our OPTIC trial, which showed no drug- or treatment-related series adverse events (“SAEs”) or drug-limiting toxicities (“DLTs”), there is no guarantee that drug- or treatment-related SAEs or DLTs will not occur later in our OPTIC trial, either in these or other cohorts. In addition, in certain clinical trials, such as our OPTIC trial, individual cohorts of patients are enrolled with different dosages and other treatment conditions under our protocol. These different dosages and other treatment conditions may affect clinical outcomes, including safety profiles or efficacy, such as the number of rescue injections required, in each of the cohorts. As a result, preliminary and interim data should be viewed with caution and not relied upon until the final data from a locked database for the entire clinical trial are available. Material changes in the final data compared to preliminary or interim data could significantly harm our business prospects.

Our product candidates are subject to extensive regulation, compliance with which is costly and time consuming, and such regulation may cause unanticipated delays or prevent the receipt of the required approvals to commercialize our product candidates.

The preclinical and clinical development, manufacturing, analytical testing, labeling, storage, record-keeping, advertising, promotion, import, export, marketing and distribution of our product candidates are subject to extensive regulation by the FDA and by comparable regulatory authorities in foreign markets. In the U.S., we are not permitted to market our product candidates until we receive regulatory approval from the FDA. The process of obtaining regulatory approval is expensive, often takes many years and can vary substantially based upon the type, complexity and novelty of the products involved, as well as the target indications and patient population. Approval policies or regulations may change, and the regulatory authorities have substantial discretion in the drug approval process, including the ability to delay, limit or deny approval of a product candidate for many reasons. Despite the time and expense invested in clinical development of product candidates, regulatory approval is never guaranteed.

The FDA or comparable foreign regulatory authorities can delay, limit or deny approval of a product candidate for many reasons, including:

 

   

such authorities may disagree with the design or implementation of our or any of our future development partners’ clinical trials;

 

   

we or any of our future development partners may be unable to demonstrate to the satisfaction of the FDA or other regulatory authorities that a product candidate is safe and effective for any indication;

 

   

the FDA or other regulatory authorities may not accept clinical data from trials which are conducted at multinational clinical facilities or in countries where the standard of care is potentially different from that of the U.S.;

 

   

the results of clinical trials may not demonstrate the safety or efficacy required by such authorities for approval;

 

   

we or any of our future development partners may be unable to demonstrate that a product candidate’s clinical and other benefits outweigh its safety risks;

 

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such authorities may disagree with our interpretation of data from preclinical studies or clinical trials;

 

   

approval may be granted only for indications that are significantly more limited than what we apply for and/or with other significant restrictions on distribution and use;

 

   

such authorities may find deficiencies in the manufacturing processes, analytical testing, or facilities of third-party manufacturers or testing laboratories with which we or any of our future development partners contract for clinical and commercial supplies; or

 

   

the approval policies or regulations of such authorities may significantly change in a manner rendering our or any of our future development partners’ clinical data insufficient for approval.

With respect to foreign markets, approval procedures vary among countries and, in addition to the aforementioned risks, can involve additional product testing, administrative review periods and agreements with pricing authorities. In addition, events raising questions about the safety of related products, including those already on the market, may result in increased cautiousness by the FDA and comparable foreign regulatory authorities in reviewing our product candidates based on safety, efficacy or other regulatory considerations and may result in significant delays in obtaining regulatory approvals. Any delay in obtaining, or inability to obtain, applicable regulatory approvals would prevent us or any of our future development partners from commercializing our product candidates.

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

Identifying and qualifying patients to participate in the OPTIC trial for ADVM-022 for the treatment of wet AMD, our planned Phase 1/2 trial for ADVM-022 for the treatment of diabetic retinopathy (“DR”), and any future planned clinical trials will be critical to our success. The timing of current and future clinical trials will depend on the speed at which we can recruit patients to participate in future testing of these product candidates.

Patient enrollment, a significant factor in the timing of clinical trials, is affected by many factors including the size and nature of the patient population, the proximity of patients to clinical sites, the eligibility criteria for the trial, the design of the clinical trial, competing clinical trials and clinicians’ and patients’ perceptions as to the potential advantages of the product candidate being studied in relation to other available therapies, including any new drugs that may be approved for the indications we are investigating. We will be required to identify and enroll a sufficient number of patients with wet AMD for the OPTIC trial for ADVM-022, and we will be required to identify and enroll a sufficient number of patients for our planned trials for ADVM-022 for the treatment of DR and any future clinical trials for our product candidates. Potential patients may not be adequately diagnosed or identified with the diseases which we are targeting or may not meet the entry criteria for our trials. Additionally, some patients may have neutralizing antibodies at titer levels that would prevent them from being enrolled in a clinical trial for any of our product candidates, or may meet other exclusion criteria. The incidence of neutralizing antibodies in the population of patients, particularly for rare diseases, is unknown, and may be higher than we expect. As a consequence, enrollment in our clinical trials may be limited or slowed. We also may encounter difficulties in identifying and enrolling patients with a stage of disease appropriate for such future clinical trials. 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 trial.

Rare diseases impact a small number of individuals in the U.S. (fewer than 200,000) and therefore there is a limited patient pool from which to draw for clinical trials. Enrollment of eligible patients with rare or orphan diseases may be limited or slower than we anticipate in light of the small patient populations involved.

 

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We plan to seek initial marketing approval of these product candidates in the U.S. and/or Europe and we may not be able to successfully conduct clinical trials if we cannot enroll a sufficient number of eligible patients to participate in the clinical trials required by the FDA or the EMA or other regulatory agencies. In addition, the process of finding and diagnosing patients may prove costly.

Further, if patients are unwilling to participate in our gene therapy studies because of negative publicity from adverse events in the biotechnology or gene therapy industries or inadequate results in our preclinical studies or clinical trials or for other reasons, including competitive clinical trials for similar patient populations or available approved therapies, our recruitment of patients, conduct of preclinical studies or clinical trials and ability to obtain regulatory approval of our product candidates may be hindered.

Trials using early versions of retroviral vectors, which integrate into, and thereby alter, the host cell’s DNA, have led to several well-publicized adverse events. Our product candidates use an adeno-associated viral vector delivery system. Nonetheless, if patients negatively associate our product candidates with the adverse events caused by previous gene therapy products, they may not choose to enroll in our clinical trials, which would have a material adverse effect on our business and operations.

If we have difficulty enrolling a sufficient number of patients to conduct clinical trials on our product candidates as planned, we may need to delay, limit or terminate future clinical trials, any of which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.

The occurrence of serious complications or side effects in connection with use of our product candidates, either in preclinical studies or clinical trials or post-approval, could lead to discontinuation of our clinical development program, refusal of regulatory authorities to approve our product candidates or, post-approval, revocation of marketing authorizations or refusal to approve new indications, which could severely harm our business prospects, financial condition and results of operations.

During the conduct of preclinical studies and clinical trials, animal models and patients may experience changes in their health, including illnesses, injuries and discomforts. Often, it is not possible to determine whether or not the product candidate being studied caused these conditions. Various illnesses, injuries, and discomfort may be reported from time-to-time in clinical trials of our product candidates. It is possible that as we test our product candidates in larger, longer and more extensive clinical programs, or as use of these product candidates becomes more widespread if they receive regulatory approval, illnesses, injuries, discomfort and other adverse events that were observed in earlier trials, as well as conditions that did not occur or went undetected in previous trials, will be reported by patients. Many times, side effects are only detectable after investigational products are tested in large-scale, Phase 3 clinical trials or later stage clinical trials, or, in some cases, after they are made available to patients on a commercial scale after approval. If additional clinical experience indicates that one or more of our product candidates has side effects or causes serious or life-threatening side effects, the development of one or more of our product candidates may fail or be delayed, or, if one or more of our product candidates has received regulatory approval, such approval may be revoked, which would severely harm our business prospects, financial condition and results of operations.

When a patient experiences a negative health event during a clinical trial, we must determine if it is related to our product candidate in order to understand the safety of our product candidates. The patients we enroll in our clinical trials for our current product candidates are less healthy than the general population, which increases the likelihood that a negative health event, unrelated to our

 

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product candidate, may occur. These health events may be misattributed to our product candidate, either by us, our investigators, or by regulators. Such misattribution could cause regulatory approval of our product candidates to be denied or delayed. For example, the patients enrolled in our OPTIC trial, and any future clinical trials for wet AMD, are often geriatric and have other health conditions unrelated to wet AMD. We cannot assure you that we will be able to accurately determine whether or not a negative health event was related to ADVM-022, nor can we assure you that the FDA or other regulatory authority responsible for reviewing the safety of ADVM-022 will agree with our determination. If a patient in OPTIC or another clinical trial experiences a negative health event, and that event is misattributed to ADVM-022, the trial may be placed on clinical hold, and regulatory approval of ADVM-022 may be delayed or denied.

In addition, if a patient enrolled in one of our clinical trials experiences a negative health event, they may be forced to withdraw from our trial, or may become temporarily unavailable for follow-up visits, which may impact the amount or quality of data we obtain from our trial, which in turn may delay or prevent regulatory approval of our product candidate. Because patients we enroll in our clinical trials for any of our product candidates are likely to be less healthy than the general population, and particularly in trials like OPTIC that enroll a small number of patients, this risk is increased.

Our product candidates built on AAV vectors have similar risks to other gene therapy vectors, including inflammation, cytotoxic T-cell responses, anti-AAV antibodies and immune response to the transgene product, such as T-cell responses and/or antibodies against the expressed protein. For example, based on our current clinical experience, ocular inflammation is a known side effect of ADVM-022 administration, but the duration of inflammation caused by ADVM-022, our ability to manage that inflammation using steroids or other anti-inflammatory treatments, and any potential clinical sequelae of that inflammation and treatments used to manage inflammation are not fully understood. If we are unable to manage this inflammation appropriately, the FDA or other regulatory authorities may not approve ADVM-022. Even if we achieve marketing approval, doctors may not prescribe, and patients may not use ADVM-022 or our other product candidates if they deem the levels or risk of inflammation to be unacceptable. Further, patients treated with ADVM-022 could develop antibodies against AAV.7m8 capsid and/or aflibercept protein. These antibodies could preclude these patients from receiving other AAV-based gene therapies and/or recombinant aflibercept protein in the future. Studies have also found that intravenous delivery of certain AAV vectors at very high doses may result in adverse events and have prompted the recommendation that studies involving high doses of AAV vectors should be monitored carefully for such adverse events. In addition, patients given infusions of any protein may develop severe hypersensitivity reactions, infusion reactions, or serious side effects including transaminitis. With respect to our product candidates that are being or may be studied in diseases of the eye, there are additional potential serious complications related to intravitreal injection, such as retinal detachment, endophthalmitis, ocular inflammation, cataract formation, glaucoma, hypotony, damage to the retina or cornea, and bleeding in the eye. Serious complications or serious, unexpected side effects in connection with the use of our product candidates could materially harm our business prospects, financial condition and results of operations.

Additionally, our lead product candidate, ADVM-022 is designed for long-term, sustained expression of an exogenous protein, aflibercept. Even though Eylea® (aflibercept) has been approved by several regulatory authorities, including the FDA, for the treatment of wet AMD, there may be side effects associated with aflibercept being expressed as a gene therapy treatment modality. If such side effects are serious or life-threatening, the development of our product candidate and future product candidates may fail or be delayed, or, if such product candidate(s) have received regulatory approval, such approval may be revoked, which would severely harm our business prospects, financial condition and results of operation.

 

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Risks Related to Our Reliance on Third Parties

We will rely on third parties to conduct some preclinical testing and all of our planned clinical trials. If these third parties do not meet our deadlines or otherwise fail to conduct the trials as required, our clinical development programs could be delayed or unsuccessful and we may not be able to obtain regulatory approval for or commercialize our product candidates when expected or at all.

We do not have the ability to conduct all aspects of our preclinical testing, clinical testing, or clinical trials ourselves. We are dependent on third parties to conduct preclinical studies and clinical trials for our product candidates, and, therefore, the timing of the initiation and completion of these studies or trials is controlled in part by these third parties and may occur at times substantially different from our estimates. Specifically, we use and rely on medical institutions, clinical investigators, contract research organizations (“CROs”) and consultants to conduct our trials in accordance with our clinical protocols and regulatory requirements. Our CROs, investigators and other third parties play a significant role in the conduct of these trials and subsequent collection and analysis of data.

There is no guarantee that any CROs, investigators or other third parties on which we rely for administration and conduct of our clinical trials will devote adequate time and resources to such trials or perform as contractually required. If any of these third parties fails to meet expected deadlines, fails to adhere to our clinical protocols, fails to meet regulatory requirements, or otherwise performs in a substandard manner, our clinical trials may be extended, delayed or terminated. If any of our clinical trial sites terminates for any reason, we may experience the loss of follow-up information on patients enrolled in our ongoing clinical trials unless we are able to transfer those patients to another qualified clinical trial site.

In addition, principal investigators for our clinical trials may serve as scientific advisors or consultants to us from time to time and may receive cash or equity compensation in connection with such services. If these relationships and any related compensation result in perceived or actual conflicts of interest, the utility of certain data from the clinical trial may be questioned and the utility of the clinical trial itself may be jeopardized, which could result in the delay or rejection of any IND or BLA we submit to the FDA, or equivalent submissions to other regulatory authorities. Any such delay or rejection could prevent us from commercializing our product candidates.

We have relied, and expect to continue to rely, on third parties to conduct some or all aspects of our vector production, product manufacturing, product testing, protocol development, and research, and these third parties may not perform satisfactorily.

We do not expect to independently conduct all aspects of our vector production, product manufacturing, product testing, protocol development, protocol performance, and research. We currently rely, and expect to continue to rely, on third parties with respect to these items. We may not be able to enter into agreements with these third parties and if we do enter into agreements with these third parties, any of these third parties may not be successful at fulfilling their contractual obligations or may choose to terminate their engagements with us at any time. If we need to enter into alternative arrangements, it could delay our product development activities. Our reliance on these third parties for vector production, product manufacturing, product testing, protocol development, protocol performance, and research activities will reduce our control over these activities but will not relieve us of our responsibility to ensure compliance with all required regulations. If any of these third parties on which we rely do not perform satisfactorily, we will remain responsible for ensuring that:

 

   

each of our preclinical studies and clinical trials are conducted in accordance with the study plan and protocols and applicable GLP requirements;

 

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vector production, product manufacturing, and product testing are conducted in accordance with cGMP and other applicable regulatory requirements;

 

   

other research is conducted in accordance with applicable industry and regulatory standards and norms;

any of which we may not be able to do.

These third parties may not successfully carry out their contractual duties, meet expected deadlines or conduct our studies in accordance with regulatory requirements or our stated study plans and protocols. If third parties breach their contractual obligations to us, we may not be able to start or complete, or may be delayed in starting or completing, the preclinical studies and clinical trials required to support future IND submissions, development work, and approval of our product candidates.

Reliance on third-party manufacturers entails risks to which we would not be subject to if we manufactured the product candidates 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 some or all aspects of manufacturing activities;

 

   

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 acquisition, change in control, or bankruptcy of the manufacturer or supplier.

Any of these events could lead to clinical trial delays or failure to obtain regulatory approval, or impact our ability to successfully commercialize future products.

We and our contractors are subject to significant regulation with respect to manufacturing and testing our product candidates. We have a limited number of vendors on which we rely, including, in some cases, single source vendors, and the contract vendors on which we rely may not continue to meet regulatory requirements, may have limited capacity, or may have other factors limiting their ability to comply with their contracts with us.

We currently have relationships with a limited number of suppliers for the manufacturing and testing of our vector product candidates. Our suppliers may require licenses to manufacture or test such components if such processes are not owned by the suppliers or in the public domain and we may be unable to transfer or sublicense the intellectual property rights we may have with respect to such activities, and may be unable to acquire such rights, to the extent that we do not already have them.

All entities involved in the preparation of therapeutics for clinical trials or commercial sale, including our existing contract vendors for our product candidates, are subject to extensive regulation. Components of a finished therapeutic product approved for commercial sale or used in clinical trials must be manufactured and tested in accordance with cGMP regulations. 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 candidates that may not be detectable in final product testing.

 

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We or our contract manufacturers must supply all necessary documentation in support of a BLA on a timely basis and must adhere to the FDA’s cGMP regulations enforced by the FDA through its facilities inspection program as well as other regulations enforced by other regulatory authorities. Our contract manufacturers have not produced a commercially-approved AAV product and therefore have not yet demonstrated compliance with cGMP regulations to the satisfaction of the FDA or other regulatory authority. 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 regulatory approval of our product candidates or any of our other potential products. If the facility does not pass a pre-approval plant inspection, FDA or other regulatory approval of the products will not be granted. In addition, the regulatory authorities may, at any time, audit or inspect our manufacturing facilities or those of our third-party contractors involved with the preparation of our product candidates or our other potential products or the associated quality systems for compliance with the regulations applicable to the activities being conducted. Should the FDA or other regulatory authority determine that the facility is not in compliance with applicable regulations, the manufacture and release of our product candidates may not be possible, and our business could be harmed.

Changes in laws and governmental policies may have an effect on regulations. For example, we and our contract vendors currently rely on other contractors based in the United Kingdom (UK). If the implementation of new governmental policies associated with BREXIT occurs, these governmental policies may affect our UK-based contractors’ ability to comply with applicable regulations, including existing EU regulations. If they are unable to return to compliance, or if an acceptable substitute vendor cannot be identified, it may negatively impact our business. Further, to the extent that our UK-based contractors have supply relationships with vendors in the EU, these contractors may experience difficulties, delay or increased costs in receiving materials from their vendors in the EU, which could have a material adverse effect on our UK-based contractors’ ability to provide the services or materials to us.

The regulatory authorities also may, at any time following approval of a product for sale, audit our manufacturing facilities or those of our third-party contractors. If any such inspection or audit identifies a failure to comply with applicable regulations or if we become aware of a violation of our product specifications or applicable regulations, independent of 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 which may include the temporary or permanent suspension of a clinical trial or commercial sales or the temporary or permanent closure of a facility. Such violations could also result in civil and/or criminal penalties. Any such remedial measures or other civil and/or criminal penalties imposed upon us or third parties with whom we contract could materially harm our business.

If we or our third-party contractors fail to maintain regulatory compliance, the FDA can impose regulatory sanctions including, among other things, refusal to approve a pending application for a new biologic product, revocation of a pre-existing approval, injunction, seizure of product, or other civil or criminal penalties or closing one or more manufacturing or testing facilities. As a result, our business, financial condition and results of operations may be materially harmed.

Additionally, if the service provided by an approved manufacturing or testing contractor is interrupted, there could be a significant disruption in commercial supply. An alternative contractor would need to be qualified through a BLA supplement which could result in further delay. The regulatory agencies may also require additional studies showing comparability between approved product or testing, and product or testing provided after a contractor change, if a new manufacturing or testing contractor is relied upon for commercial production. Switching contractors may involve substantial costs and is likely to result in a delay in our desired clinical and commercial timelines.

 

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These factors could cause the delay of clinical trials, regulatory submissions, required approvals or commercialization of our product candidates, causing us to incur higher costs, and preventing us from commercializing our product candidates 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 trials may be delayed, or we could lose potential revenue.

Our reliance on third parties requires us to share our trade secrets and other confidential information, which increases the possibility that a competitor will discover them or that our confidential information, including trade secrets, will be misappropriated or disclosed.

Because we rely on third parties to research and develop and to manufacture our product candidates, we must, at times, share confidential information, including trade secrets, with them. We seek to protect our proprietary technology in part by entering into confidentiality agreements and, if applicable, material transfer agreements, consulting agreements or other similar agreements containing confidentiality provisions with our advisors, employees, third-party contractors 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, including our 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 purposefully or inadvertently incorporated into the technology of others, or are disclosed or used in violation of these agreements. Public disclosure of our confidential information also prevents us from seeking patent protection for that or related discoveries. Given that our proprietary position is based, in part, on our know-how and trade secrets, the unauthorized use or disclosure of our trade secrets would impair our competitive position and may have a material adverse effect on our business, financial conditions, results of operations and prospects.

In addition, these agreements typically restrict the ability of our advisors, employees, third-party contractors and consultants to publish data potentially relating to our confidential information and trade secrets, although our agreements may contain certain limited publication rights. For example, any academic institution that we may collaborate with in the future will usually expect to be granted rights to publish data arising out of such collaboration, provided that we are notified in advance and given the opportunity to delay publication for a limited time period in order for us to secure patent protection of intellectual property rights arising from the collaboration, in addition to the opportunity to remove confidential information or trade secrets from any such publication. However, we may fail to recognize or identify to our collaborator such confidential information or trade secrets during the appropriate timeframe prior to publication, and they may be publicly disclosed without us filing for patent or other protection. In the future we may also conduct joint research and development programs that may require us to share trade secrets under the terms of our research and development or similar agreements.

Despite our efforts to protect our trade secrets, our competitors may discover our trade secrets, either through breach of our agreements with third parties, or publication of information by any of our third-party collaborators. A competitor’s discovery of our trade secrets could impair our competitive position and have an adverse impact on our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.

Risks Related to Commercialization of Our Product Candidates

Any suspension of, or delays in the commencement or completion of, clinical trials for our product candidates could result in increased costs to us, delay or limit our ability to generate revenue and adversely affect our commercial prospects.

Before we can initiate clinical trials in the U.S. for our product candidates, we need to submit the results of preclinical testing to the FDA, along with other information including information about

 

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product candidate chemistry, manufacturing and controls and our proposed clinical trial protocol, as part of an IND. We may rely in part on preclinical, clinical and quality data generated by CROs and other third parties for regulatory submissions for our product candidates. If these third parties do not provide timely data for our product candidates, it will delay our plans for our IND submissions and clinical trials. If those third parties do not make this data available to us, we will likely have to develop all necessary preclinical and clinical data on our own, which will lead to significant delays and increase development costs of the product candidate. In addition, the FDA may require us to conduct additional preclinical testing for any product candidate before it allows us to initiate clinical testing under any IND, which may lead to additional delays and increase the costs of our preclinical development. Delays with any regulatory authority or agency may significantly affect our product development timeline. Delays in the commencement or completion of any clinical trials that we plan for our product candidates could significantly affect our product development costs. We do not know whether any trials that we plan will begin on time or be completed on schedule, if at all. The commencement and completion of clinical trials can be delayed or terminated for a number of reasons, including delays or terminations related to:

 

   

the FDA failing to grant permission to proceed or placing the clinical trial on hold;

 

   

patients failing to enroll or remain in our trial at the rate we expect;

 

   

patients choosing an alternative treatment for the indication for which we are developing our product candidates, or participating in competing clinical trials;

 

   

lack of adequate funding to continue the clinical trial;

 

   

patients experiencing severe or unexpected drug-related adverse effects;

 

   

a facility manufacturing any of our product candidates or any of their components being ordered by the FDA or other government or regulatory authorities to temporarily or permanently shut down due to violations of cGMP or other applicable requirements, or infections or cross-contaminations of product candidates in the manufacturing process;

 

   

any changes to our manufacturing process that may be necessary or desired;

 

   

third-party clinical investigators losing the licenses or permits necessary to perform our clinical trials, lacking the ability or resources to appropriately handle our product candidates, not performing our clinical trials on our anticipated schedule or consistent with the clinical trial protocol, Good Clinical Practice or regulatory requirements or other third parties not performing data collection or analysis in a timely and accurate manner;

 

   

inspections of clinical trial sites by the FDA or the finding of regulatory violations by the FDA or an IRB that require us to undertake corrective action, result in suspension or termination of one or more sites or the imposition of a clinical hold on the IND or that prohibit us from using some or all of the data in support of our marketing applications;

 

   

third-party contractors becoming debarred or suspended or otherwise penalized by the FDA or other government or regulatory authorities for violations of regulatory requirements, in which case we may need to find a substitute contractor, and we may not be able to use some or all of the data produced by such contractors in support of our marketing applications; or

 

   

one or more IRBs refusing to approve, suspending or terminating the trial at an investigational site, precluding enrollment of additional patients, or withdrawing its approval of the trial.

In April 2019, the FDA placed our IND application for ADVM-022 for the treatment of wet AMD on clinical hold and requested certain information and requirements related to CMC as described in “Our business will depend substantially on the success of one or more of our product candidates. If we are unable to develop, obtain regulatory approval for, or successfully commercialize, any or all of our product candidates, our business will be materially harmed.” above. If we are unable to respond to

 

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these CMC requirements and the requirements related to the partial clinical hold to the FDA’s satisfaction and within the timeframe we expect, the FDA will not remove the clinical hold, which may prevent us from advancing our clinical program and our business may be harmed.

Product development costs will increase if we have delays in testing or approval of any of our product candidates, such as the partial clinical hold on our IND for ADVM-022 for the treatment of wet AMD, or if we need to perform more or larger clinical trials than planned. Additionally, changes in regulatory requirements and policies may occur, and we may need to amend clinical trial protocols to reflect these changes. Amendments may require us to resubmit our clinical trial protocols to IRBs for review and approval, which may impact the costs, timing or successful completion of a clinical trial. If we experience delays in completion of our clinical trials, or if we, the FDA or other regulatory authorities, the IRB, other reviewing entities, or any of our clinical trial sites suspend or terminate any of our clinical trials, the commercial prospects for a product candidate may be harmed and our ability to generate product revenue will be delayed. In addition, many of the factors that cause, or lead to, termination or suspension of, or a delay in the commencement or completion of, clinical trials, such as the partial clinical hold on our IND for ADVM-022 for the treatment of wet AMD, may also ultimately lead to the denial of regulatory approval of a product candidate. If we make manufacturing or formulation changes to our product candidates, we may need to conduct additional studies to bridge our modified product candidates to earlier versions. Further, if one or more clinical trials are delayed, including as a result of the partial clinical hold on our IND for ADVM-022 for the treatment of wet AMD, or terminated, our competitors may be able to bring products to market before we do, and the commercial viability of our product candidates could be significantly reduced.

If we do not achieve our projected development goals in the time frames we announce and expect, the commercialization of our product candidates, if approved, may be delayed and the credibility of our management team may be adversely affected and, as a result, our stock price may decline.

From time to time, we estimate the timing of the accomplishment of various scientific, clinical, regulatory and other product development goals, which we sometimes refer to as milestones. These milestones may include the commencement or completion of, or the availability of data from, scientific studies and clinical trials and the submission of regulatory filings. From time to time, we may publicly announce the expected timing of some of these milestones. All of these milestones will be based on a variety of assumptions. The actual timing of these milestones can vary dramatically compared to our estimates, in some cases for reasons beyond our control. If we do not meet these milestones as publicly announced, the commercialization of our products may be delayed and the credibility of our management team may be adversely affected and, as a result, our stock price may decline.

Final marketing approval for our product candidates by the FDA or other regulatory authorities for commercial use may be delayed, limited or denied, any of which would adversely affect our ability to generate operating revenue.

Even if we are able to successfully complete our clinical trials and submit a BLA, we cannot predict whether or when we will obtain regulatory approval to commercialize our product candidates, and we cannot, therefore, predict the timing of any future revenue. We cannot commercialize our product candidates until the appropriate regulatory authorities have reviewed and approved the applicable applications. We cannot assure you that the regulatory agencies will complete their review processes in a timely manner or that we will obtain regulatory approval for our product candidates. In addition, we may experience delays or rejections based upon additional government regulation from future legislation or administrative action or changes in FDA policy during the period of product development, clinical trials and FDA regulatory review. If marketing approval for any product candidate is delayed, limited or denied, our ability to market the product candidate, and our ability to generate product sales, would be adversely affected.

 

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Even if we obtain marketing approval for any of our product candidates, they could be subject to restrictions or withdrawal from the market, and we may be subject to penalties if we fail to comply with regulatory requirements or if we experience unanticipated problems with our product candidates, when and if any of them are approved.

Even if U.S. regulatory approval is obtained, the FDA may still impose significant restrictions on a product’s indicated uses, marketing or distribution or impose ongoing requirements for potentially costly and time-consuming post-approval studies, post-market surveillance or clinical trials. Following approval, if at all, of any of our product candidates, such candidate will also be subject to ongoing FDA requirements governing the labeling, packaging, storage, distribution, safety surveillance, advertising, promotion, recordkeeping and reporting of safety and other post-market information. In addition, manufacturers of drug products and their facilities are subject to continual review and periodic inspections by the FDA and other regulatory authorities for compliance with cGMP requirements relating to quality control, quality assurance and corresponding maintenance of records and documents. If we 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 on that product, the manufacturing facility or us, including requesting recall or withdrawal of the product from the market or suspension of manufacturing.

If we or the manufacturing facilities for any product candidate that may receive regulatory approval fail to comply with applicable regulatory requirements, a regulatory agency may:

 

   

issue warning letters or untitled letters;

 

   

seek an injunction or impose civil or criminal penalties or monetary fines;

 

   

suspend or withdraw regulatory approval;

 

   

suspend any ongoing clinical trials;

 

   

refuse to approve pending applications or supplements or applications filed by us;

 

   

institute import holds;

 

   

suspend or impose restrictions on operations, including costly new manufacturing requirements; or

 

   

seize or detain products, refuse to permit the import or export of product or request us to initiate a product recall.

The occurrence of any event or penalty described above may inhibit our ability to commercialize our product candidates and generate revenue. The FDA has the authority to require a risk evaluation and mitigation strategy (“REMS”) plan as part of a BLA or after approval, which may impose further requirements or restrictions on the distribution or use of an approved drug, such as limiting prescribing to certain physicians or medical centers that have undergone specialized training, limiting treatment to patients who meet certain safe-use criteria and requiring treated patients to enroll in a registry.

In addition, if any of our product candidates is approved, our product labeling, advertising and promotion would be subject to regulatory requirements and ongoing regulatory review. The FDA strictly regulates the promotional claims that may be made about prescription products. In particular, a product may not be promoted for uses that are not approved by the FDA as reflected in the product’s approved labeling. If we receive marketing approval for a product candidate, physicians may nevertheless prescribe it to their patients in a manner that is inconsistent with the approved label. If we are found to have promoted such off-label uses, we may become subject to significant liability. The FDA and other agencies actively enforce the laws and regulations prohibiting the promotion of off-label uses, and a

 

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company that is found to have improperly promoted off-label uses 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 be subject to permanent injunctions under which specified promotional conduct is changed or curtailed.

Even if we receive regulatory approval, we still may not be able to successfully commercialize any of our product candidates, and the revenue that we generate from its sales, if any, could be limited.

Even if any of our product candidates receive regulatory approval, they may not gain market acceptance among physicians, patients, healthcare payers or the medical community. Coverage and reimbursement of our product candidates by third-party payers, including government payers, is also generally necessary for commercial success. The degree of market acceptance of our product candidates will depend on a number of factors, including:

 

   

demonstration of clinical efficacy, including duration of efficacy, and safety compared to other more-established products;

 

   

the limitation of our targeted patient population and other limitations or warnings contained in any FDA-approved labeling;

 

   

acceptance of new therapeutic options by health care providers and their patients;

 

   

the prevalence and severity of any adverse effects;

 

   

new procedures or methods of treatment that may be more effective in treating or may reduce the incidences of wet AMD, diabetic retinopathy, hereditary angioedema, or other conditions that our product candidates are intended to treat;

 

   

pricing and cost-effectiveness;

 

   

the effectiveness of our or any future collaborators’ sales and marketing strategies;

 

   

our ability to obtain and maintain sufficient third-party coverage and reimbursement from government health care programs, including Medicare and Medicaid, private health insurers and other third-party payers;

 

   

unfavorable publicity relating to the product candidate; and

 

   

the willingness of patients to pay out-of-pocket in the absence of third-party coverage and reimbursement.

If any product candidate is approved but does not achieve an adequate level of acceptance by physicians, hospitals, healthcare payers or patients, we may not generate sufficient revenue from that product candidate and may not become or remain profitable. Our efforts to educate the medical community and third-party payers on the benefits of such a product candidate may require significant resources and may never be successful. In addition, our ability to successfully commercialize any of our product candidates will depend on our ability to manufacture our products, differentiate our products from competing products and defend and enforce our intellectual property rights relating to our products.

If the market for our product candidate, if approved, in the treatment of wet AMD, or any other indication we seek to treat is smaller than we believe it is, our future revenue may be adversely affected, and our business may suffer.

We are advancing the development of ADVM-022 for the treatment of wet AMD, a disease we believe to be the most common cause of vision loss in adults over the age of 50 in developed

 

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countries. If the size of the market for wet AMD or any other indication we seek to treat is smaller than we anticipate (including in our rare disease programs), we may not be able to achieve profitability and growth. Our projections of the number of people who have wet AMD and other indications, as well as the subset of people with the disease who have the potential to benefit from treatment with ADVM-022 or other future product candidates, are based on estimates. These estimates have been derived from a variety of sources, including the scientific literature, surveys of clinics, patient foundations and 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 than expected. The effort to identify patients with diseases we seek to treat is in early stages as we continue to enroll patients in the OPTIC trial of ADVM-022 for the treatment of wet AMD, and we cannot accurately predict the number of patients for whom treatment might be possible. For example, some patients with wet AMD have neutralizing antibodies at titer levels that may prevent them from benefiting from ADVM-022. If this patient population is larger than we estimate, the market for ADVM-022 may be smaller than we anticipate, and our future revenue may be adversely affected. In addition, we expect prophylactic steroid treatment will be required to manage inflammation associated with treatment with ADVM-022, and certain patients cannot be treated with prophylactic steroids. If this proportion of patient population is larger than we estimate, the market for ADVM-022 may be smaller than we anticipate. Additionally, the potentially addressable patient population may be limited or may not be amenable to treatment with our product candidates for other reasons, and new patients may become increasingly difficult to identify or gain access to, which would adversely affect our results of operations and our business.

Further, even if we obtain significant market share for any of our rare disease programs, because the potential target population is very small, we may never achieve profitability despite obtaining such significant market share.

Additionally, because the target patient population for any of our rare disease programs is relatively small, the pricing and reimbursement of these product candidates, if approved, must be adequate to support commercial infrastructure. If we are unable to obtain adequate levels of reimbursement, our ability to successfully market and sell any of our product candidates targeting such rare disease will be adversely affected. The manner and level at which reimbursement is provided for services related to this product candidate (e.g., for administration of such product to patients) is also important. Inadequate reimbursement for such services may lead to physician resistance and adversely affect our ability to market or sell our product candidates targeting such rare disease.

Coverage and reimbursement may be limited or unavailable in certain market segments for our product candidates, which could make it difficult for us to sell our product candidates profitably.

Market acceptance and sales of our product candidates will depend significantly on the availability of adequate coverage and reimbursement from third-party payers for any of our product candidates and may be affected by existing and future health care reform measures. Government authorities and third-party payers, such as private health insurers and health maintenance organizations, decide which drugs they will pay for and establish reimbursement levels. Reimbursement by a third-party payer may depend upon a number of factors including the third-party payer’s determination that use of a product candidate is:

 

   

a covered benefit under its health plan;

 

   

safe, effective and medically necessary;

 

   

appropriate for the specific patient; and

 

   

cost-effective.

 

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Obtaining coverage and reimbursement approval for a product candidate from a government or other third-party payer is a time-consuming and costly process that could require us to provide supporting scientific, clinical and cost effectiveness data for the use of the applicable product candidate to the payer. We may not be able to provide data sufficient to gain acceptance with respect to coverage and reimbursement. While there is no uniform coverage and reimbursement policy among payers in the United States, private payers often follow Medicare coverage policy and payment limitations in setting their own reimbursement rates. We cannot be sure that coverage or adequate reimbursement will be available for any of our product candidates. Further, reimbursement amounts may reduce the demand for, or the price of, our product candidates. If reimbursement is not available or is available only in limited levels, we may not be able to commercialize certain of our product candidates profitably, or at all, even if approved.

A number of cell and gene therapy products recently have been approved by the FDA. Although the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”) approved its first method of coverage and reimbursement for one such product, the methodology has been subject to challenge by members of Congress. CMS’s decision as to coverage and reimbursement for one product does not mean that all similar products will be eligible for analogous coverage and reimbursement. As there is no uniform policy for coverage and reimbursement amongst third-party payors in the United States, even if CMS approves coverage and reimbursement for any of our product candidates, it is unclear what affect, if any, such a decision will have on our ability to obtain and maintain coverage and adequate reimbursement from other private payors.

As a result of legislative proposals and the trend toward managed health care in the U.S., third-party payers are increasingly attempting to contain health care costs by limiting both coverage and the level of reimbursement of new drugs. By way of example, in March 2010, the Affordable Care Act was enacted with a goal of reducing the cost of healthcare and substantially changing the way healthcare is financed by both government and private insurers. 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, extended the rebate program to individuals enrolled in Medicaid managed care organizations and established annual fees and taxes on manufacturers of certain prescription drugs.

There remain judicial and Congressional challenges to certain aspects of the Affordable Care Act. Since January 2017, President Trump has signed Executive Orders and other directives designed to eliminate, circumvent or loosen the implementation of certain provisions of the Affordable Care Act or otherwise circumvent some of the requirements for health insurance mandated by the Affordable Care Act. Concurrently, Congress has considered legislation that would repeal or repeal and replace all or part of the Affordable Care Act. While Congress has not passed repeal legislation, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 includes a provision that repealed, effective January 1, 2019, the tax-based shared responsibility payment imposed by the Affordable Care Act on certain individuals who fail to maintain qualifying health coverage for all or part of a year that is commonly referred to as the “individual mandate.” Additionally, the 2020 federal spending package permanently eliminated, effective January 1, 2020, the Affordable Care Act’s mandated “Cadillac” tax on high-cost employer-sponsored health coverage and medical device tax and, effective January 1, 2021, also eliminates the health insurer tax. Moreover, the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, or the BBA, among other things, amended the Affordable Care Act, effective January 1, 2019, to increase from 50 percent to 70 percent the point-of-sale discount that is owed by pharmaceutical manufacturers who participate in Medicare Part D and to close the coverage gap in most Medicare Part D drug plans, commonly referred to as the “donut hole.” Further, in December 2018, CMS published a final rule permitting further collections and payments to and from certain Affordable Care Act-qualified health plans and health insurance issuers under the Affordable Care Act adjustment program in response to the outcome of federal district court

 

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litigation regarding the method CMS uses to determine this risk adjustment. Congress may consider other legislation to repeal or replace elements of the Affordable Care Act. In December 2018, a federal district court judge in Texas found the ACA’s individual mandate to be unconstitutional and therefore the entire law to be invalid. In December 2019, the Fifth Circuit affirmed the ruling regarding the individual mandate but remanded the case to the district court for additional analysis of the question of severability and whether other portions of the law remain valid. It is unclear how this decision, future decisions, subsequent appeals, and other efforts to repeal and replace the ACA will impact the ACA and our business.

Other legislative changes have also been proposed and adopted in the U.S. since the Affordable Care Act was enacted. On August 2, 2011, the Budget Control Act of 2011 created measures for spending reductions by Congress. A Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, tasked with recommending a targeted deficit reduction of at least $1.2 trillion for the years 2013 through 2021, was unable to reach required goals, thereby triggering the legislation’s automatic reduction to several government programs. This included aggregate reductions of Medicare payments to providers of 2% per fiscal year, which went into effect on April 1, 2013 and due to subsequent legislative changes to the statute, including the BBA, will stay in effect through 2029 unless additional Congressional action is taken.

These cost reduction initiatives could decrease the coverage and reimbursement that we receive for any approved products and could seriously harm our business. We expect that additional healthcare reform measures will be adopted in the future, any of which could limit the amounts that federal, state and foreign governments will pay for healthcare products and services, which could result in reduced demand for our product candidates, if approved, or additional pricing pressures.

Recently there has been heightened governmental scrutiny over pharmaceutical pricing practices in light of the rising cost of prescription drugs and biologics. Such scrutiny has resulted in several recent Congressional inquiries and proposed and enacted federal and state legislation designed to, among other things, bring more transparency to product pricing, review the relationship between pricing and manufacturer patient programs, and reform government program reimbursement methodologies for products. At the federal level, the Trump administration has proposed further drug price control measures that could be enacted by future regulatory action or in future legislation, including, for example, measures to permit Medicare Part D plans to negotiate the price of certain drugs, to set reimbursement under Medicare Part B according to an international pricing index, to allow some states to negotiate drug prices under Medicaid, and to eliminate cost sharing for generic drugs for low-income patients. Further, the Trump administration 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 solicited feedback on some of these measures and has implemented others under its existing authority. Although a number of these and other measures may require additional authorization to become effective, Congress and the Trump administration have each indicated that it will continue to seek new legislative and/or administrative measures to control drug costs. At the state level, legislatures are increasingly passing legislation and implementing 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.

The continuing efforts of the government, insurance companies, managed care organizations and other payers of healthcare services to contain or reduce costs of health care may adversely affect:

 

   

the demand for any product candidates for which we may obtain regulatory approval;

 

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our ability to set a price that we believe is fair for our product candidates;

 

   

our ability to generate revenue and achieve or maintain profitability;

 

   

the level of taxes that we are required to pay; and

 

   

the availability of capital.

Due to the novel nature of our technology and the potential for our product candidates to offer therapeutic benefit in a single administration, we face uncertainty related to pricing and reimbursement for these product candidates.

Our product candidates are designed to provide potential therapeutic benefit after a single administration and, therefore, the pricing and reimbursement of our product candidates, if approved, must be adequate to support commercial infrastructure. If we are unable to obtain adequate levels of reimbursement, our ability to successfully market and sell our product candidates will be adversely affected. The manner and level at which reimbursement is provided for services related to our product candidates (e.g., for administration of our product to patients) is also important. Inadequate reimbursement for such services may lead to physician resistance and adversely affect our ability to market or sell our product candidates.

We are subject to many manufacturing and distribution risks, any of which could substantially increase our costs and limit supply of our product candidates.

The process of manufacturing our product candidates is complex, highly regulated and subject to several risks, including:

 

   

The manufacturing and distribution of biologics is extremely susceptible to product loss due to contamination, equipment failure, improper installation or operation of equipment or vendor or operator error. Even minor deviations from normal manufacturing processes could result in reduced production yields, product defects, and other supply disruptions. If microbial, viral, or other contaminations are discovered in our product candidates or in the manufacturing facility in which our product candidates are made, such manufacturing facility may need to be closed for an extended period of time to investigate and remedy the contamination.

 

   

The manufacturing facilities in which our product candidates are made could be adversely affected by equipment failures, labor shortages, contaminants, raw materials shortages, natural disasters, power failures, and numerous other factors.

 

   

We and our contract manufacturers must comply with the FDA’s cGMP regulations and guidelines. We and our contract manufacturers may encounter difficulties in achieving quality control and quality assurance and may experience shortages in qualified personnel. We and our contract manufacturers are subject to inspections by the FDA and comparable agencies in other jurisdictions to confirm compliance with applicable regulatory requirements. Any failure to follow cGMP or other regulatory requirements or any delay, interruption, or other issues that arise in the manufacture, fill-finish, packaging or storage of our product candidates as a result of a failure of our facilities, or the facilities or operations of third parties, to comply with regulatory requirements or pass any regulatory authority inspection could significantly impair our ability to develop and commercialize our product candidates. This may lead to significant delays in the availability of sufficient supply of the product candidate substance for our clinical trials or the termination or hold on a clinical trial, or the delay or prevention of a filing or approval of marketing applications for our product candidates. Significant noncompliance could also result in the imposition of sanctions, including fines, injunctions, civil penalties, failure of regulatory authorities to grant marketing approvals for our product candidates, delays, suspension or withdrawal of approvals, license revocation, seizures or recalls of products,

 

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operating restrictions, and criminal prosecutions, any of which could be costly and damage our reputation. If we are not able to maintain regulatory compliance, we may not be permitted to market our product candidates, if approved, and/or may be subject to product recalls, seizures, injunctions or criminal prosecution.

 

   

Our product candidates are biologics and require processing steps that are more complex than those required for most chemical pharmaceuticals. Moreover, unlike chemical pharmaceuticals, the physical and chemical properties of a biologic such as our product candidates generally cannot be adequately characterized prior to manufacturing the final product. As a result, an assay of the finished product is not sufficient to ensure that the product will perform in the intended manner. Accordingly, we expect to employ multiple steps to attempt to control our manufacturing process and assure that the product or product candidate is made strictly and consistently in compliance with the process.

 

   

We have to develop the manufacturing process for late stage clinical product, and our current process has not been fully characterized and therefore is open to potential variations that could lead to defective product substance that does not meet specification.

 

   

Problems with the manufacturing, storage or distribution of our product candidates, including even minor deviations from our established parameters, could result in product defects or manufacturing failures that result in lot failures, product recalls, product liability claims and insufficient inventory.

 

   

Some of the raw materials required in our manufacturing process are derived from biological sources. Such raw materials are difficult to procure and may also be subject to contamination or recall. A material shortage, contamination, recall or restriction on the use of biologically derived substances in the manufacture of our product candidates could adversely impact or disrupt commercialization.

 

   

Any adverse developments affecting manufacturing operations for our product candidates may result in shipment delays, inventory shortages, lot failures, product withdrawals or recalls, or other interruptions in the supply of our product candidates. We may also have to take inventory write-offs and incur other charges and expenses for product substance that fails to meet specifications, undertake costly remediation efforts, or seek more costly manufacturing alternatives. We may encounter problems manufacturing sufficient research-, clinical-, or commercial-grade materials that meet FDA, EMA or other applicable standards or specifications with consistent and acceptable production yields and costs.

We may not be successful in establishing and maintaining development or other strategic collaborations, which could adversely affect our ability to develop and commercialize product candidates and receive milestone and/or royalty payments.

We have entered into development or other strategic collaborations with major biotechnology or pharmaceutical companies. Research activities under our collaboration agreements are subject to mutually agreed-on research plans and budgets, and if we and our strategic partners are unable to agree on the research plan or research budget in a timely fashion or at all, performance of research activities will be delayed. In addition, some of our strategic partners may terminate any agreements they enter into with us or allow such agreements to expire by their terms. If we fail to maintain our current or future strategic collaborations, we may not realize milestone and royalty payments or other revenues under the collaboration agreements.

We may form strategic alliances in the future, and we may not realize the benefits of such alliances.

We may form strategic alliances, create joint ventures or collaborations, or enter into licensing arrangements with third parties that we believe will complement or augment our existing business,

 

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including for the continued development or commercialization of our product candidates. These relationships or those like them may require us to incur non-recurring and other charges, increase our near- and long-term expenditures, issue securities that dilute our existing stockholders, or disrupt our management and business. In addition, we face significant competition in seeking appropriate strategic partners and the negotiation process is time-consuming and complex. Moreover, we may not be successful in our efforts to establish a strategic partnership or other alternative arrangements for our product candidates because third parties may view the risk of failure in future clinical trials as too significant, or the commercial opportunity for our product candidate as too limited. We cannot be certain that, following a strategic transaction or license, we will achieve the revenue or specific net income that justifies such transaction. Even if we are successful in our efforts to establish development partnerships, the terms that we agree upon may not be favorable to us, and we may not be able to maintain such development partnerships if, for example, development or approval of a product candidate is delayed or sales of an approved product candidate are disappointing. Any delay in entering into development partnership agreements related to our product candidates could delay the development and commercialization of our product candidates and reduce their competitiveness if they reach the market.

If our competitors develop treatments for the target indications of our product candidates that are approved, marketed more successfully, or demonstrated to be safer or more effective or easier to administer than our product candidates, our commercial opportunity will be reduced or eliminated.

We operate in highly competitive segments of the biopharmaceutical markets. We face competition from many different sources, including larger and better-funded pharmaceutical, specialty pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and gene therapy companies, as well as from academic institutions, government agencies and private and public research institutions. Our product candidates, if successfully developed and approved, will compete with established therapies as well as with new treatments that may be introduced by our competitors. There are a variety of drug candidates and gene therapies in development or being commercialized by our competitors for the indications that we intend to test. Many of our competitors have significantly greater financial, product candidate development, manufacturing, and marketing resources than we do. Large pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies have extensive experience in clinical testing and obtaining regulatory approval for drugs. In addition, universities and private and public research institutes may be active in our target disease areas, and some could be in direct competition with us. We also may compete with these organizations to recruit management, scientists, and clinical development personnel. We will also face competition from these third parties in establishing clinical trial sites, registering patients for clinical trials, and in identifying and in-licensing new product candidates. For example, REGENXBIO is developing RGX-314, an AAV-based gene therapy delivering Lucentis (ranibizumab) for the treatment of wAMD, DR, and DME, which competes for the same patients, study site resources, and personnel as ADVM-022. Smaller or early-stage companies may also prove to be significant competitors, particularly through collaborative arrangements with large and established companies.

New developments, including the development of other biotechnology and vectorology technologies and methods of treating disease, occur in the pharmaceutical, biotechnology and gene therapy industries at a rapid pace. Developments by competitors may render our product candidates obsolete or noncompetitive. Competition in drug development is intense. In addition, we believe that duration of efficacy is an important consideration by physicians and patients when choosing a therapy. However, we do not know and may not know prior to any potential approval the duration of efficacy of our product candidates. We anticipate that we will face intense and increasing competition as new treatments enter the market and advanced technologies become available.

Even if we obtain regulatory approval for our product candidates, the availability and price of our competitors’ products could limit the demand, and the price we are able to charge, for our product

 

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candidates. For example, Lucentis® and EYLEA are currently available in the U.S. for treatment of wet AMD, diabetic macular edema, macular edema secondary to retinal vein occlusion and diabetic retinopathy. We will not achieve our business plan if the acceptance of our product candidates is inhibited by price competition or the reluctance of physicians to switch from existing methods of treatment to our product candidates, or if physicians switch to other new drug products or choose to reserve our product candidates for use in limited circumstances. Our inability to compete with existing or subsequently introduced drug products or other therapies would have a material adverse impact on our business, prospects, financial condition and results of operations.

Our potential competitors in these diseases may be developing novel therapies that may be safer or more effective or easier to administer than our product candidates. For example, if we continue clinical development of, and seek to commercialize, ADVM-022 for the treatment of wet AMD, it will compete with a variety of therapies currently marketed and in development for wet AMD, using therapeutic modalities such as biologics, small molecules, long acting delivery devices, and gene therapy. Lucentis and EYLEA are anti-VEGF therapies that are well established and widely accepted by physicians, patients and third-party payers as the standard of care for the treatment of wet AMD. There are several other companies with marketed products or products in development for the treatment of wet AMD, including Allergan, Bayer, Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd., Novartis, Regeneron and REGENXBIO.

We have no sales, marketing or distribution capabilities, and we would have to invest significant resources to develop these capabilities.

We have no internal sales, marketing, or distribution capabilities. If any of our product candidates ultimately receive regulatory approval, we may not be able to effectively market and distribute the product candidate. We would have to invest significant amounts of financial and management resources to develop internal sales, distribution and marketing capabilities, some of which will be committed prior to any confirmation that any of our product candidates will be approved, if at all. We may not be able to hire consultants or external service providers to assist us in sales, marketing and distribution functions on acceptable financial terms or at all. Even if we determine to perform sales, marketing and distribution functions ourselves, we could face a number of additional related risks, including:

 

   

we may not be able to attract and build an effective marketing department or sales force;

 

   

the cost of establishing a marketing department or sales force may exceed our available financial resources and the revenue generated by any product candidates that we may develop, in-license or acquire; and

 

   

our direct sales and marketing efforts may not be successful.

Governments may impose price controls, which may adversely affect our future profitability.

We intend to seek approval to market our product candidates in both the U.S. and in foreign jurisdictions. If we obtain approval in one or more jurisdictions, we will be subject to rules and regulations in those jurisdictions relating to our product candidates. In some countries, particularly in the European Union, the pricing of prescription pharmaceuticals is subject to governmental control. In these countries, pricing negotiations with governmental authorities can take considerable time after the receipt of marketing approval for a product candidate. If reimbursement of our future products is unavailable or limited in scope or amount, or if pricing is set at unsatisfactory levels, we may be unable to achieve or sustain profitability.

 

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Risks Related to Our Business Operations

Negative public opinion and increased regulatory scrutiny of gene therapy and genetic research may damage public perception of our product candidates or adversely affect our ability to conduct our business or obtain marketing approvals for our product candidates.

Public perception may be influenced by claims that gene therapy is unsafe, and gene therapy may not gain the acceptance of the public or the medical community. In particular, our success will depend upon physicians specializing in the treatment of those diseases that our product candidates target prescribing treatments that involve the use of our product candidates in lieu of, or in addition to, existing symptomatic treatments they are already familiar with and for which greater clinical data may be available.

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 products we may develop. Trials using early versions of retroviral vectors, which integrate into, and thereby alter, the host cell’s DNA, have led to several well-publicized adverse events. Although none of our current product candidates utilize retroviruses and we believe AAVs used in our product candidates have low-integrating potential and are not known to cause disease in humans, our product candidates do use a viral vector delivery system. The risk of serious adverse events remains a concern for gene therapy and we cannot assure that it will not occur in any of our current or future clinical trials. In addition, there is the potential risk of delayed adverse events following exposure to gene therapy products due to persistent biological activity of the genetic material or other components of products used to carry the genetic material.

Adverse events in trials or studies conducted by us or other parties, in particular involving the same or similar AAV serotypes to the ones we are using, even if not ultimately attributable to our product candidates or to an AAV serotype that we employ, and resulting publicity, could result in increased governmental regulation, unfavorable public perception, potential regulatory delays in the testing or approval of our product candidates, stricter labeling requirements for those product candidates that are approved and a decrease in demand for any such product candidates. Similarly, our lead product candidate, ADVM-022 expresses the aflibercept protein, which is also the active ingredient in Eylea. If safety or efficacy issues occur relating to Eylea, even if not ultimately attributable to aflibercept, this may negatively impact our product candidate. If any such adverse events or issues occur, development and commercialization of our product candidates or advancement of any potential clinical trials could be halted or delayed, which would have a material adverse effect on our business and operations.

We are dependent on the services of our key executives and clinical and scientific staff, and if we are not able to retain these members of our management or recruit additional management, clinical and scientific personnel, our business will suffer.

We are dependent on the principal members of our management, clinical and scientific staff. The loss of service of any of our management or clinical or scientific staff could harm our business. In addition, we are dependent on our continued ability to attract, retain and motivate highly qualified additional management, clinical and scientific personnel. If we are not able to retain our management, and to attract, on acceptable terms, additional qualified personnel necessary for the continued development of our business, we may not be able to sustain our operations or grow. Although we have executed employment agreements with each member of our current executive management team, these agreements are terminable at will with or without notice and, therefore, we may not be able to retain their services as expected.

We may not be able to attract or retain qualified management, scientific and clinical personnel in the future due to the intense competition for qualified personnel among biotechnology, pharmaceutical

 

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and other businesses, particularly in the San Francisco Bay Area. Our industry has experienced a high rate of turnover of management and scientific personnel in recent years. If we are not able to attract, retain and motivate necessary personnel to accomplish our business objectives, we may experience constraints that will significantly impede the achievement of our development objectives, our ability to raise additional capital and our ability to implement our business strategy.

Additionally, we do not currently maintain “key person” life insurance on the lives of our executives or any of our employees. This lack of insurance means that we may not have adequate compensation for the loss of the services of these individuals.

We may encounter difficulties in managing our growth and expanding our operations successfully.

We had 107 full-time employees as of December 31, 2019. We will need to grow our organization, or certain functions within our organization, substantially to continue development and pursue the potential commercialization of our product candidates, as well as function as a public company. As we seek to advance our product candidates, we may need to expand our financial, development, regulatory, manufacturing, marketing and sales capabilities or contract with third parties to provide these capabilities for us. As our operations expand, we expect that we will need to manage additional relationships with various strategic partners, suppliers and other third parties. Future growth will impose significant added responsibilities on members of management and require us to retain or otherwise manage additional internal capabilities. Our future financial performance and our ability to commercialize our product candidates and to compete effectively will depend, in part, on our ability to manage any future growth effectively. To that end, we must be able to manage our development efforts and clinical trials effectively and hire, train and integrate any additional management, clinical and regulatory, financial, administrative and sales and marketing personnel. We may not be able to accomplish these tasks, and our failure to accomplish them could prevent us from successfully growing our company.

If we fail to comply with applicable state and federal healthcare laws, we may be subject to civil or criminal penalties and/or exclusion from federal and/or state healthcare programs.

In addition to FDA restrictions on the marketing of pharmaceutical products, several other types of state and federal healthcare fraud and abuse laws have been applied in recent years to restrict certain marketing practices in the pharmaceutical industry. These laws include anti-kickback, false claims, physician payment transparency and privacy and security laws and regulations. Because of the breadth of these laws and the narrowness of their exceptions and safe harbors, it is possible that some of our business activities could be subject to challenge under one or more of these laws.

The federal Anti-Kickback Statute prohibits, among other things, knowingly and willfully offering, paying, soliciting or receiving remuneration to induce, or in return for, purchasing, leasing, ordering or arranging for the purchase, lease or order of any healthcare item or service reimbursable under Medicare, Medicaid or other federally financed healthcare programs. Remuneration has been broadly defined to include anything of value, including cash, improper discounts, and free or reduced-price items and services. This statute has been interpreted to apply to arrangements between pharmaceutical manufacturers on the one hand and prescribers, purchasers and formula managers on the other. Although there are several statutory exceptions and regulatory safe harbors protecting certain common activities from prosecution, the exceptions and safe harbors are drawn narrowly, and practices that involve remuneration intended to induce prescribing, purchasing or recommending may be subject to scrutiny if they do not qualify for an exception or safe harbor. Many states have similar laws that apply to their state health care programs as well as private payers.

 

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The federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (“HIPAA”) created new federal criminal statutes that prohibit among other actions, knowingly and willfully executing, or attempting to execute, a scheme to defraud any healthcare benefit program, including private third-party payers; knowingly and willfully embezzling or stealing from a healthcare benefit program; willfully obstructing a criminal investigation of a healthcare offense; and knowingly and willfully falsifying, concealing or covering up a material fact or making any materially false, fictitious or fraudulent statement in connection with the delivery of or payment for healthcare benefits, items or services. The Affordable Care Act, among other things, amended the intent requirement of the federal Anti-Kickback Statute and certain criminal statutes governing healthcare fraud. A person or entity no longer needs to have actual knowledge of the statute or specific intent to violate it. In addition, the Affordable Care Act provided that 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 False Claims Act.

Additionally, federal false claims laws, including the False Claims Act, and the civil monetary penalty law prohibit knowingly presenting or causing the presentation of a false, fictitious, or fraudulent claim for payment to the U.S. government. Actions under the False Claims Act may be brought by the Attorney General or as a qui tam action by a private individual in the name of the government. Violations of the False Claims Act can result in significant monetary penalties and treble damages. The federal government is using the False Claims Act, and the accompanying threat of significant liability, in its investigation and prosecution of pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies throughout the country, for example, in connection with the promotion of products for unapproved uses and other sales and marketing practices. The government has obtained multi-million and multi-billion dollar settlements under the False Claims Act in addition to individual criminal convictions under applicable criminal statutes. Given the significant size of actual and potential settlements, it is expected that the government will continue to devote substantial resources to investigating healthcare providers’ and manufacturers’ compliance with applicable fraud and abuse laws.

In addition, there has been a recent trend of increased federal and state regulation of payments made to physicians and other healthcare providers. The Affordable Care Act, among other things, imposes new reporting requirements on drug manufacturers, under the federal Physician Payments Sunshine Act, for payments made by them to physicians, as defined by such law, and teaching hospitals, as well as ownership and investment interests held by physicians and their immediate family members. Failure to submit required information may result in significant civil monetary penalties, for all payments, transfers of value or ownership or investment interests that are not timely, accurately and completely reported in an annual submission. Certain states also mandate implementation of commercial compliance programs, impose restrictions on drug manufacturer marketing practices and/or require the tracking and reporting of gifts, compensation and other remuneration to physicians.

The need to build and maintain a robust compliance program with different compliance and/or reporting requirements increases the possibility that a healthcare company may violate one or more of the requirements. If our operations are found to be in violation of any of such laws or any other governmental regulations that apply to us, we may be subject to significant penalties, including, without limitation, civil and criminal penalties, damages, fines, the curtailment or restructuring of our operations, exclusion from participation in federal and state healthcare programs, imprisonment, and additional reporting requirements and oversight if we become subject to a corporate integrity agreement or similar agreement to resolve allegations of non-compliance with these laws, any of which could adversely affect our ability to operate our business and our financial results.

 

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We are subject to certain U.S. and foreign anti-corruption, anti-money laundering, export control, sanctions, and other trade laws and regulations (collectively, “Trade Laws”). We can face serious consequences for violations.

Among other matters, Trade Laws prohibit companies and their employees, agents, CROs, legal counsel, accountants, consultants, contractors, and other partners from authorizing, promising, offering, provide, soliciting, or receiving directly or indirectly, corrupt or improper payments or anything else or anything of value to or from recipients in the public or private sector. Violations of Trade laws can result in substantial criminal fines and civil penalties, imprisonment, the loss of trade privileges, debarment, tax assessments, breach of contract and fraud litigation, reputational harm, and other consequences. We have direct or indirect interactions with officials and employees of government agencies or government-affiliated hospitals, universities, and other organizations. We also expect our non-U.S. activities to increase in time. We engage third parties for clinical trials and/or obtain necessary permits, licenses, registrations, and other regulatory approvals. We can be held liable for the corrupt or other illegal activities of our personnel, agents, or partners, even if we do not explicitly authorize or have prior knowledge of such activities.

If we fail to comply with applicable U.S. and foreign privacy and data protection laws and regulation, we may be subject to liabilities that adversely affect our business, operations and financial performance.

We are subject to or affected by numerous federal, state and foreign laws and regulations, as well as regulatory guidance, governing the collection, use, disclosure, retention, and security of personal data, such as information that we collect about patients and healthcare providers in connection with clinical trials in the U.S. and abroad. The global data protection landscape is rapidly evolving, and implementation standards and enforcement practices are likely to remain uncertain for the foreseeable future. This evolution may create uncertainty in our business, result in liability or impose additional costs on us. The cost of compliance with these laws, regulations and standards is high and is likely to increase in the future. Any failure or perceived failure by us to comply with federal, state, or foreign laws or self-regulatory standards could result in negative publicity, diversion of management time and effort and proceedings against us by governmental entities or others. In many jurisdictions, enforcement actions and consequences for noncompliance are rising.

For example, HIPAA, as amended by the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act of 2009 (“HITECH”), imposes, among other things, certain standards relating to the privacy, security, transmission and breach reporting of individually identifiable health information, upon health plans, healthcare clearinghouses and certain healthcare providers, and their respective business associates that perform services for them involving individually identifiable health information. In the event we are subject to HIPAA, and fail to properly maintain the privacy and security of certain individually identifiable health information, or we are responsible for an inadvertent disclosure or security breach of such individually identifiable health information, we could be subject to enforcement measures, including civil and criminal penalties and fines for violations of state and federal privacy or security standards, such as HIPAA and HITECH, and their respective implementing regulations. Additionally, certain states have adopted comparable privacy and security laws and regulations, some of which may be more stringent than HIPAA. HIPAA, HITECH and comparable state laws and regulations will be subject to interpretation by various courts and other governmental authorities, thus creating potentially complex compliance issues for us and our future customers and strategic partners. Any liability from failure to comply with the requirements of these laws, to the extent such requirements are deemed to apply to our operations, could adversely affect our financial condition. The costs of complying with privacy and security related legal and regulatory requirements are burdensome and could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations.

 

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Our operations abroad may also be subject to increased scrutiny or attention from data protection authorities. Many countries in these regions have established or are in the process of establishing privacy and data security legal frameworks with which we, our customers, or our vendors must comply. For example, the EU has adopted the General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR, which went into effect in May 2018 and introduced strict requirements for processing personal data. The GDPR is likely to increase compliance burden on us, including by mandating potentially burdensome documentation requirements, granting certain rights to individuals to control how we collect, use, disclose, retain and leverage information about them. The processing of sensitive personal data, such as physical health condition, may impose heightened compliance burdens under the GDPR and is a topic of active interest among foreign regulators. In addition, the GDPR provides for breach reporting requirements, more robust regulatory enforcement and fines of up to 20 million euros or up to 4% of the annual global revenue. In the United States, California recently enacted the California Consumer Privacy Act (“CCPA”), which took effect on January 1, 2020. The CCPA gives California residents expanded rights to access and delete their personal information, opt out of certain personal information sharing, and receive detailed information about how their personal information is used. The CCPA also requires covered businesses to provide detailed privacy notices to California residents and respond to requests from California residents to exercise their rights under the CCPA without discrimination. The CCPA provides for civil penalties for violations, as well as a private right of action for data breaches that is expected to increase data breach litigation. The CCPA may increase our compliance costs and potential liability. Some observers have noted that the CCPA could mark the beginning of a trend toward more stringent privacy legislation in the U.S. In addition to a new ballot measure already introduced in California which would amend the CCPA, the CCPA has prompted a number of proposals for new federal and state privacy legislation that, if passed, could increase our potential liability, increase our compliance costs and adversely affect our business. Further, as we continue to expand into other foreign countries and jurisdictions, we may be subject to additional laws and regulations that may affect how we conduct business.

We and our development partners, third-party manufacturer and suppliers use biological materials and use or may use hazardous materials, and any claims relating to improper handling, storage or disposal of these materials could be time consuming or costly.

We and our development partners, third-party manufacturer and suppliers use or may use hazardous materials, including chemicals and biological agents and compounds that could be dangerous to human health and safety or the environment. Our operations and the operations of our third-party manufacturers and suppliers also produce hazardous waste products. Federal, state and local laws and regulations govern the use, generation, manufacture, storage, handling and disposal of these materials and wastes. Compliance with applicable environmental laws and regulations may be expensive, and current or future environmental laws and regulations may impair our product development efforts. In addition, we cannot entirely eliminate the risk of accidental injury or contamination from these materials or wastes. We do not carry specific biological or hazardous waste insurance coverage, and our property, casualty and general liability insurance policies specifically exclude coverage for damages and fines arising from biological or hazardous waste exposure or contamination. Accordingly, in the event of contamination or injury, we could be held liable for damages or be penalized with fines in an amount exceeding our resources, and our clinical trials or regulatory approvals could be suspended.

If product liability lawsuits are brought against us, we may incur substantial liabilities and may be required to limit commercialization of our product candidates.

We face an inherent risk of product liability as a result of the clinical testing of our product candidates and will face an even greater risk if we commercialize our product candidates. For example, we may be sued if our product candidates allegedly caused or cause injury or are found to be

 

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otherwise unsuitable during product testing, manufacturing, marketing or sale. Any such product liability claims may include allegations of defects in manufacturing, defects in design, a failure to warn of dangers inherent in the product candidate, negligence, strict liability, and a breach of warranties. Claims could also be asserted under state consumer protection acts.

If we cannot successfully defend ourselves against product liability claims, we may incur substantial liabilities or be required to limit or cease the commercialization of our product candidates.

Even a successful defense would require significant financial and management resources. Regardless of the merits or eventual outcome, liability claims may result in:

 

   

decreased demand for our product candidates;

 

   

injury to our reputation;

 

   

withdrawal of clinical trial participants;

 

   

costs to defend the related litigation;

 

   

a diversion of management’s time and our resources;

 

   

substantial monetary awards to trial participants or patients;

 

   

product recalls, withdrawals or labeling, marketing or promotional restrictions;

 

   

loss of revenue;

 

   

the inability to commercialize our product candidates; and

 

   

a decline in our stock price.

We currently hold $5.0 million in product liability insurance, which may not adequately cover all liabilities that we may incur. We may not be able to maintain insurance coverage at a reasonable cost or in an amount adequate to satisfy any liability that may arise. Our inability to obtain and retain sufficient product liability insurance at an acceptable cost to protect against potential product liability claims could prevent or inhibit the commercialization of our product candidates. Although we plan to maintain such insurance, any claim that may be brought against us could result in a court judgment or settlement in an amount that is not covered, in whole or in part, by our insurance or that is in excess of the limits of our insurance coverage. Our insurance policies will also have various exclusions, and we may be subject to a product liability claim for which we have no coverage. We may have to pay any amounts awarded by a court or negotiated in a settlement that exceed our coverage limitations or that are not covered by our insurance, and we may not have, or be able to obtain, sufficient capital to pay such amounts.

We and any of our future development partners will be required to report to regulatory authorities if any of our approved products cause or contribute to adverse medical events, and any failure to do so would result in sanctions that would materially harm our business.

If we and any of our future development partners or CROs are successful in commercializing our products, the FDA and foreign regulatory authorities would require that we and any of our future development partners report certain information about adverse medical events if those products may have caused or contributed to those adverse events. The timing of our obligation to report would be triggered by the date we become aware of the adverse event as well as the nature of the event. We and any of our future development partners may fail to report adverse events we become aware of within the prescribed timeframe. We and any of our future development partners may also fail to appreciate that we have become aware of a reportable adverse event, especially if it is not reported to us as an adverse event or if it is an adverse event that is unexpected or removed in time from the use

 

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of our product candidates. If we and any of our future development partners fail to comply with our or their reporting obligations, the FDA or a foreign regulatory authority could take action, including criminal prosecution, the imposition of civil monetary penalties, seizure of the product and delay in approval or clearance of other products.

Our internal computer systems, or those of our development partners, CROs or other contractors or consultants, may fail or suffer security breaches, which could result in a material disruption of our product development programs.

In the ordinary course of our business, we, our CROs, and other third parties on which we rely, collect and store sensitive data, including legally protected patient health information, personally identifiable information about our employees, intellectual property, and proprietary business information. These applications and data encompass a wide variety of critical information including research and development information and business and financial information.

The secure processing, storage, maintenance, and transmission of this critical information is vital to our operations and business strategy. Despite the implementation of security measures to protect against unauthorized access or disclosure, our internal computer systems and those of our current and any future CROs and other contractors, consultants and collaborators are vulnerable to damage or attacks from computer viruses, unauthorized access, breaches, interruptions due to employee error, malfeasance or other disruptions, lapses in compliance with privacy and security mandates, natural disasters, terrorism, war and telecommunication and electrical failures. While we have not experienced any such material system failure, accident, or security breach to date, any such event could compromise our networks and the information stored there could be accessed by unauthorized parties, publicly disclosed, lost or stolen. We have measures in place that are designed to detect and respond to such security incidents and breaches of privacy and security mandates. Any such access, disclosure or other loss of information could result in legal claims or proceedings, liability under laws that protect the privacy of personal information, such as HIPAA, government enforcement actions and regulatory penalties. Unauthorized access, loss or dissemination could also disrupt our operations, including our ability to conduct research and development activities, process and prepare company financial information, manage various general and administrative aspects of our business and damage our reputation, any of which could adversely affect our business. For example, the loss of clinical trial data from completed or future clinical trials could result in delays in our regulatory approval efforts and significantly increase our costs to recover or reproduce the data. Likewise, we rely on third parties to manufacture our product candidates and conduct clinical trials, and similar events relating to their computer systems could also have a material adverse effect on our business. In addition, there can be no assurance that we will promptly detect any such disruption or security breach, if at all. To the extent that any disruption or security breach were to result in a loss of, or damage to, our data or applications, or inappropriate disclosure of confidential or proprietary information, we could incur liability and the further development and commercialization of our product candidate could be delayed.

We have entered into a lease for a new corporate, process development, and research headquarters, which may be more costly to continue building out than we anticipate and may not provide all of the functionality we expect, which could cause us to incur unanticipated costs.

In June 2018, we entered into a lease for a building located in Redwood City, California, which we began occupying in January 2020. This facility serves as our new corporate headquarters and includes approximately 81,000 square feet of office, development, and research laboratory space. We believe this facility will enable us to increase our in-house process development capabilities to the 1000-liter scale. There can be no assurance that the continued cost of building out this space will not be significantly more than we expect, or that the functionality of this space will be as we expect.

 

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Additionally, since we are not developing this space for clinical or commercial manufacturing production, we will continue to rely upon our limited number of suppliers to manufacture our gene therapy product candidates for clinical trials and if they are approved, for commercial sale.

Business disruptions could seriously harm our future revenue and financial condition and increase our costs and expenses.

Our operations could be subject to earthquakes, power shortages, telecommunications failures, water shortages, floods, fires, medical epidemics and other natural or manmade disasters or business interruptions, for which we are predominantly self-insured. We rely on third-party manufacturers to produce our product candidates. Our ability to obtain clinical supplies of our product candidates could be disrupted if the operations of these suppliers are affected by a man-made or natural disaster or other business interruption. The occurrence of any of these business disruptions could seriously harm our operations and financial condition and increase our costs and expenses.

Our employees, independent contractors, principal investigators, CROs, consultants and vendors may engage in misconduct or other improper activities, including noncompliance with our code of conduct or regulatory standards and requirements.

We are exposed to the risk that our employees, independent contractors, principal investigators, CROs, consultants and vendors may engage in misconduct including code of conduct violations, fraudulent conduct or other illegal activity. Misconduct by these parties could include intentional, reckless and/or negligent conduct, or disclosure of unauthorized activities to us that violates: (1) FDA regulations, including those laws requiring the reporting of true, complete and accurate information to regulatory authorities, (2) manufacturing standards, (3) federal and state health care fraud and abuse laws and regulations or (4) laws that require the reporting of financial information or data accurately. Specifically, sales, marketing, and business arrangements in the health care industry are subject to extensive laws and regulations intended to prevent fraud, kickbacks, self-dealing and other abusive practices. These laws and regulations may restrict or prohibit a wide range of pricing, discounting, marketing and promotion, sales commission, customer incentive programs and other business arrangements. Activities subject to these laws also involve improper use of information obtained in the course of clinical trials, which could result in regulatory sanctions and serious harm to our reputation. It is not always possible to identify and deter misconduct by employees and other third parties, and the precautions we take to detect and prevent this activity may not be effective 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 be in compliance with such laws or regulations. 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 civil, criminal and administrative penalties, damages, monetary fines, possible exclusion from participation in Medicare, Medicaid and other federal healthcare programs, contractual damages, reputational harm, diminished profits and future earnings, and curtailment of our operations, any of which could adversely affect our ability to operate our business and our results of operations.

Risks Relating to Our Intellectual Property

Our rights to develop and commercialize our product candidates are subject in part to the terms and conditions of licenses granted to us by other companies and universities.

We currently are heavily reliant upon licenses of certain patent rights and proprietary technology from third parties that are important or necessary to the development of our technology and products, including technology related to our manufacturing process and our gene therapy product candidates. These and other licenses may not provide adequate rights to use such intellectual property and

 

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technology in all relevant fields of use and in all territories in which we may wish to develop or commercialize our technology and products in the future, or may contain other limitations on our ability to use such intellectual property or technology. As a result, our ability to develop or commercialize our processes and product candidates may be limited by the terms of such agreements. Further, the third parties from whom we license certain patent rights and proprietary technology may attempt to terminate their agreements with us. For example, we have received from Virovek, Inc. (“Virovek”) a notice of intent to terminate our non-exclusive license to certain Virovek technology and know-how related to methods and materials for manufacturing adeno-associated virus. While we do not believe Virovek has the right to terminate the agreement, if it were terminated, we may be unable to obtain a new license to Virovek technology on commercially reasonable terms, if at all. If we need to develop or acquire alternative manufacturing technology, our product development activities may be significantly delayed, and if we were unable to develop or acquire alternative manufacturing technology, it could have a material adverse effect on our business. In addition, we may not be able to prevent competitors from developing and commercializing competitive products to the extent our licenses to patents are non-exclusive or limited with respect to fields of use or territories.

We anticipate that licenses to additional third-party technology will be required for our development programs, and these licenses may not be available in the future or may not be available on commercially reasonable terms, which could prevent us from commercializing our development programs and have a material adverse effect on our business and financial condition, results of operations and prospects.

Our success depends on our ability to protect our intellectual property and our proprietary technologies.

Our commercial success depends in part on our ability to obtain and maintain patent protection and trade secret protection for our product candidates, proprietary technologies, and their uses as well as our ability to operate without infringing upon the proprietary rights of others. There can be no assurance that any of our product candidates will have patent protection, that our patent applications or those of our licensors will result in patents being issued or that issued patents, if any, will afford sufficient protection against competitors with similar technology, nor is there any assurance that the patents issued will not be infringed, designed around or invalidated by third parties. Even issued patents may later be found unenforceable or may be modified or revoked in proceedings instituted by third parties before various patent offices or in courts. The degree of future protection for our proprietary rights is uncertain. Only limited protection may be available and may not adequately protect our rights or permit us to gain or keep any competitive advantage. This failure to properly protect the intellectual property rights relating to our product candidates could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.

We own and license certain composition-of-matter patents and applications covering components of our product candidates. Composition-of-matter patents on the biological or chemical active pharmaceutical ingredient are generally considered to be the strongest form of intellectual property protection for pharmaceutical products, as such patents provide protection without regard to any method of use. We cannot be certain that the claims in our patent applications covering composition-of-matter of any of our product candidates will be considered patentable by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) and courts in the U.S. or by the patent offices and courts in foreign countries, nor can we be certain that the claims in our issued composition-of-matter patents will not be found invalid or unenforceable if challenged.

We own and license certain method-of-use patents and applications covering methods of treating certain diseases with our product candidates. Method-of-use patents protect the use of a product for the specified method or for treatment of a particular indication. However, methods of treating human

 

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diseases are considered unpatentable in many jurisdictions, and even where available this type of patent does not prevent a competitor from making and marketing a product that is identical to our product candidate for an indication that is outside the scope of the patented method. Moreover, even if competitors do not actively promote their product for our targeted indications, physicians may prescribe these products “off-label.” Although off-label prescriptions may infringe or contribute to the infringement of method-of-use patents, the practice is common and such infringement is difficult to prevent or prosecute.

The patent application process is subject to numerous risks and uncertainties, and there can be no assurance that we or any of our future development partners will be successful in protecting our product candidates by obtaining and defending patents. These risks and uncertainties include the following:

 

   

the USPTO and various foreign governmental patent agencies require compliance with a number of procedural, documentary, fee payment and other provisions during the patent process. There are situations in which noncompliance can result in abandonment or lapse of a patent or patent application, resulting in partial or complete loss of patent rights in the relevant jurisdiction. In such an event, competitors might be able to enter the market earlier than would otherwise have been the case;

 

   

patent applications may not result in any patents being issued;

 

   

patents that may be issued or in-licensed may be challenged, invalidated, modified, revoked, circumvented, found to be unenforceable or otherwise may not provide any competitive advantage;

 

   

patents may expire before or soon after the product they cover is commercialized;

 

   

our competitors, many of whom have substantially greater resources than we do and many of whom have made significant investments in competing technologies, may seek or may have already obtained patents that will limit, interfere with, or eliminate our ability to make, use, and sell our product candidates;

 

   

there may be significant pressure on the U.S. government and international governmental bodies to limit the scope of patent protection both inside and outside the U.S. for disease treatments that prove successful, as a matter of public policy regarding worldwide health concerns; and

 

   

countries other than the U.S. may have patent laws less favorable to patentees than those upheld by the U.S. courts, allowing foreign competitors a better opportunity to create, develop and market competing product candidates.

In addition, we rely on the protection of our trade secrets and know-how. Although we have taken steps to protect our trade secrets and know-how, including entering into confidentiality agreements with third parties, and confidential information and inventions agreements with employees, consultants and advisors, we cannot provide any assurances that all such agreements have been duly executed, and third parties may still obtain this information or may come upon this or similar information independently.

Trade secrets do not provide any protection against the independent development of the trade secret by a competitor or other third party. If a competitor independently obtains or develops our trade secret, either by reverse engineering our product or other legal means, we would be unable to prevent them from using the trade secret, and our competitive position would be harmed.

 

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Additionally, if the steps taken to maintain our trade secrets are deemed inadequate, we may have insufficient recourse against third parties for misappropriating our trade secrets. If any of these events occurs or if we otherwise lose protection for our trade secrets or proprietary know-how, the value of this information may be greatly reduced.

Claims by third parties that we infringe their proprietary rights may result in liability for damages or prevent or delay our developmental and commercialization efforts.

The biotechnology industry has been characterized by frequent litigation regarding patent and other intellectual property rights. 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 developing product candidates. As the biotechnology industry expands, especially in the field of gene therapy, 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. Because patent applications are maintained in secrecy until the application is published, we may be unaware of third-party patents that may be infringed by commercialization of our product candidates. Moreover, because patent applications can take many years to issue, there may be currently-pending patent applications that may later result in issued patents that our product candidates may infringe. In addition, identification of third-party patent rights that may be relevant to our technology is difficult because patent searching is imperfect due to differences in terminology among patents, incomplete databases and the difficulty in assessing the meaning of patent claims. Any claims of patent infringement asserted by third parties would be time consuming and could:

 

   

result in costly litigation;

 

   

divert the time and attention of our technical personnel and management;

 

   

cause development delays;

 

   

prevent us from commercializing our product candidates until the asserted patent expires or is held finally invalid or not infringed in a court of law;

 

   

require us to develop non-infringing technology, which may not be possible on a cost-effective basis; or

 

   

require us to enter into royalty or licensing agreements, which may not be available on commercially reasonable terms, or at all.

Others may hold proprietary rights that could prevent our product candidates from being marketed. Any patent-related legal action against us claiming damages and seeking to enjoin commercial activities relating to our product candidate or processes could subject us to potential liability for damages and require us to obtain a license to continue to manufacture or market our product candidates. We cannot predict whether we would prevail in any such actions or that any license required under any of these patents would be made available on commercially acceptable terms, if at all. In addition, we cannot be sure that we could redesign our product candidate or processes to avoid infringement, if necessary. Accordingly, an adverse determination in a judicial or administrative proceeding, or the failure to obtain necessary licenses, could prevent us from developing and commercializing our product candidates, which could harm our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.

The patent protection and patent prosecution for some of our product candidates are dependent on third parties.

While we normally seek to obtain the right to control the prosecution and maintenance of the patents relating to our product candidates, there may be times when the filing and prosecution activities for platform technology patents that relate to our product candidates are controlled by our

 

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licensors. For example, we do not have the right to prosecute and maintain the patent rights licensed to us under agreements with Regents of the University of California, Cornell University, and Virovek, and our ability to have input into such filing and prosecution activities is limited. If these licensors or any of our future licensors fail to appropriately prosecute and maintain patent protection for patents covering any of our product candidates, our ability to develop and commercialize those product candidates may be adversely affected and we may not be able to prevent competitors from making, using and selling competing products.

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. Further, our issued patents could be found invalid or unenforceable if challenged administratively or in court.

If we or any of our future development partners were to initiate legal proceedings against a third party to enforce a patent directed at one of our product candidates, or one of our future product candidates, the defendant could counterclaim that our patent is invalid and/or unenforceable in whole or in part. In patent litigation in the United States, defendant counterclaims alleging invalidity and/or unenforceability are commonplace. Grounds for a validity challenge include an alleged failure to meet any of several statutory requirements, including lack of novelty, obviousness or non-enablement. Grounds for an unenforceability assertion could include an allegation that someone connected with prosecution of the patent withheld relevant information from the USPTO or made a false or misleading statement during prosecution. Third parties may also raise similar claims before the USPTO, even outside the context of litigation. The 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 such product candidate. 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 or declared by the USPTO 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. In addition, the uncertainties associated with litigation could have a material adverse effect on our ability to raise the funds necessary to continue our clinical trials, continue our research and development programs, license necessary technology from third parties, or enter into development or manufacturing partnerships that would help us bring our product candidates to market.

Even if resolved in our favor, litigation or other legal proceedings relating to our intellectual property rights may cause us to incur significant expenses and could distract our technical and management personnel from their normal responsibilities. In addition, there could be public announcements of the results of hearings, motions or other interim proceedings or developments and if securities analysts or investors perceive these results to be negative, it could have a substantial adverse effect on the price of our common stock. Such litigation or proceedings could substantially increase our operating losses and reduce the resources available for development activities or any future sales, marketing or distribution activities. We may not have sufficient financial or other resources to conduct such litigation or proceedings adequately. Some of our competitors may be able to sustain the costs of such litigation or proceedings more effectively than we can because of their greater financial resources. Uncertainties resulting from the initiation and continuation of patent litigation or other proceedings could compromise our ability to compete in the marketplace.

 

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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 not be successful in obtaining or maintaining necessary rights to our product candidates through acquisitions and in-licenses.

We currently have rights to intellectual property, through licenses from third parties and under patents that we own, to develop our product candidates. Because our programs 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. For example, our product candidates may require specific formulations to work effectively and efficiently and the rights to these formulations 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 as necessary for our product candidates. 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. 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.

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 option, we may be unable to negotiate a license within the specified timeframe 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.

If we are unable to successfully obtain rights to required third-party intellectual property rights or maintain the existing intellectual property rights we have, we may have to abandon development of that program and our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects could be materially and adversely affected.

We may fail to comply with any of our obligations under existing agreements pursuant to which we license or have otherwise acquired intellectual property rights or technology, which could result in the loss of rights or technology that are material to our business.

Licensing of intellectual property is of critical importance to our business and involves complex legal, business, and scientific issues. Disputes may arise regarding our rights to intellectual property licensed to us from a third party, including but not limited to:

 

   

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;

 

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our diligence obligations under the license agreement and what activities satisfy those diligence obligations;

 

   

the ownership of inventions and know-how resulting from the creation or use of intellectual property by us, alone or with our licensors and collaborators;

 

   

the scope and duration of our payment obligations;

 

   

our rights upon termination of such agreement; and

 

   

the scope and duration of exclusivity obligations of each party to the agreement.

If disputes over intellectual property and other rights that we have licensed or acquired from third parties 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 product candidates.

We may be subject to claims that we have wrongfully hired an employee from a competitor or that we or our employees have wrongfully used or disclosed alleged confidential information or trade secrets of their former employers.

As is common in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry, in addition to our employees, we engage the services of consultants to assist us in the development of our product candidates. Many of our employees and consultants were previously employed at, or may have previously provided or may be currently providing consulting services to, other biotechnology or pharmaceutical companies including our competitors or potential competitors. We may become subject to claims that our company, our employees or a consultant inadvertently or otherwise used or disclosed trade secrets or other information proprietary to their former employers or their former or current clients. 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 these claims, litigation could result in substantial costs and be a distraction to our management team.

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 require all employees to sign proprietary information and invention assignment agreements, but they may fail to do so, or our agreements may be found invalid or unenforceable. We may be subject to ownership disputes in the future 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.

If we do not obtain patent term extensions for patents covering our product candidates, our business may be materially harmed.

If we are able to secure FDA marketing approval for one of our product candidates that is covered by an issued U.S. patent, that patent may be eligible for limited patent term restoration under the Drug Price Competition and Patent Term Restoration Act of 1984 (“Hatch-Waxman Act”). The Hatch-Waxman Act permits a patent restoration term of up to five years as compensation for patent term lost

 

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during product development and the FDA regulatory review process. However, we may not be granted an extension because of, for example, failing to apply within applicable deadlines, failing to apply prior to expiration of relevant patents or otherwise failing to satisfy applicable requirements. Moreover, the applicable time period or the scope of patent protection afforded could be less than we request. If we are unable to obtain patent term extension or restoration or the term of any such extension is less than we request, our competitors may obtain approval of competing products following our patent expiration, and our business, financial conditions and results of operations may be materially and adversely affected.

If our trademarks and trade names are not adequately protected, then we may not be able to build name recognition in our markets of interest and our business may be adversely affected.

Our registered or unregistered trademarks or trade names may be challenged, infringed, circumvented or declared generic or determined to be infringing on other marks. We may not be able to protect our rights to these trademarks and trade names, which we need to build name recognition among potential partners or customers in our markets of interest. At times, competitors may adopt trade names or trademarks similar to ours, thereby impeding our ability to build brand identity and possibly leading to market confusion. In addition, there could be potential trade name or trademark infringement claims brought by owners of other registered trademarks or trademarks that incorporate variations of our registered or unregistered trademarks or trade names. Over the long term, if we are unable to establish name recognition based on our trademarks and trade names, then we may not be able to compete effectively, and our business may be adversely affected. Our efforts to enforce or protect our proprietary rights related to trademarks, trade secrets, domain names, copyrights or other intellectual property may be ineffective and could result in substantial costs and diversion of resources and could materially and adversely impact our business, financial condition, results of operations, or prospects.

Changes in U.S. patent law could diminish the value of patents in general, thereby impairing our ability to protect our product candidates.

As is the case with other biopharmaceutical companies, our success is heavily dependent on intellectual property, particularly patents. Obtaining and enforcing patents in the biopharmaceutical industry involve a high degree of technological and legal complexity. Therefore, obtaining and enforcing biopharmaceutical patents is costly, time consuming and inherently uncertain. In addition, Congress may pass patent reform legislation that is unfavorable to us. The Supreme Court has ruled on several patent cases in recent years, either narrowing the scope of patent protection available in certain circumstances or weakening 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 USPTO, 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 we might obtain in the future.

We may not be able to obtain intellectual property rights or protect our intellectual property rights throughout the world.

Filing, prosecuting, obtaining and defending patents on our product candidates in all countries throughout the world would be prohibitively expensive, and our intellectual property rights in some countries outside the U.S. can be less extensive than those in the U.S. 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 U.S. Consequently, we may not be able to prevent third parties from practicing our inventions in all countries outside the U.S., or from selling or importing products made using our inventions in and

 

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into the U.S. 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 U.S. These products may compete with our product candidates, 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 and other intellectual property protection, particularly those relating to biopharmaceuticals, 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.

Intellectual property rights do not necessarily address all potential threats to our competitive advantage.

The degree of future protection afforded by our intellectual property rights is uncertain because intellectual property rights have limitations, and may not adequately protect our business or permit us to maintain our competitive advantage. For example:

 

   

others may be able to make gene therapies that are similar to our product candidates but that are not covered by the claims of any patents that we own or have exclusively licensed;

 

   

we or our licensors or future collaborators might not have been the first to make the inventions covered by the issued patent or pending patent application that we own or have exclusively licensed;

 

   

we or our licensors or future collaborators might not have been the first to file patent applications covering certain of our inventions;

 

   

others may independently develop similar or alternative technologies or duplicate any of our technologies without infringing our intellectual property rights;

 

   

any patent applications that we have filed or may file in the future may not lead to issued patents;

 

   

any of the issued patents that we own or have exclusively licensed may be held invalid or unenforceable, as a result of legal challenges by our competitors;

 

   

any of the issued patents that we have filed or may file in the future may expire before or shortly after commercialization of the covered product;

 

   

our competitors might conduct research and development activities in countries where, or for products for which, we do not have patent rights and then use the information learned from such activities to develop competitive products for sale in our major commercial markets;

 

   

we may not develop additional proprietary technologies that are patentable; and

 

   

the patents of others may have an adverse effect on our business.

Should any of these events occur, they could significantly harm our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.

 

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Third party patent rights could delay or otherwise adversely affect our planned development and sale of product candidates of our programs.

We are aware of patent rights held by third parties that could be construed to cover certain aspects of our product candidates. In addition, changes to our product candidates or their uses or manufacture may be covered by patents held by third parties, of which we are not yet aware. A patent holder has the right to prevent others from making, using, or selling a drug that incorporates the patented compositions while the patent remains in force. While we believe that third party patent rights will not affect our planned development, regulatory clearance, and eventual marketing, commercial production, and sale of our product candidates, there can be no assurance that this will be the case. In addition, the Hatch-Waxman exemption provided by U.S. patent law permits uses of compounds and biologics in clinical trials and for other purposes reasonably related to obtaining FDA approval of drugs and biologics that will be sold only after patent expiration, so our use of our product candidates in those FDA-related activities does not infringe any patent holder’s rights. However, were a patent holder to assert its rights against us before expiration of such patent holder’s patent for activities unrelated to seeking FDA approval, the development and ultimate sale of our product candidates could be significantly delayed, and we could incur the expense of defending a patent infringement suit and potential liability for damages for periods prior to the patent’s expiration.

Risks Related to Our Common Stock

If we fail to maintain proper and effective internal control over financial reporting in the future, our ability to prepare accurate and timely consolidated financial statements being prepared in accordance with U.S. GAAP could be impaired, which could harm our operating results, investors’ views of us and, as a result, the value of our common stock.

Pursuant to Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (“Sarbanes-Oxley”), our management is required to report upon the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting. Our independent registered public accounting firm is also required to attest to the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting, and the related report is required to be included in our annual reports filed with the SEC. Sarbanes-Oxley Section 404 compliance requirements are complex and require significant documentation, testing, and possible remediation. If we or our auditors are unable to conclude that our internal control over financial reporting is effective, investors may lose confidence in our financial reporting, and the trading price of our common stock may decline.

Although we have determined that our internal control over financial reporting was effective as of December 31, 2019, we cannot assure that there will not be material weaknesses in our internal control over financial reporting for this period, following completion of our independent registered public accounting firm’s review of our internal control over financial reporting, or in the future. Any failure to maintain internal control over financial reporting could severely inhibit our ability to accurately report our financial condition, results of operations, or cash flows. If we are unable to conclude that our internal control over financial reporting is effective, or if our independent registered public accounting firm determines we have a material weakness in our internal control over financial reporting, we could lose investor confidence in the accuracy and completeness of our financial reports, the market price of our common stock could decline, and we could be subject to sanctions or investigations by The Nasdaq Stock Market, the SEC or other regulatory authorities. Failure to implement and maintain effective internal control over financial reporting, including failure to remediate any material weaknesses we or our auditors identify, could also restrict our future access to the capital markets.

The trading price of the shares of our common stock has been and could continue to be highly volatile, and purchasers of our common stock could incur substantial losses.

Our stock price has been and is likely to continue to be volatile. The stock market in general and the market for biotechnology companies in particular have experienced extreme volatility that has often

 

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been unrelated to the operating performance of particular companies. The market price for our common stock may be influenced by many factors, including those discussed above and others such as:

 

   

our ability to enroll and dose patients in any clinical trials that are on-going, or that we plan to conduct in the future;

 

   

our ability to obtain regulatory approvals for our product candidates and delays or failure to obtain such approvals;

 

   

our plans to conduct additional preclinical studies to determine the best gene therapy candidates to advance in development;

 

   

results of any clinical trials, and the results of trials of our competitors or those of other companies in our market sector;

 

   

investor perception and analysis of the results of our clinical trials, which may be different than our own;

 

   

regulatory developments in the U.S. and foreign countries;

 

   

variations in our financial results or those of companies that are perceived to be similar to us;

 

   

changes in the structure of healthcare payment systems, especially in light of current reforms to the U.S. healthcare system;

 

   

announcements by us or our competitors of significant acquisitions, strategic partnerships, joint ventures or capital commitments;

 

   

failure to maintain our existing third-party license and collaboration agreements;

 

   

delays in manufacturing adequate supply of our product candidates;

 

   

adverse publicity relating to the gene therapy market generally, including with respect to other products and potential products in such markets;

 

   

market conditions in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology sectors and issuance of securities analysts’ reports or recommendations;

 

   

sales of our stock by insiders and stockholders;

 

   

trading volume of our common stock;

 

   

general economic, industry and market conditions other events or factors, many of which are beyond our control;

 

   

additions or departures of key personnel; and

 

   

intellectual property, product liability or other litigation against us.

In addition, in the past, stockholders have initiated class action lawsuits against biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies following periods of volatility in the market prices of these companies’ stock, and similar litigation has been instituted against us. Such litigation could cause us to incur substantial costs and divert management’s attention and resources, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.

We have been subject to securities class action lawsuits in the past, and could be subject to additional such lawsuits in the future, which could result in substantial losses and may divert managements time and attention from our business.

In the past, we and certain of our former officers were involved in purported securities class action lawsuits, which have since been settled. The purported securities class action lawsuits asserted

 

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that the defendants violated the Exchange Act and the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “Securities Act”), and alleged that the defendants who are no longer at Adverum made materially false and misleading statements and omitted allegedly material information related to, among other things, the Phase 2a clinical trial for AVA-101, a program which was discontinued in 2015, and the prospects of AVA-101. We settled these lawsuits for $13.0 million, of which $1.0 million we contributed to cover our indemnification obligations to the underwriters, and the remainder was contributed by our insurers. Any future litigation of this type could result in payment of damages or settlement fees and diversion of management’s attention and resources, any of which could adversely impact our business. Monitoring and defending against legal actions are time-consuming for our management and detracts from our ability to focus fully on our business activities.

Our quarterly operating results may fluctuate significantly.

We expect our operating results to be subject to quarterly fluctuations. Our net loss and other operating results will be affected by numerous factors, including:

 

   

variations in the level of expenses related to our clinical trial and development programs;

 

   

addition or termination of clinical trials or addition of cohorts to clinical trials;

 

   

any intellectual property infringement lawsuit or other litigation in which we may become involved;

 

   

regulatory developments affecting our product candidates;

 

   

our execution of any collaborative, licensing or similar arrangements and the timing of payments we may make or receive under these arrangements;

 

   

nature and terms of stock-based compensation grants; and

 

   

derivative instruments recorded at fair value.

If our quarterly operating results fall below the expectations of investors or securities analysts, the price of our common stock could decline substantially. Furthermore, any quarterly fluctuations in our operating results may, in turn, cause the price of our stock to fluctuate substantially.

If we sell shares of our common stock or securities convertible into or exercisable for shares of our common stock in future financings, licensing or collaboration arrangements, or acquisitions, stockholders may experience immediate dilution and, as a result, our stock price may decline.

Until such time, if ever, as we can generate substantial product revenues, we expect to finance our cash needs through a combination of equity offerings, licensing, collaboration or similar arrangements, grants and debt financings. We do not have any committed external source of funds. As a result, we may from time to time issue additional shares of common stock or securities convertible into or exercisable for shares of our common stock. On August 8, 2019, we filed a universal shelf registration statement on Form S-3 with the SEC that automatically became effective, pursuant to which we registered for sale an undetermined amount of any combination of our common stock, preferred stock, debt securities, warrants, and/or units from time to time and at prices and on terms that we may determine, so long as we continue to satisfy the requirements of a “well-known seasoned issuer” under SEC rules. To the extent that we raise capital through the sale of equity or convertible debt securities, your ownership interest will be diluted, and the terms of these securities may include liquidation or other preferences that adversely affect your rights as a holder of our common stock. Debt financing, if available, may involve agreements that include covenants limiting or restricting our ability

 

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to take specific actions, such as incurring additional debt, making capital expenditures or declaring dividends or other distributions. Furthermore, we may issue common stock as consideration in acquisitions. If we issue common stock or securities convertible into common stock, our common stockholders would experience additional dilution and, as a result, our stock price may decline.

If we raise additional funds through licensing, collaboration or similar arrangements, we may have to relinquish valuable rights to our technologies, future revenue streams, research and development programs or product candidates or to grant licenses on terms that may not be favorable to us. If we are unable to raise additional funds through equity or debt financings or other arrangements when needed, we may be required to delay, limit, reduce or terminate 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.

Anti-takeover provisions in our charter documents and under Delaware law could make an acquisition of us, which may be beneficial to our stockholders, more difficult and may prevent attempts by our stockholders to replace or remove our current management.

Provisions in our amended and restated certificate of incorporation and amended and restated bylaws may delay or prevent an acquisition of us or a change in our management. These provisions include:

 

   

the authorization of the issuance of “blank check” preferred stock, the terms of which may be established and shares of which may be issued without stockholder approval;

 

   

the limitation of the removal of directors by the stockholders;

 

   

a staggered board of directors;

 

   

the prohibition of stockholder action by written consent, thereby requiring all stockholder actions to be taken at a meeting of our stockholders;

 

   

the elimination of the ability of stockholders to call a special meeting of stockholders;

 

   

the ability of our board of directors to accelerate the vesting of outstanding option grants, restricted stock units or other equity awards upon certain transactions that result in a change of control; and

 

   

the establishment of advance notice requirements for nominations for election to the board of directors or for proposing matters that can be acted upon at stockholder meetings.

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. Although we believe these provisions collectively provide for an opportunity to obtain greater value for stockholders by requiring potential acquirers to negotiate with our board of directors, they would apply even if an offer rejected by our board were considered beneficial by some stockholders. In addition, these provisions may frustrate or prevent any attempts by our stockholders to replace or remove our current management by making it more difficult for stockholders to replace members of our board of directors, which is responsible for appointing the members of our management.

We do not intend to pay dividends on our common stock, and, consequently, your ability to achieve a return on your investment will depend on appreciation, if any, in the price of our common stock.

We have never declared or paid any cash dividend on our common stock and do not currently intend to do so for the foreseeable future. We currently anticipate that we will retain future earnings for

 

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the development, operation and expansion of our business and do not anticipate declaring or paying any cash dividends for the foreseeable future. Any return to stockholders will therefore be limited to the appreciation of their stock. Therefore, the success of an investment in shares of our common stock will depend upon any future appreciation in their value. There is no guarantee that shares of our common stock will appreciate in value or even maintain the price at which our stockholders have purchased their shares.

We are a smaller reporting company, and the reduced reporting requirements applicable to smaller reporting companies may make our common stock less attractive to investors.

We are a smaller reporting company. For as long as we continue to be a smaller reporting company, we may take advantage of exemptions from various reporting requirements that are applicable to other public companies that are not smaller reporting companies, including reduced disclosure obligations regarding executive compensation. We cannot predict if investors will find our common stock less attractive because we may rely on these exemptions. 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.

Changes in tax laws or regulations that are applied adversely to us or our customers may have a material adverse effect on our business and financial condition.

Legislation enacted on December 22, 2017, known as the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act (“TCJA”), significantly revises the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended. The TCJA, among other things, contains significant changes to corporate taxation, including reduction of the corporate tax rate from a top marginal rate of 35% to a flat rate of 21%, limitation of the deduction for net operating losses to 80% of current year taxable income and elimination of net operating loss carrybacks, one time taxation of offshore earnings at reduced rates regardless of whether they are repatriated, elimination of U.S. tax on foreign earnings (subject to certain important exceptions), immediate deductions for certain new investments instead of deductions for depreciation expense over time, creation of a base erosion and anti-abuse tax and modification or repeal of many business deductions and credits. Many aspects of the TCJA are unclear and may not be clarified for some time. Future guidance from the Internal Revenue Service and other tax authorities with respect to the TCJA may affect us, and certain aspects of the TCJA could be repealed or modified in future legislation. Notwithstanding the reduction in the corporate income tax rate, it is possible that the TCJA, or regulations or interpretations under it, or any other future changes in tax laws, could adversely affect our business and financial condition, and such effect could be material.

Our ability to use net operating loss carryforwards and other tax attributes may be limited by the Code.

We have incurred substantial losses during our history and do not expect to become profitable in the near future and we may never achieve profitability. To the extent that we continue to generate taxable losses, unused losses will carry forward to offset future taxable income, if any, until such unused losses expire.

Under the TCJA, federal NOLs incurred in 2019 and in future years may be carried forward indefinitely, but the deductibility of such federal net operating NOLs is limited. In addition, under Section 382 of the Code, our ability to utilize NOL carryforwards or other tax attributes, such as research tax credits, in any taxable year may be limited if we experience an “ownership change.” Generally, a Section 382 ownership change occurs if there is a cumulative increase of more than 50 percentage points in the stock ownership of one or more stockholders or groups of stockholders who owns at least 5% of a corporation’s stock within a specified testing period. Similar rules may apply

 

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under state tax laws. In connection with our acquisition of Annapurna in May 2016, we determined that certain NOLs and research and developments tax credits for both federal and state purposes were severely limited and therefore we removed a significant amount of NOLs and research and development tax credits from our deferred tax assets. In addition, we may have experienced an ownership change as a result of the February 2018 underwritten public offering of our common stock, and may in the future experience ownership changes future offerings or other changes in the ownership of our stock, including as a result of this offering. As a result, the amount of the NOLs and research and credit carryforwards presented in our financial statements could be limited and may expire unutilized.

 

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SPECIAL NOTE REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

Some of the statements in this prospectus supplement, the accompanying prospectus, the documents incorporated by reference and any free writing prospectus that we have authorized for use in connection with this offering are forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act and Section 21E of the Exchange Act. These statements are based on our current expectations, assumptions, estimates and projections about our business and our industry and involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause our company’s or our industry’s results, levels of activity, performance or achievements to be materially different from any future results, levels of activity, performance or achievements expressed or implied in, or contemplated by, the forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements may include, but are not limited to, statements about:

 

   

the initiation, progress, timing, costs and results of preclinical studies and any clinical trials for our product candidates;

 

   

our ability to advance our viral vector manufacturing and delivery capabilities;

 

   

the timing or likelihood of regulatory filings, designations and approvals;

 

   

our plans to explore potential applications of our gene therapy platform in other indications in ocular and rare diseases;

 

   

our expectations regarding the clinical effectiveness of our product candidates;

 

   

our commercialization, marketing and manufacturing capabilities and strategy;

 

   

the pricing and reimbursement of our product candidates, if approved;

 

   

our expectation regarding the potential market sizes for our product candidates;

 

   

our intellectual property position;

 

   

the potential benefits of our strategic collaborations and our ability to enter into strategic arrangements;

 

   

developments and projections relating to our competitors and our industry;

 

   

our estimates regarding expenses, future revenue, our financial position, capital requirements, uses of cash and needs for additional financing and the period for which our cash resources will be sufficient to meet our operating requirements;

 

   

the use of proceeds from this offering; and

 

   

the safety, efficacy and projected development timeline and commercial potential of any product candidates.

In some cases, you can identify forward-looking statements by terms such as “may,” “will,” “should,” “could,” “would,” “expects,” “plans,” “anticipates,” “believes,” “estimates,” “projects,” “predicts,” “potential” and similar expressions intended to identify forward-looking statements. These statements reflect our current views with respect to future events and are based on assumptions and are subject to risks and uncertainties. Given these uncertainties, you should not place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements. We discuss in greater detail many of these risks under the heading “Risk Factors” contained in this prospectus supplement and in any free writing prospectuses we may authorize for use in connection with this offering. Also, these forward-looking statements represent our estimates and assumptions only as of the date of the document containing the applicable statement. Unless required by law, we undertake no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements to reflect new information or future events or developments. Thus, you should not assume that our silence over time means that actual events are bearing out as expressed or implied in such forward-looking statements.

 

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You should read this prospectus supplement and accompanying prospectus together with the documents we have filed with the SEC that are incorporated by reference and any free writing prospectus that we may authorize for use in connection with this offering completely and with the understanding that our actual future results may be materially different from what we expect. We qualify all of the forward-looking statements in the foregoing documents by these cautionary statements.

In addition, statements that “we believe” and similar statements reflect our beliefs and opinions on the relevant subject. These statements are based upon information available to us as of the date of this prospectus supplement, and while we believe such information forms a reasonable basis for such statements, such information may be limited or incomplete, and our statements should not be read to indicate that we have conducted an exhaustive inquiry into, or review of, all potentially available relevant information. These statements are inherently uncertain and investors are cautioned not to unduly rely upon these statements.

 

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USE OF PROCEEDS

We estimate that we will receive net proceeds from the sale of common stock in this offering of approximately $122.4 million, after deducting underwriting discounts and commissions and estimated offering expenses payable by us. If the underwriters exercise in full their option to purchase additional common stock, we estimate that the net proceeds to us will be approximately $140.8 million, after deducting underwriting discounts and commissions and estimated offering expenses payable by us.

We will retain broad discretion over the use of the net proceeds from this offering. We currently intend to use the net proceeds from this offering for general corporate purposes. General corporate purposes may include, without limitation, the research and development of our gene therapy pipeline and our AAV vector discovery platform, process development and manufacturing improvements, acquisitions or in-licenses of complementary companies or businesses, working capital and capital expenditures. We currently expect the net proceeds from this offering, together with our existing cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments, to fund our planned operations into 2022.

Our expected use of the net proceeds from this offering represents our current intentions based upon our present plans and business conditions. The amounts and timing of our actual use of net proceeds will vary depending on numerous factors and any unforeseen delays or cash needs. As a result, our management will have broad discretion in the application of the net proceeds, and investors will be relying on our judgment regarding the application of the net proceeds of this offering. In addition, we might decide to postpone or not pursue our planned development activities if the net proceeds of this offering and our other sources of cash are less than, or do not last as long as, expected.

Pending their use, we plan to invest the net proceeds from this offering in short- and intermediate-term, interest-bearing obligations, investment-grade instruments, certificates of deposit or direct or guaranteed obligations of the U.S. government.

 

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DILUTION

Our net tangible book value as of September 30, 2019, was approximately $164.2 million, or $2.54 per share. Net tangible book value per share is determined by dividing our total tangible assets, less total liabilities, by the number of shares of our common stock outstanding as of September 30, 2019. Dilution with respect to net tangible book value per share represents the difference between the amount per share paid by purchasers of shares of common stock in this offering, and the net tangible book value per share of our common stock immediately after this offering.

After giving effect to the issuance and sale of 9,500,000 shares of our common stock at the public offering price of $13.75 per share, and after deducting underwriting discounts and commissions and estimated offering expenses payable by us, our as adjusted net tangible book value as of September 30, 2019 would have been $286.6 million, or $3.87 per share of common stock. This amount represents an immediate increase in net tangible book value of $1.33 per share to our existing stockholders and an immediate dilution in net tangible book value of $9.88 per share to new investors in this offering. The following table illustrates this dilution on a per share basis:

 

Public offering price per share

      $   13.75  

Net tangible book value per share as of September 30, 2019

   $   2.54     

Increase in net tangible book value per share attributable to investors purchasing our common stock in this offering

     1.33     
  

 

 

    

As adjusted net tangible book value per share after giving effect to this offering

        3.87  
     

 

 

 

Dilution per share to investors purchasing our common stock in this offering

      $ 9.88  
     

 

 

 

The foregoing discussion and table do not take into account further dilution to new investors that could occur upon the exercise of the underwriters’ option to purchase up to 1,425,000 additional shares of common stock within 30 days of the date of the final prospectus supplement for this offering, the exercise of other outstanding options and warrants having a per share exercise price less than the public offering price per share in this offering, the vesting of restricted stock units, or the issuance of shares of common stock under our equity compensation plans or employee stock purchase plan. If the underwriters exercise in full their option to purchase additional shares, our net tangible book value on September 30, 2019, after giving effect to this offering, would have been approximately $305.0 million, or approximately $4.04 per share, representing an immediate dilution of $9.71 per share to new investors purchasing shares of common stock in this offering and an immediate increase in net tangible book value of $1.50 per share to our existing stockholders.

The above discussion and table are based on the number of shares outstanding as of September 30, 2019. As of that date, we had 64,581,538 shares of common stock outstanding, excluding:

 

   

8,654,706 shares of common stock underlying options outstanding as of September 30, 2019, at a weighted average exercise price of $7.15 per share;

 

   

90,000 shares of common stock underlying warrants outstanding as of September 30, 2019, at a weighted average exercise price of $6.77 per share;

 

   

1,137,078 shares of common stock issuable upon the vesting of restricted stock units outstanding as of September 30, 2019;

 

   

4,956,481 shares of common stock available for future grant under our equity incentive plans as of September 30, 2019 plus an additional 2,691,529 shares of common stock reserved for issuance on January 1, 2020 as a result of “evergreen” provisions in our 2014 equity incentive plan;

 

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1,910,315 shares of common stock available for future issuance under our employee stock purchase plan as of September 30, 2019, plus an additional 672,882 shares of common stock reserved for issuance on January 1, 2020 as a result of “evergreen” provisions in our employee stock purchase plan; and

 

   

2,436,065 shares of common stock issued under our at-the-market offering program in the fourth quarter of 2019.

In addition, we may choose to raise additional capital due to market conditions or strategic considerations even if we believe that we have sufficient funds for our current or future operating plans. To the extent that additional capital is raised through the sale of equity or convertible debt securities, the issuance of these securities could result in further dilution to our stockholders.

 

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CAPITALIZATION

The following table sets forth our cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments and capitalization as of September 30, 2019:

 

   

on an actual basis; and

 

   

on an as adjusted basis to reflect the sale by us of 9,500,000 shares of our common stock in this offering at the public offering price of $13.75 per share of common stock, after deducting underwriting discounts and commissions and estimated offering expenses payable by us.

You should read the data set forth in the table below in conjunction with our financial statements, including the related notes, and “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” from our Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the fiscal quarter ended September 30, 2019, which are incorporated by reference into this prospectus supplement and the accompanying prospectus.

 

     As of September 30, 2019  
   Actual      As
Adjusted
 
   (unaudited)
(in thousands, except
share data)
 

Cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments

   $ 161,985      $ 284,393  
  

 

 

    

 

 

 

Stockholders’ equity:

     

Preferred stock, $0.0001 par value; 5,000,000 shares authorized, no shares issued and outstanding, actual and as adjusted

             

Common stock, $0.0001 par value; 300,000,000 shares authorized, 64,581,538 shares issued and outstanding, actual; 74,081,538 shares issued and outstanding as adjusted

     7        7  

Additional paid-in capital

     531,056        653,464  

Accumulated other comprehensive loss

     (745      (745

Accumulated deficit

     (366,104      (366,104
  

 

 

    

 

 

 

Total stockholders’ equity

     164,214        286,622  
  

 

 

    

 

 

 

Total capitalization

   $ 164,214      $ 286,622  
  

 

 

    

 

 

 

The number of shares of common stock to be outstanding after the offering is based on the number of shares outstanding as of September 30, 2019. As of that date, we had 64,581,538 shares of common stock outstanding, excluding:

 

   

8,654,706 shares of common stock underlying options outstanding as of September 30, 2019, at a weighted average exercise price of $7.15 per share;

 

   

90,000 shares of common stock underlying warrants outstanding as of September 30, 2019, at a weighted average exercise price of $6.77 per share;

 

   

1,137,078 shares of common stock issuable upon the vesting of restricted stock units outstanding as of September 30, 2019;

 

   

4,956,481 shares of common stock available for future grant under our equity incentive plans as of September 30, 2019 plus an additional 2,691,529 shares of common stock reserved for issuance on January 1, 2020 as a result of “evergreen” provisions in our 2014 equity incentive plan;

 

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1,910,315 shares of common stock available for future issuance under our employee stock purchase plan as of September 30, 2019, plus an additional 672,882 shares of common stock reserved for issuance on January 1, 2020 as a result of “evergreen” provisions in our employee stock purchase plan; and

 

   

2,436,065 shares of common stock issued under our at-the-market offering program in the fourth quarter of 2019.

 

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MATERIAL U.S. FEDERAL INCOME TAX CONSIDERATIONS FOR NON-U.S. HOLDERS

The following summary describes the material U.S. federal income tax consequences of the acquisition, ownership and disposition of our common stock acquired in this offering by Non-U.S. Holders (as defined below). This discussion is not a complete analysis of all potential U.S. federal income tax consequences relating thereto, and does not deal with foreign, state and local consequences that may be relevant to Non-U.S. Holders in light of their particular circumstances, nor does it address U.S. federal tax consequences (such as gift and estate taxes) other than income taxes. Special rules different from those described below may apply to certain Non-U.S. Holders that are subject to special treatment under the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the “Code”), such as financial institutions, insurance companies, tax-exempt organizations, broker-dealers and traders in securities, certain former U.S. citizens or long-term residents, “controlled foreign corporations,” “passive foreign investment companies,” corporations that accumulate earnings to avoid U.S. federal income tax, corporations organized outside of the United States, any state thereof or the District of Columbia that are nonetheless treated as United States income taxpayers for United States federal tax purposes, persons that hold our common stock as part of a “straddle,” “hedge,” “conversion transaction,” “synthetic security” or integrated investment or other risk reduction strategy, persons who acquire our common stock through the exercise of an option or otherwise as compensation, persons subject to the alternative minimum tax or federal Medicare contribution tax on net investment income, “qualified foreign pension funds” as defined in Section 897(l)(2) of the Code and entities all of the interests of which are held by qualified foreign pension funds, partnerships and other pass-through entities or arrangements, and investors in such pass-through entities or arrangements. Such Non-U.S. Holders are urged to consult their own tax advisors to determine the U.S. federal, state, local and other tax consequences that may be relevant to them. Furthermore, the discussion below is based upon the provisions of the Code, and Treasury regulations, rulings and judicial decisions thereunder as of the date hereof, and such authorities may be repealed, revoked or modified, perhaps retroactively, so as to result in U.S. federal income tax consequences different from those discussed below. We have not requested a ruling from the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) with respect to the statements made and the conclusions reached in the following summary, and there can be no assurance that the IRS will agree with such statements and conclusions. This discussion assumes that the Non-U.S. Holder holds our common stock as a “capital asset” within the meaning of Section 1221 of the Code (generally, property held for investment).

Persons considering the purchase of our common stock pursuant to this offering should consult their own tax advisors concerning the U.S. federal income, estate and other tax consequences of acquiring, owning and disposing of our common stock in light of their particular situations as well as any consequences arising under the laws of any other taxing jurisdiction, including any state, local or foreign tax consequences.

For the purposes of this discussion, a “Non-U.S. Holder” is, for U.S. federal income tax purposes, a beneficial owner of common stock that is neither a U.S. Holder, nor a partnership (or other entity treated as a partnership for U.S. federal income tax purposes regardless of its place of organization or formation). A “U.S. Holder” means a beneficial owner of our common stock that is for U.S. federal income tax purposes any of the following:

 

   

an individual who is a citizen or resident of the United States;

 

   

a corporation or other entity treated as a corporation for U.S. federal income tax purposes created or organized in or under the laws of the U.S., any state thereof or the District of Columbia;

 

   

an estate the income of which is subject to U.S. federal income taxation regardless of its source; or

 

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a trust if it (1) is subject to the primary supervision of a court within the U.S. and one or more U.S. persons have the authority to control all substantial decisions of the trust or (2) has a valid election in effect under applicable U.S. Treasury regulations to be treated as a U.S. person.

In the case of a holder of our common stock that is classified as a partnership for U.S. federal income tax purposes, the tax treatment of a person treated as a partner in such partnership for U.S. federal income tax purposes generally will depend on the status of the partner, the activities of the partner and the partnership and certain determinations made at the partner level. A person treated as a partner in a partnership or who holds our common stock through another transparent entity should consult his, her or its own tax advisor regarding the tax consequences of the ownership and disposition of our common stock through a partnership or other transparent entity, as applicable.

Distributions

Distributions, if any, made on our common stock to a Non-U.S. Holder to the extent treated as made out of our current or accumulated earnings and profits (as determined under U.S. federal income tax principles) generally will constitute dividends for U.S. tax purposes and will be subject to withholding tax at a 30% rate or such lower rate as may be specified by an applicable income tax treaty, subject to the discussion below regarding foreign accounts. To obtain a reduced rate of withholding under a treaty, a Non-U.S. Holder generally will be required to provide us with a properly executed IRS Form W-8BEN (in the case of individuals) or IRS Form W-8BEN-E (in the case of entities), or other appropriate form, including a U.S. taxpayer identification number, or in certain circumstances, a foreign tax identifying number, and certifying the Non-U.S. Holder’s entitlement to benefits under that treaty. This certification must be provided to us or our paying agent prior to the payment of dividends and must be updated periodically. In the case of a Non-U.S. Holder that is an entity, Treasury Regulations and the relevant tax treaty provide rules to determine whether, for purposes of determining the applicability of a tax treaty, dividends will be treated as paid to the entity or to those holding an interest in that entity. If a Non-U.S. Holder holds stock through a financial institution or other agent acting on the holder’s behalf, the holder will be required to provide appropriate documentation to such agent. The holder’s agent will then be required to provide certification to us or our paying agent, either directly or through other intermediaries. If you are eligible for a reduced rate of U.S. federal withholding tax under an income tax treaty and you do not timely file the required certification, you may be able to obtain a refund or credit of any excess amounts withheld by timely filing an appropriate claim for a refund with the IRS.

We generally are not required to withhold tax on dividends paid to a Non-U.S. Holder that are effectively connected with the Non-U.S. Holder’s conduct of a trade or business within the United States (and, if required by an applicable income tax treaty, are attributable to a permanent establishment that such holder maintains in the United States) if a properly executed IRS Form W-8ECI, stating that the dividends are so connected, is furnished to us (or, if stock is held through a financial institution or other agent, to such agent) prior to the payment of such dividends. In general, such effectively connected dividends will be subject to U.S. federal income tax, on a net income basis at the regular graduated rates applicable to U.S. residents. A corporate Non-U.S. Holder receiving effectively connected dividends may also be subject to an additional “branch profits tax,” which is imposed, under certain circumstances, at a rate of 30% (or such lower rate as may be specified by an applicable treaty) on the corporate Non-U.S. Holder’s effectively connected earnings and profits, subject to certain adjustments. Non-U.S. Holders should consult their tax advisors regarding any applicable income tax treaties that may provide for different rules.

To the extent distributions on our common stock, if any, exceed our current and accumulated earnings and profits, they will first reduce the Non-U.S. Holder’s adjusted basis in our common stock, but not below zero, and then will be treated as gain to the extent of any excess, and taxed in the same

 

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manner as gain realized from a sale or other disposition of common stock as described in the next section.

Gain on Disposition of Our Common Stock

Subject to the discussion below regarding backup withholding and foreign accounts, a Non-U.S. Holder generally will not be subject to U.S. federal income tax with respect to gain realized on a sale or other disposition of our common stock unless (a) the gain is effectively connected with a trade or business of such holder in the United States (and, if required by an applicable income tax treaty, is attributable to a permanent establishment that such holder maintains in the United States), (b) the Non-U.S. Holder is a nonresident alien individual and is present in the United States for 183 or more days in the taxable year of the disposition and certain other conditions are met or (c) we are or have been a “United States real property holding corporation” within the meaning of Code Section 897(c)(2) at any time within the shorter of the five-year period preceding such disposition or such holder’s holding period. In general, we would be a U.S. real property holding corporation if interests in U.S. real estate comprise (by fair market value) at least half of our business assets. We believe that we have not been and we are not, and do not anticipate becoming, a U.S. real property holding corporation. Even if we are treated as a U.S. real property holding corporation, gain realized by a Non-U.S. Holder on a disposition of our common stock will not be subject to U.S. federal income tax so long as (1) the Non-U.S. Holder owned, directly, indirectly and constructively, no more than five percent of our common stock at all times within the shorter of (i) the five-year period preceding the disposition or (ii) the holder’s holding period and (2) our common stock is regularly traded on an established securities market. There can be no assurance that our common stock will continue to qualify as regularly traded on an established securities market. If any gain on your disposition is taxable because we are a United States real property holding corporation and your ownership of our common stock exceeds five percent, you will be taxed on such disposition generally in the manner applicable to U.S. persons.

If you are a Non-U.S. Holder described in (a) above, you will be required to pay tax on the net gain derived from the sale at regular U.S. federal income tax rates, and corporate Non-U.S. Holders described in (a) above may be subject to the additional branch profits tax at a 30% rate or such lower rate as may be specified by an applicable income tax treaty. Gain described in (b) above will be subject to U.S. federal income tax at a flat 30% rate or such lower rate as may be specified by an applicable income tax treaty, which gain may be offset by certain U.S.-source capital losses (even though you are not considered a resident of the U.S.), provided that the Non-U.S. Holder has timely filed U.S. federal income tax returns with respect to such losses.

Information Reporting Requirements and Backup Withholding

Generally, we must report information to the IRS with respect to any distributions we pay on our common stock (even if the payments are exempt from withholding), including the amount of any such distributions, the name and address of the recipient, and the amount, if any, of tax withheld. A similar report is sent to the holder to whom any such distributions are paid. Pursuant to tax treaties or certain other agreements, the IRS may make its reports available to tax authorities in the recipient’s country of residence.

Distributions to a Non-U.S. Holder that are classified as dividends paid by us (or our paying agents) may also be subject to U.S. backup withholding. U.S. backup withholding generally will not apply to a Non-U.S. Holder who provides a properly executed IRS Form W-8BEN, IRS Form W-8BEN-E, or IRS Form W-ECI, or otherwise establishes an exemption. Notwithstanding the foregoing, backup withholding may apply if the payor has actual knowledge, or reason to know, that the holder is a U.S. person who is not an exempt recipient.

 

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U.S. information reporting and backup withholding requirements generally will apply to the proceeds of a disposition of our common stock effected by or through a U.S. office of any broker, U.S. or foreign, except that information reporting and such requirements may be avoided if the holder provides a properly executed IRS Form W-8BEN or IRS Form W-8BEN-E or otherwise meets documentary evidence requirements for establishing non-U.S. person status or otherwise establishes an exemption. Generally, U.S. information reporting and backup withholding requirements will not apply to a payment of disposition proceeds to a Non-U.S. Holder where the transaction is effected outside the U.S. through a non-U.S. office of a non-U.S. broker. Information reporting and backup withholding requirements may, however, apply to a payment of disposition proceeds if the broker has actual knowledge, or reason to know, that the holder is, in fact, a U.S. person. For information reporting purposes, certain brokers with substantial U.S. ownership or operations will generally be treated in a manner similar to U.S. brokers.

Backup withholding is not an additional tax. Any amounts withheld under the backup withholding rules may be credited against the tax liability of persons subject to backup withholding, provided that the required information is timely furnished to the IRS.

Foreign Accounts

Sections 1471 through 1474 of the Code (commonly referred to as FATCA) impose a U.S. federal withholding tax of 30% on certain payments, including dividends paid on and, subject to the proposed Treasury regulations described below, the gross proceeds of a disposition of our common stock paid to a foreign financial institution (as specifically defined by applicable rules) unless such institution enters into an agreement with the U.S. government to withhold on certain payments and to collect and provide to the U.S. tax authorities substantial information regarding U.S. account holders of such institution (which includes certain equity holders of such institution, as well as certain account holders that are foreign entities with U.S. owners). FATCA also generally imposes a federal withholding tax of 30% on certain payments, including dividends paid on and the gross proceeds of a disposition of our common stock to a non-financial foreign entity unless such entity provides the withholding agent with either a certification that it does not have any substantial direct or indirect U.S. owners or provides information regarding substantial direct and indirect U.S. owners of the entity. An intergovernmental agreement between the United States and an applicable foreign country may modify those requirements. The withholding tax described above will not apply if the foreign financial institution or non-financial foreign entity otherwise qualifies for an exemption from the rules. Holders are encouraged to consult with their own tax advisors regarding the possible implications of FATCA on their investment in our common stock.

The withholding provisions described above currently apply to payments of dividends. Under proposed Treasury Regulations, the preamble to which states that taxpayers may rely on them, this withholding tax will not apply to payments of gross proceeds from a sale or other disposition of common stock.

EACH PROSPECTIVE INVESTOR SHOULD CONSULT ITS OWN TAX ADVISOR REGARDING THE TAX CONSEQUENCES OF PURCHASING, HOLDING AND DISPOSING OF OUR COMMON STOCK, INCLUDING THE CONSEQUENCES OF ANY RECENT CHANGE IN APPLICABLE LAW.

 

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UNDERWRITING

We and the underwriters named below have entered into an underwriting agreement with respect to the shares being offered. Subject to certain conditions, each underwriter has severally agreed to purchase the number of shares indicated in the following table. Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC, Cowen and Company, LLC and SVB Leerink LLC are the representatives of the underwriters.

 

Underwriters

   Number of Shares  

Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC

     3,800,000  

Cowen and Company, LLC

     2,517,500  

SVB Leerink LLC

     2,517,500  

LifeSci Capital LLC

     665,000  
  

 

 

 

Total

     9,500,000  
  

 

 

 

The underwriters are committed to take and pay for all of the shares being offered, if any are taken, other than the shares covered by the option described below unless and until this option is exercised.

The underwriters have an option to buy up to an additional 1,425,000 shares from us. They may exercise that option for 30 days. If any shares are purchased pursuant to this option, the underwriters will severally purchase shares in approximately the same proportion as set forth in the table above.

The following table shows the per share and total underwriting discounts and commissions to be paid to the underwriters by us. Such amounts are shown assuming both no exercise and full exercise of the underwriters’ option to purchase 1,425,000 additional shares.

 

Paid by Adverum

   No Exercise      Full Exercise  

Per Share

   $ 0.825      $ 0.825  

Total

   $ 7,837,500      $ 9,013,125  

Shares sold by the underwriters to the public will initially be offered at the public offering price set forth on the cover of this prospectus supplement. Any shares sold by the underwriters to securities dealers may be sold at a discount of up to $0.495 per share from the public offering price. After the initial offering of the shares, the representatives may change the offering price and the other selling terms. The offering of the shares by the underwriters is subject to receipt and acceptance and subject to the underwriters’ right to reject any order in whole or in part.

We and our directors, executive officers and certain affiliates have agreed with the underwriters, subject to certain exceptions, not to dispose of or hedge any of their common stock or securities convertible into or exchangeable for shares of common stock during the period from the date of this prospectus supplement continuing through the date 90 days after the date of this prospectus supplement, except with the prior written consent of the representatives. Among the exceptions, certain directors and executive officers are permitted to sell up to an aggregate of approximately 180,000 shares of common stock pursuant to existing Rule 10b5-1 trading plans during such 90-day period.

In connection with the offering, the underwriters may purchase and sell shares of common stock in the open market. These transactions may include short sales, stabilizing transactions and purchases to cover positions created by short sales. Short sales involve the sale by the underwriters of a greater number of shares than they are required to purchase in the offering, and a short position represents the amount of such sales that have not been covered by subsequent purchases. A “covered short

 

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position” is a short position that is not greater than the amount of additional shares for which the underwriters’ option described above may be exercised. The underwriters may cover any covered short position by either exercising their option to purchase additional shares or purchasing shares in the open market. In determining the source of shares to cover the covered short position, the underwriters will consider, among other things, the price of shares available for purchase in the open market as compared to the price at which they may purchase additional shares pursuant to the option described above. “Naked” short sales are any short sales that create a short position greater than the amount of additional shares for which the option described above may be exercised. The underwriters must cover any such naked short position by purchasing shares in the open market. A naked short position is more likely to be created if the underwriters are concerned that there may be downward pressure on the price of the common stock in the open market after pricing that could adversely affect investors who purchase in the offering. Stabilizing transactions consist of various bids for or purchases of common stock made by the underwriters in the open market prior to the completion of the offering.

The underwriters may also impose a penalty bid. This occurs when a particular underwriter repays to the underwriters a portion of the underwriting discount received by it because the representatives have repurchased shares sold by or for the account of such underwriter in stabilizing or short covering transactions.

Purchases to cover a short position and stabilizing transactions, as well as other purchases by the underwriters for their own accounts, may have the effect of preventing or retarding a decline in the market price of our common stock, and together with the imposition of the penalty bid, may stabilize, maintain or otherwise affect the market price of the common stock. As a result, the price of the common stock may be higher than the price that otherwise might exist in the open market. The underwriters are not required to engage in these activities and may end any of these activities at any time. These transactions may be effected on The Nasdaq Global Market, in the over-the-counter market or otherwise.

European Economic Area

In relation to each Member State of the European Economic Area (each a “Member State”), no common shares (the “Shares”) have been offered or will be offered pursuant to the offering to the public in that Member State prior to the publication of a prospectus in relation to the Shares which has been approved by the competent authority in that Member State or, where appropriate, approved in another Member State and notified to the competent authority in that Member State, all in accordance with the Prospectus Regulation), except that offers of Shares may be made to the public in that Member State at any time under the following exemptions under the Prospectus Regulation:

 

  (a)

to any legal entity which is a qualified investor as defined under the Prospectus Regulation;

 

  (b)

to fewer than 150 natural or legal persons (other than qualified investors as defined under the Prospectus Regulation), subject to obtaining the prior consent of the representatives for any such offer ; or

 

  (c)

in any other circumstances falling within Article 1(4) of the Prospectus Regulation,

provided that no such offer of Shares shall require us or any representative to publish a prospectus pursuant to Article 3 of the Prospectus Regulation or supplement a prospectus pursuant to Article 23 of the Prospectus Regulation.

For the purposes of this provision, the expression an “offer to the public” in relation to any Shares in any Member State means the communication in any form and by any means of sufficient information on the terms of the offer and any Shares to be offered so as to enable an investor to decide to

 

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purchase or subscribe for any Shares, and the expression “Prospectus Regulation” means Regulation (EU) 2017/1129.

United Kingdom

Each Underwriter has represented and agreed that:

 

  (a)

it has only communicated or caused to be communicated and will only communicate or cause to be communicated an invitation or inducement to engage in investment activity (within the meaning of Section 21 of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (FSMA)) received by it in connection with the issue or sale of the shares in circumstances in which Section 21(1) of the FSMA does not apply to us; and

 

  (b)

it has complied and will comply with all applicable provisions of the FSMA with respect to anything done by it in relation to the shares in, from or otherwise involving the United Kingdom.

Canada

The securities may be sold in Canada only to purchasers purchasing, or deemed to be purchasing, as principal that are accredited investors, as defined in National Instrument 45-106 Prospectus Exemptions or subsection 73.3(1) of the Securities Act (Ontario), and are permitted clients, as defined in National Instrument 31-103 Registration Requirements, Exemptions, and Ongoing Registrant Obligations. Any resale of the securities must be made in accordance with an exemption form, or in a transaction not subject to, the prospectus requirements of applicable securities laws.

Securities legislation in certain provinces or territories of Canada may provide a purchaser with remedies for rescission or damages if this offering memorandum (including any amendment thereto) contains a misrepresentation, provided that the remedies for rescission or damages are exercised by the purchaser within the time limit prescribed by the securities legislation of the purchaser’s province or territory. The purchaser should refer to any applicable provisions of the securities legislation of the purchaser’s province or territory of these rights or consult with a legal advisor.

Pursuant to section 3A.3 of National Instrument 33-105 Underwriting Conflicts (NI 33-105), the underwriters are not required to comply with the disclosure requirements of NI 33-105 regarding underwriter conflicts of interest in connection with this offering.

Hong Kong

The shares may not be offered or sold in Hong Kong by means of any document other than (i) in circumstances which do not constitute an offer to the public within the meaning of the Companies (Winding Up and Miscellaneous Provisions) Ordinance (Cap. 32 of the Laws of Hong Kong) (“Companies (Winding Up and Miscellaneous Provisions) Ordinance”) or which do not constitute an invitation to the public within the meaning of the Securities and Futures Ordinance (Cap. 571 of the Laws of Hong Kong) (“Securities and Futures Ordinance”), or (ii) to “professional investors” as defined in the Securities and Futures Ordinance and any rules made thereunder, or (iii) in other circumstances which do not result in the document being a “prospectus” as defined in the Companies (Winding Up and Miscellaneous Provisions) Ordinance, and no advertisement, invitation or document relating to the shares may be issued or may be in the possession of any person for the purpose of issue (in each case whether in Hong Kong or elsewhere), which is directed at, or the contents of which are likely to be accessed or read by, the public in Hong Kong (except if permitted to do so under the securities laws of Hong Kong) other than with respect to shares which are or are intended to be disposed of only to persons outside Hong Kong or only to “professional investors” in Hong Kong as defined in the Securities and Futures Ordinance and any rules made thereunder.

 

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Singapore

This prospectus has not been registered as a prospectus with the Monetary Authority of Singapore. Accordingly, this prospectus and any other document or material in connection with the offer or sale, or invitation for subscription or purchase, of the shares may not be circulated or distributed, nor may the shares be offered or sold, or be made the subject of an invitation for subscription or purchase, whether directly or indirectly, to persons in Singapore other than (i) to an institutional investor (as defined under Section 4A of the Securities and Futures Act, Chapter 289 of Singapore (the “SFA”)) under Section 274 of the SFA, (ii) to a relevant person (as defined in Section 275(2) of the SFA) pursuant to Section 275(1) of the SFA, or any person pursuant to Section 275(1A) of the SFA, and in accordance with the conditions specified in Section 275 of the SFA or (iii) otherwise pursuant to, and in accordance with the conditions of, any other applicable provision of the SFA, in each case subject to conditions set forth in the SFA.

Where the shares are subscribed or purchased under Section 275 of the SFA by a relevant person which is a corporation (which is not an accredited investor (as defined in Section 4A of the SFA)) the sole business of which is to hold investments and the entire share capital of which is owned by one or more individuals, each of whom is an accredited investor, the securities (as defined in Section 239(1) of the SFA) of that corporation shall not be transferable for 6 months after that corporation has acquired the shares under Section 275 of the SFA except: (1) to an institutional investor under Section 274 of the SFA or to a relevant person (as defined in Section 275(2) of the SFA), (2) where such transfer arises from an offer in that corporation’s securities pursuant to Section 275(1A) of the SFA, (3) where no consideration is or will be given for the transfer, (4) where the transfer is by operation of law, (5) as specified in Section 276(7) of the SFA, or (6) as specified in Regulation 32 of the Securities and Futures (Offers of Investments) (Shares and Debentures) Regulations 2005 of Singapore (“Regulation 32”).

Where the shares are subscribed or purchased under Section 275 of the SFA by a relevant person which is a trust (where the trustee is not an accredited investor (as defined in Section 4A of the SFA)) whose sole purpose is to hold investments and each beneficiary of the trust is an accredited investor, the beneficiaries’ rights and interest (howsoever described) in that trust shall not be transferable for 6 months after that trust has acquired the shares under Section 275 of the SFA except: (1) to an institutional investor under Section 274 of the SFA or to a relevant person (as defined in Section 275(2) of the SFA), (2) where such transfer arises from an offer that is made on terms that such rights or interest are acquired at a consideration of not less than S$200,000 (or its equivalent in a foreign currency) for each transaction (whether such amount is to be paid for in cash or by exchange of securities or other assets), (3) where no consideration is or will be given for the transfer, (4) where the transfer is by operation of law, (5) as specified in Section 276(7) of the SFA, or (6) as specified in Regulation 32.

Japan

The securities have not been and will not be registered under the Financial Instruments and Exchange Act of Japan (Act No. 25 of 1948, as amended), or the FIEA. The securities may not be offered or sold, directly or indirectly, in Japan or to or for the benefit of any resident of Japan (including any person resident in Japan or any corporation or other entity organized under the laws of Japan) or to others for reoffering or resale, directly or indirectly, in Japan or to or for the benefit of any resident of Japan, except pursuant to an exemption from the registration requirements of the FIEA and otherwise in compliance with any relevant laws and regulations of Japan.

 

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Israel

In the State of Israel this prospectus shall not be regarded as an offer to the public to purchase shares of common stock under the Israeli Securities Law, 5728 – 1968, which requires a prospectus to be published and authorized by the Israel Securities Authority, if it complies with certain provisions of Section 15 of the Israeli Securities Law, 5728–1968, including, inter alia, if: (i) the offer is made, distributed or directed to not more than 35 investors, subject to certain conditions (the “Addressed Investors”); or (ii) the offer is made, distributed or directed to certain qualified investors defined in the First Addendum of the Israeli Securities Law, 5728 – 1968, subject to certain conditions (the “Qualified Investors”). The Qualified Investors shall not be taken into account in the count of the Addressed Investors and may be offered to purchase securities in addition to the 35 Addressed Investors. The company has not and will not take any action that would require it to publish a prospectus in accordance with and subject to the Israeli Securities Law, 5728 – 1968. We have not and will not distribute this prospectus or make, distribute or direct an offer to subscribe for our common stock to any person within the State of Israel, other than to Qualified Investors and up to 35 Addressed Investors.

Qualified Investors may have to submit written evidence that they meet the definitions set out in the First Addendum to the Israeli Securities Law, 5728 – 1968. In particular, we may request, as a condition to be offered common stock, that Qualified Investors will each represent, warrant and certify to us and/or to anyone acting on our behalf: (i) that it is an investor falling within one of the categories listed in the First Addendum to the Israeli Securities Law, 5728 – 1968; (ii) which of the categories listed in the First Addendum to the Israeli Securities Law, 5728 – 1968 regarding Qualified Investors is applicable to it; (iii) that it will abide by all provisions set forth in the Israeli Securities Law, 5728 – 1968 and the regulations promulgated thereunder in connection with the offer to be issued common stock; (iv) that the shares of common stock that it will be issued are, subject to exemptions available under the Israeli Securities Law, 5728 – 1968: (a) for its own account; (b) for investment purposes only; and (c) not issued with a view to resale within the State of Israel, other than in accordance with the provisions of the Israeli Securities Law, 5728 – 1968; and (v) that it is willing to provide further evidence of its Qualified Investor status. Addressed Investors may have to submit written evidence in respect of their identity and may have to sign and submit a declaration containing, inter alia, the Addressed Investor’s name, address and passport number or Israeli identification number.

We estimate that our share of the total expenses of the offering, excluding underwriting discounts and commissions, will be approximately $380,000. We have agreed to reimburse the underwriters up to $25,000 for their FINRA counsel’s fees.

We have agreed to indemnify the several underwriters against certain liabilities, including liabilities under the Securities Act of 1933.

The underwriters and their respective affiliates are full service financial institutions engaged in various activities, which may include sales and trading, commercial and investment banking, advisory, investment management, investment research, principal investment, hedging, market making, brokerage and other financial and non-financial activities and services. Certain of the underwriters and their respective affiliates have provided, and may in the future provide, a variety of these services to the issuer and to persons and entities with relationships with the issuer, for which they received or will receive customary fees and expenses. In addition, we entered into an at-the-market offering program sales agreement with Cowen and Company, LLC in August 2017. There is no capacity remaining on the at-the-market offering program.

LifeSci Advisors, LLC and LifeSci Communications, LLC, each a commonly owned affiliate of LifeSci Capital LLC, have been retained by us to provide investor relations and corporate

 

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communications services since September 2019. We currently pay a monthly cash retainer to these entities and reimburse reasonable out-of-pocket expenses incurred in connection with the provision of these services. LifeSci Capital LLC was registered as a broker-dealer with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority in June 2014 and its primary function in connection with the offering contemplated hereby is as lead manager.

In the ordinary course of their various business activities, the underwriters and their respective affiliates, officers, directors and employees may purchase, sell or hold a broad array of investments and actively trade securities, derivatives, loans, commodities, currencies, credit default swaps and other financial instruments for their own account and for the accounts of their customers, and such investment and trading activities may involve or relate to assets, securities and/or instruments of the issuer (directly, as collateral securing other obligations or otherwise) and/or persons and entities with relationships with the issuer. The underwriters and their respective affiliates may also communicate independent investment recommendations, market color or trading ideas and/or publish or express independent research views in respect of such assets, securities or instruments and may at any time hold, or recommend to clients that they should acquire, long and/or short positions in such assets, securities and instruments.

 

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LEGAL MATTERS

Cooley LLP will pass upon the validity of the common stock offered hereby. Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C. is representing the underwriters in connection with this offering.

EXPERTS

Ernst & Young LLP, independent registered public accounting firm, has audited our financial statements for the year ended December 31, 2018, included in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2018, as set forth in their report, which is incorporated by reference in this prospectus supplement and accompanying prospectus and elsewhere in the registration statement. Our financial statements are incorporated by reference in reliance on Ernst & Young LLP’s report, given on their authority as experts in accounting and auditing.

The 2017 consolidated financial statements incorporated by reference in this prospectus supplement and accompanying prospectus from our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2018 have been audited by Deloitte & Touche LLP, an independent registered public accounting firm, as stated in their report, which is incorporated herein by reference. Such consolidated financial statements have been so incorporated in reliance upon the report of such firm given upon their authority as experts in accounting and auditing.

WHERE YOU CAN FIND ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

This prospectus supplement and the accompanying prospectus are part of the registration statement on Form S-3 we filed with the SEC under the Securities Act and do not contain all the information set forth in the registration statement. Whenever a reference is made in this prospectus supplement or the accompanying prospectus to any of our contracts, agreements or other documents, the reference may not be complete and you should refer to the exhibits that are a part of the registration statement or the exhibits to the reports or other documents incorporated by reference into this prospectus supplement and the accompanying prospectus for a copy of such contract, agreement or other document. Because we are subject to the information and reporting requirements of the Exchange Act, we file annual, quarterly and current reports, proxy statements and other information with the SEC. Our SEC filings are available to the public over the Internet at the SEC’s website at http://www.sec.gov.

We maintain a website at www.adverum.com. Information contained in or accessible through our website does not constitute a part of this prospectus supplement or the accompanying prospectus and is not incorporated by reference into this prospectus supplement or the accompanying prospectus.

 

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INCORPORATION OF CERTAIN INFORMATION BY REFERENCE

The SEC allows us to “incorporate by reference” information from other documents that we file with it, which means that we can disclose important information to you by referring you to those documents. The information incorporated by reference is considered to be part of this prospectus supplement and the accompanying prospectus. Information in this prospectus supplement and the accompanying prospectus supersedes information incorporated by reference that we filed with the SEC prior to the date of this prospectus supplement and the accompanying prospectus, while information that we file later with the SEC will automatically update and supersede the information in this prospectus supplement and the accompanying prospectus. We incorporate by reference into this prospectus supplement, the accompanying prospectus and the registration statement of which this prospectus supplement and the accompanying prospectus are a part the information or documents listed below that we have filed with the SEC (Commission File No. 001-36579), excluding any portions of any Form 8-K that are not deemed “filed” pursuant to the General Instructions of Form 8-K:

 

   

our Annual Report on  Form 10-K, for the year ended December 31, 2018, filed with the SEC on March 6, 2019;

 

   

our Amendment No.  1 to Annual Report on Form 10-K/A, for the year ended December 31, 2018, filed with the SEC on April 30, 2019;

 

   

our Quarterly Report on Form  10-Q, for the quarter ended March 31, 2019, filed with the SEC on May 8, 2019;

 

   

our Quarterly Report on Form  10-Q, for the quarter ended June 30, 2019, filed with the SEC on August 8, 2019;

 

   

our Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q, for the quarter ended September 30, 2019, filed with the SEC on November 7, 2019;

 

   

our Current Reports on Form 8-K  filed with the SEC on March  1, 2019, April 24, 2019,  May 2, 2019, July  31, 2019, August  1, 2019, September  6, 2019, and December 16, 2019; and

 

   

the description of our common stock set forth in our registration statement on Form  8-A, filed with the SEC on July 28, 2014, including any amendment or report filed for the purpose of updating such description.

We also incorporate by reference any future filings (other than current reports furnished under Item 2.02 or Item 7.01 of Form 8-K and exhibits filed on such form that are related to such items unless such Form 8-K expressly provides to the contrary) made with the SEC pursuant to Sections 13(a), 13(c), 14 or 15(d) of the Exchange Act. Information in such future filings updates and supplements the information provided in this prospectus supplement and the accompanying prospectus. Any statements in any such future filings will automatically be deemed to modify and supersede any information in any document we previously filed with the SEC that is incorporated or deemed to be incorporated herein by reference to the extent that statements in the later filed document modify or replace such earlier statements.

You can request a copy of these filings, at no cost, by writing or telephoning us at the following address or telephone number:

Adverum Biotechnologies, Inc.

800 Saginaw Drive

Redwood City, CA 94063

(650) 656-9323

Attn: Investor Relations

 

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Prospectus

 

 

LOGO

Common Stock

Preferred Stock

Debt Securities

Warrants

 

 

From time to time, we may offer and sell any combination of the securities described in this prospectus, either individually or in combination. We may also offer common stock or preferred stock upon conversion of debt securities, common stock upon conversion of preferred stock, or common stock, preferred stock or debt securities upon the exercise of warrants.

We will provide the specific terms of these offerings and securities in one or more supplements to this prospectus. We may also authorize one or more free writing prospectuses to be provided to you in connection with these offerings. The prospectus supplement and any related free writing prospectus may also add, update or change information contained in this prospectus. You should carefully read this prospectus, the applicable prospectus supplement and any related free writing prospectus, as well as any documents incorporated by reference, before buying any of the securities being offered.

Our common stock is listed on the Nasdaq Global Market under the trading symbol “ADVM.” On August 7, 2019, the last reported sale price of our common stock was $11.71 per share. The applicable prospectus supplement will contain information, where applicable, as to other listings, if any, on the Nasdaq Global Market or other securities exchange of the securities covered by the applicable prospectus supplement.

 

 

Investing in our securities involves a high degree of risk. Before making an investment decision, you should review carefully the risks described under the heading “Risk Factors” on page 6 of this prospectus and any similar section contained in the applicable prospectus supplement and in any free writing prospectuses we have authorized for use in connection with a specific offering, and under similar headings in the documents that are incorporated by reference into this prospectus.

This prospectus may not be used to consummate a sale of securities unless accompanied by a prospectus supplement.

The securities may be sold directly by us to investors, through agents designated from time to time or to or through underwriters or dealers, on a continuous or delayed basis. The supplements to this prospectus will provide the specific terms of the plan of distribution. If any agents or underwriters are involved in the sale of any securities with respect to which this prospectus is being delivered, the names of such agents or underwriters and any applicable fees, commissions, discounts and over-allotment options will be set forth in a prospectus supplement. The price to the public of such securities and the net proceeds we expect to receive from such sale will also be set forth in a prospectus supplement.

Neither the Securities and Exchange Commission nor any state securities commission has approved or disapproved of these securities or determined if this prospectus is truthful or complete. Any representation to the contrary is a criminal offense.

 

 

The date of this prospectus is August 8, 2019.


Table of Contents

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

ABOUT THIS PROSPECTUS

     i  

PROSPECTUS SUMMARY

     1  

RISK FACTORS

     6  

SPECIAL NOTE REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

     7  

USE OF PROCEEDS

     8  

DESCRIPTION OF CAPITAL STOCK

     8  

DESCRIPTION OF DEBT SECURITIES

     13  

DESCRIPTION OF WARRANTS

     20  

LEGAL OWNERSHIP OF SECURITIES

     22  

PLAN OF DISTRIBUTION

     25  

LEGAL MATTERS

     27  

EXPERTS

     27  

WHERE YOU CAN FIND ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

     28  

INCORPORATION OF CERTAIN INFORMATION BY REFERENCE

     28  

 

 

ABOUT THIS PROSPECTUS

This prospectus is part of a registration statement on Form S-3 that we filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, or SEC, using a “shelf” registration process as a “well-known seasoned issuer” as defined in Rule 405 under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, or the Securities Act. Under this shelf registration statement, we may, from time to time, offer and sell, either individually or in combination, in one or more offerings, any combination of the securities described in this prospectus. There is no limit on the aggregate amount of the securities that we may offer pursuant to the registration statement of which this prospectus is a part.

This prospectus provides you with a general description of the securities we may offer. Each time we offer securities under this prospectus, we will provide a prospectus supplement that will contain more specific information about the terms of that offering. We may also authorize one or more free writing prospectuses to be provided to you that may contain material information relating to these offerings. The prospectus supplement and any related free writing prospectus that we may authorize to be provided to you may also add, update or change any of the information contained in this prospectus or in the documents that we have incorporated by reference into this prospectus. We urge you to read carefully this prospectus, any applicable prospectus supplement and any free writing prospectuses we have authorized for use in connection with a specific offering, together with the information incorporated herein by reference as described under the heading “Incorporation of Certain Information by Reference,” before buying any of the securities being offered.

This prospectus may not be used to consummate a sale of securities unless it is accompanied by a prospectus supplement.

You should rely only on the information contained in, or incorporated by reference into, this prospectus and any applicable prospectus supplement, along with the information contained in any free writing prospectuses we

 

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have authorized for use in connection with a specific offering. We have not authorized anyone to provide you with different or additional information. You must not rely upon any information or representation not contained or incorporated by reference in this prospectus, the accompanying prospectus supplement or in any related free writing prospectus that we may authorize to be provided to you. This prospectus is an offer to sell only the securities offered hereby, but only under circumstances and in jurisdictions where it is lawful to do so.

The information appearing in this prospectus, any applicable prospectus supplement or any related free writing prospectus is accurate only as of the date on the front of the document and any information we have incorporated by reference is accurate only as of the date of the document incorporated by reference, regardless of the time of delivery of this prospectus, any applicable prospectus supplement or any related free writing prospectus, or any sale of a security. Our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects may have changed since those dates.

This prospectus contains and incorporates by reference market data and industry statistics and forecasts that are based on independent industry publications and other publicly available information. Although we believe that these sources are reliable, we do not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of this information and we have not independently verified this information. Although we are not aware of any misstatements regarding the market and industry data presented in this prospectus and the documents incorporated herein by reference, these estimates involve risks and uncertainties and are subject to change based on various factors, including those discussed under the heading “Risk Factors” contained in the applicable prospectus supplement and any related free writing prospectus, and under similar headings in the other documents that are incorporated by reference into this prospectus. Accordingly, investors should not place undue reliance on this information.

This prospectus contains summaries of certain provisions contained in some of the documents described herein, but reference is made to the actual documents for complete information. All of the summaries are qualified in their entirety by the actual documents. Copies of some of the documents referred to herein have been filed, will be filed or will be incorporated by reference as exhibits to the registration statement of which this prospectus is a part, and you may obtain copies of those documents as described below under the section entitled “Where You Can Find Additional Information.”

 

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PROSPECTUS SUMMARY

This summary highlights selected information appearing elsewhere in this prospectus or incorporated by reference in this prospectus, and does not contain all of the information that you need to consider in making your investment decision. You should carefully read the entire prospectus, the applicable prospectus supplement and any related free writing prospectus, including the risks of investing in our securities discussed under the heading “Risk Factors” contained in the applicable prospectus supplement and any related free writing prospectus, and under similar headings in the other documents that are incorporated by reference into this prospectus. You should also carefully read the information incorporated by reference into this prospectus, including our financial statements, and the exhibits to the registration statement of which this prospectus is a part.

Adverum Biotechnologies, Inc.

Overview

We are a clinical-stage gene therapy company targeting unmet medical needs in ocular and rare diseases. We develop gene therapy product candidates designed to provide durable efficacy by inducing sustained expression of a therapeutic protein. Our core capabilities include clinical development, novel vector discovery, and in-house manufacturing expertise, specifically in scalable process development, assay development, and current Good Manufacturing Practices (“cGMP”) quality control. Since our inception, we have devoted our efforts to performing research and development activities, filing patent applications, hiring personnel and raising capital to support these activities.

Risks Associated with our Business

Our business is subject to numerous risks. You should read these risks before you invest in our common stock. In particular, our risks include, but are not limited to, the following:

 

   

We have incurred significant operating losses since inception, and we expect to incur significant losses for the foreseeable future. We may never become profitable or, if achieved, be able to sustain profitability;

 

   

We expect that our cash, cash equivalents, and short-term investments will be sufficient to fund our lead gene therapy programs into 2021. If this expectation proves to be wrong, we may be forced to delay, limit or terminate certain of our development efforts;

 

   

We will need to raise additional funding, which may not be available on acceptable terms, or at all. If we fail to obtain additional capital necessary to fund our operations, we will be unable to successfully develop and commercialize our product candidates;

 

   

Our business will depend substantially on the success of one or more of our product candidates. If we are unable to develop, obtain regulatory approval for, or successfully commercialize, any or all of our product candidates, our business will be materially harmed;

 

   

Our gene therapy platform is based on a novel technology, which makes it difficult to predict the time and cost of product candidate development and subsequently obtaining regulatory approval;

 

   

The results of preclinical studies and early clinical trials are not always predictive of future results. Any product candidate we or any of our future development partners advance into clinical trials may not have favorable results in later clinical trials, if any, or receive regulatory approval;

 

   

Our product candidates are subject to extensive regulation, compliance with which is costly and time consuming, and such regulation may cause unanticipated delays or prevent the receipt of the required approvals to commercialize our product candidates;



 

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If we encounter difficulties enrolling patients in our clinical trials, our clinical development activities could be delayed or otherwise adversely affected;

 

   

The occurrence of serious complications or side effects in connection with use of our product candidates, either in preclinical studies or clinical trials or post-approval, could lead to discontinuation of our clinical development program, refusal of regulatory authorities to approve our product candidates or, post-approval, revocation of marketing authorizations or refusal to approve new indications, which could severely harm our business prospects, financial condition and results of operations; and

 

   

We will rely on third parties to conduct some preclinical testing and all of our planned clinical trials. If these third parties do not meet our deadlines or otherwise fail to conduct the trials as required, our clinical development programs could be delayed or unsuccessful and we may not be able to obtain regulatory approval for or commercialize our product candidates when expected or at all.

Corporate Information

We were incorporated in Delaware in 2006 under the name “Avalanche Biotechnologies, Inc.” We completed the initial public offering of our common stock in August 2014. On May 11, 2016, upon the completion of our acquisition of Annapurna Therapeutics SAS, we changed our name to “Adverum Biotechnologies, Inc.” Our common stock is currently listed on the Nasdaq Global Market under the symbol “ADVM.” We are an “emerging growth company” under the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act of 2012, and therefore we are subject to reduced public company reporting requirements.

Our principal executive offices are located at 1035 O’Brien Drive, Menlo Park, CA 94025, and our telephone number is (650) 272-6269. Our internet address is www.adverum.com. The information on our website is not incorporated by reference into this prospectus and should not be considered to be a part of this prospectus. Our internet address is included in this prospectus as an inactive textual reference only.

The Securities We May Offer

We may offer shares of our common stock and preferred stock, various series of debt securities and/or warrants to purchase any of such securities, either individually or in combination, from time to time under this prospectus, together with the applicable prospectus supplement and any related free writing prospectus, at prices and on terms to be determined by market conditions at the time of any offering. There is no limit on the aggregate amount of the securities that we may offer pursuant to the registration statement of which this prospectus is a part. We may also offer common stock, preferred stock and/or debt securities upon the exercise of warrants. This prospectus provides you with a general description of the securities we may offer. Each time we offer a type or series of securities under this prospectus, we will provide a prospectus supplement that will describe the specific amounts, prices and other important terms of the securities, including, to the extent applicable:

 

   

designation or classification;

 

   

aggregate principal amount or aggregate offering price;

 

   

maturity date, if applicable;

 

   

original issue discount, if any;

 

   

rates and times of payment of interest or dividends, if any;

 

   

redemption, conversion, exercise, exchange or sinking fund terms, if any;



 

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conversion or exchange prices or rates, if any, and, if applicable, any provisions for changes to or adjustments in the conversion or exchange prices or rates and in the securities or other property receivable upon conversion or exchange;

 

   

ranking;

 

   

restrictive covenants, if any;

 

   

voting or other rights, if any; and

 

   

material or special U.S. federal income tax considerations, if any.

The applicable prospectus supplement and any related free writing prospectus that we may authorize to be provided to you may also add, update or change any of the information contained in this prospectus or in the documents we have incorporated by reference. However, no prospectus supplement or free writing prospectus will offer a security that is not registered and described in this prospectus at the time of the effectiveness of the registration statement of which this prospectus is a part.

THIS PROSPECTUS MAY NOT BE USED TO CONSUMMATE A SALE OF SECURITIES UNLESS IT IS ACCOMPANIED BY A PROSPECTUS SUPPLEMENT.

We may sell the securities directly to investors or to or through agents, underwriters or dealers. We and our agents or underwriters, reserve the right to accept or reject all or part of any proposed purchase of securities. If we do offer securities to or through agents or underwriters, we will include in the applicable prospectus supplement:

 

   

the names of those agents or underwriters;

 

   

applicable fees, discounts and commissions to be paid to them;

 

   

details regarding over-allotment options, if any; and

 

   

the net proceeds to us.

Common Stock. We may issue shares of our common stock from time to time. The holders of our common stock are entitled to one vote for each share held of record on all matters submitted to a vote of stockholders. Subject to preferences that may be applicable to any outstanding shares of preferred stock, the holders of common stock are entitled to receive ratably such dividends as may be declared by our board of directors out of legally available funds. Upon our liquidation, dissolution or winding up, holders of our common stock are entitled to share ratably in all assets remaining after payment of liabilities and the liquidation preferences of any outstanding shares of preferred stock. Holders of common stock have no preemptive rights and no right to convert their common stock into any other securities. There are no redemption or sinking fund provisions applicable to our common stock. In this prospectus, we have summarized certain general features of the common stock under “Description of Capital Stock—Common Stock.” We urge you, however, to read the applicable prospectus supplement (and any related free writing prospectus that we may authorize to be provided to you) related to any common stock being offered.

Preferred Stock. We may issue shares of our preferred stock from time to time, in one or more series. Our board of directors will determine the designations, voting powers, preferences and rights of the preferred stock, as well as the qualifications, limitations or restrictions thereof, including dividend rights, conversion rights, preemptive rights, terms of redemption or repurchase, liquidation preferences, sinking fund terms and the number of shares constituting any series or the designation of any series. Convertible preferred stock will be convertible into our common stock or exchangeable for other securities. Conversion may be mandatory or at your option and would be at prescribed conversion rates.



 

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If we sell any series of preferred stock under this prospectus, we will fix the designations, voting powers, preferences and rights of the preferred stock of each series we issue under this prospectus, as well as the qualifications, limitations or restrictions thereof, in the certificate of designation relating to that series. We will file as an exhibit to the registration statement of which this prospectus is a part, or will incorporate by reference from reports that we file with the SEC, the form of any certificate of designation that contains the terms of the series of preferred stock we are offering. In this prospectus, we have summarized certain general features of the preferred stock under “Description of Capital Stock—Preferred Stock.” We urge you, however, to read the applicable prospectus supplement (and any related free writing prospectus that we may authorize to be provided to you) related to the series of preferred stock being offered, as well as the complete certificate of designation that contains the terms of the applicable series of preferred stock.

Debt Securities. We may issue debt securities from time to time, in one or more series, as either senior or subordinated debt or as senior or subordinated convertible debt. The senior debt securities will rank equally with any other unsecured and unsubordinated debt. The subordinated debt securities will be subordinate and junior in right of payment, to the extent and in the manner described in the instrument governing the debt, to all of our senior indebtedness. Convertible debt securities will be convertible into or exchangeable for our common stock or other securities. Conversion may be mandatory or at your option and would be at prescribed conversion rates.

Any debt securities issued under this prospectus will be issued under one or more documents called indentures, which are contracts between us and a national banking association or other eligible party, as trustee. In this prospectus, we have summarized certain general features of the debt securities under “Description of Debt Securities.” We urge you, however, to read the applicable prospectus supplement (and any free writing prospectus that we may authorize to be provided to you) related to the series of debt securities being offered, as well as the complete indentures that contain the terms of the debt securities. We have filed the form of indenture as an exhibit to the registration statement of which this prospectus is a part, and supplemental indentures and forms of debt securities containing the terms of the debt securities being offered will be filed as exhibits to the registration statement of which this prospectus is a part or will be incorporated by reference from reports that we file with the SEC.

Warrants. We may issue warrants for the purchase of common stock, preferred stock and/or debt securities in one or more series. We may issue warrants independently or in combination with common stock, preferred stock and/or debt securities. In this prospectus, we have summarized certain general features of the warrants under “Description of Warrants.” We urge you, however, to read the applicable prospectus supplement (and any related free writing prospectus that we may authorize to be provided to you) related to the particular series of warrants being offered, as well as any warrant agreements and warrant certificates that contain the terms of the warrants. We have filed forms of the warrant agreements and forms of warrant certificates containing the terms of the warrants that may be offered as exhibits to the registration statement of which this prospectus is a part. We will file as exhibits to the registration statement of which this prospectus is a part, or will incorporate by reference from reports that we file with the SEC, the form of warrant and/or the warrant agreement and warrant certificate, as applicable, that contain the terms of the particular series of warrants we are offering, and any supplemental agreements, before the issuance of such warrants.

Any warrants issued under this prospectus may be evidenced by warrant certificates. Warrants also may be issued under an applicable warrant agreement that we enter into with a warrant agent. We will indicate the name and address of the warrant agent, if applicable, in the prospectus supplement relating to the particular series of warrants being offered.

Use of Proceeds

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purposes may include, without limitation, the research and development of our gene therapy pipeline and our AAV vector discovery platform, process development and manufacturing improvements, acquisitions or in-licenses of complementary companies or businesses, working capital and capital expenditures. See “Use of Proceeds” in this prospectus.

Nasdaq Global Market Listing

Our common stock is listed on the Nasdaq Global Market under the symbol “ADVM.” The applicable prospectus supplement will contain information, where applicable, as to other listings, if any, on the Nasdaq Global Market or other securities exchange of the securities covered by the applicable prospectus supplement.



 

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RISK FACTORS

Investing in our securities involves a high degree of risk. Before deciding whether to invest in our securities, you should consider carefully the risks and uncertainties described under the heading “Risk Factors” contained in the applicable prospectus supplement and any related free writing prospectus, and discussed under the section entitled “Risk Factors” contained in our most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K and in our most recent Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q, as well as any amendments thereto reflected in subsequent filings with the SEC, which are incorporated by reference into this prospectus in their entirety, together with other information in this prospectus, the documents incorporated by reference and any free writing prospectus that we may authorize for use in connection with this offering. The risks described in these documents are not the only ones we face, but those that we consider to be material. There may be other unknown or unpredictable economic, business, competitive, regulatory or other factors that could have material adverse effects on our future results. Past financial performance may not be a reliable indicator of future performance, and historical trends should not be used to anticipate results or trends in future periods. If any of these risks actually occurs, our business, financial condition, results of operations or cash flow could be seriously harmed. This could cause the trading price of our common stock to decline, resulting in a loss of all or part of your investment. Please also read carefully the section below entitled “Special Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements.”

 

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SPECIAL NOTE REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

This prospectus and the documents we have filed with the SEC that are incorporated by reference contain “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, or the Securities Act, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, or the Exchange Act. These statements relate to future events or to our future operating or financial performance and involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which may cause our actual results, performance or achievements to be materially different from any future results, performances or achievements expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements may include, but are not limited to, statements about:

 

   

the initiation, progress, timing, costs and results of preclinical studies and any clinical trials for our product candidates;

 

   

our ability to advance our viral vector manufacturing and delivery capabilities;

 

   

the timing or likelihood of regulatory filings, designations and approvals;

 

   

our plans to explore potential applications of our gene therapy platform in other indications in ocular and rare diseases;

 

   

our expectations regarding the clinical effectiveness of our product candidates;

 

   

our commercialization, marketing and manufacturing capabilities and strategy;

 

   

the pricing and reimbursement of our product candidates, if approved;

 

   

our expectation regarding the potential market sizes for our product candidates;

 

   

our intellectual property position;

 

   

the potential benefits of our strategic collaborations and our ability to enter into strategic arrangements;

 

   

developments and projections relating to our competitors and our industry;

 

   

our estimates regarding expenses, future revenue, capital requirements and needs for additional financing; and

 

   

the safety, efficacy and projected development timeline and commercial potential of any product candidates.

In some cases, you can identify forward-looking statements by terms such as “may,” “will,” “should,” “could,” “would,” “expects,” “plans,” “anticipates,” “believes,” “estimates,” “projects,” “predicts,” “potential” and similar expressions intended to identify forward-looking statements. These statements reflect our current views with respect to future events and are based on assumptions and are subject to risks and uncertainties. Given these uncertainties, you should not place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements. We discuss in greater detail many of these risks under the heading “Risk Factors” contained in the applicable prospectus supplement, in any free writing prospectuses we may authorize for use in connection with a specific offering, and in our most recent annual report on Form 10-K and in our most recent quarterly report on Form 10-Q, as well as any amendments thereto reflected in subsequent filings with the SEC, which are incorporated by reference into this prospectus in their entirety. Also, these forward-looking statements represent our estimates and assumptions only as of the date of the document containing the applicable statement. Unless required by law, we undertake no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements to reflect new information or future events or developments. Thus, you should not assume that our silence over time means that actual events are bearing out as expressed or implied in such forward-looking statements. You should read this prospectus, any applicable prospectus supplement, together with the documents we have filed with the SEC that are incorporated by reference and any free writing prospectus that we may authorize for use in connection with this offering completely and with the understanding that our actual future results may be materially different from what we expect. We qualify all of the forward-looking statements in the foregoing documents by these cautionary statements.

 

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USE OF PROCEEDS

Unless otherwise specified in connection with a particular offering of securities, the net proceeds from the sale of the securities offered by this prospectus will be used for general corporate purposes. General corporate purposes may include, without limitation, the research and development of our gene therapy pipeline and our AAV vector discovery platform, process development and manufacturing improvements, acquisitions or in-licenses of complementary companies or businesses, working capital and capital expenditures. We may temporarily invest such net proceeds in investment-grade, interest-bearing securities until they are used for their stated purpose. We have not determined the amount of net proceeds to be used specifically for such purposes. As a result, management will retain broad discretion over the allocation of net proceeds.

DESCRIPTION OF CAPITAL STOCK

Our authorized capital stock consists of 300,000,000 shares of common stock, $0.0001 par value per share, and 5,000,000 shares of preferred stock, $0.0001 par value per share. A description of material terms and provisions of our certificate of incorporation and bylaws affecting the rights of holders of our capital stock is set forth below. The description is intended as a summary, and is qualified in its entirety by reference to our certificate of incorporation and the bylaws.

Common Stock

Each holder of our common stock is entitled to one vote for each share on all matters submitted to a vote of the stockholders, including the election of directors. In the election of directors, a plurality of the votes cast at a meeting of stockholders is sufficient to elect a director. Our stockholders do not have cumulative voting rights in the election of directors. Accordingly, holders of a majority of the voting shares are able to elect all of the directors. In all other matters, except as noted below under “—Amendment of our Amended and Restated Certificate of Incorporation or our Amended and Restated Bylaws” and “—Election and Removal of Directors” and except where a higher threshold is required by law, a majority of the votes cast affirmatively or negatively (excluding abstentions and broker non-votes) will decide such matters.

Subject to preferences that may be applicable to any then outstanding preferred stock, holders of our common stock are entitled to receive dividends, if any, as may be declared from time to time by our board of directors out of legally available funds.

In the event of our liquidation, dissolution or winding up, holders of our common stock will be entitled to share ratably in the net assets legally available for distribution to stockholders after the payment of all of our debts and other liabilities and the satisfaction of any liquidation preference granted to the holders of any then outstanding shares of preferred stock.

Holders of our common stock have no preemptive, conversion, subscription or other rights, and there are no redemption or sinking fund provisions applicable to our common stock. The rights, preferences and privileges of the holders of our common stock are subject to and may be adversely affected by the rights of the holders of shares of any series of preferred stock that we may designate in the future.

Preferred Stock

Our amended and restated certificate of incorporation authorizes our board of directors, without further action by our stockholders, to issue up to 5,000,000 shares of preferred stock in one or more series and to fix the rights, preferences, privileges and restrictions thereof. These rights, preferences and privileges could include dividend rights, conversion rights, voting rights, terms of redemption, liquidation preferences, sinking fund terms and the number of shares constituting any series or the designation of such series, any or all of which may be

 

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greater than the rights of common stock. The issuance of our preferred stock could adversely affect the voting power of holders of common stock and the likelihood that such holders will receive dividend payments and payments upon liquidation. In addition, the issuance of preferred stock could have the effect of delaying, deferring or preventing a change of control of our company or other corporate action.

We will fix the designations, voting powers, preferences and rights of the preferred stock of each series we issue under this prospectus, as well as the qualifications, limitations or restrictions thereof, in the certificate of designation relating to that series. We will file as an exhibit to the registration statement of which this prospectus is a part, or will incorporate by reference from reports that we file with the SEC, the form of any certificate of designation that contains the terms of the series of preferred stock we are offering. We will describe in the applicable prospectus supplement the terms of the series of preferred stock being offered, including, to the extent applicable:

 

   

the title and stated value;

 

   

the number of shares we are offering;

 

   

the liquidation preference per share;

 

   

the purchase price;

 

   

the dividend rate, period and payment date and method of calculation for dividends;

 

   

whether dividends will be cumulative or non-cumulative and, if cumulative, the date from which dividends will accumulate;

 

   

the procedures for any auction and remarketing, if applicable;

 

   

the provisions for a sinking fund, if applicable;

 

   

the provisions for redemption or repurchase, if applicable, and any restrictions on our ability to exercise those redemption and repurchase rights;

 

   

any listing of the preferred stock on any securities exchange or market;

 

   

whether the preferred stock will be convertible into our common stock, and, if applicable, the conversion price, or how it will be calculated, and the conversion period;

 

   

whether the preferred stock will be exchangeable into debt securities, and, if applicable, the exchange price, or how it will be calculated, and the exchange period;

 

   

voting rights of the preferred stock;

 

   

preemptive rights, if any;

 

   

restrictions on transfer, sale or other assignment;

 

   

whether interests in the preferred stock will be represented by depositary shares;

 

   

a discussion of material United States federal income tax considerations applicable to the preferred stock;

 

   

the relative ranking and preferences of the preferred stock as to dividend rights and rights if we liquidate, dissolve or wind up our affairs;

 

   

any limitations on the issuance of any class or series of preferred stock ranking senior to or on a parity with the series of preferred stock as to dividend rights and rights if we liquidate, dissolve or wind up our affairs; and

 

   

any other specific terms, preferences, rights or limitations of, or restrictions on, the preferred stock.

 

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Anti-takeover Effects of Provisions of our Certificate of Incorporation and Bylaws and Delaware Law

Delaware law and our restated certificate of incorporation and our amended and restated bylaws contain provisions that could have the effect of delaying, deferring or discouraging another party from acquiring control of us. These provisions, which are summarized below, are expected to discourage coercive takeover practices and inadequate takeover bids. These provisions are also designed to encourage persons seeking to acquire control of us to first negotiate with our board of directors.

Undesignated Preferred Stock

The ability to authorize undesignated preferred stock makes it possible for our board of directors to issue preferred stock with voting or other rights or preferences that could impede the success of any attempt to change control of us. These and other provisions may have the effect of deterring hostile takeovers or delaying changes in control or management of our company.

Stockholder Meetings

Our charter documents provide that a special meeting of stockholders may be called only by the secretary of our company at the direction of the board of directors.

Requirements for Advance Notification of Stockholder Nominations and Proposals

Our amended and restated bylaws establish advance notice procedures with respect to stockholder proposals and the nomination of candidates for election as directors, other than nominations made by or at the direction of the board of directors or a committee of the board of directors.

Elimination of Stockholder Action by Written Consent

Our amended and restated certificate of incorporation eliminates the right of stockholders to act by written consent without a meeting.

Election and Removal of Directors

Our board of directors is divided into three classes. The directors in each class will serve for a three-year term, one class being elected each year by our stockholders. This system of electing and removing directors may tend to discourage a third party from making a tender offer or otherwise attempting to obtain control of us, because it generally makes it more difficult for stockholders to replace a majority of the directors. Our charter documents provide that directors may be removed from office at any time (i) with cause by the affirmative vote of the holders of a majority of the voting power of all the then outstanding shares of our voting stock entitled to vote at an election of directors or (ii) without cause by the affirmative vote of the holders of at least sixty-six and two-thirds percent (66-2/3%) of the voting power of all the then outstanding shares of our voting stock entitled to vote at an election of directors.

Delaware Anti-Takeover Statute

We are subject to Section 203 of the DGCL, which prohibits a Delaware corporation from engaging in a business combination with any interested stockholder for a period of three years following the date the person became an interested stockholder, with the following exceptions:

 

   

before such date, the board of directors of the corporation approved either the business combination or the transaction that resulted in the stockholder becoming an interested holder;

 

   

upon completion of the transaction that resulted in the stockholder becoming an interested stockholder, the interested stockholder owned at least 85% of the voting stock of the corporation outstanding at the

 

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time the transaction began, excluding for purposes of determining the voting stock outstanding (but not the outstanding voting stock owned by the interested stockholder) those shares owned (a) by persons who are directors and also officers and (b) pursuant to employee stock plans in which employee participants do not have the right to determine confidentially whether shares held subject to the plan will be tendered in a tender or exchange offer; and

 

   

on or after such date, the business combination is approved by the board of directors and authorized at an annual or special meeting of the stockholders, and not by written consent, by the affirmative vote of at least 66 2/3% of the outstanding voting stock that is not owned by the interested stockholder.

In general, Section 203 of the DGCL defines business combination to include the following:

 

   

any merger or consolidation involving the corporation and the interested stockholder;

 

   

any sale, transfer, pledge or other disposition of 10% or more of the assets of the corporation involving the interested stockholder;

 

   

subject to certain exceptions, any transaction that results in the issuance or transfer by the corporation of any stock of the corporation to the interested stockholder;

 

   

any transaction involving the corporation that has the effect of increasing the proportionate share of the stock or any class or series of the corporation beneficially owned by the interested stockholder; and

 

   

the receipt by the interested stockholder of the benefit of any loans, advances, guarantees, pledges or other financial benefits by or through the corporation.

Section 203 of the DGCL defines an “interested stockholder” as an entity or person who, together with the entity’s or person’s affiliates and associates, beneficially owns, or is an affiliate of the corporation and within three years prior to the time of determination of interested stockholder status did own, 15% or more of the outstanding voting stock of the corporation. A Delaware corporation may “opt out” of these provisions with an express provision in its certificate of incorporation. We have not opted out of these provisions, which may as a result, discourage or prevent mergers or other takeover or change of control attempts of us.

Amendment of our Amended and Restated Certificate of Incorporation or our Amended and Restated Bylaws

The amendment of any of the above provisions in our amended and restated certificate of incorporation, except for the provision making it possible for our board of directors to issue preferred stock, or the amendment of any provision in our amended and restated bylaws (other than by action of the board of directors), would require approval by holders of at least 66 2/3% of our then outstanding voting stock

The provisions of the Delaware General Corporation Law, our amended and restated certificate of incorporation and our amended and restated bylaws could have the effect of discouraging others from attempting hostile takeovers and, as a consequence, they may also inhibit temporary fluctuations in the market price of our common stock that often result from actual or rumored hostile takeover attempts. These provisions may also have the effect of preventing changes in our management. It is possible that these provisions could make it more difficult to accomplish transactions that stockholders may otherwise deem to be in their best interests.

Delaware as Sole and Exclusive Forum

Our amended and restated certificate of incorporation provides that, unless we consent in writing to the selection of an alternative forum, the sole and exclusive forum for (i) any derivative action or proceeding brought on behalf of Adverum, (ii) any action asserting a claim of breach of a fiduciary duty owed by any director, officer or other employee of Adverum to us or our stockholders, (iii) any action asserting a claim arising pursuant to any provision of the Delaware General Corporation Law, or (iv) any action asserting a claim governed by the internal

 

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affairs doctrine shall be the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware, in all cases subject to the court’s having personal jurisdiction over the indispensable parties named as defendants.

Transfer Agent and Registrar

American Stock Transfer & Trust Company is the transfer agent and registrar for our common stock. The transfer agent and registrar’s address is 6201 15th Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11219. The main telephone number is (800) 937-5449.

Listing on the Nasdaq Global Market

Our common stock is listed on the Nasdaq Global Market the symbol “ADVM.” The applicable prospectus supplement will contain information, where applicable, as to any other listing, if any, on the Nasdaq Global Market or any securities market or other exchange of the preferred stock covered by such prospectus supplement.

 

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DESCRIPTION OF DEBT SECURITIES

We may issue debt securities from time to time, in one or more series, as either senior or subordinated debt or as senior or subordinated convertible debt. While the terms we have summarized below will apply generally to any debt securities that we may offer under this prospectus, we will describe the particular terms of any debt securities that we may offer in more detail in the applicable prospectus supplement. The terms of any debt securities offered under a prospectus supplement may differ from the terms described below. Unless the context requires otherwise, whenever we refer to the indenture, we also are referring to any supplemental indentures that specify the terms of a particular series of debt securities.

We will issue the debt securities under the indenture that we will enter into with trustee named in the indenture. The indenture will be qualified under the Trust Indenture Act of 1939, as amended, or the Trust Indenture Act. We have filed the form of indenture as an exhibit to the registration statement of which this prospectus is a part, and supplemental indentures and forms of debt securities containing the terms of the debt securities being offered will be filed as exhibits to the registration statement of which this prospectus is a part or will be incorporated by reference from reports that we file with the SEC.

The following summary of material provisions of the debt securities and the indenture is subject to, and qualified in its entirety by reference to, all of the provisions of the indenture applicable to a particular series of debt securities. We urge you to read the applicable prospectus supplements and any related free writing prospectuses related to the debt securities that we may offer under this prospectus, as well as the complete indenture that contains the terms of the debt securities.

General

The indenture does not limit the amount of debt securities that we may issue. It provides that we may issue debt securities up to the principal amount that we may authorize and may be in any currency or currency unit that we may designate. Except for the limitations on consolidation, merger and sale of all or substantially all of our assets contained in the indenture, the terms of the indenture do not contain any covenants or other provisions designed to give holders of any debt securities protection against changes in our operations, financial condition or transactions involving us.

We may issue the debt securities issued under the indenture as “discount securities,” which means they may be sold at a discount below their stated principal amount. These debt securities, as well as other debt securities that are not issued at a discount, may be issued with “original issue discount,” or OID, for U.S. federal income tax purposes because of interest payment and other characteristics or terms of the debt securities. Material U.S. federal income tax considerations applicable to debt securities issued with OID will be described in more detail in any applicable prospectus supplement.

We will describe in the applicable prospectus supplement the terms of the series of debt securities being offered, including:

 

   

the title of the series of debt securities;

 

   

any limit upon the aggregate principal amount that may be issued;

 

   

the maturity date or dates;

 

   

the form of the debt securities of the series;

 

   

the applicability of any guarantees;

 

   

whether or not the debt securities will be secured or unsecured, and the terms of any secured debt;

 

   

whether the debt securities rank as senior debt, senior subordinated debt, subordinated debt or any combination thereof, and the terms of any subordination;

 

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if the price (expressed as a percentage of the aggregate principal amount thereof) at which such debt securities will be issued is a price other than the principal amount thereof, the portion of the principal amount thereof payable upon declaration of acceleration of the maturity thereof, or if applicable, the portion of the principal amount of such debt securities that is convertible into another security or the method by which any such portion shall be determined;

 

   

the interest rate or rates, which may be fixed or variable, or the method for determining the rate and the date interest will begin to accrue, the dates interest will be payable and the regular record dates for interest payment dates or the method for determining such dates;

 

   

our right, if any, to defer payment of interest and the maximum length of any such deferral period;

 

   

if applicable, the date or dates after which, or the period or periods during which, and the price or prices at which, we may, at our option, redeem the series of debt securities pursuant to any optional or provisional redemption provisions and the terms of those redemption provisions;

 

   

the date or dates, if any, on which, and the price or prices at which we are obligated, pursuant to any mandatory sinking fund or analogous fund provisions or otherwise, to redeem, or at the holder’s option to purchase, the series of debt securities and the currency or currency unit in which the debt securities are payable;

 

   

the denominations in which we will issue the series of debt securities, if other than denominations of $1,000 and any integral multiple thereof;

 

   

any and all terms, if applicable, relating to any auction or remarketing of the debt securities of that series and any security for our obligations with respect to such debt securities and any other terms which may be advisable in connection with the marketing of debt securities of that series;

 

   

whether the debt securities of the series shall be issued in whole or in part in the form of a global security or securities;

 

   

the terms and conditions, if any, upon which such global security or securities may be exchanged in whole or in part for other individual securities, and the depositary for such global security or securities;

 

   

if applicable, the provisions relating to conversion or exchange of any debt securities of the series and the terms and conditions upon which such debt securities will be so convertible or exchangeable, including the conversion or exchange price, as applicable, or how it will be calculated and may be adjusted, any mandatory or optional (at our option or the holders’ option) conversion or exchange features, the applicable conversion or exchange period and the manner of settlement for any conversion or exchange;

 

   

if other than the full principal amount thereof, the portion of the principal amount of debt securities of the series which shall be payable upon declaration of acceleration of the maturity thereof;

 

   

additions to or changes in the covenants applicable to the particular debt securities being issued, including, among others, the consolidation, merger or sale covenant;

 

   

additions to or changes in the events of default with respect to the securities and any change in the right of the trustee or the holders to declare the principal, premium, if any, and interest, if any, with respect to such securities to be due and payable;

 

   

additions to or changes in or deletions of the provisions relating to covenant defeasance and legal defeasance;

 

   

additions to or changes in the provisions relating to satisfaction and discharge of the indenture;

 

   

additions to or changes in the provisions relating to the modification of the indenture both with and without the consent of holders of debt securities issued under the indenture;

 

   

the currency of payment of debt securities if other than U.S. dollars and the manner of determining the equivalent amount in U.S. dollars;

 

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whether interest will be payable in cash or additional debt securities at our or the holders’ option and the terms and conditions upon which the election may be made;

 

   

the terms and conditions, if any, upon which we will pay amounts in addition to the stated interest, premium, if any and principal amounts of the debt securities of the series to any holder that is not a “United States person” for federal tax purposes;

 

   

any restrictions on transfer, sale or assignment of the debt securities of the series; and

 

   

any other specific terms, preferences, rights or limitations of, or restrictions on, the debt securities, any other additions or changes in the provisions of the indenture, and any terms that may be required by us or advisable under applicable laws or regulations.

Conversion or Exchange Rights

We will set forth in the applicable prospectus supplement the terms on which a series of debt securities may be convertible into or exchangeable for our common stock or our other securities. We will include provisions as to settlement upon conversion or exchange and whether conversion or exchange is mandatory, at the option of the holder or at our option. We may include provisions pursuant to which the number of shares of our common stock or our other securities that the holders of the series of debt securities receive would be subject to adjustment.

Consolidation, Merger or Sale

Unless we provide otherwise in the prospectus supplement applicable to a particular series of debt securities, the indenture will not contain any covenant that restricts our ability to merge or consolidate, or sell, convey, transfer or otherwise dispose of our assets as an entirety or substantially as an entirety. However, any successor to or acquirer of such assets (other than a subsidiary of ours) must assume all of our obligations under the indenture or the debt securities, as appropriate.

Events of Default under the Indenture

Unless we provide otherwise in the prospectus supplement applicable to a particular series of debt securities, the following are events of default under the indenture with respect to any series of debt securities that we may issue:

 

   

if we fail to pay any installment of interest on any series of debt securities, as and when the same shall become due and payable, and such default continues for a period of 90 days; provided, however, that a valid extension of an interest payment period by us in accordance with the terms of any indenture supplemental thereto shall not constitute a default in the payment of interest for this purpose;

 

   

if we fail to pay the principal of, or premium, if any, on any series of debt securities as and when the same shall become due and payable whether at maturity, upon redemption, by declaration or otherwise, or in any payment required by any sinking or analogous fund established with respect to such series; provided, however, that a valid extension of the maturity of such debt securities in accordance with the terms of any indenture supplemental thereto shall not constitute a default in the payment of principal or premium, if any;

 

   

if we fail to observe or perform any other covenant or agreement contained in the debt securities or the indenture, other than a covenant specifically relating to another series of debt securities, and our failure continues for 90 days after we receive written notice of such failure, requiring the same to be remedied and stating that such is a notice of default thereunder, from the trustee or holders of at least 25% in aggregate principal amount of the outstanding debt securities of the applicable series; and

 

   

if specified events of bankruptcy, insolvency or reorganization occur.

 

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If an event of default with respect to debt securities of any series occurs and is continuing, other than an event of default specified in the last bullet point above, the trustee or the holders of at least 25% in aggregate principal amount of the outstanding debt securities of that series, by notice to us in writing, and to the trustee if notice is given by such holders, may declare the unpaid principal of, premium, if any, and accrued interest, if any, due and payable immediately. If an event of default specified in the last bullet point above occurs with respect to us, the principal amount of and accrued interest, if any, of each issue of debt securities then outstanding shall be due and payable without any notice or other action on the part of the trustee or any holder.

The holders of a majority in principal amount of the outstanding debt securities of an affected series may waive any default or event of default with respect to the series and its consequences, except defaults or events of default regarding payment of principal, premium, if any, or interest, unless we have cured the default or event of default in accordance with the indenture. Any waiver shall cure the default or event of default.

Subject to the terms of the indenture, if an event of default under an indenture shall occur and be continuing, the trustee will be under no obligation to exercise any of its rights or powers under such indenture at the request or direction of any of the holders of the applicable series of debt securities, unless such holders have offered the trustee reasonable indemnity. The holders of a majority in principal amount of the outstanding debt securities of any series will have the right to direct the time, method and place of conducting any proceeding for any remedy available to the trustee, or exercising any trust or power conferred on the trustee, with respect to the debt securities of that series, provided that:

 

   

the direction so given by the holder is not in conflict with any law or the applicable indenture; and

 

   

subject to its duties under the Trust Indenture Act, the trustee need not take any action that might involve it in personal liability or might be unduly prejudicial to the holders not involved in the proceeding.

A holder of the debt securities of any series will have the right to institute a proceeding under the indenture or to appoint a receiver or trustee, or to seek other remedies only if:

 

   

the holder has given written notice to the trustee of a continuing event of default with respect to that series;

 

   

the holders of at least 25% in aggregate principal amount of the outstanding debt securities of that series have made written request,

 

   

such holders have offered to the trustee indemnity satisfactory to it against the costs, expenses and liabilities to be incurred by the trustee in compliance with the request; and

 

   

the trustee does not institute the proceeding, and does not receive from the holders of a majority in aggregate principal amount of the outstanding debt securities of that series other conflicting directions within 90 days after the notice, request and offer.

These limitations do not apply to a suit instituted by a holder of debt securities if we default in the payment of the principal, premium, if any, or interest on, the debt securities.

We will periodically file statements with the trustee regarding our compliance with specified covenants in the indenture.

Modification of Indenture; Waiver

We and the trustee may change an indenture without the consent of any holders with respect to specific matters:

 

   

to cure any ambiguity, defect or inconsistency in the indenture or in the debt securities of any series;

 

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to comply with the provisions described above under “Description of Debt Securities—Consolidation, Merger or Sale;”

 

   

to provide for uncertificated debt securities in addition to or in place of certificated debt securities;

 

   

to add to our covenants, restrictions, conditions or provisions such new covenants, restrictions, conditions or provisions for the benefit of the holders of all or any series of debt securities, to make the occurrence, or the occurrence and the continuance, of a default in any such additional covenants, restrictions, conditions or provisions an event of default or to surrender any right or power conferred upon us in the indenture;

 

   

to add to, delete from or revise the conditions, limitations, and restrictions on the authorized amount, terms, or purposes of issue, authentication and delivery of debt securities, as set forth in the indenture;

 

   

to make any change that does not adversely affect the interests of any holder of debt securities of any series in any material respect;

 

   

to provide for the issuance of and establish the form and terms and conditions of the debt securities of any series as provided above under “Description of Debt Securities—General” to establish the form of any certifications required to be furnished pursuant to the terms of the indenture or any series of debt securities, or to add to the rights of the holders of any series of debt securities;

 

   

to evidence and provide for the acceptance of appointment under any indenture by a successor trustee; or

 

   

to comply with any requirements of the SEC in connection with the qualification of any indenture under the Trust Indenture Act.

In addition, under the indenture, the rights of holders of a series of debt securities may be changed by us and the trustee with the written consent of the holders of at least a majority in aggregate principal amount of the outstanding debt securities of each series that is affected. However, unless we provide otherwise in the prospectus supplement applicable to a particular series of debt securities, we and the trustee may make the following changes only with the consent of each holder of any outstanding debt securities affected:

 

   

extending the fixed maturity of any debt securities of any series;

 

   

reducing the principal amount, reducing the rate of or extending the time of payment of interest, or reducing any premium payable upon the redemption of any series of any debt securities; or

 

   

reducing the percentage of debt securities, the holders of which are required to consent to any amendment, supplement, modification or waiver.

Discharge

Each indenture provides that we can elect to be discharged from our obligations with respect to one or more series of debt securities, except for specified obligations, including obligations to:

 

   

provide for payment;

 

   

register the transfer or exchange of debt securities of the series;

 

   

replace stolen, lost or mutilated debt securities of the series;

 

   

pay principal of and premium and interest on any debt securities of the series;

 

   

maintain paying agencies;

 

   

hold monies for payment in trust;

 

   

recover excess money held by the trustee;

 

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compensate and indemnify the trustee; and

 

   

appoint any successor trustee.

In order to exercise our rights to be discharged, we must deposit with the trustee money or government obligations sufficient to pay all the principal of, any premium, if any, and interest on, the debt securities of the series on the dates payments are due.

Form, Exchange and Transfer

We will issue the debt securities of each series only in fully registered form without coupons and, unless we provide otherwise in the applicable prospectus supplement, in denominations of $1,000 and any integral multiple thereof. The indenture provides that we may issue debt securities of a series in temporary or permanent global form and as book-entry securities that will be deposited with, or on behalf of, The Depository Trust Company, or DTC, or another depositary named by us and identified in the applicable prospectus supplement with respect to that series. To the extent the debt securities of a series are issued in global form and as book-entry, a description of terms relating to any book entry securities will be set forth in the applicable prospectus supplement.

At the option of the holder, subject to the terms of the indenture and the limitations applicable to global securities described in the applicable prospectus supplement, the holder of the debt securities of any series can exchange the debt securities for other debt securities of the same series, in any authorized denomination and of like tenor and aggregate principal amount.

Subject to the terms of the indenture and the limitations applicable to global securities set forth in the applicable prospectus supplement, holders of the debt securities may present the debt securities for exchange or for registration of transfer, duly endorsed or with the form of transfer endorsed thereon duly executed if so required by us or the security registrar, at the office of the security registrar or at the office of any transfer agent designated by us for this purpose. Unless otherwise provided in the debt securities that the holder presents for transfer or exchange, we will impose no service charge for any registration of transfer or exchange, but we may require payment of any taxes or other governmental charges.

We will name in the applicable prospectus supplement the security registrar, and any transfer agent in addition to the security registrar, that we initially designate for any debt securities. We may at any time designate additional transfer agents or rescind the designation of any transfer agent or approve a change in the office through which any transfer agent acts, except that we will be required to maintain a transfer agent in each place of payment for the debt securities of each series.

If we elect to redeem the debt securities of any series, we will not be required to:

 

   

issue, register the transfer of, or exchange any debt securities of that series during a period beginning at the opening of business 15 days before the day of mailing of a notice of redemption of any debt securities that may be selected for redemption and ending at the close of business on the day of the mailing; or

 

   

register the transfer of or exchange any debt securities so selected for redemption, in whole or in part, except the unredeemed portion of any debt securities we are redeeming in part.

Information Concerning the Trustee

The trustee, other than during the occurrence and continuance of an event of default under an indenture, undertakes to perform only those duties as are specifically set forth in the applicable indenture. Upon an event of default under an indenture, the trustee must use the same degree of care as a prudent person would exercise or use in the conduct of his or her own affairs. Subject to this provision, the trustee is under no obligation to exercise any of the powers given it by the indenture at the request of any holder of debt securities unless it is offered reasonable security and indemnity against the costs, expenses and liabilities that it might incur.

 

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Payment and Paying Agents

Unless we otherwise indicate in the applicable prospectus supplement, we will make payment of the interest on any debt securities on any interest payment date to the person in whose name the debt securities, or one or more predecessor securities, are registered at the close of business on the regular record date for the interest.

We will pay principal of and any premium and interest on the debt securities of a particular series at the office of the paying agents designated by us, except that unless we otherwise indicate in the applicable prospectus supplement, we will make interest payments by check that we will mail to the holder or by wire transfer to certain holders. Unless we otherwise indicate in the applicable prospectus supplement, we will designate the corporate trust office of the trustee as our sole paying agent for payments with respect to debt securities of each series. We will name in the applicable prospectus supplement any other paying agents that we initially designate for the debt securities of a particular series. We will maintain a paying agent in each place of payment for the debt securities of a particular series.

All money we pay to a paying agent or the trustee for the payment of the principal of or any premium or interest on any debt securities that remains unclaimed at the end of two years after such principal, premium or interest has become due and payable will be repaid to us, and the holder of the debt security thereafter may look only to us for payment thereof.

Governing Law

The indenture and the debt securities will be governed by and construed in accordance with the internal laws of the State of New York, except to the extent that the Trust Indenture Act of 1939 is applicable.

 

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DESCRIPTION OF WARRANTS

The following description, together with the additional information we may include in any applicable prospectus supplements and in any related free writing prospectuses that we may authorize to be distributed to you, summarizes the material terms and provisions of the warrants that we may offer under this prospectus, which may consist of warrants to purchase common stock, preferred stock or debt securities and be issued in one or more series. Warrants may be offered independently or in combination with common stock, preferred stock or debt securities offered by any prospectus supplement. While the terms we have summarized below will apply generally to any warrants that we may offer under this prospectus, we will describe the particular terms of any series of warrants in more detail in the applicable prospectus supplement. The following description of warrants will apply to the warrants offered by this prospectus unless we provide otherwise in the applicable prospectus supplement. The applicable prospectus supplement for a particular series of warrants may specify different or additional terms.

We have filed forms of the warrant agreements and forms of warrant certificates containing the terms of the warrants that may be offered as exhibits to the registration statement of which this prospectus is a part. We will file as exhibits to the registration statement of which this prospectus is a part, or will incorporate by reference from reports that we file with the SEC, the form of warrant and/or the warrant agreement and warrant certificate, as applicable, that describe the terms of the particular series of warrants we are offering, and any supplemental agreements, before the issuance of such warrants. The following summaries of material terms and provisions of the warrants are subject to, and qualified in their entirety by reference to, all the provisions of the form of warrant and/or the warrant agreement and warrant certificate, as applicable, and any supplemental agreements applicable to a particular series of warrants that we may offer under this prospectus. We urge you to read the applicable prospectus supplement related to the particular series of warrants that we may offer under this prospectus, as well as any related free writing prospectuses, and the complete form of warrant and/or the warrant agreement and warrant certificate, as applicable, and any supplemental agreements, that contain the terms of the warrants.

General

We will describe in the applicable prospectus supplement the terms of the series of warrants being offered, including:

 

   

the offering price and aggregate number of warrants offered;

 

   

the currency for which the warrants may be purchased;

 

   

if applicable, the designation and terms of the securities with which the warrants are issued and the number of warrants issued with each such security or each principal amount of such security;

 

   

in the case of warrants to purchase debt securities, the principal amount of debt securities purchasable upon exercise of one warrant and the price at, and currency in which, this principal amount of debt securities may be purchased upon such exercise;

 

   

in the case of warrants to purchase common stock or preferred stock, the number of shares of common stock or preferred stock, as the case may be, purchasable upon the exercise of one warrant and the price at which these shares may be purchased upon such exercise;

 

   

the effect of any merger, consolidation, sale or other disposition of our business on the warrant agreements and the warrants;

 

   

the terms of any rights to redeem or call the warrants;

 

   

any provisions for changes to or adjustments in the exercise price or number of securities issuable upon exercise of the warrants;

 

   

the dates on which the right to exercise the warrants will commence and expire;

 

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the manner in which the warrant agreements and warrants may be modified;

 

   

a discussion of any material or special U.S. federal income tax considerations of holding or exercising the warrants;

 

   

the terms of the securities issuable upon exercise of the warrants; and

 

   

any other specific terms, preferences, rights or limitations of or restrictions on the warrants.

Before exercising their warrants, holders of warrants will not have any of the rights of holders of the securities purchasable upon such exercise, including:

 

   

in the case of warrants to purchase debt securities, the right to receive payments of principal of, or premium, if any, or interest on, the debt securities purchasable upon exercise or to enforce covenants in the applicable indenture; or

 

   

in the case of warrants to purchase common stock or preferred stock, the right to receive dividends, if any, or, payments upon our liquidation, dissolution or winding up or to exercise voting rights, if any.

Exercise of Warrants

Each warrant will entitle the holder to purchase the securities that we specify in the applicable prospectus supplement at the exercise price that we describe in the applicable prospectus supplement. The warrants may be exercised as set forth in the prospectus supplement relating to the warrants offered. Unless we otherwise specify in the applicable prospectus supplement, warrants may be exercised at any time up to the close of business on the expiration date set forth in the prospectus supplement relating to the warrants offered thereby. After the close of business on the expiration date, unexercised warrants will become void.

Upon receipt of payment and the warrant or warrant certificate, as applicable, properly completed and duly executed at the corporate trust office of the warrant agent, if any, or any other office, including ours, indicated in the prospectus supplement, we will, as soon as practicable, issue and deliver the securities purchasable upon such exercise. If less than all of the warrants (or the warrants represented by such warrant certificate) are exercised, a new warrant or a new warrant certificate, as applicable, will be issued for the remaining warrants.

Governing Law

Unless we otherwise specify in the applicable prospectus supplement, the warrants and any warrant agreements will be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of the State of New York.

Enforceability of Rights by Holders of Warrants

Each warrant agent, if any, will act solely as our agent under the applicable warrant agreement and will not assume any obligation or relationship of agency or trust with any holder of any warrant. A single bank or trust company may act as warrant agent for more than one issue of warrants. A warrant agent will have no duty or responsibility in case of any default by us under the applicable warrant agreement or warrant, including any duty or responsibility to initiate any proceedings at law or otherwise, or to make any demand upon us. Any holder of a warrant may, without the consent of the related warrant agent or the holder of any other warrant, enforce by appropriate legal action its right to exercise, and receive the securities purchasable upon exercise of, its warrants.

 

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LEGAL OWNERSHIP OF SECURITIES

We can issue securities in registered form or in the form of one or more global securities. We describe global securities in greater detail below. We refer to those persons who have securities registered in their own names on the books that we or any applicable trustee, depositary or warrant agent maintain for this purpose as the “holders” of those securities. These persons are the legal holders of the securities. We refer to those persons who, indirectly through others, own beneficial interests in securities that are not registered in their own names, as “indirect holders” of those securities. As we discuss below, indirect holders are not legal holders, and investors in securities issued in book-entry form or in street name will be indirect holders.

Book-Entry Holders

We may issue securities in book-entry form only, as we will specify in the applicable prospectus supplement. This means securities may be represented by one or more global securities registered in the name of a financial institution that holds them as depositary on behalf of other financial institutions that participate in the depositary’s book-entry system. These participating institutions, which are referred to as participants, in turn, hold beneficial interests in the securities on behalf of themselves or their customers.

Only the person in whose name a security is registered is recognized as the holder of that security. Securities issued in global form will be registered in the name of the depositary or its participants. Consequently, for securities issued in global form, we will recognize only the depositary as the holder of the securities, and we will make all payments on the securities to the depositary. The depositary passes along the payments it receives to its participants, which in turn pass the payments along to their customers who are the beneficial owners. The depositary and its participants do so under agreements they have made with one another or with their customers; they are not obligated to do so under the terms of the securities.

As a result, investors in a book-entry security will not own securities directly. Instead, they will own beneficial interests in a global security, through a bank, broker or other financial institution that participates in the depositary’s book-entry system or holds an interest through a participant. As long as the securities are issued in global form, investors will be indirect holders, and not holders, of the securities.

Street Name Holders

We may terminate a global security or issue securities in non-global form. In these cases, investors may choose to hold their securities in their own names or in “street name.” Securities held by an investor in street name would be registered in the name of a bank, broker or other financial institution that the investor chooses, and the investor would hold only a beneficial interest in those securities through an account he or she maintains at that institution.

For securities held in street name, we will recognize only the intermediary banks, brokers and other financial institutions in whose names the securities are registered as the holders of those securities, and we will make all payments on those securities to them. These institutions pass along the payments they receive to their customers who are the beneficial owners, but only because they agree to do so in their customer agreements or because they are legally required to do so. Investors who hold securities in street name will be indirect holders, not holders, of those securities.

Legal Holders

Our obligations, as well as the obligations of any applicable trustee and of any third parties employed by us or a trustee, run only to the legal holders of the securities. We do not have obligations to investors who hold beneficial interests in global securities, in street name or by any other indirect means. This will be the case whether an investor chooses to be an indirect holder of a security or has no choice because we are issuing the securities only in global form.

 

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For example, once we make a payment or give a notice to the holder, we have no further responsibility for the payment or notice even if that holder is required, under agreements with depositary participants or customers or by law, to pass it along to the indirect holders but does not do so. Similarly, we may want to obtain the approval of the holders to amend an indenture, to relieve us of the consequences of a default or of our obligation to comply with a particular provision of the indenture or for other purposes. In such an event, we would seek approval only from the holders, and not the indirect holders, of the securities. Whether and how the holders contact the indirect holders is up to the holders.

Special Considerations For Indirect Holders

If you hold securities through a bank, broker or other financial institution, either in book-entry form or in street name, you should check with your own institution to find out:

 

   

how it handles securities payments and notices;

 

   

whether it imposes fees or charges;

 

   

how it would handle a request for the holders’ consent, if ever required;

 

   

whether and how you can instruct it to send you securities registered in your own name so you can be a holder, if that is permitted in the future;

 

   

how it would exercise rights under the securities if there were a default or other event triggering the need for holders to act to protect their interests; and

 

   

if the securities are in book-entry form, how the depositary’s rules and procedures will affect these matters.

Global Securities

A global security is a security that represents one or any other number of individual securities held by a depositary. Generally, all securities represented by the same global securities will have the same terms.

Each security issued in book-entry form will be represented by a global security that we deposit with and register in the name of a financial institution or its nominee that we select. The financial institution that we select for this purpose is called the depositary. Unless we specify otherwise in the applicable prospectus supplement, DTC will be the depositary for all securities issued in book-entry form.

A global security may not be transferred to or registered in the name of anyone other than the depositary, its nominee or a successor depositary, unless special termination situations arise. We describe those situations below under the section entitled “Special Situations When a Global Security Will Be Terminated” in this prospectus. As a result of these arrangements, the depositary, or its nominee, will be the sole registered owner and holder of all securities represented by a global security, and investors will be permitted to own only beneficial interests in a global security. Beneficial interests must be held by means of an account with a broker, bank or other financial institution that in turn has an account with the depositary or with another institution that does. Thus, an investor whose security is represented by a global security will not be a holder of the security, but only an indirect holder of a beneficial interest in the global security.

If the prospectus supplement for a particular security indicates that the security will be issued in global form only, then the security will be represented by a global security at all times unless and until the global security is terminated. If termination occurs, we may issue the securities through another book-entry clearing system or decide that the securities may no longer be held through any book-entry clearing system.

Special Considerations For Global Securities

The rights of an indirect holder relating to a global security will be governed by the account rules of the investor’s financial institution and of the depositary, as well as general laws relating to securities transfers. We

 

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do not recognize an indirect holder as a holder of securities and instead deal only with the depositary that holds the global security.

If securities are issued only in the form of a global security, an investor should be aware of the following:

 

   

an investor cannot cause the securities to be registered in his or her name, and cannot obtain non-global certificates for his or her interest in the securities, except in the special situations we describe below;

 

   

an investor will be an indirect holder and must look to his or her own bank or broker for payments on the securities and protection of his or her legal rights relating to the securities, as we describe above;

 

   

an investor may not be able to sell interests in the securities to some insurance companies and to other institutions that are required by law to own their securities in non-book-entry form;

 

   

an investor may not be able to pledge his or her interest in a global security in circumstances where certificates representing the securities must be delivered to the lender or other beneficiary of the pledge in order for the pledge to be effective;

 

   

the depositary’s policies, which may change from time to time, will govern payments, transfers, exchanges and other matters relating to an investor’s interest in a global security;

 

   

we and any applicable trustee have no responsibility for any aspect of the depositary’s actions or for its records of ownership interests in a global security, nor do we or any applicable trustee supervise the depositary in any way;

 

   

the depositary may, and we understand that DTC will, require that those who purchase and sell interests in a global security within its book-entry system use immediately available funds, and your broker or bank may require you to do so as well; and

 

   

financial institutions that participate in the depositary’s book-entry system, and through which an investor holds its interest in a global security, may also have their own policies affecting payments, notices and other matters relating to the securities.

There may be more than one financial intermediary in the chain of ownership for an investor. We do not monitor and are not responsible for the actions of any of those intermediaries.

Special Situations When a Global Security Will Be Terminated

In a few special situations described below, the global security will terminate and interests in it will be exchanged for physical certificates representing those interests. After that exchange, the choice of whether to hold securities directly or in street name will be up to the investor. Investors must consult their own banks or brokers to find out how to have their interests in securities transferred to their own name, so that they will be direct holders. We have described the rights of holders and street name investors above.

Unless we provide otherwise in the applicable prospectus supplement, the global security will terminate when the following special situations occur:

 

   

if the depositary notifies us that it is unwilling, unable or no longer qualified to continue as depositary for that global security and we do not appoint another institution to act as depositary within 90 days;

 

   

if we notify any applicable trustee that we wish to terminate that global security; or

 

   

if an event of default has occurred with regard to securities represented by that global security and has not been cured or waived.

The applicable prospectus supplement may also list additional situations for terminating a global security that would apply only to the particular series of securities covered by the applicable prospectus supplement. When a global security terminates, the depositary, and not we or any applicable trustee, is responsible for deciding the names of the institutions that will be the initial direct holders.

 

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PLAN OF DISTRIBUTION

We may sell the securities from time to time pursuant to underwritten public offerings, direct sales to the public, negotiated transactions, block trades or a combination of these methods. We may sell the securities to or through underwriters or dealers, through agents, or directly to one or more purchasers. We may distribute securities from time to time in one or more transactions:

 

   

at a fixed price or prices, which may be changed;

 

   

at market prices prevailing at the time of sale;

 

   

at prices related to such prevailing market prices; or

 

   

at negotiated prices.

A prospectus supplement or supplements (and any related free writing prospectus that we may authorize to be provided to you) will describe the terms of the offering of the securities, including, to the extent applicable:

 

   

the name or names of the underwriters, if any;

 

   

the purchase price of the securities or other consideration therefor, and the proceeds, if any, we will receive from the sale;

 

   

any over-allotment options under which underwriters may purchase additional securities from us;

 

   

any agency fees or underwriting discounts and other items constituting agents’ or underwriters’ compensation;

 

   

any public offering price;

 

   

any discounts or concessions allowed or reallowed or paid to dealers; and

 

   

any securities exchange or market on which the securities may be listed.

Only underwriters named in the prospectus supplement will be underwriters of the securities offered by the prospectus supplement.

If underwriters are used in the sale, they will acquire the securities for their own account and may resell the securities from time to time in one or more transactions at a fixed public offering price or at varying prices determined at the time of sale. The obligations of the underwriters to purchase the securities will be subject to the conditions set forth in the applicable underwriting agreement. We may offer the securities to the public through underwriting syndicates represented by managing underwriters or by underwriters without a syndicate. Subject to certain conditions, the underwriters will be obligated to purchase all of the securities offered by the prospectus supplement, other than securities covered by any over-allotment option. Any public offering price and any discounts or concessions allowed or reallowed or paid to dealers may change from time to time. We may use underwriters with whom we have a material relationship. We will describe in the prospectus supplement, naming the underwriter, the nature of any such relationship.

We may sell securities directly or through agents we designate from time to time. We will name any agent involved in the offering and sale of securities and we will describe any commissions we will pay the agent in the prospectus supplement. Unless the prospectus supplement states otherwise, our agent will act on a best-efforts basis for the period of its appointment.

We may authorize agents or underwriters to solicit offers by certain types of institutional investors to purchase securities from us at the public offering price set forth in the prospectus supplement pursuant to delayed delivery contracts providing for payment and delivery on a specified date in the future. We will describe the conditions to these contracts and the commissions we must pay for solicitation of these contracts in the prospectus supplement.

 

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We may provide agents and underwriters with indemnification against civil liabilities, including liabilities under the Securities Act, or contribution with respect to payments that the agents or underwriters may make with respect to these liabilities. Agents and underwriters may engage in transactions with, or perform services for, us in the ordinary course of business.

All securities we may offer, other than common stock, will be new issues of securities with no established trading market. Any underwriters may make a market in these securities, but will not be obligated to do so and may discontinue any market making at any time without notice. We cannot guarantee the liquidity of the trading markets for any securities.

Any underwriter may engage in over-allotment, stabilizing transactions, short-covering transactions and penalty bids in accordance with Regulation M under the Exchange Act. Over-allotment involves sales in excess of the offering size, which create a short position. Stabilizing transactions permit bids to purchase the underlying security so long as the stabilizing bids do not exceed a specified maximum price. Syndicate-covering or other short-covering transactions involve purchases of the securities, either through exercise of the over-allotment option or in the open market after the distribution is completed, to cover short positions. Penalty bids permit the underwriters to reclaim a selling concession from a dealer when the securities originally sold by the dealer are purchased in a stabilizing or covering transaction to cover short positions. Those activities may cause the price of the securities to be higher than it would otherwise be. If commenced, the underwriters may discontinue any of the activities at any time.

Any underwriters or agents that are qualified market makers on the Nasdaq Global Market may engage in passive market making transactions in the common stock on the Nasdaq Global Market in accordance with Regulation M under the Exchange Act, during the business day prior to the pricing of the offering, before the commencement of offers or sales of the common stock. Passive market makers must comply with applicable volume and price limitations and must be identified as passive market makers. In general, a passive market maker must display its bid at a price not in excess of the highest independent bid for such security; if all independent bids are lowered below the passive market maker’s bid, however, the passive market maker’s bid must then be lowered when certain purchase limits are exceeded. Passive market making may stabilize the market price of the securities at a level above that which might otherwise prevail in the open market and, if commenced, may be discontinued at any time.

In compliance with guidelines of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, or FINRA, the maximum consideration or discount to be received by any FINRA member or independent broker dealer may not exceed 8% of the aggregate amount of the securities offered pursuant to this prospectus and any applicable prospectus supplement.

 

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LEGAL MATTERS

Cooley LLP will pass upon the validity of the securities offered by this prospectus, and any supplement thereto, unless otherwise indicated in the applicable prospectus supplement. Additional legal matters may be passed upon for us or any underwriters, dealers or agents, by counsel that we will name in the applicable prospectus supplement.

EXPERTS

Ernst & Young LLP, independent registered public accounting firm, has audited our financial statements for the year ended December 31, 2018, included in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2018, as set forth in their report, which is incorporated by reference in this prospectus and elsewhere in the registration statement. Our financial statements are incorporated by reference in reliance on Ernst & Young LLP’s report, given on their authority as experts in accounting and auditing.

The 2017 consolidated financial statements incorporated in this Prospectus by reference from the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K have been audited by Deloitte & Touche LLP, an independent registered public accounting firm, as stated in their report, which is incorporated herein by reference. Such consolidated financial statements have been so incorporated in reliance upon the report of such firm given upon their authority as experts in accounting and auditing.

 

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WHERE YOU CAN FIND ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

This prospectus is part of the registration statement on Form S-3 we filed with the SEC under the Securities Act and does not contain all the information set forth in the registration statement. Whenever a reference is made in this prospectus to any of our contracts, agreements or other documents, the reference may not be complete and you should refer to the exhibits that are a part of the registration statement or the exhibits to the reports or other documents incorporated by reference into this prospectus for a copy of such contract, agreement or other document. Because we are subject to the information and reporting requirements of the Exchange Act, we file annual, quarterly and current reports, proxy statements and other information with the SEC. Our SEC filings are available to the public over the Internet at the SEC’s website at http://www.sec.gov.

INCORPORATION OF CERTAIN INFORMATION BY REFERENCE

The SEC allows us to incorporate by reference information from other documents that we file with it, which means that we can disclose important information to you by referring you to those documents. The information incorporated by reference is considered to be part of this prospectus. Information in this prospectus supersedes information incorporated by reference that we filed with the SEC prior to the date of this prospectus, while information that we file later with the SEC will automatically update and supersede the information in this prospectus. We incorporate by reference into this prospectus and the registration statement of which this prospectus is a part the information or documents listed below that we have filed with the SEC (Commission File No. 001-36579):

 

   

our Annual Report on Form 10-K, for the year ended December 31, 2018, filed with the SEC on March 6, 2019;

 

   

our Amendment No.  1 to Annual Report on Form 10-K/A, for the year ended December 31, 2018, filed with the SEC on April 30, 2019;

 

   

our Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q, for the quarter ended March 31, 2019, filed with the SEC on May 8, 2019;

 

   

our Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q, for the quarter ended June 30, 2019, filed with the SEC on August 8, 2019;

 

   

our Current Reports on Form 8-K filed with the SEC on March 1, 2019, April 24, 2019, May  2, 2019, July 31, 2019 and August 1, 2019; and

 

   

the description of our common stock set forth in our registration statement on Form 8-A, filed with the SEC on July 28, 2014, including any amendment or report filed for the purpose of updating such description.

We also incorporate by reference any future filings (other than current reports furnished under Item 2.02 or Item 7.01 of Form 8-K and exhibits filed on such form that are related to such items unless such Form 8-K expressly provides to the contrary) made with the SEC pursuant to Sections 13(a), 13(c), 14 or 15(d) of the Exchange Act, including those made after the date of the initial filing of the registration statement of which this prospectus is a part and prior to effectiveness of such registration statement, until we file a post-effective amendment that indicates the termination of the offering of the securities made by this prospectus, which will become a part of this prospectus from the date that such documents are filed with the SEC. Information in such future filings updates and supplements the information provided in this prospectus. Any statements in any such future filings will automatically be deemed to modify and supersede any information in any document we previously filed with the SEC that is incorporated or deemed to be incorporated herein by reference to the extent that statements in the later-filed document modify or replace such earlier statements. We will furnish without charge to each person, including any beneficial owner, to whom a prospectus is delivered, upon written or oral

 

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request, a copy of any or all of the documents incorporated by reference into this prospectus but not delivered with the prospectus, including exhibits that are specifically incorporated by reference into such documents. You should direct any requests for documents to:

Adverum Biotechnologies, Inc.

1035 O’Brien Drive,

Menlo Park, CA 94025

Attn: Investor Relations

(650) 272-6269

 

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9,500,000 Shares

 

LOGO

Common Stock

 

 

PROSPECTUS SUPPLEMENT

 

 

Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC

Cowen

SVB Leerink

LifeSci Capital LLC