SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549
ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2022
TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
Commission File Number: 001-39969
Pear Therapeutics, Inc.
(Exact name of Registrant as specified in its charter)
200 State Street, 13th Floor
Boston, MA 02109
|(State or other jurisdiction of|
incorporation or organization)
|(Address, including zip code, and telephone number, including area code, of registrant’s principal executive offices)||(I.R.S. Employer|
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
|Title of Each Class||Trading Symbol(s)||Name of Each Exchange on Which Registered|
|Class A common stock, |
par value $0.0001 per share
|PEAR||The Nasdaq Stock Market LLC|
|Warrants, each exercisable for one share of Class A common stock for $11.50 per share||PEARW||The Nasdaq Stock Market LLC|
Securities registered pursuant to section 12(g) of the Act: None
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act. Yes ☐ No ☒
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act. Yes ☐ No ☒
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant: (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports); and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days. Yes ☒ No ☐
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files). Yes ☒ No ☐
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a smaller reporting company, or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company,” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.
|Large accelerated filer||☐||Accelerated filer||☐|
|Non-accelerated filer||☒||Smaller reporting company||☒|
| || ||Emerging growth company||☒|
If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act. ☐
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed a report on and attestation to its management’s assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 U.S.C. 7262(b)) by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its audit report. ☐
If securities are registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act, indicate by check mark whether the financial statements of the registrant included in the filing reflect the correction of an error to previously issued financial statements. ☐
Indicate by check mark whether any of those error corrections are restatements that required a recovery analysis of incentive-based compensation received by any of the registrant’s executive officers during the relevant recovery period pursuant to §240.10D-1(b). ☐
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Act). Yes ☐ No ☒ The aggregate market value of the voting common shares held by non-affiliates of the registrant was approximately $126.8 million, computed by reference to the closing sale price of the Class A common stock as reported by the Nasdaq Capital Market on June 30, 2022, the last trading day of the registrant’s most recently completed second fiscal quarter. The Company has no non-voting common shares.
The number of shares of the registrant’s Class A common stock outstanding as of March 30, 2023 was 142,739,169.
DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE
Certain information required to be provided in Part III of this Annual Report on Form 10-K will be provided by a Definitive Proxy Statement for our 2023 Annual Meeting of Stockholders (the “Proxy Statement”) to be filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on or before May 1, 2023.
Pear Therapeutics, Inc.
For the Year Ended December 31, 2022
TABLE OF CONTENTS
References throughout this Form 10-K to “we,” “us,” the “Company,” “Pear,” or “our company” are to Pear Therapeutics, Inc. and its consolidated subsidiaries, and “Legacy Pear” refers to Pear Therapeutics (US), Inc. and its consolidated subsidiary prior to the business combination that we consummated with Thimble Point Acquisition Corp. on December 3, 2021, unless otherwise noted or the context otherwise indicates.
This document contains references to trademarks, trade names, and service marks belonging to other entities. Solely for convenience, trademarks, trade names, and service marks referred to in this Annual Report on Form 10-K may appear without the ® or TM symbols, but such references are not intended to indicate, in any way, that the applicable licensor will not assert, to the fullest extent under applicable law, its rights to these trademarks and trade names. We do not intend our use or display of other companies’ trade names, trademarks, or service marks to imply a relationship with, or endorsement or sponsorship of us by, any other company.
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In February 2023, we initiated a process to explore a range of strategic alternatives to maximize shareholder value. The Company has engaged MTS Health Partners, L.P. to act as the Company’s exclusive investment banker to assist in evaluating potential alternatives. Potential strategic alternatives that may be evaluated include a sale or merger of the Company, the sale of all or a portion of the Company’s assets and/or intellectual property, or securing additional financing or partnerships that would enable further development of our programs. There is no set timetable for this process and there can be no assurance that this process will result in the Company pursuing a transaction or that any transaction, if pursued, will be completed on attractive terms. Additionally, there can be no assurances that any particular course of action, business arrangement or transaction, or series of transactions, will be pursued, successfully consummated, or lead to increased stockholder value. If the strategic process is unsuccessful, our Board may decide to pursue a liquidation or obtain relief under the US Bankruptcy Code. The Company has hired advisors to explore strategic alternatives including, if needed, filing for bankruptcy protection. In the event of such liquidation, bankruptcy case, or other wind-down event, holders of our securities will likely suffer a total loss of their investment.
As of the date of this filing, Perceptive Credit Holdings III, LP, as administrative agent and lender (“Perceptive”) has alleged that certain defaults or events of default have occurred and are continuing under the terms of our secured Amended and Restated Credit Agreement and Guaranty with Perceptive Credit Holdings III, LP, (“Perceptive Credit Facility”). Perceptive has not delivered any formal notice of Default or Event of Default. To the extent that any such allegations are valid, Perceptive would have certain rights and remedies under the Perceptive Credit Facility. The Company disputes the allegations and is in discussions with Perceptive to resolve this dispute and otherwise to address the Company’s obligations under the Perceptive Credit Facility. There can be no assurances that such discussions will result in any resolution, and any resolution, or the lack of any resolution, may result in Perceptive exercising remedies under the Perceptive Credit Facility.
Pear Therapeutics, Inc. cautions that trading in the Company’s securities is highly speculative and poses substantial risks. Trading prices for the Company’s securities may bear little or no relationship to the actual value realized, if any, by holders of the Company’s securities. Accordingly, the Company urges extreme caution with respect to existing and future investments in its securities.
CAUTIONARY NOTE REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS
This Annual Report on Form 10-K (“Form 10-K”) contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, that involve risks and uncertainties (some of which are beyond our control) or other assumptions that may cause actual results or performance to be materially different from those expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements. Many of the forward-looking statements are located in Part II, Item 7 of this Form 10-K under the heading “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations.” Forward-looking statements provide current expectations of future events based on certain assumptions and include any statement that does not directly relate to any historical or current fact. These risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, those factors described under the heading “Risk Factors”. The risks described under the heading “Risk Factors” are not exhaustive. Forward-looking statements can also be identified by words such as “future,” “anticipates,” “believes,” “estimates,” “expects,” “intends,” “plans,” “predicts,” “will,” “would,” “could,” “can,” “may,” and similar terms. Forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and the Company’s actual results may differ significantly from the results discussed in the forward-looking statements. Factors that might cause such differences include, but are not limited to, those discussed in Part I, Item 1A of this Form 10-K under the heading “Risk Factors.” New risk factors emerge from time to time and it is not possible to predict all such risk factors, nor can we assess the impact of all such risk factors on our business or the extent to which any factor or combination of factors may cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in any forward-looking statements. Such forward-looking statements involve various risks and uncertainties that could cause actual outcomes or results to differ materially from those indicated in these statements. Forward-looking statements in this Form 10-K include, but are not limited to, statements about:
▪plans and expectations for the outcome of strategic alternatives, expectations regarding our strategic alternative review process, and the timing and success of such process regarding a potential transaction;
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▪beliefs about our available options and financial condition;
▪our ability to fund our planned operations for the next twelve months and our ability to continue as a going concern;
▪ expectations that our cash will be sufficient to fund our operating expenses into the future;
▪estimates for our expenses and capital requirements; and
▪our expectations regarding our ability to maintain the listing of our common stock on the National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotations (“Nasdaq”) Capital Market.
All of our forward-looking statements are as of the date of this Form 10-K only. In each case, actual results may differ materially from such forward-looking information. We can give no assurance that such expectations or forward-looking statements will prove to be correct. An occurrence of or any material adverse change in one or more of the risk factors or risks and uncertainties referred to in this Form 10-K or included in our other public disclosures or our other periodic reports or other documents or filings filed with or furnished to the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”), could materially and adversely affect our business, prospects, financial condition, and results of operations. Therefore, you should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements. Any public statements or disclosures by us following this Form 10-K that modify or impact any of the forward-looking statements contained in this Form 10-K will be deemed to modify or supersede such statements in this Form 10-K.
Except as required by law, we do not intend to update or change any forward-looking statements as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise.
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BASIS OF PRESENTATION
References throughout this Form 10-K to “we,” “us,” the “Company,” “Pear” or “our company” are to Pear Therapeutics, Inc. (formerly known as Thimble Point Acquisition Corp.), and “Legacy Pear” refers to Pear Therapeutics (US), Inc. prior to the Business Combination, unless otherwise noted or the context otherwise indicates.
On December 3, 2021 (the “Closing”), we consummated a business combination, (the “Business Combination”), pursuant to the terms of the business combination agreement (“Business Combination Agreement”), dated June 21, 2021, by and among the Company (formerly known as Thimble Point Acquisition Corp., or “THMA”), Pear Therapeutics (US), Inc., a Delaware corporation incorporated on August 14, 2013 (“Pear US”) (formerly known as Pear Therapeutics, Inc.) and Oz Merger Sub, Inc., pursuant to which Oz Merger Sub., Inc. (a Delaware corporation and wholly-owned subsidiary of THMA, or “Merger Sub”) merged with and into Pear US, with Pear US surviving as our wholly owned subsidiary. Upon the closing of the Business Combination, THMA changed its name to Pear Therapeutics, Inc. (“Pear” or the “Company”).
Pursuant to the terms of the Business Combination Agreement, each share of Legacy Pear common stock, par value $0.0001 per share (“Legacy Pear Common Shares”) issued and outstanding immediately prior to the Closing, after giving effect to the conversion of all issued and outstanding shares of Legacy Pear preferred stock, par value $0.0001 per share (“Legacy Pear Preferred Shares”) to Legacy Pear Common Shares, were canceled and converted into the right to receive a number of shares of Class A common stock, par value $0.0001 per share of the Company (“Class A common stock”) equal to the number of shares of Legacy Pear Common Shares multiplied by the exchange ratio of approximately 1.47. In addition, all outstanding equity awards of Legacy Pear were converted into equity awards with the option to purchase Class A common stock with the same terms and conditions adjusted by the exchange ratio of approximately 1.47.
Legacy Pear is deemed the accounting predecessor and the post-company successor SEC registrant, which means Legacy Pear financial statements for previous periods are disclosed in this Form 10-K. Future period reports filed with the SEC will include Pear Therapeutics, Inc. and its subsidiaries.
See Note 3, Business Combination, in the accompanying notes to the consolidated financial statements included in Part II, Item 8 of this Form 10-K for further information.
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ITEM 1. BUSINESS
We have initiated a process to explore a range of strategic alternatives to maximize shareholder value and have engaged professional advisors. The Company has engaged MTS Health Partners, L.P. (“MTS”) to act as the Company’s exclusive investment bank to assist in evaluating potential alternatives. Potential strategic alternatives that may be evaluated include a sale or merger of the Company, the sale of all or a portion of the Company’s assets and/or intellectual property, or securing additional financing or partnerships that would enable further development of our programs. There is no set timetable for this process, and there can be no assurance that this strategic review process will result in our pursuit of any transaction or that any transaction, if pursued, will be completed. Additionally, there can be no assurances that any particular course of action, business arrangement or transaction, or series of transactions, will be pursued, successfully consummated, or lead to increased stockholder value. If the strategic process is unsuccessful, our Board may decide to pursue a liquidation or obtain relief under the US Bankruptcy Code. The Company has hired advisors to explore strategic alternatives including, if needed, filing for bankruptcy protection. In the event of such liquidation, bankruptcy case, or other wind-down event, holders of our securities will likely suffer a total loss of their investment.
Pear is a commercial-stage healthcare company pioneering a new class of software-based medicines, sometimes referred to as Prescription Digital Therapeutics (“PDTs”), which use software to treat diseases directly. Our vision is to advance healthcare through the widespread use of PDTs and to be the one-stop shop for PDTs offered by Pear and other organizations that may choose to make their products available to patients, providers, and payors via our commercial platform, known as PearConnect™.
Recent global trends are converging to highlight a significant unmet need for new and innovative disease treatment solutions. We believe that our software-based, data-driven solutions are well suited to satisfy this growing unmet need for the treatment of diseases, including addiction and insomnia. We believe that PDTs have the potential to become a cornerstone of the emerging digital health ecosystem and that PDTs are a transformative new generation of therapeutics.
Pear is one of the category creators and leaders of the PDT industry, as evidenced by being the first company to receive market authorization from the US Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) for a PDT. Our marketed PDTs, reSET, reSET-O, and Somryst, were among the first three PDTs authorized by FDA and address psychiatric indications, an area with significant unmet needs. While we continue supporting Somryst, our primary focus is fully commercializing reSET and reSET-O.
Two of Pear’s FDA-authorized PDTs, reSET and reSET-O, treat addiction, which currently affects nearly 46 million people in the United States (“US”).
Pear’s first product, reSET, is indicated for the treatment of substance use disorder (“SUD”) as a monotherapy. To combat SUD, reSET works to enhance patient abstinence, improve patient treatment retention relative to human intervention-based alternatives, and extends clinicians’ reach outside of scheduled office visits. reSET’s mechanisms of action seek to directly modify addiction-related neurocircuitry and induce dopamine in the brain, a process with the potential to repair dysfunctional neurophysiology.
Pear’s second product, reSET-O, is the first PDT to receive FDA Breakthrough Designation, and is FDA-authorized for the treatment of opioid use disorder (“OUD”) in combination with buprenorphine. Approximately 5.6 million Americans suffer from OUD annually in the US, and more than 100,000 Americans die annually from an opioid overdose. To combat OUD, reSET-O works alongside buprenorphine to reduce dependence on opioids and, similar to reSET, to improve patient treatment adherence and extend clinicians’ reach outside of scheduled office visits.
Our third product, Somryst, is indicated for the treatment of chronic insomnia. The Company has deprioritized commercialization efforts regarding Somryst while focusing available resources on the commercialization of reSET and reSET-O. During the year ended December 31, 2022, we determined the acquired technology used in our Somryst product that was previously capitalized in intangible assets was impaired and recorded an impairment
Pear Therapeutics, Inc. | 2022 Form 10-K |Page 5
expense of $0.8 million, which is included in cost of revenue in the Company's consolidated statement of operations.
We believe that PDTs have the potential to directly treat a breadth of additional diseases beyond our initial products for the treatment of addiction and insomnia, including the diseases listed in the graphic below. To capitalize on this potential, Pear has developed a robust pipeline of PDTs for a variety of additional indications across psychiatry, neurology, and other therapeutic areas. In July 2022, however, we paused investment in our pipeline candidates to focus investment on our commercial products. We believe our pipeline could provide significant long-term value for patients, providers, payors, and our shareholders if we are able to obtain additional funding or complete a strategic alternative. Due to the worsening macroeconomic environment and the longer-term outlook, in the year ended December 31, 2022, we wrote off $2.1 million of intangible assets related to acquired technology in connection with our pipeline products. We intend to restart investment in our pipeline if we are able to consummate a strategic alternative and if funds become available.
The Prescription Digital Therapeutic Opportunity
For decades, innovations have expanded the classes of therapeutics to treat disease, from small molecules starting in the 1900s to biologics starting in the late 1970s to cell and gene therapies starting around 2000. This collective innovation has resulted in consistent improvement of health outcomes around the world. Still, across numerous disease states, limited treatment options and substantial barriers to access persist. These barriers include excessive cost, conditions that are difficult to treat with drugs, geographic inaccessibility, and unfavorable side effect profiles.
Pear is advancing PDTs, a novel class of therapeutics, which are software that can be prescribed by a clinician, either alone or in combination with drugs, to treat disease directly. We believe that PDTs are a transformative new class of medicines.
Similar to pharmaceuticals, novel PDTs undergo rigorous clinical development via clinical trials designed to seek FDA authorization to safely and effectively treat disease. Similar to wellness apps, PDTs utilize digital technology to directly interface with patients. PDTs are designed to expand access and convenience for patients, improve reach for clinicians, and reduce cost for payors by reducing and/or augmenting human intervention, providing for more efficient care, and by ideally improving clinical outcomes.
Currently, we believe the medical community is embracing the integration of software into the navigation and delivery of care. We believe payors are increasingly recognizing the near- and long-term cost benefits of using software for the treatment of diseases. The pervasiveness of technology and growth of telehealth allows for virtual access that was not previously available. Pear is defining and expanding the opportunities in this market due to factors which include, but are not limited to:
•being the first mover and leader in the PDT space, defining the industry via the first three FDA-authorized products;
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•having products in major markets, with reSET and reSET-O for the treatment of addiction, and Somryst for the treatment of chronic insomnia, with the potential to address, in the aggregate, more than 50 million US patients and more than 850 million patients worldwide;
•the potential ability to implement scalable end-to-end platforms (PearCreate and PearConnect) that are designed to discover, develop, and deliver PDTs to patients, creating the horizontal infrastructure to enable our PDTs, and potentially those of other companies, to come to market and be delivered to patients;
•having the potential to integrate into care delivery and payor infrastructure with virtuous network effects and modularity, facilitating speed and scale in PDT deployment; and
•demonstrating adoption by patients, clinicians, and payors, which could be leveraged across various future opportunities.
Products and Pipeline
PDTs are software applications authorized by FDA that are intended to treat disease. PDTs are designed to be prescribed by clinicians, reimbursed by third-party payors, and used by patients to improve clinical outcomes as part of a patient’s care, similar to FDA approved medications and medical devices. PDTs are authorized to deliver evidence-based mechanisms-of-action, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, contingency management, and exposure therapy, that the patient engages with on their mobile device and may be used alone or in combination with medications. The value of Pear’s FDA-authorized PDTs is supported by evidence demonstrating safety and clinical effectiveness in randomized control trials, collected data on PDT usage and clinical outcomes in real-world data, and health economic value.
We believe PDTs can be utilized in the treatment of a wide variety of diseases. Pear’s first three FDA-authorized products address behavioral health indications:
•reSET is authorized in the US and Singapore for the treatment of substance use disorder related to alcohol, cannabis, cocaine, and stimulants (such as methamphetamine).
•reSET-O is authorized in the US for use in combination with buprenorphine in the US for the treatment of opioid use disorder.
•Somryst is FDA-authorized in the US for treatment of chronic insomnia.
The Company has deprioritized commercialization efforts regarding Somryst while focusing available resources on the commercialization of reSET and reSET-O. During the year ended December 31, 2022, we determined the acquired technology previously capitalized in intangible assets and used in our Somryst product offering was impaired and recorded an impairment expense of $0.8 million, which is included in cost of revenue in the Company's consolidated statement of operations.
For the year ended December 31, 2022, the majority of our revenue was generated through Access Agreements, and three customers: a state government agency, a state department, and a state, representing 18%, 14%, and 11%, respectively, of total revenue. Additionally, all of our subscription, support, and professional services revenue, which represented 11% of total revenue, came from one customer, the Medicaid program of a state government. For the year ended December 31, 2021, the majority of our revenue was generated through bulk purchases from three customers: a state government, state department and a state agency, representing 34%, 23%, and 10%, respectively, of total revenue.
As of December 31, 2022, four customers: a state government, a state department, and two state agencies, representing 33%, 21%, 20%, and 11%, respectively, of accounts receivable. As of December 31, 2021, two customers, a department of a state and the Medicaid program of a state government, represented 33% and 32% of accounts receivable, respectively.
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In July 2022, we paused investment in our pipeline to focus investment in our commercial products. We believe our pipeline could provide significant long-term value for patients, providers, payers, and our shareholders if sufficient funding were available. In addition, we would need to increase revenues, and the macroeconomic environment would need to improve before further investments in the pipeline could be made. We continue to market reSET and reSET-O and support Somryst. In the fourth quarter 2022, we recorded an impairment in our intangibles assets of $2.1 million related to certain acquired technology for Pear-015, our depression product candidate, that was capitalized during the year ended December 31, 2021 sometimes referred to as our Waypoint asset.
Our pipeline consists of product candidates in psychiatry, neurology, and outside of central nervous system therapeutic areas PDT product candidate development is conducted in humans. There are no in vivo animal or in vitro pre-clinical or non-clinical studies. This reduces the translational risk of going from animals to humans that many biotechnology and typical pharmaceutical companies encounter.
The pipeline chart below uses four stages of development: Discovery, Proof of Concept (“POC”), Pivotal, and Commercial. Because PDTs are regulated as medical devices, these four stages align with guidance from the Center for Devices and Radiological Health (“CDRH”), which has two broad stages of clinical development before commercialization—pre-pivotal (such as feasibility, including first-in-human) and pivotal (generates definitive evidence of the safety and effectiveness for a specified intended use). Pear breaks down the pre-pivotal clinical development stage into Discovery and POC.
Pre-commercial development at Pear is segregated into three stages: Discovery, POC, and Pivotal. Pear refers to the stage before clinical development as Discovery. Discovery is the concept stage, in which the product candidate, its mechanism(s) of action, and target patient population(s) are defined, technical capabilities and prototypes are built, and then the candidate concept is rapidly tested in iterative evaluations. Some Discovery stage programs are focused on a specific indication, and others are focused on a disease area that may be refined based on further research. POC is the early clinical development stage, in which the product candidate is being tested in human clinical trials designed to prove that the candidate concept is worthy of advancement to the Pivotal stage. POC stage activities are related to technical work, study design, planning, other operational clinical trial activities, and statistical analysis. Pivotal is the registrational phase, in which the product candidate is tested in a randomized controlled trial designed to support market authorization from a regulatory authority such as FDA. Pivotal stage activities are related to technical work, study design, planning, other operational clinical trial activities, and/or statistical analysis that are part of a regulatory submission. Commercial stage includes any products which have received market authorization from FDA.
Pear has historically licensed content suitable for the development of PDTs that third parties have initially developed. These parties, or content partners, are primarily academics or academic institutions, and Pear’s current partners are listed in the table below.
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At present, other than immaterial investments, we have paused all development activities in our pipeline product candidates unless and until we consummate a strategic alternative. Below is a summary of our products, product candidates, and partners:
*Dartmouth transaction is with a researcher employed by Dartmouth. Pear has no direct contractual relationship with Dartmouth relating to this content.
**Karolinska transaction is with individual researchers who are employed by the Karolinska Institute. Pear has no direct contractual relationship with the Karolinska Institute relating to this content.
***Services agreement with Ironwood to evaluate a PDT in GI diseases.
As reflected above, Pear has licensed or otherwise acquired rights in content suitable for the development of PDTs from a variety of content partners. For further information concerning content collaborations, see the section below entitled “License Agreements.”
Our agreement involving the University of Virginia relates to our license agreement with BeHealth Solutions, LLC and the relationship between Pear and the University of Virginia Patent Foundation d/b/a University of Virginia Licensing & Ventures.
Our license with Red 5 Group LLC relates to our content collaboration involving a researcher employed by Dartmouth College.
Pear licenses certain content related to the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome (“IBS”) developed by individual researchers employed by the Karolinska Institute who founded a company called Hedman-Lagerlöf Och Ljótsson Psykologi AB (“NCAB”) and assigned intellectual property rights in and to the IBS-related content to NCAB. Under Pear’s license agreement with NCAB, entered into on December 14, 2019, Pear was granted an exclusive license in the US and a non-exclusive license throughout the rest of the world to develop and commercialize digital therapeutic products incorporating NCAB’s IBS-related content, in exchange for an upfront payment in the mid-five figures, one-time milestone payments in low-six figures upon delivery to Pear of updated IBS-related content and upon first FDA approval of such a therapeutic product, and a royalty percentage in the low-single digits on net sales of such therapeutic products.
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Pear licenses contain content related to the treatment of stress disorders from the University of Southern California (“USC”). Under the Technology License and Distribution Agreement entered into with USC on January 11, 2016, Pear was granted worldwide exclusive rights to develop drug/software combination products incorporating that content to treat disorders, illness, or trauma, in addition to certain worldwide non-exclusive rights. Pear initially paid USC an upfront fee in the low-five figures and agreed to pay a royalty percentage in the low-to-mid single digits on net sales of licensed products, an annual license fee (creditable against royalty payment obligations in the same year) increasing in amount from the low-six figures in 2018 to the low-seven figures in 2021, and regulatory and commercialization milestone payments that, in the aggregate, could reach a total in the low-seven figures. On February 11, 2019, Pear notified USC of its election no longer to pay the annual license fee, thus converting the exclusive license granted by USC to a non-exclusive license.
Pear licenses certain content related to the treatment of mental health conditions, including anxiety and depression from Instituto Auxologico Italiano (“IAI”). Under a software license agreement dated March 23, 2015, IAI granted Pear worldwide exclusive rights to develop drug/software combination products incorporating that content, in addition to certain worldwide non-exclusive rights. Pear agreed to pay IAI a royalty percentage in the low-to-mid single digits on net sales of licensed products, subject to an annual minimum revenue threshold in the low-six figures beginning in the fifth year of the license to maintain exclusivity; as this threshold was not met, Pear’s license from IAI is now non-exclusive. Pear has obtained additional software, documentation, and other intellectual property rights relating to the therapeutic treatment of depression from Waypoint Health Innovations, LLC (“Waypoint”) under an Assignment Agreement and Intellectual Property License Agreement dated November 30, 2021 (collectively, the “Waypoint Agreement”). Under the Waypoint Agreement, Pear acquired all rights related to a CBT-based depression app and a license to all intellectual property rights owned or controlled by Waypoint relating to the app. Pear agreed to pay an upfront payment, regulatory and commercial milestones, a royalty percentage in the low-single digits on net sales, and is required to make annual payments starting in the second half of 2022 through 2026 or until a commercial milestone payment is made under the agreement.
Pear licenses certain content related to the treatment of migraine headaches from Children’s Hospital Medical Center, d/b/a Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center (“CHMC”). Under a license agreement entered by the parties on December 17, 2019, CHMC granted a worldwide, non-exclusive license to Pear to develop and commercialize therapeutic products incorporating CHMC’s migraine-related content in exchange for an upfront payment in the mid-five figures and Pear’s agreement to pay CHMC one-time regulatory and commercial milestone payments that, in the aggregate, could reach a total in the mid-six figures, and a royalty percentage in low-single digits on net sales of such therapeutic products.
Under a services agreement dated January 9, 2020, with Apricity Health, LLC (“Apricity”), a company engaged in the business of creating digital health therapeutic solutions for improving cancer treatment, Pear has a right of first offer to negotiate terms of a license with Apricity to develop and commercialize each of the first two commercial products developed by Apricity.
Under an assignment agreement dated January 15, 2019, Pear acquired rights in certain assets primarily related to the treatment of acute and chronic pain from Firsthand Technology, Inc. (“Firsthand”) (the “Firsthand Agreement”). In exchange for acquiring those assets, Legacy Pear issued Legacy Pear Common Shares to Firsthand, agreed to pay an amount capped in the low-six figures to certain creditors of Firsthand, and agreed to pay a one-time milestone payment in the mid-six figures to Firsthand upon first commercial sale of an FDA-cleared Product (as defined in the Firsthand Agreement) and to pay a royalty percentage in the low-single digits on net sales of such Products. Other than the agreements with ISF, Red 5, and BeHealth, Pear does not consider any of the foregoing agreements to be material for purposes of Item 601(b)(10) of Regulation S-K.
Pear’s PDTs and its product candidates achieve their therapeutic potential by delivering evidence-based mechanisms-of-action, such as standard behavioral treatments. For example, reSET delivers an addiction-specific form of cognitive behavioral therapy called Community Reinforcement Approach (“CRA”), fluency training, and contingency management (“CM”). Somryst delivers a disease-specific intervention called Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (“CBTi”), the first-line treatment recommended for patients with chronic insomnia in the American College of Physicians and the American Academy of Sleep Medicine’s clinical guidelines for patients with chronic insomnia. Across Pear’s pipeline, the product candidates each deliver various forms of standardized and
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disease-specific behavioral treatments such as cognitive behavioral therapy (“CBT”), behavioral activation (“BA”), exposure therapy, and/or cognitive restructuring. Product candidates that are intended to treat diseases with standard-of-care pharmacotherapy, such as schizophrenia, for example, would make recommendations on medication usage to support overall care.
Pear’s products and product candidates may be studied both in trials sponsored and conducted by Pear and trials that are conducted by non-Pear researchers in collaborative and investigator-initiated trials. In the fourth quarter of 2022 Pear completed a study involving gamification of reSET-O, which was an outpatient-based, randomized-controlled, open-label study conducted at two addiction treatment programs of a gamified-version of reSET-O. This trial was partially supported by a grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse. The study objectives were (i) to evaluate participant engagement data [Time Frame: From Week 1 to Week 8 (End of Treatment)], and (ii) to evaluate the number of active sessions per week between PEAR-008 (gamified version) and reSET-O.
Pear completed enrollment of the DREAM Study in the third quarter of 2022 and Last Patient Last Visit (the date that the last subject completed the study) in the fourth quarter of 2022. The study objectives are (i) to measure the change in the Insomnia Severity Index (“ISI”) [Time Frame: From baseline to Day 63 (End of Treatment) and Days 243, 428, 610, and 793 (Follow-up)], and (ii) to measure the change in the ISI total score from baseline to end of treatment and follow-up. The ISI’s total score ranges from 0 (not clinically significant) to 28 (clinically significant). Long-term follow-up assessments are ongoing. If we do not receive additional funding in the future, we may not be able to complete this study and other studies.
Key Elements of Our Growth Strategy
Our immediate strategy is to continue our strategic process to explore strategic alternatives.
We have initiated a process to explore a range of strategic alternatives to maximize shareholder value and have engaged professional advisors, including an investment bank, to act as strategic advisors for this process. Potential strategic alternatives that may be evaluated include a sale or merger of the Company, the sale of all or a portion of the Company’s assets and/or intellectual property, or securing additional financing or partnerships that would enable further development of our programs. There can be no assurance that this strategic review process will result in our pursing any transaction or that any transaction, if pursed, will be completed. If the strategic process is unsuccessful, our Board may decide to pursue a liquidation or obtain relief under the US Bankruptcy Code. The Company has hired advisors to explore strategic alternatives including, if needed, filing for bankruptcy protection.
Our mission is to use software to treat disease directly and increase access to care for patients, including underserved constituents of the healthcare ecosystem. In the event our strategic process is successful and we obtain sufficient funding, we plan to accomplish this goal over time by:
•Focusing on selling reSET and reSET-O to states in the near term. Most of our 2022 revenue came from sales of our addiction products directly to states and state agencies. We generated additional revenue in 2022 from state Medicaid reimbursement for our addiction products. By focusing on the most mature aspect of our business model in the near-term, we intend to grow revenue while containing costs. We believe our pipeline and platforms provide optionality that will allow us to invest in significant long-term value-creation when our revenues and financing supports such investments.
•Capitalize on our leadership position in the PDT market. By obtaining FDA market authorization for the first three PDTs, we established ourselves as the leader and pioneer of a new category. With sufficient funding, we believe we could capitalize on our leadership position via horizontal scale.
•Establish reimbursement pathways and payment infrastructure. To date, we provide access to our three FDA-authorized products via listing on certain formularies, as a covered benefit, through bulk purchases, or by funding a study. Pear’s payor strategy focuses across all major payor channels, including Integrated Delivery Networks (“IDNs”), pharmacy benefit managers (“PBMs”), commercial payors, and government payors, including Medicaid and Medicare. Pear works with the payor channel to cover Pear’s products through both the pharmacy and medical benefit as well as adjudication through both pharmacy and medical operations.
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•Protect our intellectual property. In addition to securing regulatory authorization for our PDTs, we make strategic use of various intellectual property regimes: patents; copyrights; trademarks; and trade secrets. We strive to protect and enhance the proprietary technology, inventions, and improvements that are commercially important to the development of our business, including seeking, maintaining, and defending patent rights, whether developed internally or licensed from third parties.
•Over time, subject to obtaining necessary funding, advancing PearConnect as a key commercial platform through which patients and clinicians access PDTs. We are pioneering new commercialization approaches for PDTs. Subject to obtaining sufficient funding, we aspire to connect other product candidates from third-party PDT companies onto PearConnect. This has the potential to create a PDT marketplace for the patients of other PDT manufacturers to access safe, effective, and secure digital therapeutics.
•Subject to obtaining necessary funding, restart our efforts to opportunistically license and acquire PDT product candidates and connect third-party PDT candidates. Subject to obtaining necessary funding, we intend to recommence our efforts to opportunistically pursue acquisitions and licensing opportunities to grow our developmental pipeline. Pear’s experience developing and guiding PDTs through the regulatory review process, as well as our scalable platforms, could provide a foundation on which Pear could potentially develop, host, and connect other PDTs from Pear as well as third parties.
Industry Trends Overview
Pear believes that major trends are converging to create a significant opportunity to treat disease with software, either alone or in combination with drugs, due to the following factors:
•The ongoing burden of chronic disease. Ninety percent of the $4.1 trillion in US annual healthcare expenditures are for people with chronic and mental health conditions.
•There is a pronounced shortage of clinicians. Across many disease areas there are tens of millions of patients with only a few thousand trained specialists who can provide treatment.
•There is rapid patient and clinician adoption of digital solutions for healthcare delivery, such as telemedicine. The number of people using telehealth has doubled from approximately 39% before the COVID-19 pandemic to nearly 80% post-quarantine.
•There is pervasive use of technology. Americans spend an average of 5.4 hours per day on their mobile phones. Connection to a therapeutic delivered digitally is convenient and available for most Americans. The data captured by this engagement could also drive deeper insights into disease states and the ability to personalize treatment.
We believe the trends described above have created a moment in time when technology-based approaches are essential to, and capable of, revolutionizing healthcare. We believe these trends have accelerated due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which resulted in fewer in-person visits and increased the adoption and use of technology and digital health experiences across consumers, clinicians, payors, and the broader healthcare system.
Our PDT Solution and Value Proposition
PDTs are prescribed by clinicians, downloaded by the patient to a smart phone, tablet, or VR headset, and used under the supervision of a prescribing clinician. PDTs have a recommended frequency and duration of use, but patients can use the product whenever they want and wherever they are. PDTs receive market authorization from regulators, like FDA, with a label that addresses both safety and effectiveness. To obtain a label from FDA, PDT companies developing novel therapies are generally required to submit data from one or more randomized, controlled trials (“RCT”) that demonstrate safety and effectiveness, and product candidates must be developed in a good manufacturing practice (“GMP”)-compliant environment.
In order for a patient to obtain a prescription, there is first an appropriate assessment and diagnosis of the patient, which is then followed by direction and ongoing guidance, as well as patient accountability related to product use
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and ongoing care management by the clinician. Engagement levels for Pear’s PDTs significantly exceed that of published rates of health and wellness digital products. For patients with disease a prescription is an enabler of access, engagement, and real-world effectiveness. PDTs integrate into existing healthcare infrastructure, allowing for a digital experience via a patient’s own clinician, enhancing the continuum of care rather than fragmenting care paradigms.
We believe that PDTs will become an important segment of the digital health revolution and a vital part of the medical armamentarium because they have qualities that are similar to those of both health and wellness apps and pharmaceuticals. PDTs leverage the pervasiveness and accessibility of digital technology to improve human health. However, PDTs are always developed in a GMP-compliant environment, maintain compliance with data security and HIPAA protocols, and integrate into the standard of care. PDTs are also tested in RCTs and are FDA-authorized as safe and effective therapies for particular indications like pharmaceuticals, but they also enable clinicians to receive timely feedback regarding patient progress and therapy adherence. This patient monitoring capability afforded by PDTs may be the difference in a patient’s success during a course of treatment. The table below shows some of the key differences between PDTs and other products.
Pear reimagined what treating disease could look like from the vantage point of patients, clinicians, and payors. We set out to disrupt the healthcare system with urgency because we believe there is a growing need for treatments that can be provided by PDTs. With our proprietary development and commercialization platform, PearConnect, we can bring product candidates to FDA for market authorization, and we can bring FDA-authorized products to patients, clinicians, and payors. We continue to refine and optimize our development capabilities, and we believe we will be able to scale our operations significantly in the near-term, allowing us to pursue authorizations for more product candidates, to self-commercialize our products inside the US, and commercialize our products outside of the US with the help of regional partners.
Pear is a platform-based, product-driven company. Our end-to-end PDT engine, which currently includes three FDA-authorized products and a pipeline of product candidates, continues to produce clinical and real-world data as well as health economic outcome research (“HEOR”) data that provide evidence of Pear’s ability to enhance outcomes, increase access and reduce healthcare costs, and validate Pear’s value proposition. We believe our value proposition will magnify over time, as our model scales and we expand the reach and impact of PDTs.
We believe PDTs are poised to disrupt healthcare delivery in ways that could offer benefits to three major stakeholders:
1.Patients: PDTs provide 24/7 remote treatment access to patients that can improve outcomes and be used alongside other standard-of-care treatments. Additionally, PDTs have a relatively benign side effect profile compared to traditional pharmaceutical therapies.
2.Clinicians: PDTs provide additional treatment options and improve clinicians’ reach to patients, potentially resulting in broader patient impact. They are integrated into standard practice and may also be used alongside traditional drug-based treatments. Data from the PDT provides insight to the clinician and the clinical care team, which can facilitate enhanced care navigation and delivery. They also provide reimbursable events for interactions on the “PearMD Clinician Dashboard”.
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3.Payors: PDTs have the potential to reduce overall healthcare costs to payors by providing patients with therapies that may be more cost-effective. Additionally, PDTs may fill gaps in care across indications with high prevalence.
PDTs have the potential to be safe, effective, and accessible care options for patients with diseases and mental health disorders. These options are increasingly needed as diseases, and mental health disorders require more innovative approaches to overcome current treatment challenges and realize better patient outcomes. With Pear’s PDTs, patients have 24/7 remote access to their treatment program, and clinicians are able to observe progress 24/7 to inform their treatment approach, regardless of physical proximity. PDTs can be integrated into standard of care and may be used alongside pharmacotherapy. Pear’s software is designed to be easy-to-use and intuitive, and it also generates data from patient usage to inform the treatment approach for each patient. Our clinical trial and real-world data also continue to demonstrate a favorable side-effect profile versus existing medications, which could foster stronger adherence to treatment programs.
The privacy provided by reSET and reSET-O, for example, is designed to offer access to treatment of addiction without fear of stigma. Patients also gain control over where they conduct addiction treatment and can conduct remote check-ins for their clinician to view, which empowers patients to better navigate their care. Further, we believe that our software enables a larger portion of Americans access to addiction treatment. Only a small fraction of patients with addiction are actively enrolled in treatment today. We believe that reSET and reSET-O may significantly lower treatment barriers to ongoing care and substantially increase clinicians to serve more and diverse patient needs. An analogous shift is seen in Somyrst, Pear’s treatment for chronic insomnia. Clinical guidelines indicate Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for insomnia (“CBTi”) as the first-line treatment, but there are approximately 300 certified and licensed CBTi clinicians in the US to treat a patient population of approximately 30 million.
PDTs provide a new treatment option that clinicians can provide to their patients. Many clinicians today lack evidence-based treatment options with the potential to improve outcomes. PDTs are a standardized, evidence-based, cost-effective, and easily accessed class of treatments that can be used as a standalone treatment or in conjunction with pharmacotherapies. Not only can PDTs better enable clinicians to serve their patients, but PDTs can also improve the reach of clinicians, creating the potential for broader patient impact.
In addition, we believe Pear’s products enable richer and more effective patient data and engagement capabilities. For clinicians prescribing reSET, reSET-O, or Somryst, clinicians may use our PearMD Clinician Dashboard and review a wealth of data-based, real-time feedback that can help them better understand and manage their patients’ treatment journey. The PearMD Clinical Dashboard is easy to use and accessible 24/7, enabling care teams to conveniently manage populations of patients. This real-time engagement is particularly impactful in the world of addiction, in which adherence is continually decided, moment to moment, outside of the walls of the clinician’s office. The ability of a clinician to regularly monitor and engage with their patient can make the difference in successful navigation of the treatment journey.
PearMD Clinician Dashboard interactions can also create reimbursable events.
We believe Pear’s PDTs have the potential to reduce overall medical costs, support value-based care initiatives, and improve member experience. Insights and information collected by Pear’s PDTs can be integrated within care management workflows to provide payors with valuable insights that support population health management and value-based care initiatives. Pear’s PDTs can also fill gaps in specialty care across large populations, providing timely insights into patient engagement and practice performance via the PearMD Clinician Dashboard.
Pear’s PearConnect platform has enabled rapid scaling of evidence generation for the benefit of provider organizations and payors to quantify product use, outcomes, and economic value. Over the past 12 months, Pear
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has generated, presented and published numerous new datasets. Previously, Pear published a study of 351 patients evaluating healthcare resource utilization via insurance claims six months after reSET-O initiation found that compared to a six-month baseline there was a 62% reduction in inpatient hospitalizations and a 20% reduction in emergency room visits, resulting in a near-term cost-savings of $2,150 per patient. The durability of reSET-O’s treatment effect at nine (9) months was evaluated in a larger group of patients and was communicated in publications. One of those publication compared outcomes between reSET-O patients and controls and found that reSET-O-treated patients experienced costs that were $2,708 lower than for controls, and which were also driven by a reduction in hospital-related utilization.
In addition, Pear published 12-month health economic data evaluating reSET-O compared to control in both national all-comer payor as well as Medicaid subpopulations. This analysis of over 1800 patients demonstrated lower health care costs for reSET-O treated patients compared to controls, as measured by actual health care claims, resulting in a health care cost reduction of an estimated $2,791 per patient in the national population, and a health care cost reduction of $3,832 per patient in the Medicaid population, driven predominantly by reduction in unique hospital encounters (emergency room, inpatient hospitalizations, and others). The study also observed an increase in medication possession ratio of buprenorphine in the reSET-O treated group compared to controls.
Pear also published real world health economic data for reSET. In 101 reSET treated patients in the real-world, claims analysis found an overall reduction in hospital encounters in the post-period compared to the pre-period, observing health care savings of an estimated $3,591 per patient in the 6–months post reSET initiation compared to the 6 months pre-reSET initiation. In addition, on May 19, 2021, Pear presented results of two analyses demonstrating the cost-effectiveness of reSET-O at the virtual annual meeting of The Professional Society for Health Economics and Outcomes Research. The machine learning analysis showed that all clusters of engagement (low, medium, and high) each experienced a very similar reduction in emergency department and inpatient stays of approximately 60%. The budget impact analysis showed that reSET-O plus treatment-as-usual (“TAU”) (i.e., transmucosal buprenorphine, face-to-face counseling and contingency management) versus TAU alone resulted in a projected net cost reduction over a five-year period. Supporting this budget impact analysis are two subsequent publications examining the cost effectiveness and cost utility of reSET-O, both showing quality adjusted life year gains from increased retention and abstinence, respectively, which were accompanied by reductions in overall costs, supporting the economic advantages of reSET-O vs. TAU.
Pear published its first health economic data evaluating Somryst. In a real-world claims analysis of patients with chronic insomnia exposed to the digital CBTi, researchers found overall reduction in hospital events in the 24 months post-treatment compared to the 24 months pre-treatment, with facility related cost-savings of an estimated $2,059 per patient in the post-treatment period. An analysis comparing treated patients compared to the control group over 24 months, presented at the EU The Professional Society for Health Economics and Outcomes Research (ISPOR) in Europe and the American Managed Care Pharmacy (AMCP) Nexus in fall 2022, observed a reduction of hospital facility services compared to the control group, resulting in health care utilization savings of an estimated $8,202 per patient.
We believe that the real-world claims analysis and health economic modeling data, together with existing RCT effectiveness data, demonstrate that reSET, reSET-O, and Somryst can provide compelling clinical and economic cost-savings to payors seeking a high level of care for their members.
Our Scalable Commercial Platform - PearConnect™
Our goal is for PearConnect to become an agile and scalable resource with the ability to offer multiple PDTs developed by Pear and potentially by third parties. However, to implement that vision, substantial capital will need to be expensed and substantial resources will need to be deployed. While we are not in a position today to pursue this vision, we believe if the requisite investments are made in our development engine, commercialization strategy, clinician and patient awareness, and HEOR data, PearConnect could become an industry leading platform.
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•Pear is pioneering the PDT industry. Pear is the first mover in the PDT industry, and as a result has advanced experience in developing and commercializing PDTs. Pear was the first company to receive FDA authorization for a PDT. Pear has been developing PDTs since 2013.
•Pear leverages our data aggregation capabilities. Pear’s ability to collect data from existing PDTs, generate insights and improvements based on these data, and then quickly develop new PDTs using these insights has enabled us to bring to market the first three FDA-authorized PDTs. We believe it will enable us to continue to bring additional FDA-authorized PDTs to market across a breadth of indications.
•Pear developed a reproducible process for cost-effective development and regulatory review of PDTs. We conduct agile software development for our medical devices in a GMP-compliant environment. Due to our remote clinical trial infrastructure, we are able to conduct clinical trials without the need for external sites and develop our products iteratively, which both accelerates timelines and reduces costs. This iterative product development paradigm contrasts with traditional drug development in which a molecule that enters the clinic cannot be improved or adapted along the way.
•Pear is building a robust IP portfolio. Pear regularly applies for patents, copyrights, and trademarks throughout the development and iteration of its products, and also judiciously maintains trade secrets. Pear protects the iterations of its proprietary technology that are commercially important to its business by filing, maintaining, and, if necessary, defending patent rights, whether developed internally or licensed from third parties. We also rely on copyright, including registrations for product source code, graphic user interfaces and other content, as well as on trademarks. Finally, Pear maintains trade secrets relating to its PDT product development to enable Pear to strengthen its leadership position in the PDT industry over the long-term.
•Pear has a diverse and scalable management team that is pioneering the PDT space. The discovery, development, and commercialization of PDTs as a new healthcare delivery system requires both a breadth and depth of experience. Our cross-disciplinary and cross-functional team of experts collectively synthesizes years of experience in medicine, biotech, technology, and data science.
Our Commercialization Strategy
With three FDA-authorized products on the market, we believe Pear has made significant commercial progress. Additionally, the PDT category continues to expand with eight other companies receiving marketing authorization.
We are pioneering PDT commercialization
By developing PDTs as a new class of medicines, Pear pioneers innovative approaches for its commercialization. Pear’s commercialization strategy attempts to combine the most effective features of the commercialization methodologies of both tech and life sciences companies to create a scalable yet capital-efficient PDT commercialization model.
Pear deploys two distinct commercialization models. First, Pear utilizes a conventional sales-enabled approach focused on targeting large, multi-specialty health systems to capture the most effective features of traditional life sciences commercialization methodologies. Second, to capture the most effective features of traditional tech commercialization methodologies, Pear utilizes the PearMD Clinician Dashboard to engage with clinicians and patients.
The PearMD Clinician Dashboard enables the collection of data characterizing patient engagement and progress during treatment with PDTs. We believe this data collection capability appeals to clinicians and payors who seek to track treatment progress. The dashboard is configured to provide robust data that describes patient treatment progress to clinicians and payors, thereby providing these stakeholders with insights that have the potential to improve clinical outcomes and lower costs. Clinicians can use the insights provided by Pear’s dashboard to enable the clinician to support a patient’s course of treatment outside of routine office visits and during periods when the
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patient may be experiencing increased challenges with treatment adherence. Similarly, payors can use the data provided by Pear’s dashboard to supplement their understanding of population-level treatment outcomes and to adjust access to PDTs accordingly. As a result, the PearMD Clinician Dashboard serves as an enterprise sales tool for stakeholders looking to monitor and improve the clinical outcomes of patients through data collection and analysis.
We are building patient, clinician, and payor awareness.
As the pioneer in PDTs, Pear is built to educate all participants of care delivery, including patients, clinicians and payors, about a new class of medicines. To inform and educate the public about PDTs, Pear has built and deployed sales, marketing, patient and clinician services, and medical affairs teams. These PDT specialists are dedicated to educating patients, clinicians, payors, and other stakeholders about PDTs.
As a result of the efforts of our PDT specialists, PDTs are increasingly recognized as a treatment option by the medical community, as evidenced by the increasing number of clinicians prescribing PDTs and the increasing number of PDT prescriptions being written. Pear has educated hundreds of clinicians that have collectively written prescriptions for one or more of Pear’s three FDA-authorized products, and we believe that number will grow significantly over time. Once introduced to PDTs, those clinicians are equipped to provide valuable education and guidance to patients and other clinicians regarding how the use of PDTs.
We are creating access to PDTs by establishing reimbursement pathways.
The Pear team is actively working to establish reimbursement pathways for PDTs, and we believe that as a result of these efforts, payors are increasingly providing their members with access to PDTs. To date, Pear has had 39 payors provide access to its PDTs. reSET and reSET-O are currently covered as pharmacy benefits, medical benefits, and/or via direct purchase transactions. To onboard additional payors, Pear engages directly with payors to establish coding, coverage, and payment pathways for its PDTs and the PDT category as a whole. Pear is also exploring innovative contracting models with payors that utilize the strong correlation between patient engagement with PDTs and the resulting clinical and economic benefits. We believe that these continued payor engagement efforts will result in reimbursement for PDTs by both commercial and public payors in the US, including, but not limited to, self-insured employers, PBMs, health plans, IDNs, and public payors, including Medicaid and Medicare.
In addition to pursuing traditional payor reimbursement of PDTs, Pear also offers a PEAR Assistance Program (“PAP”) to ensure that eligible, underserved patients have access to Pear’s PDTs. PAP is designed for patients who are being treated by a licensed US clinician on an outpatient basis and have been prescribed a PDT. PAP-qualifying patients have limited or no health insurance coverage, a demonstrated qualifying financial need, and live within the US. Patients enrolled in PAP generate additional real-world and HEOR data that may be used to support the utilization and coverage of Pear’s products.
We are building end-to-end infrastructure that provides ease of use to clinicians.
To enable a high degree of accessibility to PDTs for clinicians, Pear has developed, designed, and deployed PearConnect to be a convenient one-stop shop for PDTs. PearConnect features four distinct system components, consisting of PDTs for patient use, the PearMD Clinician Dashboard, an end-to-end patient service center, and a data analytics system configured to aggregate patient engagement, adherence, and clinical outcome data for insight generation. These components of PearConnect are intentionally designed to improve accessibility to Pear’s PDTs. PearConnect also incorporates various data privacy and security features to support the protection, quality, and integrity of each component of PearConnect, including the data that is processed and stored by PearConnect. Each component plays a meaningful role in ongoing and product evolution and performance, building Pear’s PDT marketplace and enabling clinicians and payors to assess the value of each PDT on a population and individual level.
Pear’s end-to-end patient service center provides support to patients that have been prescribed PDTs, which includes informational and technical support regarding the use of the PDT and the PearMD Clinician Dashboard. The service makes it easier for clinicians to introduce new patients to PDTs and to Pear’s platform.
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The data analytics component of PearConnect collects patient engagement, adherence, and clinical outcome data, and generates insights based on this data. The insights generated by the data analytics component of PearConnect can be accessed by clinicians via the PearMD Clinician Dashboard to inform clinicians of their patients’ progress over the course of a PDT prescription. The insights generated by the data analytics can also be used by us to incrementally evolve individual PDTs to better serve patients, and we believe we will ultimately generate improved clinical outcomes.
We are able to demonstrate the value of our PDTs with HEOR data generated based on commercial patients.
Pear’s commercial infrastructure allows for the analysis of patients’ healthcare claims data pre-, during, and post-use of Pear’s PDTs. Based on these robust analytics, Pear is able to gain insight into PDT utilization across patient groups, and to understand how use of its PDTs correlates with clinical outcomes. Data-derived insights support collaboration with clinicians, coverage and reimbursement by payors, and product enhancements.
Discovery, Strategy, and Development - PearCreate™
Developing a new class of medicines led to Pear pioneering new approaches for the discovery and development of PDTs. We have invested in and created a model to progress from concept to market authorization, and we believe we have optimized that model to the point where it is now ready to scale subject to our ability to invest in our pipeline. In July 2022, we announced that we paused substantially all investment in our pipeline.
Our PearCreate platform consists of three approaches consist of: (i) an integrated virtual and decentralized clinical study platform, (ii) agile development as therapeutic candidates move through phases, and (iii) integrated health economic and real-world extension studies to facilitate regular and timely evidence generation.
First, Pear has designed and built its own integrated virtual and decentralized study platform. This technology facilitates a seamless experience for fully virtual and decentralized studies. DREAM, Pear’s remote, real-world clinical study of Somryst is the first to utilize PearCreate, with recruitment, enrollment, consent, monitoring, and assessments all completed through digital and virtual means. Patients do not need to be present at a clinic or site for any step of the process. In addition to being more cost-effective, the speed of recruitment and enrollment is enhanced by facilitating fully automated screening and consenting and by minimizing the number of patients requiring manual or direct human interaction.
Second, as Pear’s therapeutic candidates move from discovery and through subsequent stages of development, Pear iterates on the product. If data indicate that adding additional modalities or mechanisms of action to the candidate is warranted, Pear is able to refine the PDT in between subsequent studies and re-evaluate the candidate in a variety of clinical study designs. We believe deploying this agile and adaptable framework to clinical development has the potential to increase not only speed but also the probability of success.
Third, as Pear conducts pre-market studies on PearCreate, health economic endpoints are integrated and real-world extension studies are built into development plans. Registrational and even earlier stage development studies having health economic or insurance claims endpoints have the potential to facilitate earlier insights to support payor engagement. Post-randomized studies and even post-market, Pear continues to generate clinical and economic data on every patient that uses a PDT, whether it is a Pear PDT or a third-party PDT using PearConnect. Adaptive real-world extension studies post-registration demonstrate generalizability from RCTs and have the ability to demonstrate that RCT outcomes are consistent in real-world use and across various clinical settings and patient populations.
Our Commercial Products
reSET is the first PDT to receive FDA market authorization and is authorized in the US and Singapore for the treatment of SUD in patients who are 18 years of age and older. reSET is the only FDA-authorized product indicated to treat addiction to alcohol, cannabis, cocaine, and stimulants (such as methamphetamines) as no pharmacotherapy or other FDA-approved treatments for this patient population exist. reSET is a 12-week
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prescription-only treatment for patients who are actively enrolled in outpatient therapy under the supervision of a clinician.
Addiction is a disease of the brain that manifests as compulsive substance use. In the US, the disease of addiction can be characterized as an epidemic, with more than 46 million Americans struggling with addiction based on 2021 data.
Each year, there are approximately 13,000 overdose deaths related to stimulant use, particularly methamphetamine, and approximately 16,000 deaths related to cocaine use. Since the 1970s, there has been a significant increase in mortality related to unintentional drug poisonings, growing at 7% per year. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has only accelerated these trends. In 2020, there was an 18% increase in drug-related overdose deaths and a 26% increase in overdoses involving cocaine.
Traditional medical guidelines recommend Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (“CBT”) and contingency management (“CM”) as best practices in treating SUD. However, multiple roadblocks prevent a majority of SUD patients from ultimately receiving effective behavioral treatment, such as CBT and CM. CBT is largely conducted in outpatient settings and is a time-intensive, location-dependent treatment methodology. This and the sheer quantity of SUD patients results in an insufficient number of trained therapists and facilities to meet demand. This results in SUD patients often receiving inconsistent treatment in inconvenient locations. Insufficient access to CBT can cause patients to drop out of therapy or not pursue therapy in the first place. Even when SUD patients are able to gain sufficient access to CBT, clinician education, training, and treatment paradigms vary. Documented discrepancies in CBT administration standards and protocols impede the ability of CBT to adequately and uniformly treat the wide range and quantity of SUD patients that require care. Furthermore, many patients may experience perceived or real stigma associated with physical attendance at CBT sessions. As a result of these many obstacles, only a fraction of SUD patients receive CBT treatment. For instance, in 2019, only 1.5% of SUD patients received formal treatment.
In addition to the challenges of initiating and completing a first round of SUD treatment, addiction can be a lifelong battle that often involves multiple relapses for many patients. This constant and recurring need for treatment places additional burdens on SUD patients, particularly given the currently insufficient treatment options available. There remains a significant unmet need for accessible and effective SUD treatment options.
To bridge this gap between disease prevalence and treatment availability, Pear has an FDA-authorized PDT that has been clinically proven to help treat addiction and extend the reach of clinicians to patients during their recovery journey. reSET is authorized for the treatment of SUD in patients 18 years or older. reSET’s mechanism of action combines addiction-specific CBT, fluency training, contingency management, and craving and trigger assessment, all provided by Pear’s software-based application. It is intended to reduce substance abuse during treatment, eventually supporting discontinuance and recovery while simultaneously improving retention rates in the outpatient treatment program.
To begin treatment, the clinician prescribes the patient the PDT. The patient then downloads the software to a smart phone, tablet, or VR headset, inputs their prescription access code, and gets access to the PDT. The PDT includes three evidence-based treatments, each of which represent a distinct mechanism of action:
•The first is an addiction-specific form of cognitive behavioral therapy, called a community reinforcement approach (“CRA”), that moves patients from actively using a substance to reducing and ultimately discontinuing use. CRA is a form of treatment that integrates cognition and learning with treatment techniques. CRA is based on the insight that cognitive, emotional, and behavioral variables are functionally interrelated. Treatment is aimed at identifying and modifying the patient’s maladaptive thought processes and problematic behaviors through cognitive restructuring and behavioral techniques to achieve change. Disease-specific CRA targets the associated neurocircuitry for addiction, harnessing adaptive neuroplasticity. reSET is comprised of 61 interactive modules (31 core and 30 supplement modules). Core modules focus on key CRA concepts to build skills to support behavior change and prevent
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relapse. Supplemental modules provide more in-depth information on specific topics, such as relationship skills and living with a disease.
•The second is fluency training, which assesses proficiency and reinforces concept mastery. Fluency training supports the ability of the patient to apply their learnings in moments of stress to facilitate their treatment and ultimate recovery.
•The third is contingency management, which is a positive reinforcement mechanism. CM induces a dopamine response directly competing with the negative response induced by substance use. It does this by rewarding healthy behaviors and key outcomes such as engagement in treatment and reduced substance use through a clinical algorithm.
CRA and fluency training strengthen affected neurocircuitry while CM induces dopamine in the nucleus accumbens repairing dysfunctional neurophysiology, driving engagement with CRA and treatment in a virtuous cycle. These integrated mechanisms of action drive patient engagement and target the pathophysiology of addiction to correct and restore neurofunction.
reSET also includes validated assessments, including substance use, triggers, and cravings supporting interactive engagement and insights to the clinical care team. All of this information is shared with the clinical care team via the PearMD Clinician Dashboard, enabling the clinician and care team to derive insights to inform optimal patient care.
By integrating PDTs into the practice of medicine, the clinician and patient relationship may be strengthened, and data insights facilitate clinician extension for greater efficiency and effectiveness. reSET and reSET-O provide 24/7 anytime, anywhere treatment. As the patient undergoes therapy with reSET, the patient and clinician can continue to meet in person or virtually as part of their outgoing treatment therapy, and the clinician has easy access via the PearMD Clinician Dashboard to monitor and adjust treatment. We believe the connectivity established through our PDTs is valuable to patients and clinicians.
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Our Clinical Trial Data
Among patients with SUD (i.e., addiction to cocaine, cannabis, stimulants, and/or alcohol), RCT data demonstrated that adding the PDT to TAU more than doubled abstinence rates during the last month of the 12-week trial. Among all patients, adding a PDT to outpatient care improved the retention rate compared to TAU (72.2% vs 63.5%) at the end of the 12-week trial. Treatment with PDT did not demonstrate a significant difference in unanticipated adverse events compared to TAU.
Adult men and women (N=399) entering 10 outpatient addiction treatment programs were randomly assigned to receive 12 weeks of either TAU (N=193) or reduced treatment-as-usual (“rTAU”) plus the PDT, with the intervention substituting for about two hours of standard care per week (N=206).
TAU consisted of individual and group counseling at the participating programs for 4-6 hours per week. rTAU consisted of 2 hours less than TAU of aggregate individual and group counseling. The primary outcome measures were abstinence from drugs and heavy drinking (measured by twice-weekly urine drug screens and self-report) and time to dropout from treatment.
Those in the PDT+rTAU group had a higher retention rate of 76.2% compared to 63.2% in TAU and a greater abstinence rate in the last 4 weeks of 40.3% in the PDT+rTAU group relative to 17.6% in the TAU group. This effect was more pronounced among patients who had a positive urine drug or breath alcohol screen at study entry (N=192) with an abstinence rate in the last four (4) weeks in the PDT+rTAU group of 16.1% compared to 3.2% of TAU.
reSET Pivotal Clinical Trial. Abstinence in TAU relative to rTAU + PDT.
reSET Pivotal Clinical Trial. Abstinence and Retention in TAU relative to rTAU + PDT.
Abstinence: All patients
|17.6 ||%||40.3 ||%||0.4000|
Abstinence: Non-abstinent at study start
|3.2 ||%||16.1 ||%||1.3000|
Retention in treatment: All patients
|63.2 ||%||76.2 ||%||4.2000|
Overall safety was in-line with expectations and no significant difference was observed in the rate of adverse events between groups (p = 0.3563).
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Evaluation of rTAU+PDT abstinence and retention compared to TAU.
Number of Adverse Events
% of Adverse Events
|11.5 ||%||14.5 ||%||0.3563|
Adverse events evaluated were typical of patients with SUD, including cardiovascular disease, GI events, depression, mania, suicidal behavior, suicidal thoughts and attempts. None of the adverse events in the interventional arm were adjudicated by the study investigators to be related to the PDT.
This RCT was reviewed by FDA and supported Pear’s FDA market authorization of reSET to treat patients with SUD to improve clinical outcomes.
Real World Evidence and Health Economic and Outcomes Research Data
Pear published reSET Real World Evidence (“RWE”) and HEOR data starting with a six-month duration. In 101 reSET treated patients in the real-world, claims analysis found an overall reduction in hospital encounters in the post-treatment compared to the pre-treatment, observing health care savings of an estimated $3,591 per patient in the 6 months post reSET initiation compared to the 6 months pre-reSET initiation.
reSET-O is the second PDT to receive FDA authorization and the first to receive breakthrough designation in the US for the treatment of OUD in patients who are 18 years of age and older. reSET-O is a 12-week prescription-only treatment that is intended to increase retention of patients with OUD in outpatient treatment by providing CBT as an adjunct to outpatient treatment that includes transmucosal buprenorphine and CM. reSET-O is indicated only for patients who are currently under the supervision of a clinician.
Opioid use disorder in the US has increased so dramatically and taken such a heavy toll on American lives over the past decade that, in 2017, the US Department of Human Health Services declared the opioid epidemic a public health emergency. Approximately 1.6 million Americans suffer from OUD annually in the US, and according to the CDC, the substance use and opioid use disorder epidemics continue to grow with unprecedented numbers of fatal opioid overdoses, in excess of 200 deaths daily (over 75,000 annually), approximately 87% of which are due to widely available, inexpensive yet pharmacologically-potent synthetic opioids. Nonfatal overdoses far outnumber fatal overdoses and place a tremendous burden the health care system through excess utilization of acute care services such as emergency department and inpatient stays, which contributes to rising health care costs. For example, every year, there are over 500,000 emergency room visits for opioid overdoses in the US. Of those patients that are discharged from the emergency room following an overdose, 24% are readmitted to the emergency room for additional emergency care within 30 days. As a result of these frequent emergency room visits, opioid overdoses are estimated to cost the US $11.0 billion in hospital costs alone. A recent study evaluated the direct healthcare cost of 2,044,467 people with OUD to be $89.1 billion, with an average cost of $43,581 per patient per year. The cost of the current opioid crisis in the US is estimated to exceed $700.0 billion.
Treatment has been shown to help patients avoid the increased risk of respiratory arrest and organ system damage, and dramatically reduce the use of acute care services and associated high costs. However, only 11.2% of patients in the US receive treatment with Medications for Opioid Use Disorder (“MOUD”) in a given year. For those who obtain treatment, dropout rates are high, ranging between 30% and 50% at 90 days, highlighting the need for comprehensive support to keep patients engaged in their recovery. Progress in recovery helps reduce the burden on the health care system and helps to mitigate the harm the opioid crisis causes.
The current standard of care for treating opioid addiction is medication-assisted treatment (“MAT”). MAT consists of the administration of medication, such as buprenorphine, in combination with counseling and behavioral therapy. Only a fraction of opioid-addicted patients, however, receive treatment. Similar to SUD patients, there are
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significant barriers to opioid-addicted patients receiving accessible and effective care. Many patients fail to receive care as a result of care inaccessibility, cost, or patient stigmatization. It is estimated that only 19% of opioid-addicted patients receive treatment each year. In addition, many opioid-addicted patients elect to rely solely on medication and reject counseling. For example, only 10% of opioid-addicted patients that are prescribed buprenorphine receive adjunct psychotherapy treatment. While reliance solely on the medication portion of the recommended treatment paradigm may provide a higher level of convenience for patients, adherence to only a portion of treatment decreases the overall probability of success. Therefore, due to the current lack of effective treatment options for OUD and the continually growing number of patients, there remains a significant unmet need in the fight against OUD.
To bridge this gap between disease prevalence and treatment, Pear has an FDA-authorized PDT that has been clinically proven to treat OUD and extend the reach of clinicians to patients during their recovery journey. reSET-O is authorized for use in combination with buprenorphine in the US for the treatment of OUD in patients who are 18 years or older.
Similar to reSET, reSET-O is intended to increase the retention of patients with OUD in outpatient treatment by providing the same behavioral treatments. This PDT is a 12-week treatment used as an adjunct to outpatient treatment, including transmucosal buprenorphine and CM. Patients using reSET-O are required to be under the supervision of a clinician.
reSET-O has three mechanisms of action consisting of addiction-specific CRA, fluency training, and CM. reSET-O has an additional function that supports the patient’s appropriate use of buprenorphine. This function includes reminders, assessments of use, non-use, and reasons and beliefs. reSET-O also has additional content modules specific to OUD.
Similar to reSET, patients download reSET-O to their smart phone, tablet, or VR headset for discreet, convenient access to therapy, interactive treatment, learning, and support. reSET-O lets patients practice what their clinicians taught them anytime, anywhere, and report daily triggers, cravings, and substance use, so they feel more engaged and supported between appointments.
reSET-O also encourages patients with tangible rewards via its CM capabilities. These rewards can be managed by clinicians.
As the patient undergoes therapy with reSET-O, the patient and clinician continue to meet in person or virtually as part of their outgoing treatment therapy, and the clinician has real-time access via the PearMD Clinician Dashboard to monitor and adjust treatment.
Our Clinical Trial Data
There have been multiple RCTs evaluating PDTs in patients with OUD in combination with MAT and MOUD. These studies have been conducted across a variety of durations and clinical care models. The primary RCT that the FDA reviewed to support the marketing authorization of reSET-O is described below.
In summary, the clinical data demonstrated that adding reSET-O alongside outpatient treatment and buprenorphine use increased the retention of patients with OUD by 14% at the end of the 12-week trial and reduced opioid use. Patients achieving no substance use by the end of treatment was 75.9% in TAU + PDT group versus 60.6% in TAU-alone (p = 0.03). Patients in the TAU + PDT group had an 82.4% retention rate compared to 68.4% in the TAU group (p = 0.02). The observed adverse events were of a type and frequency as anticipated in a large population of patients with OUD or associated with buprenorphine pharmacotherapy, particularly during the induction phase. The adverse events observed were not adjudicated to be device-related.
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A block-randomized, parallel, 12-week treatment trial was conducted with 170 opioid-dependent adult patients. Participants received an internet-based community reinforcement approach intervention plus CM (“CRA+”) and buprenorphine, or CM-alone plus buprenorphine.
•All patients received 30 minutes of face-to-face clinician interaction every other week.
•Patients provided urine samples three times per week to objectively monitor substance use.
•Primary endpoints were:
▪retention in treatment, and
▪no substance use (during last four weeks).
Incorporation of a PDT increased retention and abstinence
| ||TAU + PDT|| ||TAU|| ||p-value|
|82.4 ||%|| ||68.4 ||%|| ||20.00|
No Substance Use (last 4 weeks)
|77.3 ||%|| ||62.1 ||%|| ||30.00|
Among patients whose primary addiction was opioids, adding reSET-O to TAU had significantly greater odds of opioid abstinence during weeks 9-12 of the 12-week trial with abstinence rates (no opioids) at 77.3% for the TAU + reSET-O treatment group versus 62.1% for the TAU group (p = 0.02). Further, adding reSET-O to outpatient therapy, buprenorphine increased retention of patients with OUD by 14% at the end of the 12-week trial, with retention found to be 82.4% in the TAU + reSET-O treatment group versus 68.4% in the TAU group (p = 0.02).
Overall safety was in line with expectations and no significant difference was observed in the rate of adverse events between groups (p = 0.42). The observed adverse events were of a type and frequency as anticipated in a large population of patients with OUD or associated with buprenorphine pharmacotherapy, particularly during the induction phase. The adverse events observed were not adjudicated to be device related.
Real World Evidence
Pear continues to generate RWE evaluating the use of reSET-O across prospective and commercial use. We plan to continue to publish and disseminate reSET-O real-world data.
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For example, a published real-world analysis evaluated patient engagement, usage of reSET-O, and associated outcomes of opioid use and treatment retention in those using buprenorphine MAT/MOUD. The results demonstrated that reSET-O is readily and broadly used by patients with OUD and that real-world therapeutic engagement is positively associated with abstinence and retention in treatment.
The real-world observational analysis was conducted in a population of 3,144 patients with OUD who were prescribed their first 12-week prescription for reSET-O. The patients came from 30 different states and represented a wide range of demographics (15.4% of individuals were between ages 19-29, 45.5% were between 30-39, 25% were between 40-49, 11.2% were between 50-59, and 2.9% were age 60 or older).
A summary of the results is set forth below:
•Patients in the 40-49 age range had highest level of “Active” days of treatment.
•80% of patients completed at least 25% of core modules, 66% completed half of all core modules, and 49% completed all core modules across the entire cohort of patients.
•Patients exhibited usage of reSET-O across a 24-hour period, including before and after clinic hours, at times when clinicians would not traditionally be available.
•Over 70% of patients were retained in reSET-O treatment and continued to use their PDT during the last 4 weeks.
•91% of the patients were “responders”, meaning 80% of their self-reports and urine drug screens (“UDS”) were negative for illicit opioid use.
•Patient engagement on reSET-O was higher than other products as shown in the chart below.
Patient Engagement on reSET-O Compared to Other Products
(using the above-reference study for reSET-O)
Patients have also benefited from repeat prescriptions for reSET-O. Another peer-reviewed study evaluated the impact of longer-term (24 week) engagement and use of reSET-O in a sample of 3,817 patients) and found increased abstinence (86%) and retention in treatment (91%), and 94.4% met the responder rate of being abstinent for at least 80% of the weeks of treatment.
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Healthcare Economic & Outcomes Research
Pear continues to generate real-world evidence evaluating the use of reSET-O.
reSET-O’s impact on healthcare resource utilization has been demonstrated in two separate analyses. In the first study, there was a per-patient reduction of $2,150 in the six months after reSET-O initiation vs. a six-month baseline, and there was a $2,708 difference versus controls at nine months, driven largely in both instances by reductions in emergency department visits and inpatient stay-associated costs.
A follow-on analysis of this patient population examined the cost implications for payors and found real-world cost reductions of $2,385 six months after product initiation (vs. the six-month baseline period) for a typical US payer after factoring in rebates. This analysis also showed that the number-needed-to-treat, i.e., the number of patients you need to treat to prevent one additional hospital-related event, was just 4.8 treated patients.
In addition, an analysis of the impact of a second prescription of reSET-O using a linear regression model found a further 27% reduction in hospital-related events with a second prescription for reSET-O (24 weeks of treatment), compared to the first (12 weeks of treatment).
In addition to clinical value, these results support the cost-savings benefit of reSET-O as an adjunct to TAU.
In 2022 Pear published 12-month health economic data, evaluating reSET-O compared to a control group in both national all-comer payor as well as Medicaid subpopulations. This analysis of over 1800 patients demonstrated lower health care costs for reSET-O treated patients compared to controls, as measured by actual health care claims, resulting in a health care cost reduction of an estimated $2,791 per patient in the national population, and a health care cost reduction of an estimated $3,832 per patient in the Medicaid population, driven predominantly by reduction in unique hospital encounters (emergency room, inpatient hospitalizations, and others).
The Company has deprioritized commercialization efforts regarding Somryst while focusing available resources on the commercialization of reSET and reSET-O and wrote off the acquired technology previously capitalized in intangible assets used in our Somryst product offering and therefore recorded impairment expense of $0.8 million, which is included in cost of revenue in the Company's consolidated statement of operations, during the year ended December 31, 2022.
Somryst is the only non-drug FDA-authorized and guideline-recommended treatment for chronic insomnia in adults over 22 years of age. It is intended to improve patients’ symptoms of chronic insomnia. Somryst is the first PDT submitted through FDA’s traditional 510(k) pathway while simultaneously reviewed as part of the FDA’s Software Precertification Pilot Program to help build and test FDA’s Digital Health Precertification Working Model 1.0. Somryst is a nine-week prescription-only treatment. Somryst has been the subject of 29 completed clinical studies and ongoing clinical studies.
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Insomnia is a sleep disorder that manifests as difficulty falling or remaining asleep. Insomnia can be a short-term (e.g., acute) or a long-term (e.g., chronic) condition. Chronic insomnia is classified as persistent insomnia that occurs at least three nights a week for a period of at least three months. Chronic insomnia is a relatively common medical condition in the US, and is estimated to affect approximately 30 million Americans.
Chronic insomnia adversely affects many facets of a patient’s everyday quality of life, including social, occupational, and educational. These reductions in a patient’s daily quality of life can also give rise to more serious and life-threatening medical conditions, including depression, suicidality, hypertension, and heart attacks. For example, in patients with chronic insomnia approximately 40% have depression, and up to 35% have anxiety. Chronic insomnia also results in a plethora of more measurable detrimental consequences, including heavy costs and resource utilization strain on the healthcare system. For example, annual medical costs for patients diagnosed with insomnia are approximately 25% higher relative to those without insomnia.
Current options for the treatment of chronic insomnia are limited, and the available treatment options have thus far proven ineffective. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the American College of Physicians clinical guidelines recommend CBTi as the first-line treatment for patients suffering from chronic insomnia. However, CBTi is difficult to access, as approximately 300 certified and licensed CBTi clinicians currently exist in the US to treat a patient population of approximately 30 million.
Despite the clinical guidance recommending CBTi as the first-line treatment for chronic insomnia, over 50% of chronic insomnia patients do not seek CBTi treatment, but instead rely on the use of sleep medications (e.g., “sleeping pills”), such as Ambien (zolpidem). Because most available sleep medications are only recommended for short-term use, they are not recommended as a long-term solution to chronic insomnia. Long-term use of sleep medications can yield unwanted side-effects and result in serious, adverse health consequences. Further, utilization of sleep medications can result in reliance on the medication for sleep induction, rather than addressing the underlying condition, thereby perpetuating the chronic nature of the disease.
We believe Somryst addresses the limitations of current standard of care by treating the underlying factors without a label risk of dependence, inappropriate use, and adverse effects of pharmacotherapy. Somryst effectively delivers all three primary mechanisms of actions provided by face-to-face CBTi (sleep restriction and consolidation, cognitive restructuring, and stimulus control) using Pear’s software-based PDT. By delivering CBTi digitally, barriers to people with chronic insomnia are reduced while receiving guideline-recommended treatment. The following is a brief description of each mechanism of action.
•Sleep restriction and consolidation reduce the time it takes to fall-to-sleep and reduce the amount of wakefulness in the middle of the night by consolidating the patient’s sleep through an algorithm to direct the patient’s sleep-wake pattern.
•Cognitive restructuring teaches patients to identify maladaptive thought patterns related to sleep circuits and replace and strengthen healthy neurocircuits.
•Stimulus control teaches patients to identify behaviors, thoughts, and practices that increase arousal and limit sleep and then to correct those behaviors.
Patients are prescribed Somryst by their clinician. After downloading the PDT to a smart phone, tablet, or VR headset, patients engage in fully digital, automated, and interactive exercises that move patients through the mechanisms of action to get better sleep. These interactive modules span a range of topics, including properly tracking sleep patterns and identifying stimulants that may be harming sleep quality and restructuring maladaptive thoughts about sleep. Patients use Somryst for approximately 45-60 minutes weekly, over a period of 6-9 weeks. The content and interface encourage engagement, facilitate active learning, and promote behavioral change, while the algorithm supports a tailored experience.
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Our Clinical Trial Data
Somryst provides a clinician-facing dashboard via the PearMD Clinician Dashboard that allows healthcare providers to track patient treatment and progress. The PearMD Clinician Dashboard displays information about patients’ use of Somryst, including the Insomnia Severity Index (“ISI”), the Patient Health Questionnaire 8 scores, and sleep metrics derived from nightly sleep diaries (“Sleep-Onset-Latency” or “SOL”) and Wakefulness-After-Sleep-Onset (“WASO”). The evidence base for Somryst is extensive and includes the following:
•Somryst has been examined in an aggregate of 29 completed and ongoing studies. FDA submission and authorization was supported by two RCTs with an aggregate of more than 1,400 adults with chronic insomnia. The data from the RCTs showed a 45% decrease in the severity of insomnia symptoms, a 50% decrease in depression symptoms, and nearly a 45% decrease in anxiety symptom. It has also demonstrated a durable effect on insomnia, depression, and anxiety for up to 18 months.
•In a clinical trial of 303 patients with chronic insomnia (Study 1), those on treatment demonstrated clinically meaningful improvements in insomnia severity, SOL (time to fall asleep), and WASO (time awake at night) at the end of treatment, as well as at six and 12 months follow-up compared to active control. Results of the study were published in JAMA Psychiatry.
•In a separate study of 1,149 adult patients with chronic insomnia and depressive symptoms (Study 2), those on treatment for nine weeks saw a significant reduction in insomnia severity measurements compared to controls.
The majority of patients randomized to the Somryst arm no longer met clinical criteria for insomnia at the end of the nine-week treatment. Patients were examined at baseline, nine weeks, six months, 12 months, and 18 months following treatment. At treatment end, the patients who received Somryst experienced a decrease in their mean ISI score to 7.3 from baseline of mean 15.9, while the control arm had a reduction to 13.2 from 16.2 baseline. In addition, the Somryst group had a reduction in depression severity to a mean score of 3.8 from an 8.0 baseline mean. The mean score decreased to 6.2 from a mean of 7.8 at baseline in control subjects. It was observed that the clinical improvements were maintained to 18 months post-treatment. Study data published in Lancet Psychiatry showed decreases in anxiety symptoms and suicidal ideation.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (“DSM-5”) makes no distinction between primary and comorbid insomnia. This previous distinction had been of questionable relevance in clinical practice, and a diagnosis of insomnia is made if an individual meets the diagnostic criteria, despite any coexisting conditions. The International Classification of Sleep Disorders, Third Edition criteria are consistent with the changes to the DSM-5.
The DSM-5 defines insomnia as dissatisfaction with sleep quantity or quality associated with one (or more) of the following symptoms:
•Difficulty initiating sleep;
•Difficulty maintaining sleep, characterized by frequent awakenings or problems returning to sleep after awakenings; and
•Early-morning awakening with inability to return to sleep.
Other criteria include the following:
•The sleep disturbance causes clinically significant distress or impairments in social, occupational, educational, academic, behavioral, or other important areas of functioning;
•The sleep difficulty occurs at least three nights per week;
•The sleep difficulty is present for at least three months;
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•The sleep difficulty occurs despite adequate opportunity for sleep;
•The insomnia cannot be explained by and does not occur exclusively during the course of another sleep-wake disorder;
•The insomnia is not attributable to the physiological effects of a drug of abuse or medication; and
•Coexisting mental disorders and medical conditions do not adequately explain the predominant complaint of insomnia.
Somryst use led to a meaningful reduction in ISI as well as reduction SOL and WASO, as shown by the UVA and GoodNight Studies.
UVA Study: ISI Score Results
Proportion of ISI responders (reduction in ISI score > 7 from baseline)
|Time of Assessment||Somryst Group||Control Group||p-value|
End of Treatment Period (Week 9)
|52.6 ||%||16.9 ||%||<0.0001|
Month 6 Follow-Up
|59.6 ||%||35.7 ||%||0.0002|
Month 12 Follow-Up
|69.7 ||%||43.0 ||%||<0.0001|
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GoodNight Study: ISI Score Results
Proportion of ISI responders (reduction in ISI score > 7 from baseline)
|Time of Assessment||Somryst Group||Control Group||p-value|
End of Treatment Period (Week 9)
|62.8 ||%||14.0 ||%||<0.0001|
Month 6 Follow-Up
|56.2 ||%||18.9 ||%||<0.0001|
Month 12 Follow-Up
|59.3 ||%||25.2 ||%||<0.0001|
Real World Evidence and Health Economics & Outcomes Research
Pear continues to generate RWE and HEOR data in patients with chronic insomnia.
A real-world deployment with 7,414 patients who utilized Somryst evaluated the benefits and health outcomes. In the real-world experience, patients utilized the product for nine weeks, consisting of six treatment modules. Data were collected on the FDA-reviewed endpoint, ISI, patient reported outcomes, and over 300,000 sleep diaries. As shown in the figures below, ISI, SOL, and WASO scores saw meaningful decreases as patients progressed through the six treatment modules.
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Patient Engagement, ISI Score, SOL and WASO by completed core of the six cores in Somryst.
Pear published its first health economic data evaluating Somryst in 2022. In a real-world claims analysis of patients with chronic insomnia exposed to the digital CBTi, researchers found an overall reduction in hospital events in the 24 months post-treatment compared to the 24 months pre-treatment, with facility related cost-savings of an estimated $2,059 per patient in the post-treatment period. An analysis comparing treated patients compared to control patients over 24 months, presented at the EU The Professional Society for Health Economics and Outcomes Research (ISPOR) in Europe and the American Managed Care Pharmacy (AMCP) Nexus in fall 2022, observed a reduction of hospital facility services compared to control, resulting in health care utilization savings of an estimated $8,202 per patient.
Dynamic Evidence Generation
We believe that PDTs have an advantage over molecular therapeutics because data of product usage, patient-reported, and clinical outcomes of PDTs may be captured more rapidly. These data collected in studies as well as in commercial use facilitate regular evidence generation. Pear’s platforms can facilitate linking healthcare resource utilization in the form of public and private insurance claims. Pear is able to rapidly scale evidence (clinical and health economic) and analyze across care-settings, specific populations, regions, and customers.
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This evidence continuum is a key competitive advantage of Pear and its platforms. Pear plans to continue to expand the evidence for its PDTs in additional RCTs, RWE, and health-economic evaluation to support continued product improvement and to generate information for clinicians and value for payors.
Our Development Pipeline
PDTs have the potential to treat many diverse diseases directly and enhance health outcomes for patients. Currently, we have paused the development of all the product candidates in our pipeline. Below is a summary of the pipeline products:
*Dartmouth transaction is with a researcher employed by Dartmouth. Pear has no direct contractual relationship with Dartmouth relating to this content.
**Karolinska transaction is with individual researchers who are employed by the Karolinska Institute. Pear has no direct contractual relationship with the Karolinska Institute relating to this content.
***Services agreement with Ironwood to evaluate a PDT in GI diseases.
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The Company paused its investment in its pipeline of product candidates as part of a restructuring it implemented on July 25, 2022, in order to prioritize certain commercial efforts. The Company has suspended development of its pipeline candidates subject to obtaining additional funding due to increased revenue or other financing activities.
We have built a portfolio of PDT product candidates that is primarily focused on psychiatric conditions. Over time, if we are able to consummate a strategic alternative and sufficient funding is available, we could expand into other therapeutic areas. We anticipate the first two areas in which we would invest if we return to investing in our pipeline are Alcohol Use Disorder (“AUD”) and depression. These two additions have the potential to help fill the need for additional treatment options and enhance the offering to mental and behavioral health clinicians and psychiatrists while supporting payors’ need to reduce morbidity and cost in these indications.
Our ability to initiate development activities for product candidates will be subject to our ability to increase revenue or obtain additional funding in addition to other risks and uncertainties. All therapeutic development activities have risk and probabilities of success that can vary by disease indication. In many of the disease areas Pear is developing product candidates there is a long history of failure. The areas of mental and behavioral health or neuropsychiatry, which is a primary focus for Pear, have had notable failures across biotech, pharma, and digital health. Each of Pear’s pipeline candidates have technical, clinical, regulatory, and commercial risk. See the heading “Risk Factors—Risks Related to Pear’s Products” in Part I, Item 1A of this Form 10-K for more information on risks related to product development.
Additional specific risks and uncertainties also include but are not limited to:
•each potential therapeutic must achieve levels of use by the patient in their disease population sufficient for the evidence-based treatment or mechanism of action to exert its behavioral and/or biologic effect. If levels of product use or engagement are not high enough a study may not be successful and a product candidate may not be viable;
•even if patients do engage at sufficient levels, the proposed evidence-based treatment or scientific mechanism of action may not be effective in achieving the desired clinical outcome;
•clinical trials may fail for numerous reasons including operational complexities, difficulty in measurement, challenges in enrollment, adverse events and safety events, poor endpoints, variabilities amongst sites, protocol deviations, and many others; and
•the technology, such as algorithms or engineering, may fail.
Future PDT discovery
Currently, Pear is not pursuing any PDT discovery efforts. If a successful strategic transaction is consummated and sufficient funding is available, Pear could re-engage in discovery.
There are two categories of PDT’s interventional mechanisms of action. The first is delivery of neurobehavioral interventions. These are scientific and evidence-based practices, many of which we know work from face-to-face delivery, and target affected disease-specific neurocircuitry. Examples include CBT, cognitive restructuring, behavioral activation, exposure therapy, and CM. The second category is dose-optimization. In diseases where pharmacotherapy exists, PDTs can be integrated with the molecular therapeutic to assess patient response and optimize medication dose and frequency. Use cases include titrating a medication to therapeutic effect, optimizing chronic dosing, tapering medication, and recommending dosing as needed when a disease exacerbation is occurring.
Gastroenterology, cardiology, and oncology are particularly promising therapeutic areas. In oncology, combining dose-optimization of immuno-oncology drugs (which could target both solid or liquid tumors) with neurobehavioral mechanisms of action, multi-modal PDTs could optimize both the treatment of cancer directly and the behavioral disorders that often coincide with cancer treatment. For example, by utilizing labs, patient-reported outcomes, and sensor data, recommendations to refine the dosing and frequency of chemotherapeutic agents to reduce dose-limiting toxicities and maximize overall-survival can be integrated with CBTi for insomnia in patients undergoing treatment for cancer. Similar approaches may be deployed in GI and cardiovascular.
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In addition, over time, if we are able to consummate a strategic alternative and sufficient funding is available, we could continue our strategic pursuit of enabling technologies, such as digital sensors, that may be used to potentially enhance our products and product candidates.
The pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and digital health industries are characterized by rapidly advancing technologies, intense competition, and an emphasis on proprietary products. While Pear believes that Pear’s technology, development experience, and scientific knowledge provide Pear with competitive advantages, Pear faces potential competition from many different sources, including large pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, digital health companies, and academic institutions. To drive continual technology advantage, Pear seeks patent protection and establishes collaborative arrangements for the research, development, manufacturing, and commercialization of evidence-based therapeutics. Any products that Pear successfully develops and commercializes will compete with new therapies that may become available in the future.
Pear competes in the segments of the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and other related markets that develop therapeutics as treatments, in particular treatments for addiction (reSET and reSET-O) and insomnia (Somryst). There are many other companies that have commercialized and/or are developing such treatments for addiction and insomnia, including large pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies such as Alkermes and their product Vivitrol, Orexo and their product Zubsolv, Indivior and their product Suboxone, Braeburn and their product Brixadi, Pfizer and their product Halcion, Merck and their product Belsomra, Sunovion and their product Lunesta and Sanofi and their product Ambien.
Pear’s competitors in the digital health space, with specific focus in addiction and insomnia have created non-regulated products are not supported by randomized controlled trials to support treatment claims, such as Dynamicare, CHESS Health and Orexo and their product Modia, and Big Health and their products Sleepio and Daylight.
Rather, Pear believes the competitive landscape is best understood by comparing the primary mechanism of action (behavioral support/intervention or improving medication adherence and tracking); to the business model for patient acquisition (apps marketed direct-to-consumer; tech-enabled healthcare services offered to members of health plans, most often those of self-insured employers; or regulated products prescribed by providers).
While some solutions have evolved to include elements of various mechanisms such as behavioral support, reminders for medication adherence, or remote monitoring and transmission of biometric data, in Pear’s view, each has a primary mechanism for affecting disease and a clearly defined model for acquiring patients or consumers.
To Pear’s knowledge, reSET and reSET-O are the only FDA-authorized PDTs with a direct treatment-related claim for addiction, and Pear’s Somryst is the only FDA-authorized PDT with a direct treatment-related claim for chronic insomnia that can be prescribed by providers and reimbursed by insurance. This has required Pear to generate significant evidence to demonstrate safety, effectiveness, clinical outcomes and distinct impact on the total cost of care. While many early market entrants (in fact, nearly 350,000 health and wellness apps are now available in Apple’s App Store) are making marketing claims related to the ability to help treat addiction and insomnia, Pear believes the landscape will change dramatically when new solutions that can be prescribed by providers and covered by insurance become broadly available.
There are a number of companies in the prescription digital therapeutics space, but none of these companies have commercialized an FDA-authorized prescription digital therapeutic to target addiction or insomnia at this time. Other than Pear, we are aware of six companies that have received FDA-authorization to make medical claims as prescription digital therapeutics. This includes (i) Akili Interactive Labs and their product Endeavor for ADHD, (ii) Mahana Therapeutics and their product Parallel for IBS, (iii) Nightware for patients with PTSD that are experiencing nightmares, (iv) AppliedVR and their product RelieVRx for chronic pain, (v) Luminopia for patients with amblyopia, and (vi) metaME and their product Regulora for abdominal pain due to IBS. Other companies of which Pear is aware in the space that have not received FDA-authorization and are not authorized to make medical claims but may pursue FDA-authorization in the future include: (i) Click Therapeutics in Depression, (ii) Better Therapeutics in
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Cardiometabolic, (iii) Cognoa in Autism, (iv) AppliedVR in Pain, (v) Orexo and GAIA AG in Depression, (vi) MedRhythms in Stroke, and (vii) Blue Note Therapeutics for Cancer Related Anxiety and Depression.
We have rights to use and exploit technologies disclosed in issued and pending patents and other therapeutic content under licenses and/or assignment agreements with other entities (collectively, “License Agreements”). We consider the commercial terms of these License Agreements, which provide for milestone and royalty payments, and their provisions regarding diligence, insurance, indemnification, and other similar matters, to be reasonable and customary for our industry.
The material License Agreements related to our three commercial products are those with The Invention Science Fund I, LLC (“ISF”), Red 5 Group, LLC (“Red 5”), and BeHealth Solutions, LLC (“BeHealth”).
The Invention Science Fund I, LLC
We entered into a contribution and license agreement with ISF in February 2015, as amended on February 28, 2018 (the “ISF Agreement”), pursuant to which ISF grants the Company certain licenses under specified patent rights to develop and commercialize licensed products either independently and/or in combination with a drug for use in connection with the treatment of central nervous system disorders. The oldest patent in the family is expected to expire in 2028.
Under the terms of the ISF Agreement, we are required to pay a minimum annual royalty, capped at low-seven figures per year. From inception through December 31, 2022, we have paid ISF $2.6 million in minimum annual royalties, and for the year ended December 31, 2022, recorded annual minimum royalties payable of $1.0 million. The ISF Agreement also requires us to pay a royalty percentage in the low single digits on net sales of products covered by the in-licensed patents that do not include drugs. To date, no royalties have been paid on net sales of products covered by the in-licensed patents that do not include drugs. In addition, as to sales of products covered by the in-licensed patents that do include drugs, the ISF Agreement requires us to pay either (i) a royalty percentage on net sales in the low single digits or (ii) an annual fee based on net sales. To date, no royalties have been paid on net sales of products covered by the in-licensed patents that include drugs.
Under the ISF Agreement, ISF covenants that neither it nor any of its affiliates will sue or assert any claim against (or cause any third party to sue or assert any claim against) us for infringement of any patent covered under the ISF Agreement with respect to our permitted use of such patents under the ISF Agreement (the “Covenant”).
In consideration of the Covenant granted to us in the ISF Agreement, the ISF Agreement requires us to pay an annual covenant fee (the “Covenant Fee”) in a variable amount ranging from mid-to-high five digits to a low-six figures per year through December 2030. Through December 31, 2022, we have paid ISF $0.3 million in annual Covenant Fees.
The ISF Agreement will terminate upon the expiration or invalidation of all of the patents subject to the license. Additionally, ISF may terminate the ISF Agreement upon certain breaches by us of the terms of the ISF Agreement, and we may terminate the ISF Agreement 90 days after providing written notice to ISF. The Covenant, and our related obligation to pay the annual Covenant Fee, may be terminated by us 30 days after providing written notice to ISF.
Red 5 Group, LLC
In January 2015, we entered into a software license agreement with Red 5, and on March 21, 2018, the parties entered into an amended and restated software license agreement which was further amended on July 1, 2021 to clarify certain terms and increase the royalty rate by a de minimis amount (such agreement, as amended, “Amended Red 5 Group License”). Under the Amended Red 5 Group License, Red 5 grants us, inter alia, an exclusive (other than a limited reserved right for ongoing academic studies), worldwide, sublicensable, royalty-bearing license to develop and commercialize integrated products incorporating certain technology and documentation materials relating to the treatment of psychological and substance use disorders. Under the
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Amended Red 5 Group License, we agreed to use commercially reasonable efforts to develop integrated products in accordance with a development plan, to introduce any integrated products that gain regulatory approval into the commercial markets, to market integrated products that have gained regulatory approval following such introduction into the market, and to make integrated products that have gained regulatory approval reasonably available to the public.
In March 2018, the parties amended the original Red 5 agreement, and we subsequently paid an amendment fee in the high-six figures in consideration for expanding the scope of our exclusive license. On July 1, 2021, the parties amended the Amended Red 5 Group License to further clarify certain terms and increase the royalty rate by a de minimis amount.
To the extent achieved, we are obligated to pay Red 5 up to an aggregate of $0.4 million if certain milestones related to product regulatory approval and commercial sales are achieved in respect to a software/drug combination, which we are not currently pursuing. Each such regulatory and sales milestone is payable only once.
The Amended Red 5 Group License also requires us to pay a single digit royalty percentage on net revenue from integrated products. Through December 31, 2022, we have recorded $1.9 million in royalties to Red 5. We are also required to make annual maintenance fee payments capped at a sum in the low-six figures per year, creditable against future royalty and milestone payment obligations. From inception through December 31, 2022, we have recorded $1.0 million of annual maintenance fees under the terms of the agreement.
The Amended Red 5 Group License will continue in perpetuity unless terminated in accordance with its terms, under which Red 5 may terminate the license upon certain breaches by us of the terms of the license, and we may terminate the license 60 days after providing written notice to Red 5.
BeHealth Solutions, LLC
We entered into an assignment, license, and services agreement with BeHealth, effective March 24, 2018 (the “BeHealth Agreement”), which relates to software, documentation, and intellectual property rights in and to certain therapeutic content related to cognitive behavioral treatment for insomnia and other sleep disorders that BeHealth licensed from the University of Virginia Patent Foundation d/b/a University of Virginia Licensing & Ventures Group (“UVA LVG”).
Under the terms of the BeHealth Agreement, we paid an initial up-front fee in the mid-six figures to BeHealth, and during the year ended December 31, 2019, we paid a milestone payment to BeHealth of $0.8 million upon the FDA’s acceptance of a filing seeking marketing authorization for Somryst that was recorded as a research and development expense in the consolidated statement of operations and comprehensive loss for the period then ended. During the year ended December 31, 2020, we paid a milestone payment to BeHealth of $0.8 million upon the FDA’s marketing authorization of Somryst. The milestone payment was capitalized in other long-term assets and amortized on a straight-line basis to cost of revenue over the estimated useful life, which was ten years at initial recognition. During the year ended December 31, 2021, we recorded $1.0 million related to the achievement of a commercial milestone. Each such regulatory and sales milestone is payable only once, and no other milestone payment may become due and payable after March 24, 2028. In the future, should the Company pursue sales of Somryst and we meet the remaining commercial milestones, the Company could be obligated to make payments of up to an additional $26.0 million in the aggregate upon achievement of various annual commercial milestones and a mid-to-high-single-digit percentage royalty on net sales to BeHealth.
The Company’s forecasted future revenue and expense cash flow projections indicated the carrying amounts of this intangible asset was not recoverable, and therefore the Company recorded an impairment expense of $0.8 million, which is included in cost of revenue in the Company's consolidated statement of operations, during the year ended December 31, 2022.
Because the underlying license agreement (with exclusive rights relating to the content and non-exclusive rights relating to the underlying platform) between BeHealth and UVA LVG was assigned to us, we owe a royalty percentage in the mid-single digits on net sales of integrated products to UVA LVG. We have the right to sublicense our rights under the assigned license agreement, and we will be required to pay a percentage of such sublicense
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income in the low-double digits to UVA LVG. We are required to make annual minimum royalty payments in the low-five figures to UVA LVG under the assigned license agreement, which payments are creditable against royalty payments on a year-by-year basis. Through December 31, 2022, we have recorded only de minimis royalties under the UVA LVG assigned license agreement, and we have paid de minimis royalties, $2.5 million in milestone payments, and $0.5 million in other fees to BeHealth. We have a buyout option in the assigned license agreement under which we may pay UVA LVG a lump sum of $1.0 million in exchange for a perpetual royalty-free license in the field.
The underlying license from UVA LVG will continue in perpetuity unless terminated in accordance with the terms of the assigned license agreement, under which UVA LVG may terminate the license upon certain breaches by us of the terms of the license, and we may terminate the license at any time upon 30 days’ written notice to UVA LVG.
Emerging Growth Company Status (JOBS Act)
Section 102(b)(1) of the JOBS Act exempts emerging growth companies from being required to comply with new or revised financial accounting standards until private companies are required to comply with the new or revised financial accounting standards. The JOBS Act provides that a company can choose not to take advantage of the extended transition period and comply with the requirements that apply to non-emerging growth companies, and any such election to not take advantage of the extended transition period is irrevocable. We are an “emerging growth company” as defined in Section 2(A) of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and have elected to take advantage of the benefits of this extended transition period.
We expect to use this extended transition period for complying with new or revised accounting standards that have different effective dates for public business entities and nonpublic business entities until the earlier of the date we (a) are no longer an emerging growth company or (b) affirmatively and irrevocably opts out of the extended transition period provided in the JOBS Act. This may make it difficult or impossible to compare our financial results with the financial results of another public company that is either not an emerging growth company or is an emerging growth company that has chosen not to take advantage of the extended transition period exemptions because of the potential differences in accounting standards used.
In addition, we have chosen to take other exemptions and reduced reporting requirements provided by the JOBS Act and are not required to, among other things:
(a) provide an auditor’s attestation report on Pear’s system of internal control over financial reporting pursuant to Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act;
(b) provide all of the compensation disclosure that may be required of non-emerging growth public companies under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act; and
(c) disclose certain executive compensation-related items, such as the correlation between executive compensation and performance and comparisons of the Chief Executive Officer’s compensation to median employee compensation.
In addition to securing regulatory authorization for our PDTs, we make strategic use of various intellectual property regimes: patents, copyrights, trademarks, and trade secrets. We strive to protect and enhance the proprietary technology, inventions, and improvements that are commercially important to the development of our business, including seeking, maintaining, and defending patent rights, whether developed internally or licensed from third parties. We also rely on copyrights (including copyright registrations for product source code), on trademarks, and on trade secrets relating to our PDT product development to develop, strengthen, and maintain our proprietary position in the PDT field.
Our commercial success may depend in part on our ability to: consummate a strategic alternative, obtain and maintain patent and other proprietary protection for commercially important technology, inventions and know-how related to our business; defend and enforce our patents, copyrights, trademarks, and other proprietary rights;
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preserve the confidentiality of our trade secrets; and operate without infringing the valid, enforceable patents, and proprietary rights of third parties. Our ability to limit third parties from making, using, selling, offering to sell, or importing our products may depend on the extent to which we have rights under valid and enforceable licenses, patents, copyrights, or trade secrets that cover these activities. In some cases, enforcement of these rights may depend on third-party licensors or co-owners. With respect to both company-owned and licensed intellectual property, we cannot be sure that patents will be granted with respect to any of our pending patent applications or with respect to any patent applications filed by us in the future, nor can we be sure that any of our existing patents or any patents that may be granted to us in the future will be commercially useful in protecting our commercial products.
Patent expiration dates noted below refer to statutory expiration dates and do not take into account any potential patent term adjustment or extension that may be available.
Solely Owned Patent Assets
We exclusively own eleven patent families directed to a variety of different aspects related to PDTs. One family is directed to ensuring data security in the treatment of diseases and disorders using digital therapeutics. One US patent has issued in this family and will expire in 2038. A continuation patent application has been filed claiming the benefit of the allowed application, and, if granted, will expire in 2038. A Patent Cooperation Treaty application has been filed in this family, and national phase entry applications have been filed in Europe, Japan, Singapore, New Zealand, China, Israel, Canada, and Australia; of those, patents have issued in Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Israel and Japan. Another family is directed to the optimization of buprenorphine induction. If granted, the patent(s) in this family would expire in 2039. A Patent Cooperation Treaty application has been filed in this family, and national phase entry applications have been filed in Australia, Canada, China, Europe, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, and South Korea. Another family is directed to the treatment of migraines. If granted, the patent(s) in this family would expire in 2040. A Patent Cooperation Treaty application has been filed in this family, and national phase entry applications have been filed in Australia, Canada, China, Europe, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, and South Korea. Another family is directed to treating depressive symptoms associated with multiple sclerosis. If granted, the patent(s) in this family would expire in 2040. A Patent Cooperation Treaty application has been filed in this family, and national phase entry applications have been filed in Australia, Canada, China, Europe, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, and South Korea. Another family is directed to clinical curation of crowdsourced data. If granted, the patent(s) in this family would expire in 2040. A Patent Cooperation Treaty application has been filed in this family, and national phase entry applications have been filed in Australia, Canada, China, Europe, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, and South Korea. Another family is directed to visualizing and modifying treatment of a patient utilizing digital therapeutics. If granted, the patent(s) in this family would expire in 2040. A Patent Cooperation Treaty application has been filed in this family, but this application has lapsed. Another family is directed to generating and administering digital therapeutic placebo and shams. If granted, the patent(s) in this family would expire in 2041. A Patent Cooperation Treaty application has been filed in this family, and national phase entry applications have been filed in Australia, Canada, China, Europe, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, and South Korea.
Another family is directed to a display screen or portion thereof with an animated graphical user interface. A US design patent has issued in this family and will expire in 2035. A European design has been registered in this family and will expire in 2024. Another family is directed to a display screen or portion thereof with a graphical user interface. A US design patent has issued in this family and will expire in 2035. A European design has been registered in this family and will expire in 2024. Another family is directed to a display screen or portion thereof with an animated graphical user interface. A US design patent has issued in this family and will expire in 2036. A European design has been registered in this family and will expire in 2024. Another family is directed to a graphical user interface. A European design has been registered in this family and will expire in 2024.
Jointly Owned Patent Assets
We jointly own two patent families directed to a variety of different aspects related to digital therapeutics. One family is directed to the treatment of depressive symptoms and disorders utilizing digital therapies. If granted, the patent(s) in this family would expire in 2040. A Patent Cooperation Treaty application has been filed in this family,
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and national phase entry date applications have been filed in Australia, Canada, China, Europe, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, and South Korea. Another family is directed to treatment utilizing antipsychotics in combination with digital therapies. If granted, the patent(s) in this family would expire in 2039. A Patent Cooperation Treaty application has been filed in this family, and national phase entry applications have been filed in Australia, Canada, China, Europe, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, and South Korea.
Licensed Patent Assets
As discussed in “License Agreements - ISF” above, we are the exclusive licensee within a broad field of use to a portfolio of patents directed to combinational drug and prescription digital therapy treatment. Nineteen US patents have been allowed in this portfolio, the patents expiring between 2028 and, at the latest, 2036. Those patents encompass more than 550 granted claims directed to drug/software combinations and that may potentially cover aspects of current or future PDTs. As exclusive licensee, we have played a pivotal role in the prosecution of this portfolio.
In addition to our portfolio of utility and design patents, we hold copyright in each of our PDTs and pursue federal copyright registration where appropriate. We have registered copyright in the source code for each of our commercial products with the US Copyright Office.
Beyond patent and copyright protection, we also protect our valuable trademarks and associated brand recognition by registering trademarks with the US Patent and Trademark Office and in certain foreign jurisdictions. We own seven US trademark registrations covering goods and services in multiple classes. Our federally registered trademarks are PEAR THERAPEUTICS, the Pear logo, RESET, RESET-O, and SOMRYST. Our pending application to register RESET-A and one of our RESET trademark registrations are the subject of ongoing opposition and cancellation proceedings, respectively, and decisions in our favor in prior opposition and cancellation proceedings brought by the same entity related to other RESET and RESET-O trademark applications and registrations, respectively, are the subject of an appeal pending in a federal district court in California. We have registered PEAR THERAPEUTICS in the European Union. We have registered SOMRYST in the United Kingdom.
Insurance and Coverage
In the US and markets in other countries, patients generally rely on third-party payors to reimburse all or part of the costs associated with their treatment. Adequate coverage and reimbursement from governmental healthcare programs, such as Medicare and Medicaid, and commercial payors is critical to new product acceptance. Pear’s ability to successfully commercialize Pear’s product candidates will depend in part on the extent to which coverage and adequate reimbursement for these products and related treatments will be available from government health administration authorities, private health insurers, and other organizations. Government authorities and third-party payors, such as private health insurers and health maintenance organizations, decide which medications they will pay for and establish reimbursement levels. The availability of coverage and extent of reimbursement by governmental and private payors is essential for most patients to be able to afford treatments. Sales of product candidates that Pear may identify will depend substantially, both domestically and abroad, on the extent to which the costs of Pear’s product candidates will be paid by health maintenance, managed care, pharmacy benefit, and similar healthcare management organizations, or reimbursed by government health administration authorities, private health coverage insurers, and other third-party payors.
There is also significant uncertainty related to the insurance coverage and reimbursement of newly approved products, and coverage may be more limited than the purposes for which the product is approved by FDA or comparable foreign regulatory authorities. In the US, a key decision-maker about reimbursement for new products is the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”), an agency within the US Department of Health and
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Human Services (“HHS”). CMS decides whether and to what extent a new product will be covered and reimbursed under Medicare, and several US private payors tend to follow CMS to some degree.
In determining reimbursement, payors generally consider whether the product is:
•a covered benefit under its health plan;
•safe, effective, and medically necessary;
•appropriate for the specific patient;
•neither experimental nor investigational.
Each payor determines whether or not it will provide coverage for a treatment, what amount it will pay the manufacturer for the treatment, and on what tier of its formulary it will be placed. The position on a payor’s list of covered drugs, biological products, and medical devices, or formulary, generally determines the co-payment that a patient will need to make to obtain the therapy and can strongly influence the adoption of such therapy by patients and clinicians. Patients who are prescribed treatments for their conditions and clinicians prescribing such services generally rely on third-party payors to reimburse all or part of the associated healthcare costs. Patients are unlikely to use Pear’s products unless coverage is provided and reimbursement is adequate to cover a significant portion of the cost of Pear’s products. There may be significant delays in obtaining such coverage and reimbursement for newly authorized products, and coverage may be more limited than the purposes for which the product is authorized by FDA.
Healthcare Laws and Regulations
Pear is subject to applicable fraud and abuse and other healthcare laws and regulations, including, without limitation, the US federal Anti-Kickback Statute and the US federal False Claims Act, which may constrain the business or financial arrangements, and relationships through which Pear sells, markets, and distributes Pear’s products. In particular, the promotion, sales and marketing of healthcare items and services, as well as certain business arrangements in the healthcare industry (e.g., healthcare providers, clinicians and third-party payors), are subject to extensive laws designed 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, structuring and commission(s), certain customer incentive programs, and other business arrangements generally. Pear also may be subject to patient information and privacy and security regulation by both the federal government and the states in which Pear conducts its business. The applicable federal and state healthcare laws and regulations that may affect Pear’s ability to operate include, but are not limited to:
•the federal Anti-Kickback Statute, which prohibits, among other things, persons or entities from knowingly and willfully soliciting, receiving, offering or paying any remuneration (including any kickback, bribe or rebate), directly or indirectly, overtly or covertly, in cash or in kind, to induce, or in return for, the purchase, lease, order, arrangement, or recommendation of any good, facility, item or service for which payment may be made, in whole or in part, under a federal healthcare program, such as the Medicare and Medicaid programs. A person or entity does not need to have actual knowledge of the federal Anti-Kickback Statute or specific intent to violate it to have committed a violation. Violations are subject to civil and criminal fines and penalties for each violation, plus up to three times the remuneration involved, imprisonment, and exclusion from government healthcare programs. In addition, the government may assert that a claim including items or services resulting from a violation of the federal Anti-Kickback Statute constitutes a false or fraudulent claim for purposes of the federal False Claims Act or federal civil money penalties. On December 2, 2020, the Office of Inspector General (“OIG”) published further modifications to the federal Anti-Kickback Statute. Under the final rules, OIG added safe harbor protections under the Anti-Kickback Statute for certain coordinated care and value-based arrangements among clinicians, providers, and others. This rule, with certain exceptions, became effective January 19,
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2021. Implementation of this change is currently under review by the Biden administration and may be amended or repealed. Pear continues to evaluate what effect, if any, the rule will have on Pear’s business;
•the federal civil and criminal false claims laws and civil monetary penalty laws, such as the federal False Claims Act, which impose criminal and civil penalties and authorize civil whistleblower or qui tam actions, against individuals or entities for, among other things: knowingly presenting, or causing to be presented, to the federal government, claims for payment that are false or fraudulent; knowingly making, using or causing to be made or used, a false statement of record material to a false or fraudulent claim or obligation to pay or transmit money or property to the federal government or knowingly concealing or knowingly and improperly avoiding or decreasing an obligation to pay money to the federal government. A person can be held liable under the federal False Claims Act even when they do not submit claims directly to government payors if they are deemed to “cause” the submission of false or fraudulent claims. The federal False Claims Act also permits a private individual acting as a “whistleblower” to bring actions on behalf of the federal government alleging violations of the federal False Claims Act and to share in any monetary recovery;
•applicable privacy laws and regulations, including HIPAA, as amended by the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act of 2009 (“HITECH”), and their respective implementing regulations, including the Final Omnibus Rule published in January 2013, which impose requirements on certain covered healthcare providers, health plans, and healthcare clearinghouses as well as their respective business associates, independent contractors or agents of covered entities, that perform services for them that involve the creation, maintenance, receipt, use, or disclosure of, individually identifiable health information relating to the privacy, security and transmission of individually identifiable health information. HITECH also created new tiers of civil monetary penalties, amended HIPAA to make civil and criminal penalties directly applicable to business associates, and gave state attorneys general new authority to file civil actions for damages or injunctions in federal courts to enforce the federal HIPAA laws and seek attorneys’ fees and costs associated with pursuing federal civil actions. In addition, there may be additional federal, state and non-US laws which govern the privacy and security of health and other personal information in certain circumstances, many of which differ from each other in significant ways and may not have the same effect, thus complicating compliance efforts;
•the US federal transparency requirements under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, as amended by the Health Care and Education Affordability Reconciliation Act of 2010, or collectively, the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) including the provision commonly referred to as the Physician Payments Sunshine Act, and its implementing regulations, which requires applicable manufacturers of drugs, devices, biologics and medical supplies for which payment is available under Medicare, Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program to report annually to CMS, information related to payments or other transfers of value made to physicians (defined to include doctors, dentists, optometrists, podiatrists and chiropractors) and teaching hospitals, as well as ownership and investment interests held by the physicians described above and their immediate family members. Effective January 1, 2022, these reporting obligations will extend to include transfers of value made to certain non-physician providers such as physician assistants and nurse practitioners; and
•federal consumer protection and unfair competition laws, which broadly regulate marketplace activities and activities that potentially harm consumers.
Additionally, Pear is subject to state equivalents of each of the healthcare laws and regulations described above, among others, some of which may be broader in scope and may apply regardless of the payor. Many states in the US have adopted laws similar to the federal Anti-Kickback Statute and False Claims Act, and may apply to Pear’s business practices, including, but not limited to, research, distribution, sales or marketing arrangements and claims involving healthcare items or services reimbursed by non-governmental payors, including private insurers. Several states also impose other marketing restrictions or require medical device manufacturers to make marketing or price disclosures to the state, and may also require that medical device manufacturers, such as Pear, maintain licenses to manufacture and/or distribute products within their state. State laws also govern the privacy and security of health information in some circumstances, many of which differ from each other in significant ways and
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often are not preempted by HIPAA, thus complicating compliance efforts. There are ambiguities as to what is required to comply with these state requirements and if Pear fails to comply with an applicable state law requirement, Pear could be subject to penalties.
Data Privacy and Security Laws
Numerous federal and state laws and regulations govern the collection, use, disclosure, storage and transmission of personally identifiable information, including protected health information. These laws and regulations, including their interpretation by governmental agencies, are subject to frequent change and could have a negative impact on Pear’s business. In addition, in the future, industry requirements or guidance, contractual obligations, and/or legislation at both the federal and the state level may limit, forbid or regulate the use or transmission of health information outside of the US.
These varying interpretations can create complex compliance issues for Pear and Pear’s partners and potentially expose Pear to additional expense, adverse publicity and liability, any of which could adversely affect Pear’s business.
Federal and state consumer protection laws are increasingly being applied by the FTC and states’ attorneys general to regulate the collection, use, storage, and disclosure of personal or personally identifiable information, through websites or otherwise, and to regulate the presentation of website content.
The security measures that Pear and Pear’s third-party vendors and subcontractors have in place to ensure compliance with privacy and data protection laws may not protect Pear’s facilities and systems from security breaches, ransomware acts of vandalism or theft, computer viruses, misplaced or lost data, programming, and human errors or other similar events. Even though Pear provides for appropriate protections through Pear’s agreements with Pear’s third-party vendors, Pear still has limited control over their actions and practices. A breach of privacy or security of personally identifiable health information may result in an enforcement action, including criminal and civil liability, against us. Pear is not able to predict the extent of the impact such incidents may have on Pear’s business. Enforcement actions against Pear could be costly and could interrupt regular operations, which may adversely affect Pear’s business. While Pear has not received any notices of violation of the applicable privacy and data protection laws, and we believe Pear is in compliance with such laws, there can be no assurance that Pear will not receive such notices in the future.
There is ongoing concern from privacy advocates, regulators, and others regarding data privacy and security issues, and the number of jurisdictions with data privacy and security laws has been increasing. Also, there are ongoing public policy discussions regarding whether the standards for de-identification, anonymization or pseudonymization of health information are sufficient, and the risk of re-identification sufficiently small, to adequately protect patient privacy. Pear expects that there will continue to be new proposed and amended laws, regulations and industry standards concerning privacy, data protection and information security in the US, such as the California Consumer Privacy Act (“CCPA”), which went into effect on January 1, 2020 and has been amended several times. Effective January 1, 2023, a new California privacy law, the CPRA, (with certain provisions having retroactive effect to January 1, 2022) went into effect. The CPRA creates additional obligations with respect to processing and storing personal information. Other states in the Unites States also are considering omnibus privacy legislation, and industry organizations regularly adopt and advocate for new standards in these areas. While the CCPA contains exceptions for certain activities involving protected health information already regulated under HIPAA, Pear cannot yet determine the impact the CCPA or other such future laws, regulations and standards may have on Pear’s business.
Healthcare Legislative Reform
In both the US and certain foreign jurisdictions, there have been a number of legislative and regulatory changes to the healthcare system that could impact Pear’s ability to sell Pear’s products profitably. In particular, in 2010, the ACA was enacted, which contained a number of measures aimed at controlling healthcare costs.
Since its enactment, there have been numerous judicial, administrative, executive, and legislative challenges to certain aspects of the ACA, and Pear expects there will be additional challenges and amendments to the ACA in the
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future. Additionally, the Trump administration issued various Executive Orders which eliminated cost-sharing subsidies and various provisions that would impose a fiscal burden on states or a cost, fee, tax, penalty, or regulatory burden on individuals, healthcare providers, health insurers, or manufacturers of pharmaceuticals or medical devices and Congress has introduced several pieces of legislation aimed at significantly revising or repealing the ACA. Further, on December 20, 2019, President Trump signed into law the Further Consolidated Appropriations Act (H.R. 1865), which repealed the Cadillac tax, the health insurance provider tax, and the medical device excise tax. It is unclear whether the ACA will be overturned, repealed, replaced, or further amended. Pear cannot predict what affect further changes to the ACA would have on Pear’s business, especially given the new administration.
Other legislative changes have been proposed and adopted in the US since the ACA was enacted. In August 2011, the Budget Control Act of 2011, among other things, 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 includes aggregate reductions of Medicare payments to providers up to 2% per fiscal year, and, due to subsequent legislative amendments, will remain in effect through 2030 unless additional congressional action is taken. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, as well as subsequent legislation, suspended the sequestration payment adjustment percentage of 2% applied to all Medicare Fee-for-Service claims from May 1, 2020 through March 31, 2022. Sequestration resumed at 1% for dates between April 1, 2022 and June 30, 2022, and then increased to the pre-pandemic level of 2% for dates after July 1, 2022.
There has been increasing legislative and enforcement interest in the US with respect to prescription-pricing practices. It is unclear what effect such legislative and enforcement interest may have on prescription devices. Further, it is unclear whether the Biden administration will challenge, reverse, revoke or otherwise modify the prior administration’s executive and administrative actions.
Pear expects that these and other healthcare reform measures that may be adopted in the future, may result in more rigorous coverage criteria and in additional downward pressure on the price that Pear received for any approved device, which could have an adverse effect on customers for Pear’s product candidates. Any reduction in reimbursement from Medicare or other government programs may result in a similar reduction in payments from private payors.
There have been, and likely will continue to be, legislative and regulatory proposals at the foreign, federal and state levels in the US directed at broadening the availability of healthcare and containing or lowering the cost of healthcare. The implementation of cost containment measures or other healthcare reforms may prevent Pear from being able to generate revenue, attain profitability or commercialize Pear’s products. Such reforms could have an adverse effect on anticipated revenue from product candidates that Pear may successfully develop and for which Pear may obtain regulatory approval and that may affect Pear’s overall financial condition and ability to develop product candidates. If Pear or any third parties Pear may engage are slow or unable to adapt to changes in existing requirements or the adoption of new requirements or policies, or if Pear or such third parties are not able to maintain regulatory compliance, Pear’s current or any future product candidates Pear may develop may lose any regulatory approval that may have been obtained and Pear may not achieve or sustain profitability.
Pear’s PDTs are medical devices subject to extensive and ongoing regulation by FDA under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (“FD&C Act”) and its implementing regulations, as well as other federal and state regulatory bodies in the US The laws and regulations govern, among other things, product design and development, preclinical and clinical testing, manufacturing, packaging, labeling, storage, recordkeeping and reporting, clearance, authorization, or approval, marketing, distribution, promotion, import and export and post-marketing surveillance. Failure to comply with applicable requirements may subject a device and/or its manufacturer to a variety of
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administrative sanctions, such as issuance of warning letters, import detentions, civil monetary penalties, mandatory recalls, and/or judicial sanctions, such as product seizures, injunctions and criminal prosecution.
Generally, establishments that design and/or manufacture devices are required to register their establishments with the FDA. They also must provide the FDA with a list of the devices that they design and/or manufacture at their facilities.
The FDA enforces its requirements by market surveillance and periodic visits, both announced and unannounced, to inspect or re-inspect equipment, facilities, laboratories and processes to confirm regulatory compliance. These inspections may include the manufacturing facilities of subcontractors. Following an inspection, the FDA may issue a report, known as a Form 483, listing instances where the manufacturer has failed to comply with applicable regulations and/or procedures or, if observed violations are sufficiently severe and urgent, a warning letter. If the manufacturer does not adequately respond to a Form 483 or warning letter, the FDA make take enforcement action against the manufacturer or impose other sanctions or consequences, which may include:
•cease and desist orders;
•injunctions or consent decrees;
•civil monetary penalties;
•recall, detention or seizure of products;
•operating restrictions, partial or total shutdown of production facilities;
•refusal of or delay in granting requests for 510(k) clearance, de novo authorization, or premarket approval of new products or modified products;
•withdrawing 510(k) clearances, de novo authorizations, or premarket approvals that are already granted;
•refusal to grant export approval or export certificates for devices; and
FDA’s Pre-market Clearance, Authorization, and Approval Requirements
Each prescription digital therapeutic Pear seeks to commercially distribute in the US will require either a prior de novo authorization, 510(k) clearance, unless it is exempt, or a Premarket Approval (“PMA”) from FDA under its medical device authorities. Generally, if a new device has a predicate that is already classified as Class II, FDA will allow that new device to be marketed under a 510(k) clearance. If there is no legally marketed predicate device and general controls alone or with special controls provide reasonable assurance of safety and effectiveness, FDA will allow the new device to be marketed under a de novo authorization; otherwise, a PMA is required. Medical devices are classified into one of three classes—Class I, Class II or Class III—depending on the degree of risk associated with each medical device and the extent of control needed to provide reasonable assurance of safety and effectiveness. Class I devices are deemed to be low risk and are subject to the general controls of the FD&C Act, such as provisions that relate to: adulteration; misbranding; registration and listing; notification; records and reports; and good manufacturing practices. Class II devices are moderate risk. They are subject to general controls and may also be subject to special controls. Special controls include, for example, performance standards, post market surveillance, patient registries and guidance documents. Devices deemed by FDA to pose the greatest risk, such as life-sustaining, life-supporting or implantable devices, or devices deemed not substantially equivalent to a previously cleared 510(k) device, are placed in Class III. A Class III device cannot be marketed in the US unless FDA approves the device after submission of a PMA. However, there are some Class III devices for which FDA has not yet called for a PMA. For these devices, the manufacturer must submit a pre-market notification and obtain 510(k) clearance in order to commercially distribute these devices. FDA can also impose sales, marketing or other restrictions on devices in order to assure that they are used in a safe and effective manner. There is no guarantee that a submission to FDA will result in a clearance, authorization, or approval. In addition, various review processes and goals to which applications are currently subject are the result of Medical Device User Fee Act (“MDUFA”) IV,
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which expires after September 30, 2022; negotiations for enactment of a MDUFA V law and adoption of associated goals are ongoing.
While most Class I and some Class II devices may be marketed without prior FDA authorization, most other medical devices can be legally sold within the US only if the FDA has: (i) approved a PMA application prior to marketing, generally applicable to most Class III devices; (ii) cleared the device in response to a 510(k) submission, generally applicable to some Class I and most Class II devices; or (iii) authorized the device to be marketed through the de novo classification process, generally applicable for novel Class I or II devices.
510(k) Clearance Pathway
Product marketing in the US for most Class II and a limited number of Class I devices typically follows the 510(k) premarket notification pathway. When a 510(k) clearance is required, Pear must submit a pre-market notification to FDA demonstrating that Pear’s proposed device is substantially equivalent to a legally marketed device, referred to as a “predicate device.” A predicate device may be a previously 510(k) cleared device or a Class III device that was in commercial distribution before May 28, 1976 for which the FDA has not yet called for PMA applications, or a product previously placed in Class II or Class I through the de novo classification process. To demonstrate substantial equivalence, the manufacturer must show that the proposed device has the same intended use as the predicate device, and it either has the same technological characteristics, or different technological characteristics and the information in the pre-market notification demonstrates that the device is equally safe and effective and does not raise different questions of safety and effectiveness as compared to the predicate device. FDA may require further information, including clinical data, to make a determination regarding substantial equivalence. If FDA determines that the device, or its intended use, is not substantially equivalent to a previously cleared device or use, FDA will place the device into Class III.
There are three types of 510(k)s: traditional, special and abbreviated. Special 510(k)s are for devices that are modified, and the modification needs a new 510(k) but does not affect the intended use or alter the fundamental scientific technology of the device. Abbreviated 510(k)s are for devices that conform to a recognized standard. FDA has a user fee goal to apply no more than 90 calendar review days to traditional and abbreviated 510(k) submissions. During the process, FDA may issue an Additional Information request, which stops the clock. The applicant has 180 days to respond. Therefore, the total review time could be up to 270 days. The special and abbreviated 510(k)s are intended to streamline review, and FDA intends to process special 510(k)s within 30 days of receipt, although it can take longer, if FDA has questions. There are no guarantees that FDA meet its goals, although it has agreed to try to meet its 90 calendar day decision goals in 95% of 510(k) submissions for FY 2022.
After a device receives 510(k) clearance, any modification that could significantly affect its safety or effectiveness, or that would constitute a major change in its intended use, requires a new 510(k) clearance or could require a PMA approval or de novo classification. The FDA requires each manufacturer to make this determination in the first instance, but the FDA can review any such decision. If the FDA disagrees with a manufacturer’s decision not to seek a new 510(k) clearance for the modified device, the agency may retroactively require the manufacturer to seek 510(k) clearance, de novo classification, or PMA approval. The FDA also can require the manufacturer to cease marketing and/or recall the modified device until 510(k) clearance, de novo authorization, or PMA approval is obtained.
De Novo Classification
When it is determined there is no legally marketed predicate device, the de novo process provides a pathway to classify novel low- or moderate-risk medical devices for which general controls alone, or general and special controls, provide reasonable assurance of safety and effectiveness. Medical device types that FDA has not previously classified as Class I, II or III are automatically classified into Class III regardless of the level of risk they pose. The de novo classification procedure allows a manufacturer whose novel device is automatically classified into Class III to request down-classification of its medical device into Class I or Class II on the basis that the device presents low or moderate risk, rather than requiring the submission and approval of a PMA application. Prior to the enactment of the FDA Safety and Innovation Act of 2012 (“FDASIA”), a medical device could only be eligible for de novo classification if the manufacturer first submitted a 510(k) pre-market notification and received a
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determination from FDA that the device was not substantially equivalent. FDASIA streamlined the de novo classification pathway by permitting manufacturers to request de novo classification directly without first submitting a 510(k) pre-market notification to FDA and receiving a not substantially equivalent determination. Under FDASIA, FDA is required to classify the device within 120 days following receipt of the de novo application. If the manufacturer seeks reclassification into Class II, the manufacturer must include a draft proposal for special controls that are necessary to provide a reasonable assurance of the safety and effectiveness of the medical device. In addition, FDA may reject the reclassification petition if it identifies a legally marketed predicate device that would be appropriate for a 510(k) or determines that the device is not low to moderate risk or that general controls would be inadequate to control the risks and special controls cannot be developed. Devices that are classified into Class I or Class II through a de novo classification request may be marketed and used as predicates for future premarket notification 510(k) submissions.
FDA has a user fee goal to review a de novo request in 150 calendar review days (which FDA agreed to try and meet for 70% of De Novo submissions in FY 2022). During the process, FDA may issue an Additional Information request, which stops the clock. The applicant has 180 days to respond. Therefore, the total review time could be as long as 330 days.
Pre-market Approval Pathway
A Class III product not eligible for either 510(k) clearance or de novo classification must follow the PMA approval pathway. The PMA application process is generally more expensive, rigorous, lengthy, demanding, and uncertain than the 510(k) premarket notification or de novo process. A PMA application must be supported by extensive data, including but not limited to technical, preclinical, clinical trials, manufacturing, marketing history, design, controls, and labeling to demonstrate to FDA’s satisfaction reasonable assurance of safety and effectiveness of the device.
FDA may convene an advisory panel of experts from outside FDA to review and evaluate the application and provide recommendations to FDA as to the safety and effectiveness of the device. Although FDA is not bound by the advisory panel decision, the panel’s recommendations are important to FDA’s overall decision-making process. In addition, FDA may conduct a preapproval inspection of the manufacturing facility to ensure compliance with the Quality System Regulation (“QSR”), which imposes elaborate testing, control, documentation, and other quality assurance requirements. The agency also may inspect one or more clinical sites to assure compliance with FDA’s regulations.
FDA has a user fee goal to review a PMA in 180 calendar review days, if the submission does not require advisory committee input, or 320 review days if the submission does require advisory committee input. FDA has agreed to try to meet this goal in most cases for FY 2022, though it is not guaranteed. During the process, FDA may issue a major deficiency letter, which stops the review clock. The applicant has up to 180 days to respond. Therefore, the total review time could be up to 360 days, if the submission does not require advisory committee input, or 500 days if the submission does require advisory committee input.
Upon completion of the PMA review, FDA may: (i) approve the PMA which authorizes commercial marketing with specific prescribing information for one or more indications, which can be more limited than those originally sought and can include post-approval conditions that the FDA believes necessary to ensure the safety and effectiveness of the device including, among other things, restrictions on labeling, promotion, sale and distribution; (ii) issue an approvable letter which indicates FDA’s belief that the PMA is approvable and states what additional information FDA requires, or the post-approval commitments that must be agreed to prior to approval; (iii) issue a not approvable letter which outlines steps required for approval, but which are typically more onerous than those in an approvable letter, and may require additional clinical trials that are often expensive and time consuming and can delay approval for months or even years; or (iv) deny the application. If FDA issues an approvable or not approvable letter, the applicant has 180 days to respond, after which FDA’s review clock is reset.
Even after approval of a PMA, a new PMA or PMA supplement may be required in the event of a modification to the device, its labeling or its manufacturing process. Supplements to a PMA often require the submission of the
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same type of information required for an original PMA, except that the supplement is generally limited to that information needed to support the proposed change from the product covered by the original PMA.
The Breakthrough Devices Program is a voluntary program intended to expedite the review, development, assessment and review of certain medical devices that provide for more effective treatment or diagnosis of life-threatening or irreversibly debilitating human diseases or conditions for which no approved or cleared treatment exists or that offer significant advantages over existing approved or cleared alternatives. Submissions for devices designated as Breakthrough Devices will receive priority review, meaning that the review of the submission is placed at the top of the appropriate review queue and receives additional review resources, as needed and available. Although Breakthrough Device designation or access to any other expedited program may expedite the development or clearance/authorization/approval process, it does not change the standards for clearance/authorization/approval. Designation for any expedited review procedure does not ensure that we will ultimately obtain regulatory clearance or approval for such product.
Clinical trials are almost always required to support a PMA, are often required for a de novo authorization, and are sometimes required for 510(k) clearance. Clinical trials may also be conducted or continued to satisfy post-approval requirements for devices with PMAs. In the US, for significant risk devices, these trials require submission of an application for an investigational device exemption (“IDE”) to FDA prior to initiating clinical trials. The IDE application must be supported by appropriate data, such as animal and laboratory testing results, showing it is safe to test the device in humans and that the testing protocol is scientifically sound. The IDE must be approved in advance by FDA for a specific number of patients at specified study sites. A 30-day waiting period after the submission of each IDE is required prior to the commencement of clinical testing in humans. If the FDA disapproves the IDE within this 30-day period, the clinical trial proposed in the IDE may not begin. During the trial, the clinical trial sponsor must comply with FDA’s IDE requirements for investigator selection, trial monitoring, reporting and recordkeeping. The investigators must obtain patient informed consent, rigorously follow the investigational plan and study protocol, control the disposition of investigational devices and comply with all reporting and recordkeeping requirements. Clinical trials for significant risk devices may not begin until the IDE application is approved by FDA and the appropriate institutional review boards (“IRBs”) at the clinical trial sites. An IRB is an appropriately constituted group that has been formally designated to review and monitor medical research involving subjects and which has the authority to approve, require modifications in, or disapprove research to protect the rights, safety and welfare of human research subjects. A nonsignificant risk device does not require FDA approval of an IDE; however, the clinical trial must still be conducted in compliance with various requirements of FDA’s IDE regulations and be approved by an IRB at the clinical trials sites. FDA or the IRB at each site at which a clinical trial is being performed may withdraw approval of a clinical trial at any time for various reasons, including a belief that the risks to study subjects outweigh the benefits or a failure to comply with FDA or IRB requirements. Even if a trial is completed, the results of clinical testing may not demonstrate the safety and effectiveness of the device, may be equivocal or may otherwise not be sufficient to obtain approval, authorization, or clearance of the product.
Sponsors of applicable clinical trials of devices are required to register with www.clinicaltrials.gov, a public database of clinical trial information. Information related to the device, patient population, phase of investigation, study sites and investigators and other aspects of the clinical trial is made public as part of the registration.
Although the QSR does not fully apply to investigational devices, the requirement for controls on design and development does apply. The clinical trial sponsor also must manufacture the investigational device in conformity with the quality controls described in the IDE application and any conditions of IDE approval that the FDA may impose with respect to manufacturing.
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Ongoing Regulation by FDA
Even after a device receives clearance, authorization, or approval and is placed on the market, numerous regulatory requirements apply. These include:
•establishment registration and device listing;
•the QSR, which requires manufacturers, including third-party manufacturers, to follow stringent design, testing, control, documentation, and other quality assurance procedures during all aspects of the manufacturing, design, development, distribution, and labeling process;
•labeling regulations and FDA prohibitions against the promotion of products for uncleared, unapproved, or “off-label” uses and other requirements related to promotional activities;
•medical device reporting regulations, which require that manufactures report to FDA if their device may have caused or contributed to a death or serious injury, or if their device malfunctioned and the device or a similar device marketed by the manufacturer would be likely to cause or contribute to a death or serious injury if the malfunction were to recur;
•corrections and removal reporting regulations, which require that manufacturers report to FDA field corrections or removals if undertaken to reduce a risk to health posed by a device or to remedy a violation of the FD&C Act that may present a risk to health; and
•post market surveillance regulations, which apply to certain Class II or III devices when necessary to protect the public health or to provide additional safety and effectiveness data for the device.
FDA regulations require manufacturers to register with FDA and to list the devices they market. Additionally, the California Department of Health Services (“CDHS”) requires manufacturers to register within the state. Following these registrations, FDA and CDHS inspect manufacturers on a routine basis for compliance with the QSR and applicable state regulations. These regulations require that Pear manufacture Pear’s products and maintain related documentation in a prescribed manner with respect to manufacturing, testing and control activities. Other states might also require non-resident licenses concerning distribution of devices into their states. Pear is also subject to other federal, state and local laws and regulations relating to safe working conditions, laboratory and manufacturing practices. Failure to comply with applicable regulatory requirements can result in enforcement action by FDA or state authorities, which may include any of the following sanctions:
•warning or untitled letters, fines, injunctions, consent decrees and civil penalties;
•customer notifications, voluntary or mandatory recall or seizure of Pear’s products;
•operating restrictions, partial suspension or total shutdown of production;
•delay in processing submissions or applications for new products or modifications to existing products;
•withdrawing clearance, authorization, and/or approvals that have already been granted; and
The medical device reporting laws and regulations require manufacturers to provide information to FDA when they receive or otherwise become aware of information that reasonably suggests their devices may have caused or contributed to a death or serious injury as well as a device malfunction that likely would cause or contribute to death or serious injury if the malfunction were to recur. Failure to properly identify reportable events or to file timely reports, as well as failure to address each of the observations to FDA’s satisfaction, can subject a manufacturer to warning letters, recalls, or other sanctions and penalties.
Advertising, marketing and promotional activities for devices are also subject to FDA and US Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) oversight and must comply with the statutory standards of the FD&C Act and the FDA’s implementing regulations, and the Federal Trade Commission Act and FTC’s implementing regulations. The FDA’s
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and FTC’s oversight authority review of marketing and promotional activities encompasses, but is not limited to, direct-to-consumer advertising, healthcare provider-directed advertising and promotion, sales representative communications to healthcare professionals, promotional programming and promotional activities involving electronic media. The FDA also regulates industry-sponsored scientific and educational activities that make representations regarding product safety or efficacy in a promotional context.
Manufacturers of medical devices are permitted to promote products solely for the uses and indications set forth in the approved or cleared product labeling, and all claims must be truthful, non-misleading, and adequately substantiated. In addition, although healthcare providers may use medical devices in an off-label manner in accordance with the practice of medicine, FDA prohibits marketed devices from being marketed for off-label uses and regulates the advertising of certain devices as well. FDA and other agencies actively enforce the laws and regulations prohibiting the promotion of off-label uses, and a company that is found to have improperly promoted off-label uses may be subject to significant liability, including substantial monetary penalties and criminal prosecution, including False Claims Act liability for products covered under the federal health care programs.
Finally, newly discovered or developed safety or effectiveness data may require changes to a marketed product’s labeling, including the addition of new warnings and contraindications, and also may require the implementation of other risk management measures. Also, new government requirements, including those resulting from new legislation, may be established, or FDA’s policies may change, which could delay or prevent regulatory clearance or approval of Pear’s products under development.
Pear has three FDA-authorized products: reSET, reSET-O, and Somryst. Pear’s first product, reSET, obtained a de novo authorization as a Class II device. Pear’s second and third products, reSET-O and Somryst, obtained 510(k) clearance as Class II devices.
The Company believes it has a talented, motivated, and dedicated team. Management is committed to supporting the development of all of its team members and continuously building on its strong culture that operates at the intersection of biology and software technology. As of December 31, 2022, we had approximately 200 employees, that includes, primarily full-time employees but also part-time employees and interns. We also engage consultants and temporary workers when needed. No employees were represented by labor unions or subject to collective bargaining agreements.
On July 25, 2022, the Company restructured of its operations and executed a reduction in workforce of 25 full-time employees. On November 14, 2022, the Company announced a second reduction in workforce, further reducing our headcount by approximately 59 employees.
Workplace Practices and Policies
The Company is committed to providing a workplace free of harassment or discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, pregnancy, age, national origin, disability status, genetic information, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law. The Company is an equal opportunity employer committed to inclusion and diversity.
In managing our business, we strive to develop and implement policies and programs that support our business goals, maintain competitiveness, promote shared fiscal responsibility among our company and our employees, strategically align talent within our organization and reward performance, while also managing the costs of such policies and programs. Our employees are supported with training and development opportunities to pursue their career paths and to ensure compliance with our policies. We adhere to our code of business conduct and ethics (the "Code of Business Conduct and Ethics"), which sets forth a commitment to our stakeholders, including our employees, to operate with integrity and mutual respect.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, we have taken and continue to take necessary actions to safeguard the health of our employees. Steps we have taken include enhancing office safety measures, encouraging hygiene practices
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advised by health authorities, restricting non-essential business travel at certain times during the pandemic, requiring proof of COVID-19 vaccinations, including booster shots as applicable, for employees, visitor protocols, and flexibility in remote working for all of our employees, which has continued to evolve. We continue to actively monitor risks related to COVID-19 and proper application of our safety protocol to remain aligned with federal, state, and local laws, regulations, and guidelines. We are committed to providing consistent, transparent communication to employees around safe practices, quarantine and testing protocols, vaccine availability, and policies and procedures for safely returning to office work for those employees. We believe our technology platform will continue to support the effectiveness of our employees that choose to work remotely. Our employees and their families are also supported with access to a variety of flexible and convenient health and welfare programs, including benefits that support their physical and mental health.
Inclusion and Diversity
The Company is committed to actively recruiting from diverse backgrounds, providing training and development opportunities, fostering an inclusive culture, and ensuring equitable pay for employees, and is continuing to focus on increasing diverse representation at every level of the Company. As of December 31, 2022, our board of directors was comprised of three female directors and four male directors, and our executive team was comprised of three female officers and four male officers.
Two female officers departed the Company, Kathy Jeffery, our Chief People Officer, departed on February 17, 2023, and Julia Strandberg, our Chief Commercial Officer, departed on March 10, 2023.
As of December 31, 2022, our leadership team was comprised of seven women and six men; one male vice president departed the Company in March 2023. Three female vice presidents and one male vice president will be departing the Company in April 2023.
Compensation, Benefits, Growth, and Development
Pear seeks to attract, develop, and retain talented professionals from the healthcare and tech sectors. We utilize a pay-for-performance compensation structure that involves a combination of salary, bonus (which includes a personal component and a company component, the proportions of which are based on the level of the employee), and stock-based compensation awards. We also have a robust rewards and recognition program. We seek to develop all of our employees, which we refer to as “Pearmates”, with a learning and development program. We strive to stretch our highest potential employees by promoting from within where possible.
Pear has a number of Employee Resource Groups: employee-led, voluntary groups, based around a shared interest or goal, and aligned with the mission and objectives of the company. The following are our current Employee Resource Groups and their missions:
•DEI Committee - to enable a diverse, inclusive, and engaging organization capable of leveraging our differences and to outperform, innovate, and lead the way in enhancing diversity, equity, and inclusion within healthcare;
•Pear Women & Allies - to create and maintain a strong environment that focuses on development, mentoring, leadership, and empowering women’s success at Pear and to be the leading digital health company for women employees;
•Employee Engagement Council - a cross-functional and cross-geographic team empowered to improve the employee experience at Pear; and
•Fun Committee: To support Pearmates by encouraging them to take a moment out of their day to have some fun!
The Company believes that open and honest communication among Pearmates, managers, and leadership fosters an open, collaborative work environment where everyone can participate, develop and thrive. Pearmates are encouraged to come to their managers with questions, feedback, or concerns, and we regularly conduct surveys
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that gauge employee sentiment in areas like the Company culture, communication, leadership, work environment, well-being, rewards and recognition, compensation and benefits, and career development.
We file annual, quarterly, and current reports, proxy statements, and other information with the SEC. The SEC maintains an Internet website at www.sec.gov that contains reports, proxy and information statements and other information about issuers, like us, that file electronically with the SEC. We also maintain a website at https://peartherapeutics.com/. We make available, free of charge, on our investor relations website at https://investors.peartherapeutics.com/financial-information/sec-filings, our Annual Reports on Form 10-K, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, Current Reports on Form 8-K and amendments to these reports as soon as reasonably practicable after electronically filing or furnishing those reports to the SEC. Information contained on our website is not a part of or incorporated by reference into this or any other report we file with or furnish to the SEC.
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ITEM 1A. RISK FACTORS
Summary of Risk Factors
Below is a summary of the principal factors that make an investment in our Class A common stock speculative or risky. This summary does not address all of the risks that we face. Additional discussion of the risks summarized in this risk factor summary, and other risks that we face, can be found below under the heading “Risk Factors” and should be carefully considered, together with other information in this Form 10-K and our other filings with the SEC before making an investment decision regarding our Class A common stock.
Risks relating to our Strategic Alternative Process, Potential Strategic Transaction, and Financial Position:
•We have decided to seek a strategic acquisition, business combination, partnership or other change of control transaction, and there is no guarantee that this strategic path will be successful.
• If we are unable to successfully complete a strategic acquisition, we may be forced to cease operations altogether or file for bankruptcy protection.
•We may not realize any additional value in a strategic transaction.
•If we are successful in completing a strategic transaction, we may be exposed to other operational and financial risks.
•We may not fully realize the expected cost savings and/or operating efficiencies from our restructuring activities and our ability to consummate a strategic transaction depends on our ability to retain our employees required to consummate such transaction.
•We may become involved in securities litigation that could divert management’s attention and harm the company’s business, and insurance coverage may not be sufficient to cover all costs and damages.
• We have identified conditions and events that raise substantial doubt about our ability to continue as a going concern, we need substantial funding, and if we are unable to raise capital on favorable terms, our business, financial condition, and results of operation could be materially and adversely affected.
•We have incurred net losses in every year since our inception and anticipate that we will continue to incur net losses for the foreseeable future.
•Our credit agreement with Perceptive Credit Holdings III, LP restricts our current and future operations, particularly our ability to respond to changes or to take certain actions.
•Perceptive claims that certain events of default have occurred under the Perceptive Credit Facility. Upon the occurrence of an Event of Default, Perceptive may declare the full amount outstanding under the Perceptive Credit Agreement due and payable, which would materially and adversely affect our ability to continue operations.
•The amount of our future losses is uncertain and our quarterly and annual operating results may fluctuate significantly or fall below the expectations of investors or securities analysts, each of which may cause our stock price to fluctuate or decline.
Risks relating to our business and industry include:
• The failure of our prescription digital therapeutics to achieve and maintain market acceptance and adoption by patients and physicians would cause our business, financial condition and results of operations to be materially and adversely affected.
• The insurance coverage and reimbursement status of novel products, such as prescription digital therapeutics, is uncertain and only a limited number of healthcare insurers have agreed to reimburse purchases of our products. Failure to obtain or maintain adequate coverage and reimbursement for our products would substantially impair our ability to generate revenue.
• The market for prescription digital therapeutics is new, rapidly evolving, and increasingly competitive, as the healthcare industry in the US is undergoing significant structural change.
• Our future depends on the continued contributions of our senior management team and our ability to attract and retain other highly qualified personnel; in particular, Corey McCann, our President and Chief Executive Officer, and Christopher Guiffre, our Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer.
• We rely significantly upon Access Agreements from third-parties for the sale of our products and, if the opportunities for Access Agreements decline, such reliance could adversely affect our results.
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•A limited number of healthcare insurers have agreed to reimburse purchases of our products, and there is no assurance that healthcare insurers will agree to reimburse purchases of our products in the future.
Risks relating to our intellectual property and technology include:
• Limitations on our ability to maintain or obtain patent protection and/or the patent rights relating to our products and product candidates may limit our ability to prevent third parties from competing against us.
• We in-license patents and content from third parties to develop our products and product candidates. If we had a dispute or fail to comply with obligations in the agreements with a third-party licensor, we could lose rights that are important to our business, or it could materially and adversely affect our ability to commercialize the product or product candidate affected by the dispute.
Risks relating to our products include:
• The success of our products or any new products depends on several factors, including regulatory review timelines, timely completion, competitive pricing, adequate quality testing, integration with new and existing technologies in our products and third-party collaborators’ technologies and overall market acceptance.
Risks relating to our regulatory compliance and legal matters include:
• We operate in a highly regulated industry and are subject to a wide range of federal, state and local laws, rules and regulations, including US Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) and Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) regulatory requirements and laws pertaining to fraud and abuse in healthcare, that affect nearly all aspects of our operations. Failure to comply with these laws, rules and regulations, or to obtain and maintain required licenses, could subject Pear to enforcement actions and might require Pear to recall or withdraw a product from the market or cease operations.
• Security breaches, ransomware attacks and other disruptions to our information technology structure could compromise our information, disrupt our business and expose us to significant liability, which would cause our business and reputation to suffer, and we may be unable to maintain and scale our technology.
• The regulatory framework for digital health products is constantly evolving. Increasingly stringent regulatory requirements could create barriers to our development and introduction of new products. Conversely, in the event that regulatory requirements are lowered, competitors could potentially enter the prescription digital therapeutic market and compete against us more easily.
Risks relating to our financial reporting include:
•As a public reporting company, we are subject to rules and regulations established from time to time by the SEC regarding our internal control over financial reporting. If we fail to maintain an effective system of internal control over financial reporting, we may not be able to accurately report our financial results or prevent fraud. As a result, investors may lose confidence in the accuracy of our financial reports, which would harm our business and the trading price of our Class A common stock.
• Our management has identified certain internal control deficiencies that constitute material weaknesses. If we fail to maintain an effective system of disclosure controls and internal control over financial reporting, our ability to produce timely and accurate financial statements or comply with applicable regulations could be impaired.
Risks relating to ownership of our Class A common stock and Warrants:
• The exercise of Warrants for our stock would increase the number of shares eligible for future resale in the public market and result in dilution to our stockholders. Such dilution will increase if more of our shares are redeemed.
• Future resales of the Class A common stock may cause the market price of our securities to drop significantly, even if our business is doing well.
• If we fail to satisfy the continued listing requirements of Nasdaq such as the corporate governance requirements or the minimum closing bid price requirement, Nasdaq may take steps to delist our securities.
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You should carefully consider the risks and uncertainties described below, together with the information included elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K and other documents we file with the SEC. The risks and uncertainties described below are those that we have identified as material, but are not the only risks and uncertainties facing us. Our business is also subject to general risks and uncertainties that affect many other companies, such as overall US and non-US economic and industry conditions including a global economic slowdown, geopolitical events, changes in laws or accounting rules, fluctuations in interest and exchange rates, terrorism, international conflicts, major health concerns, natural disasters or other disruptions of expected economic and business conditions. Additional risks and uncertainties not currently known to us or that we currently believe are immaterial also may impair our business operations and liquidity.
This section should be read in conjunction with Part II, Item 7, “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” and the consolidated financial statements and accompanying notes in Part II, Item 8, Financial Statements, of this Form 10-K.
Risks Related to Strategic Alternative Process, Potential Strategic Transaction, and Financial Position
We have decided to seek a strategic acquisition, business combination, partnership or other change of control transaction, and there is no guarantee that this strategic path will be successful.
We have engaged MTS Health Partners, L.P. (“MTS”) as our advisor to assist with the exploration of strategic alternatives. MTS is providing a range of advisory services aimed to enhance stockholder value. The alternatives to be considered may include, but are not limited to, the sale of all or substantially all of our assets; a strategic merger or other business combination transaction; or another change of control transaction between us and a third party. We have and expect to continue to devote substantial time and resources to exploring such strategic alternatives; however, there is no set time frame and there can be no assurance that such activities will result in any agreements or transactions that will enhance stockholder value. Evaluating a strategic alternative may divert the attention of our management from ordinary operating matters. The identification, negotiation, and completion of any such transaction may also require more time and cash resources than we anticipate. In addition, potential strategic alternatives that require stockholder approval may not be approved by our stockholders.
There can be no assurance that our process to identify and evaluate potential strategic alternatives will result in any definitive offer to consummate a strategic transaction, or if made that the terms thereof will be acceptable to us. If any definitive offer to consummate a strategic transaction is received, there can be no assurance that a definitive agreement will be executed or that, if a definitive agreement is executed, the transaction will be consummated. In addition, there can be no assurance that any transaction, involving our company and/or assets, that is consummated would enhance stockholder value.
If we are successful in completing a strategic transaction, we may be exposed to other operational and financial risks, including increased near-term or long-term expenditures, exposure to unknown liabilities, incurrence of substantial debt, higher-than-expected acquisition and integration costs, write-downs of assets or impairment charges, increased amortization expenses, difficulty and cost in combining the operations and personnel of any merged businesses with our operations and personnel, impairment of relationships with key suppliers or customers of any acquired businesses due to changes in management and ownership, and inability to retain key employees of our company or any acquired businesses. If a strategic alternative is not completed, we may be subject to a number of material risks or suffer a number of consequences that may adversely affect our business, financial results, and operations.
If we are unable to successfully complete a strategic transaction, we may be forced to cease operations altogether or file for bankruptcy protection.
There can be no assurance that any of our plans will be successful or that additional capital will be available to us on reasonable terms, or at all, when needed or that we will successfully complete a strategic transaction. If we do not maintain governmental approval for our products, or if we are unsuccessful in our commercial efforts to sell our products, our business would experience significant harm. If we are unable to obtain sufficient additional
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capital or to conclude a successful strategic transaction, we may be forced to defer, reduce or eliminate significant planned expenditures, restructure, curtail, or eliminate some or all of our commercial operations, dispose of technology or assets including intangible assets, conclude a strategic transaction that is unfavorable to stockholders, enter into arrangements that may require us to relinquish rights to certain of our products or product candidates, technologies or potential markets, delay or stop ongoing clinical trials, cease operations altogether or file for bankruptcy protection.
Our board of directors remains dedicated to diligently deliberating upon and making informed decisions that the directors believe are in the best interests of the company and its stockholders. There can be no assurance, however, that the company’s current strategic direction, or the board’s evaluation of strategic alternatives, will result in any initiatives, agreements, transactions or plans that will further enhance stockholder value.
In addition, given the substantial restructuring of our operations and reduction in force over the last year, it may be difficult to evaluate our current business and future prospects on the basis of historical operating performance.
We may not realize any additional value in a strategic transaction.
Potential counterparties in a strategic transaction involving our company may place minimal or no value on our assets. Further, the continued commercialization of our existing products, the development and any potential commercialization of our product candidates will require substantial additional cash to fund the costs associated with conducting the necessary preclinical and clinical testing and obtaining regulatory approval. Consequently, any potential counterparty in a strategic transaction involving our company may choose not to spend additional resources and continue to commercialize our existing products, development of our product candidates and may attribute little or no value, in such a transaction, to those product candidates.
If we are successful in completing a strategic transaction, we may be exposed to other operational and financial risks.
Although there can be no assurance that a strategic transaction will result from the process we have undertaken to identify and evaluate strategic alternatives, the negotiation and consummation of any such transaction will require significant time on the part of our management, and the diversion of management’s attention may disrupt our business. The negotiation and consummation of any such transaction may also require more time or greater cash resources than we anticipate and expose us to other operational and financial risks, including:
• inability to retain key employees of our company or any merged business;
•increased near-term and long-term expenditures;
• exposure to unknown liabilities;
• higher than expected acquisition or integration costs;
• incurrence of substantial debt or dilutive issuances of equity securities to fund future operations;
• write-downs of assets or incurrence of non-recurring, impairment or other charges;
• increased amortization expenses;
• difficulty and cost in combining the operations and personnel of any acquired business with our operations and personnel;
• impairment of relationships with key suppliers or customers of any acquired business due to changes in management and ownership; and
• possibility of future litigation.
Any of the foregoing risks could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and prospects.
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We may not fully realize the expected cost savings and/or operating efficiencies from our restructuring activities and our ability to consummate a strategic transaction depends on our ability to retain our employees required to consummate such transaction.
On July 25, 2022 and November 14, 2022, we restructured our operations to narrow our near-term business focus and reduce our workforce by approximately 9% and 22% of our then headcount, respectively, primarily due to the ongoing decline in the macroeconomic environment. Our restructuring included external and internal cost reductions in almost all areas of our business. We focused and will continue to focus cost reductions on pipeline candidates, discovery programs, business development, and our dual platform in order to prioritize certain commercial efforts at that time. The reductions in workforce decreased overall headcount by a total of approximately 84 employees. Our headcount has reduced from approximately 300 as of June 30, 2022 to approximately 200 as of December 31, 2022.
We believe these changes were needed to streamline our organization and reallocate our resources to better align with our current strategic goals, including our current focus on pursuing strategic alternatives. However, these expense reduction measures have and may continue to yield unintended consequences and costs, such as the loss of institutional knowledge and expertise, attrition beyond our intended reductions in workforce, a reduction in morale among our remaining employees, and the risk that we may not achieve the anticipated benefits, all of which may have an adverse effect on our results of operations or financial condition. See Note 15, “Restructuring Charges” in the accompanying notes to the consolidated financial statements included in Part II, Item 8, of this Form 10-K and the “Restructuring and Reductions in Workforce” under Recent Events within Part II Item 7 for further discussion of our current restructuring activities and future anticipated cost savings.
Our ability to consummate a strategic transaction depends upon our ability to retain our employees required to consummate such a transaction, the loss of whose services may adversely impact the ability to consummate such transaction. In February 2023, Pear engaged an investment bank to explore the potential for an acquisition, company sale, merger, divestiture of assets, licensing, or other strategic transactions and/or seeking additional financing. There is no set timetable for this process and there can be no assurance that this process will result in the Company pursuing a transaction or that any transaction, if pursued, will be completed on attractive terms. If the Company is unable to complete a transaction, it may be required to seek a reorganization, liquidation, or other restructuring. In addition, our cash conservation activities, as well as the announcement that we are seeking strategic alternatives, may yield unintended consequences, such as attrition beyond our planned reductions in workforce that took place during 2022 and reduced employee morale, which may cause remaining employees to seek alternative employment. Two officers departed the Company, Kathy Jeffery, our Chief People Officer, departed on February 17, 2023, and Julia Strandberg, our Chief Commercial Officer, departed on March 10, 2023 to pursue other opportunities. In addition, our Vice President, Market Affairs, departed the Company in March 2023 to pursue other opportunities. In addition, four vice presidents will be departing the Company in April 2023. Our ability to successfully complete a strategic transaction depends in large part on our ability to retain certain of our remaining personnel. If we are unable to successfully retain our remaining personnel, we are at risk of a disruption to our exploration and consummation of a strategic alternative as well as business operations.
We may become involved in securities litigation that could divert management’s attention and harm the company’s business, and insurance coverage may not be sufficient to cover all costs and damages.
In the past, securities litigation has often followed certain significant business transactions, such as the sale of a company or announcement of any other strategic transaction. We may be exposed to such litigation even if no wrongdoing occurred. Litigation is usually expensive and diverts management’s attention and resources, which could adversely affect our business and cash resources and our ability to consummate a potential strategic transaction or the ultimate value our stockholders receive in any such transaction.
We have identified conditions and events that raise substantial doubt about our ability to continue as a going concern, we need substantial additional funding, and if we are unable to raise capital when needed or on terms favorable to us, our business, financial condition, and results of operation could be materially and adversely affected.
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We may be forced to wind-down our operations if we are unable to consummate a strategic transaction and/or obtain sufficient funding.
As of December 31, 2022, we had cash and cash equivalents totaling $48.3 million, and there is substantial doubt about our ability to continue as a growing concern. Based on our current operating plans, we do not have sufficient cash and cash equivalents to fund our operating expenses and capital expenditures for at least the next 12 months from the filing date of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
In addition, we regularly maintain cash balances at third-party financial institutions in excess of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation insurance limit of $250,000, such as amounts to secure the letter of credit related to the lease of our San Francisco office in the amount of $0.4 million. On March 10, 2023, the issuer of the landlord’s letter of credit, Silicon Valley Bank, was placed into receivership with the FDIC. Since that date the obligations of Silicon Valley Bank have been assumed by First-Citizens Bank & Trust Company. The landlord has demanded a replacement letter of credit by no later than April 21, 2023. While we monitor the cash balances in our operating accounts on a daily basis and adjust the balances as appropriate, these balances could also be impacted from time to time. While the cash and cash equivalents are spread across various third party financial institutions, they are generally accessed through one main financial institution. Should that financial institution cease to exist, or is subject to other adverse conditions in the financial or credit markets there could be a material adverse effect on our business if we are not able to immediately access the funds in other third-party financial institutions. We can provide no assurance that access to our invested cash and cash equivalents will not be impacted by adverse conditions in the financial and credit markets.
In addition, our estimates of cash and cash equivalents needed to fund operation may prove to be wrong, and we could use our available capital resources sooner than expected. We require additional capital to sustain our operations, including our development programs.
On January 3, 2023, we entered into an At The Market Offering Agreement (the “ATM Agreement”) with H.C. Wainwright & Co., LLC (“Wainwright”) and Virtu Americas LLC (“Virtu” and, collectively with Wainwright, the “Managers” and each, a “Manager”), pursuant to which the Company may offer and sell, from time to time through the Managers, shares of the Company’s Class A common stock, par value $0.0001 per share (“Common Stock”), for aggregate gross proceeds of up to $150 million (the “Shares”). To date, we have sold an aggregate of 843,281 shares of Class A common stock pursuant to the ATM Agreement resulting in net proceeds of approximately $1.0 million. Our ability to raise additional funds under the ATM Agreement is subject to market conditions and other factors that may be outside of our control.
In February 2023 we began working with MTS Health Partners, L.P. (“MTS”), an investment bank, to assist with the exploration of strategic alternatives that may include, but are not limited to, the sale of all or substantially all of our assets; a strategic merger or other business combination transaction; or another change of control transaction between us and a third party.
We may seek additional funds through equity or debt financings or through collaborations, licensing transactions or other sources that may be identified through our strategic process. However, there can be no assurance that we will be able to complete any such transactions on acceptable terms or otherwise. The failure to obtain sufficient funds on commercially acceptable terms when needed would have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, and financial condition. These factors raise substantial doubt about our ability to continue as a going concern.
We do not currently have any commitments for future funding or additional capital. As such, we have paused or significantly scaled back the development or commercialization of our future product candidates or other research and development initiatives and our commercial activities are not being sufficiently funded. If we are unable to complete a strategic transaction or raise additional capital in sufficient amounts, we will not be able to continue our business and we may need to file for bankruptcy protection.
We have incurred net losses in every year since our inception and anticipate that we will continue to incur net losses for the foreseeable future.
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We are not profitable and have incurred significant net losses since our inception. We incurred net losses of $75.5 million and $65.1 million for the years ended December 31, 2022 and 2021, respectively. As of December 31, 2022, we had an accumulated deficit of $323.5 million. If we are able to continue as a going concern, which would require a transaction such as a strategic alternative, we expect to continue to incur significant losses for the foreseeable future. We expect to incur significant losses and negative cash flow from operations for the foreseeable future. We face a variety of challenges and risks that we will need to address and manage as we pursue our strategy, including our ability to achieve adequate payor coverage, develop and retain an effective sales force, and more broadly our workforce, achieve market acceptance of PDTs among physicians, patients and third-party payors, and in the future when adequate capital is available, to expand the use of PDTs to additional therapeutic indications. Because of the numerous risks and uncertainties associated with our commercialization efforts to increase adoption of our FDA approval we are unable to predict the timing or amount of increased expenses, or when, if ever, we will be able to achieve or maintain profitability. We expect to continue to incur substantial net losses and negative cash flows from operations as we commercialize our three existing products. We intend to continue to make targeted investments in building our US commercial infrastructure.
Based on our recurring losses and expectations to incur significant expenses and negative cash flow for the foreseeable future, our independent registered public accounting firm has included an explanatory paragraph in its report on our financial statements as of and for the years ended December 31, 2022 and December 31, 2021, expressing substantial doubt about our ability to continue as a going concern.
Further, we may incur significant costs to conduct planned clinical trials and future clinical trials. These clinical trials may be more costly than we expect, and if we do not achieve the benefits anticipated from these clinical trials, or if the realization of these benefits is delayed, they may not result in increased revenue or growth in our business. We also expect our operating costs to increase as a result of becoming a public company and will continue to increase as we grow our business. These efforts may prove more expensive than we currently anticipate, and our expenses may exceed revenues for the foreseeable future and we may not achieve profitability.
Additionally, inflation has the potential to adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations by increasing our overall costs. The existence of inflation in the economy has resulted in, and may continue to result in, higher costs, supply shortages, increased costs of labor and other similar effects. As a result of inflation, we have experienced and may continue to experience, cost increases. Although we may take measures to mitigate the impact of inflation, if these measures are not effective our business, financial condition and results of operations could be adversely affected.
To date, we have financed our operations principally from the closing of the Business Combination with Thimble Point Acquisition Corp. (“THMA”), the sale of Legacy Pear convertible preferred stock, payments received in connection with collaboration agreements, and proceeds from borrowings under a credit facility. Historically the revenue from product sales and collaboration agreements have not covered the full cost of our operations. Our cash flow from operations was negative for the years ended December 31, 2022 and 2021. We may not generate positive cash flow from operations or achieve profitability for the foreseeable future. Our limited operating history may make it difficult for you to evaluate our current business and future prospects. Even if we do achieve profitability, we may not be able to sustain or increase profitability on a quarterly or annual basis.
Given our limited operating history, our ability to achieve revenues sufficient to cover our operating costs may not be achieved. If we are not able to scale and grow the business to achieve significant product sales, it would materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition, and results of operations. Our failure to achieve or maintain profitability would negatively impact the value of our common stock.
Our credit agreement with Perceptive Credit Holdings III, LP restricts our current and future operations, particularly our ability to respond to changes or to take certain actions.
Our secured Amended and Restated Credit Agreement and Guaranty with Perceptive Credit Holdings III, LP, as lender (the “Perceptive Credit Facility”) is collateralized by substantially all of our assets, including our intellectual property, and imposes significant operating and financial restrictions and limit our ability and our other restricted subsidiaries’ ability to, among other things:
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•incur additional indebtedness for borrowed money and guarantee indebtedness;
•pay dividends or make other distributions in respect of, or repurchase or redeem, capital stock;
•make loans, guarantees, investments and acquisitions;
•sell or otherwise dispose of assets;
•enter into transactions with affiliates;
•enter into agreements restricting our subsidiaries’ ability to pay dividends;
•consolidate, merge or incur a change of control; and
•incur a material adverse change in our business condition (financial or otherwise), operations, performance or property.
As a result of these covenants and restrictions, we are and will be limited in how we conduct our business, and we may be unable to raise additional debt or equity financing to compete effectively or to take advantage of new business opportunities. In addition, the Perceptive Credit Facility requires us to comply with a minimum consolidated revenue covenant (measured on a trailing twelve-month basis) and maintain a minimum aggregate cash balance of $5.0 million in one or more accounts pledged to our lenders. The operating and financial restrictions and covenants in the Perceptive Credit Facility, as well as any future financing agreements that we may enter into, may restrict our ability to finance our operations, engage in business activities, or expand or fully pursue our business strategies. Our ability to comply with these covenants may be affected by events beyond our control, and we may not be able to meet those covenants. On March 25, 2022, we amended the Perceptive Credit Facility to adjust certain covenants under the agreement. The amendment included reducing the required minimum trailing 12-month revenue for the fiscal quarter ending March 31, 2022, through the fiscal quarter ending March 31, 2025. In the past we have received waivers with respect to certain financial covenants in our credit agreement.
We were not in compliance with the trailing twelve month revenue covenants as of December 31, 2022, and will not be in compliance with the trailing twelve month revenue covenants for the quarter ended March 31, 2023. However we requested and were granted a waiver on the trailing 12-month revenue requirement for both the quarter ended December 31, 2022 and March 31, 2023, respectively. In addition, on February 28, 2023, the Company also obtained a waiver pertaining to the existence of a “going concern” qualification in the accompanying opinion of the Company’s auditors in this Form 10-K and any resulting event of default.
We cannot guarantee that we will be able to maintain compliance with the covenants under the Perceptive Credit Facility in the future and, if we fail to do so, that we will be able to obtain waivers from the lenders or amend the covenants.
Our failure to comply with the restrictive covenants described above could, and our interest payment default will, result in an event of default under the credit agreement. An event of default will also occur if, among other things, a material adverse change in our business, operations or condition occurs, which could potentially include a material impairment of the prospect of our repayment of any portion of the amounts we owe under the credit agreement. In the case of a continuing event of default under the credit agreement, the lenders could elect to declare all amounts outstanding to be immediately due and payable, proceed against the collateral in which we granted the lenders a security interest under the credit agreement, or otherwise exercise the rights of a secured creditor. If we are forced to refinance these borrowings on less favorable terms, our business, results of operations and financial condition could be adversely affected and If we are unable to obtain sufficient additional capital or to conclude a successful strategic transaction, we may be forced to defer, reduce or eliminate significant planned expenditures, restructure, curtail, or eliminate some or all of our commercial operations, dispose of technology or assets, conclude a strategic transaction that is unfavorable to stockholders, enter into arrangements that may
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require us to relinquish rights to certain of our product candidates, technologies or potential markets, delay or stop ongoing clinical trials, cease operations altogether or file for bankruptcy protection. See Note 7, Indebtedness, in the accompanying notes to the consolidated financial statements included in Part II, Item 8 of this Form 10-K for additional information regarding our Perceptive Credit Facility.
Perceptive claims that certain events of default have occurred under the Perceptive Credit Facility. Upon the occurrence of an Event of Default, Perceptive may declare the full amount outstanding under the Perceptive Credit Agreement due and payable, which would materially and adversely affect our ability to continue operations.
Perceptive has alleged that certain events of default have occurred and are continuing under our secured Perceptive Credit Facility. Perceptive has not delivered any formal notice of an Event of Default. We dispute the allegations and are in discussions with Perceptive to resolve this dispute and otherwise to address our obligations under the Perceptive Credit Facility.
There can be no assurances that our discussions with Perceptive will result in any resolution or that we will be able to resolve the alleged events of default or that any resolution, or the lack of any resolution, will not result in Perceptive exercising remedies under the Perceptive Credit Facility. In the case of a continuing Event of Default under the Perceptive Credit Facility, Perceptive could elect to declare all amounts outstanding to be immediately due and payable, proceed against the collateral in which we granted the lenders a security interest, or otherwise exercise the rights of a secured creditor. There can be no assurances that Perceptive will not declare a Default and attempt to accelerate the payment of all amounts due thereunder. If the acceleration were to occur, we could also be required to pay a prepayment penalty of $3.6 million.
The amount of our future losses is uncertain and our quarterly and annual operating results may fluctuate significantly or fall below the expectations of investors or securities analysts, each of which may cause our stock price to fluctuate or decline.
Our quarterly and annual operating results may fluctuate significantly in the future due to a variety of factors, many of which are outside of our control and may be difficult to predict, including the following:
•our ability to consummate a strategic alternative;
•an event of default under our Perceptive Credit Facility, which Perceptive has alleged currently exists;
•any change in the competitive landscape of our industry, including consolidation among our competitors or partners or as a result of COVID-19;
•our ability to attract, hire and retain qualified personnel;
• the level of demand for our products from patients, health care providers and payors;
•the risk/benefit profile, cost and reimbursement policies with respect to our products;
•the changing and volatile US and global economic environments; and
•future accounting pronouncements or changes in our accounting policies.
The cumulative effects of these factors could result in large fluctuations and unpredictability in our quarterly and annual operating results. As a result, comparing our operating results on a period-to-period basis may not be meaningful. This variability and unpredictability could also result in our failing to meet the expectations of industry or financial analysts or investors for any period. If our operating results or revenue fall below the expectations of analysts or investors or below any forecasts we may provide to the market, or if the forecasts we provide to the market are below the expectations of analysts or investors, the price of our common stock could decline substantially. Such a stock price decline could occur even when we have met any previously publicly stated guidance we may provide.
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Risks Related to Our Business and Industry
The failure of our prescription digital therapeutics to achieve and maintain market acceptance and adoption by patients and physicians would cause our business, financial condition and results of operations to be materially and adversely affected.
Our current business strategy is highly dependent on our prescription digital therapeutics, or PDTs, achieving and maintaining broad market acceptance by patients and physicians. Market acceptance and adoption of our PDTs depends on educating people with chronic conditions, as well as self-insured employers, commercial and government payors, health plans and physicians and other government entities, as to the distinct features, therapeutic benefits, cost savings, and other advantages of our PDTs as compared to competitive products or other currently available methodologies. If we are not successful in demonstrating to existing or potential patients and prescribers the benefits of our products, or if we are not able to achieve the support of patients, healthcare providers and payors for our products, our sales may decline or we may fail to increase our sales in line with our forecasts.
Achieving and maintaining market acceptance of our products could be negatively impacted by many factors, including:
•the failure of reSET, reSET-O and Somryst to achieve wide acceptance among people with substance use disorder, opioid use disorder and chronic insomnia, self-insured employers, commercial and government payors, health plans, physicians and other government entities, and key opinion leaders in the treatment community;
•lack of additional evidence or peer-reviewed publication of clinical or real world evidence supporting the effectiveness, safety, cost-savings or other advantages of our products over competitive products or other currently available methodologies;
•perceived risks associated with the use of our products or similar products or technologies generally;
•our ability to secure and maintain FDA and other regulatory clearance, authorization or approval for our products;
•the introduction of competitive products and the rate of acceptance of those products as compared to our products; and
•results of clinical, real world and HEOR studies relating to chronic condition products or similar competitive products.
In addition, our products may be perceived by patients and healthcare providers to be more complicated or less effective than traditional approaches, and people may be unwilling to change their current health regimens. Moreover, we believe that healthcare providers tend to be slow to change their medical treatment practices because of perceived liability risks arising from the use of new products and the uncertainty of third-party reimbursement. Accordingly, healthcare providers may not recommend our products until there is sufficient evidence to convince them to alter their current approach.
The insurance coverage and reimbursement status of novel products, such as prescription digital therapeutics, is uncertain and only a limited number of healthcare insurers have agreed to reimburse purchases of our products. Failure to obtain or maintain adequate coverage and reimbursement for our products would substantially impair our ability to generate revenue.
In the US, patients generally rely on third-party payors to reimburse all or part of the costs associated with their treatment. Adequate coverage and reimbursement from governmental healthcare programs, such as Medicare and Medicaid, and commercial payors is critical to the ability of patients to afford treatments and achieve new product acceptance. Currently, there is no Medicare benefit category for prescriptions digital therapeutics, and it is unlikely that there will be such a benefit category unless and until Congress passes federal legislation. Our ability to successfully commercialize our products will depend in part on the extent to which coverage and adequate
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reimbursement for these products and related treatments will be available from government health administration authorities, private health insurers and other organizations. Government authorities and third-party payors, such as private health insurers and health maintenance organizations, decide which medications they will pay for and establish reimbursement levels. The availability of coverage and extent of reimbursement by governmental and private payors is essential for most patients to be able to afford treatments. Sales of products, and of product candidates that we may identify, will depend substantially on the extent to which the costs to users of such products will be paid by health maintenance, managed care, pharmacy benefit and similar healthcare management organizations, or reimbursed by government health administration authorities, private health coverage insurers and other third-party payors. If coverage and adequate reimbursement is not available, or is available only to limited levels, we may not be able to successfully commercialize our products. Even if coverage is provided, the approved reimbursement amount may not be high enough to allow us to establish or maintain pricing sufficient to achieve profitability.
There is also significant uncertainty related to, and there may be significant delays in obtaining, the insurance coverage and reimbursement of newly cleared, authorized, or approved products and coverage may be more limited than the purposes for which the device is cleared, authorized, or approved by the FDA or comparable foreign regulatory authorities. In the US, the principal decisions about reimbursement for new medicines or medical devices are typically made by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”), an agency within the US Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”). FDA clearance or authorization provides no assurance of coverage or reimbursement by any payor. CMS decides whether and to what extent a new medicine or medical device will be covered and reimbursed under Medicare, and private payors tend to follow CMS to a substantial degree.
Factors payors consider in determining reimbursement are based on whether the product is:
•a covered benefit under its health plan;
•safe, effective and medically necessary;
•supported by robust clinical data from well-controlled clinical research;
•appropriate for the specific patient;
•neither experimental nor investigational.
Each payor determines whether or not it will provide coverage for a treatment, what amount it will pay the manufacturer for the treatment and on what tier of its formulary the treatment will be placed. The position of a treatment on a payor’s list of covered drugs, biological products, and medical devices, or formulary, generally determines the co-payment that a patient will need to make to obtain the treatment and can strongly influence the adoption of such treatment by patients and physicians. Patients who are prescribed treatments for their conditions and providers prescribing such services generally rely on third-party payors to reimburse all or part of the associated healthcare costs. Patients are unlikely to use our products unless coverage is provided and reimbursement is adequate to cover a significant portion of the cost of our products.
Moreover, eligibility for coverage and reimbursement does not imply that our products will be paid for in all cases or at a rate that covers our costs, including research, development, intellectual property, manufacturing, marketing, sales and distribution expenses. Interim reimbursement levels for new products, if applicable, may also not be sufficient to cover our costs and may not be made permanent. Reimbursement rates may vary according to the use of our products and the clinical setting in which they are used, may be based on reimbursement levels already set for lower cost products and may be incorporated into existing payments for other services. Net prices for products may be reduced by mandatory discounts or rebates required by government healthcare programs or private payors, by any future laws limiting prices and by any future relaxation of laws that presently restrict imports of products from countries where they may be sold at lower prices than in the US.
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Third-party payors have attempted to control costs by limiting coverage and the amount of reimbursement for particular drugs or devices. We cannot be sure that coverage and reimbursement will be available for all products that we commercialize and, if reimbursement is available, what the level of reimbursement will be. Inadequate coverage and reimbursement may impact the demand for, or the price of, any product for which we obtain marketing approval. If coverage and adequate reimbursement are not available, or are available only at limited levels, we may not be able to successfully commercialize our products.
The market for prescription digital therapeutics is new, rapidly evolving, and increasingly competitive, as the healthcare industry in the US is undergoing significant structural change.
The market for our PDTs is new and rapidly evolving, and it is uncertain whether it will achieve and sustain high levels of demand and market adoption. Our future financial performance will depend on growth in this market and on our ability to adapt to emerging demands of our customers. It is difficult to predict the future growth rate and size of our target market. The healthcare industry in the US is undergoing significant structural change and is rapidly evolving. We believe demand for our products has been driven in large part by rapidly growing costs in the traditional healthcare system, the movement toward patient-centricity and personalized healthcare, and advances in technology. Widespread acceptance of personalized healthcare is critical to our future growth and success. A reduction in the growth of personalized healthcare could reduce the demand for our PDTs and result in a lower revenue growth rate or decreased revenue.
If our assumptions regarding these uncertainties are incorrect or change in reaction to changes in our markets, or if we do not manage or address these risks successfully, our results of operations could differ materially from our expectations, and our business could suffer.
Our products and product candidates are novel and negative perception of any of our products or product candidates could adversely affect our ability to conduct our business, obtain marketing authorizations or identify alternate regulatory pathways to market for such product candidates.
Our products and product candidates are considered relatively new and novel therapeutic approaches. Our success will depend upon physicians who specialize in the treatment of diseases targeted by our products and product candidates prescribing potential treatments that involve the use of our products and product candidates in lieu of, or in addition to, existing treatments with which they are more familiar and for which greater clinical data may be available. Access will also depend on consumer acceptance and adoption of products that are commercialized. In addition, responses by the US, state or foreign governments to negative public perception or ethical concerns may result in new legislation or regulations that could limit our ability to develop or commercialize any product candidates, obtain or maintain marketing authorization, identify alternate regulatory pathways to market or otherwise achieve profitability.
Negative publicity concerning our products or the PDT market as a whole, could limit market acceptance of our products and product candidates. If patients and healthcare providers have a negative perception of PDTs, then a market for our products and product candidates may not develop at all, or it may develop more slowly than we expect. Our success will depend to a substantial extent on the willingness of healthcare providers to prescribe our products, the extent to which coverage and adequate reimbursement for these products and product candidates and related treatments will be available from government health administration authorities, private health insurers and other organizations and our ability to demonstrate the value of our products and product candidates to existing and potential patients and prescribers. Similarly, negative publicity regarding patient confidentiality and privacy in the context of technology-enabled healthcare or concerns experienced by our competitors could limit market acceptance of PDTs.
Our future depends on the continued contributions of our senior management team and our ability to attract and retain other highly qualified personnel; in particular, Corey McCann, our President and Chief Executive Officer, and Christopher Guiffre, our Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer.
Our success depends in large part on our ability to attract and retain high-quality management in sales, market access, product development, software engineering, marketing, operations, finance and support functions. We compete for qualified technical personnel with other life sciences and information technology companies.
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Competition for qualified employees is intense in our industry, particularly for software engineers, and the loss of even a few qualified employees, or an inability to attract, train, retain and motivate additional highly skilled employees required for the planned expansion of our business could harm our operating results and impair our ability to grow. The loss of one or more of our key employees, such as Julia Strandberg, our Chief Commercial Officer, in March 2023, who left to pursue other opportunities, and any failure to have in place and execute an effective succession plan for key executives, could seriously harm our business. In addition, our Chief People Officer departed in February 2023 and one of our vice presidents departed the Company in March 2023 to pursue other opportunities. An additional four vice presidents will be departing the Company in April 2023.
We may be unable to continue to attract or retain the personnel we need to maintain our competitive position. To attract, train and retain key personnel, we use various measures, including competitive compensation and benefit packages (including an equity incentive program), which may require significant investment. These measures may not be enough to attract and retain the personnel we require to operate our business effectively and efficiently.
Moreover, decreases in the value of our Class A common stock will impact the perceived value of employee equity awards, which may materially and adversely affect our ability to attract and retain key employees. If we do not maintain the necessary personnel to accomplish our business objectives, we may experience staffing constraints that materially and adversely affect our ability to support our programs and operations. Employees may also receive proceeds from sales of our equity in the public markets, which may reduce their motivation to continue to work for us.
In addition, our future also depends on the continued contributions of our senior management team and other key personnel, each of whom would be difficult to replace. In particular, Corey McCann, our President and Chief Executive Officer, and Christopher Guiffre, our Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer, are critical to our future vision and strategic direction. Our key employees are at-will, and we do not maintain key person life insurance for some of our key employees.
In addition, from time to time, there may be changes in our senior management team that may be disruptive to our business, such as the departure of Julia Strandberg, our Chief Commercial Officer, in March 2023 who left to pursue other opportunities. If our senior management team, including any new hires that we may make, fails to work together effectively and to execute our plans and strategies on a timely basis, our business, results of operations and financial condition could be harmed.
We rely significantly upon Access Agreements from third-parties for the sale of our products and, if the opportunities for Access Agreements decline, such reliance could adversely affect our results.
While we anticipate reimbursement will become a more prominent portion of our overall revenue over time, we are currently reliant upon Access Agreements to generate revenue for the products we provide. Until we can consistently rely on the more conventional reimbursement pathways (e.g., those utilized by drug manufacturers), our revenue will be primarily driven by these Access Agreements. Generating revenue from Access Agreements has risk because they typically have a lengthy sales and contracting process. In addition, each Access Agreement represents a relatively large percentage of quarterly revenue and any failure or delay in the sales or contracting process for a single Access Agreement can have a disproportionate impact on the Pear’s revenue performance for the given period. Finally, Access Agreements tend to be funded by governmental resources which adds risk to completing any agreement in a timely manner.
These agreements have varying terms and generally may be revised or terminated for various reasons generally by Pear and in certain circumstances by the Customer. Any failure to maintain existing Access Agreements or enter into new Access Agreements with less favorable terms than currently in place could have a material effect on our results of operations and financial condition. In addition, there can be no assurance that we will be able to generate sufficient revenue from Access Agreements to become profitable.
Similarly, our revenue could be materially and disproportionately impacted by the purchasing decisions of this limited customer base. In the future, our Access Agreement customers may decide to purchase less product from us than they have in the past, may alter purchasing patterns at any time with limited notice, or may decide not to
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continue to purchase our products at all, any of which could cause our revenue to decline materially and materially harm our financial condition.
There can be no assurance that state or federal entities will continue to provide grants to support these Access Agreements. Any discontinuance or reduction in government or private party grants could have a significant and adverse effect on these types of agreements, and as a result could have a material and adverse effect on our business, financial condition, or results of operations. Relatedly, states are beginning to receive proceeds from independent and multi-state settlement agreements with pharmaceutical companies that were involved in the distribution and sale of prescription opioids. Individual states have broad discretion for how these settlement funds may be used to prevent opioid abuse and how to distribute the funds. States are creating legislatively appointed bodies to oversee these funds (e.g., New York’s Opioid Settlement Fund, Tennessee’s Opioid Abatement Fund, Nebraska’s Opioid Recovery Fund, etc.). A state’s decision not to allocate settlement funds to Access Agreements involving our products, while allocating such funds to other opioid prevention efforts, could have a material and adverse effect on our business, financial condition, or results of operations.
Our products are made available via the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store and supported by third-party infrastructure. If our ability to access those markets or access necessary third-party infrastructure was stopped or otherwise restricted, it would materially and adversely affect our business.
Our PDTs are exclusively accessed through and depend on the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store. Both Apple and Google have broad discretion to make changes to their operating systems or payment services or change the manner in which their mobile operating systems function and their respective terms and conditions applicable to the distribution of our PDTs and to interpret their respective terms and conditions in ways that may limit, eliminate or otherwise interfere with our products, our ability to distribute our products through their stores, our ability to update our products, including to make bug fixes or other feature updates or upgrades, the features we provide, the manner in which we market our products and our ability to access native functionality or other aspects of mobile devices. To the extent either or both of them do so, our business, financial condition and results of operations would be materially and adversely affected.
There is no guarantee that the third-party infrastructure that currently support our PDTs will continue to support them or, if it does not, that other alternatives will be available. We will continue to be dependent on third-party mobile operating systems, technologies, networks and standards that we do not control, such as the Android and iOS operating systems, and any changes, bugs, technical or regulatory issues in such systems, our current relationships with carriers or future relationships with mobile manufacturers, or in their terms of service or policies that degrade our PDTs’ functionality, reduce or eliminate our ability to distribute our PDTs, limit our ability to deliver high quality PDTs, or impose fees or other charges related to delivering our offerings, could adversely affect our product usage and revenue.
We rely upon third party providers of cloud-based infrastructure to host our platform. Any disruption in the operations of these third-party providers, limitations on capacity or interference with our use could have a material adverse effect on our business, prospects, results of operations and financial condition.
Our platform’s technological infrastructure is implemented using third-party hosting services, such as Amazon Web Services. We have no control over any of these third parties, and we cannot guarantee that such third-party providers will not experience system interruptions, outages or delays, or deterioration in their performance. We need to be able to access our computational platform at any time, without interruption or degradation of performance. Our hosted platform depends on protecting the virtual cloud infrastructure hosted by third-party hosting services by maintaining our configuration, architecture, features, and interconnection specifications, as well as protecting the information stored in these virtual data centers, which is transmitted by third-party Internet service providers. We have experienced, and expect that in the future we may again experience interruptions, delays and outages in service and availability from time to time due to a variety of factors, including infrastructure changes, human or software errors, hosting disruptions and capacity constraints. Any limitation on the capacity of our third-party hosting services could adversely affect our business, financial condition, and results of operations. In addition, any incident affecting our third-party hosting services’ infrastructure, which may be caused by cyber-attacks, natural disasters, fire, flood, severe storm, earthquake, power loss, telecommunications failures, terrorist
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or other attacks, and other disruptive events beyond our control, could negatively affect our cloud-based solutions. A prolonged service disruption affecting our cloud-based solutions could damage our reputation or otherwise harm our business. We may also incur significant costs for using alternative equipment or taking other actions in preparation for, or in reaction to, events that damage the third-party hosting services we use.
In the event that our service agreements with our third-party hosting services are terminated, or there is a lapse of service, elimination of services or features that we utilize, interruption of Internet service provider connectivity, or damage to such facilities, we could experience interruptions in access to our platform as well as significant delays and additional expense in arranging or creating new facilities and services and/or re-architecting our hosted software solutions for deployment on a different cloud infrastructure service provider, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, prospects, results of operations and financial condition.
We rely on a limited number of third party digital pharmacies for the fulfillment of prescriptions. This reliance increases the risk that we could have a disruption in the fulfillment of prescriptions, which could have a material and adverse effect on our reputation, business, results of operations and financial condition.
We do not currently own or operate any pharmacy, nor are we licensed to perform pharmacy fulfillment services. We rely, and expect to continue to rely, on a limited number of third parties for the fulfillment of prescriptions. This reliance increases the risk that we could have a disruption in the fulfillment of prescriptions which could delay, prevent, or impair the distribution and sale of our products.
Pharmacies are subject to state and federal laws and regulations. We do not control the standards and processes of, and will be completely dependent on, our digital pharmacies for compliance with federal and state law and regulations. If our digital pharmacies fail to maintain regulatory compliance, we may need to find alternative pharmacies with the capability to fulfill prescriptions for PDTs. In addition, we have no control over the ability of our digital pharmacies to maintain adequate quality control, quality assurance, and qualified personnel. If a regulatory authority finds deficiencies with or withdraws required pharmacy licenses in the future, we may need to find alternative pharmacies with the capability to fulfill prescriptions for PDTs, which would significantly impact our ability to fulfill, distribute, and sell our products. We may be unable to establish any agreements with other digital pharmacies or to do so on acceptable terms. Even if we are able to establish agreements with other digital pharmacies, reliance on a limited number of digital pharmacies entails additional risks, including:
•the possible breach of the services agreement by the third party; and
•the possible termination or nonrenewal of the agreement by the third party at a time that is costly or inconvenient for us.
There are a limited number of digital pharmacies that have the capability to distribute PDTs and that might be capable of fulfilling prescriptions for our products.
If our current digital pharmacies cannot perform as agreed, we may be required to replace such digital pharmacies. We may incur added costs and delays in identifying and qualifying any such replacements. If the agreement with any of our third-party pharmacies is terminated, if any third-party pharmacy is unable to perform in accordance with the terms of the agreement, or if the services of any third-party pharmacy is terminated for any reason, it could have a material adverse effect on our business, prospects, results of operations, and financial condition.
Our current and anticipated future dependence upon others for the fulfillment of prescriptions for our product candidates or products may adversely affect our future profit margins and our ability to distribute any products on a timely and competitive basis.
We face significant competition and new products may emerge that provide different or better alternatives for treatment of the conditions that our products are authorized to treat. Many of our current and future competitors have or will have significantly more resources.
Our ability to achieve our strategic objectives will depend, among other things, on our ability to develop and commercialize products for the treatment of chronic conditions that are effective and safe, offer distinct features, are easy-to-use, provide measurable and meaningful cost savings to payors, and are more appealing than available alternatives. Our competitors, as well as a number of other companies, within and outside the healthcare industry,
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are pursuing new delivery devices, delivery technologies, sensing technologies, procedures, drugs, and other therapies for the monitoring and treatment of chronic conditions. Any technological breakthroughs in monitoring, treatment or prevention could reduce the potential market for our products, which would significantly reduce our sales.
The introduction by competitors of products that are or claim to be superior to our products may create market confusion, which may make it difficult for potential customers to differentiate the benefits of our products over competitive products. In addition, the entry of new PDTs to the market which treat the same or similar chronic conditions to our products may lead some of our competitors to employ pricing strategies that could materially and adversely affect the pricing of our products. If a competitor develops a product that competes with or is perceived to be superior to our products, or if a competitor employs strategies that place downward pressure on pricing within our industry, our sales may decline significantly or may not increase in line with our forecasts, either of which would materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.
While our market is in an early stage of development, it is evolving rapidly and becoming increasingly competitive, and we expect it to attract increased competition. We currently face competition from a range of companies. Our competitors include both enterprise companies who are focused on or may enter the healthcare industry, including initiatives and partnerships launched by these large companies, and from private companies that offer solutions for specific chronic conditions. We compete with pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies that are developing treatments for addiction and insomnia, including Alkermes and their product Vivitrol, Orexo and their product Zubsolv, Sandoz and their product Suboxone, Braeburn and their product Brixadi, Pfizer and their product Halcion, Merck and their product Belsomra, Sunovion and their product Lunesta and Sanofi and their product Ambien. In the digital health space we compete with companies that have created non-regulated products to treat addiction and insomnia such as Dynamicare, CBT4CBT, Pzizz, Headspace, Calm, Orexo and their product Modia, and Big Health and their product Sleepio. These and other companies, which may offer their solutions at lower prices, are continuing to develop additional products and becoming more sophisticated and effective. Competition from wellness apps, which are not authorized by the FDA but may attract consumers for other reasons, and from other parties will result in continued pricing pressures, which are likely to lead to price declines in certain product segments, which could negatively impact our sales, profitability and market share.
Our ability to compete effectively depends on our ability to distinguish our company and our solution from our competitors and their products.
Some of our competitors may have, or new competitors or alliances may emerge that have, greater name and brand recognition, greater market share, a larger customer base, more widely adopted proprietary technologies, greater marketing expertise, larger sales forces, or significantly greater resources than we do and may be able to offer solutions competitive with ours at a more attractive price than we can. Further, our current or potential competitors may be acquired by third parties with greater available resources. As a result, our competitors may be able to respond more quickly and effectively than we can to new or changing opportunities, technologies, standards or customer requirements and may have the ability to initiate or withstand substantial price competition. In addition, our competitors may in the future establish cooperative relationships with vendors of complementary products, technologies or services to increase the availability of their solutions in the marketplace. Our competitors could also be better positioned to serve certain segments of our market, which could create additional price pressure. In light of these factors, even if our products are more effective than those of our competitors, current or potential customers may accept competitive products in lieu of purchasing our products. If we are unable to successfully compete, our business, financial condition, and results of operations could be materially and adversely affected.
A limited number of healthcare insurers have agreed to reimburse purchases of our products, and there is no assurance that additional healthcare insurers will agree to reimburse purchases of our products in the future.
To date, a limited number of healthcare insurers have agreed to reimburse purchases of reSET, reSET-O, and Somryst. We depend upon revenue from sales of reSET, reSET-O, and Somryst, and in turn on reimbursement from third-party payors for such products. The amount that we receive as payment for our products may be materially and adversely affected by factors cannot control, including federal or state regulatory or legislative changes, and
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cost-containment decisions and changes in reimbursement schedules of third-party payors. Any reduction or elimination of these payments could have a material adverse effect on our business, prospects, results of operations and financial condition.
Additionally, the reimbursement process is complex and can involve lengthy delays. Also, third-party payors may reject, in whole or in part, requests for reimbursement based on determinations that certain amounts are not reimbursable under plan coverage, that services provided were not medically necessary, that additional supporting documentation is necessary, or for other reasons. Retroactive adjustments by third-party payors may be difficult or cost-prohibitive to appeal, and such changes could materially reduce the actual amount we receive. Delays and uncertainties in the reimbursement process may be out of our control and may materially and adversely affect our business, prospects, results of operations and financial condition.
If we are unable to expand our marketing infrastructure, we may fail to increase the usage of our products and platform to meet our forecasts.
We began commercializing our products in October 2019. As a result, we have limited experience marketing our products and engaging customers at our current scale. Our financial condition and results of operations are and will continue to be highly dependent on the ability of our marketing function to adequately promote, market, and attract customers to our products and platform in a manner that complies with applicable laws and regulations and at a cost that does not exceed our current budget allocated to marketing.
If we are unable to expand our marketing capabilities, which will be impacted by our available resources, we may not be able to effectively expand the scope of our ability to attract new customers. Relatedly, if any of our advertising platforms significantly increase their advertising fees, our ability to expand our marketing reach will be greatly impeded. Any such failure could adversely affect our reputation, revenue, and results of operations.
Failure to adequately expand our direct sales force may impede our growth.
We believe that our future growth will depend in part on the continued development of our direct sales force and its ability to obtain new customers and to manage our existing customers. Identifying and recruiting qualified personnel and training and managing a geographically dispersed sales team requires significant time, expense, and attention. In March 2023, our Chief Commercial Officer and VP, Market Access both resigned. It can take six months or longer before a new sales representative is fully trained and productive. Our business may be adversely affected if our efforts to expand and train our direct sales force do not generate a corresponding increase in revenue. In particular, if we are unable to hire, develop, and retain sufficient numbers of productive direct sales personnel or if new direct sales personnel are unable to achieve desired productivity levels in a reasonable period of time, sales of our services will suffer, and our growth will be impeded.
Any failure to offer high quality patient support may adversely affect our relationships with our existing and prospective patients, and in turn our business, results of operations and financial condition.
In implementing and using our products, our patients will depend on our patient support to resolve issues in a timely manner. We may be unable to respond quickly enough to accommodate short-term increases in demand for patient support. Increased patient demand for support could increase costs and adversely affect our results of operations and financial condition. Any failure to maintain high-quality patient support, or a market perception that we do not maintain high-quality patient support, could adversely affect patient satisfaction or the willingness of physicians to prescribe our products, and in turn our business, results of operations, and financial condition.
If we cannot maintain our corporate culture, we could lose the innovation, collaboration, and focus on the mission that contribute to our business.
We believe that our culture has been and will continue to be a critical contributor to our success. We believe our corporate culture has been crucial in our success and our ability to attract highly skilled personnel. If we do not continue to develop our corporate culture or maintain and preserve our core values as we grow and evolve, we may be unable to foster the innovation, curiosity, creativity, focus on execution, teamwork and the facilitation of critical knowledge transfer and knowledge sharing we believe we need to support our growth. Our status as a
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public company may result in a change to our corporate culture, which could harm our business. Our reductions in force may yield unintended consequences and costs, such as attrition beyond the intended reduction in force, the distraction of employees and reduced employee morale, which could, in turn, adversely impact productivity, including through a loss of continuity, loss of accumulated knowledge and/or inefficiency during transitional periods. Any of these impacts could also adversely affect our reputation as an employer, make it more difficult for us to hire new employees in the future and increase the risk that we may not achieve the anticipated benefits from the restructuring.
Business or economic disruptions or global health concerns could seriously harm our business.
Broad-based business or economic disruptions could adversely affect our business and the sale of our products. For example, in March 2020, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic. This outbreak resulted in extended shutdowns of certain businesses throughout the world. While the COVID-19 pandemic has not materially adversely affected our financial results and business operations through December 31, 2022, COVID-19 continues to present risks to the Company, and we continue to closely monitor the impact of the pandemic on all aspects of our business. Global health concerns, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, can impact healthcare industry spending for our products, adversely affect demand for our products, affect the ability of our sales team to travel to potential customers and the ability of our professional services teams to conduct in-person services and trainings, impact expected spending from new customers, negatively impact collections of accounts receivable, which could have a material adverse effect on our business and our results of operation and financial condition.
Changes in funding or disruption at the FDA, the SEC and other government agencies caused by funding shortages or global health concerns could hinder their ability to hire and retain key leadership and other personnel, or otherwise prevent new or modified products from being developed, reviewed or commercialized in a timely manner or at all, or otherwise prevent those agencies from performing normal business functions on which the operation of our business may rely, which could negatively impact our business.
The ability of the FDA to review and grant marketing authorization for new products can be affected by a variety of factors, including government budget and funding levels, ability to hire and retain key personnel and accept the payment of user fees, and statutory, regulatory and policy changes and other events that may otherwise affect the FDA’s ability to perform routine functions. Average review times at FDA have fluctuated in recent years as a result. In addition, government funding of the SEC and other government agencies on which our operations may rely, including those that fund research and development activities is subject to the political process, which is inherently fluid and unpredictable.
Disruptions at the FDA and other agencies, may also slow the time necessary for new digital therapeutics to be reviewed and/or granted marketing authorization by necessary government agencies, which would adversely affect our business. For example, in recent years, including for 35 days beginning on December 22, 2018, the US government shut down several times and certain regulatory agencies, such as the FDA and the SEC, had to furlough critical employees and stop critical activities.
If a prolonged government shutdown occurs, or if global health concerns continue to prevent the FDA or other regulatory authorities from conducting their regular inspections, reviews or other regulatory activities, it could significantly impact the ability of the FDA to timely review and process our regulatory submissions, which could have a material adverse effect on our business. Future government shutdowns or delays could impact our ability to access the public markets and obtain necessary capital in order to properly capitalize and continue our operations.
Risks Related to Our Intellectual Property and Technology
Limitations on our ability to maintain or obtain patent protection and/or the patent rights relating to our products and product candidates may limit our ability to prevent third parties from competing against us.
Our success depends, in part, on our ability to obtain and maintain patent protection (including utility patents and design patents) for our products and product features, including back-end architecture and graphical user interfaces. Our success further depends on our ability to obtain copyright registrations for our products’ source
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code; to obtain and maintain trademark protection for our product names and other key marks; to preserve our trade secrets and know-how; and to operate without infringing the intellectual property rights of others.
We cannot assure investors that we will continue to innovate and file new patent applications, or that if filed any future patent applications will result in granted patents. We cannot assure you that any of our currently pending patent applications will result in issued patents, that any current or future patents will not be challenged, invalidated or circumvented, that the scope of any of our patents will exclude competitors, or that the patent rights granted to us will provide us any competitive advantage or protect our products. The patent position of PDT companies, including ours, is generally uncertain and involves complex legal and factual considerations and, therefore, validity and enforceability cannot be predicted with certainty. Patents may be challenged, deemed unenforceable, invalidated or circumvented. We will be able to protect our proprietary rights from unauthorized use by third parties only to the extent that our proprietary technologies and any future products are covered by valid and enforceable patents and/or copyrights or are effectively maintained as trade secrets.
Any patents we have obtained or do obtain may be challenged in the US Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) or in federal courts, and may be invalidated or otherwise found unenforceable. Both the patent application process and the process of managing patent disputes can be time-consuming and expensive. If we (either alone or with a patent licensor or co-owner, as the case may require) were to initiate legal proceedings against a third party to enforce a patent related to one of our products, the defendant in such litigation could counterclaim that our (or our licensors’) patent is invalid and/or unenforceable. In patent litigation in the US, defendant counterclaims alleging invalidity and/or unenforceability are commonplace, as are validity challenges by the defendant against the subject patent or other patents before the USPTO. Grounds for a validity challenge could be an alleged failure to meet any of several statutory requirements, including lack of novelty, obviousness or non-enablement, failure to meet the written description requirement, indefiniteness, and/or failure to claim patent-eligible subject matter. Grounds for an unenforceability assertion could be an allegation that someone connected with prosecution of the patent intentionally withheld material information from the USPTO, or made a misleading statement, during prosecution, or otherwise committed fraud on the USPTO. Additional grounds for an unenforceability assertion include an allegation of misuse or anticompetitive use of patent rights, and an allegation of incorrect inventorship with deceptive intent. Third parties may also raise similar claims before the USPTO even outside the context of litigation. The outcome is unpredictable following legal assertions of invalidity and unenforceability. With respect to the validity question, for example, we cannot be certain that no invalidating prior art existed of which we (or a patent licensor or co-owner) and the patent examiner were unaware during prosecution. These assertions may also be based on information known to us or the USPTO. If a defendant or third party were to prevail on a legal assertion of invalidity and/or unenforceability, we would lose at least part, and perhaps all, of the claims of the challenged patent. Such a loss of patent protection would or could have a material adverse impact on our business.
The standards that the USPTO (and foreign equivalents) use to grant patents are not always applied predictably or uniformly and can change. There is also no uniform, worldwide policy regarding the subject matter and scope of claims granted or allowable in utility patents. Accordingly, we do not know the degree of future protection for our proprietary rights or the breadth of claims that will be allowed in any patents issued to us (or to a patent licensor) or to others.
There can be no assurance that our technology will not be found in the future to infringe upon the rights of others or be infringed upon by others. Moreover, patent applications are in some cases maintained in secrecy until patents are issued. The publication of discoveries in the scientific or patent literature frequently occurs substantially later than the date(s) on which the underlying discoveries were made and patent applications were filed. Because patents can take many years to issue, there may be currently pending applications of which we are unaware that may later result in issued patents that our products or product candidates infringe. For example, pending applications may exist that provide support or can be amended to provide support for a claim that results in an issued patent that our products infringe. In such a case, others may assert infringement claims against us, and should we be found to infringe upon their patents or otherwise impermissibly utilize their intellectual property, we might be subject to injunctive relief and/or forced to pay damages, potentially including treble damages, if we are found to have willfully infringed such parties’ patent rights. In addition to any damages we might have to pay, we may be required to obtain licenses from the holders of this intellectual property. We may fail to obtain any of these licenses of intellectual property rights on commercially reasonable terms (and even if we are able to obtain a
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license, it may be non-exclusive, in which case our competitors would potentially have access to the same technologies licensed to us as non-exclusive licensees). In that event, we may be required to expend significant time and resources to develop or license replacement technology. If we are unable to do so, we may be unable to develop or commercialize the affected products or product candidates, which could materially harm our business, and the third parties owning such intellectual property rights could seek either an injunction prohibiting our sales, or, with respect to our sales, an obligation on our part to pay royalties and/or other forms of compensation. Conversely, we may not always be able to successfully pursue our claims against others that infringe intellectual property rights in our technology. Thus, the proprietary nature of our technology or technology licensed by us may not provide adequate protection against competitors.
In addition to patents, we rely on copyrights to protect our products’ source code. We also rely on trademarks and trade names to differentiate our products from those of others and to protect the recognition of our company and products in the marketplace. We also rely on trade secrets, know-how, and proprietary knowledge that we seek to protect, in part, through confidentiality agreements with employees, consultants and others. We cannot assure you, however, that our proprietary information will not be shared or accessed without authorization, that our confidentiality agreements will not be breached, that we will have adequate remedies for any breach, or that our trade secrets will not otherwise become known to or independently developed by competitors.
Changes to the patent law in the US and other jurisdictions could diminish the value of patents in general and may impact the validity, scope or enforceability of our patent rights, thereby impairing our ability to protect our products and product candidates.
As is the case with other digital therapeutic companies, our success is dependent on intellectual property, particularly patents and trade secrets. Obtaining and enforcing patents in the digital therapeutic industry involve both technological and legal complexity and are therefore costly, time consuming, and inherently uncertain. Our patent rights, their associated costs, and the enforcement or defense of such patent rights may be affected by developments or uncertainty in the patent statute, patent case law or USPTO rules and regulations. Changes in either the patent laws or interpretation of the patent laws could increase the uncertainties and costs surrounding the prosecution of patent applications and the enforcement or defense of our issued patents.
For example, the US 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. Additionally, there have been recent proposals for additional changes to the patent laws of the US and other countries that, if adopted, could impact our ability to obtain patent protection for our proprietary technology or our ability to enforce rights in our proprietary technology. Depending on future actions by the US Congress, the US courts, the USPTO and the relevant law-making bodies in other countries, the laws and regulations governing patents could change in unpredictable ways that would weaken our ability to obtain new patents or to enforce any patents that we may obtain in the future.
If our trademarks and trade names are not adequately protected, we may not be able to build name recognition in our markets of interest and our competitive position may be harmed.
The registered or unregistered trademarks or trade names that we own may be challenged, infringed, circumvented, declared generic, lapsed or determined to be infringing on or dilutive of other marks. We may not be able to protect our rights in these trademarks and trade names, which we need in order to build name recognition with the public. In addition, third parties have filed, and may in the future file, for registration of trademarks similar or identical to our trademarks, thereby impeding our ability to build brand identity and possibly leading to market confusion. If they succeed in registering such trademarks and/or in developing common law rights in such trademarks, and if we are not successful in challenging such third-party rights, we may not be able to use these trademarks to develop brand recognition of our services. 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. If we are unable to establish or protect our trademarks and trade names, or if we are unable to build name recognition based on our trademarks and trade names, we may not be able to compete effectively, which could harm our competitive position, business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.
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Accusations of infringement of third-party intellectual property rights could materially and adversely affect our business.
There has been substantial litigation regarding intellectual property rights, and we may be sued for infringement from time to time. Also, in some instances, we have agreed to indemnify third parties for expenses and liability resulting from claimed intellectual property infringement. From time to time, we may receive requests for indemnification in connection with allegations of intellectual property infringement and we may choose, or be required, to assume the defense and/or reimburse third parties for their expenses, settlement and/or liability. We cannot assure you that we will be able to settle any future claims or, if we are able to settle any such claims, that the settlement will be on terms favorable to us. Our broad range of technology may increase the likelihood that third parties will claim that we infringe their intellectual property rights.
We may in the future receive notices of allegations of infringement, misappropriation or misuse of other parties’ proprietary rights. Furthermore, regardless of their merits, accusations and litigation of this nature may require significant time and expense to defend, may negatively affect customer relationships, may divert management’s attention away from other aspects of our operations and, upon resolution, may have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, financial condition, and cash flows.
Certain technology necessary for us to provide our solutions may, in fact, be patented by other parties either now or in the future. If such technology were validly patented by a third party, we may have to negotiate a license for the use of that technology. We may not be able to negotiate such a license at a price that is acceptable to us or at all. The existence of such a patent, or our inability to negotiate a license for any such technology on acceptable terms, could force us to cease using the technology and cease offering products incorporating the technology, which could materially and adversely affect our business and results of operations.
If we, or any of our products, were found to be infringing on the intellectual property rights of any third party, we could be subject to liability for such infringement, which could be material. We could also be prohibited from using or selling certain products, prohibited from using certain processes, or required to redesign certain products, each of which could have a material adverse effect on our business and results of operations.
These and other outcomes may: result in the loss of a substantial number of existing customers or prohibit the acquisition of new customers; cause us to pay license fees for intellectual property we are deemed to have infringed; cause us to incur costs and devote valuable technical resources to redesigning our products; cause our cost of revenues to increase; cause us to accelerate expenditures to preserve existing revenues; materially and adversely affect our brand in the marketplace and cause a substantial loss of goodwill; cause us to change our business methods or products; and require us to cease certain business operations or offering certain products or features.
If we are unable to protect the confidentiality of our trade secrets, our business and competitive position would be harmed.
In addition to patent protection, we rely heavily upon know-how and trade secret protection, as well as non-disclosure agreements and invention assignment agreements with our employees, consultants and third parties, to protect our confidential and proprietary information, especially where we do not believe patent protection is appropriate or obtainable. It is our policy to require our employees and consultants to execute confidentiality agreements upon the commencement of employment or consulting relationships with us. These agreements provide that all confidential information concerning our business or financial affairs developed or made known to the individual or entity during the course of the party’s relationship with us is to be kept confidential and not disclosed to third parties except in specific circumstances. In the case of employees, the agreements provide that all inventions conceived or completed by the individual, and which are related to our current or planned business or research and development or made during normal working hours, on our premises or using our equipment or proprietary information, are our exclusive property. In addition to contractual measures, we try to protect the confidential nature of our proprietary information using physical and technological security measures. Such measures may not, for example, in the case of misappropriation of a trade secret by an employee or third party with authorized access, provide adequate protection for our proprietary information. Our security measures may,
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for example, not prevent an employee or consultant from misappropriating our trade secrets and providing them to a competitor, and recourse we take against such misconduct may not provide an adequate remedy to protect our interests fully.
Enforcing a claim that a party illegally disclosed or misappropriated a trade secret can be difficult, expensive and time-consuming, and the outcome is unpredictable. In addition, trade secrets may be independently developed by others in a manner that could prevent legal recourse by us. If any of our confidential or proprietary information, such as our trade secrets, were to be disclosed or misappropriated, or if any such information were to be independently developed by a competitor, our competitive position could be harmed. In addition, courts outside the US may be less willing to protect trade secrets. Thus, we may not be able to meaningfully protect our trade secrets outside the US.
If we choose to go to court to stop a third party from using any of our trade secrets, we may incur substantial costs. These lawsuits may consume our time and other resources even if we are successful. Although we take steps to protect our proprietary information and trade secrets, including through contractual means with our employees and consultants, third parties may independently develop substantially equivalent proprietary information and techniques or otherwise gain access to our trade secrets or disclose our technology.
Third parties may assert that our employees, consultants, collaborators or partners have wrongfully used or disclosed confidential information or misappropriated trade secrets.
As is common in the digital health, technology, or pharmaceutical industries, we employ individuals who were previously employed at universities or other digital health, technology, or pharmaceutical companies, including our competitors or potential competitors. Although no claims against us are currently pending, and although we try to ensure that our employees and consultants do not use the proprietary information or know-how of others in their work for us, we may be subject to claims that we or our employees or consultants have inadvertently or otherwise used or disclosed intellectual property, including trade secrets or other proprietary information, of a former employer or other third party. 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. This risk is similarly applicable with respect to claims by third parties against any current or future licensors.
We may not be able to protect our intellectual property rights throughout the world.
Filing, prosecuting and defending patents on product candidates in all countries throughout the world is expensive. In addition, the laws of some foreign countries do not protect intellectual property rights to the same extent as laws in the US. For instance, following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the US government levied sanctions against Russia, and Russia responded by issuing a decree that removes protections for some patent holders who are registered in unfriendly countries, including the US. Accordingly, the USPTO has terminated its engagement with officials from intellectual property agencies in Russia. This reaction from a globally significant nation sets an unwieldy precedent, wherein other countries may now be expected to respond to political sanctions by extinguishing the intellectual property rights of those it deems “unfriendly.” Consequently, we may not be able to prevent third parties from practicing our inventions in all countries outside the US where we have issued patents, or from selling or importing products made using our inventions in other jurisdictions. Competitors may also 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 do not have patent protection or where we have patent protection but where enforcement is not as strong as that in the US. These products may compete with our products, and our patents or other intellectual property rights may not be effective or sufficient to prevent such competition.
Many companies have encountered significant problems in protecting and defending intellectual property rights in foreign jurisdictions. The legal systems of certain countries do not favor the enforcement of patents, trade secrets and other intellectual property rights, particularly those relating to digital health, pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical products, which could make it difficult for us, our licensors, or our licensees to stop the infringement of our patents or marketing of competing products against third parties in violation of our proprietary
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rights generally. The initiation of proceedings for infringement by third parties or by third parties to challenge the scope or validity of our patent rights in foreign jurisdictions could also result in substantial cost 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 any related patent applications at risk of not issuing, and could provoke third parties to assert claims against us, our licensors, or our licensees. We may not prevail in any lawsuits that we initiate or that are initiated against us, and the damages or other remedies awarded in lawsuits that we initiate, if any, may not be commercially meaningful.
Many countries, including European Union countries, India, Japan and China, have compulsory licensing laws under which a patent owner may be compelled under specified circumstances to grant licenses to third parties. In addition, many countries limit the enforceability of patents against government agencies or government contractors. In those countries, we may have limited remedies if patents are infringed or if we are compelled to grant a license to a third party, which could materially diminish the value of those patents. This could limit our potential revenue opportunities. 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.
We are party to and may, in the future, enter into collaborations, in-licensing arrangements, joint ventures, or strategic alliances with third parties that may not result in the development of commercially viable products or the generation of significant or any future revenues.
In the ordinary course of our business, we have and may continue to enter into collaborations, in-licensing arrangements, joint ventures, or strategic alliances to develop PDTs and to pursue new markets. Proposing, negotiating, and implementing collaborations, in-licensing arrangements, joint ventures, and strategic alliances may be a lengthy and complex process. Other companies, including those with substantially greater financial, marketing, sales, technology or other business resources, may compete with us for these opportunities or arrangements. We may not identify, secure or complete any such transactions or arrangements in a timely manner, on a cost-effective basis, on acceptable terms, or at all. We have limited institutional knowledge and experience with respect to these business development activities, and we may also not realize the anticipated benefits of any such transaction or arrangement. In particular, these collaborations may not result in the development of products that achieve commercial success or result in significant revenues and could be terminated prior to developing any products.
Additionally, we may not be in a position to exercise sole decision-making authority regarding the transaction or arrangement, which could create the potential risk of creating impasses on decisions, and our collaborators may have economic or business interests or goals that are, or that may become, inconsistent with our business interests or goals. It is possible that conflicts may arise with our collaborators, such as conflicts concerning the achievement of performance milestones, or the interpretation of significant terms under any agreement, such as those related to financial obligations or the ownership or control of intellectual property developed during the collaboration. Some of our current license agreements impose various development, diligence, commercialization or sublicensing, and other obligations. In spite of our efforts, a current or future licensor might conclude that we have materially breached our obligations under such license agreements and seek to terminate the license agreements, thereby removing or limiting our ability to develop and commercialize products and technology covered by these license agreements. Furthermore, if any conflicts arise with our current or future collaborators, they may act in their self-interest, which may be adverse to our best interest, and they may breach their obligations to us. In addition, we have limited control over the amount and timing of resources that our current collaborators or any future collaborators devote to our collaborators’ or our future products. Disputes between us and our collaborators may result in litigation or arbitration which would increase our expenses and divert the attention of our management. The agreements under which we may license intellectual property or technology from third parties may be complex, and certain provisions in such agreements may be susceptible to multiple interpretations. Further, these transactions and arrangements are contractual in nature and may be terminated or dissolved under the terms of the applicable agreements and, in such event, we may not continue to have rights to the products relating to such transaction or arrangement or may need to purchase such rights at a premium. If any of these various collaborations were terminated, or if the underlying patent rights licensed thereunder fail to provide the intended exclusivity, competitors or other third parties would have the freedom to seek marketing authorization
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of, and to market, products identical to ours and we may be required to cease our development and commercialization of certain of our product candidates.
Our products utilize third-party open source software components, which may pose particular risks to our proprietary software, technologies, products and services in a manner that could negatively affect our business.
We have chosen, and we may choose in the future, to use open source software in our products. We use various software composition tools, including Veracode and SonarQube, which are designed to monitor risks related to licenses and vulnerabilities related to open-source software. Use and distribution of open source software may entail greater risks than use of third-party commercial software, as open source licensors generally do not provide warranties or other contractual protections regarding infringement claims or the quality of the code. Some open source licenses may contain requirements that we make available source code for modifications or derivative works we create based upon the type of open source software we use. If we combine our proprietary software with open source software in a certain manner, we could, under certain open source licenses, be required to release the source code of our proprietary software to the public. This would allow our competitors to create similar products with less development effort and time and ultimately could result in a loss of product sales.
Although we intend to monitor any use of open source software to avoid subjecting our products to conditions we do not intend, the terms of many open source licenses have not been interpreted by US courts, and there is a risk that any such licenses could be construed in a way that could impose unanticipated conditions or restrictions on our ability to commercialize our products. Moreover, there is no assurance that our processes for controlling our use of open source software in our products will be effective. If we are held to have breached the terms of an open source software license, we could be required to seek licenses from third parties to continue offering our products on terms that are not economically feasible, to re-engineer our products, to discontinue the sale of our products if re-engineering could not be accomplished on a timely basis, or to make generally available, in source code form, our proprietary code, any of which could materially and adversely affect our business, operating results and financial condition.
Some of our products and research initiatives may be partially supported by government grant awards, which may or may not be available to us in the future or may subject us to federal regulations such as “march-in” rights, certain reporting requirements, and a preference for US manufacturing.
We have received various forms of grant funding from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) to support the clinical and commercial development activities of reSET and reSET-O in substance use disorder and opioid use disorder, respectively. To fund a portion of our future research initiatives and development programs, we may apply for additional grant funding from NIDA or other governmental agencies. However, funding by these governmental agencies may be significantly reduced or eliminated in the future for a number of reasons. For example, some programs are subject to a yearly appropriations process in Congress. In addition, we may not receive full funding under current or future grants because of budgeting constraints of the agency administering the program or unsatisfactory progress on the study being funded. Therefore, we cannot be certain that we will receive any future grant funding from any government agencies, or, that if received, we will receive the full amount of the particular grant award. Any such reductions could delay the development of our products and research initiatives.
Moreover, patent rights on inventions conceived or first actually reduced to practice in the performance of work under a US government funding agreement, or subject inventions, are subject to the Bayh-Dole Act of 1980, or Bayh-Dole Act. US government rights in subject inventions include a non-exclusive, non-transferable, irrevocable, paid up license to practice or have practiced for or on behalf of the US the subject invention throughout the world. In addition, the US government has the right to require us to grant exclusive, partially exclusive, or non-exclusive licenses to any subject inventions to a third party if the government determines that: (1) adequate steps have not been taken to commercialize the subject invention; (2) government action is necessary to meet public health or safety needs; or (3) government action is necessary to meet requirements for public use under federal regulations, which we refer to as march-in rights. The US government also has the right to take title to subject inventions if we fail, or the applicable licensor fails, to disclose the subject invention to the government, elect title, and file a patent application within specified time limits or if we cease to prosecute the patent application or will allow a patent to
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lapse. Each subject invention is also subject to certain reporting requirements, compliance with which may require us, or the applicable licensor, to expend substantial resources. In addition, the Bayh Dole Act requires that any exclusive license to use or sell products embodying the subject invention or produced through use of the subject invention in the US include a requirement that such licensed products will be manufactured substantially in the US. The manufacturing preference requirement can be waived if the patent owner can show that reasonable but unsuccessful efforts have been made to grant licenses on similar terms to potential licensees that would be likely to manufacture substantially in the US or that under the circumstances domestic manufacture is not commercially feasible.
As a result of any funding from NIDA, or if we enter into future arrangements involving federal government funding and conceive or first actually reduce to practice an invention in the performance of work under such funding, patent rights in any such subject inventions may be subject to the applicable provisions of the Bayh-Dole Act. To the extent any of our current or future patent rights relate to subject inventions, the provisions of the Bayh-Dole Act may similarly apply. Any exercise by the federal government of certain of its rights under the Bayh-Dole Act could harm our competitive position, business, financial condition, results of operations, and prospects.
Risks Relating to Our Products
The success of any enhancements or improvements to our products or any new products depends on several factors, including regulatory review timelines, timely completion, competitive pricing, adequate quality testing, integration with new and existing technologies in our products and third-party collaborators’ technologies and overall market acceptance.
We expect that the PDT market, as with many technology markets, will be characterized by rapid technological change, frequent new product and service introductions and enhancements, changing customer demands, and evolving industry standards. As an initial matter, a significant portion of our market may not have access to smartphones or other technology necessary to utilize our PDTs. In addition, the introduction of products and services embodying new technologies could quickly make existing products and services obsolete and unmarketable. Additionally, changes in laws and regulations could impact the usefulness of our products and could necessitate changes or modifications to our products to accommodate such changes. We invest substantial resources in researching and developing new products and enhancing our existing products by incorporating additional features, improving functionality, and adding other improvements to meet our patients’ evolving needs. If we are unable to develop and release new products, or successful enhancements, new features and modifications to our existing products, our business, financial condition and results of operations could be materially and adversely affected. We may not succeed in developing, marketing and delivering on a timely and cost-effective basis enhancements or improvements to our products or any new products that respond to continued changes in market demands or new customer requirements, and any enhancements or improvements to our products or any new products may not achieve market acceptance. Since developing our products is complex, the timetable for the release of new products and enhancements to existing products is difficult to predict, and we may not offer new products and updates as rapidly as our users require or expect. Any new products that we develop or acquire may not be introduced in a timely or cost-effective manner, may contain errors or defects, or may not achieve the broad market acceptance necessary to generate significant or any revenue.
The introduction of new products and products by competitors, the development of entirely new technologies to replace existing offerings or shifts in healthcare benefits trends could make our products obsolete or materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations. We may experience difficulties with software development, industry standards, design or marketing that could delay or prevent our development, introduction or implementation of new products, enhancements, additional features or capabilities. If patients and healthcare providers do not widely adopt our products, we may not be able to realize a return on our investment. If we do not accurately anticipate patient demand or we are unable to develop, license or acquire new features and capabilities on a timely and cost-effective basis, or if such enhancements do not achieve market acceptance, it could result in adverse publicity, loss of revenue or market acceptance or claims by patients or healthcare providers brought against us, each of which could have a material and adverse effect on our reputation, business, results of operations and financial condition.
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Our products may cause undesirable side effects or have other properties that could limit their commercial potential.
If we or others identify undesirable side effects directly or indirectly caused by our products, a number of potentially significant negative consequences could result, including:
•regulatory authorities may withdraw clearance, authorization, or approvals of such product;
•regulatory authorities may require additional warnings on the product’s label;
•we may be required to issue safety communications to patients or healthcare providers that outline the risks of such side effects;
•we could be sued and held liable for harm caused to patients; and
•our reputation may suffer.
Any of these events could prevent us from achieving or maintaining market acceptance of the particular product or product candidate and, as a result of negative impacts to our reputation, our other products or product candidates and could significantly harm our business, results of operations and prospects.
Our current product candidates are in various stages of development. Our product candidates may fail in development or suffer delays that adversely affect their commercial viability. If we fail to maintain clearance, de novo classification or authorization to market our product candidates for expanded indications, or if we are delayed in obtaining such marketing authorizations, our business, prospects, results of operations and financial condition could be materially and adversely affected.
The process of seeking FDA marketing authorization is expensive and time consuming. There can be no assurance that marketing authorization will be granted. If we are not successful in obtaining timely clearance, de novo classification or approval of our product candidates, we may never be able to generate significant revenue and may be forced to cease operations. The FDA can delay, limit or deny for many reasons, including:
•We may not be able to demonstrate to the FDA’s satisfaction that our product candidates meet the applicable regulatory standards for clearance, de novo classification, or authorization, as applicable;
•The FDA may disagree that our clinical data supports the label and use that we are seeking; and
•The FDA may disagree that the data from our preclinical or pilot studies and clinical trials is sufficient to support marketing authorization.
Obtaining marketing authorization from the FDA or any foreign regulatory authority could result in unexpected and significant costs for us and consume management’s time and other resources. The FDA could ask us to supplement our submissions, collect additional nonclinical data, conduct additional clinical trials, prepare additional manufacturing data or information or engage in other time-consuming actions, or it could simply deny our applications. In addition, if granted marketing authorization, we will be required to obtain additional FDA authorizations or clearances prior to making certain modifications to our devices. Further, FDA may impose other restrictions on our marketing authorizations, or we may lose marketing authorization, if post-market data demonstrates safety issues or lack of effectiveness. If we are unable to obtain and maintain the necessary marketing authorizations to market our products, our financial condition may be adversely affected, and our ability to grow domestically and internationally would likely be limited. Additionally, even if granted marketing authorization, our products may not receive marketing authorization for the indications that are necessary or desirable for successful commercialization or profitability. This could have a material adverse effect on our business, prospects, results of operations and financial condition.
Clinical trials of any of our products or product candidates may fail to produce results necessary to support regulatory clearance or authorization.
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We incur substantial expense for, and devote significant time to, clinical trials but cannot be certain that the trials will ever result in commercial gains. We may experience significant setbacks in clinical trials, even after earlier clinical trials showed promising results, and failure can occur at any time during the clinical development process. Any of our products may malfunction or may produce undesirable adverse effects that could cause us, institutional review boards (“IRBs”) or regulatory authorities to interrupt, delay or halt clinical trials. We, IRBs, the FDA, or another regulatory authority may suspend or terminate clinical trials at any time to avoid exposing trial participants to unacceptable health risks. Our clinical trials may produce negative or inconclusive results or may demonstrate a lack of effect of our product candidates. Additionally, the FDA may disagree with our interpretation of the data from our pilot studies and clinical trials, or may find the clinical trial design, conduct or results inadequate to demonstrate safety or effectiveness, and may require us to pursue additional clinical trials, which could further delay the clearance or authorization of our product candidates. If we are unable to demonstrate the safety and effectiveness of product candidates in our clinical trials, we will be unable to obtain the regulatory clearances or authorizations we need to commercialize new products.
In addition, to the extent that additional information regarding products being studied in clinical trials could translate to currently cleared or authorized products, such as information on new side effects, those results may impact existing clearances and authorizations, and required contraindications, warnings or precautions in product labeling.
Interim, “topline” and preliminary data from clinical trials of our products or product candidates may change as more patient data becomes available and are subject to confirmation, audit, and verification procedures that could result in material changes in the final data.
From time to time, we may publicly disclose preliminary or topline data from our pilot studies and clinical trials, which is based on a preliminary analysis of then-available data, and the results and related findings and conclusions are subject to change following a more comprehensive review of the data related to the particular study or trial. We also make assumptions, estimations, calculations, and conclusions as part of our analyses of data, and we may not have received or had the opportunity to fully and carefully evaluate all data. As a result, the topline or preliminary results that we report may differ from future results of the same studies, or different conclusions or considerations may qualify such results, once additional data have been received and fully evaluated. Topline data also remain subject to audit and verification procedures that may result in the final data being materially different from the preliminary data we previously published. As a result, topline data should be viewed with caution until the final data are available. From time to time, we may also disclose interim data from our clinical trials. Interim or preliminary data from clinical trials are subject to the risk that one or more of the clinical outcomes may materially change as patient enrollment and treatment continues and more patient data become available or as patients from our clinical trials continue other treatments for their disease. Adverse differences between preliminary or interim data and final data could significantly harm our business prospects. Further, disclosure of interim data by us or by our competitors could result in volatility in the price of our Class A common stock.
Further, third parties, including regulatory agencies, may not accept or agree with our assumptions, estimates, calculations, conclusions or analyses or may interpret or weigh the importance of data differently, which could impact the potential of the particular program, the likelihood of marketing authorization or clearance or commercialization of the particular product candidate, the commercial success of any product for which we may have already obtained authorization or clearance, and our company in general. In addition, the information we choose to publicly disclose regarding a particular study or clinical trial is derived from information that is typically extensive, and you or others may not agree with what we determine is material or otherwise appropriate information to include in our disclosure.
If the interim, topline, or preliminary data that we report differ from actual results, or if others, including regulatory authorities, disagree with the conclusions reached, our ability to obtain clearance, authorization, or approval for, and commercialize, our product candidates may be harmed, which could harm our business, operating results, prospects or financial condition.
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reSET-O is used in combination with buprenorphine which exposes us to additional risks.
reSET-O is FDA-authorized for treatment of OUD in combination with buprenorphine. We are subject to the risk that the FDA could revoke approval of buprenorphine or that safety, efficacy, manufacturing or supply issues could arise with buprenorphine. This could materially and adversely affect reSET-O’s commercial success. Furthermore, if buprenorphine and/or buprenorphine/Naloxone are utilized less due to other medications being used more frequently this could have a negative impact on the use of reSET-O.
Risks Related to Our Regulatory Compliance and Legal Matters
We operate in a highly regulated industry and are subject to a wide range of federal, state and local laws, rules and regulations, including FDA regulatory requirements and laws pertaining to fraud and abuse in healthcare, that affect nearly all aspects of our operations. Failure to comply with these laws, rules and regulations, or to obtain and maintain required licenses, could subject us to enforcement actions, including substantial civil and criminal penalties, and might require us to recall or withdraw a product from the market or cease operations. Any of the foregoing could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.
We and our products are subject to extensive regulation in the US, including by the FDA. The regulations to which we are subject are complex. The FDA regulates, among other things, with respect to medical devices: design, development and manufacturing; testing, labeling, content and language of instructions for use; clinical trials; product safety; medical device cybersecurity; pre-market clearance, authorization, and approval; establishment registration and device listing; marketing, sales and distribution; complaint handling; record keeping procedures; advertising and promotion; recalls and field safety corrective actions; post-market surveillance, including reporting of deaths or serious injuries and malfunctions that, if they were to recur, could lead to death or serious injury; post-market studies; and product import and export. The FDA monitors compliance with these applicable regulatory requirements through periodic unannounced inspections as well as various other channels, such as reviewing post-market surveillance and recall reports, monitoring advertising and promotional practices on-line and at trade shows, and reviewing trade complaints submitted by competitors or other third parties. We do not know whether we will pass any future inspections for FDA compliance, or whether the FDA might identify compliance concern(s) through other channels of information. Failure to comply with applicable regulations could jeopardize our ability to sell our products and result in enforcement-related actions such as: FDA Form 483s; untitled or warning letters; clinical holds on research; fines; injunctions; civil penalties; termination of distribution; recalls or seizures of products; delays in the introduction of products into the market; total or partial suspension of production; refusal to grant future clearances, authorizations, or approvals; withdrawals or suspensions of current clearances or marketing authorizations, resulting in prohibitions on the sale and distribution of our products; and in the most serious cases, criminal penalties. Any of these sanctions could result in higher than anticipated costs or lower than anticipated sales and have a material adverse effect on our reputation, business, financial condition and results of operations.
The FDA and the FTC also regulate the advertising and promotion of our products to ensure that the claims we make are consistent with our regulatory authorizations, that there is adequate and reasonable data to substantiate the claims and that our promotional labeling and advertising is neither false nor misleading. If the FDA or FTC determines that any of our advertising or promotional claims are false, misleading, not substantiated or not permissible, we may be subject to enforcement actions, including untitled or warning letters, and we may be required to revise our promotional claims and make other corrections or restitutions. We also may be subject to fines, or other regulatory, civil, or criminal sanctions.
Additional federal and state healthcare laws and regulations that may affect our ability to conduct business include, without limitation:
•the federal Anti-Kickback Statute, which prohibits, among other things, any person from knowingly and willfully offering, soliciting, receiving or providing remuneration, directly or indirectly, in exchange for or to induce either the referral of an individual for, or the purchase, order or recommendation of, any good or service for which payment may be made under federal healthcare programs, such as CMS programs;
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•the federal civil false claims and civil monetary penalties laws, including, without limitation, the federal False Claims Act, which prohibits, among other things, individuals or entities from knowingly presenting, or causing to be presented, false claims, or knowingly using false statements, to obtain payment from the federal government;
•federal criminal laws that prohibit executing a scheme to defraud any healthcare benefit program or making false statements relating to healthcare matters;
•the federal Civil Monetary Penalties Law prohibits, among other things, offering or transferring remuneration to a federal healthcare beneficiary that a person knows or should know is likely to influence the beneficiary’s decision to order or receive items or services reimbursable by the government from a particular provider or supplier;
•the federal Physician Payment Sunshine Act, or Open Payments, created under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, as amended by the Health Care and Education Affordability Reconciliation Act of 2010, or collectively the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”), and its implementing regulations, which requires manufacturers of drugs, medical devices, biologicals and medical supplies for which payment is available under Medicare, Medicaid, or the Children’s Health Insurance Program to report annually to CMS information related to payments or other transfers of value made to licensed physicians and teaching hospitals, as well as ownership and investment interests held by physicians and their immediate family members;
•Health Insurance Portability Administration and Accountability Act of 1996 (“HIPAA”), as amended by the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act, and its implementing regulations, which impose certain requirements relating to the privacy, security and transmission of protected health information (“PHI”), on certain healthcare providers, health plans and healthcare clearinghouses, and their business associates that access or otherwise process individually identifiable health information on their behalf; HIPAA also created criminal liability for knowingly and willfully falsifying or concealing a material fact or making a materially false statement in connection with the delivery of or payment for healthcare benefits, items or services;
•medical device regulations pursuant to the federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act which require, among other things, pre-market clearance, authorization, or approval; compliant labeling; medical device adverse event reporting; establishment registration and device listing; reporting of corrections and removals; and quality system requirements;
•state law equivalents of each of the above federal laws, such as anti-kickback and false claims laws which may apply to items or services reimbursed by any third-party payor, including commercial insurers, and state and foreign laws governing the privacy and security of health information in certain circumstances, many of which differ from each other in significant ways and are in addition to requirements under HIPAA, thus complicating compliance efforts; and
•state laws governing the corporate practice of medicine and other healthcare professions and related fee-splitting laws.
Our employees, consultants and commercial collaborators may engage in misconduct or other improper activities, including non-compliance with such regulatory standards and requirements.
Because of the breadth of these laws and the narrowness of available statutory and regulatory exemptions, it is possible that some of our activities could be subject to challenge under one or more of such laws. Any action brought against us for violations of these laws or regulations, even if successfully defended, could cause us to incur significant legal expenses and divert our management’s attention from the operation of our business. We may be subject to private “qui tam” actions brought by individual whistleblowers on behalf of the federal or state governments, with potential liability under the federal False Claims Act including mandatory treble damages and significant per-claim penalties.
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Although we have adopted policies and procedures designed to comply with these laws and regulations and conduct internal reviews of our compliance with these laws, our compliance is also subject to governmental review. The growth of our business and sales organization including future expansion outside of the US may increase the potential of violating these laws or our internal policies and procedures. The risk of our being found in violation of these or other laws and regulations is further increased by the fact that many have not been fully interpreted by the regulatory authorities or the courts, and their provisions are open to a variety of interpretations. Any action brought against us for violation of these or other laws or regulations, even if we successfully defend against it, could cause us to incur significant legal expenses and divert our management’s attention from the operation of our business. If our operations are found to be in violation of any of the federal, state and foreign laws described above or any other current or future fraud and abuse or other healthcare laws and regulations that apply to us, we may be subject to penalties, including significant criminal, civil and administrative penalties, damages and fines, disgorgement, additional reporting requirements and oversight if we become subject to a corporate integrity agreement or similar agreement to resolve allegations of noncompliance with these laws, imprisonment for individuals and exclusion from participation in government programs, such as Medicare and Medicaid, as well as contractual damages and reputational harm. We could also be required to curtail or cease our operations. Any of the foregoing consequences could seriously harm our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Our employees, independent contractors, consultants and collaborators may engage in misconduct or other improper activities, including non-compliance with regulatory standards and requirements, which could cause significant liability for us and harm our reputation.
We are exposed to the risk that our employees, independent contractors, consultants and collaborators may engage in fraudulent conduct or other illegal activity. 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 comply with these laws or regulations. Misconduct by those parties could include intentional, reckless and/or negligent conduct or disclosure of unauthorized activities to us that violates:
•FDA regulations or similar regulations of comparable non-US regulatory authorities, including those laws requiring the reporting of true, complete and accurate information to such authorities;
•federal and state healthcare fraud and abuse laws and regulations and similar laws and regulations established and enforced by comparable non-US regulatory authorities; and
•laws that require the reporting of financial information or data accurately.
In particular, sales, marketing and business arrangements in the healthcare industry are subject to extensive laws and regulations intended to prevent fraud, misconduct, 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 may involve the improper use or misrepresentation of information obtained in the course of clinical trials, creating fraudulent data in our clinical trials or illegal misappropriation of product materials, which could result in regulatory sanctions and serious harm to our reputation. It is not always possible to identify and deter misconduct, 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, standards or regulations. Additionally, we are subject to the risk that a person or government could allege such fraud or other misconduct, even if none occurred. If any such actions are instituted against us, and we are not successful in defending ourselves or asserting our rights, those actions could have a significant impact on our business and results of operations, including the imposition of civil, criminal and administrative penalties, damages, monetary fines, disgorgement, integrity oversight and reporting obligations, possible exclusion from participation in Medicare, Medicaid and other federal healthcare
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programs, contractual damages, reputational harm, diminished profits and future earnings, and curtailment of our operations, any of which could have a material adverse effect on our ability to operate our business and our results of operations.
We could incur significant liability if it is determined that we are promoting any “off-label” uses of our products.
Although our products are marketed for the specific therapeutic uses for which the devices were designed and our personnel are trained not to promote our products for uses outside of the FDA-cleared or authorized indications for use, known as “off-label uses,” we cannot, however, prevent a physician from using our products in ways, when in the physician’s independent professional medical judgment, he or she deems it appropriate. The use of our products for indications other than those authorized, cleared, or approved by the FDA or authorized by any foreign regulatory body may not effectively treat such conditions, which could harm our reputation in the marketplace among primary care physicians and patients.
If the FDA or any foreign regulatory body determines that our promotional materials or training constitute promotion of an off-label use, it could request that we modify our training or promotional materials or subject us to regulatory or enforcement actions, including the issuance or imposition of an untitled letter or warning letter, injunction, seizure, civil fine or criminal penalties. It is also possible that other federal, state or foreign enforcement authorities might take action under other regulatory authority, such as false claims laws, based on our off-label promotion having caused submission of false (non-reimbursable) claims, for any products for which we obtain government reimbursement, if they consider our business activities to constitute promotion of an off-label use, which could result in significant penalties, including, but not limited to, criminal, civil and administrative penalties, damages, fines, disgorgement, exclusion from participation in government healthcare programs and the curtailment of our operations. In addition, certain jurisdictions have “all payor” false claims act laws that extend penalties for false claims beyond those submitted to government programs.
We face potential product liability exposure, and, if claims brought against us are successful, we could incur substantial liabilities.
Our business exposes us to potential product liability claims that are inherent in the design, manufacture, testing and sale of medical devices. We could become the subject of product liability lawsuits alleging that component failures, manufacturing flaws, design defects or inadequate disclosure of product-related risks or product-related information resulted in an unsafe condition, injury or death to patients. In addition, physicians may misuse our products with their patients if they are not adequately trained, potentially leading to injury and an increased risk of product liability. The misuse of our products, or the failure of physicians or patients to adhere to operating guidelines, could cause significant harm to patients, including death, which could result in product liability claims. Product liability lawsuits and claims, safety alerts or product recalls, with or without merit, could cause us to incur substantial costs, and could place a significant strain on our financial resources, divert the attention of management from our core business, harm our reputation and materially and adversely affect our ability to attract and retain patients, any of which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Although we maintain third-party product liability insurance coverage, it is possible that claims against us may exceed the coverage limits of our insurance policies. Even if any product liability loss is covered by an insurance policy, these policies typically have substantial deductibles for which we are responsible. Product liability claims in excess of applicable insurance coverage could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations. In addition, any product liability claim brought against us, with or without merit, could result in an increase of our product liability insurance premiums. Insurance coverage varies in cost and can be difficult to obtain, and we cannot guarantee that we will be able to obtain insurance coverage in the future on terms acceptable to us or at all.
Additionally, from time to time we may enter into agreements pursuant to which we indemnify third parties for certain claims relating to our products. These indemnification obligations may require us to pay significant sums of money for claims that are covered by these indemnification obligations. We are not currently subject to any product liability claims; however, any future product liability claims against us, regardless of their merit, may result
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in negative publicity about us that could ultimately harm our reputation and could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Healthcare reform and other governmental and private payor initiatives may have an adverse effect upon, and could prevent, our products’ or product candidates’ commercial success.
In the US and in certain foreign jurisdictions, there have been a number of legislative and regulatory changes to the healthcare system that could impact our ability to sell our products profitably, such as the ACA.
Since its enactment, there have been numerous judicial, administrative, executive, and legislative challenges to certain aspects of the ACA, and we expect there will be additional challenges and amendments to the ACA in the future. For example, various portions of the ACA are currently undergoing legal and constitutional challenges in the US Supreme Court. Additionally, the former Trump administration issued various Executive Orders which eliminated cost-sharing subsidies and various provisions that would impose a fiscal burden on states or a cost, fee, tax, penalty or regulatory burden on individuals, healthcare providers, health insurers, or manufacturers of pharmaceuticals or medical devices and Congress has introduced several pieces of legislation aimed at significantly revising or repealing the ACA. Further, on December 20, 2019, the Further Consolidated Appropriations Act (H.R. 1865), which repeals the Cadillac tax, the health insurance provider tax, and the medical device excise tax, was signed into law. It is unclear whether the ACA will be overturned, repealed, replaced, or further amended. We cannot predict what affect further changes to the ACA would have on our business, especially under the Biden administration.
Other legislative changes have been proposed and adopted in the US since the ACA was enacted. In August 2011, the Budget Control Act of 2011, among other things, 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 includes aggregate reductions of Medicare payments to providers up to 2% per fiscal year, and, due to subsequent legislative amendments, will remain in effect through 2030 unless additional congressional action is taken. Pursuant to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (the “CARES Act”), as well as subsequent legislation, these reductions were suspended from May 1, 2020 through March 31, 2022. Sequestration resumed at 1% for dates between April 1, 2022 and June 30, 2022, and then increased to the pre-pandemic level of 2% for dates after July 1, 2022. Proposed legislation, if passed, would introduce another suspension until the end of the pandemic.
There has been increasing legislative and enforcement interest in the US with respect to prescription-pricing practices. Specifically, there have been several recent US Congressional inquiries and proposed federal and state legislation designed to, among other things, bring more transparency to drug pricing, reduce the cost of prescription drugs under Medicare, review the relationship between pricing and manufacturer patient programs, and reform government program reimbursement methodologies for drugs. The HHS has already started the process of soliciting feedback on some of these measures and, at the same time, is immediately implementing others under its existing authority. It is unclear what effect such legislative and enforcement interest may have on prescription devices. Further, it is unclear whether the Biden administration will challenge, reverse, revoke or otherwise modify the prior administration’s executive and administrative actions.
We expect that these and other healthcare reform measures that may be adopted in the future, may result in more rigorous coverage criteria and in additional downward pressure on the price that we receive for any cleared, authorized, or approved device, which could have an adverse effect on patients for our products or product candidates. Any reduction in reimbursement from Medicare or other government programs may result in a similar reduction in payments from private payors.
There have been, and likely will continue to be, legislative and regulatory proposals at the federal and state levels in the US directed at broadening the availability of healthcare and containing or lowering the cost of healthcare. The implementation of cost containment measures or other healthcare reforms may prevent us from being able to generate revenue, attain profitability or commercialize our products. Such reforms could have an adverse effect on anticipated revenue from product candidates that we may successfully develop and for which we may obtain
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regulatory clearance, authorization, or approval and that may affect our overall financial condition and ability to develop product candidates. If we or any third parties we may engage are slow or unable to adapt to changes in existing requirements or the adoption of new requirements or policies, or if we or such third parties are not able to maintain regulatory compliance, our current or any future product candidates we may develop may lose any regulatory clearance, authorization, or approval that may have been obtained and we may not achieve or sustain profitability.
Noncompliance with billing and documentation requirements could result in non-payment or subject us to billing or other compliance investigations by government authorities or private insurers.
Payors typically have differing and complex billing and documentation requirements. If we fail to comply with these payor-specific requirements, we may not be paid for our services or payment may be substantially delayed or reduced. Moreover, federal and state laws, rules and regulations impose substantial penalties, including criminal and civil fines, monetary penalties, exclusion from participation in government healthcare programs and imprisonment, on entities or individuals (including any individual corporate officers or physicians deemed responsible) that fraudulently or wrongfully bill government-funded programs or other third-party payors for healthcare services.
From time to time in the ordinary course of business, governmental agencies and private insurers also conduct audits of healthcare companies like us. Such audits could result in the incurrence of additional costs and diversion of management’s time and attention. In addition, such audits could trigger repayment demands based on findings that our products were billed in a manner that violated applicable billing requirements. We cannot predict whether any future audits, inquiries or investigations, or the public disclosure of such matters, likely would negatively impact our business, financial condition, results of operations, cash flows and the trading price of our securities.
We are subject to data privacy and security laws and regulations governing our collection, use, disclosure, or storage of personally identifiable information, including protected health information and payment card data, which may impose restrictions on us and our operations. Any actual or perceived noncompliance with such laws and regulations may result in penalties, regulatory action, loss of business or unfavorable publicity.
Numerous federal and state laws and regulations govern the collection, use, disclosure, storage and transmission of personally identifiable information (“PII”), including PHI, and information related to treatment for substance use disorders. These laws and regulations, including their interpretation by governmental agencies, are subject to frequent change and could have a negative impact on our business. In addition, in the future, industry requirements or guidance, contractual obligations, and/or legislation at both the federal and the state level may limit, forbid or regulate the use or transmission of health information outside of the US.
These varying interpretations can create complex compliance issues for us and our partners and potentially expose us to additional expense, adverse publicity and liability, any of which could materially and adversely affect our business.
Federal and state consumer protection laws are increasingly being applied by the FTC and states’ attorneys general to regulate the collection, use, storage and disclosure of PII, through websites or otherwise, and to regulate the presentation of website content. In addition, other laws, such as the Confidentiality of Substance Use Disorder Patient Records regulations at 42 C.F.R. Part 2, limit the potential use of in substance use disorder treatment-related data in non-treatment-based setting, such as administrative or criminal hearings related to the patient, and include associated restrictions on disclosure of information.
The security measures that we and our third-party vendors and subcontractors have in place to ensure compliance with privacy and data protection laws may not protect our facilities and systems from security breaches, acts of vandalism or theft, computer viruses, misplaced or lost data, programming and human errors or other similar events. Even though we provide for appropriate protections through our agreements with our third-party vendors, we still have limited control over their actions and practices. A breach of privacy or security of PII or PHI may result in an enforcement action, including criminal and civil liability, against us. We are not able to predict the extent of the impact such incidents may have on our business. Enforcement actions against us could be costly and could interrupt regular operations, which may materially and adversely affect our business. While we have not received
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any notices of violation of the applicable privacy and data protection laws and believe we are in compliance with such laws, there can be no assurance that we will not receive such notices in the future.
There is ongoing concern from privacy advocates, regulators and others regarding data privacy and security issues, and the number of jurisdictions with data privacy and security laws has been increasing. Also, there are ongoing public policy discussions regarding whether the standards for de-identification, anonymization, or pseudonymization of health information are sufficient, and the risk of re-identification sufficiently small, to adequately protect patient privacy. We expect there will continue to be new proposed and amended laws, regulations and industry standards concerning privacy, data protection and information security in the US, such as the California Consumer Privacy Act (“CCPA”), which went into effect on January 1, 2020, and has been amended several times. Other US states also are considering omnibus privacy legislation and industry organizations regularly adopt and advocate for new standards in these areas. While the CCPA contains exceptions for certain activities involving PHI under HIPAA, we cannot yet determine the impact the CCPA or other such future laws, regulations and standards may have on our business.
Future laws, regulations, standards, obligations, amendments, and changes in the interpretation of existing laws, regulations, standards and obligations could impair our or our customers’ ability to collect, use or disclose information relating to patients or consumers, including information derived therefrom, which could decrease demand for our products, increase our costs and impair our ability to maintain and grow our customer base and increase our revenue. Accordingly, we may find it necessary or desirable to fundamentally change our business activities and practices or to expend significant resources to modify our software or platform and otherwise adapt to these changes.
Further, our patients may expect us to comply with more stringent privacy and data security requirements than those imposed by laws, regulations, or self-regulatory requirements, and we may be obligated contractually to comply with additional or different standards relating to our handling or protection of data.
Any failure or perceived failure by us to comply with federal or state laws or regulations, industry standards or other legal obligations, or any actual or suspected privacy or security incident, whether or not resulting in unauthorized access to, or acquisition, release or transfer of PII or other data, may result in governmental enforcement actions and prosecutions, private litigation, fines and penalties or adverse publicity and could cause our customers to lose trust in us, which could have an adverse effect on our reputation and business. We may be unable to make such changes and modifications in a commercially reasonable manner or at all, and our ability to develop new products could be limited. Any of these developments could harm our business, financial condition and results of operations. Privacy and data security concerns, whether valid or not valid, may inhibit retention of our products by existing customer or adoption of our products by new customers.
Security breaches, ransomware attacks and other disruptions to our information technology structure could compromise our information, disrupt our business, and expose us to significant liability, which would cause our business and reputation to suffer and we may be unable to maintain and scale our technology.
In the ordinary course of our business, we collect, store, use and disclose sensitive data, including PHI and other types of PII. We also process and store, and use additional third parties to process and store, sensitive information including intellectual property and other proprietary business information, including that of our patients. Patient information is encrypted but not always de-identified. We manage and maintain our platform and data utilizing a combination of managed data center systems and cloud-based computing center systems.
We are highly dependent on information technology networks and systems, including the internet, to securely process, transmit and store this critical information. Security breaches of this infrastructure, including physical or electronic break-ins, computer viruses, attacks by hackers and similar breaches, and employee or contractor error, negligence or malfeasance, can create system disruptions, shutdowns or unauthorized disclosure or modifications of confidential information, causing member PHI and other PII to be accessed or acquired without authorization or to become publicly available. We utilize third-party service providers for important aspects of the collection, storage and transmission of customer, user and patient information, and other confidential and sensitive information, and therefore rely on third parties to manage functions that have material cybersecurity risks.
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Because of the sensitivity of the PHI, other PII, and other confidential information we and our service providers collect, store, transmit, and otherwise process, the security of our technology platform and other aspects of our services, including those provided or facilitated by our third-party service providers, are important to our operations and business strategy. We take certain administrative, physical and technological safeguards to address these risks, such as by requiring outsourcing subcontractors who handle customer, user and patient information for us to enter into agreements that contractually obligate those subcontractors to use reasonable efforts to safeguard PHI, other PII, and other sensitive information. Measures taken to protect our systems, those of our subcontractors, or the PHI, other PII, or other sensitive data we or our subcontractors process or maintain, may not adequately protect us from the risks associated with the collection, storage and transmission of such information. Although we take steps to help protect confidential and other sensitive information from unauthorized access or disclosure, our information technology and infrastructure may be vulnerable to attacks by hackers or viruses, failures or breaches due to third-party action, employee negligence or error, malfeasance or other disruptions.
A security breach or privacy violation that leads to disclosure or unauthorized use or modification of, or that prevents access to or otherwise impacts the confidentiality, security, or integrity of, member information, including PHI or other PII, or other sensitive information we or our subcontractors maintain or otherwise process, could harm our reputation, compel us to comply with breach notification laws, cause us to incur significant costs for remediation, fines, penalties, notification to individuals and for measures intended to repair or replace systems or technology and to prevent future occurrences, potential increases in insurance premiums, and require us to verify the accuracy of database contents, resulting in increased costs or loss of revenue. If we are unable to prevent such security breaches or privacy violations or implement satisfactory remedial measures, or if it is perceived that we have been unable to do so, our operations could be disrupted, we may be unable to provide access to our platform, and could suffer a loss of customers or users or a decrease in the use of our platform, and we may suffer loss of reputation, adverse impacts on customer, user and investor confidence, financial loss, governmental investigations or other actions, regulatory or contractual penalties, and other claims and liability. In addition, security breaches and other inappropriate access to, or acquisition or processing of, information can be difficult to detect, and any delay in identifying such incidents or in providing any notification of such incidents may lead to increased harm.
Any such breach or interruption of our systems, or those of any of our third-party information technology partners, could compromise our networks or data security processes and sensitive information could be inaccessible or could be accessed by unauthorized parties, publicly disclosed, lost or stolen. Any such interruption in access, improper access, disclosure or other loss of information could result in legal claims or proceedings, liability under laws and regulations that protect the privacy of member information or other personal information, such as HIPAA, the CCPA, other state data breach laws and regulatory penalties. Unauthorized access, loss or dissemination could also disrupt our operations, including our ability to perform our services, provide member assistance services, conduct research and development activities, collect, process, and prepare company financial information, provide information about our current and future solutions and engage in other user and clinician education and outreach efforts. Any such breach could also result in the compromise of our trade secrets and other proprietary information, which could materially and adversely affect our business and competitive position. While we maintain insurance covering certain security and privacy damages and claim expenses, we may not carry insurance or maintain coverage sufficient to compensate for all liability and in any event, insurance coverage would not address the reputational damage that could result from a security incident.
International privacy and data security concerns and laws could result in additional costs and may prevent us from successfully expanding our business internationally.
Internationally, virtually every major jurisdiction has established its own data security and privacy legal framework. For instance, in May 2018, the European General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR, came into effect and established requirements applicable to the handling of personal data and may result in fines up to €20 million (approximately $21.4 million based on current exchange rates) or up to 4% of annual global revenue in the preceding financial year, whichever is higher, and other administrative penalties. In many European jurisdictions enforcement actions and consequences for non-compliance are also rising. Our approach with respect to the GDPR and other data protection legislation may be subject to further evaluation and change, our compliance measures may not be fully adequate and may require modification, we may expend significant time and cost in developing
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and maintaining a privacy governance program, data transfer or localization mechanisms, or other processes or measures to comply with these legal frameworks when looking to expand or business outside of the US.
Jurisdictions outside of the US and Europe are also considering and/or enacting comprehensive data protection legislation. Cross-border data transfers and other future developments regarding local data residency could increase the cost and complexity of delivering our services in some markets and may lead to governmental enforcement actions, litigation, fines, and penalties or adverse publicity, which could adversely affect our business and financial position, could greatly increase our cost of providing our products and services, require significant changes to our operations, or even prevent us from offering certain services in specific jurisdictions.
We also continue to see jurisdictions imposing data localization laws, which may require personal information of citizens of a jurisdiction to be, among other data processing operations, initially collected, stored, and modified locally within such jurisdiction. These regulations may inhibit our ability to expand into those markets without significant additional costs.
Because of the breadth of these data protection laws and the narrowness of their exceptions and safe harbors, it is possible that international expansion could subject our business or data protection policies to challenge under one or more of such laws. The scope and enforcement of each of these laws is uncertain and subject to rapid change in the current environment of heightened regulatory focus on data privacy and security issues. If our operations are found to be in violation of any of the data protection laws described above or any other laws that apply to us, we may be subject to penalties, including, but not limited to, criminal, civil and administrative penalties, damages, fines, disgorgement, individual imprisonment, possible exclusion from participation in government healthcare programs, injunctions, private qui tam actions brought by individual whistleblowers in the name of the government, class action litigation and the curtailment or restructuring of our operations, as well as additional reporting obligations and oversight if we become subject to a corrective action plan or other agreement to resolve allegations of non-compliance with these laws, any of which could adversely affect our ability to operate our business and our results of operations.
Our PearConnect platform may not operate properly, which could damage our reputation, subject us to claims, or require us to divert application of our resources from other purposes, any of which could harm our business and growth.
Our PearConnect platform provides patients and physicians with the ability to, among other things, provide (i) access to the PearMD Clinician Dashboard; (ii) an end-to-end patient service center; and (iii) a data analytics system configured to aggregate patient engagement, adherence, and clinical outcome data for insight generation. Proprietary software development is time-consuming, expensive, complex, and may involve unforeseen difficulties. We may encounter technical obstacles, and it is possible that we may discover additional problems that prevent PearConnect from operating properly. We continue to implement software with respect to a number of new applications and services. The operation of our technology also depends in part on the performance of third-party service providers. If our technology platform does not function reliably or fails to achieve provider, partner or payor expectations in terms of performance, we may be required to divert resources allocated for other business purposes to address these issues, may suffer reputational harm, lose or fail to grow our customer base, and may be subject to liability claims.
Our patient service center uses text and voice calls to communicate with healthcare providers, patients and prospective patients, and we are subject to various marketing and advertising laws including the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 (“TCPA”). If we fail to comply with applicable laws, including the TCPA, we may be subject to significant liabilities.
Our patient service center uses short message service (“SMS”), text messages and telephone calls to communicate with healthcare providers, patients and prospective patients. The actual or perceived improper sending of text messages or the making of telephone calls may subject us to potential risks, including liabilities or claims relating to consumer protection laws. Numerous class-action suits under federal and state laws have been filed in recent years against companies who conduct SMS texting programs or make unwanted telephone calls, with many resulting in multi-million-dollar settlements to the plaintiffs. Any future such litigation against us could be costly
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and time-consuming to defend. For example, the TCPA, a federal statute that protects consumers from unwanted telephone calls, faxes, and text messages, restricts telemarketing and the use of automated SMS text messages without proper consent. Additionally, state regulators may determine that telephone calls to our patients are subject to state telemarketing regulations. Federal or state regulatory authorities or private litigants may claim that the notices and disclosures we provide, form of consents we obtain, or our SMS texting practices are not adequate or violate applicable law. This may in the future result in civil claims against us. The scope and interpretation of the laws that are or may be applicable to the delivery of text messages are continuously evolving and developing. If we do not comply with these laws or regulations or if we become liable under these laws or regulations, we could face direct liability, could be required to change some portions of our business model, could face negative publicity, and our business, financial condition, and results of operations could be materially and adversely affected. Even an unsuccessful challenge of our SMS texting or telephone calling practices by our customers, regulatory authorities, or other third parties could result in negative publicity and could require a costly response from and defense by us.
We may be subject to governmental investigation, litigation and other proceedings, including intellectual property disputes, which are costly to defend and could materially harm our business and results of operations.
We may be party to government investigations, lawsuits and legal proceedings in the normal course of business. These matters are often expensive and disruptive to normal business operations. We may face allegations, lawsuits and regulatory inquiries, audits and investigations regarding data privacy, security, labor and employment, consumer protection and intellectual property infringement, including claims related to privacy, patents, publicity, trademarks, copyrights and other rights. A portion of the technologies we use incorporates open source software, and we may face claims claiming ownership of open source software or patents related to that software, rights to our intellectual property or breach of open source license terms, including a demand to release material portions of our source code or otherwise seeking to enforce the terms of the applicable open source license. We may also face allegations or litigation related to our acquisitions, securities issuances or business practices, including public disclosures about our business. Litigation and regulatory proceedings, and particularly the patent infringement and class action matters we could face, may be protracted and expensive, and the results are difficult to predict. Certain of these matters may include speculative claims for substantial or indeterminate amounts of damages and include claims for injunctive relief. Additionally, our litigation costs could be significant. Adverse outcomes with respect to litigation or any of these legal proceedings may result in significant settlement costs or judgments, penalties and fines, or require us to modify our solution or require us to stop offering certain features, all of which could negatively impact our business. We may also become subject to periodic audits, which would likely increase our regulatory compliance costs and may require us to change our business practices, which could negatively impact our results of operations. Managing legal proceedings, litigation and audits, even if we achieve favorable outcomes, is time-consuming and diverts management’s attention from our business.
The results of regulatory proceedings, litigation, claims, and audits cannot be predicted with certainty, and determining reserves for pending litigation and other legal, regulatory and audit matters requires significant judgment. There can be no assurance that our expectations will prove correct, and even if these matters are resolved in our favor or without significant cash settlements, these matters, and the time and resources necessary to litigate or resolve them, could harm our reputation, business, financial condition, results of operations and the market price of our Class A common stock.
Our commercialization efforts to date have focused almost exclusively on the US. Our ability to enter other foreign markets will depend, among other things, on our ability to navigate various regulatory regimes with which we do not have experience, which could delay or prevent the growth of our operations outside of the US.
To date, our commercialization efforts have focused almost exclusively on the US. Expanding our business to attract customers in countries other than the US is an element of our long-term business strategy. Our ability to continue to expand our business and to attract talented employees and customers in various international markets will require considerable management attention and resources and is subject to the particular challenges of supporting a rapidly growing business in an environment of multiple languages, cultures, customs, legal systems, alternative dispute resolution systems, regulatory systems and commercial infrastructures. Entering new international markets will be expensive, our ability to successfully gain market acceptance in any particular market
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is uncertain and the distraction of our senior management team could harm our business, financial condition and results of operation.
Sales of our products outside of the US are subject to foreign regulatory requirements that vary widely from country to country. In addition, the FDA regulates exports of medical devices from the US. While the regulations of some countries may not impose barriers to marketing and selling our products or only require notification, others require that we obtain the marketing authorization of a specified regulatory body. Complying with foreign regulatory requirements, including obtaining registrations or marketing authorizations, can be expensive and time-consuming, and we may not receive regulatory authorizations, clearances or approvals in each country in which we may plan to market our products or we may be unable to do so on a timely basis. The time required to obtain registrations or marketing authorizations, if required by other countries, may be longer than that required for FDA clearance, authorization, or approval, and requirements for such registrations and marketing authorizations may significantly differ from FDA requirements. If we modify our products, we may need to apply for additional regulatory authorizations before we are permitted to sell the modified product. In addition, we may not continue to meet the quality and safety standards required to maintain the authorizations that we have received. If we are unable to maintain our authorizations in a particular country, we will no longer be able to sell the applicable product in that country. Regulatory de novo classification, clearance or approval by the FDA does not ensure registration or marketing authorization by regulatory authorities in other countries, and registration or marketing authorization by one or more foreign regulatory authorities does not ensure registration or marketing authorization by regulatory authorities in other foreign countries or by the FDA. A failure or delay in obtaining registration or marketing authorization in one country may have a negative effect on the regulatory process in others.
Doing business internationally involves a number of additional risks, including:
•converting our products as well as the accompanying instructional and marketing materials to conform to the language and customs of different countries;
•complexities associated with managing multiple payor reimbursement regimes, and government payors; and
•regulatory and compliance risks that relate to maintaining accurate information and control over activities subject to regulation under the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (the “FCPA”), and comparable laws and regulations in other countries.
These risks and uncertainties may impact our ability to enter foreign markets, which could delay or prevent the growth of our operations outside of the US, and have a material adverse effect on our business, prospects, results of operations and financial condition.
The regulatory framework for digital health products is constantly evolving. Increasingly stringent regulatory requirements could create barriers to our development and introduction of new products. Conversely, in the event that regulatory requirements are lowered, competitors could potentially enter the prescription digital therapeutic market and compete with us more easily. Either of the foregoing could materially harm our business.
Our PDTs are novel and represent a new category of therapeutics for which the regulatory framework continues to evolve. Our ability to develop and introduce new products will depend, in part, on our ability to comply with these complex requirements, which include regulations related to product design, development and manufacturing; testing, labeling, content and language of instructions for use; clinical trials; product safety; pre market clearance, authorization, and approval; establishment registration and device listing; and marketing, sales and distribution. If, however, the regulatory framework for digital health products simplifies and the requirements that we and others are required to comply with are lowered, it could result in the increased competition and the introduction by competitors of products that are or claim to be superior to our products. For example, due to the COVID-19 public health emergency, the FDA issued, “Enforcement Policy for Digital Health Devices For Treating Psychiatric Disorders During the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Public Health Emergency,” which allows for marketing of certain digital therapeutics without premarket clearance, authorization, or approval so long as certain criteria are met. FDA is considering their treatment of digital health devices once the COVID-19 emergency declarations
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end. Actions could include the requirement to submit documentation to obtain FDA authorization, reduced documentation to obtain authorization based on market experience, or market withdrawal. A number of these actions could adversely affect our business. Similarly, competitors using our products as predicates for 510(k)s may successfully argue that they should be required to submit substantially less data to support approval of their product than was required for our products based on FDA’s growing familiarity with the technology. As a result, we are subject to risks related to the developing regulatory landscape applicable to our PDTs that could have a material adverse effect on our business and results of operations.
Our products may face competition from digital health products that are marketed without regulatory clearance, authorization, or approval. Regulators have broad discretion in determining whether to enforce regulatory requirements, and may decide not to remove uncleared or unapproved products that compete with our products, which could materially and adversely impact our business.
Our PDTs, reSET, reSET-O and Somryst, have been authorized or cleared by the FDA after completion of clinical trials and related regulatory review. The FDA and other regulators have broad discretion in determining whether to enforce these requirements, however, which could result in uncleared or unapproved products entering the marketplace. If uncleared or unapproved products are allowed to compete with our products, we will face increased competition from parties who have fewer barriers to enter our industry. This increased competition could have a material, adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition.
Premarket clearances, authorizations, and approvals for new or significantly modified devices could be denied or significantly delayed.
Under FDA regulations, unless exempt, a new medical device may only be commercially distributed after it has received 510(k) clearance, is authorized through the de novo classification process, or is the subject of a premarket approval (“PMA”). The FDA will clear marketing of a medical device through the 510(k) process if it is demonstrated that the new product is substantially equivalent to another legally marketed product not subject to a PMA. Sometimes, premarket submissions must be supported by clinical data. Our ability to enroll patients in clinical trials could be impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak, as many patients are electing or being asked to delay procedures at this time. The PMA process typically is more costly, lengthy and stringent than the 510(k) process and usually requires more substantial clinical studies.
The FDA may not authorize marketing via de novo classification or clear our 510(k) applications on a timely basis or at all. Such delays or refusals, regardless of the cause, could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, and results of operations. The FDA may also change its clearance and authorization policies, adopt additional regulations or revise existing regulations, or take other actions which may prevent or delay authorization or clearance of our products.
Material modifications to our devices may require new 510(k) clearance, de novo classification, PMA approval, or PMA supplement approval, or may require us to cease marketing or recall the modified devices until clearances, authorizations, or approvals are obtained.
Material modifications to the intended use or technological characteristics of our devices may require new 510(k) clearance, de novo classification, PMA approval, or PMA supplement approval, or may require us to cease marketing or recall the modified devices until clearances, authorizations, or approvals are obtained. Any modification to a 510(k)-cleared device that could significantly affect its safety or effectiveness, or that would constitute a major change in its intended use, design, or manufacture, requires a new 510(k) clearance or, possibly, a de novo or a PMA. The FDA requires every manufacturer to make and document this determination in the first instance. A manufacturer may determine that a modification could not significantly affect safety or effectiveness and does not represent a major change in its intended use, so that no new 510(k) clearance is necessary. The FDA may review any manufacturer’s decision and may not agree with our decisions regarding whether new clearances, authorization, or approvals are necessary. The FDA may also on its own initiative determine that a new clearance, authorization, or approval is required.
We have modified some of our cleared and authorized devices and have determined based on our review and interpretation of the applicable FDA guidance that in certain instances new 510(k) clearances are not required. If
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the FDA disagrees with our determination and requires us to submit new 510(k) clearances for modifications to our previously cleared or authorized products for which we have concluded that new clearances are unnecessary, we may be required to cease marketing or to recall the modified product until we obtain clearance, authorization, or approval. In these circumstances, we may be subject to significant enforcement actions, regulatory fines, or penalties, which could require us to redesign our products and harm our operating results. In addition, unlike traditional hardware devices, we are exposed to this risk more frequently based on the number of changes associated with software to improve performance, introduce new features, and correct issues.
Products may be subject to product recalls. A recall of our products, either voluntarily or at the direction of the FDA or another governmental authority, or the discovery of serious safety issues with our products, could materially and adversely affect us.
The FDA and similar foreign governmental authorities have the authority to require the recall of commercialized products in the event of material deficiencies or defects in their design or manufacture or in the event that a product poses an unacceptable risk to health.
The FDA’s authority to require a recall for medical devices must be based on a finding that there is reasonable probability that the device would cause serious injury or death. We may also decide to voluntarily recall our products. A government-mandated or voluntary recall could occur as a result of an unacceptable risk to health, component failures, malfunctions, manufacturing errors, design or labeling defects or other deficiencies and issues. For example, on May 20, 2021, we initiated a voluntary correction of reSET and reSET-O due to a software defect related to contingency management. This recall was reportable to the FDA and is in-process as of the date of this filing. Recalls of any of our products would divert managerial and financial resources and could materially and adversely affect our reputation and business, which could impair our ability to produce our products in a cost-effective and timely manner in order to meet our customers’ demands. We may also be subject to liability claims, be required to bear other costs, or take other actions that could materially and adversely affect our business, results of operations and financial condition.
Companies are required to maintain certain records of recalls and corrections, even if they are not reportable to the FDA. We may initiate voluntary recalls or corrections for our products in the future that we determine do not require notification of the FDA. If the FDA disagrees with our determinations, they could require us to report those actions as recalls and we may be subject to enforcement action.
We are required to report certain malfunctions, deaths, and serious injuries associated with our products, which can result in voluntary corrective actions or agency enforcement actions.
Under the FDA’s medical device reporting (“MDR”) regulations, we are required to report to the FDA when information from any source suggests that our product may have caused or contributed to a death or serious injury or that our product has malfunctioned and, if the malfunction were to recur, would likely cause or contribute to death or serious injury. In November 2022, we reported our first MDR incident in which a patient suffered a relapse. If we fail to report these events to the FDA within the required timeframes, or at all, the FDA could take enforcement action against us.
Any adverse event involving our products, whether in the US or abroad, could result in future voluntary corrective actions, such as recalls, including corrections or customer notifications, or agency action, such as inspection or enforcement actions. If malfunctions do occur, we may be unable to correct the malfunctions adequately or prevent further malfunctions, in which case we may need to cease manufacture and distribution of the affected products, initiate voluntary recalls, and redesign the products. Regulatory authorities may also take actions against us, such as ordering recalls, imposing fines, or seizing the affected products. Any corrective action, whether voluntary or involuntary, will require the dedication of our time and capital, distract management from operating our business, and may harm our reputation and financial results.
If we fail to comply with the FDA’s Quality System Regulation (“QSR”), or any applicable foreign equivalent, our operations could be interrupted, and our potential product sales and operating results could suffer.
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We are required to comply with the FDA’s QSR, which delineates, among other things, the design controls, document controls, purchasing controls, identification and traceability, production and process controls, acceptance activities, nonconforming product requirements, corrective and preventive action requirements, labeling and packaging controls, handling, storage, distribution and installation requirements, complaint handling, records requirements, servicing requirements, and statistical techniques potentially applicable to the production of our medical devices. We are also subject to the regulations of foreign jurisdictions if we market products overseas.
The FDA enforces the QSR through periodic and announced or unannounced inspections of manufacturing facilities. Both our San Francisco and Boston facilities have been inspected by the FDA and other designated auditing organizations, and we anticipate that we will be subject to additional future inspections. If our facilities or processes are found to be in non-compliance or fail to take satisfactory corrective action in response to adverse QSR inspectional findings, the FDA could take legal or regulatory enforcement actions against us and/or our products, including but not limited to the cessation of sales or the initiation of a recall of distributed products, which could impair our ability to produce our products in a cost-effective and timely manner in order to meet our customers’ demands. We may also be required to bear other costs or take other actions that may have a negative impact on our future sales and our ability to generate profits.
The FDA’s, other comparable state governmental agencies’, and non-US regulatory agencies’ statutes, regulations, policies or interpretations may change, and additional government regulation or statutes may be enacted, which could increase regulatory requirements, or delay, suspend, prevent marketing of any cleared, authorized, or approved products or necessitate the recall of distributed products. We cannot predict the likelihood, nature or extent of adverse governmental regulation that might arise from future legislative or administrative action, either in the US or abroad.
The medical device industry has been under heightened FDA scrutiny as the subject of government investigations and enforcement actions. If our operations and activities are found to be in violation of any FDA regulations or any other governmental regulations that apply to us, we may be subject to penalties, including civil and criminal penalties, damages, fines and other legal and/or agency enforcement actions. Any penalties, damages, fines, or curtailment or restructuring of our operations or activities could materially and adversely affect our ability to operate our business and our financial results. The risk of us being found in violation of FDA regulations is increased by the fact that many of these regulations are broad and their provisions are open to a variety of interpretations. Any action against us for violation of these regulations, even if we successfully defend ourselves against that action and its underlying allegations, could cause us to incur significant legal expenses and divert management’s attention from the operation of our business. Where there is a dispute with a federal or state governmental agency that cannot be resolved to the mutual satisfaction of all relevant parties, we may determine that the costs, both real and contingent, are not justified by the commercial returns to us from maintaining the dispute or the product.
Various claims, design features, or performance characteristics of our products that we regarded as permitted by the FDA without new marketing clearance, authorization, or approval may be challenged by the FDA or state or foreign regulators. The FDA or state or foreign regulatory authorities may find that certain claims, design features, or performance characteristics, in order to be made or included in the products, may have to be supported by further clinical studies and marketing clearances, authorizations, or approvals, which could be lengthy, costly, and possibly unobtainable.
Risks Related to Our Financial Reporting
We rely on assumptions, estimates, internally developed software, and data from third parties to calculate our key performance indicators and other business metrics to deliver timely and accurate information in order to accurately report our financial results in the timeframe and manner required by law, and real or perceived inaccuracies in these metrics may harm our reputation and negatively affect our business.
We need to receive timely, accurate, and complete information from our internal company data that has not been independently verified utilizing internally developed software and third party software in order to accurately report our financial results on a timely basis. If the information that we receive is not accurate, our consolidated
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financial statements may be materially incorrect and may require restatement. While these numbers are based on what we believe to be reasonable calculations for the applicable period of measurement, there are inherent challenges in measuring such information. In addition, our measurement of certain metrics may differ from estimates published by third parties or from similarly-titled metrics of our competitors due to differences in methodology and as a result our results may not be comparable to our competitors. As a result, we may have difficulty completing accurate and timely financial disclosures, which could have an adverse effect on our business.
Our results of operations and financial condition are subject to management’s accounting judgments and estimates, as well as changes in accounting policies.
The preparation of our financial statements requires us to make estimates and assumptions affecting the reported amounts of our assets, liabilities, revenues, expenses and earnings. If these estimates or assumptions are incorrect, it could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations or financial condition. We have identified several accounting policies as being critical to the fair presentation of our financial condition and results of operations because they involve major aspects of our business and require us to make judgments about matters that are inherently uncertain. These policies are described under the section entitled “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Conditions and Results of Operations” and should be considered in conjunction with our audited consolidated financial statements and notes thereto included in Part II, Item 8, Financial Statements, of this Form 10-K. The implementation of new accounting requirements or other changes to Generally Accepted Accounting Principles in the US, or GAAP, could have a material adverse effect on our reported results of operations and financial condition.
As a public reporting company, we are subject to rules and regulations established from time to time by the SEC regarding our internal control over financial reporting. If we fail to maintain an effective system of internal control over financial reporting, we may not be able to accurately report our financial results or prevent fraud. As a result, investors may lose confidence in the accuracy of our financial reports, which would harm our business and the trading price of our common stock. Our management is required to evaluate the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting.
As a public reporting company, we are subject to the reporting requirements of the Exchange Act, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (the “Sarbanes-Oxley Act”), the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, and the rules and regulations established by the SEC and Nasdaq. These rules and regulations require, among other things, that we establish and periodically evaluate procedures with respect to our internal control over financial reporting. Reporting obligations as a public company place a considerable strain on our financial and management systems, processes and controls, as well as on our personnel, including senior management. In addition, as a public company, we are required to document and test our internal control over financial reporting pursuant to Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act so that our management can certify as to the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting. Management’s certification under Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act is included in Part II, Item 9A, Controls and Procedures, of this Form 10-K.
In support of such certifications, we have documented and make significant changes and enhancements, including hiring additional personnel, to improve our internal control over financial reporting. Likewise, our independent registered public accounting firm will not be required to attest to the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting until our first annual report is required to be filed with the SEC following the date we are no longer an emerging growth company.
To achieve compliance with Section 404 within the prescribed period, and in order to maintain and improve the effectiveness of our internal controls over financial reporting, we have expended, and anticipate we will continue to expend, significant resources, including accounting-related costs and significant management oversight. If any of these new or improved controls and systems do not perform as expected, we may experience further deficiencies in our controls.
We have identified gaps in our internal control environment in the past and cannot provide assurances that there will not be material weaknesses or significant deficiencies in our internal control over financial reporting in the future. Any failure to maintain internal control over financial reporting could severely inhibit our ability to
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accurately report our financial condition or results of operations. 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 or significant deficiency 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 shares of our common stock could decline, and we could be subject to sanctions or investigations by Nasdaq, the SEC, or other regulatory authorities. Failure to remedy any material weakness in our internal control over financial reporting, or to implement or maintain other effective control systems required of public companies, could also restrict our future access to the capital markets.
Our management has identified certain internal control deficiencies that constitute material weaknesses. If we fail to maintain an effective system of disclosure controls and internal control over financial reporting, our ability to produce timely and accurate financial statements or comply with applicable regulations could be impaired.
We have identified material weaknesses in our internal control over financial reporting. A material weakness is a deficiency, or a combination of deficiencies, in internal control over financial reporting, such that there is a reasonable possibility that a material misstatement of our annual or interim financial statements will not be prevented or detected on a timely basis. If we are unable to remediate these material weaknesses, or if we identify additional material weaknesses in the future or otherwise fail to maintain an effective system of internal controls, we may not be able to accurately or timely report our financial condition or results of operations, which may adversely affect investor confidence in us and, as a result, our stock price.
As of December 31, 2022, we did not design or maintain an effective control environment as we did not maintain a sufficient complement of accounting and financial reporting resources commensurate with our financial reporting requirements. As a result, we did not design, implement and maintain effective control activities to ensure the accurate and timely reporting of transactions including revenue and capitalized software transactions.
These control deficiencies could result in a misstatement in our accounts or disclosures that would result in a material misstatement to our financial statements that would not be prevented or detected. Accordingly, we determined that these control deficiencies constitute material weaknesses.
In addition, it could cause us to fail to meet our reporting obligations or may result in a restatement of our financial statements for prior periods. Any failure to implement and maintain effective internal control over financial reporting also could materially and adversely affect the results of periodic management evaluations and annual independent registered public accounting firm attestation reports regarding the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting that we will eventually be required to include in our periodic reports that will be filed with the SEC.
These material weaknesses will not be considered remediated until management designs and implements effective controls that operate for a sufficient period of time and management has concluded, through testing, that these controls are effective. Our management is in the process of developing a remediation plan, and we cannot assure you that the measures that we implement will fully address the material weaknesses and deficiencies in our internal control over financial reporting or that we may conclude that they have been fully remediated.
We are continuing to develop and refine our disclosure controls and other procedures that are designed to ensure information required to be disclosed by us in the reports we will file with the SEC is recorded, processed, summarized and reported within the time periods specified in SEC rules and forms and that information required to be disclosed in reports under the Exchange Act is accumulated and communicated to our principal executive and financial officers. Any failure to develop or maintain effective controls or any difficulties encountered as a result of the implementation or improvements could harm our results of operations or cause us to fail to meet our reporting obligations and may result in a restatement of our financial statements for prior periods. Any failure to implement and maintain effective internal control over financial reporting also could materially and adversely affect the results of periodic management evaluations and annual independent registered public accounting firm attestation reports regarding the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting that we will eventually be required to include in our periodic reports that will be filed with the SEC.
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We are continuing to develop and refine our disclosure controls and other procedures that are designed to ensure information required to be disclosed by us in the reports we will file with the SEC is recorded, processed, summarized and reported within the time periods specified in SEC rules and forms and that information required to be disclosed in reports under the Exchange Act is accumulated and communicated to our principal executive and financial officers. For example, we hired additional personnel in our finance group, including a Vice President, Chief Accounting Officer and staff with adequate US GAAP and SEC reporting experience to address complex US GAAP technical accounting issues and to prepare and review the financial statements and related disclosures in accordance with US GAAP and SEC reporting requirements. In addition, we implemented a new enterprise resource planning system to replace the former general ledger package. Any failure to develop or maintain effective controls or any difficulties encountered as a result of the implementation or improvements could harm our results of operations or cause us to fail to meet our reporting obligations and may result in a restatement of our financial statements for prior periods. Any failure to implement and maintain effective internal control over financial reporting also could materially and adversely affect the results of periodic management evaluations and annual independent registered public accounting firm attestation reports regarding the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting that we will eventually be required to include in our periodic reports that will be filed with the SEC.
As a former shell company, we will face certain disadvantages relative to companies that pursue a traditional initial public offering.
THMA was a special purpose acquisition company (“SPAC”), a form of shell company under the SEC rules. Shell companies are more highly regulated than non-shell operating companies and face significant additional restrictions on their activities under federal securities laws. As a result of the Business Combination, we ceased to be a shell company. However, companies that were formerly shell companies continue to face disadvantages under SEC rules, including (a) the inability to qualify as a “well-known seasoned issuer” and file automatically effective registration statements for three years after ceasing to be a shell company, (b) the inability to “incorporate by reference” information in certain registration statements filed under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “Securities Act”) for a period of three years after ceasing to be a shell company, (c) the inability to use most free writing prospectuses until at least three years after a qualifying business combination, and (d) exclusion from certain safe harbors for offering-related communications under the Securities Act for three years after ceasing to be a shell company, including for research reports and certain communications in connection with business combinations. We expect that these disadvantages will make it more challenging and expensive, and create greater risks and delays, for both us and our stockholders to offer securities. These challenges may make our securities less attractive than those of companies that are not former shell companies and may raise our relative cost of capital.
Some members of our management team have limited experience in operating a public company.
Some of our executive officers have limited experience in the management of a publicly traded company. Our management team may not successfully or effectively manage our transition to a public company that will be subject to significant regulatory oversight and reporting obligations under federal securities laws. Certain executives’ limited experience in dealing with the increasingly complex laws pertaining to public companies could be a significant disadvantage as they will likely need to devote an increasing amount of their time to these activities, resulting in less time being devoted to the management and growth of our business. We may not have adequate personnel with the appropriate level of knowledge, experience, and training in the accounting policies, practices or internal controls over financial reporting required of public companies.
We could be subject to additional tax liabilities and our ability to use our net operating loss carryforwards and other tax attributes may be limited.
We have incurred net operating losses (“NOLs”) since our inception and may never achieve or sustain profitability. Generally, for US federal income tax purposes, unused NOLs will carry forward. However, NOL carryforwards generated prior to January 1, 2018, are subject to expiration for US federal income tax purposes. As of December 31, 2022, we had federal NOL carryforwards of approximately $294.6 million, of which $17.4 million will begin to expire in 2034. In addition, under the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, or the Code, limits the
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ability to deduct NOL carryforward generated after December 31, 2017, and all future NOL carryforwards to 80% of taxable income. These NOL limitations may limit or delay in part the use of NOL carryforwards, if or, when we cease operating at a loss. It is uncertain whether and to what extent applicable state tax laws will conform to this rule. As of December 31, 2022, we also had research and development tax credits of $8.3 million, which may be available to offset future income tax liabilities. The research and development tax credit carryforwards would begin to expire in 2037. As of December 31, 2022, we also had state research and development tax credits of $1.9 million, which may be available to offset future income tax liabilities. The state research and development tax credit carryforwards would begin to expire in 2030.
In general, under Code Sections 382 and 383, if a corporation undergoes an “ownership change” (generally defined as a greater than 50% change by value in its equity ownership by certain stockholders over a three-year period), the corporation’s ability to use its pre-ownership change NOLs, carryforwards and other pre-ownership change tax attributes, such as research tax credits, to offset its post-ownership change income or taxes may be limited. Similar provisions of state tax law may also apply to limit the use of our state NOL carryforwards and other state tax attributes. We have not performed an analysis to determine whether our past issuances of stock and other changes in our stock ownership may have resulted in one or more “ownership changes” under these rules. In addition, future changes in our stock ownership may materially limit our ability to utilize our NOL carryforwards and other tax attributes under these rules. As a result, even if we earn net taxable income in the future, we may be unable to use a material portion of our NOL carryforwards and other tax attributes, which could materially and adversely affect our future cash flows.
There is also a risk that regulatory changes, such as suspensions on the use of NOL or other unforeseen reasons, may result in our existing NOL carryforwards expiring or otherwise becoming unavailable to offset future taxable income. For these reasons, we may not be able to utilize all or a material portion of our NOL carryforwards and other tax attributes, even if we attain profitability. For example, a temporary suspension of the use of certain net operating losses and tax credits has been enacted in California and Illinois. Other states may enact suspensions as well. If we are limited in our ability to use our NOLs in future years in which we have taxable income, we will pay more taxes than if we were able to fully utilize our NOLs. This could materially and adversely affect our results of operations.
The rules dealing with US federal, state, and local income taxation are constantly under review by persons involved in the legislative process and by the Internal Revenue Service and the US Treasury Department. Changes to tax laws (which changes may have retroactive application) could adversely affect us or holders of our common stock. In recent years, many such changes have been made and changes are likely to continue to occur in the future. Future changes in tax laws could have a material adverse effect on our business, cash flow, financial condition or results of operations. We urge investors to consult with their legal and tax advisers regarding the implications of potential changes in tax laws on an investment in our common stock.
Risks Related to Ownership of our Class A common stock and Warrants
Our stock price is currently trading below $1.00 per share and, if it continues to trade below $1.00 per share, our Class A common stock may be subject to delisting from the Nasdaq Capital Market.
Our Class A common stock is currently trading at below $1.00 per share. Pursuant to Nasdaq Listing Rule 5550(a)(2) listed securities must maintain a minimum bid price of $1.00 per share, and Nasdaq Listing Rule 5810(c)(3)(A) provides that a failure to meet the minimum bid price requirement exists if the deficiency continues for a period of 30 consecutive business days. If our stock price remains below $1.00 for 30 consecutive business days we will receive a deficiency notice from Nasdaq and will be provided a period of 180 calendar days to regain compliance with the minimum bid price requirement. To regain compliance, the closing bid price of our Class A common stock must meet or exceed $1.00 per share for a minimum of ten consecutive business days during this 180-day period.
If we do not regain compliance within the allotted compliance period, including any extensions that may be granted by Nasdaq, Nasdaq will provide notice that the Company’s common stock will be subject to delisting. The Company would then be entitled to appeal Nasdaq’s determination, but there can be no assurance that Nasdaq would grant the Company’s request for continued listing.
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Such a delisting would likely have a negative effect on the price of the securities and would impair your ability to sell or purchase the securities when you wish to do so. In the event of a delisting, we can provide no assurance that any action taken by us to restore compliance with listing requirements would allow our securities to become listed again, stabilize the market price or improve the liquidity of our securities, prevent our securities from dropping below the Nasdaq minimum bid price requirement or prevent future non-compliance with Nasdaq’s listing requirements.
Additionally, if our securities are not listed on, or become delisted from, Nasdaq for any reason, trading our common stock could be conducted only in the over-the-counter (“OTC”) market or on an electronic bulletin board established for unlisted securities such as the OTC Bulletin Board, an inter-dealer automated quotation system for equity securities that is not a national securities exchange, the liquidity and price of our securities may be more limited than if we were quoted or listed on Nasdaq or another national securities exchange. You may be unable to sell your securities unless a market can be established or sustained. As a delisted security, our common stock would be subject to SEC rules as a “penny stock,” which impose additional disclosure requirements on broker-dealers. The regulations relating to penny stocks, coupled with the typically higher cost per trade to the investor of penny stocks due to factors such as broker commissions generally representing a higher percentage of the price of a penny stock than of a higher-priced stock, would further limit the ability of investors to trade in our common stock. In addition, delisting could harm our ability to raise capital through alternative financing sources on terms acceptable to us, or at all, and may result in the potential loss of confidence by investors, suppliers, customers and employees and fewer business development opportunities. For these reasons and others, delisting would adversely affect the liquidity, trading volume and price of our common stock, causing the value of an investment in us to decrease and having an adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations, including our ability to attract and retain qualified employees and to raise capital.
We intend to monitor the closing bid price of our Class A common stock and consider options to resolve the noncompliance with the minimum bid price requirement, including by seeking approval from our stockholders to effect a reverse stock split of the issued and outstanding shares of our Class A common stock.
There can be no assurance that the Company will be able to comply with the minimum bid price requirement or will otherwise be in compliance with other Nasdaq listing criteria.
If we implement a reverse stock split, liquidity of our stock may be adversely affected.
We may seek approval from our stockholders to effect a reverse stock split of the issued and outstanding shares of our Class A common stock. However, there can be no assurance that the reverse stock split would be approved by our stockholders. Further, there can be no assurance that the market price per new share of common stock after the reverse stock split will remain unchanged or increase in proportion to the reduction in the number of old shares of common stock outstanding before the reverse stock split. The liquidity of the shares of our common stock may be affected adversely by any reverse stock split given the reduced number of shares of common stock that will be outstanding following the reverse stock split, especially if the market price of our common stock does not increase as a result of the reverse stock split.
Following any reverse stock split, the resulting market price of our common stock may not attract new investors and may not satisfy the investing requirements of those investors. Although we believe that a higher market price of common stock may help generate greater or broader investor interest, there can be no assurance that a reverse stock split will result in a share price that will attract new investors, including institutional investors. In addition, there can be no assurance that the market price of our common stock will satisfy the investing requirements of those investors. As a result, the trading liquidity of our common stock may not necessarily improve.
The terms of the Warrants may be amended in a manner adverse to a holder if holders of at least 50% of the then outstanding Public Warrants approve of such amendment.
The Private Placement Warrants and Public Warrants were issued in registered form under the Warrant Agreement, between us and Continental Stock Transfer & Trust Company, our warrant and transfer agent (“Continental”). The Warrant Agreement provides that the terms of the Warrants may be amended without the consent of any holder to cure any ambiguity or correct any defective provision, but requires the approval by the
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holders of at least 50% of the then outstanding Public Warrants to make any change that adversely affects the interests of the registered holders of Public Warrants. Accordingly, we may amend the terms of the Public Warrants in a manner adverse to a holder if holders of at least 50% of the then outstanding Public Warrants approve of such amendment. Although our ability to amend the terms of the Public Warrants with the consent of at least 50% of the then outstanding Public Warrants is unlimited, examples of such amendments could be amendments to, among other things, increase the exercise price of the Warrants, shorten the exercise period or decrease the number of our Class A common stock purchasable upon exercise of a Warrant.
The exercise of Warrants for our stock would increase the number of shares eligible for future resale in the public market and result in dilution to our stockholders. Such dilution will increase if more of our shares are redeemed.
As of December 31, 2022, we had Warrants to purchase an aggregate of 14,213,267 shares of our Class A common stock outstanding, comprising 9,199,934 Public Warrants sold as part of the units in the closing of the initial public offering of THMA, which closed on February 4, 2021 (the “Initial Public Offering”), and 5,013,333 Private Placement Warrants issued to LJ10 LLC, a Delaware limited liability company (the “Sponsor”) in a private placement simultaneously with the Initial Public Offering. These Warrants are exercisable at any time through December 4, 2026. The likelihood that the Warrants will be exercised increases if the trading price of shares of our stock exceeds the exercise price of the Warrants. The exercise price of these Warrants is $11.50 per share.
There is no guarantee that the Warrants will ever be in the money after they become exercisable and prior to their expiration, and as such, the Warrants may expire worthless.
To the extent the Warrants are exercised, additional Class A common stock will be issued, which will result in dilution to the holders of our stock and increase the number of shares eligible for resale in the public market. Holders of Warrants do not have a right to redeem the Warrants. Sales of substantial numbers of shares issued upon the exercise of Warrants in the public market or the potential that such Warrants may be exercised could also adversely affect the market price of our stock.
We may redeem unexpired Warrants prior to their exercise at a time that is disadvantageous to you, thereby making your Warrants worthless.
We will have the ability to redeem the Public Warrants in whole and not in part at any time prior to their expiration, at a price of $0.01 per Warrant, if, and only if, the last reported sales price of the Class A common stock equals or exceeds $18.00 per share (as adjusted for stock splits, stock dividends, reorganizations, recapitalizations and the like) for any 20 trading days within a 30 trading-day period ending on the third trading day prior to the date we send the notice of redemption to the Warrant holders. If and when the Warrants become redeemable by us, we may exercise our redemption right even if we are unable to register or qualify the underlying securities for sale under all applicable state securities laws. Redemption of the outstanding Warrants as described above could force you to: (1) exercise your Warrants and pay the exercise price therefor at a time when it may be disadvantageous for you to do so; (2) sell your Warrants at the then-current market price when you might otherwise wish to hold your Warrants; or (3) accept the nominal redemption price which, at the time the outstanding Warrants are called for redemption, we expect would be substantially less than the market value of your Warrants. The Private Placement Warrants are not redeemable by us in such a case so long as they are held by the Sponsor or its permitted transferees. The Sponsor, or its permitted transferees, has the option to exercise the Private Placement Warrants on a cashless basis and has certain registration rights.
In addition, we will have the ability to redeem the outstanding Warrants in whole and not in part for shares of our stock at any time after they become exercisable and prior to their expiration, at a price of $0.10 per warrant if, among other things, (i) the closing price of our Class A common stock equals or exceeds $10.00 per public share (as adjusted for adjustments to the number of shares issuable upon exercise or the exercise price of a Warrant) on the trading day prior to the date on which we send the notice of redemption to the Warrant holders and (ii) the closing price of our Class A common stock (as adjusted for stock splits, stock dividends, reorganizations, recapitalizations and the like) for any 20 trading days within a 30-trading day period ending on the third trading day prior to the date on which we send the notice of redemption to the Warrant holders is less than $18.00 per share (as adjusted for share splits, share dividends, reorganizations, recapitalizations and the like). If this occurs, then the Private
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Placement Warrants must also concurrently be called for redemption on the same terms (except with respect to a holder’s ability to cashless exercise its Warrants) as the outstanding Public Warrants. In such a case, the holders will be able to exercise their Warrants prior to redemption for a number of Class A common stock determined based on the redemption date and the fair market value of the Class A common stock. The value received upon exercise of the Warrants (1) may be less than the value the holders would have received if they had exercised their Warrants at a later time where the underlying share price is higher and (2) may not compensate the holders for the value of the Warrants.
Future resales of our Class A common stock may cause the market price of our securities to drop significantly, even if our business is doing well.
Subject to customary exceptions, the Sponsor, parties to the Registration Rights Agreement as amended and restated as of December 3, 2021, certain holders of PIPE Shares and certain other holders of our Class A common stock were subject to lock-up provisions in which they agreed not to sell or otherwise dispose of any our Class A common stock or any other equity securities of Pear convertible into or exercisable or exchangeable for our Class A common stock for a certain period of time.
Now since these lock-up periods have expired, the applicable stockholders are not restricted from selling our Class A common stock held by them, other than by applicable securities laws. As such, sales of a substantial number of shares of our common stock in the public market could occur at any time. These sales, or the perception in the market that the holders of a large number of shares intend to sell shares, could reduce the market price of the Class A common stock.
As restrictions on resale end and registration statements are available for use, the sale or possibility of sale of these shares could have the effect of increasing the volatility in our share price or the market price of our stock could decline if the holders of currently restricted shares sell them or are perceived by the market as intending to sell them.
The market price and trading volume of our Class A common stock may be volatile and you could lose all or part of your investment.
The trading price of our common stock is likely to be highly volatile and could be subject to wide fluctuations in response to various factors, some of which are beyond our control, including limited trading volume. Since our common stock began trading on The Nasdaq Capital Market, our stock price has traded at prices as low as $0.20 per share and as high as $14.60 per share through March 30, 2023.
The stock markets, including Nasdaq on which we list the Class A common stock, have from time to time experienced significant price and volume fluctuations. Even if an active, liquid and orderly trading market develops and is sustained for our stock, the market price of our stock may be volatile and could decline significantly. In addition, the trading volume in our stock may fluctuate and cause significant price variations to occur. If the market price of our stock declines further, you may be unable to resell your shares at an attractive price (or at all). We cannot assure you that the market price of our stock will not fluctuate widely or decline significantly in the future in response to a number of factors, including, among others, the following:
•the realization of any of the risk factors presented in this Form 10-K;
•our announcement seeking strategic alternatives, and a potential transaction;
•failure to comply with the requirements of Nasdaq;
•the inclusion, exclusion or removal of our common stock from any stock market indices;
•additions and departures of key personnel;
•changes in the industries in which we operate;
•developments involving our competitors;
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•changes in laws and regulations affecting our business;
•actual or anticipated differences in our estimates, or in the estimates of analysts, for our revenues, Adjusted EBITDA, results of operations, level of indebtedness, liquidity, or financial condition;
•failure to comply with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act or other laws or regulations;
•future issuances, sales, resales or repurchases or anticipated issuances, sales, resales or repurchases, of our securities;
•publication of research reports by securities analysts about us or our competitors or our industry;
•the public’s reaction to our press releases, our other public announcements and our filings with the SEC;
•actions by stockholders, including the sale by the PIPE investors of any of their shares of our stock;
•the performance and market valuations of other similar companies;
•commencement of, or involvement in, litigation involving us;
•broad disruptions in the financial markets, including sudden disruptions in the credit markets;
•speculation in the press or investment community;
•actual, potential or perceived control, accounting, or reporting problems;
•changes in accounting principles, policies, and guidelines;
•other events or factors, including those resulting from infectious diseases, health epidemics and pandemics (including the ongoing COVID-19 public health emergency), natural disasters, war, acts of terrorism, or responses to these events;
•actual or anticipated fluctuations in our quarterly financial results or the quarterly financial results of companies perceived to be similar to us;
•changes in the market’s expectations about our results of operations;
•our results of operations failing to meet the expectation of securities analysts or investors in a particular period;
•any major change in our Board of Directors or management;
•sales of substantial amounts of the shares of common stock by our directors, executive officers or significant stockholders or the perception that such sales could occur; and
•general economic and political conditions such as recessions, interest rates, fuel prices, international currency fluctuations, and acts of war or terrorism.
The stock market has recently experienced extreme price and volume fluctuations. The market prices of securities have experienced fluctuations that often have been unrelated or disproportionate to their companies’ operating results. We believe that the recent volatility and our current market price in part reflect market and trading dynamics unrelated to our underlying business, and we do not know how long these dynamics will last. In the past, securities class-action litigation has often been instituted against companies following periods of volatility in the market price of their shares. This type of litigation could result in substantial costs and divert our management’s attention and resources, which could have a material adverse effect on us.
Our stock price may be exposed to additional risks because our business became a public company through a “de-SPAC” transaction. There has been increased focus by government agencies on transactions such as the Business Combination in the last year, and we expect that increased focus to continue. As a result, we may be subject to
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increased scrutiny by the SEC and other government agencies and holders of our securities, which could adversely affect the price of our Class A common stock. Broad market and industry factors may materially harm the market price of our securities irrespective of our operating performance. The stock market in general, and Nasdaq in particular, have experienced price and volume fluctuations that have often been unrelated or disproportionate to the operating performance of the particular companies affected. The trading prices and valuations of these stocks, and of our securities, may not be predictable. A loss of investor confidence in the market for retail stocks or the stocks of other companies which investors perceive to be similar to us could materially and adversely affect our business, prospects, financial condition and results of operations. A decline in the market price of our securities also could adversely affect our ability to issue additional securities and our ability to obtain additional financing in the future.
The requirements of being a public company may strain our resources and divert management’s attention, and the increases in legal, accounting and compliance expenses may be greater than we anticipate.
As a public company we will incur significant legal, accounting, and other expenses that we did not incur as a private company. We are subject to the reporting requirements of the Exchange Act and are required to comply with the applicable requirements of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, as well as the rules and regulations subsequently implemented by the SEC and the listing standards of Nasdaq, including changes in corporate governance practices and the establishment and maintenance of effective disclosure and financial controls. Compliance with these rules and regulations can be burdensome. Our management and other personnel devote a substantial amount of time to these compliance initiatives. Moreover, these rules and regulations increased our legal and financial compliance costs and make some activities more time-consuming and costly. In particular, we have incurred and expect to continue to incur significant expenses and devote substantial management effort toward ensuring compliance with the requirements of Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, which will increase when we are no longer an “emerging growth company.” We cannot predict or estimate the amount of additional costs we may incur or the timing of such costs.
We are an emerging growth company within the meaning of the Securities Act, and if we take advantage of certain exemptions from disclosure requirements available to emerging growth companies, this could make our securities less attractive to investors and may make it more difficult to compare our performance with other public companies.
We are an “emerging growth company” within the meaning of the Securities Act, as modified by the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act of 2012 (the “JOBS Act”), and may take advantage of certain exemptions from various reporting requirements that are applicable to other public companies that are not emerging growth companies for as long as we continue to be an emerging growth company, including, but not limited to, not being required to comply with the auditor attestation requirements of Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, reduced disclosure obligations regarding executive compensation in our periodic reports and proxy statements, and exemptions from the requirements of holding a nonbinding advisory vote on executive compensation and stockholder approval of any golden parachute payments not previously approved. As a result, our stockholders may not have access to certain information they may deem important. We will remain an emerging growth company until the earliest of (i) the day we are deemed to be a large accelerated filer, which, in addition to certain other criteria, means the market value of our common equity that is held by non-affiliates exceeds $700 million as of the end of the prior fiscal year’s second fiscal quarter, (ii) the last day of the fiscal year in which we have total annual gross revenue of $1.07 billion or more during such fiscal year, (iii) the date on which we have issued more than $1 billion in non-convertible debt in the prior three-year period and (iv) December 31, 2026 (the last day of the fiscal year ending after the fifth anniversary of the THMA Initial Public Offering). Investors may find our securities less attractive because we will rely on these exemptions. If some investors find our securities less attractive as a result of our reliance on these exemptions, the trading prices of our securities may be lower than they otherwise would be, there may be a less