UNITED STATES
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20549
 
FORM 20-F
 
(Mark One)

REGISTRATION STATEMENT PURSUANT TO SECTION 12(b) OR (g) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
 
OR
 

ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2018
 
OR
 

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

OR
 

SHELL COMPANY REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

Date of event requiring this shell company report
 
For the transition period from          to
 
Commission file number 001-38024
 
BeyondSpring Inc.
 
(Exact name of Registrant as specified in its charter)
 
N/A
(Translation of Registrant’s name into English)
 
Cayman Islands
(Jurisdiction of incorporation or organization)
 
BeyondSpring Inc.
28 Liberty Street, 39th Floor
New York, New York 10005
(Address of principal executive offices)
 
Dr. Lan Huang, Chairperson of the Board and Chief Executive Officer
Telephone: +1 (646) 305-6387
Facsimile: +1 (646) 882-4228
BeyondSpring Inc.
28 Liberty Street, 39th Floor
New York, New York 10005
 
(Name, Telephone, E-mail and/or Facsimile number and Address of Company Contact Person)

Securities registered or to be registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act.
 
Title of each class
Name of each exchange on which registered
Ordinary Shares, par value $0.0001 per share
The NASDAQ Stock Market LLC
 

Securities registered or to be registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: None
 
Securities for which there is a reporting obligation pursuant to Section 15(d) of the Act: None
 
Indicate the number of outstanding shares of each of the issuer’s classes of capital or common stock as of the close of the period covered by the annual report: 23,184,612 Ordinary Shares as of December 31, 2018
 
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.   Yes ☐    No ☒
 
If this report is an annual or transition report, indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.   Yes ☐   No ☒
 
Note—Checking the box above will not relieve any registrant required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 from their obligations under those sections.
 
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, or an emerging growth company. See definition of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.
 
Large accelerated filer
Accelerated filer
Non-accelerated filer
Emerging growth company
 
If an emerging growth company that prepares its financial statements in accordance with U.S. GAAP, 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. ☒
 
† The term “new or revised financial accounting standard” refers to any update issued by the Financial Accounting Standards Board to its Accounting Standards Codification after April 5, 2012.
 
Indicate by check mark which basis of accounting the registrant has used to prepare the financial statements included in this annual report:
 
U.S. GAAP ☒
International Financial Reporting Standards as
issued by the International Accounting Standards
Board ☐
Other ☐
 
If “Other” has been checked in response to the previous question, indicate by check mark which financial statement item the registrant has elected to follow.  Item 17 ☐ Item 18 ☐
 
If this is an annual report, indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act).  Yes ☐   No ☒
 
(APPLICABLE ONLY TO ISSUERS INVOLVED IN BANKRUPTCY PROCEEDINGS DURING THE PAST FIVE YEARS)
 
Indicate by checkmark whether the registrant has filed all documents and reports required to be filed by Sections 12, 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 subsequent to the distribution of securities under a plan confirmed by a court. Yes ☐   No ☐
 

TABLE OF CONTENTS
 
Item 1.
3
Item 2.
3
Item 3.
3
Item 4.
56
Item 4A.
107
Item 5.
107
Item 6.
120
Item 7.
131
Item 8.
134
Item 9.
135
Item 10.
136
Item 11.
148
Item 12.
149
 
PART II
 
Item 13.
149
Item 14.
149
Item 15.
150
Item 16.
151
Item 16A.
151
Item 16B.
151
Item 16C.
151
Item 16D.
152
Item 16E.
152
Item 16F.
152
Item 16G.
152
Item 16H.
152
Item 17.
152
Item 18.
152
Item 19.
153

INTRODUCTION
 
BeyondSpring Inc. was incorporated as an exempted company under the laws of the Cayman Islands in 2014. Except as the context otherwise may require, all references to “us,” “our,” “BeyondSpring,” “we,” the “Company” and similar designations refer to Dalian Wanchun Biotechnology Co., Ltd., or Wanchun Biotech, the former holding company of our U.S. subsidiary, and its consolidated subsidiaries, as a whole, prior to the completion of our internal corporate reorganization, and BeyondSpring Inc. and its consolidated subsidiaries, after the completion of our internal corporate reorganization on July 20, 2015. All references in this annual report on Form 20-F to “$,”“U.S. dollars,” and “dollars” and “USD” mean U.S. dollars, all references to “RMB” mean Renminbi, the legal currency of China, and all references to “AUD” mean Australian dollars, unless otherwise noted. All references to “PRC” or “China” in this annual report on Form 20-F refer to the People’s Republic of China.
 
FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS
 
This annual report on Form 20-F contains forward-looking statements that are based on our management’s belief and assumptions and on information currently available to our management. Although we believe that the expectations reflected in these forward-looking statements are reasonable, these statements relate to future events or our future financial performance, and involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause our actual results, levels of activity, performance or achievements to be materially different from any future results, levels of activity, performance or achievements stated in or implied by these forward-looking statements.
 
All statements other than statements of historical facts are forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are made under the “safe harbor” provision under Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, or the Securities Act, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, or the Exchange Act, and as defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. In some cases, you can identify forward-looking statements by terminology such as “may,” “will,” “should,” “expects,” “intends,” “plans,” “anticipates,” “believes,” “estimates,” “predicts,” “potential,” “continue” or the negative of these terms or other comparable terminology. These statements are only predictions. You should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements because they involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors, which are, in some cases, beyond our control and which could materially affect results. You should refer to “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors” and elsewhere in this annual report on Form 20-F for specific risks that could cause actual results to be significantly different from those stated in or implied by these forward-looking statements. If one or more of these risks or uncertainties occur, or if our underlying assumptions prove to be incorrect, actual events or results may vary significantly from those implied or projected by the forward-looking statements. No forward-looking statement is a guarantee of future performance. You should read this annual report on Form 20-F and the documents that we reference in this annual report on Form 20-F completely and with the understanding that our actual future results may be materially different from any future results stated in or implied by these forward-looking statements.
 
Forward-looking statements in this annual report on Form 20-F include, but are not limited to, statements about:
 

the initiation, timing, progress and results of our studies in animals and clinical trials, and our research and development programs;
 

our ability to advance our product candidates into, and successfully complete, clinical trials;
 

our reliance on the success of our clinical-stage product candidates;
 

the timing or likelihood of regulatory filings and approvals;
 

the commercialization of our product candidates, if approved;
 

our ability to develop sales and marketing capabilities;
 

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


the implementation of our business model, strategic plans for our business and technology;
 

the scope of protection we are able to establish and maintain for intellectual property rights covering our product candidates and technology;
 

our ability to operate our business without infringing the intellectual property rights and proprietary technology of third parties;
 

costs associated with defending intellectual property infringement, product liability and other claims;
 

regulatory development in the United States, China and other jurisdictions;
 

estimates of our expenses, future revenues, capital requirements and our needs for additional financing;
 

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

our ability to maintain and establish collaborations or obtain additional grant funding;
 

the rate and degree of market acceptance of our product candidates;
 

developments relating to our competitors and our industry, including competing therapies;
 

our ability to effectively manage our anticipated growth;
 

our ability to attract and retain qualified employees and key personnel;
 

our expectations regarding the period during which we qualify as an emerging growth company under the U.S. Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act, or the JOBS Act;
 

statements regarding future revenue, hiring plans, expenses, capital expenditures, capital requirements and share performance;
 

the future trading price of our ordinary shares and impact of securities analysts’ reports on these prices;


our ability to continue as a going concern; and
 

other risks and uncertainties, including those listed under the “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors.”
 
The items in “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors” of this annual report on Form 20-F reference the principal contingencies and uncertainties to which we believe we are subject, which should be considered in evaluating any forward-looking statements contained in this annual report on Form 20-F.
 
The forward-looking statements in this annual report on Form 20-F speak only to our views as of the date of this annual report on Form 20-F and we undertake no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.  We anticipate that subsequent events and developments will cause our views to change. However, while we may elect to update these forward-looking statements at some point in the future, we have no current intention of doing so except to the extent required by applicable law. You should therefore not rely on these forward-looking statements as representing our views as of any date subsequent to the date of this annual report on Form 20-F.
 
This annual report on Form 20-F contains market data and industry forecasts that were obtained from industry publications. These data involve a number of assumptions and limitations, and you are cautioned not to give undue weight to such estimates. While we believe the market position, market opportunity and market size information included in this annual report on Form 20-F is generally reliable, such information is inherently imprecise.

PART I

Item 1.
Identity of Directors, Senior Management and Advisors
 
Not applicable.
 
Item 2.
Offer Statistics and Expected Timetable
 
Not applicable.
 
Item 3.
Key Information
 
A.
Selected Financial Data
 
The selected consolidated statements of comprehensive loss data for the years ended December 31, 2016, 2017 and 2018, and the selected consolidated balance sheet data as of December 31, 2017 and 2018 have been derived from our audited consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this annual report on Form 20-F. The selected consolidated balance sheet data as of December 31, 2016 have been derived from our audited consolidated financial statements not included in this annual report on Form 20-F. Our financial statements have been prepared in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles in the U.S., or U.S. GAAP. You should read this data together with our audited consolidated financial statements and related notes included elsewhere in this annual report on Form 20-F and the information under the caption “Item 5. Operating and Financial Review and Prospects.” Our historical results are not necessarily indicative of our future results.
 
   
Year Ended December 31,
 
   
2016
   
2017
   
2018
 
   
(In thousands of U.S. Dollars (“$”),
except share and per share amounts)
 
Consolidated statements of comprehensive loss data:
                 
Revenue
   
     
     
 
Operating expenses:
                       
Research and development (including patent cost of $42,259 for the year ended December 31, 2017)
   
(10,437
)
   
(88,928
)
   
(51,618
)
General and administrative
   
(1,931
)
   
(9,053
)
   
(5,927
)
                         
Loss from operations
   
(12,368
)
   
(97,981
)
   
(57,545
)
Foreign exchange gain (loss), net
   
(195
)
   
555
     
(455
)
Interest income
   
18
     
120
     
211
 
Other income
   
     
918
     
315
 
                         
Net loss before income tax
   
(8,052
)
   
(96,388
)
   
(57,474
)
Income tax benefit
   
     
     
 
                         
Net loss
   
(12,545
)
   
(96,388
)
   
(57,474
)
Less: Net loss attributable to noncontrolling interests
   
(535
)
   
(4,625
)
   
(2,605
)
                         
Net loss attributable to BeyondSpring Inc.
   
(12,010
)
   
(91,763
)
   
(54,869
)
                         
Net loss per share
                       
Basic and diluted
   
(0.75
)
   
(4.40
)
   
(2.42
)
                         
Weighted average shares outstanding Basic and diluted
   
16,086,419
     
20,866,084
     
22,665,265
 

   
Year Ended December 31,
 
    2016    
2017
   
2018
 
   
(In thousands of U.S. Dollars (“$”),
except share and per share amounts)
   

 
Other comprehensive loss
                       
Foreign currency translation adjustment (loss) gain
   
(64
)
   
(1
)
   
251
 
                         
Total comprehensive loss
   
(12,609
)
   
(96,389
)
   
(57,223
)
Less: Comprehensive loss attributable to noncontrolling interests
   
(561
)
   
(4,535
)
   
(2,578
)
                         
Comprehensive loss attributable to BeyondSpring Inc.
   
(12,048
)
   
(91,854
)
   
(54,645
)
                         
Consolidated balance sheet data:
                       
Cash
   
11,687
     
27,481
     
3,889
 
                         
Total assets
   
14,908
     
32,828
     
7,063
 
Total current liabilities
   
2,609
     
4,792
     
16,445
 
Total liabilities
   
2,609
     
4,792
     
16,445
 
                         
Noncontrolling interests
   
147
     
960
     
(1,616
)
Total equity (deficit)
   
12,299
     
28,036
     
(9,382
)
 
B.
Capitalization and Indebtedness
 
Not applicable.
 
C.
Reasons for the Offer and Use of Proceeds
 
Not applicable.
 
D.
Risk Factors

Risks Related to Our Financial Position and Need for Additional Capital

We have a limited operating history, which may make it difficult to evaluate our current business and predict our future performance.
 
Wanchun Biotech, the former holding company of our U.S. subsidiary, was formed in 2010. Our operations to date have focused on organizing and staffing our company, business planning, raising capital, establishing our intellectual property portfolio, including protecting the rights to Plinabulin, and conducting studies in animals and clinical trials of Plinabulin. Our current pipeline consists of Plinabulin for multiple indications, including the prevention of chemotherapy-induced severe neutropenia, or CIN, as a direct anticancer agent in non-small cell lung cancer, or NSCLC, when combined with docetaxel and as a direct anticancer agent in NSCLC when combined with nivolumab and a pipeline of preclinical immuno-oncology product candidates. We have not yet demonstrated the ability to successfully complete large-scale, pivotal clinical trials, obtain regulatory approvals, manufacture a commercial scale drug, or arrange for a third party to do so on our behalf, or conduct sales and marketing activities necessary for successful commercialization. We have not yet obtained regulatory approval for, or demonstrated an ability to commercialize, any of our product candidates. We have no products approved for commercial sale and have not generated any revenue from product sales. Consequently, it is difficult to evaluate our business and prospects for future performance.
 
We are focused on the discovery and development of innovative, molecular-targeted and immuno-oncology drugs for the treatment of cancers. Our limited operating history, particularly in light of the rapidly evolving cancer treatment field, may make it difficult to evaluate our current business and prospects for future performance. Our short history makes any assessment of our future performance or viability subject to significant uncertainty. We will encounter risks and difficulties frequently experienced by early-stage companies in rapidly evolving fields as we seek to transition to a company capable of supporting commercial activities. In addition, as a new business, we may be more likely to encounter unforeseen expenses, difficulties, complications and delays due to limited experience. If we do not address these risks and difficulties successfully, our business will suffer.

We have incurred net losses in each period since our inception and anticipate that we will continue to incur net losses for the foreseeable future.
 
Pharmaceutical product development is highly speculative because it entails substantial upfront capital expenditures and significant risk that a product candidate will fail to gain regulatory approval or achieve commercial viability and acceptance by patients, doctors and payors. We have devoted most of our financial resources to research and development, including our studies in animals and clinical trials. We have not generated any revenue from product sales to date, and we continue to incur significant development and other expenses related to our ongoing operations. As a result, we are not profitable and have incurred losses in each period since our inception in 2010. For the years ended December 31, 2016, 2017 and 2018, we reported a net loss of $12.5  million, $96.4 million and $57.5 million, respectively, and had an accumulated deficit of $123.9 million and $178.8 million as of December 31, 2017 and 2018, respectively. $42.3 million of our accumulated deficit in 2017 was attributable to the shares issued to NPBISPO Liquidating Trust, or Nereus Trust. In connection with our initial public offering, or IPO, completed on March 14, 2017, we issued 2,112,963 ordinary shares to Nereus Trust and terminated the royalty arrangements between us and Nereus Pharmaceuticals, Inc., or Nereus. The patents acquired from Nereus were expensed as a research and development expense and the cost was determined based on the fair value of the issued ordinary shares of $20 per share. Substantially all of our operating losses have resulted from costs incurred in connection with our research and development programs and from general and administrative costs associated with our operations. We expect to continue to incur losses for the foreseeable future, and we expect these losses to increase as we continue our development of, and seek regulatory approvals for, our product candidates, and begin to commercialize approved drugs, if any. Typically, it takes many years to develop one new drug from the time it is discovered to when it is available for treating patients. We may encounter unforeseen expenses, difficulties, complications, delays and other unknown factors that may increase our expenses and adversely affect our ability to generate revenue. The size of our future net losses will depend, in part, on our ability to manage these aspects of our business. If any of our product candidates fail in clinical trials or do not gain regulatory approval, or if approved, fail to achieve market acceptance, we may never become profitable. Even if we achieve profitability in the future, we may not be able to sustain profitability in subsequent periods. Our prior losses and expected future losses have had, and will continue to have, an adverse effect on our shareholders’ equity and working capital.
 
We expect our research and development expenses to continue to be significant in connection with our continued investment in our ongoing and planned clinical trials for our current product candidates and any future product candidates we may develop. Furthermore, we plan to invest in pre-commercialization activities prior to obtaining regulatory approval and if we obtain regulatory approval for our product candidates, we expect to incur increased sales and marketing expenses. As a result, we expect to continue to incur significant and increasing operating losses and negative cash flows for the foreseeable future. These losses have had and will continue to have a material adverse effect on our shareholders’ equity, financial position, cash flows and working capital.
 
We will depend on future financing to continue as a going concern.

We are a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company and have incurred operating losses and negative cash flows from operations since our inception. We have devoted most of our financial resources to research and development, including our clinical and preclinical development activities. To date, we have financed our operations primarily through equity financings. We have not generated, and do not expect to generate, any significant revenue for the foreseeable future. We expect to continue to incur significant operating losses for the foreseeable future due to the cost of research and development, clinical trials, preclinical studies and the regulatory approval process for product candidates. The amount of our future net losses is uncertain and will depend, in part, on the rate of our future expenditures. The opinion of our independent registered accountants on our audited financial statements included in this annual report on Form 20-F contains an explanatory paragraph regarding substantial doubt about our ability to continue as a going concern.  Our ability to continue operations as a going concern will depend on, among other things, our ability to obtain funding through equity and debt financing, potential licensing and partnership arrangements, and sale of products after obtaining regulatory approvals, as well as managing our expenses. While we believe our strategies will generate funding that will be sufficient to continue as a going concern, if these strategies are unsuccessful, then we may need to realize assets and extinguish liabilities other than in the ordinary course of business and at amounts different to those disclosed in our financial statements. Our financial statements do not contain any adjustments to the amounts or classifications of recorded assets or liabilities that might be necessary if we do not continue as a going concern. The financial statements take no account of the consequences, if any, of the effects of unsuccessful product development or commercialization, nor of any inability of our company to obtain adequate funding in the future.

We will need to obtain additional financing to fund our future operations. If we are unable to obtain such financing, we will be unable to complete the development and commercialization of our current or future product candidates.
 
We have financed our operations with a combination of equity offerings, shareholder and third-party loans. Through December 31, 2018, we have raised approximately $101.4 million in equity financing, $1.0 million in third party loans, which was since converted into an equity investment, and $8.8 million in shareholder loans, of which $0.4 million has been repaid and $8.4 million was assumed by Wanchun Biotech, the former holding company of our U.S. subsidiary, on July 20, 2015 pursuant to our internal restructuring. Our product candidates will require the completion of regulatory review, significant marketing efforts and substantial investment before they can provide us with any product sales revenue.
 
Our operations have consumed substantial amounts of cash since inception. The net cash used for our operating activities was $13.7 million, $28.8 million and $40.0 million for the years ended December 31, 2016, 2017 and 2018, respectively. We expect to continue to spend substantial amounts on discovering new product candidates, advancing the clinical development of our product candidates and launching and commercializing any product candidates for which we receive regulatory approval, including either partnering with one or more national pharmaceutical companies or building our own commercial organizations to address certain markets in China.
 
We will need to obtain additional financing to fund our future operations and to complete the development and commercialization of our current or future product candidates. Moreover, our fixed expenses and other contractual commitments are substantial and are expected to increase in the future.
 
Our future funding requirements will depend on many factors, including, but not limited to:
 

the costs of our current, planned and potential future clinical trials;
 

the outcome, timing and cost of regulatory approvals by the Food and Drug Administration, or FDA, the National Medical Products Administration, or NMPA, which is the successor to the China Food and Drug Administration, or CFDA, and the European Medicines Agency, or EMA, and comparable regulatory authorities, including any additional studies we may be required to perform;
 

the cost of commercialization of our product candidates;
 

the cost and timing of completion of commercial-scale outsourced manufacturing activities;
 

the amount of profit we earn from product candidates that we succeed in commercializing, if any;
 

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

the expenses associated with any potential future collaborations, licensing or other arrangements that we may establish;
 

cash requirements of any future acquisitions;
 

the costs of operating as a public company;
 

the time and cost necessary to respond to technological and market developments; and
 

the number and characteristics of product candidates that we may develop and expenses associated with that development.
 
We may finance future cash needs through equity and debt financing, potential licensing and partnership arrangements, and sale of products after obtaining regulatory approvals.

Completing the clinical trial of Plinabulin in combination with docetaxel for the treatment of NSCLC, completing our two Phase 2/3 clinical trials for the treatment of CIN and the development of other product candidates will require additional funds. In order to enable us to operate as a going concern in the foreseeable future, we will need, among other things, additional capital resources which may not be available to us on acceptable terms or at all. There can be no assurance that capital will be available as necessary to meet our working capital requirements or, if the capital is available, that it will be on terms acceptable to us. The issuances of additional equity securities by us may result in dilution in the equity interests of our current shareholders. Obtaining commercial loans, assuming those loans will be available, will increase our liabilities and future cash commitments. If we are unable to obtain financing in the amounts and on terms deemed acceptable, the business and future success will be materially and adversely affected. Due to these factors, among others, our independent registered accountants issued an opinion on our audited financial statements included in this annual report on Form 20-F that contains an explanatory paragraph regarding substantial doubt about our ability to continue as a going concern. If we are unable to raise capital when needed or on attractive terms, we would be forced to delay, reduce or eliminate our research and development programs or future commercialization efforts. Our inability to obtain additional funding when we need it could seriously harm our business and we may no longer be able to continue as a going concern and may suspend operations.

Raising additional capital may cause dilution to our shareholders, restrict our operations or require us to relinquish rights to our technologies or product candidates.
 
We may seek additional funding through a combination of equity and debt financing, potential licensing and partnership arrangements, and sale of products after obtaining regulatory approvals. Any issuance of equity or equity-linked securities could result in significant dilution to our shareholders. The incurrence of additional indebtedness or the issuance of certain equity securities could result in increased fixed payment obligations and could also result in certain additional restrictive covenants, such as limitations on our ability to incur additional debt or issue additional equity, limitations on our ability to acquire or license intellectual property rights and other operating restrictions that could adversely impact our ability to conduct our business. In addition, issuance of additional equity securities, or the possibility of such issuance, may cause the market price of our ordinary shares to decline. In the event that we enter into collaborations or licensing arrangements to raise capital, we may be required to accept unfavorable terms, including relinquishing or licensing to a third party on unfavorable terms our rights to technologies or product candidates that we otherwise would seek to develop or commercialize ourselves or potentially reserve for future potential arrangements when we might be able to achieve more favorable terms.
 
We currently do not generate revenue from product sales and may never become profitable.
 
Our ability to generate revenue and become profitable depends upon our ability to successfully complete the development of, and obtain the necessary regulatory approvals for, our product candidates and any future product candidates we may develop, as we do not currently have any drugs that are available for commercial sale. We expect to continue to incur substantial and increasing losses through the commercialization of our product candidates and any future product candidates. None of our product candidates has been approved for marketing in China, the U.S., the European Union or any other jurisdiction and our product candidates may never receive such approval. Our ability to generate revenue and achieve profitability is dependent on our ability to complete the development of our product candidates and any future product candidates we develop, obtain necessary regulatory approvals, and have our drugs manufactured and successfully marketed.
 
Even if we receive regulatory approval and marketing authorization for one or more of our product candidates or one or more of any future product candidates for commercial sale, a potential product may not generate revenue at all unless we are successful in:
 

developing a sustainable and scalable manufacturing process for our product candidates and any approved products, including establishing and maintaining commercially viable supply relationships with third parties;
 

launching and commercializing product candidates for which we obtain regulatory approvals and marketing authorizations, either directly or with a collaborator or distributor;
 

obtaining market acceptance of our product candidates as viable treatment options; and


addressing any competing technological and market developments.
 
In addition, our ability to achieve and maintain profitability depends on timing and amount of expenses we incur. Our expenses could increase materially if we are required by the FDA, the NMPA, the EMA or other comparable regulatory authorities to perform studies in addition to those that we currently anticipate. Even if our product candidates are approved for commercial sale, we anticipate incurring significant costs associated with the commercial launch of these drugs.
 
Even if we are able to generate revenues from the sale of any products we may develop, we may not become profitable on a sustainable basis or at all. Our failure to become and remain profitable would decrease the value of our company and adversely affect the market price of our ordinary shares which could impair our ability to raise capital, expand our business or continue our operations and cause you to lose all or part of your investment.
 
Risks Related to Clinical Development of Our Product Candidates
 
We depend substantially on the success of Plinabulin, which is being developed for multiple indications. Clinical trials of Plinabulin or any other product candidates we develop may not be successful. If we are unable to commercialize Plinabulin or any of our other product candidates, or experience significant delays in doing so, our business will be materially harmed.
 
Our business and the ability to generate revenue related to product sales, if ever, will depend on the successful development, regulatory approval and commercialization of Plinabulin and any other product candidates we may develop. We have invested a significant portion of our efforts and financial resources in the development of our current product candidates and expect to invest in other product candidates. The success of Plinabulin and any other potential product candidates will depend on many factors, including:
 

successful enrollment in, and completion of, studies in animals and clinical trials;
 

third parties’ ability in conducting our clinical trials safely, efficiently and according to the agreed protocol;
 

receipt of regulatory approvals from the FDA, NMPA, EMA and other comparable regulatory authorities for our product candidates;
 

establishing commercial manufacturing capabilities by making arrangements with third-party manufacturers;
 

launching commercial sales of our product candidates, if and when approved;
 

ensuring we do not infringe, misappropriate or otherwise violate the patent, trade secret or other intellectual property rights of third parties;
 

obtaining acceptance of our product candidates by doctors and patients;
 

obtaining reimbursement from third-party payors for our product candidates, if and when approved;
 

our ability to compete against other product candidates and drugs;
 

maintaining an acceptable safety profile for our product candidates following regulatory approval, if and when received; and
 

obtaining and maintaining patent, trade secret and other intellectual property protection and regulatory exclusivity.
 
We may not achieve regulatory approval and commercialization in a timely manner or at all. Significant delays in our ability to obtain approval for and/or to successfully commercialize our product candidates would materially harm our business and we may not be able to generate sufficient revenues and cash flows to continue our operations.
 
All of our current clinical trials involve Plinabulin for multiple indications and we may not be successful in our efforts to identify or discover additional product candidates. Due to our limited resources and access to capital, we must, and have in the past decided to, prioritize the development of Plinabulin for different indications. If our current Plinabulin-based product candidates fail to become viable products, our business will be adversely affected.
 
Although in the future we intend to explore other therapeutic opportunities in addition to Plinabulin, which we acquired from Nereus, and did not develop on our own, currently we have only identified four product candidates that do not include Plinabulin and clinical trials on those candidates have not begun. Development of product candidates requires substantial technical, financial and human resources whether or not we ultimately are successful. Our research programs and those of our collaborators may initially show promise in identifying potential indications and/or product candidates, yet fail to yield results for clinical development for a number of reasons, including:
 

the research methodology used may not be successful in identifying potential indications and/or product candidates;
 

potential product candidates may, after further study, be shown to have harmful adverse effects or other characteristics that indicate they are unlikely to be effective drugs; or
 

it may take greater human and financial resources to identify additional therapeutic opportunities for our product candidates or to develop suitable potential product candidates through internal research programs than we will possess, thereby limiting our ability to diversify and expand our drug portfolio.
 
Because we have limited financial and managerial resources, we focus on research programs and product candidates for specific indications. We may focus our efforts and resources on potential product candidates or other potential programs that ultimately prove to be unsuccessful. We also may forego or delay pursuit of opportunities with other product candidates or for other indications that later prove to have greater commercial potential or a greater likelihood of success. Our resource allocation decisions may cause us to fail to capitalize on viable commercial products or profitable market opportunities.
 
Accordingly, we may never be able to identify additional therapeutic opportunities for our product candidates or to develop suitable potential product candidates through either internal research programs, which could materially adversely affect our future growth and prospects, or our collaborations.
 
If we encounter difficulties enrolling patients in our clinical trials, our clinical development activities could be delayed or otherwise adversely affected.
 
The timely completion of clinical trials in accordance with their protocols depends, among other things, on our ability to enroll a sufficient number of patients who meet the trial criteria and remain in the trial until its conclusion. We may experience difficulties enrolling and retaining appropriate patients in our clinical trials for a variety of reasons, including:
 

the size and nature of the patient population;
 

the patient eligibility criteria defined in the clinical protocol;
 

the size of the study population required for statistical analysis of the trial’s primary endpoints;
 

the proximity of patients to trial sites;
 

the design of the trial and changes to the design of the trial;
 

our ability to recruit clinical trial investigators with the appropriate competencies and experience;
 

competing clinical trials for similar therapies or other new therapeutics exist and will reduce the number and types of patients available to us;
 

clinicians’ and patients’ perceptions as to the potential advantages and side effects of the product candidate being studied in relation to other available therapies, including any new drugs or treatments that may be approved for the indications we are investigating;
 

our ability to obtain and maintain patient consents;
 

patients enrolled in clinical trials may not complete a clinical trial; and
 

the availability of approved therapies that are similar to our product candidates.
 
Even if we are able to enroll a sufficient number of patients in our clinical trials, delays in patient enrollment may result in increased costs or may affect the timing or outcome of the planned clinical trials, which could prevent completion of these trials and adversely affect our ability to advance the development of our product candidates.
 
Clinical drug development involves a lengthy and expensive process and can fail at any stage of the process. We have limited experience in conducting clinical trials and results of earlier studies and trials may not be reproduced in future clinical trials.
 
Clinical testing is expensive and can take many years to complete, and failure can occur at any time during the clinical trial process. The results of studies in animals and early clinical trials of our product candidates may not predict the results of later-stage clinical trials. We are currently conducting clinical trials for Plinabulin in CIN and NSCLC, however, we did not conduct the Phase 1/2 clinical trial pertaining to the combination of Plinabulin and docetaxel, or Study 101. Study 101 was conducted by Nereus and we acquired Plinabulin from Nereus after such Phase 1/2 clinical trial had been substantially completed. Product candidates in later stages of clinical trials may fail to show the desired safety and efficacy traits despite having progressed through studies in animals and initial clinical trials. In some instances, there can be significant variability in safety and/or efficacy results between different trials of the same product candidate due to numerous factors, including changes in trial procedures set forth in protocols, differences in the size and type of the patient populations (including genetic differences), patient adherence to the dosing regimen and the patient dropout rate. Results in later trials may also differ from earlier trials due to a larger number of clinical trial sites and additional countries and languages involved in such trials. In addition, the design of a clinical trial can determine whether its results will support approval of a product, and flaws in the design of a clinical trial may not become apparent until the clinical trial is well advanced and significant expense has been incurred.
 
A number of companies in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries have suffered significant setbacks in advanced clinical trials due to lack of demonstrated efficacy or adverse safety profiles, notwithstanding promising results in earlier trials. Clinical trials of potential products often reveal that it is not practical or feasible to continue development efforts. For example, the improvement in survival for all patients enrolled in the Plinabulin plus docetaxel arm of the Phase 2 portion of Study 101 was not statistically significant. We decided to proceed with a Phase 3 clinical trial of Plinabulin in combination with docetaxel for advanced NSCLC (Study 103) based on a post hoc analysis of a certain subset of patients as amended based upon our discussions with the FDA. Based on this previous subset analysis, in Study 103, we are enrolling advanced or metastatic NSCLC patients into this trial who have failed at least one previous platinum-based chemotherapy and have measurable lesions. Designing the Phase 3 trial in this manner may increase the risk that the results of the trial may not be what we expect. If the results of Study 103 of Plinabulin in combination with docetaxel for advanced NSCLC do not demonstrate statistically significant efficacy with an acceptable safety profile, we would not be able to obtain approval of Plinabulin for that indication. In addition, if our Phase 2/3 trial for the reduction of CIN caused by high risk chemotherapy (Study 106) or other trials we conduct fail to meet their primary statistical and clinical endpoints, they will not support NMPA or FDA approval of Plinabulin in one or either of these indications. If this occurs, we would need to replace any of the failed trials with a new trial or trials, which would require significant additional expense, cause substantial delays in commercialization and materially adversely affect our business, financial condition, cash flows and results of operations.
 
If clinical trials of our product candidates fail to demonstrate safety and efficacy to the satisfaction of the FDA, NMPA, EMA or other comparable regulatory authorities or do not otherwise produce positive results, we may incur additional costs or experience delays in completing, or ultimately be unable to complete, the development and commercialization of our product candidates.
 
Before applying for and obtaining regulatory approval for the sale of any of our product candidates, we must conduct extensive clinical trials to demonstrate the safety and efficacy of our product candidates in humans. Clinical testing is expensive, difficult to design and implement, can take many years to complete and may fail. A failure of one or more of our clinical trials can occur at any stage of testing and successful interim results of a clinical trial do not necessarily predict successful final results. In the past, patients developed certain undesirable adverse events caused by Plinabulin, including nausea, vomiting, fatigue, fever, tumor pain and transient blood pressure elevation, and in the future patients may develop similar or different undesirable adverse events, that could delay or prevent regulatory approval. We and our contract research organizations, or CROs, are required to comply with Good Clinical Practice requirements, or GCPs, which are regulations and guidelines enforced by the FDA, NMPA, EMA and other comparable regulatory authorities for all drugs in clinical development. Regulatory authorities enforce these GCPs through periodic inspections of trial sponsors, principal investigators and trial sites. Compliance with GCPs can be costly and if we or any of our CROs fail to comply with applicable GCPs, the clinical data generated in our clinical trials may be deemed unreliable and the FDA, NMPA, EMA or comparable regulatory authorities may require us to perform additional clinical trials before approving our marketing applications.
 
We may experience numerous unexpected events during, or as a result of, clinical trials that could delay or prevent our ability to receive regulatory approval or commercialize our product candidates, including:
 

regulators, institutional review boards, or IRBs, or ethics committees may not authorize us or our investigators to commence a clinical trial or conduct a clinical trial at a prospective trial site;
 

clinical trials of our product candidates may produce negative or inconclusive results, and we may decide, or regulators may require us, to conduct additional clinical trials or abandon drug development programs;
 

the number of patients required for clinical trials of our product candidates may be larger than we anticipate, enrollment may be insufficient or slower than we anticipate or patients may drop out at a higher rate than we anticipate;
 

our third-party contractors and investigators may fail to comply with regulatory requirements or meet their contractual obligations to us in a timely manner, or at all;
 

we might have to suspend or terminate clinical trials of our product candidates for various reasons, including a lack of clinical response or a determination that participants are being exposed to unacceptable health risks;
 

regulators, IRBs or ethics committees may require that we or our investigators suspend or terminate clinical research for various reasons, including noncompliance with regulatory requirements;
 

the cost of clinical trials of our product candidates may be greater than we anticipate;
 

the supply or quality of our product candidates or other materials necessary to conduct clinical trials of our product candidates may be insufficient or inadequate; and
 

our product candidates may cause adverse events or have undesirable side effects or other unexpected characteristics, causing us, our investigators, or regulators to suspend or terminate the trials.
 
If we are required to conduct additional clinical trials or other testing of our product candidates beyond those that we currently contemplate, if we are unable to successfully complete clinical trials of our product candidates or other testing, if the results of these trials or tests are not positive or are only modestly positive or if they raise safety concerns, we may:
 

be delayed in obtaining regulatory approval for our product candidates;
 

not obtain regulatory approval at all;
 

obtain approval for indications that are not as broad as intended;
 

have a drug removed from the market after obtaining regulatory approval;
 

be subject to additional post-marketing testing requirements;
 

be subject to restrictions on how a drug is distributed or used; or
 

be unable to obtain reimbursement for use of a drug.
 
Delays in testing or approvals may result in increases in our drug development costs. We do not know whether any clinical trials will begin as planned, will need to be restructured or will be completed on schedule, or at all. Clinical trials may produce negative or inconclusive results. Moreover, these trials may be delayed or proceed less quickly than intended. Delays in completing our clinical trials will increase our costs, slow down our product candidate development and approval process, and jeopardize our ability to commence product sales and generate revenues and we may not have sufficient funding to complete the testing and approval process. Any of these events may significantly harm our business, financial condition and prospects, lead to the denial of regulatory approval of our product candidates or allow our competitors to bring drugs to market before we do, impairing our ability to commercialize our drugs if and when approved.
 
Risks Related to Obtaining Regulatory Approval for Our Product Candidates
 
The regulatory approval processes of the FDA, NMPA, EMA and other comparable regulatory authorities are lengthy, time consuming and inherently unpredictable, and if we are ultimately unable to obtain regulatory approval for our current product candidates or any future product candidates we may develop, our business will be substantially harmed.
 
We cannot commercialize product candidates without first obtaining regulatory approval to market each drug from the FDA, NMPA, EMA or comparable regulatory authorities in the applicable jurisdictions. Before obtaining regulatory approvals for the commercial sale of any product candidate for a target indication in a particular jurisdiction, we must demonstrate in studies in animals and well-controlled clinical trials, and, to the satisfaction of the FDA with respect to approval in the U.S., that the product candidate is safe and effective for use for that target indication and that the manufacturing facilities, processes and controls are adequate.
 
The time required to obtain approval by the FDA, NMPA, EMA and other comparable regulatory authorities is unpredictable but typically takes many years following the commencement of studies in animals and clinical trials and depends upon numerous factors, including the substantial discretion of the regulatory authorities. In addition, approval policies, regulations or the type and amount of clinical data necessary to gain approval can differ among regulatory authorities and may change during the course of a product candidate’s clinical development. We have not obtained regulatory approval for any product candidate. It is possible that neither our existing product candidates nor any product candidates we may discover or acquire for development in the future will ever obtain regulatory approval. Even if we obtain regulatory approval in one jurisdiction, we may not obtain it in other jurisdictions or we may not obtain it for the same indications or under the same conditions.
 
Our product candidates could fail to receive regulatory approval from any of the FDA, NMPA, EMA or a comparable regulatory authority for many reasons, including:
 

disagreement with regulators regarding the design or implementation of our clinical trials;
 

failure to demonstrate that a product candidate is safe and effective or safe, pure and potent for its proposed indication;
 

failure of clinical trial results to meet the level of statistical significance required for approval. For example, the results of Study 101 were not statistically significant;
 

failure to demonstrate that a product candidate’s clinical and other benefits outweigh its safety risks;
 

disagreement with regulators regarding our interpretation of data from studies in animals or clinical trials;
 

insufficiency of data collected from clinical trials of our product candidates to support the submission and filing of a new drug application, or an NDA, or other submission or to obtain regulatory approval;
 

the FDA, NMPA, EMA or a comparable regulatory authority’s finding of deficiencies related to the manufacturing processes or facilities of third-party manufacturers with whom we contract for clinical and commercial supplies; and
 

changes in approval policies or regulations that render our preclinical studies and clinical data insufficient for approval.
 
In addition, conducting our late stage clinical trials for the treatment of CIN and NSCLC for Plinabulin that include a majority of patients in China may create regulatory risks for our NDA filings in the U.S. Our ongoing NSCLC clinical trial (Study 103) is expected to be conducted in 554 patients with approximately 80% of the patients in China and 20% of the patients in the U.S. and Australia. Our CIN clinical trials (Study 105 and Study 106) is expected to be conducted in approximately 400 patients with approximately 50% of the patients in China and 50% of the patients in the U.S., Russia and the Ukraine.  If no benefit is shown in the U.S. population, if the results of our studies do not support the assessment that the Phase 2/3 study data may be pooled, or if the patient population enrolled does not reflect the U.S. standard of care, among other potential objections, the findings of the trials might not be considered to be applicable to U.S. patients and the FDA might not approve our NDA.
 
Any of the FDA, NMPA, EMA or a comparable regulatory authority may require more information, including additional preclinical studies or clinical data, to support approval for a target indication, which may delay or prevent approval and our commercialization plans, or we may decide to abandon the development program. If we were to obtain approval, regulatory authorities may approve any of our product candidates for fewer or more limited indications than we request. For example, because the FDA views squamous and non-squamous NSCLC as distinct diseases, depending on the results of our Phase 3 trial in NSCLC, we may only be able to obtain approval in one of those diseases. Regulatory authorities also may grant approval contingent on the performance of costly post-marketing clinical trials or other post-marketing requirements, or may approve a product candidate with a label that presents obstacles to the successful commercialization of that product candidate. In addition, if our product candidate produces undesirable side effects or involves safety issues, the FDA may require the establishment of a Risk Evaluation Mitigation Strategy, or REMS, or the NMPA, EMA or a comparable regulatory authority may require the establishment of a similar strategy. Such a strategy may, for instance, restrict distribution of our product candidate, require patient or physician education or impose other burdensome implementation requirements on us.
 
Any of the foregoing or similar scenarios could materially harm the commercial prospects of our product candidates.
 
Regulatory approval may be substantially delayed or may not be obtained for one or all of our product candidates or target indications if regulatory authorities require additional time or studies to assess the safety or efficacy of our product candidates.
 
We may be unable to complete development of our product candidates, or initiate or complete development of any future product candidates we may develop, on schedule, if at all. Completing the clinical trial of Plinabulin in combination with docetaxel for the treatment of NSCLC, completing our two Phase 2/3 clinical trials for the treatment of CIN and the development of other product candidates will require additional funds. If regulatory authorities require additional time or studies to assess the safety or efficacy of our product candidates, we may not have or be able to obtain adequate funding to complete the necessary steps for approval for our product candidates or any future product candidate.
 
Studies in animals and clinical trials required to demonstrate the safety and efficacy of our product candidates are time consuming and expensive and take several years or more to complete. Delays in clinical trials, regulatory approvals or rejections of applications for regulatory approval in the U.S., China, Europe or other markets may result from many factors, including:
 

our inability to obtain sufficient funds required to conduct or continue a clinical trial, including lack of funding due to unforeseen costs or business decisions;
 

failure to reach agreement with, or inability to comply with conditions imposed by, the FDA, NMPA, EMA or other regulators regarding the scope or design of our clinical trials or other aspects of the regulatory approval process;
 

clinical holds, other regulatory objections or conditions to commencing or continuing a clinical trial or the inability to obtain regulatory approval to commence a clinical trial in countries that require such approvals;
 

our inability to reach agreements on acceptable terms with prospective CROs with the requisite experience and expertise, and trial sites, the terms of which can be subject to extensive negotiation and may vary significantly among different CROs and trial sites;
 

our inability to obtain approval from IRBs or ethics committees to conduct clinical trials at their respective sites;
 

our inability to enroll in a clinical trial a sufficient number of patients who meet the applicable inclusion and exclusion criteria in a clinical trial;
 

our inability to retain a sufficient number of patients in a clinical trial;
 

our inability to conduct a clinical trial in accordance with regulatory requirements or our clinical protocols;
 

clinical sites and investigators deviating from trial protocol, failing to conduct the trial in accordance with regulatory requirements, withdrawing from or dropping out of a trial, or becoming ineligible to participate in a trial;
 

inability to identify and maintain a sufficient number of trial sites, many of which may already be engaged in other clinical trial programs, including some that may be for the same indication;
 

delay or failure in adding new clinical trial sites;
 

failure of our CROs or third-party clinical trial managers to satisfy their contractual duties or meet expected deadlines;
 

manufacturing issues, including delays or other problems with manufacturing, quality issues or timely obtaining from third parties sufficient quantities of a product candidate for use in a clinical trial;
 

difficulty in maintaining contact with patients after treatment, resulting in incomplete data;
 

ambiguous or negative interim or final results, or results that are inconsistent with earlier results;
 

unfavorable or inconclusive results of clinical trials or supportive studies in animals;
 

regulatory requests for additional analyses, reports, data, or studies in animals or clinical trials, or regulatory questions regarding the interpretation of data;
 

feedback from the FDA, NMPA, EMA, an IRB, data safety monitoring boards, or comparable entities, or results from earlier stage or concurrent studies in animals or clinical trials, regarding our product candidates or other drug products, including which might require modification of a trial protocol or suspension or termination of a clinical trial;
 

unacceptable risk-benefit profile or unforeseen safety issues or adverse side effects in our product candidates or other drug products;
 

a decision by the FDA, NMPA, EMA, an IRB, comparable entities, or the company, or recommendation by a data safety monitoring board or comparable regulatory entity, to suspend or terminate clinical trials at any time for safety issues or for any other reason; and
 

failure to demonstrate a benefit from using a drug.
 
Changes in regulatory requirements and guidance may also occur at any time, including after commencement of a clinical trial or subsequent to submitting an application for regulatory approval, and we may need to amend clinical trial protocols or other materials submitted to applicable regulatory authorities to reflect these changes. Amendments may require us to resubmit clinical trial protocols to IRBs or ethics committees for re-examination, which may increase the costs or time required to complete a clinical trial.
 
The results from our Phase 2/3 trials in CIN (Study 105 and Study 106) and our Phase 3 trial in advanced NSCLC (Study 103) may not be sufficiently robust to support the submission or approval of marketing applications for our product candidates. The FDA, NMPA, EMA or other regulatory authorities may require us to enroll additional subjects or conduct additional clinical trials.
 
It is possible that the FDA, NMPA, EMA or other regulatory authorities may not consider the results of our two Phase 2/3 trials in CIN or the Phase 3 trial for NSCLC to be sufficient for approval of our Plinabulin product candidates for each indication. In particular, the FDA generally requires two pivotal clinical trials to approve a drug. In the area of oncology, however, the FDA has in some instances only required one Phase 3 clinical trial for approval of a drug in cases of severe unmet medical need. The FDA typically does not consider a single clinical trial to be adequate to serve as a pivotal trial unless, among other things, it is well-controlled and demonstrates a clinically meaningful effect on mortality, irreversible morbidity, or prevention of a disease with potentially serious outcome, and a confirmatory study would be practically or ethically impossible. While we have been informed by the FDA that one Phase 2/3 trial with (i) results that are highly statistically significant, (ii) a clinically meaningful effect on survival that is consistent among relevant subgroups and (iii) an acceptable risk-benefit profile may be sufficient for approval of Plinabulin as an anticancer agent in advanced metastatic NSCLC, because the FDA generally requires two pivotal clinical trials, it may require that we conduct larger or additional clinical trials of our Plinabulin product candidates prior to each NDA submission or as a requirement for approval for each indication. It is also possible that, even if we achieve favorable results in the Phase 2/3 CIN trials or Phase 3 NSCLC trial, the FDA may require us to enroll additional subjects or conduct additional clinical trials, possibly involving a larger sample size or a different clinical study design, particularly if the FDA does not find the results from each Phase 2/3 CIN trial or Phase 3 NSCLC trial to be sufficiently persuasive to support each NDA submission.
 
If the FDA, NMPA, EMA, or other regulatory authorities require additional studies, we would incur increased costs and delays in the marketing approval process, which may require us to expend more resources than we have available. In addition, it is possible that the FDA, NMPA, EMA, or other regulatory authorities may have divergent opinions on the elements necessary for a successful NDA or similar marketing application, which may cause us to alter our development, regulatory or commercialization strategies.
 
In October 2017, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and General Office of the Chinese State Council, or the State Council, issued the Opinions on Deepening the Reform of the Evaluation and Approval System and Inspiring Innovation of Drugs and Medical Devices.  This opinion provides, among other things, that the review and approval process should be accelerated for drugs or medical devices that are urgently in need for clinical practice. For drugs or medical devices that are (i) for treatment of severe and life threatening diseases that cannot be cured in an effective manner, or (ii) urgently in need to improve public health, if early and mid-term indicators in clinical trials for these drugs or medical devices show efficacy and potential clinical value, the marketing of these drugs and medical devices may be approved conditionally, and companies who desire to market such drugs or medical devices shall develop risk control plans for conducting researches according to applicable requirements.  Based on our preliminary discussions with the NMPA, we believe that Plinabulin’s target indications in CIN as well as NSCLC meet that criteria. In December 2017, the CFDA issued an exposure draft for public comment of the Technical Guidance for Conditional Approval of Drugs with Unmet Medical Needs, which further provides the standard of the unmet medical needs but does not provide detailed administration procedures and requirements for conditional approval. This guidance has not come into effect thus far.  Pending positive results in our three clinical trials, Study 103, Study 105 and Study 106, we plan to submit two NDAs for accelerated or conditional approval in China for the treatment of NSCLC and for the reduction of CIN in 2019.  However, we may not succeed in obtaining this conditional or accelerated approval from the NMPA, in which case, the approval pathway will be longer than we expected and we may not ultimately obtain approval.
 
Our product candidates may cause adverse events or have other properties that could delay or prevent their regulatory approval, limit the commercial profile of an approved label, or result in significant negative consequences following any regulatory approval.
 
Adverse events caused by our product candidates or any future product candidates we may develop could cause us or regulatory authorities to interrupt, delay or halt clinical trials and could result in a more limited indication, restrictive label or the delay or denial of regulatory approval by the FDA, NMPA, EMA or other comparable regulatory authority. Undesirable adverse events caused by Plinabulin may include, but are not limited to, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, fever, tumor pain and transient blood pressure elevation. Results of our trials at any stage of development could reveal a high and unacceptable severity or prevalence of adverse events. If that occurs, our trials could be suspended or terminated and the FDA, NMPA, EMA or other comparable regulatory authorities could order us to cease further development of, or deny approval of, our product candidates for any or all targeted indications. Plinabulin is the active ingredient in all three of our current clinical product candidates and impacts all of our current clinical trials. As a result, any severe effect produced by Plinabulin will result in negative consequences for each of our current product candidates. Drug-related adverse events could also affect patient recruitment or the ability of enrolled subjects to complete the trial, could result in potential product liability claims and may harm our reputation, business, financial condition and business prospects significantly.
 
Additionally, if one or more of our current or future product candidates receives regulatory approval, and we or others later identify undesirable side effects caused by such drugs, a number of potentially significant negative consequences could result, including:
 

we may limit or suspend marketing of the drug;
 

regulatory authorities may withdraw approvals of the drug;
 

regulatory authorities may require additional warnings on the label;
 

we may be required to develop a REMS for the drug or, if a REMS is already in place, to incorporate additional requirements under the REMS, or to develop a similar strategy as required by a comparable regulatory authority;
 

we may be required to conduct post-market studies;
 

we could be sued and held liable for harm caused to subjects or patients; and
 

our reputation may suffer.
 
Any of these events could prevent us from achieving or maintaining market acceptance of the particular product candidate, if approved, and could significantly harm our business, results of operations and prospects.
 
Further, combination therapy, such as our clinical trials of Plinabulin in combination with docetaxel and other chemotherapeutic agents, involves unique adverse events that could be exacerbated compared to adverse events from monotherapies. These types of adverse events could be caused by our product candidates and could also cause us or regulatory authorities to interrupt, delay or halt clinical trials and could result in a more limited indication or restrictive label or the delay or denial of regulatory approval by the FDA, NMPA, EMA or other comparable regulatory authority. Results of our trials could reveal a high and unacceptable severity or prevalence of adverse events.
 
Even if we receive regulatory approval for our product candidates, we will be subject to ongoing regulatory obligations and continued regulatory review, which may result in significant additional expense and we may be subject to penalties if we fail to comply with regulatory requirements or experience unanticipated problems with our product candidates.
 
If our product candidates or any future product candidates we develop are approved, they will be subject to ongoing regulatory requirements, including for manufacturing, labeling, packaging, storage, advertising, promotion, sampling, record-keeping, conduct of post-marketing studies, and submission of safety, efficacy, and other post-market information, including both federal and state requirements in the U.S. and requirements of comparable regulatory authorities in other jurisdictions.
 
Drug manufacturers and manufacturers’ facilities are required to comply with extensive FDA, NMPA, EMA and comparable regulatory authority requirements, including, in the U.S., ensuring that quality control and manufacturing procedures conform to current Good Manufacturing Practices, or cGMP, regulations. As such, our contract manufacturers will be subject to continual review and inspections to assess compliance with cGMP and adherence to commitments including those made in any NDA, other marketing applications, and previous responses to inspection observations. Accordingly, we and others with whom we work must continue to expend time, money and effort in all areas of regulatory compliance, including manufacturing, production and quality control.
 
Any regulatory approvals that we receive for our product candidates may be subject to limitations on the approved indicated uses for which the drug may be marketed or to the conditions of approval, or contain requirements for potentially costly post-marketing testing or other post-marketing requirements, including Phase 4 clinical trials and surveillance to monitor the safety and efficacy of the product candidate. The FDA may also require a REMS program as a condition of approval of our product candidates or if new safety information emerges following approval of our product candidates, which could entail requirements for long-term patient follow-up, a medication guide, physician communication plans or additional elements to ensure safe use, such as restricted distribution methods, patient registries and other risk minimization tools. In addition, if the FDA, NMPA, EMA or a comparable regulatory authority approves our product candidates, we will have to comply with requirements including, for example, submissions of safety and other post-marketing information and reports, registration, as well as continued compliance with GCPs and cGMPs, for any clinical trials that we conduct post-approval.
 
The FDA may impose consent decrees or withdraw approval if compliance with regulatory requirements and standards is not maintained or if problems occur after a drug reaches the market. Post-approval discovery of previously unknown problems with our product candidates, including adverse events of unanticipated severity or frequency, or with our third-party manufacturers or manufacturing processes, or failure to comply with regulatory requirements, may result in consequences such as revisions to the approved labeling to add new safety information; imposition of post-market studies or clinical studies to assess new safety risks; or imposition of distribution restrictions or other restrictions under a REMS program. Other potential consequences include, among other things:
 

restrictions on the marketing or manufacturing of our drugs, withdrawal of the product from the market, or voluntary or mandatory product recalls;
 

fines, untitled or warning letters, or holds on clinical trials;
 

refusal by the FDA to approve pending applications or supplements to approved applications filed by us or suspension or revocation of license approvals;
 

product seizure or detention, or refusal to permit the import or export of our product candidates; and
 

injunctions or the imposition of civil or criminal penalties.
 
The FDA strictly regulates marketing, labeling, advertising and promotion of products that are placed on the market. Drugs may be promoted only for the approved indications and in accordance with the provisions of the approved label. The FDA, NMPA, EMA and other regulatory authorities 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.
 
The policies of the FDA, NMPA, EMA and of other regulatory authorities may change and we cannot predict the likelihood, nature or extent of government regulation that may arise from future legislation or administrative action, either in the U.S. or abroad. If we are slow or unable to adapt to changes in existing requirements or the adoption of new requirements or policies, or if we are not able to maintain regulatory compliance, we may lose any regulatory approval that we may have obtained, and we may not achieve or sustain profitability.
 
Risks Related to Commercialization of Our Product Candidates
 
If we are not able to obtain, or experience delays in obtaining, required regulatory approvals, we will not be able to commercialize our product candidates, and our ability to generate revenue will be materially impaired.
 
We currently do not have any product candidates that have gained regulatory approval for sale in China, the U.S., the European Union or any other country, and we may never have marketable drugs. Our business is substantially dependent on our ability to complete the development of, obtain regulatory approval for and successfully commercialize product candidates in a timely manner. We cannot commercialize product candidates without first obtaining regulatory approval to market each drug from the FDA, NMPA, EMA and comparable regulatory authorities. Plinabulin is currently in two clinical developmental programs: one as an anti-cancer therapy in the treatment of NSCLC and the second in CIN.  Plinabulin has been studied in preclinical models and in Phase 1/2 trials to investigate its therapeutic potential in combination with immuno-oncology agents. These trials and future trials may not be successful, and regulators may not agree with our conclusions regarding the studies in animals and clinical trials we have conducted to date.
 
Before obtaining regulatory approvals for the commercial sale of any product candidate for a target indication, we must demonstrate in studies in animals and well-controlled clinical trials, and to the satisfaction of the FDA with respect to approval in the U.S., that the product candidate is safe and effective for use for that target indication and that the manufacturing facilities, processes and controls are adequate. For U.S. approval, an NDA must include extensive preclinical studies and clinical data and supporting information to establish the product candidate’s safety and effectiveness for each target indication. The NDA must also include significant information regarding the chemistry, manufacturing and controls for the drug. Obtaining approval of an NDA is a lengthy, expensive and uncertain process, and approval may not be obtained. If we submit an NDA to the FDA, the FDA decides whether to accept or reject the submission for filing and any submissions we make may not be accepted for filing and review by the FDA.
 
Regulatory authorities outside of the U.S., such as the EMA or regulatory authorities in emerging markets, such as in China, also have requirements for approval of drugs for commercial sale with which we must comply prior to marketing in those areas. Regulatory requirements can vary widely from country to country and could delay or prevent the introduction of our product candidates. Clinical trials conducted in one country may not be accepted by regulatory authorities in other countries, and obtaining regulatory approval in one country does not mean that regulatory approval will be obtained in any other country. Approval processes vary among countries and can involve additional product testing and validation and additional administrative review periods. Seeking non-U.S. regulatory approval could require additional studies in animals or clinical trials, which could be costly and time consuming. Non-U.S. regulatory approval processes may include risks similar to those associated with obtaining FDA approval as well as risks specific to the applicable jurisdiction. For all of these reasons, we may not obtain non-U.S. regulatory approvals on a timely basis or for each target indication, if at all.
 
Specifically, in China, the NMPA categorizes domestically-manufactured innovative drug applications as Category 1 and imported drug applications as Category 5. To date, most of local companies’ domestically-manufactured drug applications are filed in Category 1 if the drug has not already been approved. Most multinational pharmaceutical companies’ drug registration applications are filed in what is now Category 5 according to the Reform Plan for Registration Category of Chemical Medicine issued by CFDA in March 2016. These two categories have distinct approval pathways. We believe the local drug registration pathway, Category 1, is a faster and more efficient path to approval in the Chinese market than Category 5. Companies are required to obtain Clinical Trial Application approval before conducting clinical trials in China. This registration pathway has a fast track review and approval mechanism if the product candidate is on a national priority list. Imported drug registration pathway, Category 5, is more complex and is evolving. China Category 5 registration applications may only be submitted after a drug has obtained an NDA approval and received the Certificate of Pharmaceutical Product, or CPP, granted by a major drug regulatory authority, such as the FDA or EMA. A Category 1 designation by the NMPA may not be granted for any of our product candidates, may be revoked, or may not lead to faster development or regulatory review or approval process. We believe our lead asset Plinabulin will be considered a Category 1 drug in China according to the Reform Plan for Registration Category of Chemical Medicine issued by the CFDA in March 2016 because Plinabulin has never been marketed in China or abroad. However, a Category 1 designation does not increase the likelihood that our product candidates will receive regulatory approval.

Further, in August 2015, the State Council issued a statement, Opinions on Reforming the Review and Approval Process for Pharmaceutical Products and Medical Devices, that contained several potential policy changes that could benefit the pharmaceutical industry:
 

A plan to accelerate innovative drug approval with a special review and approval process, with a focus on areas of high unmet medical needs, including drugs for HIV, cancer, serious infectious diseases and orphan diseases, as well as drugs on national priority lists.
 

A plan to adopt a policy which would allow companies to act as the marketing authorization holder and to hire contract manufacturing organizations to produce drug products.
 

A plan to improve the review and approval of clinical trials, and to allow companies to conduct clinical trials at the same time as they are being conducted in other countries and encourage local clinical trial organizations to participate in international multi-center clinical trials.
 
In November 2015, the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress issued the Decision on Authorizing the State Council to Conduct the Pilot Program of the System of the Holders of Drug Marketing Licenses in Certain Areas and the Relevant Issues, which authorized the State Council to conduct the pilot program of the system of the holders of drug marketing licenses in Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei, Shanghai, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Fujian, Shandong, Guangdong and Sichuan, and authorized the State Council to conduct reforms of registration category for drugs.
 
In November 2015, the CFDA released the Circular Concerning Several Policies on Drug Registration Review and Approval, which further clarified the following policies potentially simplifying and accelerating the approval process of clinical trials:
 

A one-time umbrella approval procedure allowing approval of all phases of a new drug’s clinical trials at once, rather than the current phase-by-phase approval procedure, will be adopted for new drugs’ clinical trial applications.
 

A fast track drug registration or clinical trial approval pathway will be available for the following applications: (1) registration of innovative new drugs treating HIV, cancer, serious infectious diseases and orphan diseases; (2) registration of pediatric drugs; (3) registration of geriatric drugs and drugs treating China-prevalent diseases in elders; (4) registration of drugs sponsored by national science and technology grants; (5) registration of innovative drugs using advanced technology, using innovative treatment methods, or having distinctive clinical benefits; (6) registration of foreign innovative drugs to be manufactured locally in China; (7) concurrent applications for new drug clinical trials which are already approved in the U.S. or European Union or concurrent drug registration applications for drugs which have applied for marketing authorization and passed onsite inspections in the U.S. or European Union and are manufactured using the same production line in China; and (8) clinical trial applications for drugs with urgent clinical need and patent expiry within three years, and marketing authorization applications for drugs with urgent clinical need and patent expiry within one year.
 
In December 2017, the CFDA released the Opinions on Encouraging the Prioritized Evaluation and Approval for Drug Innovations, which further clarified the following policies potentially accelerating the approval process of certain clinical trials or drug registrations which may benefit us:
 

A fast track drug registration or clinical trial approval pathway will be available for the following drug registration applications with distinctive clinical benefits: (1) registration of innovative drugs not sold within or outside China; (2) registration of innovative drug transferred to be manufactured in China; (3) registration of drugs using advanced technology, using innovative treatment methods, or having distinctive treatment advantages; (4) clinical trial applications for drugs with patent expiry within three years, and marketing authorization applications for drugs with patent expiry within one year; (5) concurrent applications for new drug clinical trials which are already approved in the U.S. or European Union, or concurrent drug registration applications for drugs which have applied for marketing authorization and passed onsite inspections in the U.S. or European Union and are manufactured using the same production line in China; (6) traditional Chinese medicines (including ethnic medicines) with clear position in prevention and treatment of serious diseases; and (7) registration of new drugs sponsored by national key technology projects or national key development projects, and registration for drugs with clinical trials conducted by China National Clinical Research Center and recognized by the administration department of the China National Clinical Research Center.
 

A fast track drug registration approval pathway will be available for the drug registration applications with distinctive clinical benefits for the prevention and treatment of the following diseases: HIV, phthisis, viral hepatitis, orphan diseases, cancer, pediatric diseases, and geriatrics.
 
In March 2016, the CFDA released a circular, Announcement on Reform Plan for Registration Category of Chemical Medicine, which outlined the re-classifications of chemical medicine applications. Under the new categorization, innovative drugs that have not been approved either in or outside China and are to be manufactured in China remain Category 1, while drugs approved outside China seeking marketing approval in China are now Category 5.
 
In May 2016, the General Office of the State Council issued Circular on the Pilot Program for the Drug Marketing Authorization Holder System, or Circular 41, which signals that the Drug Marketing Authorization Holder System is finally put into implementation. Circular 41 allows institutions of drugs research and development and research specialist staff in Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei, Shanghai, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Fujian, Shandong, Guangdong and Sichuan, to act as the applicant of drugs registration and to submit applications for drug clinical trials and drug marketing. For those drugs newly registered after the effective date of Circular 41, applicants are allowed to submit applications for becoming a drug marketing authorization holder at the same time as they submit applications for drug clinical trials or drug marketing. In July 2016, the CFDA issued Circular on Conducting Works Regarding the Pilot Program for the Drug Marketing Authorization Holder System, which provides further details on the application procedures stipulated in Circular 41. In August 2017, the CFDA issued the Circular on the Matters Relating to Promotion of the Pilot Program for the Drug Marketing Authorization Holder System. This notice is issued, among other things, to advance implementation of a system pilot program for holders of drug marketing authorization, to delineate the rights and obligations of such holders, to enhance the quality control system for the drug manufacturing process and to improve the responsibility system over drug manufacturing and marketing supply chains. In October 2018, the NMPA issued the Decisions on Extending the Period of the Pilot Program from the Drug Marketing Authorization Holder System in Several Regions (Draft), which extends the expiration date of the pilot program from November 4, 2018 to the implementation date of the revised Drug Administration Law of the People’s Republic of China, or the Drug Administration Law.
 
The NMPA may issue detailed policies regarding fast track clinical trial approval and drug registration pathway, and we expect that the NMPA review and approval process will improve over time. However, how and when this approval process will be changed is still subject to further policies to be issued by the NMPA and is currently uncertain. It is not clear, therefore, whether Plinabulin will qualify for these programs and, if it does, what benefits they could ultimately offer.
 
The process to develop, obtain regulatory approval for and commercialize product candidates is long, complex and costly both inside and outside the U.S. and China, and approval may not be granted. Even if our product candidates were to successfully obtain approval from the regulatory authorities, any approval might significantly limit the approved indications for use, or require that precautions, contraindications or warnings be included on the product labeling, or require expensive and time-consuming post-approval clinical studies, surveillance or other measures as conditions of approval. Following any approval for commercial sale of our product candidates, certain changes to the drug, such as changes in manufacturing processes, labeling or product claims, may be subject to additional review and approval by the FDA, NMPA and EMA and comparable regulatory authorities. Also, regulatory approval for any of our product candidates may be withdrawn. If we are unable to obtain regulatory approval for our product candidates in one or more jurisdictions, or if any approval contains significant limitations or conditions, our target market will be reduced and our ability to realize the full market potential of our product candidates will be harmed. Furthermore, we may not be able to obtain sufficient funding or generate sufficient revenue and cash flows to continue the development of our product candidates or any future product candidates we may develop.

Even if any of our product candidates receives regulatory approval, they may fail to achieve the degree of market acceptance by physicians, patients, third-party payors and others in the medical community necessary for commercial success.
 
If any of our product candidates or any future product candidate we develop receives regulatory approval, it may nonetheless fail to gain sufficient market acceptance by physicians, patients, third-party payors and others in the medical community. For example, current cancer treatments like chemotherapy and radiation therapy and current neutropenia treatments are well established in the medical community, and doctors may continue to rely on these treatments to the exclusion of our product candidates. In addition, physicians, patients and third-party payors may prefer other novel products to ours. If our product candidates do not achieve an adequate level of acceptance, we may not generate significant product sales revenues and we may not become profitable. The degree of market acceptance of our product candidates, if approved for commercial sale, will depend on a number of factors, including:
 

the clinical indications for which our product candidates are approved;
 

physicians, hospitals, cancer treatment centers and patients considering our product candidates as a safe and effective treatment;
 

the potential and perceived advantages of our product candidates over alternative treatments;
 

the prevalence and severity of any side effects;
 

product labeling or product insert requirements of the FDA, NMPA, EMA or other comparable regulatory authorities;
 

limitations or warnings contained in the labeling approved by the FDA, NMPA, EMA or other comparable regulatory authorities;
 

the timing of market introduction of our product candidates as well as competitive drugs;
 

the cost of treatment, including in relation to alternative treatments and their relative benefits;
 

the amount of upfront costs or training required for physicians to administer our product candidates;
 

the availability of adequate coverage, reimbursement and pricing by third-party payors and government authorities;
 

the willingness of patients to pay out-of-pocket in the absence of coverage and reimbursement by third-party payors and government authorities;
 

relative convenience and ease of administration, including as compared to alternative treatments and competitive therapies; and
 

the effectiveness of our sales and marketing efforts.
 
If our product candidates are approved but fail to achieve market acceptance among physicians, patients, hospitals, cancer treatment centers or others in the medical community, we will not be able to generate significant revenue. Even if our drugs achieve market acceptance, we may not be able to maintain that market acceptance over time if new products or technologies are introduced that are more favorably received than our drugs, receive more favorable reimbursement, are more cost effective or render our drugs obsolete.
 
We currently have no marketing and sales organization and have no history of marketing drugs. If we are unable to establish marketing and sales capabilities or enter into agreements with third parties to market and sell our product candidates, we may not be able to generate product sales revenue.
 
We currently have no sales, marketing or commercial product distribution capabilities and have no experience in marketing drugs. In China, if approved for sale, we intend to either partner with one or more national pharmaceutical companies or build our own sales force to commercialize Plinabulin for the treatment of NSCLC and CIN, through our Chinese subsidiary, Dalian Wanchunbulin Pharmaceuticals Ltd., or Wanchun Bulin.  Plinabulin has been granted status as a 2017 National Science and Technology Major Project in China, or the 2017 Grant. As a result of the 2017 Grant, Plinabulin has the potential to be included in the National Drug Priority Review List in China. According to the Outline of the Thirteenth Five-Year Plan of the National Economy and Social Development of the People’s Republic of China, the government encourages the research, development and production of new drugs, the new drugs with approval to be marketed shall enjoy priority to be included in the National Insurance System. Pending drug approval and successful pricing negotiations with the Chinese government, we believe that this status could help position Plinabulin for inclusion in the National Insurance System, which would allow for faster access to patients and reimbursement.  However, even if Plinabulin is approved for sale in China we may not be successful in transitioning to full commercialization or obtaining reimbursement under the National Insurance System.  We have no experience negotiating pricing arrangements and may be unable to reach agreement on pricing.  In addition, building our own sales force for marketing Plinabulin will require significant capital expenditures, management resources and time. We will have to compete with other pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies to recruit, hire, train and retain marketing and sales personnel.
 
In the U.S., Europe and other major markets outside of China, we expect to partner with one or more global pharmaceutical companies to market Plinabulin, if approved for sale, in advanced NSCLC and CIN. However, we may not be able to establish or maintain such collaborative arrangements, and even if we are able to do so, the global pharmaceutical companies may not have effective marketing abilities. Any revenue we receive will depend upon the efforts of such third parties, which may not be successful. In addition, depending on the nature of arrangements we are able to obtain with global pharmaceutical companies, we may have little or no control over their marketing and sales efforts, and our revenue from product sales may be lower than if we had commercialized our product candidates ourselves. We also face competition in our search for third parties to assist us with the sales and marketing efforts of our product candidates.
 
We may not be able to develop in-house sales and commercial distribution capabilities or establish or maintain relationships with a third-party global pharmaceutical company to successfully commercialize any product, and as a result, we may not be able to generate product sales revenue.
 
We face substantial competition, which may result in others discovering, developing or commercializing competing drugs before or more successfully than we do.
 
The development and commercialization of new drugs is highly competitive. We face competition with respect to our current product candidates, and will face competition with respect to any product candidates that we may seek to develop or commercialize in the future, from major pharmaceutical companies and specialty pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies worldwide. There are a number of large pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies that currently market and sell drugs or are pursuing the development of drugs for the treatment of cancer for which we are developing our product candidates. See “Item 4. Information on the Company—B. Business Overview—Competition.” Some of these competitive drugs and therapies are based on scientific approaches that are the same as or similar to our approach, and others are based on entirely different approaches. Potential competitors also include academic institutions, government agencies and other public and private research organizations that conduct research, seek patent protection and establish collaborative arrangements for research, development, manufacturing and commercialization. In addition, while we are investigating an alternative approach to cancer treatment by using molecular glue technology to tag oncogene proteins with ubiquitin ligase and destroy such proteins, there are a number of companies who are also working on using such technology to target and destroy oncogene proteins. See “Item 4. Information on the Company—B. Business Overview—Plinabulin, Our Lead Drug Candidate—Other programs.”

Our commercial opportunity could be reduced or eliminated if our competitors develop and commercialize drugs that are, or are perceived to be, safer, more effective, have fewer or less severe side effects, are more convenient or are less expensive than any drugs that we may develop. Our competitors also may obtain approval from the FDA, NMPA, EMA or other comparable regulatory authorities for their drugs more rapidly than we may obtain approval for ours, which could result in our competitors establishing a strong market position before we are able to enter the market or slow our regulatory approval.
 
Many of the companies against which we are competing or against which we may compete in the future have significantly greater financial resources and expertise in research and development, manufacturing, animal testing, conducting clinical trials, obtaining regulatory approvals and marketing approved drugs than we do. Mergers and acquisitions in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries may result in even more resources being concentrated among a smaller number of our competitors. Smaller and other early-stage companies may also prove to be significant competitors, particularly through collaborative arrangements with large and established companies. These third parties compete with us in recruiting and retaining qualified scientific and management personnel, establishing clinical trial sites and recruiting patients for clinical trials, as well as in acquiring technologies complementary to, or necessary for, our programs.
 
Our product candidates for which we intend to seek approval as drug products may face competition sooner than expected.
 
Drug products approved under an NDA (including those in China), such as our product candidates, if they were to be approved, could face generic competition earlier than expected. The enactment of the Generic Drug User Fee Amendments of 2012 and the Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act of 2012 established a user fee program that will generate hundreds of millions of dollars in funding for the FDA’s generic drug review program. Funding from the user fee program, along with performance goals that the FDA negotiated with the generic drug industry, could significantly decrease the timeframe for FDA review and approval of generic drug applications.
 
In addition, legislative and regulatory proposals emerge from time to time in various jurisdiction to further encourage the early and rapid approval of generic drugs. For example, in 2017 the FDA announced the Drug Competition Action Plan, which consists of a series of proposals intended to increase completion in the prescription drug market and facilitate the entry of lower-cost generic alternatives. Any such proposal that is enacted into law could increase competition for our product candidates in the event any of them gains approval.
 
We must receive adequate reimbursement coverage for our product to successfully commercialize our product candidates or any future product candidate we may develop.
 
Should we receive the approvals necessary to market our product candidates or any future product candidate we may develop, we will still need to apply to government and other third-party payors for them to reimburse physicians and patients to administer and use our product. Newly-approved healthcare drugs face significant uncertainty regarding both whether they will be covered and their levels of reimbursement. Government and other healthcare payors, including Medicare, are increasingly attempting to contain healthcare costs by limiting both coverage and reimbursement levels. Even if our product candidates or future product candidates we may develop are approved by regulators, government or other third-party payors may decline to cover them or may offer reimbursement rates that are insufficient to cover our cost to supply the drugs or that otherwise fail to provide the revenue we expect to receive for the drugs. They may also set reimbursement rates for physicians who administer the drug that are insufficient to cover the physicians’ costs or otherwise provide them with a disincentive to prescribe them. A decision by one third-party payor to provide reimbursement does not guarantee that other third-party payors will also provide reimbursement or provide reimbursement at the same levels. Further, once coverage and reimbursement rates are established, they may be changed or withdrawn in the future. The failure of government and other healthcare payors to cover or provide adequate reimbursement levels for our product candidates or any future product candidate we may develop, could reduce their market acceptance, limit our growth and cause our revenue and results of operations to suffer. Further, delays in establishing coverage and reimbursement would delay the commercialization of our product candidates, which would adversely affect our growth, operating results and financial position.
 
Prices in many countries, including China and many in Europe, are subject to local regulation. In these jurisdictions, pricing negotiations with governmental authorities can take considerable time after the receipt of marketing approval for a product. As a result, we might obtain regulatory approval for a drug in a particular country, but be subject to price regulations that delay or prevent our commercial launch of the drug and negatively impact the revenue, if any, we are able to generate from the sale of the drug in that country. The existence of direct and indirect price controls and pressures over our product candidates could materially adversely affect our financial prospects and performance.

Recently enacted and future legislation may increase the difficulty and cost for us to obtain regulatory approval of and commercialize our product candidates and affect the prices we may obtain.
 
In China, the U.S., the European Union and some other jurisdictions, there have been a number of legislative and regulatory changes and proposed changes regarding the healthcare system that could prevent or delay regulatory approval of our product candidates, restrict or regulate post-approval activities and affect our ability to profitably sell any product candidates for which we obtain regulatory approval.
 
In March 2010, former President Obama signed into law the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, and the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010, or the Affordable Care Act, a sweeping law intended to broaden access to health insurance, reduce or constrain the growth of healthcare spending, enhance remedies against fraud and abuse, add new transparency requirements for the healthcare and health insurance industries, impose new taxes and fees on the health industry and impose additional health policy reforms.
 
Among the provisions of the Affordable Care Act of importance to our potential product candidates are the following:
 

an annual, nondeductible fee on any entity that manufactures or imports specified branded prescription drugs
 

an increase in the statutory minimum rebates a manufacturer must pay under the Medicaid Drug Rebate Program;
 

expansion of healthcare fraud and abuse laws, including the False Claims Act and the Anti-Kickback Statute, new government investigative powers, and enhanced penalties for noncompliance;
 

a Medicare Part D coverage gap discount program, in which manufacturers must agree to offer 50% point-of-sale discounts off negotiated prices;
 

extension of manufacturers’ Medicaid rebate liability;
 

expansion of eligibility criteria for Medicaid programs;
 

expansion of the entities eligible for discounts under the Public Health Service Act pharmaceutical pricing program;
 

requirements to report financial arrangements with physicians and teaching hospitals;
 

a requirement to annually report drug samples that manufacturers and distributors provide to physicians; and
 

a Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute to oversee, identify priorities in, and conduct comparative clinical effectiveness research, along with funding for such research.
 
In addition, other legislative changes have been proposed and adopted in the U.S. since the Affordable Care Act was enacted. For example, the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, among other things, amended the Affordable Care Act, effective January 1, 2019, to close the coverage gap in most Medicare drug plans, and also increase in 2019 the percentage that a drug manufacturer must discount the cost of the prescription drugs from 50% under current law to 70%.
 
We expect that the Affordable Care Act, as well as 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 approved drug. The implementation of cost containment measures or other healthcare reforms may prevent us from being able to generate revenue, attain profitability, or commercialize our drugs. Any reduction in reimbursement from Medicare or other government programs may result in a similar reduction in payments from private payors. Some of the provisions of the Affordable Care Act have yet to be fully implemented, while certain provisions have been subject to judicial and Congressional challenges. In particular, since the November 2016 U.S. election, President Trump and the U.S. Congress have made numerous efforts to repeal or amend the Affordable Care Act in whole or in part.  In May 2017, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to pass the American Health Care Act of 2017, or the AHCA, which would repeal many provisions of the Affordable Care Act.  The Senate considered but failed to pass the AHCA or a comparable measure, but Congress may consider further legislation to repeal or replace elements of the Affordable Care Act.  In addition, the tax reform act, or the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which President Trump signed into law in December 2017, repeals the Affordable Care Act’s individual health insurance mandate, which is considered a key component of the Affordable Care Act. Thus, the full impact of the Affordable Care Act, or any law repealing, modifying or replacing elements of it, on our business remains unclear. Legislative and regulatory proposals have been made to expand post-approval requirements and restrict sales and promotional activities for pharmaceutical products. We cannot be sure whether additional legislative changes will be enacted, or whether FDA regulations, guidance or interpretations will be changed, or what the impact of such changes on the regulatory approvals of our product candidates, if any, may be. In addition, increased scrutiny by the U.S. Congress of the FDA’s approval process may significantly delay or prevent regulatory approval, as well as subject us to more stringent product labeling and post-marketing testing and other requirements. In the U.S., there also is increased public and governmental scrutiny of the cost of drugs and drug pricing strategies, including by the U.S. Senate and federal and state prosecutors. The U.S. Congress and numerous state legislatures are considering legislation that may impact the prices that drug manufacturers are permitted to charge for their products or require increased transparency around drug pricing practices. In addition, in May 2018, President Trump released The Trump Administration Blueprint to Lower Drug Prices and Reduce Out-of-Pocket Costs, or the Blueprint. Certain proposals in the Blueprint, and related drug pricing measures proposed since the Blueprint, could cause significant operational and reimbursement changes for the pharmaceutical industry. We cannot know whether any of these changes will be enacted and, if so, whether they would impact the prices we would be able to charge for our product candidates, if they gain approval in the U.S.
 
We may be subject, directly or indirectly, to applicable U.S. federal and state anti-kickback, false claims laws, physician payment transparency laws, fraud and abuse laws or similar healthcare and security laws and regulations, which could expose us to criminal sanctions, civil penalties, contractual damages, reputational harm and diminished profits and future earnings.
 
Healthcare providers, physicians and others will play a primary role in the recommendation and prescription of any products for which we obtain regulatory approval. If we obtain FDA approval for any of our product candidates and begin commercializing those drugs in the U.S., our operations may be subject to various federal and state fraud and abuse laws, including, without limitation, the federal Anti-Kickback Statute, the federal False Claims Act, and physician payment sunshine and other disclosure laws and regulations. These laws may impact, among other things, our potential sales, marketing, patient assistance and education programs. In addition, we may be subject to data privacy and security regulation by both the federal government and the states in which we conduct our business. The laws that may affect our ability to operate include:
 

the federal Anti-Kickback Statute, which prohibits, among other things, 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, either the referral of an individual, or the purchase, lease, order 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;
 

federal civil and criminal false claims laws and civil monetary penalty laws, including the False Claims Act, which may be pursued through civil whistleblower or qui tam actions, impose criminal and civil penalties against individuals or entities for knowingly presenting, or causing to be presented, to the federal government, false or fraudulent claims for payment or approval from Medicare, Medicaid or other third-party payors or making a false statement to avoid, decrease or conceal an obligation to pay money to the federal government;
 

federal criminal statutes created through the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, or HIPAA, which prohibit knowingly and willfully executing, or attempting to execute, a scheme to defraud any healthcare benefit program or obtain, by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, or promises, any of the money or property owned by, or under the custody or control of, any healthcare benefit program, regardless of the payor (e.g., public or private) and knowingly and willfully falsifying, concealing or covering up by any trick or device a material fact or making any materially false statements in connection with the delivery of, or payment for, healthcare benefits, items or services relating to healthcare matters;
 

HIPAA, as amended by the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act of 2009 and their respective implementing regulations, which impose requirements on certain covered healthcare providers, health plans, and healthcare clearinghouses as well as their respective business associates that perform services for them that involve the use, or disclosure of, individually identifiable health information, relating to the privacy, security and transmission of individually identifiable health information;
 

federal transparency requirements, including the Affordable Care Act provision commonly referred to as the Physician Payments Sunshine Act, which requires manufacturers of drugs, biologics, devices and medical supplies for which payment is available under Medicare, Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program to report annually to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services information related to payments and other transfers of value made to physicians and teaching hospitals, as well as ownership and investment interests held by physicians and their immediate family members; and
 

federal consumer protection and unfair competition laws, which broadly regulate marketplace activities and activities that potentially harm consumers.
 
Additionally, we may be subject to state and non-U.S. equivalents of each of the healthcare laws described above, among others, some of which may be broader or different in scope and may apply regardless of the payor. Many U.S. states have adopted laws similar to the federal Anti-Kickback Statute, some of which apply to the referral of patients for healthcare services reimbursed by any source, not just governmental payors, including private insurers. In addition, some states have passed laws that require pharmaceutical companies to comply with the April 2003 Office of Inspector General Compliance Program Guidance for Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and/or the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America’s Code on Interactions with Healthcare Professionals. Several states also impose other marketing restrictions or require pharmaceutical companies to make marketing or price disclosures to the state, and some states have passed their own data privacy and security measures. There are ambiguities as to what is required to comply with these state requirements and if we fail to comply with an applicable state law requirement we could be subject to penalties or other consequences.
 
Because of the breadth of these laws and the narrowness of the statutory exceptions and safe harbors available, it is possible that some of our future business activities could be subject to challenge under one or more of such laws. In addition, recent health care reform legislation has strengthened these laws. For example, the Affordable Care Act, among other things, amends the intent requirement of the federal Anti-Kickback Statute and criminal healthcare fraud statutes. As a result of such amendment, a person or entity no longer needs to have actual knowledge of these statutes or specific intent to violate them in order to have committed a violation. Moreover, the Affordable Care Act provides that a claim including items or services resulting from a violation of the federal Anti-Kickback Statute constitutes a false or fraudulent claim for purposes of the False Claims Act.
 
Violations of fraud and abuse laws may be punishable by criminal or civil sanctions, including penalties, fines or exclusion or suspension from federal and state healthcare programs such as Medicare and Medicaid and debarment from contracting with the U.S. government. In addition, private individuals have the ability to bring actions on behalf of the U.S. government under the federal False Claims Act as well as under the false claims laws of several states.
 
Efforts to ensure that our business arrangements with third parties will comply with applicable healthcare laws and regulations will involve substantial costs. It is possible that governmental authorities will conclude that our business practices do not comply with current or future statutes, regulations or case law involving applicable fraud and abuse or other healthcare laws and regulations. If any such actions are instituted against us, and we are not successful in defending ourselves or asserting our rights, those actions could have a significant impact on our business, including the imposition of civil, criminal and administrative penalties, damages, disgorgement, monetary fines, possible exclusion from participation in Medicare, Medicaid and other federal healthcare programs, contractual damages, reputational harm, diminished profits and future earnings, and curtailment of our operations, any of which could adversely affect our ability to operate our business and our results of operations. In addition, the approval and commercialization of any of our product candidates outside the U.S. will also likely subject us to non-U.S. equivalents of the healthcare laws mentioned above, among other non-U.S. laws.
 
If any of the physicians or other providers or entities with whom we expect to do business with are found to be not in compliance with applicable laws, they may be subject to criminal, civil or administrative sanctions, including exclusions from government funded healthcare programs. This could adversely affect our ability to operate our business and our results of operations.
 
Risks Related to Our Intellectual Property
 
A portion of our intellectual property portfolio currently comprises pending patent applications that have not yet been issued as granted patents and if our pending patent applications fail to issue our business will be adversely affected. If we are unable to obtain and maintain patent protection for our technology and drugs, our competitors could develop and commercialize technology and drugs similar or identical to ours, and our ability to successfully commercialize our technology and drugs may be adversely affected.
 
Our success depends in large part on our ability to obtain and maintain patent protection in the U.S., China and other countries with respect to our proprietary technology and product candidates. As of March 31, 2019, we owned sixteen issued U.S. patents directed to Plinabulin and Plinabulin analogs, their synthesis and their use in the treatment of various disorders including lung cancer. In addition, we had counterpart granted patents in 35 foreign jurisdictions, including Japan, South Korea, China, Europe and other countries. The U.S. patents are scheduled to expire between 2021 and 2036, excluding any patent term restorations. We had six families of pending patent applications directed to use of Plinabulin in neutropenia reduction, use of Plinabulin for treating RAS mutant tumors and brain tumors, polymorphic forms of Plinabulin, and the use of Plinabulin in combination with checkpoint inhibitors. If these applications were to issue, they would nominally expire between 2033 and 2038. We had five pending Patent Cooperation Treaty, or PCT, patent applications directed to reduction of CIN and immunotherapy related adverse events, the therapeutic use of tubulin binding compounds, dosage regimens, the treatment of thrombocytopenia, and use in combination with G-CSF therapy. If applications claiming priority to these PCT applications were to issue, they would nominally expire in 2038 or 2039.
 
With respect to issued patents in certain jurisdictions, for example, the U.S. and Europe, we may be entitled to obtain a patent term extension to extend the patent expiration date provided we meet the applicable requirements for obtaining such patent term extensions. We have sought to protect our proprietary position by filing patent applications in the U.S. and through the PCT related to novel technologies and product candidates that we consider to be important to our business. This process is time-consuming, and we may not be able to file and prosecute all necessary or desirable patent applications in a timely manner. It is also possible that we will fail to identify patentable aspects of our research and development output before it is too late to obtain patent protection.
 
Our pending patent applications may not result in issued patents in the U.S. or non-U.S. jurisdictions in which such applications are pending. Even if patents do issue on any of these applications, a third party nevertheless may challenge their validity. Moreover, we may not obtain sufficient claim scope in those patents to prevent a third party from competing successfully with our product candidates. Even if our patent applications issue as patents, they may not issue in a form that will provide us with any meaningful protection, prevent competitors from competing with us or otherwise provide us with any competitive advantage. Our competitors may be able to circumvent our patents by developing similar or alternative technologies or product candidates in a non-infringing manner. The issuance of a patent is not conclusive as to its scope, validity or enforceability, and our patents may be challenged in the courts or patent offices in the U.S. and abroad. Such challenges may result in patent claims being narrowed, invalidated or held unenforceable, which could limit our ability to stop or prevent us from stopping others from using or commercializing similar or identical technology and product candidates, or limit the duration of the patent protection of our technology and product candidates. Given the amount of time required for the development, testing and regulatory review of new product candidates, patents protecting such candidates might expire before or shortly after such candidates are commercialized. As a result, our patent portfolio may not provide us with sufficient rights to exclude others from commercializing product candidates similar or identical to ours.
 
We may not be able to protect our intellectual property rights throughout the world.
 
Filing, prosecuting, maintaining and defending patents on product candidates in all countries throughout the world could be prohibitively expensive for us, and our intellectual property rights in some non-U.S. countries can have a different scope and strength than do those in the U.S.  In addition, the laws of certain non-U.S. countries do not protect intellectual property rights to the same extent as U.S. federal and state laws do. Consequently, we may not be able to prevent third parties from practicing our inventions in all countries outside the U.S., or from selling or importing drugs made using our inventions in and into the U.S. or non-U.S. jurisdictions. Competitors may use our technologies in jurisdictions where we have not obtained patent protection to develop their own drugs and further, may export otherwise infringing drugs to non-U.S. jurisdictions where we have patent protection, but where enforcement rights are not as strong as those in the U.S.  These drugs may compete with our product candidates and our patent rights or other intellectual property rights may not be effective or adequate to prevent them from competing.
 
Many companies have encountered significant problems in protecting and defending intellectual property rights in certain jurisdictions. The legal systems of some countries do not favor the enforcement of patents, trade secrets and other intellectual property, which could make it difficult in those jurisdictions for us to stop the infringement or misappropriation of our patents or other intellectual property rights, or the marketing of competing drugs in violation of our proprietary rights. Proceedings to enforce our patent and other intellectual property rights in non-U.S. jurisdictions could result in substantial costs and divert our efforts and attention from other aspects of our business.
 
Furthermore, such proceedings could put our patents at risk of being invalidated, held unenforceable, or interpreted narrowly, could put our patent applications at risk of not issuing, and could provoke third parties to assert claims of infringement or misappropriation against us. We may not prevail in any lawsuits that we initiate and the damages or other remedies awarded, if any, may not be commercially meaningful. Accordingly, our efforts to enforce our intellectual property rights around the world may be inadequate to obtain a significant commercial advantage from the intellectual property that we develop.
 
We may become involved in lawsuits to protect or enforce our intellectual property, which could be expensive, time consuming and unsuccessful. Our patent rights relating to our product candidates could be found invalid or unenforceable if challenged in court or before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, or USPTO, or comparable non-U.S. authority.
 
Competitors may infringe our patent rights or misappropriate or otherwise violate our intellectual property rights. To counter infringement or unauthorized use, litigation may be necessary in the future to enforce or defend our intellectual property rights, to protect our trade secrets or to determine the validity and scope of our own intellectual property rights or the proprietary rights of others. This can be expensive and time consuming. Any claims that we assert against perceived infringers could also provoke these parties to assert counterclaims against us alleging that we infringe their intellectual property rights. Many of our current and potential competitors have the ability to dedicate substantially greater resources to enforce and/or defend their intellectual property rights than we can. Accordingly, despite our efforts, we may not be able to prevent third parties from infringing upon or misappropriating our intellectual property. Litigation could result in substantial costs and diversion of management resources, which could harm our business and financial results. In addition, in an infringement proceeding, a court may decide that patent rights or other intellectual property rights owned by us are invalid or unenforceable, or may refuse to stop the other party from using the technology at issue on the grounds that our patent rights or other intellectual property rights do not cover the technology in question. An adverse result in any litigation proceeding could put our patent, as well as any patents that may issue in the future from our pending patent applications, at risk of being invalidated, held unenforceable or interpreted narrowly. Furthermore, because of the substantial amount of discovery required in connection with intellectual property litigation, some of our confidential information could be compromised by disclosure during this type of litigation.
 
If we initiate legal proceedings against a third party to enforce our patents, or any patents that may issue in the future from our patent applications, that relate to one of our product candidates, the defendant could counterclaim that such patent rights are invalid or unenforceable. In patent litigation in the U.S., defendant counterclaims alleging invalidity or unenforceability are commonplace, and there are numerous grounds upon which a third party can assert invalidity or unenforceability of a patent. Third parties may also raise similar claims before administrative bodies in the U.S. or abroad, even outside the context of litigation. Such mechanisms include ex parte re-examination, inter partes review, post-grant review, derivation and equivalent proceedings in non-U.S. jurisdictions, such as opposition proceedings. Such proceedings could result in revocation or amendment to our patents in such a way that they no longer cover and protect our product candidates. With respect to the validity of our patents, for example, there may be invalidating prior art of which we, our patent counsel, and the patent examiner were unaware during prosecution. If a defendant were to prevail on a legal assertion of invalidity and/or unenforceability, we would lose at least part, and perhaps all, of the patent protection on our product candidates. Such a loss of patent protection could have a material adverse impact on our business.
 
We may not be able to prevent misappropriation of our trade secrets or confidential information, particularly in countries where the laws may not protect those rights as fully as in the U.S.  Furthermore, because of the substantial amount of discovery required in connection with intellectual property litigation, some of our confidential information could be compromised by disclosure during this type of litigation.
 
We may be subject to claims challenging the inventorship of our patents and other intellectual property.
 
Although we are not currently experiencing any claims challenging the inventorship of our patents or ownership of our intellectual property, we may in the future be subject to claims that former employees, collaborators or other third parties have an interest in our patents or other intellectual property as inventors or co-inventors. For example, we may have inventorship disputes arise from conflicting obligations of consultants or others who are involved in developing our product candidates. Litigation may be necessary to defend against these and other claims challenging inventorship. If we fail in defending any such claims, in addition to paying monetary damages, we may lose rights such as exclusive ownership of, or right to use, our patent rights or other intellectual property. Such an outcome could have a material adverse effect on our business. Even if we are successful in defending against such claims, litigation could result in substantial costs and be a distraction to management and other employees.
 
If we are sued for infringing intellectual property rights of third parties, such litigation could be costly and time consuming and could prevent or delay us from developing or commercializing our product candidates.
 
Our commercial success depends in part on our avoiding infringement of the patents and other intellectual property rights of third parties. There is a substantial amount of litigation involving patent and other intellectual property rights in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries. Numerous issued patents and pending patent applications, which are owned by third parties, exist in the fields in which we are developing product candidates. As the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries expand and more patents are issued, the risk increases that our product candidates may give rise to claims of infringement of the patent rights of others.
 
Third parties may assert that we are employing their proprietary technology without authorization. There may be third-party patents of which we are currently unaware with claims to materials, formulations, methods of manufacture or methods for treatment related to the use or manufacture of our product candidates. Because patent applications can take many years to issue, there may be currently pending patent applications which may later result in issued patents that our product candidates may infringe. In addition, third parties may obtain patents in the future and claim that use of our technologies infringes upon these patents. If any third-party patents were held by a court of competent jurisdiction to cover the manufacturing process of any of our product candidates, any molecules formed during the manufacturing process or any final drug itself, the holders of any such patents may be able to prevent us from commercializing such product candidate unless we obtain a license under the applicable patents, or until such patents expire or they are finally determined to be held invalid or unenforceable. Similarly, if any third-party patent were held by a court of competent jurisdiction to cover aspects of our formulations, processes for manufacture or methods of use, including combination therapy or patient selection methods, the holders of any such patent may be able to block our ability to develop and commercialize the applicable product candidate unless we obtain a license, limit our uses, or until such patent expires or is finally determined to be held invalid or unenforceable. In any of these cases, such a license may not be available on commercially reasonable terms or at all.
 
Third parties who bring successful claims against us for infringement of their intellectual property rights may obtain injunctive or other equitable relief, which could prevent us from developing and commercializing one or more of our product candidates. Defense of these claims, regardless of their merit, would involve substantial litigation expense and would be a substantial diversion of employee resources from our business. In the event of a successful claim of infringement or misappropriation against us, we may have to pay substantial damages, including treble damages and attorneys’ fees in the case of willful infringement, obtain one or more licenses from third parties, pay royalties or redesign our infringing product candidates, which may be impossible or require substantial time and monetary expenditure. In the event of an adverse result in any such litigation, or even in the absence of litigation, we may need to obtain licenses from third parties to advance our research or allow commercialization of our product candidates. Any required license may not be available at all or may not be available on commercially reasonable terms. In the event that we are unable to obtain such a license, we would be unable to further develop and commercialize one or more of our product candidates, which could harm our business significantly. We may also elect to enter into license agreements in order to settle patent infringement claims or to resolve disputes prior to litigation, and any such license agreements may require us to pay royalties and other fees that could significantly harm our business.
 
Even if resolved in our favor, litigation or other legal proceedings relating to intellectual property claims may cause us to incur significant expenses, and could distract our technical personnel, management personnel, or both from their normal responsibilities. In addition, there could be public announcements of the results of hearings, motions or other interim proceedings or developments and if securities analysts or investors perceive these results to be negative, it could have a substantial adverse effect on the market price of our ordinary shares. Such litigation or proceedings could substantially increase our operating losses and reduce the resources available for development activities or any future sales, marketing or distribution activities. We may not have sufficient financial or other resources to adequately conduct such litigation or proceedings. Some of our competitors may be able to sustain the costs of such litigation or proceedings more effectively than we can because of their greater financial resources. Uncertainties resulting from the initiation and continuation of patent litigation or other proceedings could have a material adverse effect on our ability to compete in the marketplace.
 
Obtaining and maintaining our patent protection depends on compliance with various procedural, document submission, fee payment, and other requirements imposed by governmental patent agencies, and our patent protection could be reduced or eliminated for noncompliance with these requirements.
 
Periodic maintenance fees on any issued patent are due to be paid to the USPTO and other patent agencies in several stages over the lifetime of the patent. The USPTO and various non-U.S. governmental patent agencies require compliance with a number of procedural, documentary, fee payment, and other similar provisions during the patent application process. Although an inadvertent lapse can in many cases be cured by payment of a late fee or by other means in accordance with the applicable rules, there are situations in which noncompliance can result in abandonment or lapse of the patent or patent application, resulting in partial or complete loss of patent rights in the relevant jurisdiction. Noncompliance events that could result in abandonment or lapse of a patent or patent application include failure to respond to official actions within prescribed time limits, non-payment of fees, and failure to properly legalize and submit formal documents. In any such event, our competitors might be able to enter the market, which would have a material adverse effect on our business.
 
The terms of our patents may not be sufficient to effectively protect our product candidates and business.
 
In most countries in which we file, including the U.S., the term of an issued patent is generally 20 years from the earliest claimed filing date of a non-provisional patent application in the applicable country. Although various extensions may be available, the life of a patent and the protection it affords is limited. Even if patents covering our product candidates are obtained, we may be open to competition from other companies as well as generic medications once the patent life has expired for a drug. The granted U.S. patents directed to the Plinabulin composition of matter, its synthesis and use are scheduled to expire between 2021 and 2036, excluding any potential patent term restoration. Upon the expiration of our issued patents or patents that may issue from our pending patent applications, we will not be able to assert such patent rights against potential competitors and our business and results of operations may be adversely affected.
 
If we do not obtain additional protection under the Hatch-Waxman Amendments and similar legislation in other countries extending the terms of our patents, if issued, relating to our product candidates, our business may be materially harmed.
 
Depending upon the timing, duration and specifics of FDA regulatory approval for our product candidates, one or more of our U.S. patents, if issued, may be eligible for limited patent term restoration under the Drug Price Competition and Patent Term Restoration Act of 1984, referred to as the Hatch-Waxman Amendments. The Hatch-Waxman Amendments permit a patent term extension of up to five years as compensation for patent term lost during drug development and the FDA regulatory review process. Patent term extensions, however, cannot extend the remaining term of a patent beyond a total of 14 years from the date of drug approval by the FDA, and only one patent can be extended for a particular drug.
 
The application for patent term extension is subject to approval by the USPTO, in conjunction with the FDA. We may not be granted an extension because of, for example, failing to apply within applicable deadlines, failing to apply prior to expiration of relevant patents or otherwise failing to satisfy applicable requirements. Moreover, the applicable time period or the scope of patent protection afforded could be less than we request. If we are unable to obtain a patent term extension for a given patent or the term of any such extension is less than we request, the period during which we will have the right to exclusively market our drug will be shortened and our competitors may obtain earlier approval of competing drugs, and our ability to generate revenues could be materially adversely affected.
 
Changes in patent law could diminish the value of patents in general, thereby impairing our ability to protect our product candidates.
 
Our success is heavily dependent on intellectual property, particularly patent rights. Obtaining and enforcing patents involves both technological and legal complexity, and is therefore costly, time-consuming and inherently uncertain. In addition, the U.S. has recently enacted and is currently implementing wide-ranging patent reform legislation. Recent U.S. Supreme Court rulings have narrowed the scope of patent protection available in certain circumstances and weakened the rights of patent owners in certain situations. In addition to increasing uncertainty with regard to our ability to obtain patents in the future, this combination of events has created uncertainty with respect to the value of patents once obtained, if any. Depending on decisions by the U.S. Congress, the federal courts and the USPTO, the laws and regulations governing patents could change in unpredictable ways that would weaken our ability to obtain new patents or to enforce our existing patents and patents that we might obtain in the future. For example, in a recent case, Assoc. for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics, Inc., the U.S. Supreme Court held that certain claims to naturally-occurring substances are not patentable. Although we do not believe that our currently-issued patents directed to our product candidates and any patents that may issue from our pending patent applications if issued in their currently pending forms will be found invalid based on this decision, future decisions by the courts, the U.S. Congress or the USPTO may impact the value of our patent rights. There could be similar changes in the laws of foreign jurisdictions that may impact the value of our patent rights or our other intellectual property rights.
 
If we are unable to protect the confidentiality of our trade secrets, our business and competitive position would be harmed.
 
In addition to our issued patent and pending patent applications, we rely on trade secrets, including unpatented know-how, technology and other proprietary information, to maintain our competitive position and to protect our product candidates. We seek to protect these trade secrets, in part, by entering into non-disclosure and confidentiality agreements with parties that have access to them, such as our employees, corporate collaborators, outside scientific collaborators, sponsored researchers, contract manufacturers, consultants, advisors and other third parties. We also enter into confidentiality and invention or patent assignment agreements with our employees and consultants. However, any of these parties may breach such agreements and disclose our proprietary information, and we may not be able to obtain adequate remedies for such breaches. 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. If any of our trade secrets were to be lawfully obtained or independently developed by a competitor, we would have no right to prevent them from using that technology or information to compete with us and our competitive position would be harmed.
 
We may be subject to claims that our employees have wrongfully used or disclosed alleged trade secrets of their former employers.
 
Although we try to ensure that our employees 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 these employees have used or disclosed intellectual property, including trade secrets or other proprietary information, of any such employee’s former employer. We are not aware of any threatened or pending claims related to these matters or concerning the agreements with our senior management, but in the future litigation may be necessary to defend against such claims. If we fail in defending any such claims, in addition to paying monetary damages, we may lose valuable intellectual property rights or personnel. Even if we are successful in defending against such claims, litigation could result in substantial costs and be a distraction to management.
 
In addition, while we typically require our employees, consultants and contractors who may be involved in the development of intellectual property to execute agreements assigning such intellectual property to us, we may be unsuccessful in executing such an agreement with each party who in fact develops intellectual property that we regard as our own, which may result in claims by or against us related to the ownership of such intellectual property. If we fail in prosecuting or defending any such claims, in addition to paying monetary damages, we may lose valuable intellectual property rights. Even if we are successful in prosecuting or defending against such claims, litigation could result in substantial costs and be a distraction to our management and scientific personnel.
 
We may not be successful in obtaining or maintaining necessary rights for our development pipeline through acquisitions and in-licenses.
 
Because our programs may subsequently include additional product candidates that require the use of proprietary rights held by third parties, the growth of our business may depend in part on our ability to acquire and maintain licenses or other rights to use these proprietary rights. We may be unable to acquire or in-license any compositions, methods of use, or other third-party intellectual property rights from third parties that we identify. The licensing and acquisition of third-party intellectual property rights is a competitive area, and more established companies may pursue strategies to license or acquire third-party intellectual property rights that we may consider attractive. These established companies may have a competitive advantage over us due to their size, cash resources and greater clinical development and commercialization capabilities.
 
In addition, companies that perceive us to be a competitor may be unwilling to assign or license rights to us. We also may be unable to license or acquire third-party intellectual property rights on terms that would allow us to make an appropriate return on our investment. If we are unable to successfully obtain rights to required third-party intellectual property rights, our business, financial condition and prospects for growth could suffer.
 
Risks Related to Our Reliance on Third Parties
 
We rely on third parties to conduct our studies in animals and clinical trials. If these third parties do not successfully carry out their contractual duties or meet expected deadlines, we may not be able to obtain regulatory approval for or commercialize our product candidates and our business could be substantially harmed.
 
We have relied upon and plan to continue to rely upon third-party CROs to monitor and manage data for our ongoing preclinical studies and clinical programs. We rely on these parties for execution of our studies in animals and clinical trials, and control only certain aspects of their activities. Nevertheless, we are responsible for ensuring that each of our studies is conducted in accordance with the applicable protocol, legal, and regulatory requirements and scientific standards, and our reliance on the CROs does not relieve us of our regulatory responsibilities. We and third parties, such as our CROs, are subject to numerous environmental, health and safety laws and regulations, including those governing laboratory procedures and the handling, use, storage, treatment and disposal of hazardous materials and waste. In the event of contamination or injury resulting from our use of hazardous materials, we could be held liable for any resulting damages, and any liability could exceed our resources. We could also be subject to civil or criminal fines and penalties, and significant associated costs.
 
We, our clinical investigators and our CROs are required to comply with GCPs, which are regulations and guidelines enforced by the FDA, NMPA, EMA and other comparable regulatory authorities for all of our drugs in clinical development. Regulatory authorities enforce these GCPs through periodic inspections of trial sponsors, principal investigators and trial sites. If we, our clinical investigators or any of our CROs fail to comply with applicable GCPs, the clinical data generated in our clinical trials may be deemed unreliable and the FDA, NMPA, EMA or comparable regulatory authorities may require us to perform additional clinical trials before approving our marketing applications. Upon inspection by a given regulatory authority, such regulatory authority may determine that one or more of our clinical trials do not comply with GCP regulations. In addition, our clinical trials must be conducted with drugs produced under cGMP regulations. Our failure to comply with these regulations may require us to repeat clinical trials, which would delay the regulatory approval process.
 
Our CROs have the right to terminate their agreements with us in certain circumstances. If any of our relationships with these third-party CROs terminate, we may not be able to enter into arrangements with alternative CROs or to do so on commercially reasonable terms. In addition, our CROs are not our employees, and we are limited to remedies available to us under our agreements with such CROs, if they fail to devote sufficient time and resources to our ongoing clinical and preclinical studies. If CROs or clinical investigators do not successfully carry out their contractual duties or obligations or meet expected deadlines, if they need to be replaced or if the quality or accuracy of the clinical data they obtain is compromised due to the failure to adhere to our clinical protocols, regulatory requirements or for other reasons, our clinical trials may be extended, delayed or terminated and we may not be able to obtain regulatory approval for or successfully commercialize our product candidates. As a result, our results of operations and the commercial prospects for our product candidates would be harmed, our costs could increase and our ability to generate revenues could be delayed.
 
Switching or adding additional CROs involves additional cost and requires management time and focus. In addition, there is a natural transition period when a new CRO commences work. As a result, delays occur, which can materially influence our ability to meet our desired clinical development timelines. Though we carefully manage our relationships with our CROs, we may nevertheless encounter similar challenges or delays in the future and these delays or challenges may have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and prospects.
 
We expect to rely on third parties to manufacture our product candidate supplies, and we intend to rely on third parties for the manufacturing process of our product candidates, if approved. Our business could be harmed if those third parties fail to provide us with sufficient quantities of product or fail to do so at acceptable quality levels or prices.
 
The manufacture of drug products is complex and requires significant expertise and capital investment, including the development of advanced manufacturing techniques and process controls. We intend to rely on outside vendors to manufacture supplies and process our product candidates. We have not yet caused our product candidates to be manufactured or processed on a commercial scale and may not be able to do so for any of our product candidates.
 
Our anticipated reliance on third-party manufacturers exposes us to the following risks:
 

we may be unable to identify manufacturers on acceptable terms or at all because the number of potential manufacturers is limited and the FDA, NMPA, EMA or other comparable regulatory authorities must evaluate any manufacturers. This assessment requires new testing and cGMP-compliance inspections by the FDA, NMPA, EMA or other comparable regulatory authorities. In addition, a new manufacturer would have to be educated in, or develop substantially equivalent processes for, production of our drugs;
 

our manufacturers may have little or no experience with manufacturing our product candidates, and therefore may require a significant amount of support from us to implement and maintain the infrastructure and processes required to manufacture our product candidates;
 

our third-party manufacturers might be unable to timely manufacture our product candidates or produce the quantity and quality required to meet our clinical and commercial needs, if any;
 

our contract manufacturers may not be able to execute our manufacturing procedures and other logistical support requirements appropriately;
 

our contract manufacturers may not perform as agreed, may not devote sufficient resources to our product candidates, or may not remain in the contract manufacturing business for the time required to supply our clinical trials or to successfully produce, store and distribute our drugs;
 

any potential third-party manufacturer may be unable to initially pass federal, state or international regulatory inspections in a timely or cost effective manner;
 

manufacturers are subject to ongoing periodic unannounced inspection by the FDA and corresponding state agencies in the U.S. and other regulatory authorities to ensure strict compliance with cGMPs and other government regulations and corresponding non-U.S. requirements and our third-party manufacturers may fail to comply with these regulations and requirements;
 

we may not own, or may have to share, the intellectual property rights to any improvements made by our third-party manufacturers in the manufacturing process for our product candidates;
 

our third-party manufacturers could breach or terminate their agreements with us;
 

our contract manufacturers and critical reagent suppliers may be subject to inclement weather, as well as natural or man-made disasters;
 

our contract manufacturers may have unacceptable or inconsistent product quality success rates and yields; and
 

we may not be able to obtain raw materials and components used in the manufacturing process that are suitable or acceptable for use, particularly where we have no other source or supplier for the raw materials or components.
 
Each of these risks could delay or prevent the completion of our clinical trials or the approval of any of our product candidates by the FDA, NMPA, EMA or other comparable regulatory authorities, result in higher costs or adversely impact commercialization of our product candidates.
 
In addition to relying on third-party manufacturers and vendors to manufacture our product candidates, we will rely on third parties to perform certain specification tests on our product candidates prior to delivery to patients. If these tests are not appropriately done and test data are not reliable, patients could be put at risk of serious harm and the FDA, NMPA, EMA or other comparable regulatory authorities could place significant restrictions on our company until deficiencies are remedied.
 
Currently, our drug raw materials for our manufacturing activities are supplied by multiple source suppliers. We have agreements for the supply of drug materials with manufacturers or suppliers that we believe have sufficient capacity to meet our demands. In addition, we believe that adequate alternative sources for such supplies exist. However, if supplies are interrupted, it would materially harm our business.
 
We rely on BASF SE as the sole supplier of the stabilizing agent, Solutol, used in Plinabulin’s current formulation. If BASF SE becomes unable or unwilling to supply Solutol, we will not be able to replace BASF SE and we would be required to reformulate Plinabulin. Reformulation of our product candidates will cause delays for a number of reasons including, but not limited to, the fact that the supplier of any replacement agent would have to be evaluated by or qualified with the relevant regulatory authorities, which is an expensive and time-consuming process during which we may experience a supply interruption. Such reformulation would result in significant delays and is expected to reduce the overall activity of one or more of our product candidates. We may also be unsuccessful in negotiating favorable terms with such a supplier. As a result, our financial position and results of operations may be adversely affected.

Manufacturers of drug products often encounter difficulties in production, particularly in scaling up or out, validating the production process, and assuring high reliability of the manufacturing process (including the absence of contamination). These problems include logistics and shipping, difficulties with production costs and yields, quality control, including stability of the product, product testing, operator error, availability of qualified personnel, as well as compliance with strictly enforced federal, state and non-U.S. regulations. Furthermore, if contaminants are discovered in our supply of our product candidates or in the manufacturing facilities, such manufacturing facilities may need to be closed for an extended period of time to investigate and remedy the contamination. It is possible that stability failures or other issues relating to the manufacture of our product candidates may occur in the future. Additionally, our manufacturers may experience manufacturing difficulties due to resource constraints or as a result of labor disputes or unstable political environments. If our manufacturers were to encounter any of these difficulties, or otherwise fail to comply with their contractual obligations, our ability to provide our product candidate to patients in clinical trials would be jeopardized. For example, BASF SE may not be able to produce sufficient quantities of stabilizing agent in a timely manner. Any delay or interruption in the supply of clinical trial supplies could delay the completion of clinical trials, increase the costs associated with maintaining clinical trial programs and, depending upon the period of delay, require us to begin new clinical trials at additional expense or terminate clinical trials completely.
 
We may form or seek collaborations, strategic alliances or acquisitions or enter into licensing arrangements in the future, and we may not realize the benefits of these arrangements.
 
We may form or seek strategic alliances, create joint ventures or collaborations, acquire complimentary products, intellectual property rights, technologies or businesses or enter into additional licensing arrangements with third parties that we believe will complement or augment our development and commercialization efforts with respect to our product candidates and any future product candidates that we may develop. Any of these relationships may require us to incur non-recurring and other charges, increase our near and long-term expenditures, issue securities that dilute our shareholders, or disrupt our management and business. In addition, we face significant competition in seeking appropriate strategic partners and the negotiation process is time-consuming and complex. Moreover, we may not be successful in our efforts to establish a strategic partnership or other alternative arrangements for our product candidates because they may be deemed to be at too early a stage of development for collaborative effort and third parties may not view our product candidates as having the requisite potential to demonstrate safety and efficacy. If and when we collaborate with a third party for development and commercialization of a product candidate, we can expect to relinquish some or all of the control over the future success of that product candidate to the third party.
 
Further, collaborations involving our product candidates are subject to numerous risks, which may include the following:
 

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

collaborators may not pursue development and commercialization of our product candidates or may elect not to continue or renew development or commercialization programs based on clinical trial results, changes in their strategic focus due to the acquisition of competitive drugs, availability of funding, or other external factors, such as a business combination that diverts resources or creates competing priorities;
 

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

collaborators could independently develop, or develop with third parties, drugs that compete directly or indirectly with our drugs or product candidates;
 

a collaborator with marketing and distribution rights to one or more drugs may not commit sufficient resources to their marketing and distribution;
 

collaborators may not properly maintain or defend our intellectual property rights or may use our intellectual property or proprietary information in a way that gives rise to actual or threatened litigation that could jeopardize or invalidate our intellectual property or proprietary information or expose us to potential liability;
 

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

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

collaborators may own or co-own intellectual property covering our drugs that results from our collaborating with them, and in such cases, we would not have the exclusive right to commercialize such intellectual property;
 

the collaboration may result in increased operating expenses or the assumption of indebtedness or contingent liabilities; and
 

the collaboration arrangement may result in the loss of key personnel and uncertainties in our ability to maintain key business relationships.
 
As a result, if we enter into collaboration agreements and strategic partnerships or license our drugs, we may not be able to realize the benefit of such transactions if we are unable to successfully integrate them with our existing operations and company culture, which could delay our timelines or otherwise adversely affect our business. Following a strategic transaction or license, we may not achieve the revenue or specific net income that justifies such transaction. If we are unable to reach agreements with suitable collaborators on a timely basis, on acceptable terms, or at all, we may have to curtail the development of a product candidate, reduce or delay its development program or one or more of our other development programs, delay its potential commercialization or reduce the scope of any sales or marketing activities, or increase our expenditures and undertake development or commercialization activities at our own expense. If we elect to fund and undertake development or commercialization activities on our own, we may need to obtain additional expertise and additional capital, which may not be available to us on acceptable terms or at all. If we fail to enter into collaborations and do not have sufficient funds or expertise to undertake the necessary development and commercialization activities, we may not be able to further develop our product candidates or bring them to market and generate product sales revenue, which would harm our business prospects, financial condition and results of operations.
 
We have entered into an investigator-initiated clinical trial agreement with UCSD and Dr. Lyudmila Bazhenova, an employee of UCSD and the principal investigator, and a clinical study agreement with the University of Washington, in connection with the investigator-initiated Phase 1/2 studies of Plinabulin in combination with nivolumab in patients with metastatic NSCLC. Both agreements provide that we will provide the financial support and access to Plinabulin for use in the studies, and there is no guarantee that any intellectual property rights will be developed in connection with these studies. See “Item 4. Information on the Company—B. Business Overview—Plinabulin, Our Lead Drug Candidate—Plinabulin in immuno-oncology—Clinical plans for Plinabulin in immuno-oncology.”
 
Risks Related to Our Industry, Business and Operation
 
We may be limited in the promotional claims we can make and may not be able to use information about competing therapies to promote or market Plinabulin, if approved, without incurring significant regulatory or enforcement risks.
 
Various U.S. governmental agencies, including the FDA and the Federal Trade Commission, or the FTC, regulate the promotion and advertising of FDA approved medical products. Promotional materials and statements must not be false or misleading. Among other things, the FDA requires that promotional claims be supported by “substantial evidence,” which requires adequate, well-controlled clinical trials. Promotional claims must also reflect “fair balance” between the risks and benefits of a medical product. The FDA has found comparative claims to be “false and misleading” when they are not supported by adequate, well-controlled, head-to-head comparison trials.
 
Disclaimers that the comparative claims are not based on head-to-head trials may not be sufficient to insulate the responsible party from an FDA or FTC enforcement action. False and misleading advertising and promotion is a violation of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, or the FDCA, and subjects the responsible party to sanctions including, but not limited to, warning letters, injunctions, civil penalties and criminal prosecution. Additionally, a product is misbranded under the regulations if, in an effort to promote the product, a responsible party makes a false or misleading representation with respect to a competing drug, device or biologic.

We have limited rights to Plinabulin inside China and Hong Kong.
 
Wanchun Bulin, a partially owned subsidiary, holds the intellectual property rights to Plinabulin in China and Hong Kong. We currently indirectly own 60% of the equity interest of Wanchun Bulin. The remaining 40% is held by Wanchun Biotech, a Chinese limited liability company owned by Lan Huang, our Chief Executive Officer, and Linqing Jia, our major shareholder. As a result, any distributions resulting from Wanchun Bulin on account of its equity ownership will not be fully received by us as the parent company, and any payment from us to Wanchun Bulin will indirectly benefit Dr. Huang and Mr. Jia. There may never be any revenue or other funds to repay these amounts to us as the parent company. In addition, under Chinese laws, rules and regulations, our subsidiaries incorporated in China are restricted in their ability to transfer a portion of their respective net assets to their shareholders as dividends.  Registered share capital and capital reserve accounts are also restricted from withdrawal in China. As of December 31, 2018, these restricted net assets were nil.
 
Our future success depends on our ability to retain our Chief Executive Officer and other key executives and to attract, retain and motivate qualified personnel.
 
We are highly dependent on Lan Huang, Ph.D., our Founder, Chairman of our Board of Directors and Chief Executive Officer and the other principal members of our management and scientific teams. Although we have formal employment agreements with most of our executive officers, these agreements do not prevent our executives from terminating their employment with us at any time. We do not maintain “key person” insurance for any of our executives or other employees. The loss of the services of any of these persons could impede the achievement of our research, development and commercialization objectives.
 
To induce valuable employees to remain at our company, in addition to salary and cash incentives, we provide share incentive grants that vest over time. The value to employees of these equity grants that vest over time may be significantly affected by movements in our ordinary share price that are beyond our control, and may at any time be insufficient to counteract more lucrative offers from other companies. Although we have employment agreements with our key employees, any of our employees could leave at any time, with or without notice.
 
Recruiting and retaining qualified scientific, clinical, sales and marketing personnel or consultants will also be critical to our success. In addition, we rely on consultants and advisors, including scientific and clinical advisors, to assist us in formulating our discovery and preclinical studies development and commercialization strategy. The loss of the services of our executive officers or other key employees and consultants could impede the achievement of our research, development and commercialization objectives and seriously harm our ability to successfully implement our business strategy.
 
Furthermore, replacing executive officers and key employees or consultants may be difficult and may take an extended period of time because of the limited number of individuals in our industry with the breadth of skills and experience required to successfully develop, gain regulatory approval of and commercialize product candidates. Competition to hire from this limited pool is intense, and we may be unable to hire, train, retain or motivate these key personnel or consultants on acceptable terms given the competition among numerous pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies for similar personnel.
 
We also experience competition for the hiring of scientific and clinical personnel from universities and research institutions. Our consultants and advisors may be employed by employers other than us and may have commitments under consulting or advisory contracts with other entities that may limit their availability to us. If we are unable to continue to attract and retain high quality personnel, our ability to pursue our growth strategy will be limited.
 
We will need to increase the size and capabilities of our organization, and we may experience difficulties in managing our growth.
 
As of December 31, 2018, we had 52 full-time employees. Of these, 38 were engaged in full-time research and development and laboratory operations and 14 were engaged in full-time general and administrative functions. As of December 31, 2018, 18 of our employees were located in China and 34 were located in the U.S. We have also engaged and may continue to engage independent contractors who are not full-time employees, to assist us with our operations. As our development and commercialization plans and strategies develop, we will need to establish and maintain effective disclosure and financial controls and make changes in our corporate governance practices. We will need to add a significant number of additional managerial, operational, sales, marketing, financial and other personnel with the appropriate public company experience and technical knowledge and we may not successfully recruit and maintain such personnel. Future growth will impose significant added responsibilities on members of management, including:
 

identifying, recruiting, integrating, maintaining and motivating additional employees;
 

managing our internal development efforts effectively, including the clinical and FDA or other comparable regulatory authority review process for our product candidates, while complying with our contractual obligations to contractors and other third parties; and
 

improving our operational, financial and management controls, reporting systems and procedures.
 
Our future financial performance and our ability to commercialize our product candidates will depend, in part, on our ability to effectively manage our future growth, and our management may also have to divert a disproportionate amount of its attention away from day-to-day activities in order to devote a substantial amount of time to managing these growth activities.
 
We currently rely, and for the foreseeable future will continue to rely, in substantial part on certain independent organizations, advisors and consultants to provide certain services. These independent organizations, advisors and consultants may not continue to be available to us on a timely basis when needed, and in such case, we may not have the ability to find qualified replacements. In addition, if we are unable to effectively manage our outsourced activities or if the quality or accuracy of the services provided by consultants is compromised for any reason, our clinical trials may be extended, delayed or terminated, and we may not be able to obtain regulatory approval of our product candidates or otherwise advance our business. Furthermore, we may not be able to manage our existing consultants or find other competent outside contractors and consultants on economically reasonable terms, if at all.
 
If we are not able to effectively expand our organization by hiring new employees and expanding our groups of consultants and contractors, we may not be able to successfully implement the tasks necessary to further develop and commercialize our product candidates and, accordingly, may not achieve our research, development and commercialization goals.
 
Our employees, independent contractors, consultants, commercial partners and vendors may engage in misconduct or other improper activities, including noncompliance with regulatory standards and requirements.
 
We are exposed to the risk of fraud, misconduct or other illegal activity by our employees, independent contractors, consultants, commercial partners and vendors. Misconduct by these parties could include intentional, reckless and negligent conduct that fails to: comply with the laws of the FDA and other similar non-U.S. regulatory authorities; provide true, complete and accurate information to the FDA and other similar non-U.S. regulatory authorities; comply with manufacturing standards we have established; comply with healthcare fraud and abuse laws in the U.S. and similar non-U.S. fraudulent misconduct laws; or report financial information or data accurately or to disclose unauthorized activities to us. If we obtain FDA approval of any of our product candidates and begin commercializing those drugs in the U.S., our potential exposure under U.S. laws will increase significantly and our costs associated with compliance with such laws are also likely to increase. These laws may impact, among other things, our current activities with principal investigators and research patients and our use of information obtained in the course of patient recruitment for clinical trials, as well as proposed and future sales, marketing and education programs. In particular, the promotion, sales and marketing of healthcare items and services, as well as certain business arrangements in the healthcare industry, 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.
 
It is not always possible to identify and deter misconduct by employees and other 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. If any such actions are instituted against us, and we are not successful in defending ourselves or asserting our rights, those actions could have a significant impact on our business, including the imposition of significant fines or other sanctions.
 
If we 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, the value of our ordinary shares.
 
As a public company, we are required to maintain internal control over financial reporting and to report any material weaknesses in such internal controls. Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, or the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, requires that we evaluate and determine the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting and provide a management report on internal control over financial reporting. The Sarbanes-Oxley Act also requires that our management report on internal control over financial reporting be attested to by our independent registered public accounting firm, to the extent we are no longer an “emerging growth company,” as defined in the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act, or JOBS Act. We do not expect our independent registered public accounting firm to attest to our management report on internal control over financial reporting for so long as we are an emerging growth company.
 
In connection with the audit of our financial statements as of December 31, 2016 and 2015 and for the years ended December 31, 2016, 2015 and 2014 we identified a material weakness in our internal control over financial reporting. The material weakness related to having an insufficient number of financial reporting personnel with an appropriate level of knowledge, experience and training in application of U.S. GAAP and SEC rules and regulations commensurate with our reporting requirements. After identifying the material weakness we implemented a series of measures designed to improve our internal control over financial reporting to remediate the material weakness, which had been remedied as of December 31, 2017.
 
Our management evaluated, with the participation of our Chief Executive Officer and Chief Financial Officer, the effectiveness of our disclosure controls and procedures (as defined in Rule 13a-15(e) under the Exchange Act) as of the end of the period covered by this report and has concluded that our disclosure controls and procedures were effective as of December 31, 2018. We may identify additional material weaknesses or significant deficiencies in our internal control over financial reporting in the future. More generally, if we are unable to comply with the requirements of Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, if we are unable to assert that our internal control over financial reporting is effective, or when required in the future, if our independent registered public accounting firm is unable to express an opinion as to the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting, investors may lose confidence in the accuracy and completeness of our financial reports and the market price of our ordinary shares could be adversely affected, and we could become subject to investigations by the stock exchange on which our securities are listed, the SEC, or other regulatory authorities, which could require additional financial and management resources.
 
We may have inadvertently violated Section 13(k) of the Exchange Act and may be subject to sanctions as a result.
 
Section 13(k) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (Section 402 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act) provides that it is unlawful for a company that has a class of securities registered under Section 12 of the Exchange Act to, directly or indirectly, including through any subsidiary, extend or maintain credit in the form of a personal loan to or for any director or executive officer of the company. We overlooked this prohibition and inadvertently made loans to Dr. Ramon Mohanlal, our Chief Medical Officer in December 2018 that may have violated Section 13(k). The loans were repaid in April 2019 as soon as they came to the attention of our Board of Directors. Issuers who are found to have violated Section 13(k) may be subject to civil sanctions, including injunctive remedies and monetary penalties, as well as criminal sanctions. The imposition of any such sanctions on us could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial position, results of operations or cash flows.
 
We are subject to the risk of doing business internationally.
 
We operate and expect to operate in various countries, and we may not be able to market our products in, or develop new products successfully for, these markets. We may also encounter other risks of doing business internationally including:
 

unexpected changes in, or impositions of, legislative or regulatory requirements;
 

the occurrence of economic weakness, including inflation or political instability;
 

the effects of applicable non-U.S. tax structures and potentially adverse tax consequences;
 

differences in protection of our intellectual property rights including third party patent rights;
 

the burden of complying with a variety of foreign laws including difficulties in effective enforcement of contractual provisions;
 

delays resulting from difficulty in obtaining export licenses, tariffs and other barriers and restrictions, potentially longer payment cycles, greater difficulty in accounts receivable collection and potentially adverse tax treatment; and
 

production shortages resulting from any events affecting raw material supply or manufacturing capabilities abroad.
 
In addition, we are subject to general geopolitical risks in foreign countries where we operate, such as political and economic instability and changes in diplomatic and trade relationships, which could affect, among other things, customers’ inventory levels and consumer purchasing, which could cause our results to fluctuate and our net sales to decline. The occurrence of any one or more of these risks of doing business internationally, individually or in the aggregate, could materially affect our business and results of operations adversely.
 
If we fail to comply with the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, or FCPA, or other anti-bribery laws, our reputation may be harmed and we could be subject to penalties and significant expenses that have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
 
We are subject to the FCPA, which generally prohibits us from making improper payments to non-U.S. officials for the purpose of obtaining or retaining business. We are also subject to the anti-bribery laws of other jurisdictions, particularly China. As our business expands, the applicability of the FCPA and other anti-bribery laws to our operations will increase. Our procedures and controls to monitor anti-bribery compliance may fail to protect us from reckless or criminal acts committed by our employees or agents. If we, due to either our own deliberate or inadvertent acts or those of others, fail to comply with applicable anti-bribery laws, our reputation could be harmed and we could incur criminal or civil penalties, other sanctions and/or significant expenses, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, including our financial condition, results of operations, cash flows and prospects.
 
Business disruptions could seriously harm our future revenue and financial condition and increase our costs and expenses.
 
Our operations, and those of our third-party research institution collaborators, CROs, suppliers and other contractors and consultants, could be subject to earthquakes, power shortages, telecommunications failures, damage from computer viruses, material computer system failures, water shortages, floods, hurricanes, typhoons, fires, extreme weather conditions, medical epidemics and other natural or man-made disasters or business interruptions for which we are predominantly self-insured. In addition, we partially rely on our third-party research institution collaborators for conducting research and development of our product candidates, and they may be affected by government shutdowns or withdrawn funding. The occurrence of any of these business disruptions could seriously harm our operations and financial condition and increase our costs and expenses. We rely on third-party manufacturers to produce and process our product candidates. Our ability to obtain clinical supplies of our product candidates could be disrupted if the operations of these suppliers are affected by a man-made or natural disaster or other business interruption. A large portion of our contract manufacturer’s operations is located in a single facility. Damage or extended periods of interruption to our corporate or our contract manufacturer’s development or research facilities due to fire, natural disaster, power loss, communications failure, unauthorized entry or other events could cause us to cease or delay development of some or all of our product candidates.
 
Our internal computer systems, or those used by our CROs or other contractors or consultants, may fail or suffer security breaches.
 
Despite the implementation of security measures, our internal computer systems and those of our CROs and other contractors and consultants are vulnerable to damage from computer viruses and unauthorized access. Although, to our knowledge, we have not experienced any such material system failure or security breach to date, if such an event were to occur and cause interruptions in our operations, it could result in a material disruption of our development programs and our business operations. For example, the loss of clinical trial data from completed or future clinical trials could result in delays in our regulatory approval efforts and significantly increase our costs to recover or reproduce the data. Likewise, we partially rely on our third-party research institution collaborators for research and development of our product candidates and on other third parties for the manufacture of our product candidates and to conduct clinical trials, and similar events relating to their computer systems could also have a material adverse effect on our business. To the extent that any disruption or security breach were to result in a loss of, or damage to, our data or applications, or inappropriate disclosure of confidential or proprietary information, we could incur liability and the further development and commercialization of our product candidates could be delayed.
 
If product liability lawsuits are brought against us, we may incur substantial liabilities and may be required to limit commercialization of our product candidates.
 
We face an inherent risk of product liability as a result of the clinical testing of our product candidates and will face an even greater risk if we commercialize any drugs. For example, we may be sued if our product candidates cause or are perceived to cause injury or are found to be otherwise unsuitable during clinical testing, manufacturing, marketing or sale. Any such product liability claims may include allegations of defects in manufacturing, defects in design, a failure to warn of dangers inherent in the drug, negligence, strict liability or a breach of warranties. Claims could also be asserted under state consumer protection acts. If we cannot successfully defend ourselves against product liability claims, we may incur substantial liabilities or be required to limit commercialization of our product candidates. Even successful defense would require significant financial and management resources. Regardless of the merits or eventual outcome, liability claims may result in:
 

decreased demand for our drugs;
 

injury to our reputation;
 

withdrawal of clinical trial participants and inability to continue clinical trials;
 

initiation of investigations by regulators;
 

costs to defend the related litigation;
 

a diversion of management’s time and our resources;
 

substantial monetary awards to trial participants or patients;
 

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

loss of revenue;
 

exhaustion of any available insurance and our capital resources;
 

the inability to commercialize any product candidate; and
 

a decline in our ordinary share price.
 
Our inability to obtain sufficient product liability insurance at an acceptable cost to protect against potential product liability claims could prevent or inhibit the commercialization of drugs we develop, alone or with collaborators. Although we currently carry an aggregate maximum coverage amount of approximately $5 million of clinical trial insurance, the amount of such insurance coverage may not be adequate, we may be unable to maintain such insurance, or we may not be able to obtain additional or replacement insurance at a reasonable cost, if at all. Our insurance policies may also have various exclusions, and we may be subject to a product liability claim for which we have no coverage. We may have to pay any amounts awarded by a court or negotiated in a settlement that exceed our coverage limitations or that are not covered by our insurance, and we may not have, or be able to obtain, sufficient capital to pay such amounts. Even if our agreements with any future corporate collaborators entitle us to indemnification against losses, such indemnification may not be available or adequate should any claim arise.
 
We have limited insurance coverage, and any claims beyond our insurance coverage may result in our incurring substantial costs and a diversion of resources.
 
We maintain property insurance policies covering physical damage to, or loss of, our buildings and their improvements, equipment, office furniture and inventory. We hold employer’s liability insurance generally covering death or work-related injury of employees. We hold public liability insurance covering certain incidents involving third parties that occur on or in our premises. We hold directors and officers liability insurance covering losses or advancement of defense costs resulting from certain legal actions brought against our directors and officers. We do not maintain “key-person” life insurance on any of our senior management or key personnel, or business interruption insurance. Our insurance coverage may be insufficient to cover any claim for product liability, damage to our fixed assets or employee injuries. Any liability or damage to, or caused by, our facilities or our personnel beyond our insurance coverage may result in our incurring substantial costs and a diversion of resources.
 
Fluctuations in exchange rates could result in foreign currency exchange losses and could materially reduce the value of your investment.
 
We incur portions of our expenses, and may in the future derive revenues, in currencies other than the U.S. dollars, in particular, the RMB. As a result, we are exposed to foreign currency exchange risk as our results of operations and cash flows are subject to fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates. For example, a significant portion of our clinical trial activities may be conducted outside of the U.S., and associated costs may be incurred in the local currency of the country in which the trial is being conducted, which costs could be subject to fluctuations in currency exchange rates. We currently do not engage in hedging transactions to protect against uncertainty in future exchange rates between particular foreign currencies and the U.S. dollar. A decline in the value of the U.S. dollar against currencies in countries in which we conduct clinical trials could have a negative impact on our research and development costs. Foreign currency fluctuations are unpredictable and may adversely affect our financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
 
The value of the RMB against the U.S. dollar and other currencies may fluctuate and is affected by, among other things, changes in political and economic conditions and the foreign exchange policy adopted by the Chinese and other non-U.S. governments. China, U.S. or other government policies may impact the exchange rate between the RMB, U.S. dollar and other currencies in the future in ways that adversely affect our business. There remains significant international pressure on the Chinese government to adopt a more flexible currency policy, which could result in greater fluctuation of the RMB against the U.S. dollar. Our costs are denominated in U.S. dollars, RMB, Australian dollars and Euros, and a large portion of our financial assets are in U.S. dollars. To the extent that we need to convert U.S. dollars into RMB for our operations, appreciation of the RMB against the U.S. dollar would have an adverse effect on the RMB amount we would receive. Conversely, if we decide to convert our RMB into U.S. dollars for our operations or other business purposes, appreciation of the U.S. dollar against the RMB would have a negative effect on the U.S. dollar amount we would receive.
 
Our investments are subject to risks that could result in losses.
 
We had cash of $3.9 million, and had cash and short-term investments of $30.6 million at December 31, 2018 and 2017, respectively. We may invest our cash in a variety of financial instruments, principally short-term investment grade, interest-bearing instruments. All of these investments are subject to credit, liquidity, market and interest rate risk. Such risks, including the failure or severe financial distress of the financial institutions that hold our cash, cash equivalents and investments, may result in a loss of liquidity, impairment to our investments, realization of substantial future losses, or a complete loss of the investments in the long-term, which may have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, liquidity and financial condition. Our exposure to interest rate risk arises through movements in regard to interest income we earn on our deposits and the imputed interest expense from a shareholder loan. To manage the risk, our cash is held at financial institutions that we believe to be of high credit quality. While we believe our cash position does not expose us to excessive risk, future investments may be subject to adverse changes in market value.
 
Our disclosure controls and procedures may not prevent or detect all errors or acts of fraud.
 
We are currently subject to the reporting requirements of the Exchange Act. Our disclosure controls and procedures are designed to reasonably assure that information required to be disclosed by us in reports we file or submit under the Exchange Act is accumulated and communicated to management, and recorded, processed, summarized and reported within the time periods specified in the rules and forms of the SEC. We believe that any disclosure controls and procedures or internal controls and procedures, no matter how well conceived and operated, can provide only reasonable, not absolute, assurance that the objectives of the control system are met.
 
These inherent limitations include the realities that judgments in decision-making can be faulty, and that breakdowns can occur because of simple error or mistake. Additionally, controls can be circumvented by the individual acts of some persons, by collusion of two or more people or by an unauthorized override of the controls. Accordingly, because of the inherent limitations in our control system, misstatements due to error or fraud may occur and not be detected.
 
Risks Related to Our Doing Business in China
 
The pharmaceutical industry in China is highly regulated and such regulations are subject to change which may affect approval and commercialization of our drugs.
 
The pharmaceutical industry in China is subject to comprehensive government regulation and supervision, encompassing the approval, registration, manufacturing, packaging, licensing and marketing of new drugs. See “Item 4. Information on the Company—B. Business Overview—Government Regulations—Chinese Regulation” for a discussion of regulatory requirements that are applicable to our current and planned business activities in China. In recent years, the regulatory framework in China regarding the pharmaceutical industry has undergone significant changes, and we expect that it will continue to undergo significant changes. Any such changes or amendments may result in increased compliance costs on our business or cause delays in or prevent the successful development or commercialization of our product candidates in China and reduce the current benefits we believe are available to us from developing and manufacturing drugs in China. Chinese authorities have become increasingly vigilant in enforcing laws in the pharmaceutical industry and any failure by us or our partners to maintain compliance with applicable laws and regulations or obtain and maintain required licenses and permits may result in the suspension or termination of our business activities in China. We believe our strategy and approach is aligned with the Chinese government’s policies, but we cannot ensure that our strategy and approach will continue to be aligned.
 
Changes in the political and economic policies of the Chinese government may materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations and may result in our inability to sustain our growth and expansion strategies.
 
Our financial condition and results of operations are affected to a large extent by economic, political and legal developments in China.
 
The Chinese economy differs from the economies of most developed countries in many respects, including the extent of government involvement, level of development, growth rate, control of foreign exchange and allocation of resources. Although the Chinese government has implemented measures emphasizing the utilization of market forces for economic reform, the reduction of state ownership of productive assets, and the establishment of improved corporate governance in business enterprises, a substantial portion of productive assets in China is still owned by the government. In addition, the Chinese government continues to play a significant role in regulating industrial development by imposing industrial policies. The Chinese government also exercises significant control over China’s economic growth by allocating resources, controlling payment of foreign currency-denominated obligations, setting monetary policy, regulating financial services and institutions and providing preferential treatment to particular industries or companies.
 
While the Chinese economy has experienced significant growth in the past four decades, growth has been uneven, both geographically and among various sectors of the economy. The Chinese government has implemented various measures to encourage economic growth and guide the allocation of resources. Some of these measures may benefit the overall Chinese economy, but may also have a negative effect on us. Our financial condition and results of operation could be materially and adversely affected by government control over capital investments or changes in tax regulations that are applicable to us and consequently have a material adverse effect on our businesses, financial condition and results of operations.
 
There are uncertainties regarding the interpretation and enforcement of Chinese laws, rules and regulations.
 
A portion of our operations are conducted in China through our Chinese subsidiaries, and are governed by Chinese laws, rules and regulations. Our Chinese subsidiaries are subject to laws, rules and regulations applicable to foreign investment in China. The Chinese legal system is a civil law system based on written statutes.
 
In 1979, the Chinese government began to promulgate a comprehensive system of laws, rules and regulations governing economic matters in general. The overall effect of legislation over the past four decades has significantly enhanced the protections afforded to various forms of foreign investment in China. However, China has not developed a fully integrated legal system, and recently enacted laws, rules and regulations may not sufficiently cover all aspects of economic activities in China or may be subject to significant degrees of interpretation by Chinese regulatory agencies. In particular, because these laws, rules and regulations are relatively new, and because of the limited number of published decisions and the nonbinding nature of such decisions, and because the laws, rules and regulations often give the relevant regulator significant discretion in how to enforce them, the interpretation and enforcement of these laws, rules and regulations involve uncertainties and can be inconsistent and unpredictable. In addition, the Chinese legal system is based in part on government policies and internal rules, some of which are not published on a timely basis or at all, and which may have a retroactive effect. As a result, we may not be aware of our violation of these policies and rules until after the occurrence of the violation.
 
Any administrative and court proceedings in China may be protracted, resulting in substantial costs and diversion of resources and management attention. Since Chinese administrative and court authorities have significant discretion in interpreting and implementing statutory and contractual terms, it may be more difficult to evaluate the outcome of administrative and court proceedings and the level of legal protection we enjoy than in more developed legal systems. These uncertainties may impede our ability to enforce the contracts we have entered into and could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.
 
Chinese regulations relating to investments in offshore companies by Chinese residents may subject our future Chinese resident beneficial owners or our Chinese subsidiaries to liability or penalties, limit our ability to inject capital into our Chinese subsidiaries or limit our Chinese subsidiaries’ ability to increase their registered capital or distribute profits.
 
The State Administration of Foreign Exchange, or SAFE, promulgated the Circular on Relevant Issues Concerning Foreign Exchange Control on Domestic Residents’ Offshore Investment and Financing and Roundtrip Investment through Special Purpose Vehicles, or SAFE Circular 37, on July 4, 2014, which replaced the former circular commonly known as “SAFE Circular 75” promulgated by SAFE on October 21, 2005. SAFE Circular 37 requires Chinese residents to register with local branches of SAFE in connection with their direct establishment or indirect control of an offshore entity, for the purpose of overseas investment and financing, with such Chinese residents’ legally owned assets or equity interests in domestic enterprises or offshore assets or interests, referred to in SAFE Circular 37 as a “special purpose vehicle.” SAFE Circular 37 further requires an amendment to the registration in the event of any significant changes with respect to the special purpose vehicle, such as an increase or decrease of capital contributed by Chinese individuals, share transfer or exchange, merger, division or other material event. In the event that a Chinese shareholder holding interests in a special purpose vehicle fails to fulfill the required SAFE registration, the Chinese subsidiaries of that special purpose vehicle may be prohibited from making profit distributions to the offshore parent and from carrying out subsequent cross-border foreign exchange activities, and the special purpose vehicle may be restricted in its ability to contribute additional capital into its Chinese subsidiary. Moreover, failure to comply with the various SAFE registration requirements described above could result in liability under Chinese law for evasion of foreign exchange controls.
 
We believe Dr. Lan Huang and Messrs. Linqing Jia and Dong Liang, each of whom are our shareholders, are Chinese residents under SAFE Circular 37. Although Dr. Lan Huang and Messrs. Linqing Jia and Dong Liang have completed the foreign exchange registration under SAFE Circular 37, we do not have control over these three shareholders and our other beneficial owners, and our Chinese resident beneficial owners may not have complied with, and may not in the future comply with, SAFE Circular 37 and subsequent implementation rules. The failure of Chinese resident beneficial owners to register or amend their SAFE registrations in a timely manner pursuant to SAFE Circular 37 and subsequent implementation rules, or the failure of future Chinese resident beneficial owners of our company to comply with the registration procedures set forth in SAFE Circular 37 and subsequent implementation rules, may subject such beneficial owners or our Chinese subsidiaries to fines and legal sanctions. Furthermore, SAFE Circular 37 is unclear how this regulation, and any future regulation concerning offshore or cross-border transactions, will be interpreted, amended and implemented by the relevant Chinese government authorities, and we cannot predict how these regulations will affect our business operations or future strategy. Failure to register or comply with relevant requirements may also limit our ability to contribute additional capital to our Chinese subsidiaries and limit our Chinese subsidiaries’ ability to distribute dividends to us. These risks could in the future have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
 
Any failure to comply with Chinese regulations regarding our employee equity incentive plans may subject the PRC plan participants or us to fines and other legal or administrative sanctions.
 
We and our directors, executive officers and other employees who are Chinese citizens or who have resided in China for a continuous period of not less than one year and who will be granted restricted shares or options are subject to the Notice on Issues Concerning the Foreign Exchange Administration for Domestic Individuals Participating in Stock Incentive Plan of Overseas Publicly Listed Company, issued by SAFE in February 2012, according to which, employees, directors, supervisors and other management members participating in any share incentive plan of an overseas publicly listed company who are Chinese citizens or who are non-Chinese citizens residing in China for a continuous period of not less than one year, subject to limited exceptions, are required to register with SAFE through a domestic qualified agent, which could be a PRC subsidiary of such overseas listed company, and complete certain other procedures. In addition, an overseas entrusted institution must be retained to handle matters in connection with the exercise or sale of stock options and the purchase or sale of shares and interests. Failure to complete the SAFE registrations may subject them to fines and legal sanctions and may also limit our ability to make payments under our equity incentive plans or receive dividends or sales proceeds related thereto, or our ability to contribute additional capital into our wholly foreign-owned enterprises in China and limit our wholly foreign-owned enterprises’ ability to distribute dividends to us. We also face regulatory uncertainties that could restrict our ability to adopt additional equity incentive plans for our directors and employees under Chinese law.
 
In addition, the State Administration of Taxation, or the SAT, has issued circulars concerning employee share options or restricted shares. Under these circulars, employees working in China who exercise share options, or whose restricted shares vest, will be subject to Chinese individual income tax. The Chinese subsidiaries of an overseas listed company have obligations to file documents related to employee share options or restricted shares with relevant tax authorities and to withhold individual income taxes of those employees related to their share options or restricted shares. If the employees fail to pay, or the Chinese subsidiaries fail to withhold applicable income taxes, the Chinese subsidiaries may face sanctions imposed by the tax authorities or other Chinese government authorities.
 
In the future, we may rely to some extent on dividends and other distributions on equity from our principal operating subsidiaries to fund offshore cash and financing requirements.
 
We are a holding company, incorporated in the Cayman Islands, and may in the future rely to some extent on dividends and other distributions on equity from our principal operating subsidiaries for our offshore cash and financing requirements, including the funds necessary to pay dividends and other cash distributions to our shareholders, fund inter-company loans, service any debt we may incur outside China and pay our expenses. The laws, rules and regulations applicable to our Chinese subsidiaries and certain other subsidiaries permit payments of dividends only out of their retained earnings, if any, determined in accordance with applicable accounting standards and regulations.
 
Under Chinese laws, rules and regulations, each of our subsidiaries incorporated in China is required to set aside a portion of its net income each year to fund certain statutory reserves. These reserves, together with the registered equity, are not distributable as cash dividends. As a result of these laws, rules and regulations, our subsidiaries incorporated in China are restricted in their ability to transfer a portion of their respective net assets to their shareholders as dividends. In addition, registered share capital and capital reserve accounts are also restricted from withdrawal in China. As of December 31, 2018, these restricted net assets were nil.
 
The Enterprise Income Tax Law of the People’s Republic of China, or EIT Law, and its implementation rules, both of which became effective on January 1, 2008, provide that China-sourced income of foreign enterprises, such as dividends paid by a Chinese subsidiary to its equity holders that are non-Chinese resident enterprises, will normally be subject to Chinese withholding tax at a rate of 10%, unless any such foreign investor’s jurisdiction of incorporation has a tax treaty with China that provides for a different withholding arrangement. As a result, dividends paid to us by our Chinese subsidiaries are expected to be subject to Chinese withholding tax at a rate of 10%.
 
Pursuant to the Arrangement between Mainland China and Hong Kong Special Administrative Region for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with respect to Taxes on Income, or Hong Kong Tax Treaty, BeyondSpring (HK) Limited, or BeyondSpring HK, the shareholder of our Chinese subsidiaries, may be subject to a withholding tax at a rate of 5% on dividends received from our Chinese operating subsidiaries as a Hong Kong tax resident. Pursuant to the Hong Kong Tax Treaty, subject to certain conditions, this reduced withholding tax rate will be available for dividends from Chinese entities provided that the recipient can demonstrate it is a Hong Kong tax resident and it is the beneficial owner of the dividends. BeyondSpring HK currently does not hold a Hong Kong tax resident certificate from the Inland Revenue Department of Hong Kong and the reduced withholding tax rate may not be available.
 
Furthermore, if our subsidiaries in China incur debt on their own behalf in the future, the instruments governing the debt may restrict their ability to pay dividends or make other payments to us as the parent company. Any limitation on the ability of our subsidiaries to distribute dividends or other payments to us as the parent company in the future could materially and adversely limit our ability to make investments or acquisitions that could be beneficial to our businesses, pay dividends or otherwise fund and conduct our business.
 
We may be treated as a resident enterprise for Chinese tax purposes under the EIT Law and be subject to Chinese tax on our worldwide taxable income at a rate of 25%.
 
Under the EIT Law an enterprise established outside China with “de facto management bodies” within China is considered a “resident enterprise,” meaning that it is treated in a manner similar to a Chinese enterprise for EIT purposes. The implementing rules of the EIT Law define “de facto management bodies” as “management bodies that exercise substantial and overall management and control over the production and operations, personnel, accounting, and properties” of the enterprise. In addition, the Notice Regarding the Determination of Chinese-Controlled Offshore Incorporated Enterprises as PRC Tax Resident Enterprises on the Basis of De Facto Management Bodies, or Circular 82, specifies that certain Chinese-controlled offshore incorporated enterprises, defined as enterprises incorporated under the laws of foreign countries or territories and that have Chinese enterprises or enterprise groups as their primary controlling shareholders, will be classified as resident enterprises if all of the following are located or resident in China: senior management personnel and departments that are responsible for daily production, operation and management; financial and personnel decision-making bodies; key properties, accounting books, company seal and minutes of board meetings and shareholders’ meetings; and half or more of senior management or directors having voting rights. On July 27, 2011, the SAT issued Administrative Measures of Enterprise Income Tax of Chinese-Controlled Offshore Incorporated Resident Enterprises (Trial), or Bulletin 45, which became effective on September 1, 2011, as recently amended on October 1, 2016, to provide further guidance on the implementation of Circular 82. Bulletin 45 clarifies certain issues related to determining Chinese resident enterprise status, including which competent tax authorities are responsible for determining offshore incorporated Chinese resident enterprise status, as well as post-determination administration. In 2014, the SAT, released the Announcement of the SAT on Issues Concerning the Recognition of Chinese-Controlled Enterprises Incorporated Overseas as Resident Enterprises on the Basis of Their Actual Management Bodies and supplemented some provisions related to the administrative procedures for the recognition of resident enterprise, while the standards used to classify resident enterprises in Circular 82 remain unchanged.
 
We are not aware of any offshore holding company with a corporate structure similar to ours that has been deemed a Chinese “resident enterprise” by the Chinese tax authorities. Accordingly, we do not believe our company or any of our overseas subsidiaries should be treated as a Chinese resident enterprise.
 
If the Chinese tax authorities determine that our Cayman Islands holding company is a resident enterprise for EIT purposes, a number of unfavorable Chinese tax consequences could follow and we may be subject to EIT at a rate of 25% on our worldwide taxable income, as well as to EIT reporting obligations. In that case, it is possible that dividends paid to us as the parent company by our Chinese subsidiaries will not be subject to Chinese withholding tax.
 
Dividends payable to our foreign investors may be subject to Chinese withholding tax and gains on the sale of our ordinary shares by our foreign investors may be subject to Chinese tax.
 
If we are deemed a Chinese resident enterprise as described under “—We may be treated as a resident enterprise for Chinese tax purposes under the EIT Law and be subject to Chinese tax on our worldwide taxable income at a rate of 25%,” dividends paid on our ordinary shares, and any gain realized from the transfer of our ordinary shares, may be treated as income derived from sources within China. As a result, dividends paid to non-Chinese resident enterprise ordinary shareholders may be subject to Chinese withholding tax at a rate of 10% (or 20% in the case of non-Chinese individual ordinary shareholders) and gains realized by non-Chinese resident enterprises ordinary shareholders from the transfer of our ordinary shares may be subject to Chinese tax at a rate of 10% (or 20% in the case of non-Chinese individual ordinary shareholders). It is unclear whether if we or any of our subsidiaries established outside China are considered a Chinese resident enterprise, holders of our ordinary shares would be able to claim the benefit of income tax treaties or agreements entered into between China and other countries or areas. If dividends payable to our non-Chinese investors, or gains from the transfer of our ordinary shares by such investors are subject to Chinese tax, the value of your investment in the ordinary shares may decline significantly.
 
We and our shareholders face uncertainties with respect to indirect transfers of equity interests in Chinese resident enterprises or other assets attributed to a Chinese establishment of a non-Chinese company, or other assets attributable to a Chinese establishment of a non-Chinese company.
 
On February 3, 2015, the SAT issued the Bulletin on Issues of Enterprise Income Tax and Indirect Transfers of Assets by Non-PRC Resident Enterprises, or Bulletin 7. Pursuant to this Bulletin, an “indirect transfer” of “PRC taxable assets,” including equity interests in a Chinese resident enterprise, by non-Chinese resident enterprises may be recharacterized and treated as a direct transfer of PRC taxable assets, if such arrangement does not have a reasonable commercial purpose and was established for the purpose of avoiding payment of Chinese enterprise income tax. As a result, gains derived from such indirect transfer may be subject to Chinese enterprise income tax. When determining whether there is a “reasonable commercial purpose” of the transaction arrangement, factors to be taken into consideration include: whether the main value of the equity interest of the relevant offshore enterprise derives from PRC taxable assets; whether the assets of the relevant offshore enterprise mainly consist of direct or indirect investment in China or if its income mainly derives from China; whether the offshore enterprise and its subsidiaries directly or indirectly holding PRC taxable assets have real commercial nature which is evidenced by their actual function and risk exposure; the duration of existence of the business model and organizational structure; the replicability of the transaction by direct transfer of PRC taxable assets; and the tax situation of such indirect transfer and applicable tax treaties or similar arrangements. On October 17, 2017, the SAT issued the Announcement of the State Administration of Taxation on Issues Concerning the Withholding of Non-resident Enterprise Income Tax at Source, or Bulletin 37, which came into effect on December 1, 2017.  Bulletin 37 further clarifies the practice and procedure of the withholding of nonresident enterprise income tax.
 
Late payment of applicable tax will subject the transferor to default interest. Gains derived from the sale of shares by investors are not subject to the Chinese enterprise income tax pursuant to Bulletin 7 where such shares were acquired in a transaction through a public stock exchange. However, the sale of our ordinary shares by a non-Chinese resident enterprise outside a public stock exchange may be subject to Chinese enterprise income tax under Bulletin 7.
 
There are uncertainties as to the application of Bulletin 7. Bulletin 7 may be determined by the tax authorities to be applicable to sale of the shares of our offshore subsidiaries or investments where PRC taxable assets are involved. The transferors and transferees may be subject to the tax filing and withholding or tax payment obligation, while our Chinese subsidiaries may be requested to assist in the filing. Furthermore, we, our non-resident enterprises and Chinese subsidiaries may be required to spend valuable resources to comply with Bulletin 7 or to establish that we and our non-resident enterprises should not be taxed under Bulletin 7, for our previous and future restructuring or disposal of shares of our offshore subsidiaries, which may have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.
 
The Chinese tax authorities have the discretion under Bulletin 7 to make adjustments to the taxable capital gains based on the difference between the fair value of the taxable assets transferred and the cost of investment. If the Chinese tax authorities make adjustments to the taxable income of the transactions under Bulletin 7 / Bulletin 37, our income tax costs associated with such potential acquisitions or disposals will increase, which may have an adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.
 
Restrictions on currency exchange may limit our ability to utilize our revenue effectively.
 
The Chinese government imposes controls on the convertibility of RMB into foreign currencies and, in certain cases, the remittance of currency out of China. A portion of our revenue may in the future be denominated in RMB. Shortages in availability of foreign currency may then restrict the ability of our Chinese subsidiaries to remit sufficient foreign currency to our offshore entities for our offshore entities to pay dividends or make other payments or otherwise to satisfy our foreign currency denominated obligations. The RMB is currently convertible under the “current account,” which includes trade and service-related foreign exchange transactions, but not under the “capital account,” which includes foreign direct investment and loans, including loans we may secure from our onshore subsidiaries. Currently, our Chinese subsidiaries, which are wholly foreign-owned enterprises, may purchase foreign currency for settlement of “current account transactions,” without the approval of SAFE, by complying with certain procedural requirements. However, the relevant Chinese governmental authorities may limit or eliminate our ability to purchase foreign currencies in the future for current account transactions. Since a portion of our future revenue may be denominated in RMB, any existing and future restrictions on currency exchange may limit our ability to utilize revenue generated in RMB to fund our business activities outside of China or pay dividends in foreign currencies to our shareholders, including holders of our ordinary shares. Foreign exchange transactions under the capital account remain subject to limitations and require approvals from, or registration with, SAFE and other relevant Chinese governmental authorities. This could affect our ability to obtain foreign currency through debt or equity financing for our subsidiaries.
 
Recent litigation and negative publicity surrounding China-based companies listed in the U.S. may result in increased regulatory scrutiny of us and negatively impact the trading price of our ordinary shares and could have a material adverse effect upon our business, including its results of operations, financial condition, cash flows and prospects.
 
We believe that litigation and negative publicity surrounding companies with operations in China that are listed in the U.S. have negatively impacted stock prices for such companies. Various equity-based research organizations have published reports on China-based companies after examining, among other things, their corporate governance practices, related party transactions, sales practices and financial statements that have led to special investigations and stock suspensions on national exchanges. Any similar scrutiny of us, regardless of its lack of merit, could result in a diversion of management resources and energy, potential costs to defend ourselves against rumors, decreases and volatility in our ordinary share trading price, and increased directors and officers insurance premiums and could have a material adverse effect upon our business, including its results of operations, financial condition, cash flows and prospects.
 
The audit report included in this annual report on Form 20-F is prepared by auditors who are not inspected fully by the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, or PCAOB, and, as such, our shareholders are deprived of the benefits of such inspection.
 
As an auditor of companies that are publicly traded in the U.S. and a firm registered with the PCAOB, Ernst & Young Hua Ming LLP is required under the laws of the U.S. to undergo regular inspections by the PCAOB. However, because we have substantial operations within China, a jurisdiction where the PCAOB is currently unable to conduct inspections without the approval of the Chinese government authorities, our auditor and its audit work is not currently inspected fully by the PCAOB.
 
Inspections of other auditors conducted by the PCAOB outside China have at times identified deficiencies in those auditors’ audit procedures and quality control procedures, which may be addressed as part of the inspection process to improve future audit quality. The lack of PCAOB inspections of audit work undertaken in China prevents the PCAOB from regularly evaluating our auditor’s audits and its quality control procedures. As a result, shareholders may be deprived of the benefits of PCAOB inspections, and may lose confidence in our reported financial information and procedures and the quality of our financial statements.
 
Proceedings instituted by the SEC against five China-based accounting firms, including our independent registered public accounting firm, could result in our financial statements being determined to not be in compliance with the requirements of the Exchange Act.
 
In December 2012, the SEC brought administrative proceedings against five accounting firms in China, including our independent registered public accounting firm, alleging that they had refused to produce audit work papers and other documents related to certain other China-based companies under investigation by the SEC. On January 22, 2014, an initial administrative law decision was issued, censuring these accounting firms and suspending four of these firms from practicing before the SEC for a period of six months. The decision is neither final nor legally effective unless and until reviewed and approved by the SEC. On February 12, 2014, four of these China-based accounting firms appealed to the SEC against this decision. In February 2015, each of the four China-based accounting firms, including our independent registered public accounting firm, agreed to a censure and to pay a fine to the SEC to settle the dispute and avoid suspension of their ability to practice before the SEC. These firms’ ability to continue to serve all their respective clients is not affected by the settlement. The settlement requires these firms to follow detailed procedures to seek to provide the SEC with access to Chinese firms’ audit documents via the China Securities Regulatory Commission. If these firms do not follow these procedures, the SEC could impose penalties such as suspensions, or it could restart the administrative proceedings. The settlement did not require these firms to admit to any violation of law and preserves these firms’ legal defenses in the event the administrative proceeding is restarted. In the event that the SEC restarts the administrative proceedings, depending upon the final outcome, listed companies in the U.S. with major Chinese operations may find it difficult or impossible to retain auditors with respect to their operations in China, which could result in financial statements being determined not to be in compliance with the requirements of the Exchange Act, including possible delisting. Moreover, any negative news about the proceedings against these audit firms may cause investor uncertainty regarding China-based, U.S.-listed companies and the market price of our ordinary shares may be adversely affected.
 
If our independent registered public accounting firm was denied, even temporarily, the ability to practice before the SEC and we were unable to timely find another registered public accounting firm to audit and issue an opinion on our financial statements, our financial statements could be determined not to be in compliance with the requirements of the Exchange Act. Such a determination could ultimately lead to delisting of our ordinary shares from the Nasdaq Capital Market or deregistration from the SEC, or both, which would substantially reduce or effectively terminate the trading of our ordinary shares in the U.S. Moreover, any negative news about the proceedings against these audit firms may adversely affect investor confidence in companies with substantial mainland China-based operations listed in the U.S. All these would materially and adversely affect the market price of our ordinary shares and substantially reduce or effectively terminate the trading of our ordinary shares in the U.S.
 
Risks Related to Our Ordinary Shares
 
The trading prices of our ordinary shares are likely to be volatile, which could result in substantial losses to you.
 
The trading price of our ordinary shares is likely to be volatile and could fluctuate widely in response to a variety of factors, many of which are beyond our control. In addition, the performance and fluctuation of the market prices of other companies with business operations located mainly in China that have listed their securities in the U.S. may affect the volatility in the price of and trading volumes for our ordinary shares. Some of these companies have experienced significant volatility. The trading performances of these Chinese companies’ securities at the time of or after their offerings may affect the overall investor sentiment towards other Chinese companies listed in the U.S. and consequently may impact the trading performance of our ordinary shares.
 
In addition to market and industry factors, the price and trading volume for our ordinary shares may be highly volatile for specific business reasons, including:
 

announcements of regulatory approval or a complete response letter, or specific label indications or patient populations for the use of our product candidates, or changes or delays in the regulatory review process;
 

announcements of therapeutic innovations or new products by us or our competitors;
 

adverse actions taken by regulatory agencies with respect to our clinical trials, manufacturing supply chain or sales and marketing activities;
 

any adverse changes to our relationship with manufacturers or suppliers;
 

the results of our testing and clinical trials;
 

the results of our efforts to acquire or license additional product candidates;
 

variations in the level of expenses related to our existing product candidates or preclinical studies and clinical trials;
 

any intellectual property infringement actions in which we may become involved;
 

announcements concerning our competitors or the pharmaceutical industry in general;
 

achievement of expected product sales and profitability;
 

manufacturing, supply or distribution shortages;
 

variations in our results of operations;
 

announcements about our earnings that are not in line with analyst expectations;
 

publication of operating or industry metrics by third parties, including government statistical agencies, that differ from expectations of industry or financial analysts;
 

research reports and changes in financial estimates by securities research analysts;
 

announcements made by us or our competitors of new product and service offerings, acquisitions, strategic relationships, joint ventures or capital commitments;
 

press reports, whether or not true, about our business;
 

additions to, or departures of, our management;
 

fluctuations of exchange rates between the RMB and the U.S. dollar;
 

release or expiry of lock-up or other transfer restrictions on our outstanding ordinary shares;
 

sales or perceived potential sales of additional ordinary shares;
 

sales of our ordinary shares by us, our executive officers and directors or our shareholders in the future;
 

general economic and market conditions and overall fluctuations in the U.S. equity markets;
 

changes in accounting principles; and
 

changes or developments in the Chinese or global regulatory environment.
 
Any of these factors may result in large and sudden changes in the volume and trading price of our ordinary shares. In the past, following periods of volatility in the market price of a company’s securities, shareholders have often instituted securities class action litigation against that company. If we are involved in a class action suit, it could divert the attention of management, and, if adversely determined, have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.
 
In addition, the stock market, in general, and small pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies have experienced extreme price and volume fluctuations that have often been unrelated or disproportionate to the operating performance of these companies. Broad market and industry factors may negatively affect the market price of our ordinary shares, regardless of our actual operating performance. Further, factors related to financial markets beyond our control may cause our ordinary shares price to decline rapidly and unexpectedly.
 
Sales or the availability for sales of substantial amounts of our ordinary shares in the public market could cause the price of our ordinary shares to decline significantly.
 
Sales of our ordinary shares or other equity securities in the public market, or the perception that these sales could occur, could cause the market price of our ordinary shares to decline significantly. As of March 25, 2019, we had 23,184,612 ordinary shares outstanding. Among these shares, 1,650,973 ordinary shares have been registered under the Securities Act and are freely transferable by persons other than our “affiliates” without restriction or registration; the remaining shares outstanding have not been registered under the Securities Act and may be offered or sold only pursuant to an effective registration statement or pursuant to an available exemption from the registration requirements. If these shares are sold, or if it is perceived that they will be sold, in the public market, the trading price of our ordinary shares could decline.
 
Nereus Trust, a holder of our ordinary shares, has the right to cause us to register under the Securities Act the sale of its shares. Registration of these shares under the Securities Act would result in these shares becoming freely tradable without restriction under the Securities Act immediately upon the effectiveness of the registration. Sales of these registered shares in the public market could cause the price of our ordinary shares to decline significantly.
 
Because we do not expect to pay dividends in the foreseeable future, you must rely on price appreciation of the ordinary shares for return on your investment.
 
We intend to retain most, if not all, of our available funds and earnings to fund the development and growth of our business. As a result, we do not expect to pay any cash dividends in the foreseeable future. Therefore, you should not rely on an investment in our ordinary shares as a source for any future dividend income.
 
Our board of directors has significant discretion as to whether to distribute dividends. Our shareholders may, by ordinary resolution, declare dividends, but no dividend shall exceed the amount recommended by our board of directors. Even if our board of directors decides to declare and pay dividends, the timing, amount and form of future dividends, if any, will depend on, among other things, our future results of operations and cash flow, our capital requirements and surplus, the amount of distributions, if any, received by us from our subsidiaries, our financial condition, contractual restrictions and other factors deemed relevant by our board of directors. Accordingly, the return on your investment in our ordinary shares will likely depend entirely upon any future price appreciation of the ordinary shares. Our ordinary shares may not appreciate in value or even maintain the price at which you purchased the ordinary shares. You may not realize a return on your investment in the ordinary shares, and you may even lose your entire investment in the ordinary shares.
 
We are a Cayman Islands exempted company. Because judicial precedent regarding the rights of shareholders is more limited under Cayman Islands law than under U.S. law, shareholders may have fewer shareholder rights than they would have under U.S. law.
 
Our corporate affairs are governed by our amended and restated memorandum and articles of association (as may be amended from time to time), the Companies Law (as may be amended from time to time) of the Cayman Islands and the common law of the Cayman Islands, or the Companies Law. The rights of shareholders to take action against the directors, actions by minority shareholders and the fiduciary responsibilities of our directors are to a large extent governed by the common law of the Cayman Islands. The common law of the Cayman Islands is derived in part from comparatively limited judicial precedent in the Cayman Islands as well as from English common law, the decisions of those courts are persuasive, but not binding, on a court in the Cayman Islands. The rights of our shareholders and the fiduciary responsibilities of our directors under Cayman Islands law are not as clearly established as they would be under statutes or judicial precedent in some jurisdictions in the U.S. In particular, the Cayman Islands has a less developed body of securities law than the U.S. Some states in the U.S., such as Delaware, have more fully developed and judicially interpreted bodies of corporate law than the Cayman Islands. In addition, Cayman Islands companies may not have standing to initiate a shareholder derivative action in a federal court of the United States
 
In addition, as shareholders of a Cayman Islands exempted company, our shareholders have no general rights under Cayman Islands law to inspect corporate records (other than the memorandum and articles of association), or to obtain a copy of our register of members. Our directors have discretion under our amended and restated articles of association to determine whether or not, and under what conditions, our corporate records may be inspected by our shareholders, but are not obliged to make them available to our shareholders. This may make it more difficult for you to obtain the information needed to establish any facts necessary for a shareholder motion or to solicit proxies from other shareholders in connection with a proxy contest. As a Cayman Islands exempted company, we may not have standing to initiate a derivative action in a federal court of the U.S. As a result, you may be limited in your ability to protect your interests if you are harmed in a manner that would otherwise enable you to sue in a U.S. federal court. In addition, shareholders of Cayman Islands companies may not have standing to initiate a shareholder derivative action in U.S. federal courts.
 
As a result of all of the above, public shareholders may have more difficulty in protecting their interests in the face of actions taken by management, members of the board of directors or controlling shareholders than they would as public shareholders of a U.S. company.
 
You may face difficulties in protecting your interests, and your ability to protect your rights through the U.S. federal courts may be limited because we are incorporated under Cayman Islands law, and some of our directors reside outside the U.S.
 
We are incorporated as an exempted company in the Cayman Islands. Some of our directors reside outside the U.S. and a substantial portion of their assets are located outside of the U.S. As a result, it may be difficult or impossible for you to bring an action against us or against these individuals in the Cayman Islands or in China in the event that you believe that your rights have been infringed under the securities laws of the U.S. or otherwise. Even if you are successful in bringing an action of this kind, the laws of the Cayman Islands and China may render you unable to enforce a judgment against our assets or the assets of our directors and officers. There is no statutory recognition in the Cayman Islands of judgments obtained in the U.S. or China, although the courts of the Cayman Islands will generally recognize and enforce a foreign money judgment of a foreign court of competent jurisdiction without reexamination of the merits of the underlying disputes provided that such judgment (i) imposes on the judgment debtor a liability to pay a liquidated sum for which the judgment has been given; (ii) is final; (iii) is not in respect of taxes, a fine or penalty; and (iv) was not obtained in a manner and is not of a kind the enforcement of which is contrary to natural justice or the public policy of the Cayman Islands.
 
Our corporate actions are substantially controlled by our directors, executive officers and other principal shareholders, who can exert significant influence over important corporate matters, which may reduce the price of our ordinary shares and deprive you of an opportunity to receive a premium for your ordinary shares.
 
Our directors, executive officers and principal shareholders beneficially owned approximately 71.5% of our outstanding ordinary shares as of March 25, 2019. Lan Huang, our CEO, and Mr. Linqing Jia, our major shareholder also beneficially own the 40% equity interest of Wanchun Bulin that we do not currently own. These shareholders, if acting together, could exert substantial influence over matters such as electing directors and approving material mergers, acquisitions or other business combination transactions. This concentration of ownership may also discourage, delay or prevent a change in control of our company, which could have the dual effect of depriving our shareholders of an opportunity to receive a premium for their shares as part of a sale of our company and reducing the price of our ordinary shares. These actions may be taken even if they are opposed by our other shareholders, including the holders of our ordinary shares. In addition, these persons could divert business opportunities away from us to themselves or others.
 
We incur increased costs as a result of operating as a public company, and our management is required to devote substantial time to new compliance initiatives and corporate governance practices.
 
As a public company, we incur significant legal, accounting and other expenses. The Sarbanes-Oxley Act, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, the listing requirements of the Nasdaq Capital Market and other applicable securities rules and regulations impose various requirements on public companies, including establishment and maintenance of effective disclosure and financial controls and corporate governance practices. Our management and other personnel devote a substantial amount of time to these compliance initiatives.
 
Under Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, we are required to furnish a report by our management on our internal control over financial reporting for the year ending December 31, 2018. However, while we remain an emerging growth company, we will not be required to include an attestation report on internal control over financial reporting issued by our independent registered public accounting firm. To achieve compliance with Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, we have engaged in a process to document and evaluate our internal control over financial reporting, which is both costly and challenging. In this regard, we continue to dedicate internal resources, potentially engage outside consultants and adopt a detailed work plan to assess and document the adequacy of internal control over financial reporting, continue steps to improve control processes as appropriate, validate through testing that controls are functioning as documented and implement a continuous reporting and improvement process for internal control over financial reporting. Despite our efforts, we may not be able to conclude, within the prescribed timeframe or at all, that our internal control over financial reporting is effective as required by Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. If we identify one or more material weaknesses, it could result in an adverse reaction in the financial markets due to a loss of confidence in the reliability of our financial statements.
 
We are an “emerging growth company” and are availing ourselves of reduced disclosure requirements applicable to emerging growth companies, which could make our ordinary shares less attractive to investors.
 
We are an “emerging growth company,” as defined in the JOBS Act, and we intend to take advantage of certain exemptions from various reporting requirements that are applicable to other public companies that are not “emerging growth companies” including not being required to comply with the auditor attestation requirements of Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, and exemptions from the requirements of holding a nonbinding advisory vote on executive compensation and shareholder approval of any golden parachute payments not previously approved. We cannot predict if investors will find our ordinary shares less attractive because we may rely on these exemptions. If some investors find our ordinary shares less attractive as a result, there may be a less active trading market for our ordinary shares and the price of our ordinary shares may be more volatile. We may take advantage of these reporting exemptions until we are no longer an emerging growth company. We will remain an emerging growth company until the earliest of (1) the last day of the fiscal year in which we have a total annual gross revenue of $1.07 billion or more; (2) the last day of our fiscal year following the fifth anniversary of March 14, 2017; (3) the date on which we have issued more than $1.0 billion in nonconvertible debt during the previous three years; and (4) the date on which we are deemed to be a large accelerated filer under the rules of the SEC.
 
As a foreign private issuer, we are exempt from a number of rules under the U.S. securities laws and are permitted to file less information with the SEC than a U.S. company. This may limit the information available to holders of our ordinary shares.
 
We are a “foreign private issuer,” as defined in the SEC’s rules and regulations and, consequently, we are not subject to all of the disclosure requirements applicable to public companies organized within the U.S. For example, we are exempt from certain rules under the Exchange Act, that regulate disclosure obligations and procedural requirements related to the solicitation of proxies, consents or authorizations applicable to a security registered under the Exchange Act, including the U.S. proxy rules under Section 14 of the Exchange Act. In addition, our officers and directors are exempt from the reporting and “short-swing” profit recovery provisions of Section 16 of the Exchange Act and related rules with respect to their purchases and sales of our securities. Moreover, we are not required to file periodic reports and financial statements with the SEC as frequently or as promptly as U.S. domestic issuers and will not be required to file quarterly reports on Form 10-Q or current reports on Form 8-K under the Exchange Act. Accordingly, there is less publicly available information concerning our company than there would be if we were not a foreign private issuer.
 
As a foreign private issuer, we are permitted to adopt certain home country practices in relation to corporate governance matters that differ significantly from the Nasdaq Capital Market corporate governance listing standards. These practices may afford less protection to shareholders than they would enjoy if we complied fully with corporate governance listing standards.
 
As a foreign private issuer listed on the Nasdaq Capital Market, we are subject to corporate governance listing standards. However, rules permit a foreign private issuer like us to follow the corporate governance practices of its home country. Certain corporate governance practices in the Cayman Islands, which is our home country, may differ significantly from corporate governance listing standards. For example, under Cayman Islands law, we are not required to hold annual shareholders meetings every year, and we follow home country practice with respect to annual meetings and did not hold an annual meeting of shareholders in 2018. We will, however, hold annual shareholders meetings in the future if there are matters that require shareholders’ approval.
 
Currently, we fully comply and intend to continue to fully comply with the Nasdaq Capital Market corporate governance listing standards. In addition, other than the annual meeting practice described above, there are no significant differences between our corporate governance practices and those followed by U.S. domestic companies under Nasdaq Stock Market Rules. However, we may in the future choose to follow certain home country practice. Therefore, our shareholders may be afforded less protection than they otherwise would have under corporate governance listing standards applicable to U.S. domestic issuers.
 
We may lose our foreign private issuer status in the future, which could result in significant additional costs and expenses.
 
While we currently qualify as a foreign private issuer, the determination of foreign private issuer status is made annually on the last business day of an issuer’s most recently completed second fiscal quarter and, accordingly, the next determination will be made with respect to us on June 30, 2019.
 
In the future, we would lose our foreign private issuer status if we fail to meet the requirements necessary to maintain our foreign private issuer status as of the relevant determination date. For example, if more than 50% of our securities are held by U.S. residents and more than 50% of the members of our management or members of our board of directors are residents or citizens of the U.S., we could lose our foreign private issuer status.
 
The regulatory and compliance costs to us under U.S. securities laws as a U.S. domestic issuer may be significantly more than the costs we incur as a foreign private issuer. If we are not a foreign private issuer, we will be required to file periodic reports and registration statements on U.S. domestic issuer forms with the SEC, which are more detailed and extensive in certain respects than the forms available to a foreign private issuer. We would be required to modify certain of our policies to comply with corporate governance practices associated with U.S. domestic issuers. In addition, we may lose our ability to rely upon exemptions from certain corporate governance requirements on U.S. stock exchanges that are available to foreign private issuers, such as exemptions from procedural requirements related to the solicitation of proxies.
 
We may be at an increased risk of securities class action litigation.
 
Historically, securities class action litigation has often been brought against a company following a decline in the market price of its securities. This risk is especially relevant for us because biotechnology and biopharmaceutical companies have experienced significant share price volatility in recent years. If we were to be sued, it could result in substantial costs and a diversion of management’s attention and resources, which could harm our business.
 
It is likely that we will be classified as a passive foreign investment company, or PFIC, which could result in adverse U.S. federal income tax consequences for U.S. shareholders.
 
Generally, if for any taxable year 75% or more of our gross income is passive income, or at least 50% of our assets are held for the production of, or produce, passive income, we will be characterized as a PFIC for U.S. federal income tax purposes. There can be no assurance that we will not be considered a PFIC for any taxable year, and based on our current business plans and financial expectations, it is likely that we will in fact be a PFIC for the current taxable year and in future taxable years. If we are characterized as a PFIC, our U.S. shareholders may suffer adverse tax consequences, including having gains realized on the sale of our ordinary shares treated as ordinary income, rather than capital gain, losing the preferential rate applicable to dividends received on our ordinary shares by individuals who are U.S. shareholders and having interest charges apply to distributions by us and the proceeds of sales of our shares. For further information on such U.S. tax implications, see “Item 10. Additional Information—E. Taxation—U.S. Federal Income Tax Considerations.”
 
The Internal Revenue Service, or the IRS, may not agree with the conclusion that we should not be treated as a U.S. corporation for U.S. federal income tax purposes.
 
Under current U.S. federal income tax law, a corporation is generally considered a tax resident in the jurisdiction of its organization or incorporation. Thus, as a corporation organized under the laws of the Cayman Islands, we should generally be classified as a non-U.S. corporation (and therefore a non-U.S. tax resident) for U.S. federal income tax purposes. In certain circumstances, however, section 7874 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, or the Code, may cause a corporation organized outside the United States to be treated as a U.S. corporation (and, therefore, a U.S. tax resident) unless one or more exceptions apply.
 
In July 2015, we completed an internal restructuring. As part of the internal restructuring, we executed certain transactions that implicated section 7874 of the Code. Nonetheless, under the rules that apply to transactions that occurred in July 2015, we believe that the internal restructuring qualified for certain exceptions that operate to prevent the application of section 7874 of the Code and, therefore, we do not expect to be treated as a U.S. corporation for U.S. federal income tax purposes. For a more detailed discussion, see “Item 10. Additional Information—E. Taxation—U.S. Federal Income Tax Considerations—Tax Residence of BeyondSpring Inc. for U.S. Federal Income Tax Purposes.”
 
Notwithstanding, the application of section 7874 of the Code and its various exceptions is complex and subject to factual and legal uncertainties. Moreover, changes to section 7874 of the Code or the U.S. Treasury regulations promulgated thereunder (or other relevant provisions of U.S. federal income tax law), which may be given prospective or retroactive effect, could adversely affect our status as a non-U.S. corporation for U.S. federal income tax purposes. As a result, there can be no assurance that the IRS will agree with the position that we should not be treated as a U.S. corporation for U.S. federal income tax purposes.
 
If we were to be treated as a U.S. corporation for U.S. federal income tax purposes, we would be subject to U.S. corporate income tax on our worldwide income and the income of our non-U.S. subsidiaries would be subject to U.S. tax when repatriated (with a deduction available for the foreign-source portion of such income) or when deemed recognized under the U.S. federal income tax rules for controlled foreign subsidiaries. Finally, any deferred foreign income of our non-U.S. subsidiaries that was not previously subject to U.S. taxation, determined as of November 2, 2017 or December 31, 2017 (whichever amount is greater), would be subject to a “transition tax” imposed under recently enacted U.S tax reform legislation. Moreover, the gross amount of any dividends paid by us to a non-U.S. shareholder would be subject to U.S. withholding tax at a rate of 30% unless the non-U.S. shareholder is eligible for an exemption or reduced withholding rate under an applicable income tax treaty.
 
For a more detailed discussion regarding the internal restructuring and the application of section 7874 of the Code, see “Item 10. Additional Information—E. Taxation—U.S. Federal Income Tax Considerations—Tax Residence of BeyondSpring Inc. for U.S. Federal Income Tax Purposes.”
 
Item 4.
Information on the Company
 
A.
History and Development of the Company
 
BeyondSpring Inc. was incorporated as an exempted company under the laws of the Cayman Islands on November 21, 2014. In July 2015, we completed our internal restructuring.
 
Our principal executive offices are located at 28 Liberty Street, 39th Floor, New York, NY 10005 and our telephone number is +1 (646) 305-6387. Our registered office in the Cayman Islands is located at the offices of Harneys Fiduciary (Cayman) Limited,  4th Floor, Harbour Place, 103 South Church Street, P.O. Box 10240, Grand Cayman KY1-1002, Cayman Islands. Our agent for service of process in the U.S. is CT Corporation System located at 111 Eighth Avenue, New York, New York 10011. Our website is www.beyondspringpharma.com. The information contained on, or that can be accessed through, our website does not constitute part of this annual report on Form 20-F and is not incorporated by reference herein.
 
Initial Public Offering, Concurrent Private Placement and Subsequent Financing
 
In March 2017, we completed our initial public offering and the concurrent private placement, in which we received net proceeds of $47.2 million from selling 174,286 ordinary shares in the initial public offering and selling 2,541,048 ordinary shares in the current private placement, after deducting underwriting discounts and commissions, fees and expenses. Our ordinary shares are listed on the NASDAQ Capital Market under the symbol “BYSI”.
 
In May 2018, we entered into various agreements with certain third-party investors to issue 739,095 ordinary shares with a par value $0.0001 per share for an aggregate cash consideration of $20.0 million or $27.06 per ordinary share. To date, we received $14.0 million from the financing. We do not expect to receive the remaining $6.0 million in the near future.
 
B.
Business Overview
 
Overview
 
We are a global clinical stage biopharmaceutical company focused on the development and commercialization of innovative immuno-oncology cancer therapies. Our lead asset, Plinabulin, is being studied in late stage clinical trials as an anti-cancer agent in combination with docetaxel in advanced non-small cell lung cancer, or NSCLC, and for its potential benefit in the prevention of high and intermediate risk chemotherapy-induced neutropenia, or CIN. Plinabulin is also currently being studied in two investigator-initiated trials for its therapeutic potential in combination with various immuno-oncology agents, including in combination with nivolumab for the treatment of NSCLC at UCSD, the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, or the Fred Hutchinson Center, and the University of Washington and in combination with programmed cell death protein 1, or PD-1, and CTLA-4 antibodies for the treatment of small cell lung cancer, or SCLC, at the Rutgers University. We own global rights to Plinabulin in all countries except China. We own a 60% interest in our China subsidiary, which subsequently owns 100% of the rights to Plinabulin in China. We are also developing three small molecule immune agents, currently in preclinical stages, and a drug development platform using ubiquitin mediated protein degradation pathway.
 
Plinabulin is a marine-derived small-molecule with a number of distinct immune activities that may provide multiple therapeutic opportunities. We believe Plinabulin has the potential for an overall superior product profile in the prevention of both high and intermediate risk CIN. CIN is a significant cause of morbidity and mortality in cancer patients as well as significant factor in the interruption in chemotherapy. G-CSFs, the predominant therapy in the CIN space, had annual worldwide sales of over $9.3 billion during the twelve months ended June 30, 2018, but are limited by their inability to adequately address CIN, burdensome side effects and dosing inconvenience. In preclinical studies, Plinabulin increased the survival of neutrophils, a type of white blood cell important in the prevention of bacterial infections.
 
We believe that Plinabulin has direct anti-tumor effects. In the Phase 2 portion of a Phase 1/2 clinical trial in 163 advanced NSCLC patients, or Study 101, the addition of Plinabulin to a standard regimen of docetaxel increased anti-tumor activity compared to docetaxel monotherapy in a subset of patients with measureable lung lesions. In June 2016, we initiated Study 103, a Phase 3 trial in the U.S., China and Australia of Plinabulin in combination with docetaxel in patients with advanced NSCLC. We reached the first pre-specified interim analysis at a death event of 146 patients and the Data and Safety Monitoring Board, or DSMB, recommended the trial to continue. As of the date of this annual report on Form 20-F, Study 103 has enrolled over 400 patients in a 554-patient trial.
 
Plinabulin’s effect in preventing CIN has been demonstrated in four clinical trials so far, namely Study 101, Study 103, Study 105 and Study 106.
 
In the Phase 2 portion of Study 101, the addition of Plinabulin to a standard regimen of docetaxel, a commonly used type of chemotherapy, led to a statistically significant reduction in the incidence of grade 3 and 4 neutropenia (p<0.0003), an abnormally low blood concentration of neutrophils.
 
In Study 103, a Phase 3 study for NSCLC, we evaluated 138 patients on a secondary endpoint of grade 4 neutropenia reduction in cycle 1 day 8 (lowest neutrophil account in a cycle due to docetaxel treatment) and demonstrated Plinabulin’s ability to reduce docetaxel induced grade 4 neutropenia in NSCLC patients (p<0.0001). As part of our registration program for CIN, Plinabulin has been studied in two Phase 2/3 clinical trials, the first for the reduction of CIN caused by intermediate risk chemotherapy, composed solely of Taxotere (docetaxel), in NSCLC, breast cancer and prostate cancer patients (Study 105), and the second for the reduction of CIN caused by high risk chemotherapy, a myelosuppressive chemotherapeutic regimen composed of three agents, Taxotere (docetaxel), Adriamycin (doxorubicin) and Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), or TAC, in breast cancer patients (Study 106).
 
In the Phase 2 portion of Study 105, 55 NSCLC patients treated with Plinabulin reported better safety, including less bone pain, and had comparable absolute neutrophil count profiles (a measure of neutrophils per unit of blood that is calculated from measurements of the total number of white blood cells and bands, or immature neutrophils) and comparable durations of severe neutropenia (DSN) and neutropenia reduction compared to patients treated with Neulasta. Neulasta (pegfilgrastim) is a type of long-lasting G-CSF, which is the current standard of care for the prevention of high-risk CIN with annual global sales of approximately $7.0 billion. The Phase 2 portion of Study 105 also demonstrated that Plinabulin reduced thrombocytopenia, whereas Neulasta did not. Thrombocytopenia, a frequent side effect of chemotherapy, is the lowering of platelet counts that, when severe, leads to bleeding and anemia and can require transfusion with platelets and in severe cases can lead to cessation of chemotherapy. In addition, the data showed that Plinabulin has a superior immune profile compared to Neulasta based on promyelocytes and immature neutrophil data from the clinical study. The results of the Phase 2 portion of Study 105 established the recommended dose for the Phase 3 portion of the study. We enrolled approximately 105 patients for the Phase 3 portion of Study 105. In December 2018, we announced that the Phase 3 portion of Study 105 had met its primary endpoint of non-inferiority versus Neulasta for the DSN of the first cycle, with statistical significance in a pre-specified interim analysis. This conclusion was confirmed at the DSMB meeting, chaired by Dr. Crawford, Chairman of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, or NCCN, Guidelines for Neutropenia Management in the U.S.
 
In the Phase 2 portion of Study 106, in approximately 115 breast cancer patients, Plinabulin in combination with 6 mg Neulasta (Plinabulin/Neulasta Combo) was shown to lead to a clinically meaningful reduction of the duration of grade 3 and 4 neutropenia, a statistically significant reduction of grade 3 and 4 neutropenia and bone pain, and less immune suppression compared with Neulasta monotherapy. We believe that the clinical profile of Plinabulin given prior to a G-CSF has the potential to decrease severe neutropenia, bone pain and immune suppression, which may make it an attractive alternative to G-CSF monotherapy for the treatment of CIN. In March 2019, we announced at ASCO-SITC Clinical Immuno-Oncology Symposium (ASCO-SITC) that new clinical results from the Phase 2 portion of Study 106 indicated that the Plinabulin/Neulasta Combo resulted in better outcomes for CIN treatment and also reduced Neulasta’s potential immune-suppressive phenotype.
 
Pending positive results in our three clinical trials, Study 103, Study 105 and Study 106, we expect to submit two NDAs in China for Plinabulin for two separate indications in 2019.  The first is for Plinabulin in combination with docetaxel for second and third line treatment of NSCLC. The second is for the reduction of CIN in patients undergoing chemotherapy treatment for solid tumor and hematological cancers.  Based on our previous discussions with the Food and Drug Administration, or FDA, after finalization of all three clinical trials, if positive results are achieved, we intend to submit NDAs in the U.S. for both NSCLC and CIN in 2020. In December 2018, we engaged in positive pre-NDA discussions with the FDA regarding the content of chemistry, manufacturing and control, or CMC, sections of our planned NDAs for Plinabulin for the treatment of NSCLC and for CIN prevention. These discussions culminated with direct alignment with the FDA regarding expectations for our CMC sections of our planned NDAs for Plinabulin, putting us on track to submit these NDAs to the FDA.
 
We have a novel, highly scalable business model that integrates clinical resources in the U.S. and China. We believe that our strategy of dual development in the U.S. and China has provided and will continue to provide significant developmental advantages including the ability to conduct trials in China, which could result in faster enrollment, lower costs and expedited approval process, as well as access to China’s large cancer population . Our drug development capabilities are facilitated by strong interest from clinical investigators in the U.S. as well as by our understanding of the pharmaceutical industry, clinical resources and regulatory system in China. In addition, this model represents significant commercial advantages for Plinabulin, as the U.S. and China are the two largest pharmaceutical markets in the world.
 
Our principal executive offices are located in New York, and we also have offices in Dalian, China, a hub for pharmaceutical companies. We are incorporated in the Cayman Islands. Our management team has deep experience and capabilities in biology, chemistry, drug discovery, clinical development, regulatory affairs and capital markets.
 
Recent developments
 
In January 2019, we entered into a three-month RMB 20.0 million loan agreement with He’en Weiye (Shenzhen) Assets Management Center L.P. at an annual interest rate of 15%. The loan is secured by Mr. Linqing Jia and repayable upon maturity. As of the date of this annual report on Form 20-F, we have drawn down RMB 10.0 million pursuant to this agreement with the remaining RMB 10.0 million expected to be drawn down in the second quarter of 2019. In April 2019, the maturity of this loan was extended to April 20, 2020.
 
In March 2019, we entered into a three-year RMB 10.0 million loan agreement with China Construction Bank at an annual interest rate of 5.7%. The loan is secured by Shenzhen Sangel Capital Management Limited Company and Mulong Liu, and repayable upon maturity.
 
In April 2019, we entered into a one-year $1.0 million loan agreement with Shenzhen Sangel Zhichuang Investment Co., Ltd. at an annual interest rate of 15%. The loan is secured by Mr. Linqing Jia and repayable upon maturity.
 
We are continuing to evaluate various financing strategies to support our current operations and fund our future growth, including additional equity financings and alternative sources of debt. We cannot assure you that we will enter into any definitive agreements in respect of any such financing transactions.
 
Plinabulin in Advanced NSCLC
 
According to the National Cancer Institute, approximately 230,000 patients are diagnosed with lung cancer in the U.S. per year. The prognosis for patients with lung cancer is poor with a five-year survival rate of only 18.6%. Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the U.S. and a global health problem with approximately 1.8 million cases diagnosed per year. Approximately one-third of lung cancer patients worldwide are in China, with approximately 700,000 cases of lung cancer diagnosed in China in 2015. These lung cancers are typically divided into two groups based upon the histologic appearance of the tumor cells—SCLC and NSCLC, which are treated with distinct chemotherapeutic approaches. NSCLC accounts for approximately 87% of lung cancer cases. For second and third line NSCLC patients with epidermal growth factor receptor, or EGFR, wild type (approximately 70% of Asian patients, and 85% of Western patients), there are currently only four therapies approved with limited benefit.
 
Data from the Phase 2 portion of Study 101 suggest that the addition of Plinabulin to a standard regimen of docetaxel may increase anti-tumor activity compared to docetaxel monotherapy. Specifically, a subset of 38 patients with measurable lung lesions given a combination of docetaxel plus 30 mg/m2 Plinabulin had a median survival of 11.3 months compared to 6.7 months for 38 patients with measurable lung lesions when given docetaxel alone. In addition, the Plinabulin plus docetaxel cohort had an objective response rate, a measure of the proportion of patients with tumor size reduction of at least 30%, of 18.4% compared to 10.5% for the docetaxel monotherapy arm. The patients who received Plinabulin plus docetaxel also had a duration of response, the time of initial response until documented tumor progression, of 12.7 months compared to one month for the patients who only received the docetaxel monotherapy indicative of a positive immune response.

While the number of patients in the subset was not large enough to demonstrate statistical significance, we and our clinical collaborators believe these data suggest that the addition of Plinabulin to a standard regimen of docetaxel may provide a clinically meaningful increase in anti-tumor activity compared to docetaxel monotherapy.
 
In June 2016, we initiated a 554-patient Phase 3 trial in the U.S., China and Australia of Plinabulin in combination with docetaxel in patients with advanced NSCLC with measurable lung lesions, or Study 103. The primary endpoint is overall survival of patients given a combination of Plinabulin and docetaxel compared to patients given docetaxel alone. Secondary endpoints include the frequency and severity of neutropenia, duration of response, quality of life, response rate and progression-free survival. As of the date of this annual report on Form 20-F, we have enrolled over 400 patients. We reached the first pre-specified interim analysis at a death event of 146 patients and the DSMB recommended the trial to continue. A second pre-specified interim analysis is at a death event of 293 patients expected in the fourth quarter of 2019.  If p-value for the median overall survival at the second interim analysis is less or equal to 0.012, the trial may stop early. If p-value for the median overall survival at the second interim analysis is greater than 0.012, the study will continue and final results of the trial at a death event of 439 patients are expected to be available in 2020. If p-value for median overall survival for the final results is less than or equal to 0.05, the study can be claimed successful.
 
Based upon our preliminary discussions with Chinese regulatory authorities, we believe Study 103 meets the criteria for conditional approval of a novel drug for a life-threatening disease based upon trend data and that the efficacy data at the first interim analysis is sufficient to demonstrate the requirements for such a trend. Therefore, we expect to submit an NDA in China for NSCLC in 2019. We anticipate admission to the conditional approval program could significantly reduce the time for NDA approval given the severe unmet clinical needs in NSCLC. We intend to submit an NDA in the U.S. for NSCLC in 2020.
 
Plinabulin in Prevention of CIN
 
Neutropenia is an abnormally low blood concentration of neutrophils, a type of white blood cell, which may result from an abnormal rate of destruction or a low rate of synthesis of white blood cells in bone marrow. Neutropenia is graded according to its severity, which generally depends on neutrophil count. An absolute neutrophil count below 500 cells/mm3 (0.5 x 109 /L) is categorized as grade 4 neutropenia and a neutrophil count between 500 and 1,000 cells/mm3 (0.5-1.0 x 109 /L) is categorized as grade 3 neutropenia. Patients with low neutrophil counts are more susceptible to bacterial infections and sepsis, which are a significant cause of morbidity and mortality in cancer patients. According to the Centers for Cancer Prevention and Control, more than 60,000 patients are hospitalized each year in the U.S. for neutropenia associated with fever, which represents a growth opportunity for products that can deliver improved outcomes in the CIN space. The mortality rate of these patients is between 9% and 18%.
 
Neutropenia represents a key limitation associated with most chemotherapies, including docetaxel. Docetaxel is one of the prescribed chemotherapies and has been approved in the U.S. for NSCLC, head and neck cancer, gastric cancer, breast cancer and prostate cancer. Docetaxel has known side effects that include nausea, vomiting, fatigue, weakness, shortness of breath and neutropenia. The current standard of care for neutropenia is biologic drugs based on G-CSF, a human growth factor that stimulates the proliferation, differentiation and maturation of neutrophils, which was first approved in the early 1990s. While monotherapy G-CSF reduces DSN, it cannot be given on the same day as chemotherapy and the expansion of bone marrow generated by monotherapy G-CSF causes bone pain. According to post-marketing patient surveys, between 59% and 71% of patients report having experienced bone pain and, of those patients, about one-quarter describe the pain as severe.  The frequency and severity of the bone pain may cause some patients to discontinue or change chemotherapy treatment.  While annual worldwide sales of G-CSF based drugs exceeded $9.3 billion during the twelve months ended June 30, 2018, due to the risk/benefit ratio, they are restricted to treat high-risk chemotherapy patients, which represent approximately 20% of all patients treated with chemotherapy, creating a significant growth opportunity for effective, safe and convenient alternatives.
 
In the Phase 2 portion of Study 101, the addition of Plinabulin to a standard regimen of docetaxel resulted in a statistically significant reduction (p<0.0003) in the incidence of grade 3 and 4 neutropenia adverse events from 26% of patients in the docetaxel monotherapy arm to 7% in the Plinabulin plus docetaxel arm based upon a retrospective analysis of the data.
 
In our ongoing Phase 3 trial in NSCLC, Study 103, we are also evaluating Plinabulin’s ability to reduce CIN. In Study 103, we evaluated 138 patients on a secondary endpoint of grade 4 neutropenia reduction, which demonstrated Plinabulin’s ability to reduce docetaxel CIN in NSCLC patients (p<0.0001). Data generated on this secondary endpoint in Study 103, along with the retrospective data generated in Study 101, will be used as supportive efficacy and safety data in our NDA filings for Plinabulin for the treatment of CIN.
 
Study 105

Based on the clinical profile observed in Study 101 and the results of the discussions between us and the FDA, we refined our design of our two Phase 2/3 trials in CIN. The first trial, Study 105, is a Phase 2/3 trial of Plinabulin in combination with a standard regimen of docetaxel in approximately 160 advanced breast cancer, hormone refractory prostate cancer and advanced NSCLC patients with solid tumors in the U.S., China, Russia and the Ukraine.
 
The primary endpoint of this trial is non-inferiority in DSN in the first cycle of chemotherapy, compared to the standard of care, Neulasta. DSN represents the days the patient has grade 4 neutropenia (very low white blood cell count), or how many days the patient remains in the hospital due to a low white blood cell count. A clinically meaningful DSN is less than one day or less than one day in the hospital. In June 2018, we presented in a poster session at the 2018 ASCO Annual Meeting that patients treated with one dose of Plinabulin at 20 mg/m2 had the same occurrence of severe neutropenia (grade 4) as patients treated with one dose of Neulasta (6 mg) in the first 21-day cycle. Grade 4 neutropenia occurred in 14% of patients treated with either Plinabulin or Neulasta. In addition, patients treated with Plinabulin at 20 mg/m2 demonstrated the same DSN in the first cycle compared to those treated with Neulasta. The DSN was 0.5 days for patients treated with either Plinabulin or Neulasta. These results established the recommended dose of 40 mg (equivalent to 20 mg/m2) for the Phase 3 portion of the trial based on a clear dose response in grade 4 neutropenia incidence and the DSN seen in the Phase 2 portion. Additionally, in the Phase 2 portion of Study 105, Plinabulin was shown to reduce thrombocytopenia and demonstrated a superior immune profile compared to Neulasta based on promyelocytes and immature neutrophil data.
 
One of the secondary endpoints being evaluated in Study 105 is the reduction of bone pain. Bone pain is a significant issue for this patient population and results in many patients discontinuing therapy. In the Phase 2 portion of Study 105, bone pain occurred in fewer patients treated with Plinabulin at 20 mg/m2 (11%, or 0% from day 3) compared to patients treated with Neulasta (35%).
 
In September 2018, we announced at the 2018 International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC) World Conference that in the Phase 2 portion of Study 105, nearly half (45%) of patients who received Neulasta experienced thrombocytopenia (any grade) in cycle 1, compared to 0% of patients who received 20 mg/m2 of Plinabulin. Plinabulin’s platelet-protective effect also carried through all four cycles in a statistically significant manner. Clinically significant thrombocytopenia, which is defined as a decrease in platelet counts of more than 30%, occurred less frequently in patients who received docetaxel with Plinabulin, compared to patients who received docetaxel and Neulasta over all four cycles (p=0.019).
 
In December 2018, we announced at the 2018 American Society of Hematology (ASH) Annual Meeting that Plinabulin mobilizes CD34+ progenitor cells into the peripheral blood through a MOA different than G-CSF or Plerixafor, potentially presenting a new option for hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT). We evaluated CD34+ cell counts in the blood by measuring CD34+ levels pre-dose and at multiple time points through Day 8 of treatment with docetaxel, both with and without Plinabulin. CD34+ measurements were obtained in at least nine patients on both Day 0 and Day 8 for each Plinabulin dose. Patients treated with Plinabulin had statistically significant increases in CD34+ levels at Day 8 in a dose-dependent manner (p<0.0004).
 
We enrolled approximately 105 patients with advanced NSCLC, breast cancer or prostate cancer in a randomized double blinded Phase 3 portion of Study 105. The trial has a pre-specified DSN non-inferiority margin of 0.65 days as agreed with the FDA in the U.S. and NMPA in China to show non-inferiority in neutropenia prevention for Plinabulin as compared to Neulasta. In December 2018, we announced that the Phase 3 portion of Study 105 had met its primary endpoint of non-inferiority versus Neulasta for the DSN of the first cycle, with statistical significance in a pre-specified interim analysis. This conclusion was confirmed at the Data and Safety Monitoring Board (DSMB) meeting, chaired by Dr. Crawford, Chairman of NCCN Guidelines for Neutropenia Management in the U.S.
 
Study 106
 
The second trial, Study 106, is a Phase 2/3 trial of Plinabulin in combination with a myelosuppressive chemotherapeutic regimen composed of three agents, Taxotere (docetaxel), Adriamycin (doxorubicin) and Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide) in approximately 400 patients with solid tumors in the U.S., China, Russia and the Ukraine. The design of this trial is substantially similar to Study 105. However, this trial also compares Plinabulin in combination with 6 mg Neulasta (Plinabulin/Neulasta Combo) to measure superiority in efficacy as compared to Neulasta monotherapy and compares Plinabulin in combination with 3 mg Neulasta to measure non-inferiority in efficacy and superiority in safety as compared to Neulasta monotherapy. We completed enrollment of approximately 115 patients in the Phase 2 portion of Study 106 and we plan to enroll approximately 300 patients in the Phase 3 portion of the trial. In October 2018, we announced that the Plinabulin/Neulasta Combo was shown to lead to clinically meaningful reduction of the duration of grade 3 and 4 neutropenia, statistically significant reduction of grade 3 and 4 neutropenia and bone pain, and less immune suppression compared with Neulasta monotherapy in the first cycle. Additionally, the Plinabulin/Neulasta Combo presented good tolerability and no cardio-safety issues. In March 2019, we presented at the 2019 ASCO-SITC Clinical Immuno-Oncology Symposium that combining Plinabulin with Neulasta reverses the immune-suppressive profile of Neulasta by lowering the percentage of patients with a neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio, or NLR, of less than 5 (p<0.007) or with a lymphocyte-to-monocyte ratio, or LMR, of greater than 3.2 (p<0.07) versus Neulasta alone.
 
We are currently preparing to initiate the Phase 3 portion of Study 106.
 
Based upon our preliminary discussions with Chinese regulatory authorities, we believe our registration program for Plinabulin for the treatment of CIN meets the criteria for conditional approval of a novel drug for a life-threatening disease based upon clinical efficacy trend data. Thus far, over 500 cancer patients who have been dosed with Plinabulin have shown good tolerability, which satisfies the safety database standard of both the FDA and the NMPA. Based upon such preliminary discussions with the Chinese regulatory authorities, the Study 106 Phase 2 top line efficacy data and Study 105 Phase 3 interim efficacy data are sufficient to demonstrate the requirements for such a trend and therefore we expect to submit an NDA in China for CIN in 2019. We anticipate admission to the conditional approval program could significantly reduce the time for NDA approval given the severe unmet clinical needs in CIN. Based on our grant under the national key science and technology programs and national key research & development, or R&D, support programs, or the 2017 Grant, we believe we are well-positioned to apply for other priority review status designations. With receipt of the 2017 Grant, Plinabulin has been included in the National Drug Review Priority List. According to the Outline of the Thirteenth Five-Year Plan of the National Economy and Social Development of the People’s Republic of China, the government encourages the research, development and production of new drugs, the new drugs with approval to be marketed shall enjoy priority to be included in the National Insurance System. We believe that, pending drug approval and successful pricing negotiations with the Chinese government, the 2017 Grant could assist with inclusion of Plinabulin in the National Insurance System, which will allow for faster access to patients and reimbursement. We anticipate filing an NDA for Plinabulin for the treatment of CIN in the U.S. in 2020 if the final results from Studies 105 and 106 are positive.
 
Plinabulin in Combination with Immuno-oncology Agents
 
Preclinical studies have identified some novel and intriguing activities of Plinabulin associated with stimulation of the immune system consistent with Plinabulin’s ability to enhance the activity of other immuno-oncology agents. We have observed in these preclinical studies that Plinabulin works at multiple early steps in the process of immune activation against cancer. In particular, it works to activate dendritic cells and mobilize tumor antigen-specific T-cells to the tumor. Studies in animals indicate that Plinabulin has a range of immune-enhancing effects that may be synergistic to the effects of checkpoint inhibitors, which are antibodies that inhibit a key defense mechanism that tumors employ to avoid recognition by the immune system. In preclinical studies, Plinabulin enhanced the anti-tumor efficacy of checkpoint inhibitors. We believe that Plinabulin in combination with nivolumab, a checkpoint inhibitor approved for use in NSCLC and other indications, may demonstrate more anti-tumor activity than nivolumab alone without significantly increasing toxicity. Cumulative toxicity has been a concern when nivolumab is combined with other checkpoint inhibitors.

In September 2016, UCSD enrolled the first patient in an investigator-initiated Phase 1/2 trial of Plinabulin in combination with nivolumab in patients with metastatic NSCLC. In addition, the Fred Hutchinson Center, together with the University of Washington, launched an investigator-initiated Phase 1/2 trial of Plinabulin in combination with nivolumab in patients with advanced NSCLC who have failed up to two previous therapies. The Fred Hutchinson Center study had achieved the dose regimen end point and therefore the study site had been closed. Preliminarily safety data from these two trials were presented at the ASCO-SITC meeting in January 2018.  In the 10 patients evaluated, the combination therapy was well tolerated, with no immune related serious adverse events. Only two patients presented with immune related adverse events, one with a grade 1 event and the other with a grade 2 event.
 
In October 2018, we announced the opening of an investigator-initiated Phase 1 clinical trial with a triple combination therapy, consisting of Plinabulin, Bristol-Myers Squibb’s PD-1 antibody, Opdivo (nivolumab), and CTLA-4 antibody, Yervoy (ipilimumab), for the treatment of SCLC. The trial, conducted through the Big Ten Cancer Research Consortium, is currently enrolling subjects at Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey and other clinical centers in the U.S. The trial is expected to enroll approximately 15 patients in the Phase 1 portion of this Phase 1/2 combined study, and an additional 40 patients in the Phase 2 portion. This study investigates whether the addition of Plinabulin results in a reduction of immune-related side effects of PD-1 and CTLA-4 antibodies and if it provides efficacy synergy.
 
We expect Johns Hopkins University to initiate an investigator-initiated Phase 1/2 trial of Plinabulin in combination with Merck’s PD-1 antibody, Keytruda (pembrolizumab), and platinum-based chemotherapy agents. This study will investigate whether the addition of Plinabulin to the therapy could not only potentially add to the anti-cancer effect of PD-1 and chemotherapy, but could also potentially result in a reduction of immune-related side effects of PD-1 antibodies as well as a reduction in CIN.
 
Other Programs
 
We have several preclinical immuno-oncology agents in development, including BPI-002, an oral CTLA-4 inhibitor; BPI-003, an IKK inhibitor; and BPI-004, an agent which we believe may have the potential to convert cold, or poorly inflamed, tumors to hot, or highly inflamed, tumors, thereby making the tumors more available to immunotherapy, potentially in combination approaches.
 
In addition, we are investigating an alternative approach to cancer treatment in which disease-causing proteins are marked for early degradation. This approach uses a protein called a ubiquitin E3 ligase to target and promote the destruction of disease-causing proteins, such as oncogenes. To trigger degradation, the target protein is labeled with poly-ubiquitin by a specific ubiquitin ligase enzyme. Poly-ubiquitin acts as an indicating tag on cellular proteasome machinery, marking the target protein for destruction.
 
One approach to tagging the target protein uses a “molecular glue” to bind the ubiquitin ligase to the target protein. We are collaborating with Dr. Ning Zheng, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator at the University of Washington on a unique “molecular glue” used to selectively tag certain oncogene proteins with E3 ligase, one of the ubiquitin ligase enzymes. Dr. Huang and Dr. Zheng were the first to discover the crystal structure of the only two classes of E3 ligases. This work forms the structural basis for the selection of small molecules to be studied as a potential “molecular glue.” The first target protein is expected to be oncogene KRAS. KRAS is frequently mutated in pancreas, colon, lung and uterus cancers. This novel platform technology has the potential to significantly reduce the amount of oncogene protein in the cell and such disease-causing protein is not targeted by current therapeutic approaches.
 
We plan to bring one agent, BPI-002, into clinical development in 2020, with the goal of progressing one preclinical compound into clinical development annually.
 
Additionally, we are exploring Plinabulin in the treatment of advanced NSCLC in tumors with KRAS mutations in combination with docetaxel and in the treatment of metastatic brain tumors in combination with radiation. While we continue to be primarily focused on the use of Plinabulin in advanced NSCLC, in CIN and in combination with immuno-oncology agents, if the necessary resources and financing are available, we may decide to further investigate the effect of Plinabulin in RAS mutant tumors.
 
Our Pipeline
 
The following table summarizes the current status of our product development pipeline.
 
 
Our Strategy

Advance Plinabulin through a Phase 3 trial for NSCLC and Phase 2/3 trials for CIN by utilizing global clinical trials that incorporate China investigators. We believe that our strategy of dual development in both the U.S. and China has provided and will continue to provide significant advantages, including the ability to conduct trials in China with quicker enrollment and lower costs.  In China, we conduct all of our trials under U.S. Good Clinical Practice, or GCP, guidelines but at lower cost than we would incur in the U.S. Also, by utilizing our Chinese subsidiary to execute on this dual development strategy, we have been able to enroll our NSCLC and CIN clinical trials more quickly than anticipated. Each year China has over five million new cancer patients, which represents one-third of the total cancer patients in the world. Patients in China are more motivated to participate in clinical trials because insurance coverage is not as prevalent in China as it is in the West. Additionally, China’s cancer care is still highly centralized, primarily in the Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou areas and cancer patients from around the country travel to these areas for care. Thus, our trials may benefit from faster enrollment in China based on our work with treatment centers in these areas.
 
Seek expedited approval for Plinabulin in China for NSCLC and CIN based upon interim trend data and apply for approval in the U.S. and other countries once final data from our late stage clinical trials are completed. In October 2017, the Chinese government announced in a broad policy that the drug regulatory authority could consider conditional approval based on a trend of clinical patient benefit, rather than waiting for full clinical trial data for life-threatening diseases, with a focus on novel drugs that address unmet medical needs and orphan drugs. In December 2017, the NMPA issued an exposure draft for public comment of the Technical Guidance for Conditional Approval of Drugs with Unmet Medical Needs, which further provides the standard of the unmet medical needs but does not provide detailed administration procedures and requirements for conditional approval.  This guidance has not come into effect thus far. We intend to utilize this new policy to attempt to accelerate the approval of Plinabulin in China. Pending positive interim results in our late stage clinical trials, we expect to submit two NDAs in China in 2019 for conditional approval of Plinabulin, the first for Plinabulin in combination with docetaxel for second and third line treatment of NSCLC and the second as a treatment to reduce CIN. After finalization of our Phase 3 clinical trial for NSCLC and our two Phase 2/3 clinical trials for the treatment of CIN, we intend to submit NDAs in the U.S. in 2020 and in other countries for the same indications thereafter. We may also be able to benefit from fast-track regulatory status in China based on our potential ability to file as a Category 1 drug. Additionally, we believe we are well-positioned to obtain conditional approval based on the receipt of the 2017 Innovation Award.
 
Explore the potential of Plinabulin in combination with immuno-oncology agents and continue to develop a pipeline of other immuno-oncology agents through utilization of our scientific collaborators. We are utilizing our research collaborators to advance Plinabulin in clinical trials to investigate its therapeutic potential as an immuno-oncology agent. We also have a pipeline of preclinical immuno-oncology product candidates and we are investigating the ubiquitin-mediated degradation pathway in collaboration with the University of Washington.
 
Replicate our global clinical development plan for Plinabulin in other indications as well as with drug candidates in our internal pipeline or acquired by in-licensing. We believe our specific advantages observed in our ongoing clinical trials in China can serve as a template for future product candidates we might develop. Thus, we intend to leverage our Chinese subsidiary to enable us to develop our product candidates effectively and efficiently. We will opportunistically assess potential compounds for development or in-licensing that fit our strengths in clinical development in the U.S., China and other jurisdictions.
 
Partner with one or more national pharmaceutical companies or build our own sales force to commercialize Plinabulin ourselves in China and partner with one or more global pharmaceutical companies outside of China. With receipt of the 2017 Grant, Plinabulin has the potential to be included in the National Drug Priority Review List. According to the Outline of the Thirteenth Five-Year Plan of the National Economy and Social Development of the People’s Republic of China, the government encourages the research, development and production of new drugs, the new drugs with approval to be marketed shall enjoy priority to be included in the National Insurance System. We believe that, pending drug approval and successful pricing negotiations with the Chinese government, the 2017 Grant could assist with inclusion of Plinabulin in the National Insurance System, which would allow for faster access to patients and reimbursement. We plan to either partner with one or more national pharmaceutical companies or build our own commercial organization for marketing Plinabulin for advanced NSCLC and in CIN in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou areas, which represent 80% of China’s geographic cancer care market. We also plan to retain a contract sales organization for selling efforts in secondary markets in China. In the U.S. and for the rest of world, we intend to work with one or multiple potential pharmaceutical partners for commercialization.
 
Plinabulin, Our Lead Drug Candidate
 
Plinabulin is a small molecule derived from a natural compound found in marine microorganisms. It has a number of biological activities that may provide multiple therapeutic opportunities. A low molecular weight small molecule, Plinabulin is relatively simple to manufacture. An advantage of natural products and their derivatives, such as Plinabulin, is that it may be difficult for others to discover structurally distinct molecules possessing a similar array of activities.
 
Plinabulin has shown a number of immuno-stimulatory effects in preclinical studies in addition to previously identified activities in destabilizing microtubule networks. Studies on its method of action indicate that Plinabulin activates GEF-H1, a guanine nucleotide exchange factor. GEF-H1 activates downstream signal transduction pathways leading to dendritic cell maturation, T-cell activation and other effects that prevent neutropenia such as the up-regulation of interleukin-6 in the tissue microenvironment. Other microtubule destabilizing agents, such as the CA4P class, or microtubule stabilizing agents, such as docetaxel, do not induce dendritic cell maturation or prevent neutropenia. The elucidation of this mechanism was a multi-year collaborative effort among BeyondSpring, University of Basel and Massachusetts General Hospital.
 
 
In the aggregate, as of the date of this annual report on Form 20-F, Plinabulin has been administered to over 500 patients with advanced cancer and thus far is generally well tolerated.  We believe the data from completed and ongoing clinical trials suggest there is a path forward for Plinabulin in the treatment of advanced NSCLC and in the prevention of and reduction in CIN.
 
Plinabulin for the Treatment of Advanced NSCLC
 
Data from Study 101 suggest that the addition of Plinabulin to a standard regimen of docetaxel may increase anti-tumor activity compared to docetaxel monotherapy in a subset of NSCLC patients with measurable lung lesions. Based on these findings, in June 2016, we initiated a 554-patient Phase 3 trial in the U.S., China and Australia of Plinabulin in combination with docetaxel in patients with advanced NSCLC.
 
NSCLC disease overview
 
According to the National Cancer Institute, approximately 230,000 patients are diagnosed with lung cancer in the U.S. per year. The prognosis for patients with lung cancer is poor with five-year survival rates of only 18.6%. Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the U.S. and a global health problem with approximately 1.8 million cases diagnosed per year. Approximately one-third of lung cancer patients worldwide are in China, with approximately 700,000 cases of lung cancer diagnosed in China in 2015. These lung cancers are typically divided into two groups based upon the histologic appearance of the tumor cells—SCLC and NSCLC, which are treated with distinct chemotherapeutic approaches. NSCLC accounts for approximately 87% of lung cancer cases. The global NSCLC market is increasing at a rate of 15.8% per year, with estimated sales of $12.9 billion and $26.8 billion in 2020 and 2025, respectively.
 
Lung cancer is typically diagnosed relatively late in its clinical course after it has metastasized to other tissues in the body. In these advanced cases, treatment is not curative, and patients are generally treated with systemic therapies. Initial therapy is often based on broad chemotoxic drugs such as cisplatin. Most patients, however, do not obtain a long-term benefit with the overall increase in survival associated with the use of these drugs being only two months. Additional treatments fall into several general categories:
 

other chemotoxic agents, such as docetaxel or pemetrexed;
 

inhibitors of intracellular enzymes that have specific mutations in genes, including EGFR kinases;
 

agents that disrupt blood vessel formation in tumors, such as ramucirumab; and
 

checkpoint inhibitors, such as nivolumab.
 
Tyrosine Kinase inhibitors are only effective on EGFR mutant patients. EGFR wild type patients account for approximately 70% of Asian NSCLC population, and approximately 85% of Western NSCLC population. Only four therapies had been approved for second and third line NSCLC patients with EGFR wild type.  These four therapies include PD-1/PD-L1 antibodies, pemetrexed, docetaxel, and ramucirumab plus docetaxel, all of which has limited efficacy benefit with median overall survival of around 6-12 months.
 
While each of these therapies may provide significant benefit, they are also associated with specific limitations. Docetaxel, for example, leads to neutropenia in up to 40% of patients. Pemetrexed does not have survival benefit compared to docetaxel. Ramucirumab, which is an antiangiogenic agent that prevents or slows the formation of new blood vessels, leads to a modest increase in overall survival (1.4 months) when used in combination with docetaxel. However, lung cancers are highly vascularized, and bevacizumab use in NSCLC is associated with a significant risk of fatal bleeding in the lung, and this combination has a high severe neutropenia rate at 49%. Finally, checkpoint inhibitors such as nivolumab have demonstrated remarkable activity in NSCLC but that activity is limited to 20% of patients. Thus, despite the availability of multiple drugs to treat NSCLC, we believe there is still a need for novel therapies in NSCLC.
 
 
In addition, with the current change of treatment landscape, PD-1 antibody and pemetrexed (Keytruda + platinum + pemetrexed) had been approved in the first line treatment for NSCLC, so when patients fail from this treatment (around 50%), they cannot use PD-1 or PD-L1 antibodies or pemetrexed in the second and third line, and therefore further narrowing the treatment option for these patients to only 2 therapies: docetaxel and ramucirumab plus docetaxel. Both therapies have limited survival benefit and very high severe neutropenia rate, both of which Plinabulin and docetaxel combo is aimed to improve.
 
Phase 1/2 in advanced NSCLC (Study 101)
 
The primary purpose of the Phase 2 portion of the Phase 1/2 trial was to evaluate the potential anticancer effect of Plinabulin in combination with docetaxel compared to docetaxel monotherapy in advanced NSCLC patients. The trial enrolled 163 advanced NSCLC patients in the U.S., Australia, Argentina, Chile, Brazil and India. Patients enrolled in the trial had unresectable, locally advanced or metastatic cancers, meaning that in some patients the disease had spread to adjacent lymph nodes if not throughout the body. In such patients there may not be measurable lesions in the lungs.
 
For intent to treat population with no targeted patient selection, the trial did not meet the primary endpoint of a statistically significant improvement in overall survival for Plinabulin in combination with docetaxel compared to docetaxel monotherapy. However, we identified a subset of patients with measurable lung lesions in which the addition of Plinabulin to docetaxel may increase anti-tumor activity compared to docetaxel monotherapy. The overall survival of the subset of patients with measurable lung lesions is shown below in a plot referred to as a Kaplan-Meier plot. Each vertical drop in the curve represents the recorded death of one or more patients. If a patient withdraws from the trial, is lost to follow up, or survives beyond the end of the trial, that patient is “censored” and denoted by a vertical line on the curve at the time of the last reliable assessment of that patient. All patients in either trial either died or were censored. In this subset analysis, patients in the Plinabulin plus docetaxel arm had a median overall survival of 11.3 months, while those treated with docetaxel alone had a median overall survival of 6.7 months. Additionally, the Plinabulin plus docetaxel cohort had an objective response rate of 18.4% compared to 10.5% for the docetaxel monotherapy arm. This subset included only 38 patients from each arm and did not reach statistical significance (p=0.29). We believe that this was due to the small number of patients in each arm. Additionally, the data showed that patients in the Plinabulin plus docetaxel arm had an overall survival period of between 6.7 and 15.1 months, while those treated with docetaxel alone had an overall survival period of between 6.0 and 9.8 months. This data had a 95% confidence level, or CL, meaning that if the same patient population were to be sampled numerous times, the overall survival period of each sample would fall within these suggested ranges approximately 95% of the time. The patients who received Plinabulin plus docetaxel also had a duration of response, the time of initial response until documented tumor progression, of 12.7 months compared to one month for the patients who only received the docetaxel monotherapy (p=0.049).
 
 
Our ongoing Phase 3 trial in advanced NSCLC (Study 103)
 
In the fourth quarter of 2015, we initiated enrollment in Study 103, a Phase 3 trial of Plinabulin in combination with docetaxel in advanced NSCLC patients, but decided to suspend enrollment to file amendments to the trial protocol to both increase our chances of success in obtaining approval in advanced NSCLC and expand the potential patient population to accelerate enrollment as well as gather data that could be used to support our NDA applications in CIN. We resumed enrollment for this trial in June 2016 in the U.S., China and Australia.
 
Study 103 is enrolling advanced or metastatic NSCLC patients that have failed at least one previous platinum-based chemotherapy and have measurable lesions. The primary endpoint of the trial is overall survival of patients given Plinabulin in combination with docetaxel compared to patients given docetaxel alone. Secondary endpoints will be the frequency and severity of neutropenia, duration of response, quality of life, response rate and progression-free survival. Patients for this trial were chosen based on our current understanding of Plinabulin’s method of action. Enrollment includes patients with advanced NSCLC who have measurable lung lesions and will not include patients with EGFR mutations because the patient population without these mutations has a greater unmet medical need and accounts for approximately 70% to 85% of all second line and third line lung cancer patient populations. We have also enrolled patients who failed treatment with immuno-oncology drugs PD-1 and PD-L1. The trial is expected to enroll approximately 554 patients, 80% of whom will be recruited at sites in China and 20% at sites in the U.S. and Australia. The trial is single blinded and is being randomized 1:1 with one arm receiving 30 mg/m2 of Plinabulin on day one and day eight and 75 mg/m2 of docetaxel at day one of a 21-day cycle and the other receiving 75 mg/m2 docetaxel on day one of a 21-day cycle.
 
As of the date of this annual report on Form 20-F, we have currently enrolled over 400 patients. We reached the first pre-specified interim analysis at a death event of 146 patients from this trial and the DSMB recommended the trial to continue. A second pre-specified interim analysis is at a death event of 293 patients expected in the fourth quarter of 2019.  If p-value for the median overall survival at the second interim analysis is less or equal to 0.012, the trial may stop early. If p-value for the median overall survival at the second interim analysis is greater than 0.012, the study will continue and final results of the trial at a death event of 439 patients are expected to be available in 2020. If p-value for median overall survival for the final results is less than or equal to 0.05, the study can be claimed successful.
 
If Plinabulin in combination with docetaxel is approved as a treatment for advanced NSCLC, we believe it has the potential to be included in the NCCN guidelines as a treatment for advanced NSCLC.
 
Based upon our preliminary discussions with Chinese regulatory authorities, we believe Study 103 meets the criteria for conditional approval of a novel drug for a life-threatening disease based upon trend data and that the efficacy data at the first interim analysis is sufficient to demonstrate the requirements for such a trend. Therefore, we expect to submit an NDA in China for NSCLC in 2019. We anticipate admission to the conditional approval program could significantly reduce the time for NDA approval given the severe unmet clinical needs in NSCLC. We intend to submit an NDA in the U.S. for NSCLC in 2020.
 
Plinabulin for Prevention of CIN
 
CIN overview
 
Neutropenia is an abnormally low blood concentration of neutrophils, a type of white blood cell, which may result from an abnormal rate of destruction or a low rate of synthesis of white blood cells in bone marrow. Neutropenia is graded according to its severity, which generally depends on neutrophil count. An absolute neutrophil count below 500 cells/mm3 (0.5 x 109/L) is categorized as grade 4 neutropenia and a neutrophil count between 500 and 1,000 cells/mm3 (0.5-1.0 x 109/L) is categorized as grade 3 neutropenia. Patients with low neutrophil counts are more susceptible to bacterial infections, which are a significant cause of morbidity and mortality in cancer patients. According to the Centers for Cancer Prevention and Control, more than 60,000 patients are hospitalized each year in the U.S. for neutropenia associated with fever, which represents a growth opportunity for products that can deliver improved outcomes in the CIN space. The mortality rate of these patients is between 9% and 18%.
 
The current standard of care for neutropenia, first approved in the early 1990s, is the use of biologic drugs based on G-CSF, a human growth factor, that stimulates the proliferation, differentiation and maturation of neutrophils. Recombinant G-CSF therapies include filgrastim (Neupogen), a short-acting drug, and pegfilgrastim (Neulasta), a long-acting drug. Filgrastim is routinely administered daily for up to two weeks following chemotherapy, while pegfilgrastim is typically administered once subsequent to each chemotherapy cycle.
 
While annual worldwide sales of these drugs exceeded $9.3 billion during the twelve months ended June 30, 2018, they have a number of limitations which restrict their application to the high-risk chemotherapy patients, which represent approximately 20% of all patients treated with chemotherapy. According to the product label, G-CSF cannot be administered until at least 24 hours after chemotherapy because neutrophils generated in response to G-CSF stimulation are susceptible to destruction by circulating chemotherapy. This protocol is based on the observation in multiple clinical trials that patients who receive pegfilgrastim on the same day as chemotherapy had neutropenia that lasted longer and was more severe than those who received it 24 hours later. By contrast, Plinabulin, which we believe primarily enhances the survival of existing neutrophils rather than stimulating the production of new neutrophils, can be administered 30 minutes to one hour following chemotherapy.
 
Treatment with G-CSF therapies is also associated with adverse events including bone pain, enlarged spleen, acute respiratory distress syndrome, anaphylaxis and sickle cell disorder. According to post-marketing surveys on patients treated with Neulasta, between 59% and 71% of patients report having experienced bone pain and, of those patients, about one-quarter describe the pain as severe. The frequency and severity of the bone pain may cause some patients to discontinue or change chemotherapy treatment.
 
Given these limitations, we believe there is a significant unmet clinical need for a treatment for CIN with a more convenient dosing schedule and without the safety concerns that limit G-CSF use. These potential advantages may increase the number of patients receiving therapy to reduce neutropenia, which would lead to fewer hospitalizations and improvements in their quality of life.
 
We believe that Plinabulin’s differentiated clinical efficacy and safety profile may make it an attractive alternative to existing G-CSF therapies.
 
Phase 1/2 clinical trial (Study 101)
 
In Study 101, Plinabulin was studied in 163 patients in the Phase 2 portion of a Phase 1/2 trial in combination with docetaxel in patients with advanced NSCLC, which had progressed after at least one round of prior chemotherapy and was considered to be unresectable, locally advanced or metastatic. Retrospective analysis of data from Study 101 showed that the tolerability of the combination of Plinabulin (20 mg/m2 or 30 mg/m2) on days one and eight of a 21-day chemotherapy cycle, and docetaxel (75 mg/m2) on day one of the 21-day chemotherapy cycle, was generally greater than the tolerability of docetaxel (75 mg/m2) alone on day one of a 21-day cycle. The primary endpoint of this trial was overall survival and the secondary endpoints were duration of response, response rate and progression-free survival.
 
The table below is a summary of certain data derived retrospectively from the Phase 2 portion of the Phase 1/2 trial. Each figure represents the percentage of the total number of patients per arm, represented by “n”, who experienced each corresponding event. In this clinical trial, grade 3 and 4 neutropenia occurred in 26% of patients in the docetaxel monotherapy arm, but only in 7% of patients in the Plinabulin plus docetaxel arm (both 20 mg/m2 and 30 mg/m2 doses of Plinabulin combined). The reduction in grade 3 and 4 neutropenia adverse events in the Plinabulin plus docetaxel arm was observed across all four treatment cycles.
 
Certain Events
 
Plinabulin +
Docetaxel (n=90)
   
Docetaxel
(n=73)
 
Grade 3 and 4 Neutropenia
 
7% (p=0.002)
     
26%

Use of G-CSF
   
10%

   
30%

Sepsis
   
0%

   
3.6%

Severe infections
   
0%

   
3.6%

Docetaxel dose reduction due to toxicity
   
6.7%

   
19.2%

 
The data for patients at each of the 20 mg/m2 and 30 mg/m2 doses of Plinabulin for grade 4 neutropenia, defined as absolute neutrophil counts below 500 cells/mm3 (0.5 x 109/L) from a blood draw, are shown in the chart below.

 
The impact of Plinabulin was particularly pronounced in the first cycle of treatment. On day eight after treatment (but before the second dose of Plinabulin) 33.8% of patients in the docetaxel monotherapy arm experienced grade 4 neutropenia, compared to 2.6% and 4.3% of patients in the 20 mg/m2 and 30 mg/m2 Plinabulin plus docetaxel arms, respectively, and the differences were highly statistically significant as both p-values were less than 0.0003.
 
More patients in the docetaxel monotherapy arm required treatment with G-CSF than patients in the Plinabulin plus docetaxel arm, and no patients in the Plinabulin plus docetaxel arm experienced sepsis or severe infections. In addition, fewer patients in the Plinabulin plus docetaxel arm required their dose of docetaxel to be reduced than those patients in the docetaxel monotherapy arm.
 
In addition, Plinabulin did not add additional toxicity to docetaxel’s side effects, which include, but are not limited to, nausea, fatigue, diarrhea, constipation, anorexia, alopecia, anemia, headache, dizziness, and leukopenia. Severe transient hypertension, a transient increase in blood pressure, did occur in approximately 20% of patients who received a 30 mg/m2 dose of Plinabulin and in approximately 5% of patients who received a 20 mg/m2 dose of Plinabulin. Some patients were treated with an anti-hypertensive drug such as a calcium channel blocker, and all cases of transient hypertension resolved on the same day as they occurred. Tumor pain observed in patients receiving Plinabulin was treated with standard pain management regimens. Intestinal obstruction observed in patients receiving Plinabulin was monitored by radiographic or ultrasound studies.
 
We believe that Plinabulin may be able to reduce neutropenia caused by treatment with different myelosuppressive chemotherapeutic agents. For example, studies in animals showed that the addition of Plinabulin to myelosuppressive chemotherapeutic agents other than docetaxel, such as cyclophosphamide, also resulted in statistically significant reduction in the loss of absolute neutrophil counts.
 
We have additional data on Plinabulin’s reduction of neutropenia from our ongoing Study 103, in which we are evaluating Plinabulin’s ability to reduce CIN as a secondary endpoint. In Study 103, we evaluated 138 patients with severe neutropenia. The study demonstrated Plinabulin’s ability to reduce docetaxel CIN in the NSCLC patients in the study from 27.4% to 3.1% with a p-value of less than 0.0001.
 

Phase 2/3 trials in prevention of CIN (Study 105 and Study 106)
 
Based on the preliminary safety and efficacy profile observed in the Phase 1/2 trial in NSCLC and feedback we received from the FDA in September 2016, we refined the design of two Phase 2/3 trials of Plinabulin for the prevention of CIN.
 
Study 105
 
Study 105 is a Phase 2/3 trial of Plinabulin in combination with docetaxel in advanced breast cancer, hormone refractory prostate cancer and advanced NSCLC patients.
 
The Phase 2 portion of Study 105 is a randomized open label study in 55 advanced NSCLC patients receiving a single dose of Plinabulin per cycle 30 minutes after docetaxel chemotherapy.
 
In June 2018, we presented in a poster presentation at the 2018 ASCO Annual Meeting that patients treated with Plinabulin dosed 30 minutes after docetaxel for the prevention of docetaxel CIN reported less bone pain, which was clinically meaningful, and had comparable neutrophil counts and comparable neutropenia reduction compared to patients treated with Neulasta 24 hours after docetaxel. These results established the recommended dose of 40 mg (equivalent to 20 mg/m2) for the Phase 3 portion of the trial based on a clear dose response in grade 4 neutropenia incidence and the DSN as indicated in the table below.
 
 
 
As shown in the graphs above, data from the Phase 2 portion of Study 105 demonstrated that Plinabulin has the potential to be at least as effective as Neulasta for prevention of CIN and that patients treated with Plinabulin reported less bone pain, with an overall product profile that we believe could address the limitations of the current standard of care.
 
Patients treated with one dose of Plinabulin at 20 mg/m2 had the same occurrence of severe neutropenia (grade 4) as patients treated with one dose of 6 mg Neulasta in the first 21-day cycle. Grade 4 neutropenia occurred in 14% of patients treated with either Plinabulin or Neulasta. Patients treated with Plinabulin at 20 mg/m2 demonstrated the same DSN in the first cycle compared to those treated with Neulasta.
 
Bone pain, which was assessed with a validated questionnaire, occurred in fewer patients treated with Plinabulin at 20 mg/m2 (11%, or 0% from day 3) compared to patients treated with Neulasta (33%). Neulasta’s ability to treat CIN is based on its mechanistic properties as a G-CSF that stimulates the expansion and proliferation of neutrophil precursors in the central part (medullary compartment) of bone marrow, which may cause severe bone pain, leading to discontinuation of chemotherapy treatment. In contrast, preclinical studies have shown that Plinabulin’s mechanism of action differs from G-CSF, allowing it to protect the neutrophil precursors but not induce their proliferation, which may result in less bone pain compared to G-CSF.
 
In addition, in the Phase 2 portion of Study 105, Plinabulin at 20 mg/m2 (n=14) was shown to be effective in significantly reducing docetaxel-induced thrombocytopenia (p<0.001 to p<0.05 over different time points in cycle 1), while Neulasta (n=14) did not show this benefit. Nearly half (45%) of patients who received Neulasta experienced thrombocytopenia (any grade) in cycle 1, compared to 0% of patients who received 20 mg/m2 of Plinabulin.
 
 
As shown in the graph below, Plinabulin’s platelet-protective effect also carried through all four cycles in this study in a statistically significant manner. Clinically significant thrombocytopenia, which is defined as a decrease in platelet counts of more than 30%, occurred much less in patients who received docetaxel and Plinabulin, compared to patients who received docetaxel and Neulasta over all four cycles (p=0.019).
 
 
 
In October 2018, we announced that, based on data derived from the Phase 2 portion of Study 105, Plinabulin, in contrast to Neulasta, did not increase NLR to immune-suppressive levels, which further highlights what we believe to be advantages of Plinabulin compared to Neulasta.
 
Plinabulin was administered to patients in doses up to 20 mg/m2. We evaluated the NLR in cycle 1 for patients receiving docetaxel with either Plinabulin 20 mg/m2 (n=14) or Neulasta 6 mg (n=14). The data shows that Plinabulin did not increase the NLR to immune-suppressive levels. NLR values of greater than 5 are a potential immunotherapy biomarker, predicting negative outcomes such as overall survival and progression-free-survival in cancer patients. While treatment with Neulasta resulted in significantly increased NLR values to greater than 5, all patients treated with Plinabulin maintained mean post-dose NLR at less than 5 in cycle 1. Baseline mean NLR values were less than 5 in both the Plinabulin and Neulasta arms. However, the mean NLR with Neulasta increased gradually and significantly from day 7 onwards, and to a peak of 12.2 (p<0.001) on day 10. At the last time point measured (on day 15), the NLR with Neulasta was still significantly elevated (mean NLR of 8.11; p<0.001) compared with Plinabulin.



 In addition, Plinabulin maintained median absolute neutrophil counts within normal range, whereas patients given Neulasta experienced median absolute neutrophil counts higher than the normal range, which can potentially cause bone marrow exhaustion. Lymphocyte counts were comparable for both the Plinabulin and Neulasta treatment arms. This provides further evidence of a different mechanism of action with Plinabulin compared to Neulasta for CIN.
 
The Phase 3 portion of Study 105 is a randomized double blinded trial, in which we enrolled approximately 105 patients with advanced NSCLC, breast cancer or prostate cancer and had one or more additional risk factors (NCCN Guidelines) placing them in the high risk category (>20%) for developing CIN. In this Phase 3 portion of the trial, patients were randomized 1:1 and receive on day one of a 21-day chemotherapy cycle a 75 mg/m2 dose of docetaxel in combination with either 40 mg (equivalent to 20 mg/m2) Plinabulin or Neulasta.
 
The primary endpoint of the Phase 3 portion of Study 105 is non-inferiority compared to Neulasta in the DSN in the first cycle of chemotherapy. Secondary endpoints include:
 

the incidence of CIN in subsequent cycles;
 

the incidence of severe neutropenia associated with fever and infections;
 

the incidence and duration of hospitalization due to neutropenia associated with fever;
 

the incidence of antibiotic use; and
 

the incidence, occurrence and severity of bone pain.
 
The trial had a pre-specified non-inferiority margin of 0.65 days (either higher or lower), as agreed upon with the FDA, for DSN to show non-inferiority in neutropenia prevention for Plinabulin versus Neulasta.
 
In December 2018, we announced that the Phase 3 portion of Study 105 has met its primary endpoint of non-inferiority versus Neulasta for the DSN of the first cycle, with statistical significance in a pre-specified interim analysis. This conclusion was confirmed at the DSMB meeting, chaired by Dr. Crawford, Chairman of NCCN Guidelines for Neutropenia Management in the U.S.

In December 2018, we announced at the 2018 American Society of Hematology (ASH) Annual Meeting that Plinabulin mobilizes CD34+ progenitor cells into the peripheral blood through a MOA different than G-CSF or Plerixafor, potentially presenting a new option for hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT). We evaluated CD34+ cell counts in the blood by measuring CD34+ levels pre-dose and at multiple time points through Day 8 of treatment with docetaxel, both with and without Plinabulin. CD34+ measurements were obtained in at least nine patients on both Day 0 and Day 8 for each Plinabulin dose. Patients treated with Plinabulin had statistically significant increases in CD34+ levels at Day 8 in a dose-dependent manner (p<0.0004).
 
Study 106
 
Study 106 is a Phase 2/3 trial in approximately 400 patients of Plinabulin in combination with a myelosuppressive chemotherapeutic regimen composed of three agents, TAC, in patients with solid breast tumors. The design of this trial is substantially similar to Study 105. However, this trial also compares Plinabulin in combination with 6 mg Neulasta (Plinabulin/Neulasta Combo) to measure superiority in efficacy as compared to Neulasta monotherapy and compares Plinabulin in combination with 3 mg Neulasta to measure non-inferiority in efficacy and superiority in safety as compared to Neulasta monotherapy.
 
In the Phase 2 portion of Study 106, 115 patients were dosed on Neulasta on day 2, and Plinabulin on day 1, 30 minutes after TAC in the following regiments: (1) Neulasta at 6 mg (n=21); (2) Plinabulin at 10 mg/m2 (n=15), 20 mg/m2 (n=15) and 30 mg/m2 (n=12); (3) Plinabulin at 20 mg/m2 + Neulasta at 6 mg (n=16) (the Plinabulin/Neulasta Combo), Plinabulin at 20 mg/m2 + Neulasta at 3 mg (n=21) and Plinabulin at 20 mg/m2 +  Neulasta at 1.5 mg (n=14).
 
Phase 2 of Study 106 indicates that Plinabulin and Neulasta have complimentary absolute neutrophil count (ANC) profile. Plinabulin can protect ANC from dropping to grade 4 neutropenia in the first week, and Neulasta can protect ANC from dropping to grade 4 neutropenia in the second week.
 
 
The Study also shows the Plinabulin/Neulasta Combo enhanced the ANC profile of Neulasta monotherapy. With the Plinabulin/Neulasta Combo, median ANC stayed above grade 3 neutropenia in all days of treatment cycle, while Neulasta 6 mg alone had median ANC below grade 3 neutropenia for 1-2 days.
 
 
In October 2018, we announced that based on top line Phase 2 data from Study 106, the Plinabulin/Neulasta Combo was shown to lead to clinically meaningful reduction of the duration of grade 3 and 4 neutropenia, statistically significant reduction of grade 3 and 4 neutropenia and bone pain, and less immune suppression compared with Neulasta monotherapy. Only 50% of patients treated with the Plinabulin/Neulasta Combo experienced grade 3 or 4 CIN, versus 81% of patients treated with Neulasta (p=0.0456). The duration of grade 3 and 4 neutropenia was only 0.94 days for patients treated with the Plinabulin/Neulasta Combo versus 1.38 days for patients treated with Neulasta.
 
The Plinabulin/Neulasta Combo also demonstrated positive safety data in the prevention of CIN. Only 6% of patients treated with the Plinabulin/Neulasta Combo experienced at least one day of bone pain versus 95% of patients treated with Neulasta (p<0.0001). No patients treated with the Plinabulin/Neulasta Combo experienced at least three days of bone pain, versus 38% of patients treated with Neulasta (p=0.0056). Additionally, the Plinabulin/ Neulasta Combo presented good tolerability and no cardio-safety issues. Moreover, only 31% of patients treated with the Plinabulin/Neulasta Combo experienced neutrophil overshoot, versus 52% of patients treated with Neulasta.

 
In March 2019, we presented at the 2019 ASCO-SITC Clinical Immuno-Oncology Symposium that combining Plinabulin with Neulasta reverses the immune-suppressive profile of Neulasta by lowering the percentage of patients with a neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio (NLR) of less than 5 (p<0.007) or with a lymphocyte-to-monocyte ratio (LMR) of greater than 3.2 (p<0.07) versus Neulasta alone.
 
We are currently preparing to initiate the Phase 3 portion of Study 106.
 
We plan to file NDAs in both the U.S. and China for a broad indication of all chemotherapies induced neutropenia in all cancer types. In this broad product label, Plinabulin is used in the intermediate risk chemotherapy and Plinabulin in combination with a G-CSF is used in the high risk chemotherapy.
 
Based upon our discussions with the NMPA, we believe Plinabulin for the treatment of CIN meets the criteria for accelerated approval of a novel drug for a life-threatening disease. We believe the Study 106 Phase 2 top line efficacy data and Study 105 Phase 3 interim efficacy data are sufficient to demonstrate the requirements for clinical efficacy trend data required by the NMPA, and therefore we expect to submit an NDA in China for CIN in 2019. We anticipate filing an NDA for Plinabulin for the treatment of CIN in the U.S. in 2020.
 
If Plinabulin is approved as a treatment for CIN, we believe it has the potential to be included in the NCCN guidelines as a treatment for CIN.
 
Plinabulin in immuno-oncology
 
Preclinical studies have identified some novel and intriguing activities of Plinabulin associated with stimulation of the immune system consistent with Plinabulin’s ability to enhance the activity of other immuno-oncology agents. We have observed in these studies that Plinabulin works at multiple early steps in the process of immune activation against cancer, in particular, to activate and mobilize tumor antigen-specific T-cells to the tumor. The potential role of Plinabulin in stimulating the activity of other immuno-oncology agents has been explored in several investigator-initiated Phase 1/2 trials described below.
 
Overview of immuno-oncology
 
The immune system is capable of recognizing and eliminating tumor cells; however, tumors are sometimes able to evade the immune response through alteration of regulatory checkpoint pathways. One of these pathways is driven by PD-1, a receptor that is expressed on immune T-cells. Between 35% and 100% of some tumors such as melanoma, hepatocellular carcinoma, colorectal cancer and NSCLC overexpress PD-L1, a compound naturally bound by PD-1. Binding of PD-L1 to PD-1 suppresses immune activation, allowing the tumor to evade destruction by the immune system. Immune checkpoint cancer therapies that target PD-1 such as nivolumab (Opdivo) have been approved for the treatment of melanoma, NSCLC, renal cell carcinoma, classic Hodgkin’s lymphoma, head and neck squamous cell carcinoma, urothelial carcinoma, colorectal carcinoma and hepatocellular carcinoma. While nivolumab is highly effective in a subset of tumors, there are multiple pathways that tumors rely upon to evade the immune system allowing many tumors to continue to proliferate.
 
As with the treatment of most cancers, combination treatments are often required to increase efficacy. Recently, the combination of nivolumab, a PD-1 antibody, and ipilimumab, a CTLA-4 antibody, was approved in melanoma based on increased efficacy. However, this combination resulted in increases in grades 3 and 4 adverse events, which occurred in 55% of the combination patients compared to 16.3% in patients treated with nivolumab alone and 27.3% of patients treated with ipilimumab alone. We believe that the addition of Plinabulin to an immune checkpoint inhibitor such as nivolumab has the potential to increase activity without increasing the rate of serious adverse events, or potentially decrease immune-related side effects.
 
Preclinical study data supporting Plinabulin in immuno-oncology
 
Checkpoint inhibitors such as nivolumab alleviate immune system blocks at a relatively late stage in the overall immune process—at the point when T-cells recognize cancer cells. In contrast, preclinical studies indicate that Plinabulin activates the immune system multiple steps earlier in the process of immune activation, and thus has the potential to complement the activity of checkpoint inhibitors. Both published and unpublished preclinical study data have suggested that Plinabulin can stimulate an immune response to cancer cells by increasing the presentation of cancer antigens by dendritic cells, stimulating dendritic cell proliferation, increasing levels of helper T-cells and by decreasing the levels of immunosuppressive regulatory T-cells. While it is unclear which of the many activities or which combination of activities is important for Plinabulin’s immune stimulatory activity, its activity in animal models is comparable to other immuno-oncology agents such as nivolumab, an approved immuno-oncology agent that targets the PD-1 checkpoint.
 
One example of this is in a colon cancer model in immune competent mice. The results of this model are captured in the figure below presenting the percentage inhibition of tumor volume over time as compared to a vehicle control. Each demarcated line denotes whether the test mice were treated with Plinabulin alone, treated with a PD-1 antibody (the mouse equivalent of nivolumab) alone, treated with a combination of Plinabulin and a PD-1 antibody, treated with a combination of a PD-1 antibody and a CTLA-4 antibody or treated with a triple combination of Plinabulin, a PD-1 antibody and a CTLA-4 antibody. In this model, PD-1 antibody resulted in tumor volume that was approximately 12% less than the vehicle control, similar to the levels seen with Plinabulin. The combination of Plinabulin and a PD-1 antibody resulted in tumors that were approximately 25% smaller than those from control animals, similar to the levels seen with the combination of a PD-1 antibody and a CTLA-4 antibody. The triple combination of Plinabulin, a PD-1 antibody and a CTLA-4 antibody resulted in tumors that were smaller than those in animals treated with any of the other studied agents or the studied combinations thereof and approximately 40% smaller than the vehicle control.
 
 
We believe that, similar to the increased activity seen when checkpoint inhibitors are used in combination, Plinabulin may also increase the activity of checkpoint inhibitors already in clinical use such as nivolumab. However, because Plinabulin works through a completely different mechanism than other checkpoint inhibitors, we believe that this increased activity may not be associated with the increased toxicity seen with other combinations.
 
Clinical plans for Plinabulin in immuno-oncology
 
We have explored and plan to continue to explore the role of Plinabulin in stimulating the activity of other immuno-oncology agents in clinical programs:
 

In September 2016, UCSD enrolled the first patient in an investigator-initiated Phase 1/2 trial of Plinabulin in combination with nivolumab for the treatment of patients with metastatic NSCLC. In addition, the Fred Hutchinson Center, together with the University of Washington, initiated an investigator-initiated Phase 1/2 trial of Plinabulin in combination with nivolumab in patients with advanced NSCLC who have failed up to two previous therapies. Dosing of Plinabulin follows the dosing schedule of nivolumab, which is dosed on day one, day eight and day 15 in a 28-day cycle. The Fred Hutchinson study had achieved the dose regimen end point and therefore the study site had been closed. Preliminarily safety data from these investigator-initiated trials were presented at the ASCO-SITC meeting in January 2018.  In the 10 patients evaluated, the combination therapy was well tolerated, with no immune related serious adverse events.  Only two patients presented with immune related adverse events, one with a grade 1 event and the other with a grade 2 event.
 

In October 2018, we announced the opening of an investigator-initiated Phase 1 clinical trial with a triple combination therapy, consisting of Plinabulin, Bristol-Myers Squibb’s PD-1 antibody, Opdivo (nivolumab), and CTLA-4 antibody, Yervoy (ipilimumab), for the treatment of SCLC. The trial, conducted through the Big Ten Cancer Research Consortium, is currently enrolling subjects at Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey and other clinical centers in the U.S. The trial is expected to enroll approximately 15 patients in the Phase 1 portion of this Phase 1/2 combined study, and an additional 40 patients in the Phase 2 portion. This study will investigate whether the addition of Plinabulin results in a reduction of immune-related side effects of PD-1 and CTLA-4 antibodies and provides efficacy synergy.
 

We expect to initiate a Phase 1 clinical trial at Johns Hopkins University of an investigator-initiated Phase 1/2 trial of Plinabulin in combination with Merck’s PD-1 antibody, Keytruda (pembrolizumab) and platinum-based chemotherapy agents as a first-line treatment for NSCLC. This study will investigate whether the addition of Plinabulin to the therapy could not only potentially add to the anti-cancer effect of PD-1 and chemotherapy, but could also potentially result in a reduction of immune-related side effects of PD-1 antibodies as well as a reduction in CIN.
 
Other programs

In addition to exploring Plinabulin’s therapeutic potential in combination with immuno-oncology agents, we have a pipeline of preclinical immuno-oncology product candidates and have utilized our research collaborators to advance these programs.

BPI-002 and BPI-003 programs

Our BPI-002 program is based on an oral small molecule agent, similar to a CTLA-4 antibody, which induces T-cell activation and preclinical studies have shown that it is synergistic to checkpoint inhibitors in immune competent colon cancer animal model. BPI-002 is currently in preclinical studies and we plan to initiate a clinical study in 2020. Our IKK program, BPI-003, is based on a novel small molecule inhibitor of IKK, a protein kinase. IKK is involved in survival of some tumor cells as well as in the production of a number of cytokines and growth factors that serve as survival factors for various tumors. Our IKK inhibitor has shown promising activity in multiple animal models of pancreatic cancer.

BPI-004 program

Our BPI-004 program is focused on a small molecule that induces the production of neo-antigens by tumor cells, allowing tumors containing no immune cells to be infiltrated by the immune system. A large proportion of human cancers do not produce antigens that are recognized by the immune system. As a result, these tumors do not respond to treatments that work through interaction with the patient’s immune response. For example, these tumors will not respond to treatment with PD-1 inhibitors. A treatment that induces the tumor cells to produce antigens has the potential to make these cancers responsive to PD-1 inhibitors.

Ubiquitination drug development platform

We are also investigating an alternative approach to cancer treatment in which disease-causing proteins are marked for early degradation. This approach uses a protein called a ubiquitin E3 ligase to target and promote the destruction of disease-causing proteins, such as oncogenes. To trigger degradation, the target protein is labeled with poly-ubiquitin by a specific ubiquitin ligase enzyme. Poly-ubiquitin acts as an indicating tag to cellular proteasome machinery that the target protein should be destroyed. One approach to tagging the target protein is using a “molecular glue” to bind the ubiquitin ligase to the target protein.

We are collaborating with Dr. Ning Zheng, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator, and his group at the University of Washington on a unique “molecular glue” used to selectively tag certain oncogene proteins with E3 ligase, one of the ubiquitin ligase enzymes. Dr. Huang, co-founder of BeyondSpring, and Dr. Zheng were the first to discover the crystal structure of the only two classes of E3 ligases. This work forms the structural basis for the selection of the small molecules to be studied as a potential “molecular glue.” The first target protein is expected to be oncogene KRAS. KRAS is frequently mutated in pancreas, colon, lung and uterus cancers. This novel platform technology has the potential to significantly reduce the amount of oncogene protein in the cell and such disease-causing protein is not targeted by current therapeutic approaches.

Plinabulin in other indications

Tumors with RAS mutations

We have identified that tumors that have mutations in an oncogene called RAS are particularly sensitive to Plinabulin. An oncogene is a gene that is a changed or mutated form of a gene involved in normal cell growth, which has the potential to cause cancer. A particular type of oncogene is the mutation of the RAS gene (HRAS, KRAS and NRAS), which is frequently found in human tumors. We believe that based on data from preclinical studies, Plinabulin will work together with standard-of-care agents in tumors with RAS mutations, including NSCLC and colorectal cancer. Mutations in KRAS are found in a large proportion of tumors including 16% of NSCLC, 36% of colon adenocarcinomas, and 69% of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinomas.

In a preclinical study, Plinabulin led to increased survival in a mouse multiple myeloma model containing a mutant KRAS gene. The figure below shows the survival of mice containing a mutant KRAS gene when treated with Plinabulin compared to those who were not treated with Plinabulin. Mice receiving Plinabulin at a dose level of 7.5 mg/kg twice weekly for three weeks had median survival of 35 days compared to 15 days in the control group (p=0.0041).


While specific KRAS mutations are not believed to be a major cause of glioblastoma, systems analyses have estimated that signaling through the KRAS pathway is altered in 88% of glioblastoma tumors. Plinabulin is able to cross the blood-brain barrier and led to a significant survival advantage in a KRAS-driven mouse model of glioblastoma.

While we continue to be primarily focused on the use of Plinabulin in advanced NSCLC, in CIN and in combination with immuno-oncology agents, if the necessary resources and financing are available, we may decide to further investigate the effect of Plinabulin in RAS mutant tumors.

Principal Investigators and Scientific Advisors

Our clinical trials are led by world renowned leaders in the clinical community, which we believe demonstrates their confidence in of our clinical trials.

NSCLC

Dr. David Ettinger, Chairman of the NCCN guidelines for NSCLC in the U.S. has guided the study design and is assisting with Study 103. Dr. Ettinger is Alex Grass Professor of Oncology, Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins University.

Dr. Yan Sun, our lead clinical investigator for NSCLC in China is Chairman of the NCCN guidelines for NSCLC in China and the Director of National GCP Center for Anticancer Agents Cancer Hospital in Beijing, a hospital that treats 320,000 patients a year. In 1997, Dr. Sun also co-founded the Steering Committee of the Chinese Society of Clinical Oncology and served as its Chairman and President from 1997 to 2013. Dr. Sun was the lead clinical investigator for the Phase 3 trials of other lung cancer drugs that received approval from the NMPA, including icotinib.

CIN

Dr. Douglas Blayney of Stanford University, a board member of the NCCN and contributor to the NCCN guidelines for neutropenia management, is our principal investigator for both Study 105 and Study 106. Dr. Blayney is the former president of ASCO and a former member of the FDA’s Oncologic Drugs Advisory Committee.

Dr. Jeffrey Crawford is DSMB Chairman for Study 105 and Study 106.  He is Chairman of NCCN Guidelines for Neutropenia Management in U.S. and the lead investigator of the U.S. multicenter, randomized trial of Filgrastim (G-CSF, Neupogen), leading to FDA approval. Dr. Crawford is Professor of Medicine at Duke University.

Dr. Yuankai Shi, Chairman of the NCCN guidelines for neutropenia management in China, is our principal investigator for the Chinese portion of both studies. Dr. Shi is Director of Oncology Department at Cancer Hospital Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences.

Ubiquitination platform

Dr. Avram Hershko is our SAB member of ubiquitination platform. He brought in nearly 50 years of research leadership in ubiquitination pathway and is the winner of 2004 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for discovery of ubiquitin-mediated protein degradation.  Dr. Hershko is Distinguished Professor at Rappaport Faculty of Medicine at Technion in Haifa.

Intellectual Property

The proprietary nature of, and protection for, our product candidates and their methods of use are an important part of our strategy to develop and commercialize novel medicines, as described in more detail below. We have obtained U.S. patents and filed patent applications in the U.S. and other countries relating to certain of our product candidates, and are pursuing additional patent protection for them and for other of our product candidates and technologies.

Our success will depend significantly on our ability to obtain and maintain patent and other proprietary protection for our product candidates and other commercially important products, technologies, inventions and know-how, as well as on our ability to defend and enforce our patents including any patent that we have or may issue from our patent applications, preserve the confidentiality of our trade secrets and operate without infringing the valid and enforceable patents and proprietary rights of other parties.

As of March 31, 2019, we owned or co-owned 76 patents, in 36 jurisdictions, including 20 issued U.S. patents. We also owned seven pending U.S. non-provisional patent applications as well as corresponding patent applications pending in other jurisdictions and seven pending U.S. provisional patent applications. In addition, we owned five pending international patent applications related to Plinabulin and Plinabulin analogs filed under the PCT, which we plan to file nationally in the U.S. and in other jurisdictions directed to reduction of CIN, the therapeutic use of tubulin binding compounds, dosage regimens, the treatment of thrombocytopenia, and use in combination with G-CSF therapy.

Our patent portfolio as of March 29, 2019 included sixteen issued U.S. patents directed to Plinabulin and Plinabulin analogs, their synthesis and their use in the treatment of various disorders. In particular, we owned nine issued U.S. patents directed to the Plinabulin composition of matter, methods of synthesizing Plinabulin, polymorphic forms of Plinabulin, and methods of treating various disorders with Plinabulin including various cancers such as lung cancer, NSCLC, breast cancer, skin cancer, prostate cancer, myeloma, RAS mutant tumors, and brain tumors, and fungal infections, and methods of using Plinabulin for inhibiting cell proliferation, promotion of microtubule depolymerization, and inducement of vascular collapse in a tumor. These U.S. patents were scheduled to expire between 2021 and 2036, excluding any potential patent term restorations. The patent portfolio also contained counterpart patents granted in 35 foreign jurisdictions including Japan, South Korea, China, Europe and other countries.

The term of individual patents may vary based on the countries in which they are obtained. In most countries in which we file including the U.S., the term of an issued patent is generally 20 years from the earliest claimed filing date of a non-provisional patent application in the applicable country. In the U.S., the term of a patent may be lengthened in some cases by a patent term adjustment, which extends the term of a patent to account for administrative delays by the USPTO, in excess of a patent applicant’s own delays during the prosecution process, or may be shortened if a patent is terminally disclaimed over a commonly owned patent having an earlier expiration date. In addition, in certain instances, the term of one patent for a given drug product can be restored (extended) to recapture a portion of the term effectively lost as a result of the FDA regulatory review period. However, the restoration period cannot be longer than five years and the total patent term including the restoration period must not exceed 14 years following FDA approval. We plan to seek such an extension of one of our U.S. patents directed to Plinabulin or its use when appropriate.

In certain foreign jurisdictions similar extensions as compensation for regulatory delays are also available. The actual protection afforded by a patent varies on a claim by claim and country by country basis and depends upon many factors, including the type of patent, the scope of its coverage, the availability of any patent term extensions or adjustments, the availability of legal remedies in a particular country and the validity and enforceability of the patent. In particular, up to a five-year extension may be available in the EU and Japan. We plan to seek such extensions as appropriate.

Furthermore, the patent positions of biotechnology and pharmaceutical products and processes like those we intend to develop and commercialize are generally uncertain and involve complex legal and factual questions. No consistent policy regarding the breadth of claims allowed in such patents has emerged to date in the U.S. The scope of patent protection outside the U.S. is even more uncertain. Changes in the patent laws or in interpretations of patent laws in the U.S. and other countries have diminished, and may further diminish, our ability to protect our inventions and enforce our intellectual property rights and, more generally, could affect the value of intellectual property.

Additionally, while we have already secured a number of issued patents directed to our product candidates, we cannot predict the breadth of claims that may issue from our pending patent applications or may have or may be issued from patents and patent applications owned by others. Substantial scientific and commercial research has been conducted for many years in the areas in which we have focused our development efforts, which has resulted in other parties having a number of issued patents and pending patent applications relating to such areas. Patent applications in the U.S. and elsewhere are generally published only after 18 months from the priority date, and the publication of discoveries in the scientific or patent literature frequently occurs substantially later than the date on which the underlying discoveries were made. Therefore, patents and patent applications relating to drugs similar to our current product candidates and any future drugs, discoveries or technologies we might develop may have already been issued or filed, which could prohibit us from commercializing our product candidates.

The biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries are characterized by extensive litigation regarding patents and other intellectual property rights. Our ability to maintain and solidify our proprietary position for our product candidates and technology will depend on our success in obtaining effective claims and enforcing those claims once granted. We do not know whether any of the pending patent applications that we currently own, may file or license from others will result in the issuance of any patents. The issued patents that we own or may receive in the future, may be challenged, invalidated or circumvented, and the rights granted under any issued patents may not provide us with proprietary protection or competitive advantages against competitors with similar technology. Furthermore, our competitors may be able to independently develop and commercialize similar drugs or duplicate our technology, business model or strategy without infringing our patents. Because of the extensive time required for clinical development and regulatory review of a drug we may develop, it is possible that, before any of our product candidates can be commercialized, any related patent may expire or remain in force for only a short period following commercialization, thereby reducing any advantage of any such patent.

We may rely, in some limited circumstances, on trade secrets and unpatented know-how to protect aspects of our technology. However, trade secrets can be difficult to protect. We seek to protect our proprietary technology and processes, in part, by entering into confidentiality agreements with consultants, scientific advisors and contractors and invention assignment agreements with our employees. We also seek to preserve the integrity and confidentiality of our data and trade secrets by maintaining physical security of our premises and physical and electronic security of our information technology systems. While we have confidence in these individuals, organizations and systems, agreements or security measures may be breached, and we may not have adequate remedies for any breach. In addition, our trade secrets may otherwise become known or be independently discovered by competitors. To the extent that our consultants, contractors or collaborators use intellectual property owned by others in their work for us, disputes may arise as to the rights in related or resulting know-how and inventions.

Our commercial success will also depend in part on not infringing the proprietary rights of other parties. The existence of any patent by others with claims covering or related to aspects of our product candidates would require us to alter our development of commercial strategies, redesign our product candidates or processes, obtain licenses or cease certain activities. Such licenses may not be available on reasonable commercial terms or at all, which could require us to cease development or commercialization of our product candidates. In addition, our breach of any license agreements or failure to obtain a license to proprietary rights that we may require to develop or commercialize our product candidates would have a material adverse impact on us. If others have prepared and filed patent applications in the U.S. that also claim technology to which we have filed patent applications or otherwise wish to challenge our patents, we may have to participate in interferences, post-grant reviews, inter partes reviews, derivation or other proceedings in the USPTO and other patent offices to determine issues such as priority of claimed invention or validity of such patent applications as well as our own patent applications and issued patents.

For more information on these and other risks related to intellectual property, see “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors—Risks Related to Our Intellectual Property.”

Competition

Our industry is highly competitive and subject to rapid and significant change. While we believe that our development and commercialization experience, scientific knowledge and industry relationships provide us with competitive advantages, we face competition from pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, including specialty pharmaceutical companies, and generic drug companies, academic institutions, government agencies and research institutions.

There are a number of large pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies that currently market and sell drugs or are pursuing the development of drugs for the treatment of cancer for which we are developing our product candidates. For example, both Genetech Inc. and Eli Lilly and Company currently market and sell drugs, Tarceva and Cyramza. Cyramza is approved to treat NSCLC once the disease has progressed after platinum-containing chemotherapy. Moreover, a number of additional drugs are currently in ongoing Phase 3 clinical trials as second and third line treatments of NSCLC, and may become competitors if and when they receive regulatory approval.

Neutropenia can be prevented or treated by G-CSF, a protein that promotes the survival, proliferation and differentiation of neutrophils. Recombinant G-CSF therapies, such as filgrastim (Neupogen), a short-acting drug, and pegfilgrastim (Neulasta), a long-acting drug, are commonly used to prevent and treat CIN. The major manufacturer of these competing therapies is Amgen.

While we are investigating an alternative approach to cancer treatment by using molecular glue technology to tag oncogene proteins with ubiquitin ligase and destroy such proteins, there are a number of companies who are also working on using such technology to target and destroy oncogene proteins. See “—Plinabulin, Our Lead Drug Candidate—Other programs.”

Many of our competitors have longer operating histories, better name recognition, stronger management capabilities, better supplier relationships, a larger technical staff and sales force and greater financial, technical or marketing resources than we do. Mergers and acquisitions in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries may result in even more resources being concentrated among a smaller number of our competitors. Our commercial opportunity could be reduced or eliminated if our competitors develop or market products or other novel therapies that are more effective, safer or less costly than our current product candidates, or any future product candidates we may develop, or obtain regulatory approval for their products more rapidly than we may obtain approval for our current product candidates or any such future product candidates. Our success will be based in part on our ability to identify, develop and manage a portfolio of product candidates that are safer and more effective than competing products.

Government Regulation

Government authorities in the U.S. at the federal, state and local level and in other countries extensively regulate, among other things, the research and clinical development, testing, manufacture, quality control, approval, labeling, packaging, storage, record-keeping, promotion, advertising, distribution, post-approval monitoring and reporting, marketing, pricing, export and import of drug products, such as those we are developing. Generally, before a new drug can be marketed, considerable data demonstrating its quality, safety and efficacy must be obtained, organized to address the requirements of and in the format specific to each regulatory authority, submitted for review and approved by the regulatory authority. This process is very lengthy and expensive, and success is uncertain.

Drugs are also subject to other federal, state and local statutes and regulations. The process of obtaining regulatory approvals and the subsequent compliance with appropriate federal, state, local and foreign statutes and regulations require the expenditure of substantial time and financial resources. Failure to comply with the applicable regulatory requirements at any time during the product development process, approval process or after approval, may subject an applicant to administrative or judicial sanctions. These sanctions could include, among other actions, the regulatory authority’s refusal to approve pending applications, withdrawal of an approval, clinical holds, untitled or warning letters, voluntary product recalls or withdrawals from the market, product seizures, total or partial suspension of production or distribution, injunctions, disbarment, fines, refusals of government contracts, restitution, disgorgement, or civil or criminal penalties. Any such administrative or judicial enforcement action could have a material adverse effect on us.

U.S. Regulation

U.S. Government Regulation and Product Approval

Government authorities in the U.S. at the federal, state and local level extensively regulate, among other things, the research, development, testing, manufacture, quality control, approval, labeling, packaging, storage, record-keeping, promotion, advertising, distribution, post-approval monitoring and reporting, marketing, export and import of drug products such as those we are developing. In the U.S., the FDA regulates drugs under the FDCA and its implementing regulations and biologics under the FDCA and the Public Health Service Act and its implementing regulations.

From time to time, legislation is drafted, introduced and passed in Congress that could significantly change the statutory provisions governing the approval, manufacturing and marketing of products regulated by the FDA. In addition to new legislation, FDA regulations and policies are often revised or reinterpreted by the agency in ways that may significantly affect our business and our product candidates or any future product candidates we may develop. It is impossible to predict whether further legislative or FDA regulation or policy changes will be enacted or implemented and what the impact of such changes, if any, may be.

U.S. Drug Development Process

The process of obtaining regulatory approvals and maintaining compliance with appropriate federal, state and local statutes and regulations requires the expenditure of substantial time and financial resources. Failure to comply with the applicable U.S. requirements at any time during the product development process, approval process, or after approval, may subject an applicant to administrative or judicial sanctions or lead to voluntary product recalls. Administrative or judicial sanctions could include the FDA’s refusal to approve pending applications, withdrawal of an approval, a clinical hold, untitled or warning letters, product seizures, total or partial suspension of production or distribution, injunctions, fines, refusals of government contracts, restitution, disgorgement or civil or criminal penalties. The process required by the FDA before a drug may be marketed in the U.S. generally involves the following:


completion of nonclinical laboratory tests, preclinical studies and formulation studies according to Good Laboratory Practices, or GLP, regulations;


submission to the FDA of an IND, which must become effective before human clinical trials may begin;


approval by an independent IRB, at each clinical site before each trial may be initiated;


performance of adequate and well-controlled human clinical trials according to GCP, to establish the safety and efficacy of the proposed product for its intended use;


preparation and submission to the FDA of an NDA, for a drug;


satisfactory completion of an FDA advisory committee review, if applicable;


satisfactory completion of an FDA inspection of the manufacturing facility or facilities at which the product, or components thereof, are produced to assess compliance with cGMP; and


payment of user fees and FDA review and approval of the NDA.

The testing and approval process requires substantial time, effort and financial resources and we cannot be certain that any approvals for our product candidates, or any future product candidates we may develop, will be granted on a timely basis, if at all.

Once a drug product candidate is identified for development, it enters the nonclinical testing stage. Nonclinical tests include laboratory evaluations of product chemistry, toxicity, formulation and stability, as well as preclinical studies. An Investigational New Drug, or IND, sponsor must submit the results of the nonclinical tests, together with manufacturing information, analytical data and any available clinical data or literature, to the FDA as part of the IND prior to commencing any testing in humans. An IND sponsor must also include a protocol detailing, among other things, the objectives of the clinical trial, dosing procedures, subject selection and exclusion criteria, the parameters to be used in monitoring safety, and the effectiveness criteria to be evaluated if the initial clinical trial lends itself to an efficacy evaluation. Some nonclinical testing may continue even after the IND is submitted. The IND automatically becomes effective 30 days after receipt by the FDA, unless the FDA raises concerns or questions related to a proposed clinical trial and places the trial on a clinical hold within that 30-day time period. In such a case, the IND sponsor and the FDA must resolve any outstanding concerns before the clinical trial can begin. Clinical holds also may be imposed by the FDA at any time before or during clinical trials due to safety concerns or noncompliance, and may be imposed on all products within a certain class of products. The FDA also can impose partial clinical holds, for example, prohibiting the initiation of clinical trials of a certain duration or for a certain dose.

We are conducting our current clinical trials under two INDs. Our investigators in connection with investigator-led clinical trials are being conducted under separate INDs.

All clinical trials must be conducted under the supervision of one or more qualified investigators in accordance with GCP regulations. These regulations include the requirement that all research subjects provide informed consent in writing before their participation in any clinical trial. Further, an IRB representing each institution participating in a clinical trial must review and approve the plan for any clinical trial before it commences at that institution, and the IRB must conduct continuing review and reapprove the study at least annually. An IRB is responsible for protecting the rights of clinical trial subjects and considers, among other things, whether the risks to individuals participating in the clinical trial are minimized and are reasonable in relation to anticipated benefits. The IRB also approves the information regarding the clinical trial and the consent form that must be provided to each clinical trial subject or his or her legal representative and must monitor the clinical trial until completed. Each new clinical protocol and any amendments to the protocol must be submitted for FDA review, and to the IRBs for approval.

Human clinical trials are typically conducted in three sequential phases that may overlap or be combined:


Phase 1. The product is initially introduced into a small number of healthy human subjects or patients and tested for safety, dosage tolerance, absorption, metabolism, distribution and excretion and, if possible, to gain early evidence on effectiveness. In the case of some products for severe or life-threatening diseases, especially when the product is suspected or known to be unavoidably toxic, the initial human testing may be conducted in patients.


Phase 2. The drug is administered to a limited patient population to identify possible adverse effects and safety risks, to preliminarily evaluate the efficacy of the product for specific targeted diseases and to determine dosage tolerance and optimal dosage and schedule.


Phase 3. The drug is administered to an expanded patient population, generally at geographically dispersed clinical trial sites, in well-controlled clinical trials to generate data to evaluate the efficacy and safety of the product for approval, to establish the overall risk-benefit profile of the product, and to provide adequate information for the labeling of the product.

Progress reports detailing the results of the clinical trials must be submitted at least annually to the FDA and safety reports must be submitted to the FDA and clinical investigators within 15 calendar days for serious and unexpected suspected adverse events, any clinically important increase in the rate of a serious suspected adverse reaction over that listed in the protocol or investigator’s brochure, or any findings from other studies or animal or in vitro testing that suggest a significant risk in humans exposed to the drug candidate. Additionally, a sponsor must notify FDA of any unexpected fatal or life-threatening suspected adverse reaction no later than 7 calendar days after the sponsor’s receipt of the information. Phase 1, Phase 2 and Phase 3 testing may not be completed successfully within any specified period, if at all. The FDA or the sponsor may suspend or terminate a clinical trial at any time on various grounds, including a finding that the research subjects or patients are being exposed to an unacceptable health risk. Similarly, an IRB can suspend or terminate approval of a clinical trial at its institution if the clinical trial is not being conducted in accordance with the IRB’s requirements or if the product has been associated with unexpected serious harm to subjects.

Concurrent with clinical trials, companies usually complete additional preclinical studies and must also develop additional information about the chemistry and physical characteristics of the product and finalize a process for manufacturing the product in commercial quantities in accordance with cGMP requirements. The manufacturing process must be capable of consistently producing quality batches of the product drug and, among other things, the manufacturer must develop methods for testing the identity, strength, quality and purity of the final product. Additionally, appropriate packaging must be selected and tested and stability studies must be conducted to demonstrate that the product drug does not undergo unacceptable deterioration over its shelf life.

U.S. Review and Approval Processes

The results of product development, nonclinical studies and clinical trials, together with other detailed information regarding the manufacturing process, analytical tests conducted on the product, proposed labeling and other relevant information, are submitted to the FDA as part of an NDA requesting approval to market the new drug. Under the Prescription Drug User Fee Act, as amended, applicants are required to pay fees to the FDA for reviewing an NDA. These user fees, as well as the annual fees required for commercial manufacturing establishments and for approved products, can be substantial. The NDA review fee alone can currently exceed $2.4 million, and is likely to increase over time. The user fee requirement is subject to certain limited deferrals, waivers and reductions.

The FDA reviews all NDAs submitted within 60 days of submission to ensure that they are sufficiently complete for substantive review before it accepts them for filing. The FDA may request additional information rather than accept an NDA for filing. In this event, the NDA must be re-submitted with the additional information. The re-submitted application also is subject to review before the FDA accepts it for filing.

Once the submission is accepted for filing, the FDA begins an in-depth substantive review. The FDA’s established goal is to review 90% of NDA applications given “Priority” status – where there is evidence that the proposed product would be a significant improvement in the safety or effectiveness in the treatment, diagnosis, or prevention of a serious condition – within 6 months, and 90% of applications given “Standard” status within 10 months, whereupon a review decision is to be made. The FDA, however, may not approve a drug within these established goals, and its review goals are subject to change from time to time. The FDA reviews an NDA to determine, among other things, whether a product is safe and effective for its intended use. The FDA also evaluates whether the product’s manufacturing is cGMP-compliant to assure the product’s identity, strength, quality and purity. Before approving an NDA, the FDA typically will inspect the facility or facilities where the product is or will be manufactured. The FDA will not approve an application unless it determines that the manufacturing processes and facilities are in compliance with cGMP requirements and adequate to assure consistent production of the product within required specifications. The FDA also may refer the NDA to an advisory committee for review, evaluation and recommendation as to whether the application should be approved and under what conditions. An advisory committee is a panel of experts, including clinicians and other scientific experts, who provide advice and recommendations when requested by the FDA. The FDA is not bound by the recommendation of an advisory committee, but it considers such recommendations when making decisions.

The approval process is lengthy and difficult and the FDA may refuse to approve an NDA if the applicable regulatory criteria are not satisfied or may require additional clinical data or other data and information. Even if such data and information are submitted, the FDA may ultimately decide that the NDA does not satisfy the criteria for approval. Data obtained from clinical trials are not always conclusive, and the FDA may interpret data differently than we interpret the same data. The FDA will issue a complete response letter if the agency decides not to approve the NDA in its present form. The complete response letter usually describes all of the specific deficiencies that the FDA identified in the NDA that must be satisfactorily addressed before it can be approved. The deficiencies identified may be minor, for example, requiring labeling changes, or major, for example, requiring additional clinical trials. Additionally, the complete response letter may include recommended actions that the applicant might take to place the application in a condition for approval. If a complete response letter is issued, the applicant may either resubmit the NDA, addressing all of the deficiencies identified in the letter, or withdraw the application or request an opportunity for a hearing.

If a product receives regulatory approval, the approval may be significantly limited to specific diseases and dosages or the indications for use may otherwise be limited, which could restrict the commercial value of the product. Further, the FDA may require that certain contraindications, warnings or precautions be included in the product labeling. In addition, the FDA may require post-approval studies, including Phase 4 clinical trials, to further assess a product’s safety and effectiveness after NDA approval and may require testing and surveillance programs to monitor the safety of approved products that have been commercialized. The FDA also may conclude that an NDA may only be approved with a REMS designed to mitigate risks through, for example, a medication guide, physician communication plan, or other elements to assure safe use, such as restricted distribution methods, patient registries and other risk minimization tools.

Post-Approval Requirements

Any products for which we receive FDA approval would be subject to continuing regulation by the FDA, including, among other things, record-keeping requirements, reporting of adverse experiences with the product, providing the FDA with updated safety and efficacy information, product sampling and distribution requirements, complying with certain electronic records and signature requirements and complying with FDA promotion and advertising requirements. The FDA strictly regulates labeling, advertising, promotion and other types of information on products that are placed on the market. Products may be promoted only for the approved indications and in accordance with the provisions of the approved label. Further, manufacturers must continue to comply with cGMP requirements, which are extensive and require considerable time, resources and ongoing investment to ensure compliance. In addition, changes to the manufacturing process generally require prior FDA approval before being implemented and other types of changes to the approved product, such as adding new indications and additional labeling claims, are also subject to further FDA review and approval.

Manufacturers and other entities involved in the manufacturing and distribution of approved products are required to register their establishments with the FDA and certain state agencies, and are subject to periodic unannounced inspections by the FDA and certain state agencies for compliance with cGMP and other laws. The cGMP requirements apply to all stages of the manufacturing process, including the production, processing, sterilization, packaging, labeling, storage and shipment of the product. Manufacturers must establish validated systems to ensure that products meet specifications and regulatory requirements, and test each product batch or lot prior to its release. We rely, and expect to continue to rely, on third parties for the production of clinical quantities of our product candidates and any future product candidates we may develop. Future FDA and state inspections may identify compliance issues at the facilities of our contract manufacturers that may disrupt production or distribution or may require substantial resources to correct.

The FDA may withdraw a product approval if compliance with regulatory requirements is not maintained or if problems occur after the product reaches the market. Later discovery of previously unknown problems with a product may result in restrictions on the product’s marketing or even complete withdrawal of the product from the market. Further, the failure to maintain compliance with regulatory requirements may result in administrative or judicial actions, such as fines, untitled or warning letters, holds on clinical trials, product seizures, product detention or refusal to permit the import or export of products, refusal to approve pending applications or supplements, restrictions on marketing or manufacturing, injunctions or consent decrees, or civil or criminal penalties, or may lead to voluntary product recalls.

Patent Term Restoration and Marketing Exclusivity

Depending upon the timing, duration and specifics of FDA approval of the use of our product candidates, or any future product candidates we may develop, some of our U.S. patents may be eligible for limited patent term extension under the Drug Price Competition and Patent Term Restoration Act of 1984, commonly referred to as the Hatch-Waxman Act. The Hatch-Waxman Act permits a patent restoration term of up to five years as compensation for patent term lost during product development and the FDA regulatory review process. However, patent term restoration cannot extend the remaining term of a patent beyond a total of 14 years from the product’s approval date. The patent term restoration period is generally one-half the time between the effective date of an IND and the submission date of an NDA plus the time between the submission date of an NDA and the approval of that application, except that this review period is reduced by any time during which the applicant failed to exercise due diligence. Only one patent applicable to an approved product is eligible for the extension and the application for the extension must be submitted prior to the expiration of the patent. The USPTO, in consultation with the FDA, reviews and approves the application for any patent term extension or restoration. In the future, if available, we intend to apply for restorations of patent term for some of our currently owned patents beyond their current expiration dates, depending on the expected length of the clinical trials and other factors involved in the filing of the relevant NDA; however, any such extension may not be granted to us.

Market exclusivity provisions under the FDCA can also delay the submission or the approval of certain applications. The FDCA provides a five-year period of non-patent marketing exclusivity within the U.S. to the first applicant to gain approval of an NDA for a new chemical entity. A drug is a new chemical entity if the FDA has not previously approved any other new drug containing the same active moiety, which is the molecule or ion responsible for the action of the drug substance. During the exclusivity period, the FDA may not accept for review an abbreviated new drug application, or ANDA, or a 505(b)(2) NDA submitted by another company for another version of such drug where the applicant does not own or have a legal right of reference to all the data required for approval. However, an application may be submitted after four years if it contains a certification of patent invalidity or non-infringement. The FDCA also provides three years of marketing exclusivity for an NDA, 505(b)(2) NDA or supplement to an existing NDA if new clinical investigations, other than bioavailability studies, that were conducted or sponsored by the applicant are deemed by the FDA to be essential to the approval of the application, for example, new indications, dosages or strengths of an existing drug. This three-year exclusivity covers only the conditions of use associated with the new clinical investigations and does not prohibit the FDA from approving ANDAs for drugs containing the original active agent. Five-year and three-year exclusivity will not delay the submission or approval of a full NDA. However, an applicant submitting a full NDA would be required to conduct or obtain a right of reference to all of the nonclinical studies and adequate and well-controlled clinical trials necessary to demonstrate safety and effectiveness.

Disclosure of Clinical Trial Information

Sponsors of clinical trials of FDA-regulated products, including drugs are required to register and disclose certain clinical trial information, which is publicly available at www.clinicaltrials.gov. Information related to the product, patient population, phase of investigation, study sites and investigators, and other aspects of the clinical trial is then made public as part of the registration. Sponsors are also obligated to disclose the results of their clinical trials after completion. Disclosure of the results of these trials can be delayed until the new product or new indication being studied has been approved. Competitors may use this publicly available information to gain knowledge regarding the progress of development programs.

Pharmaceutical Coverage, Pricing and Reimbursement

Significant uncertainty exists as to the coverage and reimbursement status of any products for which we may obtain regulatory approval. In the U.S., sales of any products for which we may receive regulatory approval for commercial sale will depend in part on the availability of coverage and reimbursement from third-party payors. Third-party payors include government authorities, managed care providers, private health insurers and other organizations. The process for determining whether a payor will provide coverage for a product may be separate from the process for setting the reimbursement rate that the payor will pay for the product. Third-party payors may limit coverage to specific products on an approved list, or formulary, which might not include all of the FDA-approved products for a particular indication. Moreover, a payor’s decision to provide coverage for a product does not imply that an adequate reimbursement rate will be approved. Adequate third-party reimbursement may not be available to enable us to maintain price levels sufficient to realize an appropriate return on our investment in product development.

Third-party payors are increasingly challenging the price and examining the medical necessity and cost- effectiveness of medical products and services, in addition to their safety and efficacy. In order to obtain coverage and reimbursement for any product that might be approved for sale, we may need to conduct expensive pharmacoeconomic studies in order to demonstrate the medical necessity and cost-effectiveness of any products, in addition to the costs required to obtain regulatory approvals. Our product candidates, or any future product candidates we may develop, may not be considered medically necessary or cost-effective. If third-party payors do not consider a product to be cost-effective compared to other available therapies, they may not cover the product after approval as a benefit under their plans or, if they do, the level of payment may not be sufficient to allow a company to sell its products at a profit.

The U.S. government, including the Trump administration, and state legislatures have shown significant interest in implementing cost containment programs to limit the growth of government-paid health care costs, including price controls, restrictions on reimbursement, requirements for substitution of generic products for branded prescription drugs, and increased transparency around drug pricing practices. For example, the Affordable Care Act contains provisions that may reduce the profitability of drug products, including, for example, increased rebates for drugs reimbursed by Medicaid programs, extension of Medicaid rebates to Medicaid managed care plans, mandatory discounts for certain Medicare Part D beneficiaries and annual fees based on pharmaceutical companies’ share of sales to federal health care programs. There also has been increased public and governmental scrutiny of the cost of drugs and drug pricing strategies, including by the U.S. Senate and federal and state prosecutors. In May 2018, President Trump released the Blueprint which, along with related drug pricing measures proposed since the Blueprint, could cause significant operational and reimbursement changes for the pharmaceutical industry. Adoption of government controls and measures, and tightening of restrictive policies in jurisdictions with existing controls and measures, could limit payments for pharmaceuticals including our product candidates, if any achieve approval.

The marketability of any products for which we receive regulatory approval for commercial sale may suffer if the government and third-party payors fail to provide adequate coverage and reimbursement. In addition, the emphasis on cost containment measures in the U.S. has increased and we expect will continue to increase the pressure on pharmaceutical pricing. Coverage policies and third-party reimbursement rates also may change at any time. Even if favorable coverage and reimbursement status is attained for one or more products for which we receive regulatory approval, less favorable coverage policies and reimbursement rates may be implemented in the future.

Other Healthcare Laws and Compliance Requirements

If we obtain regulatory approval of our products, we may be subject to various federal and state laws targeting fraud and abuse in the healthcare industry. These laws may impact, among other things, our proposed sales, marketing and education programs. In addition, we may be subject to patient privacy regulation by both the federal government and the states in which we conduct our business. The laws that may affect our ability to operate include:


the federal Anti-Kickback Statute, which prohibits, among other things, persons from knowingly and willfully soliciting, receiving, offering or paying remuneration, directly or indirectly, in cash or in kind, to induce or reward, or in return for, either the referral of an individual for, or the purchase, order, or recommendation of, an item or service reimbursable under a federal healthcare program, such as the Medicare and Medicaid programs;


federal civil and criminal false claims laws, false statement laws, and civil monetary penalty laws, which prohibit, among other things, individuals or entities from knowingly presenting, or causing to be presented, claims for payment from Medicare, Medicaid, or other third-party payors that are false or fraudulent, or making a false statement or record material to payment of a false claim or avoiding, decreasing, or concealing an obligation to pay money to the federal government;


HIPAA, which imposes federal criminal and civil liability for executing a scheme to defraud any healthcare benefit program and making false statements relating to healthcare matters;


the federal transparency laws, including the federal Physician Payments Sunshine Act, which is part of the Affordable Care Act, that requires applicable manufacturers of covered drugs to disclose payments and other transfers of value provided to physicians and teaching hospitals and physician ownership and investment interests;


HIPAA, as amended by the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act and its implementing regulations, also imposes certain requirements relating to the privacy, security and transmission of individually identifiable health information; and


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, state laws that require pharmaceutical companies to comply with the pharmaceutical industry’s voluntary compliance guidelines, and state laws governing the privacy and security of health information in certain circumstances, many of which differ from each other in significant ways and are not preempted by HIPAA, thus complicating compliance efforts.

The Affordable Care Act broadened the reach of the fraud and abuse laws by, among other things, amending the intent requirement of the federal Anti-Kickback Statute and the applicable criminal healthcare fraud statutes contained within 42 U.S.C. § 1320a-7b. Pursuant to the statutory amendment, a person or entity no longer needs to have actual knowledge of this statute or specific intent to violate it in order to have committed a violation. In addition, the Affordable Care Act provides that a claim including items or services resulting from a violation of the federal Anti-Kickback Statute constitutes a false or fraudulent claim for purposes of the False Claims Act or the civil monetary penalties statute. Many states have adopted laws similar to the federal Anti-Kickback Statute, some of which apply to the referral of patients for healthcare items or services reimbursed by any source, not only the Medicare and Medicaid programs.

Although we would not submit claims directly to payors, manufacturers can be held liable under the federal False Claims Act and other healthcare laws if they are deemed to “cause” the submission of false or fraudulent claims by, for example, providing inaccurate billing or coding information to customers or promoting a product off-label. In addition, our future activities relating to the reporting of wholesaler or estimated retail prices for our products, the reporting of prices used to calculate Medicaid rebate information and other information affecting federal, state, and third-party reimbursement for our products, and the sale and marketing of our products, will be subject to scrutiny under the False Claims Act. Penalties for a False Claims Act violation include three times the actual damages sustained by the government, plus mandatory civil penalties, and the potential for exclusion from participation in federal healthcare programs. The applicable civil penalties are subject to an annual increase based on inflation; effective January 29, 2018, the penalties are between $11,181 and $22,363 for each separate false claim. In addition, although the federal False Claims Act is a civil statute, conduct that results in a False Claims Act violation may also implicate various federal criminal statutes. Further, private individuals have the ability to bring actions under the federal False Claims Act and certain states have enacted laws modeled after the federal False Claims Act.

Patient Protection and the Affordable Care Act

The Affordable Care Act, enacted in March 2010, includes measures that have or will significantly change the way health care is financed in the U.S. by both governmental and private insurers. Among the provisions of the Affordable Care Act of greatest importance to the pharmaceutical industry are the following:


The Medicaid Drug Rebate Program requires pharmaceutical manufacturers to enter into and have in effect a national rebate agreement with the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services as a condition for states to receive federal matching funds for the manufacturer’s outpatient drugs furnished to Medicaid patients. The Affordable Care Act increased pharmaceutical manufacturers’ rebate liability on most branded prescription drugs from 15.1% of the average manufacturer price to 23.1% of the average manufacturer price, added a new rebate calculation for line extensions of solid oral dosage forms of branded products, and modified the statutory definition of average manufacturer price. The Affordable Care Act also expanded the universe of Medicaid utilization subject to drug rebates by requiring pharmaceutical manufacturers to pay rebates on Medicaid managed care utilization and expanding the population potentially eligible for Medicaid drug benefits.


In order for a pharmaceutical product to receive federal reimbursement under the Medicare Part B and Medicaid programs or to be sold directly to U.S. government agencies, the manufacturer must extend discounts to entities eligible to participate in the 340B drug pricing program. The Affordable Care Act expanded the types of entities eligible to receive discounted 340B pricing.


The Affordable Care Act imposed a requirement on manufacturers of branded drugs to provide a 50% discount off the negotiated price of branded drugs dispensed to Medicare Part D patients in the coverage gap (i.e., the “donut hole”).


The Affordable Care Act imposed an annual, nondeductible fee on any entity that manufactures or imports certain branded prescription drugs, apportioned among these entities according to their market share in certain government healthcare programs, although this fee does not apply to sales of certain products approved exclusively for orphan indications.

In addition to these provisions, the Affordable Care Act established a number of bodies whose work may have a future impact on the market for certain pharmaceutical products. These include the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute, established to oversee, identify priorities in, and conduct comparative clinical effectiveness research and the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation within the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, to test innovative payment and service delivery models to lower Medicare and Medicaid spending.

The Affordable Care Act has been subject to challenges and numerous ongoing efforts to repeal or amend the Act in whole or in part. Since the November 2016 U.S. election, President Trump and the U.S. Congress have made numerous efforts to repeal or amend the Affordable Care Act in whole or in part.  For example, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which President Trump signed into law in December 2017, repealed the Affordable Care Act’s individual health insurance mandate, which is considered a key component of the Affordable Care Act. Thus, the full impact of the Affordable Care Act, or any law replacing elements of it, on our business remains unclear. These and other laws may result in additional reductions in healthcare funding, which could have a material adverse effect on customers for our product candidates, if we gain approval for any of them. Although we cannot predict the full effect on our business of the implementation of existing legislation or the enactment of additional legislation pursuant to healthcare and other legislative reform, we believe that legislation or regulations that would reduce reimbursement for, or restrict coverage of, our products could adversely affect how much or under what circumstances healthcare providers will prescribe or administer our product candidates if we gain approval for any of them.

Chinese Regulation

In China, we operate in an increasingly complex legal and regulatory environment. We are subject to a variety of Chinese laws, rules and regulations affecting many aspects of our business. This section summarizes the principal Chinese laws, rules and regulations relevant to our business and operations.

General Regulations on China Food and Drug Administration

In China, the NMPA monitors and supervises the administration of pharmaceutical products, as well as medical devices and equipment. The NMPA’s primary responsibility includes evaluating, registering and approving new drugs, generic drugs, imported drugs and traditional Chinese medicines; approving and issuing permits for the manufacture, export and import of pharmaceutical products and medical appliances; approving the establishment of enterprises for pharmaceutical manufacture and distribution; formulating administrative rules and policies concerning the supervision and administration of food, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals; and handling significant accidents involving these products. The local provincial drug administrative authorities are responsible for supervision and administration of drugs within their respective administrative regions.

The Drug Administration Law of the People’s Republic of China, or the PRC Drug Administration Law, promulgated by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress in 1984, as amended in 2001, 2013 and 2015, respectively, and the Implementing Measures of the PRC Drug Administration Law promulgated by the State Council in 2002, as amended in 2016, set forth the legal framework for the administration of pharmaceutical products, including the research, development and manufacturing of drugs.

The PRC Drug Administration Law was revised in December 2001, December 2013 and again in April 2015. The purpose of the revisions was to strengthen the supervision and administration of pharmaceutical products and to ensure the quality and safety of those products for human use. The revised PRC Drug Administration Law applies to entities and individuals engaged in the development, production, trade, application, supervision and administration of pharmaceutical products. It regulates and prescribes a framework for the administration of pharmaceutical preparations of medical institutions and for the development, research, manufacturing, distribution, packaging, pricing and advertisement of pharmaceutical products. A draft amendment on the PRC Drug Administration Law was published by the National People’s Congress on November 1, 2018, which has yet to take effect.  The draft amendment incorporates the Drug Marketing Authorization Holder System and change the responsible drug administrative authorities from provincial level to county level. Revised Implementing Measures of the PRC Drug Administration Law promulgated by the State Council took effect in September 2002, as amended in 2016, providing detailed implementing regulations for the revised PRC Drug Administration Law.

Under these regulations, we need to follow related regulations for nonclinical research, clinical trials and production of new drugs.

Good Laboratories Practice Certification for Nonclinical Research

To improve the quality of animal research, the CFDA promulgated the Administrative Measures for Good Laboratories Practice of Preclinical Laboratory in 2003, which was amended in July, 2017, and began to conduct the certification program of the GLP. In April 2007, the CFDA issued the Circular on Measures for Certification of Good Laboratory Practice, or CFDA Circular 214, providing that the NMPA is responsible for certification of nonclinical research institutions. Under CFDA Circular 214, the NMPA decides whether an institution is qualified for undertaking pharmaceutical nonclinical research upon the evaluation of the institution’s organizational administration, its research personnel, its equipment and facilities and its operation and management of nonclinical pharmaceutical projects. If all requirements are met, a GLP Certification will be issued by the NMPA and the result will be published on the NMPA’s website.

Currently for all our ongoing projects, we cooperated with NMPA certified GLP laboratories operated by Joinn Laboratories to conduct the studies following GLP based on NMPA requirements.

Approval for Clinical Trials and Production of New Drugs

According to the Provisions for Drug Registration promulgated by the CFDA in 2007, Drug Administration Law promulgated and amended by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress in 2015, Circular on Regulations for Special Approval on New Drug Registration issued by the CFDA in 2009, and Circular on Information Publish Platform for Pharmaceutical Clinical Trials issued by the CFDA in 2013, we must comply with the following procedures and obtain several approvals for clinical trials and production of new drugs.

Clinical Trial Application

Upon completion of its nonclinical research, a research institution must apply for approval of a Clinical Trial Application before conducting clinical trials.

Special Examination and Approval for Domestic Category 1 Pharmaceutical Products

Domestic Category 1 New Drugs Are Eligible for Special Examination and Approval

According to Provisions for Drug Registration promulgated by the CFDA in 2007, drug registration applications are divided into three different types, namely Domestic New Drug Application, Domestic Generic Drug Application, and Imported Drug Application. Drugs fall into one of three categories, namely chemical medicine, biological product or traditional Chinese or natural medicine. A Category 1 drug is a new drug that has never been marketed in any country and will be manufactured in China. Our product candidates qualify as a domestic Category 1 new drug.

According to Provisions on the Administration of Special Examination and Approval of Registration of New Drugs, or the Special Examination and Approval Provisions promulgated by the CFDA in January 2009, the NMPA conducts special examination and approval for new drugs registration application when:


1.
the effective constituent of drug extracted from plants, animals, minerals, etc. as well as the preparations thereof have never been marketed in China, and the material medicines and the preparations thereof are newly discovered;


2.
the chemical raw material medicines as well as the preparations thereof and the biological product have not been approved for marketing home and abroad;


3.
the new drugs are for treating AIDS, malignant tumors and rare diseases, etc., and have obvious advantages in clinic treatment; or


4.
the new drugs are for treating diseases with no effective methods of treatment.

The Special Examination and Approval Provisions provide that the applicant may file for special examination and approval at the stage of Clinical Trial Application if the drug candidate falls within item (1) or (2). The provisions provide that for product candidates that fall within items (3) or (4), the application for special examination and approval must be made when filing for production.

We believe that our current product candidates fall within items (2) and (3) above. Therefore, we may file an application for special examination and approval at the Clinical Trial Application stage, which may enable us to pursue a more expedited path to approval in China and bring therapies to patients more quickly.

The Advantages of Category 1 New Drugs over Category 5 Drugs

Prior to the enactment of Reform Plan for Registration Category of Chemical Medicine, Category 3 drugs are drugs which have already been marketed abroad by multinational companies, but are not yet approved in China, and Category 3 drugs are reclassified as Category 5 according to the Reform Plan for Registration Category of Chemical Medicine issued by CFDA in March 2016. Compared with the application for Category 5 drugs, the application for Category 1 domestic new drugs has a more straight-forward registration pathway. According to Provisions for Drug Registration, where a special examination and approval treatment is granted, the application for clinical trial and manufacturing will be handled with priority and with enhanced communication with the Center for Drug Evaluation of the NMPA, or the CDE, which will establish a working mechanism for communicating with the applicants. If it becomes necessary to revise the clinical trial scheme or make other major alterations during the clinical trial, the applicant may file an application for communication. When an application for communication is approved, the CDE will arrange the communication with the applicant within one month.

In comparison, according to Provisions for Drug Registration, the registration pathway for Category 5 drugs is complicated and evolving. Category 5 drug applications may only be submitted after a company obtains an NDA approval and receives the CPP granted by a major regulatory authority, such as the FDA or the EMA. Multinational companies may need to apply for conducting multi-regional clinical trials, which means that companies do not have the flexibility to design the clinical trials to fit the Chinese patients and standard-of-care. Category 5 product candidates may not qualify to benefit from fast track review with priority at the Clinical Trial Application stage. Moreover, a requirement to further conduct local clinical trials can potentially delay market access by several years from its international NDA approval. Further, according to Opinions on Reforming the Review and Approval Process for Pharmaceutical Products and Medical Devices issued by the State Council in August 2015, which is a guideline for future legislation and NMPA examination, the drugs which have already been marketed abroad may no longer be categorized as new drugs under Chinese law in the future, and therefore may not be able to enjoy any preferential treatment for new drugs. In order to implement this guideline, in March 2016, the CFDA issued the Reform Plan for Registration Category of Chemical Medicine, which changed the registration category of chemical medicine stipulated in Provisions for Drug Registration. According to the Interpretation of Reform Plan for Registration Category of Chemical Medicine issued by CFDA, a new drug refers to a drug that has never been marketed in China or abroad.

Our product candidates are all new therapeutic agents and we expect that all of our current product candidates fall under the Category 1 application process. Although the regulatory framework normally requires approval of separate Clinical Trial Applications prior to initiating each phase of clinical development, in December 2015, the CFDA approved our Clinical Trial Application including all phases of clinical trials for Plinabulin as a direct anticancer agent in NSCLC when combined with docetaxel and for the treatment of CIN.

Changes to the Review and Approval Process

In August 2015, the State Council issued Opinions on Reforming the Review and Approval Process for Pharmaceutical Products and Medical Devices, providing several potential policy changes that could benefit the pharmaceutical industry:


A plan to accelerate innovative drug approval with a special review and approval process, with a focus on areas of high unmet medical needs, including drugs for HIV, cancer, serious infectious diseases, orphan diseases and drugs on national priority lists;


A plan to adopt a policy which would allow companies to act as the marketing authorization holder and to hire contract manufacturing organizations to produce drug products;


A plan to improve the review and approval of clinical trials, and to allow companies to conduct clinical trials in China at the same time as they are doing so in other countries and encourage local clinical trial organizations to participate in international multi-center clinical trials.

In November 2015, the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress issued the Decision on Authorizing the State Council to Conduct the Pilot Program of the System of the Holders of Drug Marketing Licenses in Certain Areas and the Relevant Issues, which authorized the State Council to conduct the pilot program of the system of the holders of drug marketing licenses in Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei, Shanghai, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Fujian, Shandong, Guangdong and Sichuan, and authorized the State Council to conduct reforms of registration category for drugs.

In November 2015, the CFDA released the Circular Concerning Several Policies on Drug Registration Review and Approval, which further clarified the following policies potentially simplifying and accelerating the approval process of clinical trials:


A one-time umbrella approval procedure allowing approval of all phases of a new drug’s clinical trials at once, rather than the current phase-by-phase approval procedure, will be adopted for new drugs’ clinical trial applications;


A fast track drug registration or clinical trial approval pathway will be available for the following applications: (1) registration of innovative new drugs treating HIV, cancer, serious infectious diseases and orphan diseases; (2) registration of pediatric drugs; (3) registration of geriatric drugs that treat China-prevalent diseases; (4) registration of drugs sponsored by national science and technology grants; (5) registration of innovative drugs using advanced technology, using innovative treatment methods, or having distinctive clinical benefits; (6) registration of foreign innovative drugs to be manufactured locally in China; (7) concurrent applications for new drug clinical trials which are already approved in the U.S. or European Union, or concurrent drug registration applications for drugs which have applied for marketing authorization and passed onsite inspections in the U.S. or European Union and are manufactured using the same production line in China; and (8) clinical trial applications for drugs with urgent clinical need and patent expiry within three years, and marketing authorization applications for drugs with urgent clinical need and patent expiry within one year.

In December 2017, the CFDA released the Opinions on Encouraging the Prioritized Evaluation and Approval for Drug Innovations, which further stipulated the scope of priority review and approval. The following drugs will be entitled to priority review and approval:


Applications for drugs with obvious clinical benefits if any of the following circumstances applies: (1) registration applications for innovative drugs that are not marketed in China and abroad; (2) registration applications for innovative drugs to be manufactured locally in China; (3) registration applications for drugs using advanced formulation technology, using innovative treatment methods, or having distinctive clinical benefits; (4) clinical trial applications for patented drugs with patent to be expired in three years and manufacturing applications for drugs with patent to be expired in one year; (5) concurrent applications for new drug clinical trials which are already approved in the U.S. or European Union, or concurrent drug registration applications for drugs which have applied for marketing authorization and passed onsite inspections in the U.S. or European Union and are manufactured using the same production line in China; (6) registration applications for traditional Chinese drugs (including ethnic drugs) with clear clinical directions in the prevention and treatment of severe diseases; (7) registration applications for new drugs sponsored by national science and technology grants and of which clinical trials were conducted by a national clinical medical research center and approved by the administration department of such center.


Applications for drugs with obvious clinical benefits in the prevention and treatment of following diseases: (1) HIV; (2) pulmonary tuberculosis; (3) viral hepatitis; (4) orphan diseases; (5) malignant tumor; (6) pediatric drugs; (7) senile diseases.

In May 2016, the General Office of the State Council issued Circular 41, which signals that the Drug Marketing Authorization Holder System is finally put into implementation. Circular 41 allows institutions of drugs research and development and research specialist staffs in Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei, Shanghai, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Fujian, Shandong, Guangdong and Sichuan, to act as the applicant of drugs registration and to submit applications for drug clinical trials and drugs marketing. For the drugs newly registered after the effective date of Circular 41, applicants are allowed to submit applications for becoming a drugs marketing authorization holder at the same time as they submit applications for drug clinical trials or drugs marketing. In August 2016, the CFDA issued Circular on Conducting Works Regarding the Pilot Program for the Drug Marketing Authorization Holder System, which further detail the application procedures stipulated in Circular 41. In August 2017, the CFDA issued the Circular on the Matters Relating to Promotion of the Pilot Program for the Drug Marketing Authorization Holder System. This notice is issued, among other things, to advance implementation of a system pilot program for holders of drug marketing authorization, to delineate the rights and obligations of such holders, to enhance the quality of drug manufacturing process and to improve the responsibility system over drug manufacturing and marketing supply chains. In October 2018, the NMPA issued the Decisions on Extending the Period of the Pilot Program for the Drug Marketing Authorization Holder System in Several Regions (Draft), which extends the expiration date of the pilot program from November 4, 2018 to the implementation date of the revised Drug Administration Law.

Non-Inferiority Standard

In China, a drug may receive regulatory approval without showing superiority in its primary endpoint. Rather, a drug may be approved for use if it shows non-inferiority in its primary endpoint and superiority in one of its secondary endpoints.

Accelerated or Conditional Approval

In October 2017, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and General Office of the State Council issued the Opinions on Deepening the Reform of the Evaluation and Approval System and Inspiring Innovation of Drugs and Medical Devices. This opinion provides that, among other things:


the review and approval process should be accelerated for drugs or medical devices that are urgently in need for clinical practice;


for drugs or medical devices that are (i) for treatment of severe and life threatening diseases that cannot be cured in an effective manner, or (ii) urgently in need to improve public health, if early and mid-term indicators in clinical trials for the aforementioned drugs or medical devices show efficacy and potential clinical value, the marketing of these drugs and medical devices may be approved conditionally, and companies who desire to market such drugs or medical devices shall develop risk control plans for conducting researches according to applicable requirements;


extension of the patent term for certain new drugs may be granted, given that clinical trials and the review and approval process may cause delay in bringing new drugs to the market; and


clinical trial data obtained from foreign countries may be used to register drugs and medical devices in China if such data meet applicable requirements for the registration of drugs and medical devices in China.

Four Phases of Clinical Trials

A clinical trial consists of Phases 1, 2, 3 and 4. Phase 1 refers to the initial clinical pharmacology and safety evaluation studies in humans. Phase 2 refers to the preliminary evaluation of a drug candidate’s therapeutic effectiveness and safety for particular indication(s) in patients, which provides evidence and support for the design of Phase 3 clinical trial and settles the administrative dose regimen. Phase 3 refers to clinical trials undertaken to confirm the therapeutic effectiveness of a drug. Phase 3 is used to further verify the drug’s therapeutic effectiveness and safety on patients with target indication(s), to evaluate overall benefit-risk relationships of the drug, and ultimately to provide sufficient evidence for the review of drug registration application. Phase 4 refers to a new drug’s post-marketing study to assess therapeutic effectiveness and adverse reactions when the drug is widely used, to evaluate overall benefit-risk relationships of the drug when used among general population or specific groups, and to adjust the administration dose, etc.

Drug Clinical Practice Certification

To improve the quality of clinical trial, the CFDA promulgated the Administration of Quality of Drug Clinical Practice in August 2003. In February 2004, the CFDA issued the Circular on Measures for Certification of Drug Clinical Practice (trial), providing that the NMPA is responsible for certification of clinical trial institutions, and that the National Health and Family Planning Commission of the PRC, formerly known as the Ministry of Health is responsible for relevant things in respect of certification of clinical trial institutions within its duties. Under the Circular on Measures for Certification of Drug Clinical Practice (trial), the NMPA and the National Health and Family Planning Commission of the PRC decide whether an institution is qualified for undertaking pharmaceutical clinical trial upon the evaluation of the institution’s organizational administration, its research personnel, its equipment and facilities, its management system and its standard operational rules. If all requirements are met, a GCP Certification will be issued by the NMPA and the result will be published on the NMPA’s website.

New Drug Application

When Phase 1, 2 and 3 of the clinical trials have been completed, the applicant must apply to the NMPA for approval of an NDA. The NMPA then determines whether to approve the application according to the comprehensive evaluation opinion provided by the CDE of the NMPA. We have obtained approval of our Clinical Trial Application for Plinabulin as a direct anticancer agent in NSCLC when combined with docetaxel in China, and we initiated clinical trials in June 2016. We must obtain approval of an NDA before our drugs can be manufactured and sold in the Chinese market.

Good Manufacturing Practice

All facilities and techniques used in the manufacture of products for clinical use or for sale in China must be operated in conformity with cGMP guidelines as established by the NMPA. Failure to comply with applicable requirements could result in the termination of manufacturing and significant fines. The NMPA issued the Good Manufacturing Practice for Drugs Used in Clinical Trial (Exposure Draft for Public Comment) on July 2018, which provides the requirements on quality management, personnel, facilities and equipment, packaging and certain other issues relating to drugs used in clinical trials. Such exposure draft has yet to take effect.

Animal Test Permits

According to Regulations for the Administration of Affairs Concerning Experimental Animals promulgated by the State Science and Technology Commission in November 1988 and amended in January 2011, July 2013 and March 2017 and Administrative Measures on the Certificate for Animal Experimentation promulgated by the State Science and Technology Commission and other regulatory authorities in December 2001, performing experimentation on animals requires a Certificate for Use of Laboratory Animals. Applicants must satisfy the following conditions:


Laboratory animals must be qualified and sourced from institutions that have Certificates for Production of Laboratory Animals;


The environment and facilities for the animals’ living and propagating must meet state requirements;


The animals’ feed and water must meet state requirements;


The animals’ feeding and experimentation must be conducted by professionals, specialized and skilled workers, or other trained personnel;


The management systems must be effective and efficient; and


The applicable entity must follow other requirements as stipulated by Chinese laws and regulations.

International Multi-Center Clinical Trials Regulations

On January 30, 2015, the CFDA promulgated Notice on Issuing the International Multi-Center Clinical Trial Guidelines (Trial), or the Multi-Center Clinical Trial Guidelines, which took effect as of March 1, 2015, aiming to provide guidance for the regulation of application, implementation and administration of international multi-center clinical trials in China. Pursuant to the Multi-Center Clinical Trial Guidelines, international multi-center clinical trial applicants may simultaneously perform clinical trials in different centers using the same clinical trial protocol. Where the applicant plans to make use of the data derived from the international multi-center clinical trials for application to NMPA for approval of an NDA, such international multi-center clinical trials shall satisfy, in addition to the requirements set forth in Drug Administration Law and its implementation regulations, Provisions for Drug Registration and relevant laws and regulations, the following requirements:


The applicant shall first conduct an overall evaluation on the global clinical trial data and further make trend analysis of the Asian and Chinese clinical trial data. In the analysis of Chinese clinical trial data, the applicant shall consider the representativeness of the research subjects i.e. the participating patients;


The applicant shall analyze whether the amount of Chinese research subjects is sufficient to assess and adjudicate the safety and effectiveness of the drug under clinical trial, and satisfy the statistical and relevant legal requirements; and


The onshore and offshore international multi-centers clinical trial research centers shall be subject to on-site inspections of competent PRC governmental agencies.

International multi-center clinical trials shall follow international prevailing GCP principles and ethics requirements. Applications shall ensure the truthfulness, reliability and trustworthiness of clinical trials results; the researchers shall have the qualification and capability to perform relevant clinical trials; ethics committee shall continuously review the trials and protect the subjects’ interests, benefits and safety. Before the performance of the international multi-center clinical trial applicants shall obtain clinical trial approvals or complete filings pursuant to requirements under the local regulations where clinical trials are conducted, and register and disclose the information of all major researcher, clinical trial organizations on the NMPA drug clinical trial information platform.

When using international multi-center clinical trial data to support NDAs in China, applicants shall submit the completed global clinical trial report, statistical analysis report and database, along with relevant supporting data in accordance with ICH-CTD (International Conference on Harmonization-Common Technical Document) content and format requirements; subgroup research results summary and comparative analysis shall also be conducted concurrently.

Leveraging the clinical trial data derived from international multi-center clinical trials, we may avoid unnecessary repetitive clinical trials and thus further accelerate the NDA process in China.

PRC Enterprise Income Tax Law and Its Implementation

The EIT Law and its implementation rules permit certain High and New Technologies Enterprises, or HNTEs, to enjoy a preferential enterprise income tax rate subject to these HNTEs meeting certain qualification criteria. One of our Chinese subsidiaries enjoys such preferential tax treatment.

On March 23, 2016, the Ministry of Finance and the SAT issued the Circular on Comprehensively Promoting the Pilot Program of the Collection of Value-added Tax in Lieu of Business Tax. Effective from May 1, 2016, the PRC tax authorities collect VAT in lieu of business tax in all regions and industries. VAT is applicable at a rate of 6% in lieu of business taxes for certain services and 17% for the sale of goods and provision of tangible property lease services. VAT payable on goods sold or taxable services provided by a general VAT taxpayer for a taxable period is the net balance of the output VAT for the period after crediting the input VAT for the period.

Regulations Relating to Intellectual Property Rights

Patent

General

Pursuant to the Patent Law of the PRC, most recently amended in December 2008, and its implementation rules, most recently amended in January 2010, patents in China fall into three categories, namely invention patent, utility model and design patent. Invention patent refers to a new technical solution proposed in respect of a product, method or its improvement; utility model refers to a new technical solution that is practicable for application and proposed in respect of the shape, structure or a combination of both of a product; and design patent refers to the new design of a certain product in shape, pattern or a combination of both and in color, shape and pattern combinations aesthetically suitable for industrial application. Under the Patent Law of the PRC, the term of patent protection starts from the date the patent was filed. Patents relating to utility-models and designs are effective for ten years from the initial date the patent application was filed, and patents relating to invention are effective for twenty years from the initial date the patent application was filed. The Patent Law of the PRC adopts the principle of “first to file,” which means where more than one person files a patent application for the same invention, a patent will be granted to the person who first filed the application.

Existing patents can become invalid or unenforceable due to a number of factors, including lack of novelty, and/or lack of inventive step in technology, and deficiencies in patent application. In China, a patent must have novelty, inventive step and practical applicability. Under the Patent Law of the PRC, novelty means that before a patent application is filed, no identical invention or utility model has been publicly disclosed in any publication in China or abroad or has been publicly used or made known to the public by any other means, whether in or outside of China, nor has any other person filed with the patent authority an application that describes an identical invention or utility model and is recorded in patent application documents or patent documents published after the filing date. Inventive step means, compared with existing technology, an invention has prominent substantial features and represents notable progress, and a utility model has substantial features and represents any progress; practical applicability means an invention or utility model can be manufactured or used and may produce positive results. Patents in China are filed with the National Intellectual Property Administration of the PRC, or CNIPA. Normally, the CNIPA publishes an application for an invention patent 18 months after the application is filed, which may be shortened upon request by the applicant. The applicant must apply to the CNIPA for a substantive examination within three years from the date the application is filed.

Article 20 of the Patent Law of the PRC provides that, for an invention or utility model completed in China, any applicant (not just Chinese companies and individuals), before filing a patent application outside of China, must first submit it to the CNIPA for a confidential examination. Failure to comply with this requirement will result in the denial of any Chinese patent for the subject invention. This added requirement of confidential examination by the CNIPA has raised concerns by foreign companies who conduct research and development activities in China or outsource research and development activities to service providers in China. Currently we have three invention patents published by CNIPA and one invention patent under the application process.

Patent Enforcement

Unauthorized use of patents without consent from owners of patents, forgery of the patents belonging to other persons, or engagement in other infringement acts against patent rights, will subject the infringers to tortious liabilities. Serious offences of forgery of the patents belonging to other persons may be subject to criminal penalties.

When a dispute arises as a result of infringement of the patent owner’s patent right, Chinese law requires that the parties first attempt to settle the dispute through consultation between them. However, if the dispute cannot be settled through consultation, the patent owner, or an interested party who believes the patent is being infringed, may either file a civil legal suit or file an administrative complaint with the relevant patent administration authority. A Chinese court may issue a preliminary injunction upon the patent owner’s or an interested party’s request before instituting any legal proceedings or during the proceedings. Damages for infringement are calculated as the loss suffered by the patent holder arising from the infringement, and if the loss suffered by the patent holder arising from the infringement is uncertain, the damages for infringement shall be calculated as the benefit gained by the infringer from the infringement. If it is difficult to ascertain damages in this manner, damages may be determined by using a reasonable multiple of the license fee under a contractual license. As in other jurisdictions, with one notable exception, the patent owner in China has the burden of proving that the patent is being infringed. However, if the owner of an invention patent for manufacturing process of a new product alleges infringement of its patent, the alleged infringer has the burden of proving that it has not infringed. To our knowledge, there are no disputes as to our infringement of any third party’s patent.

Medical Patent Compulsory License

According to the Patent Law of the PRC, for the purpose of