Geron 10-Q 2005
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
WASHINGTON D.C. 20549
R QUARTERLY REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
FOR THE PERIOD ENDED JUNE 30, 2005
£ TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
FOR THE TRANSITION PERIOD FROM _____ TO _____ .
COMMISSION FILE NUMBER: 0-20859
(EXACT NAME OF REGISTRANT AS SPECIFIED IN ITS CHARTER)
230 CONSTITUTION DRIVE, MENLO PARK, CA 94025
(ADDRESS, INCLUDING ZIP CODE, OF PRINCIPAL EXECUTIVE OFFICES)
REGISTRANT’S TELEPHONE NUMBER, INCLUDING AREA CODE: (650) 473-7700
SECURITIES REGISTERED PURSUANT TO SECTION 12(b) OF THE ACT: NONE
SECURITIES REGISTERED PURSUANT TO SECTION 12(g) OF THE ACT:
COMMON STOCK $0.001 PAR VALUE
(TITLE OF CLASS)
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.
YesR No £
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is an accelerated filer (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act).
YesR No £
Indicate the number of shares outstanding of each of the issuer’s classes of common stock, as of the latest practicable date.
See accompanying notes.
(IN THOUSANDS, EXCEPT SHARE AND PER SHARE AMOUNTS)
See accompanying notes.
CHANGE IN CASH AND CASH EQUIVALENTS
See accompanying notes.
JUNE 30, 2005
1. SUMMARY OF SIGNIFICANT ACCOUNTING POLICIES
Basis of Presentation
The terms “Geron”, the “Company”, “we” and “us” as used in this report refer to Geron Corporation. The accompanying condensed consolidated unaudited balance sheet as of June 30, 2005 and condensed consolidated statements of operations for the three and six months ended June 30, 2005 and 2004 have been prepared in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles for interim financial information and with the instructions to Form 10-Q and Article 10 of Regulation S-X. Accordingly, they do not include all of the information and footnotes required by U.S. generally accepted accounting principles for complete financial statements. In the opinion of the management of Geron Corporation, all adjustments (consisting only of normal recurring accruals) considered necessary for a fair presentation have been included. Operating results for the six month period ended June 30, 2005 are not necessarily indicative of the results that may be expected for the year ending December 31, 2005 or any other period. These financial statements and notes should be read in conjunction with the financial statements for the year ended December 31, 2004, included in the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K. The accompanying condensed consolidated balance sheet as of December 31, 2004 has been derived from audited financial statements at that date.
Principles of Consolidation
The consolidated financial statements include the accounts of Geron Corporation and our one wholly-owned subsidiary, Geron Bio-Med Ltd., a United Kingdom company. We have eliminated intercompany accounts and transactions. We measure the financial statements of Geron Bio-Med using the local currency as the functional currency. We translate the assets and liabilities of this subsidiary at rates of exchange at the balance sheet date. We translate income and expense items at average monthly rates of exchange. The resultant translation adjustments are included in accumulated other comprehensive income (loss), a separate component of stockholders’ equity.
FASB Interpretation No. 46-R (FIN 46R), “Consolidation of Variable Interest Entities, an Interpretation of ARB No. 51,” as amended, provides guidance on the identification, classification and accounting of variable interest entities. We have variable interests in VIEs through marketable and non-marketable equity investments in various companies with whom we have executed licensing agreements. In accordance with FIN 46R, we have concluded that we are not the primary beneficiary in any of these VIEs and therefore have not consolidated such entities in our consolidated financial statements.
Net Loss Per Share
Basic earnings (loss) per share is based on weighted average shares outstanding and excludes any dilutive effects of options, warrants and convertible securities. Diluted earnings (loss) per share would include any dilutive effect of options, warrants and other convertible securities.
Because we are in a net loss position, diluted earnings per share is also calculated using the weighted average number of common shares outstanding and excludes the effects of common stock equivalents consisting of stock options and warrants which are all antidilutive. Had we been in a net income position, diluted earnings per share would have included the shares used in the computation of basic net loss per share as well as an additional 1,586,544 shares and 1,971,029 shares for 2005 and 2004, respectively related to common stock equivalents not included above (as determined using the treasury stock method at an average market price during the period).
Use of Estimates
The preparation of financial statements in conformity with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles requires management to make estimates and assumptions that affect the amounts reported in the financial statements and accompanying notes. Actual results could differ from those estimates.
Cash Equivalents and Marketable Debt Securities Available-For-Sale
We consider all highly liquid investments purchased with an original maturity of three months or less to be cash equivalents. We are subject to credit risk related to our cash equivalents and available-for-sale securities. We place our cash and cash equivalents in money market funds and commercial paper. Our investments include corporate notes in United States corporations and asset-backed securities with original maturities ranging from two to 24 months.
We classify our marketable debt securities as available-for-sale. We record available-for-sale securities at fair value with unrealized gains and losses reported in accumulated other comprehensive income (loss) in stockholders’ equity. Fair values for investment securities are based on quoted market prices, where available. Realized gains and losses are included in interest and other income and are derived using the specific identification method for determining the cost of securities sold and have been insignificant to date. We recognize an impairment charge when the declines in the fair values of our available-for-sale securities below the amortized cost basis are judged to be other-than-temporary. We consider various factors in determining whether to recognize an impairment charge, including the length of time and extent to which the fair value has been less than our cost basis, the financial condition and near-term prospects of the security issuer, and our intent and ability to hold the investment for a period of time sufficient to allow for any anticipated recovery in market value. Declines in market value judged other-than-temporary result in a charge to interest and other income. No impairment charges were recorded for our available-for-sale securities for the six months ended June 30, 2005 and 2004. Dividend and interest income are recognized when earned.
We recognize revenue related to license and research agreements with collaborators, royalties, milestone payments and government grants. For multiple-deliverable arrangements entered into after July 1, 2003 judgment is required in the areas of separability of units of accounting and the fair value of individual elements. The principles and guidance outlined in EITF No. 00-21 provide a framework to (a) determine whether an arrangement involving multiple deliverables contains more than one unit of accounting, (b) determine how the arrangement consideration should be measured and allocated to the separate units of accounting in the arrangement and (c) apply relevant revenue recognition criteria separately for each of the separate units. For each separate unit of accounting we have objective and reliable evidence of fair value using available internal evidence for the undelivered item(s) and our arrangements generally do not contain a general right of return relative to the delivered item. In accordance with the guidance in EITF No. 00-21, we use the residual method to allocate the arrangement consideration when it does not have fair value of a delivered item(s). Under the residual method, the amount of consideration allocated to the delivered item equals the total arrangement consideration less the aggregate fair value of the undelivered items.
We have several license and marketing agreements with various oncology, diagnostics, research tools, agriculture and biologics production companies. With each of these agreements, we receive nonrefundable license payments in cash or equity securities, option payments in cash or equity securities, royalties on future sales of products, milestone payments, or any combination of these items. Nonrefundable signing or license fees that are not dependent on future performance under these agreements are recognized as revenue when received and over the term of the arrangement if we have continuing performance obligations. Option payments are recognized as revenue over the period of the option agreement. Milestone payments are recognized upon completion of specified milestones according to contract terms. Royalties are generally recognized upon receipt.
We recognize cost reimbursement revenue under collaborative agreements as the related research and development costs were incurred or the intellectual property related to the license was delivered. Deferred revenue represents the portion of research, license and option payments received which have not been earned.
Through March 31, 2004, we received funding from United States government grants that supported our research efforts in defined research projects. Those grants generally provided for reimbursement of approved costs incurred as defined in the various grants. Funding associated with those grants was recognized as revenue upon receipt of reimbursement and was included in interest and other income.
As of June 30, 2005 and December 31, 2004, we held $530,000 in a Certificate of Deposit as collateral on an unused line of credit.
In May 2005, we signed a letter of credit agreement on behalf of one of our vendors. A Certificate of Deposit of $375,000 secures this letter of credit. As of June 30, 2005, this letter of credit remained outstanding.
Marketable and Non-Marketable Equity Investments in Licensees and Joint Ventures
Investments in non-marketable nonpublic companies are carried at the lower of cost or net realizable value. Investments in marketable equity securities are carried at the market value as of the balance sheet date. For marketable equity securities, unrealized gains and losses are reported in accumulated other comprehensive income (loss) in stockholders’ equity. Realized gains or losses are included in interest and other income and are derived using the specific identification method.
We monitor our equity investments in licensees and joint ventures for impairment on a quarterly basis and make appropriate reductions in carrying values when such impairments are determined to be other-than-temporary. Impairment charges are included in interest and other income. Factors used in determining an impairment include, but are not limited to, the current business environment including competition and uncertainty of financial condition; going concern considerations such as the rate at which the investee company utilizes cash, and the investee company’s ability to obtain additional private financing to fulfill its stated business plan; the need for changes to the investee company’s existing business model due to changing business environments and its ability to successfully implement necessary changes; and the general progress toward product development, including clinical trial results. If an investment is determined to be impaired, a determination is made as to whether such impairment is other-than-temporary. We did not recognize any impairment charges for the six months ended June 30, 2005 and 2004 related to other-than-temporary declines in fair values of our non-marketable equity investments. As of June 30, 2005 and December 31, 2004, the carrying values of our equity investments in non-marketable nonpublic companies, including our joint ventures, were $307,000 and $448,000, respectively.
Derivative Financial Instruments
Our exposure to currency exchange fluctuation risk is insignificant. Geron Bio-Med, Ltd., our international subsidiary, satisfies its financial obligations almost exclusively in its local currency. For the six months ended June 30, 2005 and 2004, there was an insignificant currency exchange impact from intercompany transactions. We do not engage in foreign currency hedging activities. We do not use derivative financial instruments for trading or speculative purposes.
Intangible Asset and Research Funding Obligation
In May 1999, we completed the acquisition of Roslin Bio-Med Ltd., a privately held company formed by the Roslin Institute in Midlothian, Scotland. In connection with this acquisition, we formed a research collaboration with the Roslin Institute and committed approximately $20,000,000 in research funding over six years. Using an effective interest rate of 6%, this research funding obligation had a net present value of $17,200,000 at the acquisition date and was capitalized as an intangible asset that was being amortized as research and development expense over the six year funding period. In December 2004, we extended the research funding period from June 30, 2005 to June 30, 2006 and we adjusted the amortization period of the intangible asset to coincide with the extended research period. No additional funding was committed. Imputed interest is also being accreted to the value of the research funding obligation and is recognized as interest expense. The remaining obligation as of June 30, 2005 was $1,694,000.
Research and Development Expenses
All research and development costs are expensed as incurred. The value of acquired in-process research and development is charged to expense on the date of acquisition. Research and development expenses include, but are not limited to, payroll and personnel expense, lab supplies, preclinical studies, raw materials to manufacture clinical trial drugs, manufacturing costs, sponsored research at other labs, consulting and research-related overhead. Accrued liabilities for raw materials to manufacture clinical trial drugs, manufacturing costs and sponsored research reimbursement fees are included in accrued liabilities and research and development expenses.
Depreciation and Amortization
We record property and equipment at cost and calculate depreciation using the straight-line method over the estimated useful lives of the assets, generally four years. Leasehold improvements are amortized over the shorter of the estimated useful life or remaining term of the lease.
Employee Stock Plans
As permitted by SFAS No. 123, “Accounting for Stock-Based Compensation,” (SFAS 123), as amended by SFAS No. 148, “Accounting for Stock-Based Compensation -Transition and Disclosures” (SFAS 148), we elected to continue to apply the provisions of APB Opinion No. 25, “Accounting for Stock Issued to Employees,” (APB Opinion 25) and related interpretations in accounting for our employee stock option and stock purchase plans. We are generally not required under APB Opinion 25 and related interpretations to recognize compensation expense in connection with our employee stock option and stock purchase plans.
To comply with SFAS 148, we are presenting the following table to illustrate the effect on our net loss and loss per share as if we had applied the fair value recognition provisions of SFAS 123, as amended, to options granted under our stock-based employee compensation plans. For purposes of this pro forma disclosure, the estimated value of the options is amortized to expense using the straight-line method over the options’ vesting period:
The fair value of options granted for the three months ended June 30, 2005 and 2004 has been estimated at the date of grant using the Black Scholes option-pricing model with the following assumptions:
The fair value of employees’ purchase rights has been estimated using the Black Scholes option-pricing model with the following assumptions:
See Recent Accounting Pronouncements for a discussion of SFAS 123R.
Comprehensive loss is comprised of net loss and other comprehensive loss. Other comprehensive loss includes certain changes in stockholders’ equity which are excluded from net loss. The activity in comprehensive loss during the three and six months of 2005 and 2004 are as follows:
The components of accumulated other comprehensive loss are as follows:
Recent Accounting Pronouncements
In December 2004, the FASB issued SFAS No. 123 (revised 2004), “Share-Based Payment” (SFAS 123R). SFAS 123R requires the compensation cost relating to stock-based payment transactions be recognized in financial statements. That cost will be measured based on the fair value of the equity or liability instruments issued on the grant date of such instruments, and will be recognized over the period during which an individual is required to provide service in exchange for the award (typically the vesting period). SFAS 123R covers a wide range of stock-based compensation arrangements including stock options, restricted stock plans, performance-based awards, stock appreciation rights, and employee stock purchase plans. SFAS 123R replaces SFAS 123 and supersedes APB Opinion 25. In April 2005, the Securities and Exchange Commission delayed the effective date of SFAS 123R to the first interim or annual reporting period of the Company’s first fiscal year beginning on or after June 15, 2005. Early adoption will be permitted in periods in which financial statements have not yet been issued. We expect to adopt SFAS 123R on January 1, 2006.
SFAS 123R permits public companies to adopt its requirement using one of two methods: 1) A “modified prospective” method in which compensation cost is recognized beginning with the effective date (a) based on the requirements of SFAS 123R for all share-based payments granted after the effective date and (b) based on the fair value as measured under SFAS 123 for all awards granted to employees prior to the effective date of SFAS 123R that remain unvested on the effective date; or 2) A “modified retrospective” method which includes the requirements of the modified prospective method described above, but also permits entities to restate based on the amounts previously recognized under SFAS 123 for purposes of pro forma disclosures either (a) all prior periods presented or (b) to the start of the fiscal year in which SFAS 123R is adopted. The Company plans to adopt SFAS 123R using the modified prospective method.
As permitted by SFAS 123, we currently account for share-based payments to employees using APB Opinion 25’s intrinsic value method and, as such, generally recognize no compensation cost for employee stock options which have exercise prices equal to the fair market value of the underlying common stock at the date of granting the option. Accordingly, the adoption of SFAS 123R’s fair value method will have a significant impact on our result of operations, although it will have no impact on our overall financial position. The impact of adoption of SFAS 123R cannot be predicted at this time because it will depend on levels of share-based payments granted in the future. However, had we adopted SFAS 123R in prior periods, the impact of that standard would have approximated the impact of SFAS 123 as described in the disclosure of pro forma net loss and loss per share in Note 1 to our condensed consolidated financial statements. SFAS 123R also requires the benefits of tax deductions in excess of recognized compensation cost to be reported as a financing cash flow, rather than as an operating cash flow as required under current literature. It is unlikely that we will have near term benefits from tax deductions. This requirement will reduce net operating cash flows and increase net financing cash flows in periods after adoption. We cannot estimate what those amounts will be in the future (because they depend on, among other things, when employees exercise stock options, and whether we will be in a taxable position). At this time, there would be no tax impact related to the prior periods since we are in a net loss position.
2. ISSUANCES OF COMMON STOCK
In April 2005, we sold 740,741 shares of Geron common stock to investors at a price of $5.40 per share for total gross proceeds of $4,000,000. The shares were offered through a prospectus supplement to an effective universal registration statement. In connection with the sale, we also issued warrants to purchase 370,370 shares at $7.95 per share. The warrants are immediately exercisable for a period of five years from the date of issuance. The fair value of the warrants of $1,610,000 was determined using the Black Scholes option-pricing model and was recognized as an issuance cost of the financing and resulted in offsetting entries to additional paid-in capital. The purchased shares and the shares underlying the warrant are subject to a two year lock-up which prohibits the sale or other disposition of these shares over the two year lock-up period.
In April 2005, we issued 101,801 shares of Geron common stock to Transgenomic, Inc. as payment of the first installments under two separate addenda to our supply agreement with Transgenomic, pursuant to which Transgenomic is manufacturing certain chemicals used in producing telomerase inhibitor compounds. The fair value of the common stock has been recorded as a prepaid asset and will be amortized to research and development expense on a pro-rata basis as materials are received, which is expected to be approximately three months.
3. JOINT VENTURES AND RELATED PARTY TRANSACTIONS
stART Licensing Inc.
In April 2005, we entered into a Formation and Shareholders Agreement (FSA) and Contribution and License Agreement (CLA) with Exeter Life Sciences, Inc. to form stART Licensing, Inc.(stART). stART will manage and license a broad portfolio of intellectual property rights related to animal reproductive technologies. We and Exeter own 49.9% and 50.1% of stART, respectively.
Pursuant to the CLA, we granted a worldwide, exclusive, non-transferable license, with the right to sublicense, to our patent rights to nuclear transfer technology for use in animal cloning. These patent rights include patents originally licensed from the Roslin Institute in Edinburgh, Scotland in conjunction with Geron’s 1999 acquisition of Roslin BioMed, as well as patents covering technology arising from subsequent animal cloning work that we funded at the Roslin Institute. Geron has retained all rights to nuclear transfer technology for use in human cells. Exeter granted a worldwide, exclusive, non-transferable license, with the right to sublicense, to its patent rights for the use of the Roslin nuclear transfer technology for the production of proteins in milk of animals, as well as rights to other cloning technologies, including chromatin transfer, a technology developed at the University of Massachusetts.
Pursuant to the FSA, Exeter will provide initial operating capital and other management services for stART. Exeter will make an initial capital contribution, of which an amount is immediately payable to stART and the remainder will be provided from time to time, but in any event within 24 months following the execution of the FSA. Geron has no financial obligations to provide operating capital for stART nor are we obligated to perform services or other activities for the joint venture. We received an upfront payment in cash of $4,000,000 from stART upon the execution of the FSA in consideration of the technology we contributed in excess of the value of the equity we received in stART. We recognized this payment as license fee revenue from related parties in April 2005. Geron is also entitled to receive payment upon achievement of a specified future milestone.
In accordance with the equity method of accounting, we increase (decrease) the carrying value of our investment in the joint venture by a proportionate share of stART’s earnings (losses). Any increases (decreases) are reflected separately in our condensed consolidated statements of operations as equity in losses or income in the joint venture. The initial investment in stART reflected the book value of the intellectual property rights we conveyed to stART. Since there was no net book value associated with these intangible assets at the execution of this arrangement, no initial value was recognized for our investment in stART. We suspended applying the equity method of accounting as of June 30, 2005 since our proportionate share of net losses in stART exceeded our original carrying value of the equity investment. If stART subsequently reports net income, we will resume applying the equity method only after our share of that net income equals the share of net losses not recognized during the period the equity method was suspended.
In conjunction with the joint venture agreement, we sold our equity interest in Exeter Life Sciences for proceeds of $200,000 and recognized a gain of $56,000 from this sale representing the excess of the cash proceeds over the carrying value of the investment.
TA Therapeutics, Ltd.
In March 2005, we and the Biotechnology Research Corporation established a joint venture company in Hong Kong called TA Therapeutics, Ltd. (TAT). Simultaneously, we entered into a Services Agreement with TAT to provide research and development services for the new company. TAT reimburses our direct costs incurred in performance of the services. For the three months ended June 30, 2005, we recognized related party revenue from collaborative agreements and research and development expenses of $51,000 related to the Agreement.
In accordance with the equity method of accounting, we increase (decrease) the carrying value of our investment in the joint venture by a proportionate share of TAT’s earnings (losses). As of June 30, 2005, we recognized a loss of $12,000 for our proportionate share of TAT’s 2005 second quarter losses. Since our share of TAT’s net operating losses exceeded the carrying value of our investment in and net advances to TAT, we have discontinued the application of the equity method of accounting as of June 30, 2005. If TAT subsequently reports net income, we will resume applying the equity method only after our share of that net income equals the share of net losses not recognized during the period the equity method was suspended. Cash contributions made by us in the future will be recorded as additional investments when such amounts are actually paid.
4. SEGMENT INFORMATION
Statement of Financial Accounting Standards No. 131, “Disclosures about Segments of an Enterprise and Related Information” (SFAS 131) establishes standards for reporting information regarding operating segments in annual financial statements and requires selected information for those segments to be presented in interim financial reports issued to stockholders. SFAS 131 also establishes standards for related disclosures about products and services and geographic areas. Operating segments are identified as components of an enterprise about which separate discrete financial information is available for evaluation by the chief operating decision maker, or decision making group, in making decisions how to allocate resources and assess performance. Our chief decision maker, as defined under SFAS 131, is the Chief Executive Officer. To date, we have viewed our operations as principally one segment, the discovery and development of therapeutic and diagnostic products for oncology and human embryonic stem cell therapies. As a result, the financial information disclosed herein materially represents all of the financial information related to our principal operating segment.
5. CONDENSED CONSOLIDATED STATEMENT OF CASH FLOWS DATA
6. SUBSEQUENT EVENT
In July 2005 we entered into a Research, Development and Commercialization License Agreement (RDCLA) with Merck & Co., Inc. In connection with the RDCLA, we received an upfront non-refundable license payment of $2,500,000 for the grant of an exclusive worldwide license for the use of telomerase in non-dendritic cell cancer vaccines which will be recognized as license revenue over two years on a straight-line basis. We also received $1,000,000 for an exclusive option, to be exercised within two years, to negotiate a separate agreement covering Geron’s dendritic cell-based vaccine. We will recognize revenue from the option payment over the two-year option period on a straight-line basis.
Geron and Merck will conduct a joint research and development program to optimize, and expedite the demonstration of efficacy and tolerability of, a potential telomerase vaccine. The companies will form a Joint Research Committee and a Joint Development Committee to coordinate the research program and clinical development, respectively. Each company will bear all of its own costs related to the research program; Merck will bear all costs of clinical development.
We also issued to Merck a warrant to purchase $18,000,000 of Geron common stock at an exercise price equal to the per share price of Geron’s next underwritten public offering. Merck must exercise the warrant in the event Geron completes an underwritten public offering of its common stock before July 15, 2007 if such public offering meets certain criteria, but it will otherwise expire on that date. We will recognize the fair value of the warrant as an equity instrument at the time the warrant is exercisable.
This Form 10-Q contains forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties. We use words such as “anticipate”, “believe”, “plan”, “expect”, “future”, “intend” and similar expressions to identify forward-looking statements. These statements appear throughout the Form 10-Q and are statements regarding our intent, belief, or current expectations, primarily with respect to our operations and related industry developments. You should not place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which apply only as of the date of this Form 10-Q. Our actual results could differ materially from those anticipated in these forward-looking statements for many reasons, including the risks faced by us and described under the heading “Additional Factors that May Affect Future Results” in the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2004, in the section of this Item 2 titled “Additional Factors That May Affect Future Results,” and elsewhere in this Form 10-Q.
The following discussion should be read in conjunction with the unaudited condensed financial statements and notes thereto included in Part I, Item 1 of this Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q and with Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations contained in the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2004.
Geron is a biopharmaceutical company developing and commercializing three groups of products: i) therapeutic products for oncology that target telomerase; ii) pharmaceuticals that activate telomerase in tissues impacted by senescence, injury or degenerative disease; and iii) cell-based therapies derived from its human embryonic stem cell platform for applications in multiple chronic diseases.
Our results of operations have fluctuated from period to period and may continue to fluctuate in the future, as well as the progress of our research and development efforts and variations in the level of expenses related to developmental efforts during any given period. Results of operations for any period may be unrelated to results of operations for any other period. In addition, historical results should not be viewed as indicative of future operating results. We are subject to risks common to companies in our industry and at our stage of development, including risks inherent in our research and development efforts, reliance upon our collaborative partners, enforcement of our patent and proprietary rights, need for future capital, potential competition and uncertainty of regulatory approvals or clearances. In order for a product to be commercialized based on our research, we and our collaborators must conduct preclinical tests and clinical trials, demonstrate the efficacy and safety of our product candidates, obtain regulatory approvals or clearances and enter into manufacturing, distribution and marketing arrangements, as well as obtain market acceptance. We do not expect to receive revenues or royalties based on therapeutic products for a period of years, if at all.
CRITICAL ACCOUNTING POLICIES AND ESTIMATES
We believe that there have been no significant changes in our critical accounting policies and estimates during the six months ended June 30, 2005 as compared to the critical accounting policies and estimates disclosed in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2004 as filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on February 24, 2005.
Our condensed consolidated financial statements have been prepared in accordance with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles. The preparation of these financial statements requires management to make estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amounts of assets, liabilities, revenues and expenses. Note 1 of Notes to Condensed Consolidated Financial Statements describes the significant accounting policies used in the preparation of the condensed consolidated financial statements.
Estimates and assumptions about future events and their effects cannot be determined with certainty. We base our estimates on historical experience and on various other assumptions believed to be applicable and reasonable under the circumstances. These estimates may change as new events occur, as additional information is obtained and as our operating environment changes. These changes have historically been minor and have been included in the condensed consolidated financial statements as soon as they became known. Based on a critical assessment of our accounting policies and the underlying judgments and uncertainties affecting the application of those policies, management believes that our condensed consolidated financial statements are fairly stated in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States, and present a meaningful presentation of our financial condition and results of operations.
RESULTS OF OPERATIONS
We recognized $51,000 of revenues from collaborative agreements for the three and six months ended June 30, 2005, compared to no revenues for the comparable periods in 2004. The revenues in 2005 reflect the related party reimbursement we received from our joint venture in Hong Kong, TA Therapeutics, Ltd. for scientific research services.
We have entered into license agreements with companies involved with oncology, diagnostics, research tools, agriculture and biologics production. In each of these agreements, we have granted certain rights to our technologies. In connection with the agreements, we are entitled to receive license fees, milestone payments and royalties on future sales, or any combination thereof. We recognized license fee revenues of $4.6 million for the three and six months ended June 30, 2005, respectively, compared to $319,000 and $560,000 for the comparable 2004 periods related to our various agreements. The increase in revenue recognition was primarily due to the $4.0 million license fee payment received in conjunction with the transfer of nuclear transfer intellectual property rights for use in animal cloning to the new joint venture, stART Licensing, Inc. Also, we received royalties of $26,000 and $39,000 for the three and six months ended June 30, 2005, respectively, compared to $47,000 and $54,000 for the comparable 2004 periods on product sales of telomerase detection and telomere measurement kits to the research-use-only market, cell-based research products and agricultural products. License and royalty revenues are dependent upon additional agreements being signed and future product sales. We expect to recognize revenue of $79,000 for the remainder of 2005, $130,000 in 2006, $102,000 in 2007, $84,000 in 2008 and $207,000 thereafter related to our existing deferred revenue. Current revenues may not be predictive of future revenues.
Research and Development Expenses
Research and development expenses were $6.8 million and $13.3 million for the three and six months ended June 30, 2005, respectively, compared to $7.5 million and $13.2 million for the comparable 2004 periods. The decrease for the 2005 second quarter compared to the 2004 second quarter is the net result of increased personnel related costs of $975,000 for higher scientific headcount offset by reduced purchases of materials for manufacturing GRN163L of $1.9 million. The overall increase in 2005 compared to 2004 reflects the net result of an increase of $1.6 million for increased personnel related expenses and $882,000 for clinical consulting and sponsored research at other academic laboratories offset by reduced purchases of materials of $2.1 million for manufacturing GRN163L. Overall, we expect research and development expenses to increase in the next year as we incur expenses related to clinical trials of our telomerase inhibitor, GRN163L, continued clinical trials of our telomerase cancer vaccine and continued development of our human embryonic stem cell (hESC) programs.
Our research and development activities can be divided into two major categories of related programs, oncology and hESC therapies. The oncology programs focus on treating or diagnosing cancer by targeting or detecting the presence of telomerase, either inhibiting activity of the telomerase enzyme, diagnosing cancer by detecting the presence of telomerase, or using telomerase as a target for therapeutic vaccines. Our core knowledge base in telomerase and telomere biology supports all these approaches, and our scientists may contribute to any or all of these programs in a given period. For our telomerase inhibition program, we received clearance from the FDA in May 2005 to begin clinical testing of GRN163L in patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia. A therapeutic vaccine targeting telomerase in patients with metastatic prostate cancer is currently in investigator-sponsored Phase 1-2 clinical studies at Duke University Medical Center. Study results have shown no treatment-related adverse effects to date and positive specific immune responses to telomerase. We are conducting additional Phase 1-2 trials, also at Duke, in order to optimize the vaccination process. We have also transferred the vaccine manufacturing process in-house for further optimization. At the conclusion of these activities, and assuming continued success, we plan to file an IND for a Phase 2 clinical study for the telomerase therapeutic vaccine.
Our hESC therapy programs focus on treating injuries and degenerative diseases with cell therapies based on cells derived from hESCs. A core of knowledge of hESC biology, as well as a significant continuing effort in deriving, growing, maintaining, and differentiating hESCs, underlies all aspects of this group of programs. Many of our researchers are allocated to more than one hESC project, and the percentage allocations of time change as the resource needs of individual programs vary. In our hESC therapy programs, we have concentrated our resources on several specific cell types. We have developed proprietary methods to culture and scale up undifferentiated hESCs and differentiate them into therapeutically relevant cells. We are now testing six different therapeutic cell types in animal models of human disease. In four of these cell types, we have preliminary results suggesting efficacy as evidenced by functional improvements or engraftment of the cells in the treated animals. After completion of these studies, and assuming continued success, we expect to begin one or more Phase 1 clinical trials, most likely including one for the treatment of spinal cord injury.
Research and development expenses allocated to programs are as follows (in thousands):
At this time, we cannot provide reliable estimates of how much time or investment will be necessary to commercialize products from the programs currently in progress. Drug development in the U.S. is a process that includes multiple steps defined by the FDA under applicable statutes, regulations and guidance documents. After the preclinical research process of identifying, selecting and testing in animals a potential pharmaceutical compound, the clinical development process begins with the filing of an IND. Clinical development typically involves three phases of study: Phase 1, 2, and 3. The most significant costs associated with clinical development are incurred in Phase 3 trials, which tend to be the longest and largest studies conducted during the drug development process. After the completion of a successful preclinical and clinical development program, a New Drug Application (NDA) or Biologics License Application (BLA) must be filed with the FDA, which includes among other things very large amounts of preclinical and clinical data and results and manufacturing-related information necessary to support requested approval of the product. The NDA/BLA must be reviewed and approved by the FDA.
According to industry statistics, it generally takes 10 to 15 years to research, develop and bring to market a new prescription medicine in the United States. In light of the steps and complexities involved, the successful development of our products is highly uncertain. Actual product timelines and costs are subject to enormous variability and are very difficult to predict, as our clinical development programs are updated and changed to reflect the most recent preclinical and clinical data and other relevant information. In addition, various statutes and regulations also govern or influence the manufacturing, safety reporting, labeling, storage, recordkeeping and marketing of each product. The lengthy process of seeking these regulatory reviews and approvals, and the subsequent compliance with applicable statutes and regulations, require the expenditure of substantial resources. Any failure by us to obtain, or any delay in obtaining, regulatory approvals could materially adversely affect our business. In responding to an NDA/BLA submission, the FDA may grant marketing approval, may request additional information, may deny the application if it determines that the application does not provide an adequate basis for approval, and may also refuse to review an application that has been submitted if it determines that the application does not provide an adequate basis for filing and review. We cannot assure you that any approval required by the FDA will be obtained on a timely basis, if at all.
For a more complete discussion of the risks and uncertainties associated with completing development of potential products, see the sub-sections titled “Because we or our collaborators must obtain regulatory approval to market our products in the United States and other countries, we cannot predict whether or when we will be permitted to commercialize our products” and “Entry into clinical trials with one or more product candidates may not result in any commercially viable products” in the section of Item 2 entitled “Additional Factors That May Affect Future Results,” and elsewhere in this Form 10-Q.
Acquired In-Process Research Technology
In March 2004, we entered into an agreement with Merix Bioscience, Inc. (now Argos Therapeutics, Inc.) under which we acquired a co-exclusive right under patents controlled by Merix for the use of defined antigens in therapeutic cancer vaccines. In conjunction with the agreement, we issued 5,000,000 shares of Geron common stock to Merix.
We acquired rights to the Merix technology for commercial development of our therapeutic cancer vaccine. Further development of the technology is required before we can enter into advanced clinical trials for a potential commercial application. We have concluded that this technology has no alternative future use as defined in Statement of Financial Accounting Standards No. 2, and accordingly, expensed the value of the acquired in-process research technology of $45.2 million at the time of acquisition.
General and Administrative Expenses
General and administrative expenses were $1.7 million and $5.7 million for the three and six months ended June 30, 2005, respectively, compared to $2.1 million and $3.4 million for the comparable 2004 periods. The decrease in general and administrative expenses for the 2005 second quarter compared to the 2004 second quarter was primarily due to decreased external accounting expenses of $194,000 for compliance work associated with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. The overall increase in 2005 compared to 2004 was primarily due to the recognition of $2.6 million of consulting expense associated with the fair value of a warrant issued to a consultant in conjunction with the Hong Kong joint venture. We expect general and administrative expenses to remain consistent with current levels.
Interest and Other Income and Equity in Losses of Joint Venture
Interest income was $934,000 and $1.8 million for the three and six months ended June 30, 2005, respectively, compared to $385,000 and $809,000 for the comparable 2004 periods. The increase in interest income for 2005 compared to 2004 was due to higher cash and investment balances as a result of proceeds received from equity financings in late 2004 and early 2005 and higher interest rates. Interest earned in the future will depend on future funding and prevailing interest rates.
We also recognized $64,000 of other income for the three and six months ended June 30, 2005, respectively, related to the sale of equity investments in licensees. No sales occurred in the comparable periods in 2004. We did not receive any payments under government grants for the three and six months ended June 30, 2005, compared to none and $74,000 for the comparable 2004 periods.
In March 2005, we formed TA Therapeutics, Ltd. (TAT) in Hong Kong to conduct research and develop telomerase activator drugs to restore the functional capacity of cells in various organ systems that have been impacted by senescence, injury, or chronic disease. For the three and six months ended June 30, 2005, we recognized $12,000 of loss for our proportionate share of net losses from the joint venture. Since our share of TAT’s net losses exceeds the original carrying value of the equity investment, we discontinued the application of the equity method of accounting as of June 30, 2005.
Interest and Other Expense
Interest and other expense was $171,000 and $343,000 for the three and six months ended June 30, 2005, respectively, compared to $162,000 and $332,000 for the comparable 2004 periods. The increase in interest and other expense for 2005 compared to 2004 was primarily due to increased bank charges as a result of higher cash and investment balances.
Net loss was $3.1 million and $12.8 million for the three six months ended June 30, 2005, respectively, compared to $8.9 million and $60.6 million for the comparable 2004 periods. Net loss for the second quarter 2005 decreased compared to the comparable 2004 period as a result of increased license fee revenue and lower operating costs. Absent the acquired in-process research technology expense of $45.2 million in 2004, overall net loss for 2005 decreased over the comparable 2004 period primarily due to increased license fee revenue offset by increased operating expenses for the clinical development of GRN163L and the expense for the warrant valuation related to consulting services.
LIQUIDITY AND CAPITAL RESOURCES
Cash, restricted cash, cash equivalents and marketable securities at June 30, 2005 totaled $127.0 million compared to $120.5 million at December 31, 2004. We have an investment policy to invest these funds in liquid, investment grade securities, such as interest-bearing money market funds, corporate notes, commercial paper, asset-backed securities and municipal securities. The increase in cash, restricted cash, cash equivalents and marketable securities in 2005 was due to the receipt of $12.5 million in net cash proceeds from the exercise of warrants, $4.0 million in proceeds from the sale of common stock to Hong Kong investors and $4.0 million in connection with the stART Licensing, Inc. joint venture.
Cash Flows from Operating Activities. Net cash used in operations was $9.0 million for the six months ended June 30, 2005 compared to $13.6 million for the comparable 2004 period. The decrease in net cash used for operations in 2005 was primarily the result of the issuance of common stock in consideration for research materials.
Cash Flows from Investing Activities. Net cash provided in investing activities was $3.7 million for the six months ended June 30, 2005, compared to $7.7 million for the comparable 2004 period. The decrease in cash provided by investing activities reflected the purchase of marketable securities as a result of the receipt of cash from transactions previously described.
Through June 30, 2005, we have invested approximately $14.3 million in property and equipment, of which approximately $8.3 million was financed through an equipment financing arrangement. Minimum annual payments due under the equipment financing facility are expected to total $58,000 for the remainder of 2005 and $55,000 in 2006. As of June 30, 2005, we had approximately $1.3 million available for borrowing under our equipment financing facilities. The drawdown period under the equipment financing facilities expires on September 30, 2005. We intend to renew the commitment for new equipment financing facilities in 2005 to further fund equipment purchases. If we are unable to renew the commitment, we will be obliged to use our own cash resources for capital expenditures.
Cash Flows from Financing Activities. Net cash provided by financing activities for the six months ended June 30, 2005 was $17.0 million, compared to $1.1 million for the comparable 2004 period. The increase in net cash provided by financing activities was primarily due to the receipt of $12.5 million in proceeds from the exercise of warrants issued to institutional investors in November 2004 and $4.0 million in proceeds from the sale of Geron common stock to Hong Kong investors.
As of June 30, 2005, our contractual obligations for the next five years and thereafter are as follows:
(1) This table does not include any milestone payments under research collaborations or license agreements as the timing and likelihood of such payments are not known.
(2) In March 2004, we issued 363,039 shares of our common stock to the lessor of our premises at 200 and 230 Constitution Drive in payment of our monthly rental obligation from February 1, 2004 through July 31, 2008. The fair value of the common stock has been recorded as a prepaid asset and is being amortized to rent expense on a straight-line basis over the lease period.
(3) Research funding is comprised of sponsored research commitments at various laboratories around the world, including the Roslin Institute.
We estimate that our existing capital resources, interest income and equipment financing facilities will be sufficient to fund our current level of operations through at least June 2007. Changes in our research and development plans or other changes affecting our operating expenses or cash balances may result in the expenditure of available resources before such time, and in any event, we will need to raise substantial additional capital to fund our operations in the future. We intend to seek additional funding through strategic collaborations, public or private equity financings, equipment loans or other financing sources that may be available.
Recent Accounting Pronouncements
See Note 1 of notes to condensed consolidated financial statements for a description of new accounting pronouncements.
ADDITIONAL FACTORS THAT MAY AFFECT FUTURE RESULTS
Our business is subject to various risks, including those described below. You should carefully consider these risk factors, together with all of the other information included in this Form 10-Q. Any of these risks could materially adversely affect our business, operating results and financial condition.
Our business is at an early stage of development.
Our business is at an early stage of development, in that we do not yet have product candidates in late-stage clinical trials or on the market. Only one of our product candidates, a telomerase therapeutic cancer vaccine, is in clinical trials. This product is being studied in a Phase 1-2 clinical trial being conducted by an academic institution. Our lead anti-cancer drug compound GRN163L has received FDA clearance to begin clinical testing in patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia. Our ability to develop product candidates that progress to and through clinical trials is subject to our ability to, among other things:
• have success with our research and development efforts;
• select therapeutic compounds for development;
• obtain the required regulatory approvals; and
• manufacture and market resulting products.
Potential lead drug compounds or product candidates identified through our research programs will require significant preclinical and clinical testing prior to regulatory approval in the United States and other countries. Our product candidates and compounds we have identified may prove to have undesirable and unintended side effects or other characteristics adversely affecting their safety, efficacy or cost-effectiveness that could prevent or limit their commercial use. In addition, our product candidates may not prove to be more effective for treating disease or injury than current therapies. Accordingly, we may have to delay or abandon efforts to research, develop or obtain regulatory approval to market our product candidates. In addition, we will need to determine whether any of our potential products can be manufactured in commercial quantities at an acceptable cost. Our research and development efforts may not result in a product that can be approved by regulators or marketed successfully. Because of the significant scientific, regulatory and commercial milestones that must be reached for any of our development programs to be successful, any program may be abandoned, even after we have expended significant resources on the program, such as our investments in telomerase technology and human embryonic stem cells, which could cause a sharp drop in our stock price.
The science and technology of telomere biology and telomerase, human embryonic stem cells, and nuclear transfer are relatively new. There is no precedent for the successful commercialization of product candidates based on our technologies. These development programs are therefore particularly risky.
We have a history of losses and anticipate future losses, and continued losses could impair our ability to sustain operations.
We have incurred operating losses every year since our operations began in 1990. As of June 30, 2005, our accumulated net loss was approximately $348.8 million. Losses have resulted principally from costs incurred in connection with our research and development activities and from general and administrative costs associated with our operations. We expect to incur additional operating losses and, as our development efforts and clinical testing activities continue, our operating losses may increase in size. Substantially all of our revenues to date have been research support payments under collaboration agreements and revenues from our licensing arrangements. We may be unsuccessful in entering into any new corporate collaboration that results in revenues. We do not expect that the revenues generated from these arrangements will be sufficient alone to continue or expand our research or development activities and otherwise sustain our operations.
We are unable to estimate at this time whether we will ever receive substantial revenue from the sale of diagnostic product candidates and telomerase-immortalized cell lines, and do not currently expect to receive sufficient revenues from the sale of these product candidates, if developed, to sustain our operations. Our ability to continue or expand our research activities and otherwise sustain our operations is dependent on our ability, alone or with others, to, among other things, manufacture and market therapeutic products.
We also expect to experience negative cash flow for the foreseeable future as we fund our operating losses and capital expenditures. This will result in decreases in our working capital, total assets and stockholders’ equity, which may not be offset by future financings. We will need to generate significant revenues to achieve profitability. We may not be able to generate these revenues, and we may never achieve profitability. Our failure to achieve profitability could negatively impact the market price of our common stock. Even if we do become profitable, we cannot assure you that we would be able to sustain or increase profitability on a quarterly or annual basis.
We will need additional capital to conduct our operations and develop our products, and our ability to obtain the necessary funding is uncertain.
We will require substantial capital resources in order to conduct our operations and develop our candidates, and we cannot assure you that our existing capital resources, interest income and equipment financing arrangements will be sufficient to fund our current and planned operations. The timing and degree of any future capital requirements will depend on many factors, including:
We do not have any committed sources of capital. Additional financing through strategic collaborations, public or private equity financings, capital lease transactions or other financing sources may not be available on acceptable terms, or at all. The receptivity of the public and private equity markets to proposed financings is substantially affected by the general economic, market and political climate and by other factors which are unpredictable and over which we have no control. Additional equity financings, if we obtain them, could result in significant dilution to stockholders. Further, in the event that additional funds are obtained through arrangements with collaborative partners, these arrangements may require us to relinquish rights to some of our technologies, product candidates or products that we would otherwise seek to develop and commercialize ourselves. If sufficient capital is not available, we may be required to delay, reduce the scope of or eliminate one or more of our programs, any of which could have a material adverse effect on our business.
Some of our competitors may develop technologies that are superior to or more cost-effective than ours, which may impact the commercial viability of our technologies and which may significantly damage our ability to sustain operations.
The pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries are intensely competitive. Other pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies and research organizations currently engage in or have in the past engaged in efforts related to the biological mechanisms that are the focus of our programs in oncology and human embryonic stem cell therapies, including the study of telomeres, telomerase, human embryonic stem cells, and nuclear transfer. In addition, other products and therapies that could compete directly with the product candidates that we are seeking to develop and market currently exist or are being developed by pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical companies and by academic and other research organizations.
Many companies are developing alternative therapies to treat cancer and, in this regard, are competitors of ours. According to public data from the FDA and NIH, there are more than 100 approved anti-cancer products on the market in the United States, and several hundred in clinical development. Many of the pharmaceutical companies developing and marketing these competing products (including GlaxoSmithKline, Bristol-Myers Squibb Company and Novartis AG, among others) have significantly greater financial resources and expertise than we do in:
Smaller companies may also prove to be significant competitors, particularly through collaborative arrangements with large and established companies. Academic institutions, government agencies and other public and private research organizations may also conduct research, seek patent protection and establish collaborative arrangements for research, clinical development and marketing of products similar to ours. These companies and institutions compete with us in recruiting and retaining qualified scientific and management personnel as well as in acquiring technologies complementary to our programs.
In addition to the above factors, we expect to face competition in the following areas:
As a result of the foregoing, our competitors may develop more effective or more affordable products, or achieve earlier patent protection or product commercialization than we do. Most significantly, competitive products may render any product candidates that we develop obsolete, which would negatively impact our business and ability to sustain operations.
Restrictions on the use of human embryonic stem cells, and the ethical, legal and social implications of that research, could prevent us from developing or gaining acceptance for commercially viable products in these areas.
Some of our most important programs involve the use of stem cells that are derived from human embryos. The use of human embryonic stem cells gives rise to ethical, legal and social issues regarding the appropriate use of these cells. In the event that our research related to human embryonic stem cells becomes the subject of adverse commentary or publicity, the market price for our common stock could be significantly harmed.
Some political and religious groups have voiced opposition to our technology and practices. We use stem cells derived from human embryos that have been created for in vitro fertilization procedures but are no longer desired or suitable for that use and are donated with appropriate informed consent for research use. Many research institutions, including some of our scientific collaborators, have adopted policies regarding the ethical use of human embryonic tissue. These policies may have the effect of limiting the scope of research conducted using human embryonic stem cells, thereby impairing our ability to conduct research in this field.
In addition, the United States government and its agencies have until recently refused to fund research which involves the use of human embryonic tissue. President Bush announced on August 9, 2001 that he would permit federal funding of research on human embryonic stem cells using the limited number of embryonic stem cell lines that had already been created, but relatively few federal grants have been made so far. The President’s Council on Bioethics will monitor stem cell research, and the guidelines and regulations it recommends may include restrictions on the scope of research using human embryonic or fetal tissue. The Council issued a report in July 2002 that recommended “that the federal government undertake a thorough-going review of present and projected practices of human embryo research, with the aim of establishing appropriate institutions to advise and shape federal policy in this arena.” Certain states are considering, or have in place, legislation relating to stem cell research, including California whose voters approved Proposition 71 to provide state funds for stem cell research in November 2004. It is not yet clear what, if any, effect such state actions may have on our ability to commercialize stem cell products. In the United Kingdom and other countries, the use of embryonic or fetal tissue in research (including the derivation of human embryonic stem cells) is regulated by the government, whether or not the research involves government funding.
Government-imposed restrictions with respect to use of embryos or human embryonic stem cells in research and development could have a material adverse effect on us, by:
Potential restrictions or a ban on nuclear transfer could prevent us from benefiting financially from our research in this area.
Our nuclear transfer technology could theoretically be used to produce human embryos for the derivation of embryonic stem cells (sometimes referred to as “therapeutic cloning”) or cloned humans (sometimes referred to as “reproductive cloning”). The U.S. Congress has recently considered legislation that would ban human therapeutic cloning as well as reproductive cloning. Such a bill was passed by the House of Representatives, although not by the Senate. The July 2002 report of the President’s Council on Bioethics recommended a four-year moratorium on therapeutic cloning. If human therapeutic cloning is restricted or banned, we will not be able to benefit from the scientific knowledge that would be generated by research in that area. Finally, if regulatory bodies were to restrict or ban the sale of food products from cloned animals, our financial participation in the business of our nuclear transfer licensees or value of our ownership in stART Licensing could be significantly harmed.
We do not have experience as a company in the regulatory approval process, conducting large scale clinical trials, or other areas required for the successful commercialization and marketing of our product candidates.
All of our product candidates are currently in early stages of product development. We will need to receive regulatory approval for any product candidates before they may be marketed and distributed. Such approval will require, among other things, completing carefully controlled and well-designed clinical trials demonstrating the safety and efficacy of each product candidate. This process is lengthy, expensive and uncertain. We currently have no experience as a company in conducting such trials. Such trials would require either additional financial and management resources, or reliance on third-party clinical investigators or clinical research organizations (CROs). Relying on third-party clinical investigators or CROs may force us to encounter delays that are outside of our control.
We also do not currently have marketing and distribution capabilities for our product candidates. Developing an internal sales and distribution capability would be an expensive and time-consuming process. We may enter into agreements with third parties that would be responsible for marketing and distribution. However, these third parties may not be capable of successfully selling any of our product candidates.
Entry into clinical trials with one or more product candidates may not result in any commercially viable products.
We may never generate revenues from product sales because of a variety of risks inherent in our business, including the following risks:
Our only product candidate that is in clinical testing is the telomerase cancer vaccine, for which we have only early and preliminary results. Early stage testing may not be indicative of successful outcomes in later stage trials.
Impairment of our intellectual property rights may limit our ability to pursue the development of our intended technologies and products.
Protection of our proprietary technology is critically important to our business. Our success will depend in part on our ability to obtain and enforce our patents and maintain trade secrets, both in the United States and in other countries. The patent positions of pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical companies, including ours, are highly uncertain and involve complex legal and technical questions. In particular, legal principles for biotechnology patents in the United States and in other countries are evolving, and the extent to which we will be able to obtain patent coverage to protect our technology, or enforce issued patents, is uncertain. For example, the European Patent Convention prohibits the granting of European patents for inventions that concern “uses of human embryos for industrial or commercial purposes.” The European Patent Office is presently interpreting this prohibition broadly, and is applying it to reject patent claims that pertain to human embryonic stem cells. However, this broad interpretation is being challenged through the European Patent Office appeals system. As a result, we do not yet know whether or to what extent we will be able to obtain European patent protection for our human embryonic stem cell technologies in Europe. Further, our patents may be challenged, invalidated or circumvented, and our patent rights may not provide proprietary protection or competitive advantages to us. In the event that we are unsuccessful in obtaining and enforcing patents, our business would be negatively impacted.
Publication of discoveries in scientific or patent literature tends to lag behind actual discoveries by at least several months and sometimes several years. Therefore, the persons or entities that we or our licensors name as inventors in our patents and patent applications may not have been the first to invent the inventions disclosed in the patent applications or patents, or the first to file patent applications for these inventions. As a result, we may not be able to obtain patents for discoveries that we otherwise would consider patentable and that we consider to be extremely significant to our future success.
Where several parties seek patent protection for the same technology, the U.S. Patent Office may declare an interference proceeding in order to ascertain the party to which the patent should be issued. Patent interferences are typically complex, highly contested legal proceedings, subject to appeal. They are usually expensive and prolonged, and can cause significant delay in the issuance of patents. Moreover, parties that receive an adverse decision in an interference can lose important patent rights. Our pending patent applications, or our issued patents, may be drawn into interference proceedings which may delay or prevent the issuance of patents, or result in the loss of issued patent rights.
The interference process can also be used to challenge a patent that has been issued to another party. For example, in 2004, we were involved with two interferences declared by the U.S. Patent Office at our request and involving two of our pending applications relating to nuclear transfer and two issued patents, held by the University of Massachusetts (U. Mass) and licensed to Advanced Cell Technology (ACT) of Worcester, Massachusetts. We requested these interferences in order to clarify our patent rights in nuclear transfer technology. The Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences has now issued final judgments in each of these cases, finding in both instances that all of the claims in the U. Mass patents in question were unpatentable, and upholding the patentability of Geron’s pending claims. These judgments effectively invalidated the two U. Mass patents. Both judgments have been appealed by ACT. We have also filed requests with other U. Mass patents in the same field. As in any legal proceeding, the outcome of these interferences and the appeals is uncertain. In March 2002, an interference was declared involving a Geron nuclear transfer patent application and a patent application held by Infigen Inc. That interference was resolved in 2004 with a final judgment in our favor; that judgment was not appealed.
Outside of the United States, certain jurisdictions, such as Europe and Australia, permit oppositions to be filed against the granting of patents. Because our intent is to commercialize products internationally, securing both proprietary protection and freedom to operate outside of the United States is important to our business. We are involved in both opposing the grant of patents to others through such opposition proceedings and in defending against oppositions filed by others. For example, we have filed an opposition to a European patent granted to GemVax AS, a Norwegian company, relating to the use of telomerase peptides for the treatment and prophylaxis of cancer, and GemVax has filed an opposition to a European patent granted to us relating to telomerase, including the use of telomerase in cancer vaccines. These are among a number of overseas patent oppositions in which we are currently engaged.
If interferences, oppositions or other challenges to our patent rights are not resolved promptly in our favor, our existing business relationships may be jeopardized and we could be delayed or prevented from entering into new collaborations or from commercializing certain products, which could materially harm our business.
Patent litigation may also be necessary to enforce patents issued or licensed to us or to determine the scope and validity of our proprietary rights or the proprietary rights of others. We may not be successful in any patent litigation. Patent litigation can be extremely expensive and time-consuming, even if the outcome is favorable to us. An adverse outcome in a patent litigation or any other proceeding in a court or patent office could subject our business to significant liabilities to other parties, require disputed rights to be licensed from other parties or require us to cease using the disputed technology, any of which could severely harm our business.
If we fail to meet our obligations under license agreements, we may lose our rights to key technologies on which our business depends.
Our business depends on several critical technologies that are based in part on patents licensed from third parties. Those third-party license agreements impose obligations on us, such as payment obligations and obligations to diligently pursue development of commercial products under the licensed patents. If a licensor believes that we have failed to meet our obligations under a license agreement, the licensor could seek to limit or terminate our license rights, which could lead to costly and time-consuming litigation and, potentially, a loss of the licensed rights. During the period of any such litigation our ability to carry out the development and commercialization of potential products could be significantly and negatively affected. If our license rights were restricted or ultimately lost, our ability to continue our business based on the affected technology platform would be severely adversely affected.
We may be subject to litigation that will be costly to defend or pursue and uncertain in its outcome.
Our business may bring us into conflict with our licensees, licensors, or others with whom we have contractual or other business relationships, or with our competitors or others whose interests differ from ours. If we are unable to resolve those conflicts on terms that are satisfactory to all parties, we may become involved in litigation brought by or against us. That litigation is likely to be expensive and may require a significant amount of management’s time and attention, at the expense of other aspects of our business. The outcome of litigation is always uncertain, and in some cases could include judgments against us that require us to pay damages, enjoin us from certain activities, or otherwise affect our legal or contractual rights, which could have a significant adverse effect on our business.
We may be subject to infringement claims that are costly to defend, and which may limit our ability to use disputed technologies and prevent us from pursuing research and development or commercialization of potential products.
Our commercial success depends significantly on our ability to operate without infringing patents and the proprietary rights of others. Our technologies may infringe the patents or proprietary rights of others. In addition, we may become aware of discoveries and technology controlled by third parties that are advantageous to our research programs. In the event our technologies infringe on the rights of others or we require the use of discoveries and technology controlled by third parties, we may be prevented from pursuing research, development or commercialization of potential products or may be required to obtain licenses to those patents or other proprietary rights or develop or obtain alternative technologies. We may not be able to obtain alternative technologies or any required license on commercially favorable terms, if at all. If we do not obtain the necessary licenses or alternative technologies, we may be delayed or prevented from pursuing the development of some potential products. Our failure to obtain alternative technologies or a license to any technology that we may require to develop or commercialize our product candidates would significantly and negatively affect our business.
Much of the information and know-how that is critical to our business is not patentable and we may not be able to prevent others from obtaining this information and establishing competitive enterprises.
We sometimes rely on trade secrets to protect our proprietary technology, especially in circumstances in which we believe patent protection is not appropriate or available. We attempt to protect our proprietary technology in part by confidentiality agreements with our employees, consultants, collaborators and contractors. We cannot assure you that these agreements will not be breached, that we would have adequate remedies for any breach, or that our trade secrets will not otherwise become known or be independently discovered by competitors, any of which would harm our business significantly.
We depend on our collaborators and joint venture partners to help us develop and test our product candidates, and our ability to develop and commercialize products may be impaired or delayed if collaborations are unsuccessful.
Our strategy for the development, clinical testing and commercialization of our product candidates requires that we enter into collaborations with corporate or joint venture partners, licensors, licensees and others. We are dependent upon the subsequent success of these other parties in performing their respective responsibilities and the continued cooperation of our partners. For example, third parties are principally responsible for developing oncolytic virus therapeutics and cancer diagnostics using our telomerase technology and an academic institution is conducting the current clinical trials of the telomerase therapeutic cancer vaccine. Our collaborators may not cooperate with us or perform their obligations under our agreements with them. We cannot control the amount and timing of our collaborators’ resources that will be devoted to our research and development activities related to our collaborative agreements with them. Our collaborators may choose to pursue existing or alternative technologies in preference to those being developed in collaboration with us.
Under agreements with collaborators and joint venture partners, we may rely significantly on such collaborators to, among other activities:
The development and commercialization of potential products will be delayed if collaborators or joint venture partners fail to conduct these activities in a timely manner or at all. In addition, our collaborators could terminate their agreements with us and we may not receive any development or milestone payments. If we do not achieve milestones set forth in the agreements, or if our collaborators breach or terminate their collaborative agreements with us, our business may be materially harmed.
Our reliance on the activities of our non-employee consultants, research institutions, and scientific contractors, whose activities are not wholly within our control, may lead to delays in development of our product candidates.
We rely extensively upon and have relationships with scientific consultants at academic and other institutions, some of whom conduct research at our request, and other consultants with expertise in clinical development strategy or other matters. These consultants are not our employees and may have commitments to, or consulting or advisory contracts with, other entities that may limit their availability to us. We have limited control over the activities of these consultants and, except as otherwise required by our collaboration and consulting agreements, can expect only limited amounts of their time to be dedicated to our activities.
In addition, we have formed research collaborations with many academic and other research institutions throughout the world. These research facilities may have commitments to other commercial and non-commercial entities. We have limited control over the operations of these laboratories and can expect only limited amounts of time to be dedicated to our research goals.
We also rely on other companies for certain process development or other technical scientific work, especially with respect to our telomerase inhibitor programs. We have contracts with these companies that specify the work to be done and results to be achieved, but we do not have direct control over their personnel or operations.
If any of these third parties are unable or refuse to contribute to projects on which we need their help, our ability to generate advances in our technologies and develop our product candidates could be significantly harmed.
The loss of key personnel could slow our ability to conduct research and develop product candidates.
Our future success depends to a significant extent on the skills, experience and efforts of our executive officers and key members of our scientific staff. Competition for personnel is intense and we may be unable to retain our current personnel or attract or assimilate other highly qualified management and scientific personnel in the future. The loss of any or all of these individuals could harm our business and might significantly delay or prevent the achievement of research, development or business objectives.
We also rely on consultants and advisors who assist us in formulating our research and development and clinical strategy. We face intense competition for qualified individuals from numerous pharmaceutical, biopharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, as well as academic and other research institutions. We may not be able to attract and retain these individuals on acceptable terms. Failure to do so would materially harm our business.
We may not be able to obtain or maintain sufficient insurance on commercially reasonable terms or with adequate coverage against potential liabilities in order to protect ourselves against product liability claims.
Our business exposes us to potential product liability risks that are inherent in the testing, manufacturing and marketing of human therapeutic and diagnostic products. We may become subject to product liability claims if the use of our products is alleged to have injured subjects or patients. This risk exists for products tested in human clinical trials as well as products that are sold commercially. We currently have no clinical trial liability insurance and we may not be able to obtain and maintain this type of insurance for any of our clinical trials. In addition, product liability insurance is becoming increasingly expensive. As a result, we may not be able to obtain or maintain product liability insurance in the future on acceptable terms or with adequate coverage against potential liabilities which could have a material adverse effect on our business.
Because we or our collaborators must obtain regulatory approval to market our products in the United States and other countries, we cannot predict whether or when we will be permitted to commercialize our products.
Federal, state and local governments in the United States and governments in other countries have significant regulations in place that govern many of our activities. The preclinical testing and clinical trials of the products that we or our collaborators develop are subject to extensive government regulation that may prevent us from creating commercially viable product candidates from our discoveries. In addition, the sale by us or our collaborators of any commercially viable product will be subject to government regulation from several standpoints, including the processes of:
If, and to the extent that, we are unable to comply with these regulations, our ability to earn revenues will be materially and negatively impacted.
The regulatory process, particularly for biopharmaceutical product candidates like ours, is uncertain, can take many years and requires the expenditures of substantial resources. Any product candidate that we or our collaborative partners develop must receive all relevant regulatory agency approvals or clearances before it is marketed in the United States or other countries. Biological drugs and non-biological drugs are rigorously regulated. In particular, human pharmaceutical therapeutic product candidates are subject to rigorous preclinical and clinical testing and other requirements by the Food and Drug Administration in the United States and similar health authorities in other countries in order to demonstrate safety and efficacy. Because certain of our product candidates involve the application of new technologies or are based upon a new therapeutic approach, they may be subject to substantial additional review by various government regulatory authorities, and as a result, the process of obtaining regulatory approvals for them may proceed more slowly than for product candidates based upon more conventional technologies. We may never obtain regulatory approval to market our product candidates.
Data obtained from preclinical and clinical activities is susceptible to varying interpretations that could delay, limit or prevent regulatory agency approvals or clearances. In addition, delays or rejections may be encountered as a result of changes in regulatory agency policy during the period of product development and/or the period of review of any application for regulatory agency approval or clearance for a product candidate. Delays in obtaining regulatory agency approvals or clearances could
Even if we commit the necessary time and resources, the required regulatory agency approvals or clearances may not be obtained for any product candidates developed by or in collaboration with us. If we obtain regulatory agency approval or clearance for a new product, this approval or clearance may entail limitations on the indicated uses for which it can be marketed that could limit the potential commercial use of the product. Furthermore, approved products and their manufacturers are subject to continual review, and discovery of previously unknown problems with a product or its manufacturer may result in restrictions on the product or manufacturer, including withdrawal of the product from the market. Failure to comply with regulatory requirements can result in severe civil and criminal penalties, including but not limited to:
The imposition of any of these penalties could significantly impair our business, financial condition and results of operations.
To be successful, our product candidates must be accepted by the health care community, which can be very slow to adopt or unreceptive to new technologies and products.
Our product candidates and those developed by our collaborative partners, if approved for marketing, may not achieve market acceptance since hospitals, physicians, patients or the medical community in general may decide not to accept and utilize these products. The product candidates that we are attempting to develop represent substantial departures from established treatment methods and will compete with a number of more conventional drugs and therapies manufactured and marketed by major pharmaceutical companies. The degree of market acceptance of any of our developed products will depend on a number of factors, including:
If the health care community does not accept our products for any of the foregoing reasons, or for any other reason, our business would be materially harmed.
If we fail to obtain acceptable prices or adequate reimbursement for our product candidates, the use of our potential products could be severely limited.
Our ability to successfully commercialize our product candidates will depend significantly on our ability to obtain acceptable prices and the availability of reimbursement to the patient from third-party payors. Significant uncertainty exists as to the reimbursement status of newly-approved health care products, including pharmaceuticals. If our products are not considered cost-effective or if we fail to generate adequate third-party reimbursement for the users of our potential products and treatments, then we may be unable to maintain price levels sufficient to realize an appropriate return on our investment in product development.
In both U.S. and other markets, sales of our potential products, if any, will depend in part on the availability of reimbursement from third-party payors, examples of which include:
Both federal and state governments in the United States and governments in other countries continue to propose and pass legislation designed to contain or reduce the cost of health care. Legislation and regulations affecting the pricing of pharmaceuticals and other medical products may be adopted before any of our potential products are approved for marketing. Cost control initiatives could decrease the price that we receive for any product candidate we may develop in the future. In addition, third-party payors are increasingly challenging the price and cost-effectiveness of medical products and services and any of our potential products may ultimately not be considered cost-effective by these third parties. Any of these initiatives or developments could materially harm our business.
Our products are likely to be expensive to manufacture, and they may not be profitable if we are unable to significantly reduce the costs to manufacture them.
Our telomerase inhibitor compound, GRN163L, and our hESC-based products are likely to be significantly more expensive to manufacture than most other drugs currently on the market today. Oligonucleotides are relatively large molecules with complex chemistry, and the cost of manufacturing even a short oligonucleotide like GRN163L is considerably greater than the cost of making most small-molecule drugs. Our present manufacturing processes are conducted at a relatively small scale and are at an early stage of development. We hope to substantially reduce manufacturing costs by process improvements, as well as through scale increases. If we are not able to do so, however and, depending on the pricing of the product, the profit margin on the telomerase inhibitor may be significantly less than that of most drugs on the market today. Similarly, we currently make differentiated cells from hESCs on a laboratory scale, at a high cost per unit of measure. The cell-based therapies we are developing based on hESCs will probably require large quantities of cells. We continue to develop processes to scale up production of the cells in a cost-effective way. We may not be able to charge a high enough price for any cell therapy product we develop, even if they are safe and effective, to make a profit. If we are unable to realize significant profits from our potential product candidates, our business would be materially harmed.
Our activities involve hazardous materials, and improper handling of these materials by our employees or agents could expose us to significant legal and financial penalties.
Our research and development activities involve the controlled use of hazardous materials, chemicals and various radioactive compounds. As a consequence, we are subject to numerous environmental and safety laws and regulations, including those governing laboratory procedures, exposure to blood-borne pathogens and the handling of biohazardous materials. We may be required to incur significant costs to comply with current or future environmental laws and regulations and may be adversely affected by the cost of compliance with these laws and regulations.
Although we believe that our safety procedures for using, handling, storing and disposing of hazardous materials comply with the standards prescribed by state and federal regulations, the risk of accidental contamination or injury from these materials cannot be eliminated. In the event of such an accident, state or federal authorities could curtail our use of these materials and we could be liable for any civil damages that result, the cost of which could be substantial. Further, any failure by us to control the use, disposal, removal or storage, or to adequately restrict the discharge, or assist in the cleanup, of hazardous chemicals or hazardous, infectious or toxic substances could subject us to significant liabilities, including joint and several liability under certain statutes. Any such liability could exceed our resources and could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations. Additionally, an accident could damage our research and manufacturing facilities and operations.
Additional federal, state and local laws and regulations affecting us may be adopted in the future. We may incur substantial costs to comply with these laws and regulations and substantial fines or penalties if we violate any of these laws or regulations.
Our stock price has historically been very volatile.
Stock prices and trading volumes for many biopharmaceutical companies fluctuate widely for a number of reasons, including factors which may be unrelated to their businesses or results of operations such as media coverage, legislative and regulatory measures and the activities of various interest groups or organizations. This market volatility, as well as general domestic or international economic, market and political conditions, could materially and adversely affect the market price of our common stock and the return on your investment.
Historically, our stock price has been extremely volatile. Between January 1998 and June 2005, our stock has traded as high as $75.88 per share and as low as $1.41 per share. Between January 1, 2003 and June 30, 2005, the price has ranged between a high of $16.80 per share and a low of $1.41 per share. The significant market price fluctuations of our common stock are due to a variety of factors, including:
In addition, the stock market is subject to other factors outside our control that can cause extreme price and volume fluctuations. Securities class action litigation has often been brought against companies, including many biotechnology companies, which experience volatility in the market price of their securities. Litigation brought against us could result in substantial costs and a diversion of management’s attention and resources, which could adversely affect our business.
The sale of a substantial number of shares may adversely affect the market price for our common stock.
Sale of a substantial number of shares of our common stock in the public market, or the perception that such sales could occur, could significantly and negatively affect the market price for our common stock. As of June 30, 2005, we had 55,456,980 shares of common stock outstanding. Of these shares, approximately 34,293,297 shares have been registered pursuant to shelf registration statements, and therefore may be resold (if not sold prior to the date hereof) in the public market. Approximately 4,521,139 of the remaining shares may be resold pursuant to Rule 144 into the public markets.
In addition, we have issued common stock to certain parties, such as vendors and service providers, as payment for products and services. Under these arrangements, we typically agree to register the shares for resale soon after their issuance. We may continue to pay for certain goods and services in this manner, which would dilute your interest in Geron. Also, sales of the shares issued in this manner could negatively affect the market price of our stock.
Our undesignated preferred stock may inhibit potential acquisition bids; this may adversely affect the market price for our common stock and the voting rights of the holders of our common stock.
Our certificate of incorporation provides our Board of Directors with the authority to issue up to 3,000,000 shares of undesignated preferred stock and to determine the rights, preferences, privileges and restrictions of these shares without further vote or action by the stockholders. As of the date of this 10-Q, 50,000 shares of preferred stock have been designated Series A Junior Participating Preferred Stock and the Board of Directors still has authority to designate and issue up to 2,950,000 shares of preferred stock. The issuance of shares of preferred stock may delay or prevent a change in control transaction without further action by our stockholders. As a result, the market price of our common stock may be adversely affected.
In addition, if we issue preferred stock in the future that has preference over our common stock with respect to the payment of dividends or upon our liquidation, dissolution or winding up, or if we issue preferred stock with voting rights that dilute the voting power of our common stock, the rights of holders of our common stock or the market price of our common stock could be adversely affected.
Provisions in our share purchase rights plan, charter and bylaws, and provisions of Delaware law, may inhibit potential acquisition bids for us, which may prevent holders of our common stock from benefiting from what they believe may be the positive aspects of acquisitions and takeovers.
Our Board of Directors has adopted a share purchase rights plan, commonly referred to as a “poison pill.” This plan entitles existing stockholders to rights, including the right to purchase shares of common stock, in the event of an acquisition of 15% or more of our outstanding common stock. Our share purchase rights plan could prevent stockholders from profiting from an increase in the market value of their shares as a result of a change of control of Geron by delaying or preventing a change of control. In addition, our Board of Directors has the authority, without further action by our stockholders, to issue additional shares of common stock, and to fix the rights and preferences of one or more series of preferred stock.
In addition to our share purchase rights plan and the undesignated preferred stock, provisions of our charter documents and bylaws may make it substantially more difficult for a third party to acquire control of us and may prevent changes in our management, including provisions that:
Provisions of Delaware law may also inhibit potential acquisition bids for us or prevent us from engaging in business combinations. Either collectively or individually, these provisions may prevent holders of our common stock from benefiting from what they may believe are the positive aspects of acquisitions and takeovers, including the potential realization of a higher rate of return on their investment from these types of transactions.
In addition, we have severance agreements with several employees and a change of control severance plan which could require an acquiror to pay a higher price.
We do not intend to pay cash dividends on our common stock in the foreseeable future.
We do not anticipate paying cash dividends on our common stock in the foreseeable future. Any payment of cash dividends will depend upon our financial condition, results of operations, capital requirements and other factors and will be at the discretion of the Board of Directors. Furthermore, we may incur additional indebtedness that may severely restrict or prohibit the payment of dividends.
The following discussion about our market risk disclosures contains forward-looking statements. Actual results could differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking statements. We are exposed to market risk related to changes in interest rates and foreign currency exchange rates. We do not use derivative financial instruments for speculative or trading purposes.
Credit Risk. We place our cash, restricted cash, cash equivalents, and marketable securities with three financial institutions in the United States. Generally, these deposits may be redeemed upon demand and therefore, bear minimal risk. Deposits with banks may exceed the amount of insurance provided on such deposits. Financial instruments that potentially subject us to concentrations of credit risk consist primarily of marketable securities. Marketable securities consist of high-grade corporate bonds and U.S. government agency securities. Our investment policy, approved by our Board of Directors, limits the amount we may invest in any one type of investment, thereby reducing credit risk concentrations.
Interest Rate Sensitivity. The fair value of our cash equivalents and marketable securities at June 30, 2005 was $124.6 million. These investments include $20.1 million of cash equivalents which are due in less than 90 days, $97.2 million of short-term investments which are due in less than one year and $7.3 million in long-term investments which are due in one to two years. Our investment policy is to manage our marketable securities portfolio to preserve principal and liquidity while maximizing the return on the investment portfolio through the full investment of available funds. We diversify the marketable securities portfolio by investing in multiple types of investment grade securities. We primarily invest our marketable securities portfolio in short-term securities with at least an investment grade rating to minimize interest rate and credit risk as well as to provide for an immediate source of funds. Although changes in interest rates may affect the fair value of the marketable securities portfolio and cause unrealized gains or losses, such gains or losses would not be realized unless the investments are sold. Due to the nature of our investments, which are primarily corporate notes and money market funds, we have concluded that there is no material market risk exposure related to interest rates.
Foreign Currency Exchange Risk. Because we translate foreign currencies into United States dollars for reporting purposes, currency fluctuations can have an impact, though generally immaterial, on our results. We believe that our exposure to currency exchange fluctuation risk is insignificant primarily because our international subsidiary satisfies its financial obligations almost exclusively in its local currency. As of June 30, 2005, there was an immaterial currency exchange impact from our intercompany transactions. However, our financial obligations to the Roslin Institute are stated in British pounds sterling over the next year. This obligation may become more expensive for us if the United States dollar becomes weaker against the British pounds sterling. As of June 30, 2005, we did not engage in foreign currency hedging activities.
(a) Evaluation of Disclosure Controls and Procedures. The Securities and Exchange Commission defines the term “disclosure controls and procedures” to mean a company’s controls and other procedures that are designed to ensure that information required to be disclosed in the reports that it files or submits under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 is recorded, processed, summarized and reported, within the time periods specified in the Commission’s rules and forms. Our chief executive officer and our chief financial officer have concluded, based on the evaluation of the effectiveness of our disclosure controls and procedures by our management, with the participation of our chief executive officer and our chief financial officer, as of the end of the period covered by this report, that our disclosure controls and procedures were effective for this purpose.
(b) Changes in Internal Controls Over Financial Reporting. There was no change in our internal control over financial reporting for the six months ended June 30, 2005 that has materially affected, or is reasonably likely to materially affect, our internal control over financial reporting.
It should be noted that any system of controls, however well designed and operated, can provide only reasonable assurance, and not absolute assurance, that the objectives of the system are met. In addition, the design of any control system is based in part upon certain assumptions about the likelihood of future events. Because of these and other inherent limitations of control systems, there can be no assurance that any design will succeed in achieving its stated goals in all future circumstances.
Recent Sale of Unregistered Securities
In April 2005, the Company issued 101,801 shares of Geron common stock to Transgenomic, Inc. as payment of the first installments under two separate addenda to our supply agreement with Transgenomic., pursuant to which Transgenomic is manufacturing certain chemicals used in producing telomerase inhibitor compounds. The fair value of the common stock has been recorded as a prepaid asset and will be amortized to research and development expense on a pro-rata basis as materials are received, which is expected to be approximately three months.
The 2005 Annual Meeting of Stockholders of the Company was held pursuant to notice on May 6, 2005, at 8:30 a.m. local time at the Company’s headquarters, 230 Constitution Drive, Menlo Park, California. There were present at the meeting, in person or represented by proxy, the holders of 49,988,086 shares of Common Stock. The matters voted on at the meeting and the votes cast were as follows:
Effective May 2005, the cash compensation for non-employee directors was revised to the following:
† Certain portions of this Exhibit, for which confidential treatment has been granted, have been omitted and filed separately with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
(b) REPORTS ON FORM 8-K
Pursuant to the requirements of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, the Registrant has duly caused this Report to be signed on its behalf by the undersigned, thereunto duly authorized.
† Certain portions of this Exhibit, for which confidential treatment has been granted, have been omitted and filed separately with the Securities and Exchange Commission.