SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549
ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the fiscal year ended
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
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
(State or other jurisdiction of
incorporation or organization)
(Address of principal executive offices)
Registrant’s telephone number, including area code: (
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
Title of each class
Name of each exchange on which registered
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: None
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act. Yes ☐
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Act. Yes ☐
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.
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files).
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, smaller reporting company, or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company,” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.
Large accelerated filer
Smaller reporting company
Emerging growth company
If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act.
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed a report on and attestation to its management’s assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 U.S.C. 7262(b)) by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its audit report.
If securities are registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act, indicate by check mark whether the financial statements of the registrant included in the filing reflect the correction of an error to previously issued financial statements. ☐
Indicate by check mark whether any of those error corrections are restatements that required a recovery analysis of incentive-based compensation received by any of the registrant’s executive officers during the relevant recovery period pursuant to §240.10D-1(b). ☐
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act). Yes ☐ No
As of June 30, 2022, the aggregate market value of the voting and non-voting common equity held by non-affiliates of the registrant was approximately $
The number of shares of registrant’s Common Stock outstanding as of February 15, 2023 was
DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE
Portions of the registrant’s definitive Proxy Statement to be filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission in connection with the registrant’s 2023 Annual Meeting of Stockholders, which will be filed subsequent to the date hereof, are incorporated by reference into Part III of this Form 10-K. Such Proxy Statement will be filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission not later than 120 days following the end of the registrant’s fiscal year ended December 31, 2022. Except with respect to information specifically incorporated by reference, the Proxy Statement is not deemed to be filed as part of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
Table of Contents
Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities
Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations
Changes in and Disagreements With Accountants on Accounting and Financial Disclosure
Disclosure Regarding Foreign Jurisdictions that Prevent Inspections
Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management and Related Stockholder Matters
Certain Relationships and Related Transactions, and Director Independence
SPECIAL NOTE REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS
The following discussion and analysis should be read together with our consolidated financial statements and the notes to those statements included elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. This Annual Report on Form 10-K contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, or the Securities Act, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, or the Exchange Act, that are based on our management’s beliefs and assumptions and on information currently available to our management. In this Annual Report on Form 10-K, “we,” “us” and “our” refer to RxSight, Inc.
The forward-looking statements are contained principally in the section entitled “Risk Factors” in Part I, Item 1A of this Annual Report on Form 10-K and “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” in Part II, Item 7 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K. Forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, statements concerning the following:
Forward-looking statements include statements that are not historical facts and can be identified by terminology such as “may,” “will,” “should,” “could,” “would,” “expects,” “plans,” “intends,” “anticipates,” “believes,” “estimates,” “predicts,” “projects,” “potential,” or “continue,” or the negative of such terms and other same terminology.
Forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties, and other factors that may cause our actual results, performance, or achievements to be materially different from any future results, performance, or achievements expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements. We discuss these risks in greater detail in Part I, Item 1A, “Risk Factors,” elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. Given these uncertainties, you should not place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements. Moreover, we operate in a very competitive and rapidly changing environment. New risks emerge from time to time. It is not possible for us to predict all risks, nor can we assess the impact of all factors on our business or the extent to which any factor, or combination of factors, may cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in any forward-looking statements we may make. In light of these risks, uncertainties and assumptions, the future events and trends discussed in this Annual Report on Form 10-K may not occur and actual results could differ materially and adversely from those anticipated or implied in the forward-looking statements.
The forward-looking statements made in this Annual Report on Form 10-K relate only to events as of the date on which the statements are made. Except as required by law, we assume no obligation to update these forward-looking statements, or to update the reasons actual results could differ materially from those anticipated in these forward-looking statements, even if new information becomes available in the future.
DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF OUR FINANCIAL CONDITION
Our discussion and analysis of our financial condition and results of operations is based upon our consolidated financial statements, which have been prepared in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles in the United States, (“GAAP”). The preparation of these financial statements requires us to make estimates and judgments that affect the reported amounts of assets, liabilities, revenues and expenses. On an ongoing basis, we evaluate our estimates including those related to revenue recognition, the realization of income tax assets and estimates of tax liabilities, and obsolete, excess and slow-moving inventory. We base our estimates on historical experience and on various other assumptions we believe to be reasonable under the circumstances, the results of which form the basis for making judgments about the carrying values of assets and liabilities not readily apparent from other sources. Actual results may differ materially from these estimates.
INDUSTRY, BUSINESS AND MARKET DATA
This Annual Report on Form 10-K also contains estimates, projections and other information concerning our industry, our business, and market opportunity, including data regarding the estimated size of the market. Information that is based on estimates, forecasts, projections, market research or similar methodologies is inherently subject to uncertainties and actual events or circumstances may differ materially from events and circumstances reflected in this information. Unless otherwise expressly stated, we obtained this industry, business, market and other data from reports, research surveys, studies and similar data prepared by market research firms and other third parties, industry, medical and general publications, government data and similar sources.
TRADEMARKS, SERVICE MARKS AND TRADE NAMES
This Annual Report on Form 10-K contains references to trademarks and service marks belonging to other entities. Solely for convenience, trademarks and trade names referred to in this Annual Report on Form 10-K may appear without the ® or TM symbols, but such references are not intended to indicate, in any way, that the applicable licensor will not assert, to the fullest extent under applicable law, its rights to these trademarks and trade names. We do not intend our use or display of other companies’ trade names, trademarks or service marks to imply a relationship with, or endorsement or sponsorship of it by, any other companies.
Item 1. Business
We are a commercial-stage medical technology company dedicated to improving the vision of patients following cataract surgery. Our proprietary RxSight® Light Adjustable Lens system (“RxSight system”) is the first and only commercially available premium cataract technology that enables doctors to customize and optimize visual acuity for patients after surgery. The RxSight system is comprised of our RxSight Light Adjustable Lens® (“LAL®”), RxSight Light Delivery Device (“LDD”) and accessories. Our LAL is a premium intraocular lens (“IOL”) made of proprietary photosensitive material that changes shape in response to specific patterns of ultraviolet (“UV”) light generated by our LDD.
We designed our RxSight system to address the shortcomings of competitive premium IOL technologies and provide a solution that doctors can trust to improve visual outcomes and achieve high levels of patient satisfaction. Competitive premium IOLs require patients to specify their visual priorities before surgery and be willing to accept various optical trade-offs associated with those choices. Once a patient has selected a competitive premium IOL, the surgeon must rely on a series of preoperative diagnostic tests and predictive formulae to choose the appropriate lens power. If the doctor’s prediction is suboptimal, then the patient may experience suboptimal results that could necessitate a subsequent corneal refractive procedure or certain other compromises in order to reach vision targets.
In contrast, with the RxSight system, the surgeon implants the LAL as they would in any other cataract procedure, determines refractive error with patient input several weeks following surgery and then uses the LDD to modify the LAL with the precise visual correction needed to achieve the patient’s desired vision outcomes. We believe our RxSight system provides doctors and patients increased confidence and peace of mind by eliminating the high-stakes preoperative guesswork common to competitive premium IOLs and allowing patients to iterate their final vision characteristics with customized post-surgical adjustments.
A cataract is the loss of transparency in the eye’s natural lens, which causes blurry or hazy vision and can eventually lead to blindness. Approximately 50% of all individuals develop some form of cataracts by age 60, usually in both eyes, and prevalence increases with age. Among the world’s most commonly performed procedures, cataract surgery involves removing the cloudy natural lens and replacing it with a clear IOL. Prior to surgery, patients can opt for either a spherical monofocal IOL, which usually results in improved vision but requires glasses for best vision, or a premium IOL, which also corrects for astigmatism and/or presbyopia, thereby reducing spectacle dependence. In the United States, Medicare and private insurers typically cover the full cost of spherical IOL procedures, while premium IOL procedures require patients to pay an incremental out-of-pocket fee, typically ranging from $1,000 to $4,000 per eye depending on the specific premium IOL used. In the United States, the world’s largest premium IOL market, 2022 premium procedures represented about 25% of all cataract procedures and generated approximately $760 million in revenue, a figure that is projected to grow at a 12% compound annual growth rate (“CAGR”) by 2027, according to the Market Scope 2022 Premium Cataract Surgery Market Report.
We believe that the premium cataract surgery market remains underpenetrated due to both doctors’ reluctance to recommend competitive premium IOLs to the full universe of eligible patients and patients’ confusion in assessing the associated trade-offs and side effects with competitive premium IOLs. We believe competitive premium IOLs often fail to deliver on patients’ expectations for quality vision across a range of distances without glasses. In our most recent Phase IV commercial data over 90% of patients were able to achieve 20/20 or better at distance without glasses, which is approximately twice the rate of any of the alternative IOLs. In addition, over 90% of patients were also able to read 5-point font at near vision, which is typically the size of footnotes on a page.
We believe our RxSight system offers doctors and patients a significantly more reliable approach that can consistently deliver optimal, fully customized visual outcomes with few compromises, ultimately driving broad adoption and establishing it as the standard of care for premium cataract procedures. The key benefits of our solution include:
Our commercial efforts began in 2019 and have been primarily focused in the United States, where we are building a “razor and razor blade” business model to drive new customer adoption and ongoing LAL volume growth. Our U.S. commercial organization includes a direct sales team of LDD sales personnel and LAL account managers, as well as clinical specialists, field service engineers and marketing personnel. Our sales efforts are concentrated on the roughly 3,000 U.S. cataract surgeons that perform 70%-80% of all premium IOL procedures. As of December 31, 2022, we had established an installed base of 400 LDDs in ophthalmology practices and, since our inception though December 31, 2022, surgeons have implanted over 42,000 LALs.
We plan to grow our business primarily by expanding the size of our LDD installed base and driving increased utilization of our LAL through heightened awareness of the superior clinical outcomes our RxSight system provides patients. To continue to strengthen our competitive position in the premium IOL market, our research and development activities are focused primarily on programs that improve clinical outcomes, improve customer experience, expand our indications for use, reduce manufacturing costs and lifecycle management.
Our market and industry
Cataracts and other common vision conditions
Common vision conditions can be roughly divided by two defining factors: 1) the typical age of onset and 2) whether the condition is more closely linked to the cornea, the front surface of the eye that controls about two-thirds of its focusing ability, or the natural lens, which sits behind the iris and is responsible for the eye’s remaining focusing power. From childhood through the fourth decade of life, refractive conditions related primarily to the cornea – myopia, hyperopia and astigmatism – typically have the greatest impact on visual acuity and are usually addressed with glasses and contact lenses. In adults with these conditions, corneal procedures like LASIK can reduce dependence on glasses and contact lenses.
By age 50, most people also experience presbyopia, which manifests itself as increased difficulty seeing at near and intermediate distances without glasses or contact lenses. Presbyopia occurs because the natural lens is losing its elasticity and, therefore, its ability to focus light rays on near objects. By age 60, approximately half of all individuals also develop some form of cataracts, in which the normally clear lens loses its transparency and increasingly obstructs or otherwise interferes with the passage of light to the retina. The result is blurry or hazy vision and increased sensitivity to light, particularly at night, that cannot be treated with glasses or contact lenses. Cataracts are irreversible, progressive and usually affect both eyes. Cataracts can significantly interfere with daily activities, affect quality of life and eventually cause
blindness. According to the National Eye Institute, despite the availability of effective surgical treatment, cataracts are the leading cause of blindness worldwide.
Cataract surgery is among the most common surgical procedures performed in the world and involves replacement of the patient’s natural cloudy lens with a clear artificial IOL. In the United States, the procedure is commonly performed in an outpatient setting, such as an Ambulatory Surgery Center (“ASC”), by an ophthalmologist specializing in cataract surgery and often requires only 5 to 15 minutes to complete. In most cases, surgery begins with removal of the cataractous lens through a process known as phacoemulsification. During phacoemulsification, the ophthalmic surgeon makes a small surgical incision in the cornea and inserts an ultrasonic probe that breaks up, or emulsifies, the lens while a hollow needle removes the pieces of the lens (see image 1 below). After the cataract is removed, the surgeon inserts the replacement IOL through the same surgical incision (see image 2 below). Following implantation, the IOL sits firmly in place just behind the iris (see image 3 below).
Conventional vs. premium cataract surgery
Cataract surgery is often bifurcated into two categories based on IOL type, as follows:
Healthcare payors typically cover the full cost of conventional cataract procedures. In the United States, a healthcare payor (primarily Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”)) typically provides reimbursement for a conventional cataract procedure of approximately $500 for a surgeon fee and approximately $1,000 for a facility fee, which includes the cost of a conventional monofocal IOL. Accounting for reductions in CMS reimbursement and for inflation, reimbursement
rates have decreased by two thirds since 1991. The surgeon fee covers all pre-operative cataract testing, the cataract operation and follow-up care for three months.
For U.S. premium cataract procedures, the healthcare payor (primarily CMS) reimburses the same surgeon and facility fees, but the patient pays the surgeon an additional fee between $1,000-$2,000 for implantation of a toric IOL and an average between $2,000-$4,000 for implantation of other premium lenses, which includes the cost of the premium IOL. Consequently, premium cataract procedures are between 10 and 15 times more profitable for the doctors and ophthalmology practices than conventional cataract procedures and are less impacted by changes in reimbursement rates. At the same time, because premium cataract patients pay an additional out-of-pocket fee, they tend to have high expectations that the surgeon will satisfy their desire for quality, glasses-free vision.
Our market opportunity
According to the Market Scope 2022 Premium Cataract Surgery Market Report and 2022 Market Scope IOL Report:
We believe there is an opportunity to gain market share in the premium IOL market segment and also increase the penetration of premium IOLs in the broader market by converting doctors and patients currently electing for conventional cataract surgery. We believe that the premium cataract surgery market remains underpenetrated due to both doctors’ reluctance to recommend premium IOL offerings to the full universe of eligible patients and patients’ confusion in assessing the trade-offs associated with the wide range of commercially available premium IOL offerings. Furthermore, we believe current non-adjustable premium IOL offerings often cannot deliver on patient expectations regarding their desire to see at near, intermediate and far distances without reliance on glasses and to avoid troubling side effects such as glare, halos and loss of contrast sensitivity.
We are currently focused on driving awareness and penetration of our RxSight system in the premium cataract market, and primarily concentrating our near-term commercial efforts on the United States. We believe the United States is the most compelling market given the large population of individuals over the age of 60 that are covered by health insurance, the concentrated base of cataract surgeons experienced with premium IOL offerings, the high gross domestic product per capita and the favorable U.S. healthcare reimbursement system, which has a well-established history of covering a portion of the cost for cataract surgery.
Non-adjustable premium IOLs and their limitations
Prior to the commercial availability of our RxSight system, doctors and patients chose from two primary types of premium IOLs, as follows:
When preparing patients for premium cataract surgery, surgeons must have a comprehensive understanding of available premium IOL options and how to best match a patient to the technology that fits their priorities. Patient decisions are based on several factors and tend to be heavily influenced by surgeon recommendations, as well as the patient’s motivation for independence from glasses and willingness to tolerate side effects. During an initial consultation, surgeons often ask patients to fill out a survey regarding their vision experiences and expectations to determine if the patient is a good premium IOL candidate. If so, the surgeon helps select the appropriate premium IOL based on the patient’s lifestyle and the type of vision they most value (i.e., near, intermediate or distance). Significant time is often required to educate patients on the various trade-offs with respect to the visual outcomes associated with each type of premium IOL. Following this consultation, surgery is usually scheduled within several weeks or months.
Prior to surgery, the patient’s eyes are measured using one or more diagnostic devices to help the surgeon predict the lens focusing power best suited to achieve the optimal postoperative outcome. Focusing power, expressed in diopters (D), refers to how a lens focuses light to a point (spherical power) or a line (cylindrical or astigmatic power). Accurately predicting lens power is critical to reducing postoperative residual refractive error and delivering the best possible visual outcomes. Because the lens power of competitive premium IOLs cannot be changed after implantation, doctors rely on a series of preoperative diagnostic tests and predictive formulae to determine the lens power. Typically, the patient returns a day after surgery to have their eye evaluated and ensure healing is underway. After approximately one month, premium cataract patients that are dissatisfied with their results may be fitted for glasses or elect to undergo a secondary, remedial procedure to meet desired vision targets. A separate LASIK procedure is the most common surgical procedure to correct any residual visual errors following the cataract procedure.
A key limitation of these competitive premium IOLs is that they cannot be adjusted after the surgery and, as such, require the patient to commit to a desired visual outcome prior to the procedure. However, in discussing vision optimization options with patients ahead of the procedure, it can be difficult to effectively demonstrate different visual outcomes. Once a premium IOL is selected, another key limitation is the ability of the surgeon to precisely predict the correct lens power and then implant the IOL with the level of accuracy required to deliver the patient’s expected outcome. Additionally, the incision made to remove the cloudy lens and insert the IOL along with the resultant healing process often creates additional levels of astigmatism, which cannot be predicted with precision before cataract surgery.
We believe that the need to commit to a visual outcome before surgery combined with the limited ability to make adjustments following the procedure are key factors contributing to the low levels of premium IOL penetration. When expectations regarding postoperative visual acuity and independence from glasses are not met, patients are often disappointed. As a result, even though 60% of cataract patients rate “being glasses free after cataract surgery” as extremely important, surgeons are often hesitant to recommend existing premium IOLs to their patients.
We designed our RxSight system to address the shortcomings of existing premium IOL technologies and provide a solution that doctors can trust to improve visual outcomes and achieve high levels of patient satisfaction. We began commercializing our solution in the United States in 2019 and are focused on establishing the RxSight system as the standard of care for premium IOL procedures. As of December 31, 2022, we had an installed base of 400 LDDs in ophthalmology practices, and since our inception over 42,000 surgeries have been performed with our RxSight system.
Overview of the RxSight system
Our RxSight system is the first and only FDA-approved IOL technology that enables doctors to customize and optimize visual acuity for patients after cataract surgery. With the RxSight system, the doctor performs a standard cataract procedure to implant the LAL, determines refractive error with patient input after healing is complete, then uses the LDD to reshape the
LAL to achieve the patients’ desired vision outcomes. Our RxSight system is comprised of two key components, along with other intraoperative and postoperative accessories:
Our foundational technology
We have developed our RxSight system over the last 20 years, incorporating expertise and proprietary technologies across multiple disciplines, including optics, material science, chemistry, software and hardware engineering. The proprietary RxSight technology that enables post-operative adjustability is based on the principles of photochemistry. The LAL is made of a photosensitive material that changes shape and power when a specific pattern of UV light is delivered to the LAL.
Our LAL, which we manufacture using our proprietary silicone formulation, leverages the unique material properties of silicone. A silicone molecule consists of an inorganic silicon-oxygen backbone, which is a chain of alternating silicon and oxygen atoms with an attached side group, which is a pair of organic molecules bonded to each silicon atom in the chain. Through a process called polymerization, silicone monomers (short chain molecules) are reacted together to form silicone polymers (long chain molecules), which may be cross-linked at multiple points resulting in three-dimensional, rather than linear, structures. By varying chain length, attached side group and cross-linking design, silicone polymers can be tailored to have unique properties, leading to their broad use across a wide array of applications. We have developed a novel application of silicone to optimize the mechanical and optical properties of IOLs in order to improve vision in patients following cataract surgery.
To create the LAL, we use a composition of silicone polymers and monomers, the latter which we call “macromers” mixed with photo-active molecules and other compounds. The initial composition of our lens material is a viscous liquid that is thermally cured in a lens mold. Thermal curing and photopolymerization use temperature and ultraviolet light, respectively, to initiate and propagate a polymerization reaction. To avoid polymerizing the macromers in the composition, the thermal curing is performed at a low temperature. The partial polymerization of the LAL results in a solid but soft silicone lens, leaving the photosensitive macromers unpolymerized and distributed throughout the lens. While the resulting lens is optically clear, the macromers and photo-active molecules remain free to continuously move within the lens.
After packaging and sterilization, the LAL is ready to be implanted as part of a standard cataract surgical procedure to replace the patient’s natural lens. Once wound healing is complete, a short exposure of UV light is applied to the LAL to adjust the refractive properties of the lens. When the UV light is directed to a specific portion of the lens, the exposed macromers in that portion of the lens are polymerized and become stationary. This creates an excess concentration of free macromers in the unexposed portion of the lens and sets up a diffusion gradient over which the unpolymerized macromers move from the concentrated area to the less concentrated area. Over the next one to two days, the unpolymerized macromers
redistribute across the lens to achieve a uniform distribution. The redistribution of the macromers causes the exposed portion of the lens to swell relative to the unexposed portion of the lens, enabling refractive power change.
The movement of the macromers causes a highly predictable change in the curvature of the lens. If the central portion of the lens is exposed to UV light, unpolymerized macromers in the periphery of the lens move into the central portion. As a result, the central portion of the lens swells, creating a lens shape for correction of hyperopia. Conversely, if the periphery of the lens is exposed to UV light, unpolymerized macromers in the central portion of the lens migrate into the periphery. As a result, the periphery of the lens swells, creating a lens shape for correction of myopia. In addition to spherical correction for myopia or hyperopia, customized cylinder adjustments along any axis of the lens can be targeted to correct for astigmatism.
To achieve the desired refractive change in the LAL, our LDD uses proprietary software and algorithms to deliver a short UV exposure treatment that polymerizes specific portions of the lens according to a predefined pattern of light, called a nomogram. Nomograms allow for adjustment of spherical and cylindrical refraction in 0.25 diopter increments, like the adjustment increments used to refract patients for glasses or contact lenses, as well as in other refractive procedures like LASIK, which has similar refractive accuracy. Designed for placement in the doctor’s office, the LDD is a combination of a standard slit lamp and a digital light projector. The slit lamp portion allows the doctor to see inside the patient’s eye and align the light beam with the LAL. The digital light projector portion projects an image onto the LAL using DLP technology that has approximately 250,000 micro mirrors that are electronically activated to represent an image stored in memory.
Each UV light treatment consumes only a portion of the macromers in the lens, allowing the LAL to be adjusted multiple times. This process can be repeated up to three times over a period of several weeks, until the patient and doctor are satisfied. The entire lens is then polymerized to provide a stable correction. After adjustment light treatments are completed, one or two lock-in light treatments are applied to consume all remaining macromers and photo-active compounds. After the final lock-in treatment, the lens power can no longer be adjusted.
With the RxSight system, the surgeon performs a standard IOL implant procedure, replacing the patients’ natural lens with the LAL. Two to three weeks following surgery, the patient visits the doctor’s office for a standard postoperative refraction, which is similar to the eye test used to create a prescription for eye glasses. Using a traditional phoropter and vision chart, a clinician determines the refractive error and prescription required and inputs the information into the LDD’s graphical user interface. The patient’s eye is dilated and a contact lens is applied to the eye as the patient is seated in front of the LDD for a light treatment. Based on the prescription input, the LDD generates a programmed, predetermined exposure of UV light. For approximately 100 seconds, the light painlessly and non-invasively reshapes the implanted LAL to correct the measured refractive error. The entire treatment takes less than five minutes. The patient returns approximately three to five days later for additional light treatments to further adjust their vision, if desired, or to lock-in the lens. While patients can receive up to three adjustments, the average number of adjustments in our FDA clinical trial was 1.6.
The RxSight system enables a fully interactive and iterative process to optimize visual acuity with patients able to test drive their vision, comparing possible outcomes before selecting a final prescription for their LAL. In clinical practice since our FDA approval, roughly 60% of patients undergoing multiple adjustments have requested a change from their original spherical target, underscoring the value of adjustability and customization. From the time of surgery until 24 hours after the LAL is locked in, the patient wears UV light protective glasses as unprotected exposure to light can cause uncontrolled changes in the LAL. Since late 2021, we have included ActivShield technology on all LALs, which provides an extra layer of UV protection on the lens surface and reduces dependence on patient compliance with protective glasses.
Key benefits of RxSight system for patients
Key benefits of RxSight system for doctors
Our growth strategies
We are leveraging the tangible and compelling benefits of our RxSight solution to achieve broad adoption of our technology and establish it as the standard of care for premium cataract surgery. Our growth strategies include:
FDA clinical studies
In July 2016, we completed our FDA Phase 3 pivotal randomized clinical study of 600 subjects, designed to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of performing light treatments to correct postoperative spherical and cylindrical refractive error. In this study, 391 subjects had the LAL implanted in one eye and the results were compared at the six-month postoperative visit against 193 subjects with a monofocal control IOL implanted in one eye. The LAL met all primary effectiveness endpoints and was approved by the FDA on November 22, 2017 as the first commercially available adjustable IOL. In the study, 70.1% of LAL subjects achieved monocular uncorrected distance visual acuity of 20/20 or better compared to 36.3% of the eyes implanted with the monofocal control IOL. In addition to being statistically significantly better than the control IOL, the observed rate of eyes with 20/20 or better uncorrected distance visual acuity was the highest reported for any approved intraocular lens and approximately twice what was observed by the two most popular astigmatism-correcting IOLs (38.4% by Alcon’s Acrysof Toric, and 43.6% by J&J’s Tecnis Toric) in similar patient populations in the pivotal studies that led to their approvals by the FDA. Additionally, LAL patients reported a low rate of glare or halo, visual side effects that are frequently reported with premium IOLs.
We are conducting a 500-eye prospective, randomized, controlled multicenter Post Approval Study, which was a requirement of our Premarket Approval (“PMA”) approval. Subjects are randomized in a 2:1 ratio to receive either the LAL or a monofocal IOL. Study subjects will be followed for six months. The results will compare effectiveness and safety of the LAL and monofocal IOL. We anticipate completing enrollment in 2024.
Sales and marketing
We commenced commercial launch of our RxSight system in the United States in 2019 and are initially focused on the estimated 3,000 surgeons that perform 70%-80% of premium cataract surgery procedures. These surgeons are usually part of larger ophthalmology practices with multiple cataract surgeons. They typically have refractive surgery practices offering LASIK and are skilled at selling premium procedures based on delivery of better visual outcomes. Our U.S. commercial organization includes a direct sales team comprised of LDD sales personnel and LAL account managers, as well as clinical specialists and field service engineers and marketing personnel. While we believe we can effectively cover our concentrated target market with our focused commercial organization, we will add highly qualified personnel from time to time, with a strategic mix of sales personnel and clinical specialists, to drive further awareness and penetration among cataract surgeons.
Our commercial efforts are designed to create a “razor and razor blade” business model by building a sizable LDD installed base to drive ongoing growth in LAL procedure volumes. LDD sales personnel are responsible for establishing relationships with doctors and securing new customers. New customer contracts typically include sale of the LDD between approximately $115,000 - $120,000, sale of LALs for approximately $1,000 each and an LAL consignment agreement. Once the LDD is installed, our clinical specialists work closely with the practice’s doctors, technicians and staff members to ensure that they are fully trained, proficient LAL providers. Our LAL account managers oversee this process and engage with practices on an ongoing basis to assist with patient awareness and education programs, development of efficient patient flow processes and other initiatives. To achieve broad awareness of the RxSight system among cataract surgeons, we also conduct various marketing programs, including promotions at industry and society conferences, podium presentations, social media, and educational webinars focused on the differentiated benefits of our RxSight system.
Our RxSight system has received regulatory approval in Mexico and Canada. We recently commenced limited sales activities in Canada through a distribution partner.
Research and development
Our research and development activities are focused on programs that improve clinical outcomes, improve customer experience, expand our indications for use, reduce manufacturing costs and lifecycle management. Since our initial FDA approval in November 2017 through December 31, 2022, we have received approximately 20 supplemental approvals that advance these objectives.
On January 31, 2023, the FDA approved our PMA supplement to our LDD for various modifications that are intended to reduce the cost to manufacture the device. We anticipate that this lower-cost-to-manufacture LDD will also require a submission for approval in countries outside the United States.
Research and development expenses were $26.0 million and $24.5 million for the years ended December 31, 2022 and 2021, respectively.
Manufacturing and supply
We currently manufacture, assemble, test, and ship our LAL and LDD, and various accessory products including a custom injector system for use with our LAL at our campus of four facilities and approximately 121,000 total square feet in Aliso Viejo, California. We have intentionally pursued a vertically integrated manufacturing strategy offering critical advantages, including control over our product quality and rapid product iteration using strong R&D and quality groups. We believe our current manufacturing capacity is sufficient to meet our current expected demand for at least the next 12 months.
We are registered with the FDA as a medical device manufacturer and are licensed by the State of California to manufacture and distribute our medical devices. We are required to manufacture our products in compliance with the FDA’s Quality System Regulation (“QSR”) (21 CFR 820). The FDA enforces the QSR through periodic inspections and may also inspect the facilities of our suppliers. We moved to our current Aliso Viejo, California facilities starting in April 2016, all of which have been registered with the FDA, the State of California, and the European Notified Body (British Standards Institution) for the manufacture and distribution of medical devices.
We have received International Organization for Standardization (“ISO”) 13485:2016 certification for our quality management system. ISO certification generally includes recertification audits every third year, scheduled annual surveillance audits and periodic unannounced audits. We have also received quality system certification to the Medical Device Single Audit Program (“MDSAP”) to cover the jurisdictions of United States, Canada, Brazil, Japan, and Australia from the British Standards Institution. The MDSAP certification follows the ISO 13485:2016 certification schedule. The most recent recertification and surveillance audit was conducted in July 2022.
The LAL is a silicone intraocular lens made from a proprietary blend of custom chemical components. Chemical component vendors produce the raw materials, which we inspect, blend, further purify, and process, and formulate into uncured silicone blend. Using this uncured silicone, we mold the lens in one of our two Class 7 clean rooms. After curing, the molded lens is inspected and packaged and then sent to a third-party ethylene oxide sterilization vendor. After sterilization, the lens is returned to us for final inspection, packaging, and shipment to customers.
Our LDD is a UV projector medical device, which consists of an anterior segment biomicroscope, computer controllers for performing light treatments, and a biometrically designed patient interface and table. The optics are bonded into their mounts using epoxies, which are then oven cured, assembled into the main optical housing and optimized on a proprietary precision alignment station. The completed optical head is integrated into the table, along with a computer, power supplies and other electro-mechanical parts. We outsource the cables and circuit boards used in the LDD to certified specialty contract manufacturers. The fully assembled LDD is put through an electrical safety and final acceptance test process, and then reviewed by quality control, packaged and shipped directly to our customers for installation.
In addition, to aid the doctor in implanting the LAL, we provide several accessories including a custom insertion system and a contact lens. The insertion system consists of a disposable cartridge and a reusable injector handpiece. The disposable cartridge is processed, inspected, and packaged by us while having ethylene oxide sterilization performed by a third-party vendor. The reusable injector handpiece is manufactured by a third-party vendor and is inspected and packaged by us. We also manufacture, inspect, and package a reusable contact lens for administering UV light treatments. The end user is responsible for performing cleaning and sterilization of the injector handpiece and the contact lens following directions for use and hands on training provided by us. We also provide custom UV glasses that are manufactured by third party vendors, and then inspected and shipped by us from our facilities to our customers.
We use a combination of internally manufactured and externally sourced components to produce the LAL, LDD, custom insertion system, and other accessory products. Externally sourced components include off-the-shelf chemical, materials, microchips integrated into printed circuit boards and cables, sub-assemblies, and custom parts that are provided by qualified and approved suppliers. We also employ a third-party sterilization vendor. Some components are provided by single-source or sole source suppliers. While there are other suppliers that could make or provide any one of our single sourced components, we seek to manage single-source supplier risk by regularly assessing the quality and capacity of our suppliers, implementing supply and quality agreements where appropriate and actively managing lead times and inventory levels of sourced components. In addition, we are currently in the process of identifying and approving alternative suppliers to dual or multi-source certain of our LAL raw materials and LDD components. We generally seek to maintain sufficient supply levels to help mitigate any supply interruptions and enable us to find and qualify another source of supply. Order quantities and lead times for externally sourced components are based on our forecasts, which are derived from historical demand and anticipated future demand. Lead times for components may vary depending on the size of the order, time required to fabricate and test the components, specific supplier requirements and current market demand for the materials, sub-assemblies, and
parts. In addition, COVID-19 has resulted in manufacturing interruptions at single and sole source suppliers in the United States, European Union, the U.K. and China, which we have been able to mitigate, to date, with selected pre-payment for product, expedite fees, sourcing from alternative suppliers, placing orders for specific chip sets separate from third party suppliers to ensure supply and longer-term orders.
Our suppliers are evaluated, qualified, and approved as part of our supplier quality program, which includes verification and monitoring procedures to ensure that our suppliers comply with FDA and ISO standards, as well as our own specifications and requirements. We inspect and verify externally sourced components under strict processes supported by internal policies and procedures. We maintain a rigorous change control policy to assure that no product or process changes are implemented without our prior review and approval.
Third-party reimbursement and patient billing
Dual aspect payment model
In the United States, the CMS has determined that the additional refractive correction provided by astigmatism correcting and presbyopia correcting (premium) IOLs is not a covered benefit. As described in two CMS rulings (CMS 05-01 and CMS 1536-R), premium IOLs have both a covered and non-covered aspect, providing the framework for the “dual-aspect payment model.” In effect since 2005, this model means that CMS does not reimburse the physician or the facility for the additional costs associated with a premium IOL, while still covering the cost of the conventional IOL procedure. Instead, the patient selecting a premium IOL is responsible for the additional charges from the physician and from the facility that exceed the regular charges for insertion of a conventional IOL that are submitted to CMS by each of these providers. As of 2017, CMS has recognized the LAL as an astigmatism correcting (premium) IOL, making it eligible for the dual aspect payment model. Most commercial payers mirror the Medicare rulings, but this can vary by payor.
Procedure coding and payment
In the United States, we primarily sell our LAL products to ambulatory surgical centers (“ASCs”) and occasionally to hospitals. These customers in turn bill various third-party payors, such as commercial payors and state and government payors, as well as patients and doctors directly for the services provided to each patient.
Third-party payors require physicians and hospitals to identify the service for which they are seeking reimbursement by using Current Procedural Terminology, or CPT, codes, which are created and maintained by the American Medical Association, or AMA. For cataract surgery, the most common specific CPT codes are 66984 (Cataract surgery with IOL, on stage) and 66982 (Cataract surgery, complex). The facility fees associated with these codes include payment for a conventional IOL of up to $150. A specific HCPCS code is listed on the CMS claim by the facility to indicate use of premium IOL for tracking purposes only (V2787 or V2788 for astigmatism-correcting or presbyopia-correction function of IOL, respectively). Similarly, the physician includes HCPCS code A9270 (non-covered item or service) on their claim to Medicare (or another third party) to indicate charges for extended care related to the correction of refractive error.
While an Advanced Beneficiary Notice (“ABN”) or Notice of Exclusion from Medicare Benefits (“NEMB”) is not required, most providers issue an ABN or NEMB to alert patients that CMS (or non-Medicare payers) do not cover the additional charges associated with a premium IOL and to get the patient’s agreement to pay these charges. Patients are then billed directly by the physician and the ASC for these charges. In some cases, the physician bills the patient exclusively and then reimburses the ASC for the additional cost of the premium IOL.
Commercial payor and government program coverage
While the dual aspect payment model has been in use for over 15 years, the extent to which this model will be used by non-government third-party payors, such as commercial insurance, and managed healthcare organizations may vary. One third-party payor’s decision does not ensure that other payors will also follow this model. As a result, the coverage determination process can require manufacturers to provide additional support for the use of a product to each payor separately. This can be a time-consuming process, with no assurance that the dual aspect model will be applied consistently.
Reimbursement outside of the United States
In international markets, reimbursement and healthcare payment systems also vary significantly by country, and many countries have instituted price ceilings on specific products and therapies. In many countries, analogous determinations to the dual aspect CMS ruling have been made, allowing for partial coverage of the cataract procedure by national health systems, with patients paying out of pocket for refractive services associated with the premium IOL. In other countries, such dual
billing is not allowed, forcing patients to pay for the entire cost of the cataract surgery and IOL when a premium IOL is used. In such markets, it may be possible for doctors to charge separately for the cost of light treatments, which are not part of the cataract procedure. This method would require a different billing methodology by us than is currently used in the United States, where light treatments are included with the purchase of the LAL. There is no assurance that these methodologies will be allowed or that an adequate level of payment will be established, or that the third-party payors’ reimbursement policies will not adversely affect the ability for manufacturers to sell products profitably.
Intellectual Property, License Agreements, and Other Material Agreements
Our success depends in part on our ability to obtain, maintain, protect, and enforce our intellectual property rights, including our patent rights, preserve the confidentiality of our trade secrets, operate without infringing, misappropriating or otherwise violating the intellectual property rights of others and prevent others from infringing, misappropriating or otherwise violating our intellectual property rights. We rely on a combination of patent, trademark, trade secret, copyright and other intellectual property rights and measures to protect the products and technology that we consider important to our business. We also rely on know-how and continuing technological innovation to develop and maintain our competitive position.
Our policy is to seek to protect our proprietary position by, among other methods, pursuing and obtaining patent protection in the United States and in jurisdictions outside of the United States related to our technology, inventions, improvements and products that are important to the development and implementation of our business. Our patent portfolio covers various aspects of our LDD, LAL and related devices and methods.
The term of individual patents depends upon the legal term of the patents in the countries in which they are obtained. Generally, in the United States, issued patents are granted a term of 20 years from the earliest claimed non-provisional or Patent Cooperation Treaty (“PCT”) filing date. In certain instances, a patent term can be adjusted to recapture a portion of delay by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”), in examining the patent application (patent term adjustment, or PTA) or extended to account for term effectively lost as a result of the FDA regulatory review period (patent term extension, or PTE), or both. Additionally, a patent term may be shortened if a patent is terminally disclaimed over an earlier filed patent. However, the life of the patent, and the protection it affords, is limited. In addition, we cannot provide any assurance that any patents will be issued from our pending or future applications or that any issued patents will adequately protect our current and future products. We also cannot predict the breadth of claims that may be allowed or enforced in our owned or in-licensed patents or whether such claims, if issued, will cover our products, provide sufficient protection from competitors or otherwise provide any competitive advantage. Any issued patents that we may own or in-license in the future may be challenged, invalidated, narrowed, held unenforceable, infringed or circumvented.
As of December 31, 2022, our patent estate is directed to various aspects of our programs and technology, including our LAL and our LDD as well as lens adjustment procedure and other technology. Any U.S. or foreign patents issued or pending would be scheduled to expire on various dates from 2023 and 2041, without taking into account any possible patent term adjustments or extensions and assuming payment of all appropriate maintenance, renewal, annuity, and other governmental fees. Further details on certain segments of our patent portfolio, including our owned and exclusively in-licensed issued patents and patent applications, are included below.
Pursuant to the agreement with QAD, Inc. (“QAD”) dated October 29, 2015 (the “QAD Agreement”), we received a nonexclusive, non-transferable, perpetual license to use certain QAD software at the physical location where we install the software. Under the agreement, we purchase such QAD software through individual orders (“Purchase Orders”), and each
Purchase Order has a respective payment fee and maintenance fee. We use the software licensed under the QAD agreement for inventory, shipping, receiving, sales order, work order, planning and financial transactions for the business. Maintenance for the software is offered by QAD and available for purchase by us on an annual basis, and such purchase was compulsory for the first year of the agreement. After the first year, maintenance purchased under the agreement automatically renews for successive one-year periods unless terminated by us or QAD 60 days prior to the effective date of any renewal term. Further, we grant QAD audit rights to verify our usage of QAD software, and if following such audit our use of the QAD software is in excess of our license, we are obligated to pay to QAD the amounts necessary to become compliant. QAD provides limited warranties to the software and retains all intellectual property ownership rights in the QAD software including any modifications made by us, however we receive a license to use any modifications made by us. Unless earlier terminated, the term of the QAD agreement is perpetual. Both parties have the right to terminate the agreement for convenience by giving the other party 90 days prior written notice and such termination does not affect the license granted. Either party to the agreement may terminate the agreement with notice, if the other materially breaches the agreement, and the breach is not cured within specified time periods. In addition, either party may terminate if the other party is adjudicated bankrupt or an official is appointed to manage its financial affairs. Upon termination for cause, we must immediately discontinue all use of the software.
We believe that we have certain know-how and trade secrets relating to our technology and current and future products. We rely on trade secrets to protect certain aspects of our technology related to our current and future products. However, trade secrets and know-how can be difficult to protect. We seek to protect our trade secrets and know-how, in part, by entering into confidentiality agreements with our employees, consultants, scientific advisors, service providers, and contractors but these agreements may not provide meaningful protection, and we cannot guarantee that we have executed such agreements with all applicable counterparties. These agreements may also be breached, and we may not have an adequate remedy for any such breach. We also seek to preserve the integrity and confidentiality of our data and trade secrets by maintaining physical security of our premises and physical and electronic security of our information technology systems. Although we take steps to protect our trade secrets and know-how, third parties may independently develop or otherwise gain access to our trade secrets and know-how.
For more information regarding risks related to our intellectual property, please see “Risk Factors-Risks related to Intellectual Property” in Part I, Item 1A of this Annual Report.
Competition in the surgical ophthalmology market is intense and is primarily driven by technological innovation and the regulatory approval required to commercialize products in the key markets around the world. The development of new or improved products may make existing products less attractive, reduce them to commodity status or even make them obsolete. We believe the principal competitive factors in our markets include:
From a commercial perspective, we believe our primary competitors in the cataract IOL market are alternative premium IOL providers, including Alcon, Johnson & Johnson and Bausch + Lomb. According to Market Scope, the global cataract IOL market is highly concentrated, with these top three players accounting for approximately 78% of the total U.S. premium cataract surgery market and approximately 61% of the global manufacturer market revenue. Our competitors are significantly larger than us with greater financial, marketing, sales and personnel resources, greater brand recognition and
longer operating histories. We believe our ability to compete effectively will be dependent on our ability to build the commercial infrastructure necessary to effectively and cost-efficiently drive awareness of the unique value of our RxSight system.
In addition, patients who receive an LAL will be required to wear UV protective glasses until final lock-in which is approximately 4-5 weeks after surgery. They will also be required to return for an additional two to three clinic visits compared to traditional cataract surgery. The additional clinic visits are non-surgical but do require the patient’s eyes to be dilated. Due to these additional requirements, market acceptance of the LAL may be impacted.
The three most popular premium IOLs approved for cataract treatment are PanOptix by Alcon, Vivity by Alcon and Tecnis by Johnson & Johnson. According to the Market Scope 2022 Premium Report Alcon, Johnson & Johnson, Bausch + Lomb are three of the top IOL manufacturers, with an estimated 2022 revenue share of the world-wide premium IOL market of approximately 51%, 25%, and 2% respectively. The PanOptix and Tecnis families of IOLs are available in a monofocal Toric, multifocal Toric and EDOF Toric versions. The PC and Toric versions of these lenses represented over half of all premium multifocal IOLs sold in 2022. The rest of the market is shared between several smaller companies each with under 5% market share. From a technology perspective, we believe the LAL competes with nearly all of the existing IOLs, including conventional, premium astigmatism correcting and premium presbyopia correcting lenses.
Our products and operations are subject to extensive and ongoing regulation by the FDA under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, (the “FDCA”) and its implementing regulations, as well as other federal, state and local regulatory authorities in the United States, as well as foreign regulatory authorities. The FDA regulates, among other things, product design and development, pre-clinical and clinical testing, manufacturing, packaging, labeling, storage, record keeping and reporting, clearance or approval, marketing, distribution, promotion, import and export, and post-marketing surveillance in the United States to assure the safety and effectiveness of medical products for their intended use.
FDA regulation of medical devices
Unless an exemption applies, each new or significantly modified medical device we seek to commercially distribute in the United States will require either a premarket notification to the FDA requesting permission for commercial distribution under Section 510(k) of the FDCA, also referred to as a 510(k) clearance, or approval from the FDA of a PMA application. Both the 510(k) clearance and PMA processes can be resource intensive, expensive, and lengthy, and require payment of significant user fees, unless an exemption is available.
FDA classifies medical devices into one of three classes – Class I, Class II or Class III – depending on the degree of risk associated with each medical device and the extent of control needed to provide reasonable assurances with respect to safety and effectiveness.
Class I devices are those for which safety and effectiveness can be reasonably assured by adherence to the FDA’s general controls for medical devices, which include compliance with the applicable portions of FDA’s current good manufacturing practices for devices, as reflected in of the Quality System Regulation, or QSR, establishment registration and device listing, reporting of adverse events and malfunctions, and appropriate, truthful and non-misleading labeling and promotional materials. Some Class I devices, also called Class I reserved devices, also require premarket clearance by the FDA through the 510(k) premarket notification process described below. Most Class I products are exempt from the premarket notification requirements.
Class II devices are those that are subject to the FDA’s general controls and any other special controls deemed necessary by the FDA to ensure the safety and effectiveness of the device. These special controls can include performance standards, patient registries, product-specific FDA guidance documents, special labeling requirements and post-market surveillance. Most Class II devices are subject to premarket review and clearance by the FDA through the 510(k) premarket notification process.
Class III devices include devices deemed by the FDA to pose the greatest risk such as life-supporting or life-sustaining devices, or implantable devices, in addition to those deemed novel and not substantially equivalent following the 510(k) process. Due to the level of risk associated with Class III devices, the FDA’s general controls and special controls alone are insufficient to assure their safety and effectiveness. Devices placed in Class III generally require the submission of a PMA application, demonstrating the safety and effectiveness of the device which must be approved by the FDA prior to marketing, or the receipt of a 510(k) de novo classification, which provides for the reclassification of the device into Class I or II. The
PMA approval process is generally more costly and time consuming than the 510(k) process. Through the PMA application process, the applicant must submit data and information demonstrating reasonable assurance of the safety and effectiveness of the device for its intended use to the FDA’s satisfaction. Accordingly, a PMA application typically includes, but is not limited to, extensive technical information regarding device design and development, pre-clinical and clinical trial data, manufacturing information, labeling and financial disclosure information for the clinical investigators in device studies. The PMA application must provide valid scientific evidence that demonstrates to the FDA’s satisfaction a reasonable assurance of the safety and effectiveness of the device for its intended use.
If a new medical device does not qualify for the 510(k) premarket notification process because no predicate device to which it is substantially equivalent can be identified, the device is automatically classified into Class III. The Food and Drug Administration Modernization Act of 1997 established a new route to market for low to moderate risk medical devices that are automatically placed into Class III due to the absence of a predicate device, called the “Request for Evaluation of Automatic Class III Designation,” or the de novo classification process. This process allows a manufacturer whose novel device is automatically classified into Class III to request down-classification of its medical device into Class I or Class II on the basis that the device presents low or moderate risk, rather than requiring the submission and approval of a PMA. If the manufacturer seeks reclassification into Class II, the manufacturer must include a draft proposal for special controls that are necessary to provide a reasonable assurance of the safety and effectiveness of the medical device. The FDA may reject the reclassification petition if it identifies a legally marketed predicate device that would be appropriate for a 510(k) or determines that the device is not low to moderate risk and requires PMA or that general controls would be inadequate to control the risks and special controls cannot be developed.
Obtaining FDA marketing authorization, de novo down-classification, or approval for medical devices is expensive and uncertain, and may take several years, and generally requires significant scientific and clinical data.
Investigational device process
In the United States, absent certain limited exceptions, human clinical trials intended to support medical device clearance or approval require an IDE application. Some types of studies deemed to present “non-significant risk” are deemed to have an approved IDE once certain requirements are addressed, and IRB approval is obtained. If the device presents a “significant risk” to human health, as defined by the FDA, the sponsor must submit an IDE application to the FDA and obtain IDE approval prior to commencing the human clinical trials. The IDE application must be supported by appropriate data, such as animal and laboratory testing results, showing that it is safe to test the device in humans and that the testing protocol is scientifically sound. The IDE application must be approved in advance by the FDA for a specified number of subjects. Generally, clinical trials for a significant risk device may begin once the IDE application is approved by the FDA and the study protocol and informed consent are approved by appropriate institutional review boards at the clinical trial sites. There can be no assurance that submission of an IDE will result in the ability to commence clinical trials, and although the FDA’s approval of an IDE allows clinical testing to go forward for a specified number of subjects, it does not bind the FDA to accept the results of the trial as sufficient to prove the product’s safety and effectiveness, even if the trial meets its intended success criteria.
All clinical trials must be conducted in accordance with the FDA’s IDE regulations that govern investigational device labeling, prohibit promotion and specify an array of recordkeeping, reporting and monitoring responsibilities of study sponsors and study investigators. Clinical trials must further comply with the FDA’s good clinical practice regulations for institutional review board approval and for informed consent and other human subject protections. Required records and reports are subject to inspection by the FDA.
The results of clinical testing may be unfavorable, or, even if the intended safety and effectiveness success criteria are achieved, may not be considered sufficient for the FDA to grant marketing approval or clearance of a product. The commencement or completion of any clinical trial may be delayed or halted, or be inadequate to support approval of a PMA application, for numerous reasons, including, but not limited to, the following:
The 510(k) clearance process
Under the 510(k) process, the manufacturer must submit to the FDA a premarket notification, demonstrating that the device is “substantially equivalent,” as defined in the statute, to a legally marketed predicate device.
A predicate device is a legally marketed device that is not subject to premarket approval, i.e., a device that was legally marketed prior to May 28, 1976 (pre-amendments device) and for which a PMA is not required, a device that has been reclassified from Class III to Class II or Class I, or a device that was previously found substantially equivalent through the 510(k) process. A device is considered to be substantially equivalent if, with respect to the predicate device, it has the same intended use, and has either (i) the same technological characteristics; or (ii) different technological characteristics, but the information provided in the 510(k) submission demonstrates that the device does not raise different questions of safety or effectiveness than the predicate device. Clinical data is sometimes, but not always, required to support substantial equivalence.
Before the FDA will accept a 510(k) premarket notification for substantive review, the FDA will first assess whether the submission satisfies a minimum threshold of acceptability. If the FDA determines that the 510(k) submission lacks necessary information for substantive review, the FDA will issue a “Refuse to Accept” letter which generally outlines the information the FDA believes is necessary to permit a substantive review and to reach a determination regarding substantial equivalence. An applicant must submit the requested information before the FDA will proceed with additional review of the submission. If a 510(k) submission is accepted for substantive review, the Medical Device User Fee Amendments sets a performance goal of 90 days for FDA review of a 510(k) submission, but the review time can be delayed if FDA raises questions or requests additional information during the review process. As a practical matter, clearance often takes longer, and clearance is never assured. Thus, as a practical matter, clearance often takes longer than 90 days. Although many 510(k) premarket notifications are cleared without clinical data, the FDA may require further information, including clinical data, to make a determination
regarding substantial equivalence, which may significantly prolong the review process. If the FDA agrees that the device is substantially equivalent, it will grant clearance to commercially market the device.
If the FDA determines that the device is not “substantially equivalent” to a predicate device, or if the device is automatically classified into Class III, the device sponsor must then fulfill the much more rigorous premarketing requirements of the PMA approval process, or seek reclassification of the device through the de novo process. A manufacturer can also submit a petition for direct de novo review if the manufacturer is unable to identify an appropriate predicate device and the new device or new use of the device presents a moderate or low risk.
Medical devices can only be marketed for the indications for which they are cleared or approved. After a device receives 510(k) clearance, any modification that could significantly affect its safety or effectiveness, or that would constitute a new or major change in its intended use, will require a new 510(k) clearance or, depending on the modification, could require a PMA application or de novo classification. The determination as to whether or not a modification constitutes such a change is initially left to the manufacturer using available FDA guidance; however, the FDA may review this determination to evaluate the regulatory status of the modified product at any time and may require the manufacturer to cease marketing and recall the modified device until new 510(k) clearance or PMA approval is obtained. If the FDA disagrees with a manufacturer’s determination regarding whether a new premarket submission is required for the modification of an existing device, the FDA can require the manufacturer to cease marketing and/or recall the modified device until 510(k) clearance or approval of a PMA application is obtained. The manufacturer may also be subject to significant regulatory fines or penalties.
The PMA approval process
Following receipt of a PMA application, the FDA conducts an administrative review to determine whether the application is sufficiently complete to permit a substantive review. If it is not, the agency will refuse to file the PMA. If it is, the FDA will accept the application for filing and begin the substantive review. The FDA, by statute and by regulation, has 180 days to review a filed PMA application, although the review of an application more often occurs over a significantly longer period of time. During this review period, the FDA may request additional information or clarification of information already provided, and the FDA may issue a major deficiency letter to the applicant, requesting the applicant’s response to deficiencies communicated by the FDA. The FDA considers a PMA or PMA supplement to have been voluntarily withdrawn if an applicant fails to respond to an FDA request for information (e.g., major deficiency letter) within a total of 360 days. Before approving or denying a PMA, an FDA advisory committee may review the PMA at a public meeting and provide the FDA with the committee’s recommendation on whether the FDA should approve the submission, approve it with specific conditions, or not approve it. The FDA is not bound by the recommendations of an advisory committee, but it considers such recommendations carefully when making decisions.
Prior to approval of a PMA, the FDA may conduct inspections of the clinical trial data and clinical trial sites, as well as inspections of the manufacturing facility and processes. Overall, the FDA review of a PMA application generally takes between one and three years but may take significantly longer. The FDA can delay, limit or deny approval of a PMA application for many reasons, including:
If the FDA evaluation of a PMA is favorable, the FDA will issue either an approval letter, or an approvable letter, the latter of which usually contains a number of conditions that must be met in order to secure final approval of the PMA. When and if those conditions have been fulfilled to the satisfaction of the FDA, the agency will issue a PMA approval letter authorizing commercial marketing of the device, subject to the conditions of approval and the limitations established in the approval letter. If the FDA’s evaluation of a PMA application or manufacturing facilities is not favorable, the FDA will deny approval of the PMA or issue a not approvable letter. The FDA also may determine that additional tests or clinical trials are necessary, in which case the PMA approval may be delayed for several months or years while the trials are conducted and data is submitted in an amendment to the PMA, or the PMA is withdrawn and resubmitted when the data are available. The PMA process can be expensive, uncertain and lengthy and a number of devices for which the FDA approval has been sought by other companies have never been approved by the FDA for marketing.
New PMA applications or PMA supplements are required for modification to the manufacturing process, equipment or facility, quality control procedures, sterilization, packaging, expiration date, labeling, device specifications, ingredients, materials or design of a device that has been approved through the PMA process. PMA supplements often require submission of the same type of information as an initial PMA application, except that the supplement is limited to information needed to support any changes from the device covered by the approved PMA application and may or may not require as extensive technical or clinical data or the convening of an advisory panel, depending on the nature of the proposed change.
In approving a PMA application, as a condition of approval, the FDA may also require some form of post-approval study or post-market surveillance, whereby the applicant conducts a follow-up study or follows certain patient groups for a number of years and makes periodic reports to the FDA on the clinical status of those patients when necessary to protect the public health or to provide additional or longer term safety and effectiveness data for the device. The FDA may also require post-market surveillance for certain devices cleared under a 510(k) notification, such as implants or life-supporting or life-sustaining devices used outside a device user facility. The FDA may also approve a PMA application with other post-approval conditions intended to ensure the safety and effectiveness of the device, such as, among other things, restrictions on labeling, promotion, sale, distribution and use. Significant modifications to the manufacturing process, labeling and design for a device which has received approval through the PMA process may require submission of a new PMA application or PMA supplement prior to marketing.
Ongoing regulation by the FDA
Even after the FDA permits a device to be marketed, numerous regulatory requirements apply, including but not limited to:
After a device receives 510(k) clearance, any modification that could significantly affect its safety or effectiveness, or that would constitute a major change in its intended use, will require a new 510(k) or possibly a PMA. The FDA requires each manufacturer to make this determination initially, but the FDA can review any such decision and can disagree with a manufacturer’s determination. If the FDA disagrees with our determination not to seek a new 510(k) clearance, the FDA may retroactively require us to seek 510(k) clearance or possibly a PMA. The FDA could also require us to cease marketing and distribution and/or recall the modified device until 510(k) clearance or a PMA is obtained. Also, in these circumstances, we may be subject to significant regulatory fines and penalties.
Some changes to an approved PMA device, including changes in indications, labeling, or manufacturing processes or facilities, require submission and FDA approval of a new PMA application or PMA supplement, as appropriate, before the change can be implemented. Supplements to a PMA often require the submission of the same type of information required for an original PMA application, except that the supplement is generally limited to that information needed to support the proposed change from the device covered by the original PMA. The FDA uses the same procedures and actions in reviewing PMA supplements as it does in reviewing original PMA applications.
FDA regulations require us to register as a medical device manufacturer with the FDA. Additionally, some states also require medical device manufacturers and/or distributors doing business within the state to register with the state or apply for a state license, which could subject our facility to state inspection as well as FDA inspection on a routine basis for compliance with the QSR and any applicable state requirements. These regulations require that we manufacture our products and maintain related documentation in a prescribed manner with respect to manufacturing, testing and control activities. Further, the FDA requires us to comply with various FDA regulations regarding labeling. Failure by us or by our suppliers to comply with applicable regulatory requirements can result in enforcement action by the FDA or state authorities, which may include any of the following sanctions:
Newly discovered or developed safety or effectiveness data may require changes to a product’s labeling, including the addition of new warnings and contraindications, and also may require the implementation of other risk management measures. Also, new government requirements, including those resulting from new legislation, may be established, or the FDA’s policies may change, which could delay or prevent regulatory clearance or approval of our products under development.
Our facilities, records and manufacturing processes are subject to periodic unscheduled inspections by the FDA. Failure to comply with the applicable United States medical device regulatory requirements could result in, among other things, warning letters, untitled letters, fines, injunctions, consent decrees, civil penalties, unanticipated expenditures, repairs, replacements, refunds, recalls or seizures of products, operating restrictions, total or partial suspension of production, the FDA’s refusal to issue certificates to foreign governments needed to export products for sale in other countries, the FDA’s refusal to grant future premarket clearances or approvals, withdrawals or suspensions of current product clearances or approvals and criminal prosecution.
When the FDA conducts an inspection, the inspectors will identify any deficiencies they believe exist in the form of a notice of inspectional observations, or Form FDA 483. If we receive a notice of inspectional observations or deficiencies from the FDA following an inspection, we would be required to respond in writing, and would be required to undertake corrective and/or preventive or other actions in order to address the FDA’s or other regulators’ concerns. Failure to address the FDA’s concerns may result in the issuance of a warning letter or other enforcement or administrative actions.
International medical device premarket authorization process
The European Union has adopted numerous directives and standards regulating the design, manufacture, clinical trials, labeling and adverse event reporting for medical devices. Our products are regulated in the European Union as medical devices per European Union Directive 93/42/EEC, also known as the Medical Device Directive (“MDD”). The MDD sets out the basic regulatory framework for medical devices in the European Union. The system of regulating medical devices operates by way of a certification for each medical device. Each certified device is marked with the CE mark which shows that the device has a Certificat de Conformité. There are national bodies known as Competent Authorities in each member state which oversee the implementation of the MDD within their jurisdiction. The means for achieving the requirements for
the CE mark vary according to the nature of the device. Devices are classified in accordance with their perceived risks, similarly to the U.S. system. The class of a product determines the conformity assessment required before the CE mark can be placed on a product. Conformity assessments for our products are carried out as required by the MDD. Each member state can appoint Notified Bodies within its jurisdiction. If a Notified Body of a one-member state has issued a Certificat de Conformité, the device can be sold throughout the European Union without further conformance tests being required in other member states. The CE mark is contingent upon continued compliance with the applicable regulations and the quality system requirements of the ISO 13485 standard.
The new European Union Medical Devices Regulation 2017/745, or EU MDR, which was published in May 2017 with a transition period of three years, replaces the MDD and will expand and modify the pre-market and post-market obligations of the MDD. The date of application of the EU MDR has been postponed to May 26, 2024 with implementation dates based off of risk classification of the medical device. Recently, the European Commission proposed legislative amendments, including amendments to extend the transition period to the new rules from May 26, 2024 to December 31, 2027 for higher risk devices and until December 31, 2028 for medium and lower risk devices. The EU MDR will impose additional requirements on clinical evaluation process, safety, classification and performance of medical device products. The EU MDR will have no impact on our current and future products as registrations to the EU MDR are in process and are scheduled for completion prior to the implementation dates. The company has passed the MDR upgrade assessment with no observations and a recommendation for certification by the European Notified Body in December 2021. In addition to inspections by the FDA and other regulatory entities, we are also subject to periodic inspections by applicable European Notified Body with respect to regulatory requirements that apply to medical devices designed and manufactured by us and clinical trials sponsored by us. We are also certified to the Medical Device Single Audit Program (“MDSAP”) for the jurisdictions of the United States, Canada, Japan, Brazil, and Australia which allows for one single audit performed by Notified Body to cover those jurisdictions with respect to quality systems. All registrations and certifications due to Great Britain leaving the European Union (Brexit) and Switzerland ending a joint agreement with the European Union (Swexit) have been done to the timelines as required for these countries and will continue to be performed to the updated timelines as published during these processes.
Other U.S. regulatory matters
Medical device companies are subject to additional healthcare regulation and enforcement by the federal government and by authorities in the states and foreign jurisdictions in which they conduct their business. Manufacturing, sales, promotion and other activities following product clearance or approval are subject to regulation by numerous regulatory authorities in the United States in addition to the FDA, including the CMS, other divisions of the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Justice, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the Federal Trade Commission, the Occupational Safety & Health Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency, and state and local governments. For example, in the United States, sales, marketing and scientific and educational programs also must comply with state and federal fraud and abuse, anti-kickback false claims, transparency, government price reporting, anti-corruption, and health information privacy and security laws and regulations. Internationally, other governments also impose regulations in connection with their healthcare reimbursement programs and the delivery of healthcare items and services. These laws include the following:
Because of the breadth of these laws and the narrowness of available statutory and regulatory exemptions or safe harbors, it is possible that some of our activities, such as stock-option compensation paid to doctors that have entered into consulting agreements with us, could be subject to challenge under one or more of such laws. The growth of our business and sales organization and our expansion outside of the United States may increase the potential of violating these laws or our internal policies and procedures. The risk of our being found in violation of these or other laws and regulations is further increased by the fact that many have not been fully interpreted by the regulatory authorities or the courts, and their provisions are open to various interpretations. Any action brought against us for violations of these laws or regulations, even successfully defended, could cause us to incur significant legal expenses and divert our management’s attention from the operation of our business. Also, we may be subject to private “qui tam” actions brought by individual whistleblowers on behalf of the federal or state governments. If our operations are found to be in violation of any of the federal, state and foreign laws described above or any other current or future fraud and abuse or other healthcare laws and regulations that apply to us, we may be subject to penalties, including significant civil, criminal and administrative penalties, including damages, fines, disgorgement, individual imprisonment, exclusion from participation in government funded healthcare programs, such as Medicare and Medicaid, integrity oversight and reporting obligations, contractual damages, reputational harm, diminished profits and future earnings, injunctions, requests for recall, seizure of products, total or partial suspension of production, denial or withdrawal of product approvals or refusal to allow a firm to enter into supply contracts, including government contracts, and we could be required to curtail or cease our operations. Any of the foregoing consequences could seriously harm our business and our financial results.
United States health care reform
Changes in healthcare policy could increase our costs and subject us to additional regulatory requirements that may interrupt commercialization of our current and future solutions. Current and future legislative proposals to further reform healthcare or reduce healthcare costs may limit coverage for the procedures associated with the use of our products or result in lower reimbursement for those procedures. The cost containment measures that payers and providers are instituting and the effect of any healthcare reform initiative implemented in the future could significantly reduce our revenues from the sale of our products. Changes in healthcare policy, including changes in the implementation or the repeal of the ACA in the United States, could increase our costs, decrease our revenue and impact sales of and reimbursement and coverage for our current and future products. Since its enactment, there have been judicial and Congressional challenges to certain aspects of the ACA. In particular, on December 14, 2018, a Texas U.S. District Court Judge ruled that the ACA is unconstitutional in its entirety because the “individual mandate” was repealed by Congress as part of the Tax Act. Additionally, on December 18, 2019, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit upheld the District Court ruling that the individual mandate was unconstitutional and remanded the case back to the District Court to determine whether the remaining provisions of the ACA are invalid as well. On March 2, 2020, the United States Supreme Court granted the petitions for writs of certiorari to review this case and held oral arguments in November 2020. In June 2021, the United States Supreme Court held that Texas and other challengers had no legal standing to challenge the ACA, dismissing the case on procedural grounds without specifically ruling on the constitutionality of the ACA. Thus, the ACA will remain in effect in its current form. It is unclear how this Supreme Court decision, future litigation, and healthcare measures of the Biden administration will impact the ACA and our business. Other legislative changes have been proposed and adopted since the ACA was enacted, including aggregate reductions of Medicare payments to providers of 2% per fiscal year and reduced payments to several types of Medicare providers, which will remain in effect through 2031 absent additional congressional action, with the exception of a temporary suspension from May 1, 2020 through March 31, 2022 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, unless additional action is taken by Congress. Under current legislation, the actual reduction in Medicare payments can vary from 1% in 2022 to up to 4% in the final fiscal year of this sequester. Moreover, there recently has been heightened governmental scrutiny over the manner in which manufacturers set prices for their marketed products, which has resulted in several Congressional inquiries and proposed and enacted legislation designed, among other things, to bring more transparency to product pricing. Complying with any new legislation or reversing changes implemented under the ACA could be time-intensive and expensive, resulting in a material adverse effect on our business.
The United States and some foreign jurisdictions are considering or have enacted a number of legislative and regulatory proposals to change the healthcare system in ways that could affect our ability to sell our products profitably. Among policy makers and payors in the United States and elsewhere, there is significant interest in promoting changes in healthcare systems with the stated goals of containing healthcare costs, improving quality or expanding access. Current and future legislative proposals to further reform healthcare or reduce healthcare costs may limit coverage of or lower reimbursement for the
procedures associated with the use of our products. The cost containment measures that payors and providers are instituting and the effect of any healthcare reform initiative implemented in the future could impact our revenue from the sale of our products.
We believe that there will continue to be proposals by legislators at both the federal and state levels, regulators and third-party payors to reduce costs while expanding individual healthcare benefits. Certain of these changes could impose additional limitations on the rates we will be able to charge for our current and future products or the amounts of reimbursement available for our current and future products from governmental agencies or third-party payors. Current and future healthcare reform legislation and policies could have a material adverse effect on our business and financial condition.
Data privacy and security
Medical device companies may be subject to U.S. federal and state health information privacy, security and data breach notification laws, which may govern the collection, use, disclosure and protection of health-related and other personal information.
HIPAA imposes privacy, security and breach reporting obligations with respect to individually identifiable health information upon “covered entities” (health plans, health care clearinghouses and certain health care providers), and their respective business associates, individuals or entities that create, received, maintain or transmit protected health information in connection with providing a service for or on behalf of a covered entity. HIPAA mandates the reporting of certain breaches of health information to the United States Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) affected individuals and if the breach is large enough, the media. Entities that are found to be in violation of HIPAA as the result of a breach of unsecured protected health information, or PHI, a complaint about privacy practices or an audit by HHS, may be subject to significant civil, criminal and administrative fines and penalties and/or additional reporting and oversight obligations if required to enter into a resolution agreement and corrective action plan with HHS to settle allegations of HIPAA non-compliance.
Even when HIPAA does not apply, failing to take appropriate steps to keep consumers’ personal information secure may constitute unfair acts or practices in or affecting commerce in violation of Section 5(a) of the Federal Trade Commission Act, 15 U.S.C § 45(a). The FTC expects a company’s data security measures to be reasonable and appropriate in light of the sensitivity and volume of consumer information it holds, the size and complexity of its business, and the cost of available tools to improve security and reduce vulnerabilities. Personally identifiable health information is considered sensitive data that merits stronger safeguards. The FTC’s guidance for appropriately securing consumers’ personal information is similar to what is required by the HIPAA Security Rule.
In addition, certain state laws govern the privacy and security of health information in certain circumstances, some of which are more stringent than HIPAA and many of which differ from each other in significant ways and may not have the same effect, thus complicating compliance efforts. Actual or perceived failure to comply with these laws, where applicable, can result in private claims, demands and litigation, regulatory investigations and other proceedings, and the imposition of significant civil and/or criminal penalties and other relief. For example, California enacted the California Consumer Privacy Act, (“CCPA”), which went into effect January 1, 2020. The CCPA, among other things, created new data privacy obligations for covered companies and provided new privacy rights to California residents, including the right to opt out of certain disclosures of their information. The CCPA also created a private right of action with statutory damages for certain data breaches, thereby potentially increasing risks associated with a data breach.
Additionally, in November 2020, California voters passed the California Privacy Rights Act of 2020 (“CPRA”). The CPRA, which became effective January 1, 2023 created additional obligations with respect to certain data relating to consumers, significantly expands the CCPA, including by introducing additional obligations such as data minimization and storage limitations, granting additional rights to consumers, such as correction of personal information and additional opt-out rights, and creates a new entity, the California Privacy Protection Agency, to implement and enforce the law. The CCPA and CPRA may increase our compliance costs and potential liability. In addition to the CCPA, numerous other states’ legislatures have passed or are considering similar laws that will require ongoing compliance efforts and investment.
The EU also has laws and regulations dealing with the collection, use and processing of personal data obtained from individuals in the EU, including the EU General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR. These laws and regulations are often more restrictive than those in the United States and restrict transfers of personal data to the United States unless certain requirements are met. The GDPR provides that EU member states may make their own further laws and regulations limiting the processing of genetic, biometric or health data, which could limit our ability to use and share personal data or could cause our costs to increase, and harm our business and financial condition. Further, the United Kingdom’s exit from the EU has
created uncertainty with regard to data protection regulation in the United Kingdom. We are subject to the UK General Data Protection Regulation and UK Data Protection Act of 2018, which retains the GDPR in the United Kingdom’s national law and provides for a penalty structure similar to the GDPR. Because the interpretation and application of laws, regulations, standards and other obligations relating to data privacy and security are still uncertain, it is possible that these laws, regulations, standards and other obligations may be interpreted and applied in a manner that is inconsistent with our data processing practices and policies. If our practices are not consistent, or are viewed as not consistent, with changes in laws, regulations and standards or new interpretations or applications of existing laws, regulations and standards, we may also become subject to fines, audits, inquiries, whistleblower complaints, adverse media coverage, investigations, lawsuits, loss of export privileges, severe criminal or civil sanction or other penalties.
Employees and human capital
As of December 31, 2022, we had 292 full-time employees. All of our employees are full-time and none of our employees are represented by a labor union or covered under a collective bargaining agreement.
Our human capital resources objectives include, as applicable, identifying, recruiting, retaining, incentivizing and integrating our existing and new employees, advisors and consultants. The principal purposes of our equity and cash incentive plans are to attract, retain and reward personnel through the granting of stock-based and cash-based compensation awards, in order to increase stockholder value and the success of our company by motivating such individuals to perform to the best of their abilities and achieve our objectives.
Our corporate headquarters is in Aliso Viejo, California where we lease four facilities housing our headquarters, manufacturing, research and development and administrative offices. The facility leases are for approximately 121,000 square feet in the aggregate. The leases terminate on (a) September 30, 2024, with one option to extend for five years; (b) January 31, 2026, with three options to extend for five years each; (c) March 31, 2023, with two options to extend for five years each; and (d) August 31, 2024, with one option to extend for five years. We believe that our existing facilities are adequate for our near-term needs but expect to need additional space as we grow. We believe that suitable additional or alternative space would be available in the future as required on commercially reasonable terms.
From time to time, we may become involved in litigation or other legal proceedings. We are not currently a party to any litigation or legal proceedings that, in the opinion of our management, are likely to have a material adverse effect on our business. Regardless of outcome, litigation can have an adverse impact on us because of defense and settlement costs, diversion of management resources, and other factors.
We were incorporated in California on March 5, 1997 as Calhoun Vision, Inc. and changed our name to RxSight, Inc. in October 2016. We reincorporated in Delaware on July 6, 2021.We maintain a website at www.rxsight.com. Information contained on our website is not incorporated by reference into this Annual Report on Form 10-K or any other filings we make with the SEC.
Item 1A. Risk Factors
We operate in a rapidly changing environment that involves numerous uncertainties and risks. In addition to the other information included in this Annual Report on Form 10-K, the following risks and uncertainties may have a material and adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations, or stock price. You should consider these risks and uncertainties carefully, together with all of the other information included or incorporated by reference in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. The risks and uncertainties described below may not be the only ones we face. If any of the risks or uncertainties we face were to occur, the trading price of our securities could decline, and you may lose all or part of your investment. This Annual Report on Form 10-K also contains forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties. See the section titled “Special Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements” appearing elsewhere in this Annual Report. Our actual results could differ materially from those anticipated in the forward-looking statements as a result of factors that are described below and elsewhere in this report.
Summary Risk Factors
Our following risks and uncertainties are among the most significant we face, however, the risks and uncertainties identified in this subsection are not the only ones we face and are qualified in their entirety by reference to all of the risk factors described herein:
Risks related to our business and products:
Risks related to intellectual property:
Risks related to government regulation:
Risks related to reliance on third parties:
Risks related to our common stock:
General risk factors:
Risks related to COVID-19:
Risks related to our business and products
We have a limited operating history and if we fail to effectively train our sales force, increase our sales and marketing capabilities or develop broad brand awareness in a cost-effective manner, our growth will be impeded, and our business will suffer.
We were incorporated in March 1997 and began commercializing our products in the second half of 2019, when we initiated a full launch of our LAL and LDD. Accordingly, our limited commercialization experience and limited number of approved or cleared products make it difficult to evaluate our current business and assess our prospects. We also currently have limited sales and marketing experience. If we are unable to establish or scale effective sales and marketing capabilities, or if we are unable to commercialize any of our products, we may not be able to generate sufficient product revenue, sustain revenue growth and compete effectively. In order to generate future growth, we plan to continue to expand and leverage our sales and marketing infrastructure to increase our customer base and grow our business.
Identifying and recruiting qualified sales and marketing personnel and training them on our products, applicable federal and state laws and regulations, and on our internal policies and procedures requires significant time, expense and attention. It often takes several months or more before a sales representative is fully trained and productive. Our business may be harmed if our efforts to expand and train our sales force do not generate a corresponding increase in revenue, or in the event we are unable to reduce costs in the face of an unexpected decline in demand for our products. Any failure to hire, develop and retain talented sales and marketing personnel, to achieve desired productivity levels in a reasonable timeframe or timely leverage our fixed costs could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations. Moreover, the members of our direct sales force are at-will employees. The loss of these personnel to competitors or otherwise could materially harm our business. If we are unable to retain our direct sales force personnel or replace them with individuals of equivalent technical expertise and qualifications, or if we are unable to successfully instill technical expertise in replacement personnel, our revenue and results of operations could be materially harmed.
Our ability to increase our customer base and achieve broader market acceptance of our products will also depend to a significant extent on our ability to expand our marketing efforts. Our business may be harmed if our marketing efforts and expenditures do not generate a corresponding increase in revenue. In addition, we believe that developing and maintaining broad awareness of our brand in a cost-effective manner is critical to achieving broad acceptance of our products and penetrating new customer accounts. Brand promotion activities may not generate patient or doctor awareness or increased revenue, and even if they do, any increase in revenue may not offset the costs and expenses we incur in building our brand. If we fail to successfully promote, maintain and protect our brand, we may fail to attract or retain the doctor acceptance
necessary to realize a sufficient return on our brand building efforts, or to achieve the level of brand awareness that is critical for broad adoption of our products.
These factors also make it difficult for us to forecast our financial performance and growth, and such forecasts are subject to a number of uncertainties, including our ability to successfully develop additional products that add functionality, reduce the cost of products sold, and broaden our commercial portfolio offerings and our ability to obtain the required regulatory approvals and clearances under applicable law both domestically and internationally, including FDA 510(k) clearance or pre-market approval, or PMA, for, and successfully commercialize, market and sell, our planned or future products in the United States or in international markets. If our assumptions regarding the risks and uncertainties we face, which we use to plan our business, are incorrect or change due to circumstances in our business or our markets, or if we do not address these risks successfully, our operating and financial results could differ materially from our expectations and our business could suffer.
We have a history of net losses, and we expect to continue to incur losses in the future. If we ever achieve profitability, we may not be able to sustain it.
We have incurred losses from operations since our inception and expect to continue to incur losses from operations in the future. We reported losses from operations of $63.3 million and $52.8 million for the years ended December 31, 2022 and 2021, respectively. As a result of these losses, as of December 31, 2022, we had an accumulated deficit of $546.0 million. We expect to continue to incur significant sales and marketing, research and development, regulatory and other expenses as we expand our marketing efforts to increase adoption of our products, expand existing relationships with our customers, obtain regulatory clearances or approvals for our planned or future products, conduct clinical trials on our existing and planned or future products and develop new products or add new features to our existing products. In addition, we expect our general and administrative expenses to increase due to the costs associated with being a public company.
The net losses that we incur may fluctuate from period to period. We will need to generate significant additional revenue in order to achieve and sustain profitability. Even if we achieve profitability, we cannot be sure that we will remain profitable for any substantial period of time.
In order to support our continued operations and the growth of our business, we may seek to raise additional capital, which may not be available to us on acceptable terms, or at all.
We expect capital expenditures and operating expenses to increase over the next several years as we continue to operate our business and expand our infrastructure, commercial operations and research and development activities. Our primary uses of capital are, and we expect will continue to be, investment in our commercial organization and related expenses, clinical research and development services, laboratory and related supplies, legal and other regulatory expenses, general administrative costs and working capital. In addition, we may in the future seek to acquire or invest in additional businesses, products, services or technologies that we believe could complement or expand our product portfolio, enhance our technical capabilities or otherwise offer growth opportunities.
Because of these and other factors, we expect to continue to incur net losses and negative cash flows from operations in the future. Our future liquidity and capital funding requirements will depend on numerous factors, including:
If we determine that we need to raise additional funds, we may do so through equity or debt financings, which may not be available to us when needed or on terms that we deem to be favorable. To the extent that we raise additional capital through the sale of equity or convertible debt securities, the ownership interests of our stockholders will be diluted, and the terms of these securities may include liquidation or other preferences that adversely affect the rights of common stockholders. Debt financing and preferred equity financing, if available, may involve agreements that include covenants limiting or restricting our ability to take specific actions, such as incurring additional debt, making acquisitions or capital expenditures or declaring dividends. If we are unable to maintain sufficient financial resources, our business, financial condition and results of operations will be materially and adversely affected, including potentially requiring us to delay, limit, reduce or terminate certain of our product discovery and development activities or future commercialization efforts.
Moreover, in the event that we enter into collaborations or licensing arrangements to raise capital, we may be required to accept unfavorable terms. These agreements may require that we relinquish or license to a third party on unfavorable terms our rights to products or technologies we otherwise would seek to develop or commercialize ourselves, or reserve certain opportunities for future potential arrangements when we might be able to achieve more favorable terms. We may be unable to raise additional funds or to enter into such agreements or arrangements on favorable terms, or at all. Our ability to raise additional funds may be adversely impacted by potential worsening global economic conditions and the recent disruptions to, and volatility in, the credit and financial markets in the United States and worldwide resulting from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the conflicts in Eastern Europe, and otherwise.
As of December 31, 2022 and 2021, we had $105.8 million and $159.3 million, respectively, in cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments. While we believe that our existing cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments and anticipated cash generated from sales of our products will be sufficient to meet our anticipated cash needs for at least 12 months following the date of this Annual Report on Form 10-K, we cannot assure you that we will be able to generate sufficient liquidity as and when needed. Further, although we do not anticipate the need to raise additional capital or incur additional debt in order to reach profit from operations, as the same may be disclosed in the Company’s future Annual Reports on Form 10-K or Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q filed with the SEC (though we may opportunistically access our ATM facility under advantageous circumstances), we have based this estimate on assumptions that may prove to be wrong, and we could use our capital resources sooner than we currently expect. Changing circumstances, some of which may be beyond our control, could cause us to consume capital significantly faster than we currently anticipate, and we may need to seek additional funds sooner than planned. We cannot assure you that we will be able to generate sufficient liquidity as and when needed.
Global economic, political and market conditions, including downgrades of the U.S. credit rating, may adversely affect our business, results of operations and financial condition, including our revenue growth and profitability.
The current worldwide economic and financial environment, as well as various social and political tensions in the U.S. and around the world, may contribute to increased market volatility, may have long-term effects on the U.S. and worldwide financial markets and may cause economic uncertainties or deterioration in the U.S. and worldwide. The impact of downgrades by rating agencies to the U.S. government’s sovereign credit rating or its perceived creditworthiness as well as potential government shutdowns could adversely affect the U.S. and global financial markets and economic conditions. U.S. debt ceiling and budget deficit concerns have increased the possibility of additional credit-rating downgrades and economic slowdowns, or a recession in the U.S. In addition, disagreement over the federal budget has caused the U.S. federal government to shut down for periods of time. Continued adverse political and economic conditions could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.
Deterioration in the economic conditions globally resulting in instability in global financial markets, including the following, may pose a risk to our business: inflation and rising interest rates, large sovereign debts and fiscal deficits of several countries in Europe and in emerging markets’ jurisdictions, levels of non-performing loans on the balance sheets of European banks, the effect of the United Kingdom leaving the European Union, instability in the capital markets and the COVID-19 pandemic.
Various social and political circumstances in the U.S. and around the world (including wars and other forms of conflict, terrorist acts, security operations and catastrophic events such as fires, floods, earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes and global health epidemics) may also contribute to increased market volatility and economic uncertainties or deterioration in the U.S. and worldwide and have a material adverse effect on our business, financial conditions, results of operations and prospects.
The terms of our amended term loan place restrictions on our operating and financial flexibility, and failure to comply with covenants or to satisfy certain conditions of the agreement governing the term loan may result in acceleration of our repayment obligations and foreclosure on our pledged assets, which could significantly harm our liquidity, financial condition, operating results, business and prospects and cause the price of our securities to decline.
Our amended term loan (the “Amended Term Loan”), also referred to as our credit facility, with Oxford Finance, provides for a $60.0 million term-loan facility scheduled to mature on February 1, 2027, of which $40.0 million was fully funded as of May 3, 2022, from the original term loan. Subject to the terms and conditions of the Amended Term Loan, we may borrow up to $10.0 million during the second quarter of 2023 and up to another $10.0 million in the third quarter of 2023.
Our payment obligations under the Amended Term Loan reduce cash available to fund working capital, capital expenditures, research and development and general corporate needs. In addition, indebtedness under the Amended Term Loan bears interest at a variable rate, making us vulnerable to increases in market interest rates. If market rates increase, we will have to pay additional interest on this indebtedness, which would further reduce cash available for our other business needs.
Our obligations under the Amended Term Loan are secured by substantially all of our assets, excluding intellectual property. The security interest granted over our assets could limit our ability to obtain additional debt financing. The Amended Term Loan also requires us to comply with a number of other covenants (affirmative and negative), including restrictive covenants that limit our ability to: incur additional indebtedness; encumber the collateral securing the loan; acquire, own or make investments; repurchase or redeem any class of stock or other equity interest; declare or pay any cash dividend or make a cash distribution on any class of stock or other equity interest; dispose of a portion of our assets; acquire other businesses; and merge or consolidate with or into any other organization or otherwise suffer a change in control, in each case subject to exceptions.
In addition to other specified events of default, the lenders could declare an event of default upon the occurrence of any event that they interpret as having a material impairment on their lien on the collateral under the agreement, a material adverse change in our business, operations or condition (financial or otherwise) or a material impairment in the prospect of repayment of our obligations under the agreement. If we default under the credit facility, the lenders may accelerate all of our repayment obligations and, if we are unable to access funds to meet those obligations or to renegotiate our agreement, the
lenders could take control of our pledged assets and we would have to immediately cease operations. During the continuance of an event of default, the then-applicable interest rate on the then-outstanding principal balance will increase by 5.0%. Upon an event of default, the lenders could also require us to repay the loan immediately, together with a final payment charge of 5.0% of the total term loan advances we borrowed, together with other fees. If we were to renegotiate the agreement under such circumstances, the terms may be significantly less favorable to us. If we were liquidated, the lenders’ right to repayment would be senior to the rights of our stockholders to receive any proceeds from the liquidation. Any declaration by the lenders of an event of default could significantly harm our liquidity, financial condition, operating results, business, and prospects and cause the price of our securities to decline.
We may incur additional indebtedness in the future. The debt instruments governing such indebtedness may contain provisions that are as, or more, restrictive than the provisions governing our existing indebtedness. If we are unable to repay, refinance or restructure our indebtedness when payment is due, the lenders could proceed against the collateral or force us into bankruptcy or liquidation.
Our success depends in large part on our RxSight system. If we are unable to successfully market and sell our RxSight system, our business prospects will be significantly harmed, and we may be unable to achieve revenue growth.
Our future financial success will depend substantially on our ability to effectively and profitably market and sell our RxSight system to ophthalmic practices. The commercial success of our RxSight system and any of our planned or future products will depend on a number of factors, including the following:
If we fail to successfully market and sell our products, we will not be able to grow our revenue or achieve profitability, which will have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations. Our ability to grow our revenue in future periods will depend on our ability to successfully penetrate our target markets and increase sales of our RxSight system and any new product or product indications that we introduce, which will, in turn, depend in part on our success in growing our user base and driving increased use of our products. New products or product indications will also need to be approved or cleared by the FDA and comparable non-U.S. regulatory agencies in any international markets we target in order to commercialize them. If we cannot achieve revenue growth or achieve or sustain profitability, it could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Adoption of our products depends upon appropriate training for doctors, and inadequate training may lead to negative patient outcomes, affect adoption of our products and adversely affect our business.
The success of our products depends in part on our customers’ adherence to appropriate patient selection and proper techniques provided in training sessions conducted by our training faculty. For example, we train our customers to ensure correct use of our RxSight system. However, doctors rely on their previous medical training and experience, and we cannot guarantee that all such doctors will have the necessary skills or training to effectively utilize our products. We do not control which doctors use our products or how much training they receive, and doctors who have not completed our training sessions may nonetheless attempt to use our products. In addition, doctors may use our products in a manner that is not consistent with their labeled indications for which no training is available. If doctors use our products in a manner that is inconsistent with their labeled indications, with components that are not compatible with our products or otherwise without adhering to or completing our training sessions, their patient outcomes may not be consistent with the outcomes achieved by other doctors or in our clinical trials. This result may negatively impact the perception of patient benefit and safety and limit adoption of our products, which would have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
We currently require limited training in the use of our products because we market primarily to doctors who are experienced in the specific techniques required to use our devices. If demand for our products continues to grow, less experienced doctors will likely use our products, potentially leading to more injury and an increased risk of product liability claims. The use or misuse of our products may in the future result in complications and potentially lead to product liability claims.
The commercial success of our RxSight system will depend upon attaining significant market acceptance of these products among patients and doctors.
Our success will depend, in part, on the acceptance of our RxSight system as safe, effective and, with respect to doctors, cost-effective. We cannot predict how quickly, if at all, patients, doctors, or payors will accept our RxSight system or, if accepted, how frequently it will be used. Our RxSight system and planned or future products we may develop or market may never gain broad market acceptance for some or all of our targeted indications. Patients and doctors must believe that our products offer benefits over alternative treatment methods. To date, a substantial majority of our product sales and revenue have been derived from a limited number of customers who have adopted our RxSight system. Our future growth and profitability largely depend on our ability to increase doctors’ awareness of our RxSight system and our products and on the willingness of patients and doctors to adopt them. These parties may not adopt our products unless they are able to determine, based on experience, clinical data, medical society recommendations and other analyses, that our products are safe, effective and, with respect to providers, cost-effective, on a stand-alone basis and relative to competitors’ products. Patients and
doctors must believe that our products offer benefits over alternative treatment methods. Even if we are able to raise awareness, doctors tend to be slow in changing their medical treatment practices and may be hesitant to select our products for recommendation to their patients for a variety of reasons, including:
In order for doctors to use our RxSight system, they must make a significant up-front investment to purchase the LDD. This can result in a lengthy sales cycle and require extensive negotiations and management time. If we are unsuccessful in placing LDDs with providers, our sales may decrease, and our operating results may be harmed.
Doctors play a significant role in determining the course of a patient’s treatment, and, as a result, the type of treatment that will be utilized and provided to a patient. We focus our sales, marketing and education efforts primarily on doctors, and aim to educate referring doctors on the patient population that would benefit from our products. However, we cannot assure you that we will achieve broad market acceptance among doctors.
For example, some doctors may choose to utilize our RxSight system on only a subset of their total patient population or may not adopt our RxSight system at all. If we are not able to effectively demonstrate that the use of our RxSight system is beneficial in a broad range of patients, adoption of our product will be limited and may not occur as rapidly as we anticipate or at all, which would have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations. We cannot assure you that our products will achieve broad market acceptance among doctors. Additionally, even if our products achieve market acceptance, they may not maintain that market acceptance over time if competing products, procedures or technologies are considered safer or more cost-effective or otherwise superior. Any failure of our products to generate sufficient demand or to achieve meaningful market acceptance and penetration will harm our future prospects and have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Our reputation among our current or potential customers, as well as among doctors, could also be negatively affected by safety or customer satisfaction issues involving us or our products, including product recalls. Future product recalls or other safety or customer satisfaction issues relating to our reputation could negatively affect our ability to establish or maintain broad adoption of our products, which would harm our future prospects and have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Our RxSight system involves surgical risks and is contraindicated in certain patients, which may limit adoption.
Risks of using our products include those associated with cataract surgery and IOL implantation. There are also possible, but rare, complications due to the use of UV light from the LDD, including a temporary or long-lasting change to vision. We are aware of certain characteristics and features of our RxSight system that may prevent widespread market adoption,
including the fact that doctors would need to adopt a new procedure, and training for doctors will be required to enable them to effectively operate our products.
We face significant competition, and if we are unable to compete effectively, we may not be able to achieve or maintain significant market penetration or improve our results of operations.
The medical device industry is intensely competitive, subject to rapid change and significantly affected by new product introductions and other market activities of industry participants. We compete with manufacturers and distributors of premium and conventional IOLs. Our most significant competitors in the IOL field include Alcon, Johnson & Johnson Vision and Bausch + Lomb. Many of our competitors are large, well-capitalized companies with significantly greater market share and resources than we have. Therefore, they can spend more on product development, marketing, sales and other product initiatives than we can. We also compete with smaller medical device companies that have a single product or a limited range of products. In addition, patients who receive an LAL will be required to wear UV protective glasses until final lock-in which is approximately four to five weeks after surgery. They will also be required to return for an additional two to three clinic visits compared to traditional monofocal cataract surgery. The additional clinic visits are non-surgical but do require the patient’s eyes to be dilated. Due to these additional requirements, market acceptance of the LAL may be impacted. We believe the principal competitive factors in our markets include:
We compete primarily on the basis that our products are designed to enable more doctors to treat more patients more efficiently and effectively. Our continued success depends on our ability to:
We can provide no assurance that we will be successful in developing new products or commercializing them in ways that achieve market acceptance. If we develop new products, sales of those products may reduce revenue generated from our existing products. Moreover, any significant delays in our product launches may significantly impede our ability to enter or compete in a given market and may reduce the sales that we are able to generate from these products. We may experience delays in any phase of a product development, including during research and development, clinical trials, regulatory review, manufacturing and marketing. Delays in product introductions could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
In addition, many medical device companies are consolidating to create new companies with greater market power. As the medical device industry consolidates, competition to provide goods and services to industry participants will become more intense. These industry participants may try to use their market power to negotiate price concessions or reductions for our products. If we reduce our prices because of consolidation in the healthcare industry, our revenue may decrease, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
If our facilities become damaged or inoperable, or if we are required to vacate a facility, we may be unable to manufacture our products or we may experience delays in production or an increase in costs, which could adversely affect our results of operations.
We currently maintain our research and development, manufacturing and administrative operations in Aliso Viejo, California, and we do not have redundant facilities. We operate in four separate facilities, designated as a single manufacturing facility, and should any one of these facilities be significantly damaged or destroyed by natural or man-made disasters, such as earthquakes, fires (both of which are prevalent in California) or other events, it could take months to relocate or rebuild, during which time our employees may seek other positions, our research, development and manufacturing would cease or be delayed and our products may be unavailable. A major interruption in the manufacturing operations at this facility would materially impact our ability to operate. Because of the time required to authorize manufacturing in a new facility under federal, state and non-U.S. regulatory requirements, we may not be able to resume production on a timely basis even if we are able to replace production capacity. While we maintain property and business interruption insurance, such insurance has limits and would not cover all damages, including losses caused by earthquakes or losses we may suffer due to our products being replaced by competitors’ products. The inability to perform our research, development and manufacturing activities if our facilities become inoperable, combined with our limited inventory of materials and components and manufactured products, may cause doctors to discontinue using our products or harm our reputation, and we may be unable to re-establish relationships with such doctors in the future. Consequently, a catastrophic event at our current facility or any future facilities could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Furthermore, the current leases on our four facilities expire, respectively, on (i) September 30, 2024, with one option to extend for five years; (ii) January 31, 2026, with three options to extend for five years each; (iii) March 31, 2023 with two options to extend for five years each, and (iv) August 31, 2024, with one option to extend for five years. We may be unable to renew our leases or find a new facility on commercially reasonable terms, or at all. If we were unable or unwilling to renew at the proposed rates, relocating our manufacturing facility would involve significant expense in connection with the movement and installation of key manufacturing equipment and any necessary recertification with regulatory bodies, and we cannot assure you that such a move would not delay or otherwise adversely affect our manufacturing activities or operating results. If our manufacturing capabilities were impaired by any such move, we may not be able to manufacture and ship our products in a timely manner, which would adversely impact our business.
Technological change may adversely affect sales of our products and may cause our products to become obsolete.
The medical device market is characterized by extensive research and development and rapid technological change. There can be no assurance that other companies, including current competitors or new entrants, will not succeed in developing or marketing products that are more effective than our products or that would render our products obsolete or noncompetitive. Additionally, new surgical procedures, medications and other therapies could be developed that replace or reduce the importance of our products. If we are unable to innovate successfully, our products could become obsolete and our revenue would decline as our customers purchase our competitors’ products. Our failure to develop new products, applications or features could result from insufficient cash resources, high employee turnover, inability to hire personnel with sufficient technical skills, a lack of other research and development resources or other constraints. Our failure or inability to devote adequate research and development resources or compete effectively with the research and development programs of our current or future competitors could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
We have limited data and experience regarding the safety and efficacy of our RxSight system. Results of earlier studies may not be predictive of future clinical trial results, and planned studies may not establish an adequate safety or efficacy profile for our RxSight system and other planned or future products, which would affect market acceptance of our RxSight system.
Because our RxSight system technology is a relatively new treatment to optimize vision after cataract surgery, we have performed clinical trials only with limited patient populations. The long-term effects of using our products in a large number of patients have not been studied and the results of short-term clinical use of such products do not necessarily predict long-term clinical benefits or reveal long-term adverse effects. The results of preclinical studies and clinical trials of our products conducted to date and ongoing or future studies and trials of our current, planned or future products may not be predictive of the results of later clinical trials, and interim results of a clinical trial do not necessarily predict final results. Our interpretation of data and results from our clinical trials do not ensure that we will achieve similar results in future clinical trials in other patient populations. In addition, preclinical and clinical data are often susceptible to various interpretations and analyses, and many companies that have believed their products performed satisfactorily in preclinical studies and earlier clinical trials have nonetheless failed to replicate results in later clinical trials and subsequently failed to obtain marketing approval. Products in later stages of clinical trials may fail to show the desired safety and efficacy despite having progressed through nonclinical studies and earlier clinical trials.
If our clinical trials are unsuccessful or significantly delayed, or if we do not complete our clinical trials, our business may be harmed.
Clinical development is a long, expensive and uncertain process and is subject to delays and the risk that products may ultimately prove unsafe or ineffective in treating the indications for which they are designed. We are currently engaged in post-market clinical trials of our RxSight system. Completion of clinical trials may take several years or more. Clinical trials can be delayed for a variety of reasons, including delays in obtaining regulatory approval to commence a trial, in reaching an agreement on acceptable clinical trial terms with prospective sites, in obtaining institutional review board approval at each site, in recruiting patients to participate in a trial or in obtaining sufficient supplies of clinical trial materials. We cannot provide any assurance that we will successfully, or in a timely manner, enroll our clinical trials, that our clinical trials will meet their primary endpoints or that such trials or their results will be accepted by the FDA or foreign regulatory authorities.
We may experience numerous unforeseen events during, or because of, the clinical trial process that could delay or prevent us from receiving regulatory clearance or approval for new products, modifications of existing products, or new indications for existing products, including:
Failures or perceived failures in our clinical trials will delay and may prevent our product development and regulatory approval process, damage our business prospects and negatively affect our reputation and competitive position.
Unauthorized third parties may seek to access our devices or other products and services, or related devices, products, and services, and modify or use them in a way inconsistent with our FDA clearances and approvals, which may create risks to users.
Medical devices are increasingly connected to the internet, hospital networks, and other medical devices to provide features that improve healthcare and increase the ability of healthcare providers to treat patients and patients to manage their conditions. While currently bidirectional connectivity and interoperability of our RxSight system with other devices, local networks and the internet is not enabled, this may change in the future. Enablement of such features may increase cybersecurity risks and the risks of unauthorized access and use by third parties. For example, unauthorized third parties may seek to access our devices or other products and services, or related devices, products, and services, and modify or use them in a way inconsistent with our FDA clearances and approvals, which may create risks to users and potential exposure to the company.
We may expend our limited resources to pursue a particular product or indication and fail to capitalize on products or indications that may be more profitable or for which there is a greater likelihood of success.
Because we have limited financial and managerial resources, we focus on specific products and indications. As a result, we may forgo or delay pursuit of other opportunities with others that could have had greater commercial potential. Our resource allocation decisions may cause us to fail to capitalize on viable commercial products or profitable market opportunities. Our spending on current and future research and development programs for specific indications or enhancements may not yield any commercially viable products. If we do not accurately evaluate the commercial potential or target market for a particular potential product, we may relinquish valuable rights to that potential product through future collaborations, licenses and other similar arrangements in cases in which it would have been more advantageous for us to retain sole development and commercialization rights to such potential product.
We may not be able to develop, license or acquire new products, enhance the capabilities of our existing products to keep pace with rapidly changing technology and customer requirements or successfully manage the transition to new product offerings, any of which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Our success depends on our ability to develop, license or acquire and commercialize additional products and to develop new applications for our technologies in existing and new markets, while improving the performance and cost-effectiveness of our existing products, in each case in ways that address current and anticipated customer requirements. We intend to develop and commercialize additional products through our research and development program and by licensing or acquiring additional products and technologies from third parties. Our success is dependent upon several factors, including functionality, competitive pricing, ease of use, the safety and efficacy of our products and our ability to identify, select and acquire the rights to products and technologies on terms that are acceptable to us.
The medical device industry is characterized by rapid technological change and innovation. New technologies, techniques or products could emerge that might offer better combinations of price and performance or better address customer requirements as compared to our current or future products. Competitors, who may have greater financial, marketing and sales resources than we do, may be able to respond more quickly and effectively than we can to new or changing opportunities, technologies, standards or customer requirements. Any new product we identify for internal development, licensing or acquisition may require additional development efforts prior to commercial sale, including extensive clinical testing and approval or clearance by the FDA and applicable foreign regulatory authorities. Due to the significant lead time and complexity involved in bringing a new product to market, we are required to make a number of assumptions and estimates regarding the commercial feasibility of a new product. These assumptions and estimates may prove incorrect, resulting in our introduction of a product that is not competitive at the time of launch. We anticipate that we will face increased competition in the future as existing companies and competitors develop new or improved products and as new companies enter the market with new technologies. Our ability to mitigate downward pressure on our selling prices will be dependent upon our ability to maintain or increase the value we offer to doctors as well as payors. All new products are prone to the risks of failure inherent in medical device product development, including the possibility that the product will not be shown to be sufficiently safe and effective for approval or clearance by regulatory authorities. In addition, we cannot assure you that any such products that are approved or cleared will be manufactured or produced economically, successfully commercialized or widely accepted in the marketplace. The expenses or losses associated with unsuccessful product development or launch activities, or a lack of market acceptance of our new products, could adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Our ability to attract new customer accounts depends in large part on our ability to enhance and improve our existing products and to introduce compelling new products. The success of any enhancement to our products depends on several factors, including adoption and continued use by doctors, competitive pricing and overall market acceptance. Any new product that we develop may not be introduced in a timely or cost-effective manner, may contain defects or may not achieve the market acceptance necessary to generate significant revenue. If we are unable to successfully develop, license or acquire new products, enhance our existing products to meet customer requirements or otherwise gain market acceptance, our business, financial condition and results of operations would be harmed.
The typical development cycle of new medical device products can be lengthy and complicated and may require complex technology and engineering. Such developments may involve external suppliers and service providers, making the management of development projects complex and subject to risks and uncertainties regarding timing, timely delivery of required components or services and satisfactory technical performance of such components or assembled products. If we do not achieve the required technical specifications or successfully manage new product development processes, or if development work is not performed according to schedule, then such new technologies or products may be adversely impacted, and our business and operating results may be harmed.
If we fail to identify, acquire and develop other products, we may be unable to grow our business.
As a significant part of our growth strategy, we intend to develop and commercialize additional products through our research and development program or by licensing or acquiring additional products and technologies from third parties. The success of this strategy depends upon our ability to identify, select and acquire the right to products and technologies on terms that are acceptable to us.
Any product we identify, license or acquire may require additional development efforts prior to commercial sale, including extensive clinical testing and approval or clearance by the FDA and applicable foreign regulatory authorities. All products are prone to the risks of failure inherent in medical device product development, including the possibility that the product will not be shown to be sufficiently safe and effective for approval or clearance by regulatory authorities. In addition, we cannot assure you that any such products that are approved or cleared will be manufactured or produced economically, successfully commercialized or widely accepted in the marketplace.
Proposing, negotiating and implementing an economically viable product or technology acquisition or license is a lengthy and complex process. Other companies, including those with substantially greater financial, marketing and sales resources, may compete with us for the acquisition or license of approved or cleared products. We may not be able to acquire or license the rights to additional approved or cleared products on terms that we find acceptable, or at all.
If we are unable to develop suitable potential products through internal research programs or by obtaining rights from third parties, it could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
We may acquire other companies or technologies, which could fail to result in a commercial product or increased revenue, divert our management’s attention, result in additional dilution to our stockholders and otherwise disrupt our operations and harm our operating results.
Although we currently have no agreements or commitments to complete any such transactions, we may in the future seek to acquire or invest in businesses, applications or technologies that we believe could complement or expand our portfolio, enhance our technical capabilities or otherwise offer growth opportunities. However, we cannot assure you that we would be able to successfully complete any acquisition we choose to pursue, or that we would be able to successfully integrate any acquired business, product or technology in a cost-effective and non-disruptive manner. The pursuit of potential acquisitions may divert the attention of management and cause us to incur various costs and expenses in identifying, investigating and pursuing suitable acquisitions, whether or not they are consummated. We may not be able to identify desirable acquisition targets or be successful in entering into an agreement with any particular target or obtain the expected benefits of any acquisition or investment.
To date, the growth of our operations has been largely organic, and we have limited experience in acquiring other businesses or technologies. We may not be able to successfully integrate any acquired personnel, operations and technologies, or effectively manage the combined business following an acquisition. Acquisitions could also result in dilutive issuances of equity securities, the use of our available cash, or the incurrence of debt, which could harm our operating results. In addition, if an acquired business fails to meet our expectations, our operating results, business and financial condition may suffer.
Coverage and adequate reimbursement and/or the ability of patients to pay for the difference between the price charged by practices and the reimbursement amount may not be available for our products in sufficient markets, which could diminish our sales or affect our ability to sell our products.
In both U.S. and non-U.S. markets, our ability to successfully commercialize and achieve market acceptance of our products depends, in significant part, on the availability of adequate financial remuneration to doctor practices and surgical centers. This remuneration can come from a combination of sources, including third-party payors, such as Medicare and Medicaid programs in the United States, managed care organizations and private health insurers. Third-party payors decide which treatments they will cover and establish reimbursement rates for those treatments. They also can preclude patients from paying extra to receive additional services, such as those associated with placement of premium IOLs. Our products are purchased by doctors who will then seek reimbursement from third-party payors and patients for the procedures performed using our products. Reimbursement systems and patient billing rules in international markets vary significantly by country and by region within some countries, and reimbursement and/or non-reimbursement approvals must be obtained on a country-by-country basis. In certain international markets, a product must be approved for reimbursement before it can be approved for sale in that country. Furthermore, many international markets have government-managed healthcare systems that control reimbursement for new devices and procedures, as well as the ability to charge patients directly for non-reimbursed devices and procedures. In most markets there are private insurance systems as well as government-managed systems.
While third-party payors currently cover and provide reimbursement for a portion of the cost of the procedures performed using our currently cleared or approved products, we can give no assurance that these third-party payors will continue to provide coverage and adequate reimbursement or permit patient payment for the non-reimbursed portion sufficient to permit doctors to offer procedures using our products to patients requiring treatment. If sufficient coverage and reimbursement or flexibility to enable patient payment is not available for the procedures performed using our products, in either the United States or any international markets we enter, the demand for our products and our revenue will be adversely affected.
Furthermore, the overall amount of reimbursement available for products and procedures intended to treat cataract and refractive conditions of the eye could remain at current levels or decrease in the future. Failure by doctors to obtain and maintain coverage and adequate reimbursement as well as patient charges for the procedures performed using our products would materially adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Third-party payors are also increasingly examining the cost effectiveness of products, in addition to their safety and efficacy, when making coverage and payment decisions. Third-party payors have also instituted initiatives to limit the growth of healthcare costs using, for example, price regulation or controls and competitive pricing programs. Some third-party payors also require demonstrated superiority, on the basis of randomized clinical trials, or pre-approval of coverage, for new or innovative devices or procedures before they will reimburse healthcare providers who use such devices or procedures.
Additionally, no uniform policy for coverage and reimbursement exists in the United States, and coverage and reimbursement can differ significantly from payor to payor. Third-party payors often rely upon Medicare coverage policy and payment limitations in setting their own reimbursement rates, but also have their own methods and approval process apart from Medicare determinations. It is uncertain whether our current products or any planned or future products will be viewed (or continue to be viewed) as sufficiently cost effective to warrant coverage and adequate reimbursement levels for procedures using such products in any given jurisdiction.
If product liability lawsuits are brought against us, we may incur substantial liabilities and may be required to limit or halt the marketing and sale of our products. The expense and potential unavailability of insurance coverage for liabilities resulting from our products could harm us and our ability to sell our products.
We face an inherent risk of product liability as a result of the marketing and sale of our products. For example, we may be sued if our products cause or are perceived to cause injury or are found to be otherwise unsuitable during manufacturing, marketing or sale. Any such product liability claim may include allegations of defects in manufacturing, defects in design, a failure to warn of dangers inherent in the product, negligence, strict liability or a breach of warranties. In addition, we may be subject to claims against us even if the apparent injury is due to the actions of others or the pre-existing health of the patient. For example, we rely on doctors in connection with the use of our products on patients. If these doctors are not properly trained or are negligent, the capabilities of our products may be diminished, or the patient may suffer critical injury. We may also be subject to claims that are caused by the activities of our suppliers, such as those who provide us with components and sub-assemblies.
If we cannot successfully defend ourselves against product liability claims, we may incur substantial liabilities or be required to limit or halt commercialization of our products. Even successful defense would require significant financial and management resources. Regardless of the merits or eventual outcome, liability claims may result in:
We believe we have adequate product liability insurance, but it may not prove to be adequate to cover all liabilities that we may incur. Insurance coverage is increasingly expensive. We may not be able to maintain or obtain insurance at a reasonable cost or in an amount adequate to satisfy any liability that may arise. Our insurance policy contains various exclusions, and we may be subject to a product liability claim for which we have no coverage. The potential inability to obtain sufficient product liability insurance at an acceptable cost to protect against product liability claims could prevent or inhibit the marketing and sale of products we develop. We may have to pay any amounts awarded by a court or negotiated in a settlement that exceed our coverage limitations or that are not covered by our insurance, and we may not have, or be able to obtain, sufficient capital to pay such amounts, which would have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations. In addition, any product liability claims brought against us, with or without merit, could increase our product liability insurance rates or prevent us from securing continuing coverage, harm our reputation in the industry, significantly increase our expenses and reduce product sales.
Some of our customers and prospective customers may also have difficulty in procuring or maintaining liability insurance to cover their operations and use of our products. Medical malpractice carriers are withdrawing coverage in certain states or substantially increasing premiums. If this trend continues or worsens, our customers may discontinue using our
products and potential customers may opt against purchasing our products due to the cost or inability to procure insurance coverage.
We intend to expand sales of our products internationally in the future, but we may experience difficulties in obtaining regulatory clearance or approval or in successfully marketing our products internationally even if approved. A variety of risks associated with marketing our products internationally could materially adversely affect our business.
Sales of our products outside of the United States would be subject to foreign regulatory requirements governing clinical trials and marketing approval. We will incur substantial expenses in connection with our international expansion. Additional risks related to operating in foreign countries include:
These and other risks associated with international operations may materially adversely affect our ability to attain or maintain profitable operations in international markets, which would have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Further, our products may be subject to U.S. and foreign export controls, trade sanctions and import laws and regulations. Governmental regulation of the import or export of our products, or our failure to obtain any required import or export authorization for our products, where applicable, could harm our international sales and adversely affect our revenue. Compliance with applicable regulatory requirements regarding the export of our products may create delays in the introduction of our products in international markets or, in some cases, prevent the export of our products to some countries altogether. Furthermore, U.S. export control laws and economic sanctions prohibit the shipment of certain products and services to countries, governments, and persons targeted by U.S. sanctions. If we fail to comply with export and import regulations and such economic sanctions, penalties could be imposed, including fines and/or denial of certain export privileges. Moreover, any new export or import restrictions, new legislation or shifting approaches in the enforcement or scope of existing regulations, or in the countries, persons, or products targeted by such regulations, could result in decreased use of our products by, or in our decreased ability to export our products to, existing or potential customers with international
operations. Any decreased use of our products or limitation on our ability to export or sell our products would likely adversely affect our business.
In addition, there can be no guarantee that we will receive approval to sell our products in the international markets we target, nor can there be any guarantee that any sales would result even if such approval is received. Even if the FDA grants marketing approval for a product, comparable regulatory authorities of foreign countries must also approve the manufacturing or marketing of the product in those countries. Approval in the United States, or in any other jurisdiction, does not ensure approval in other jurisdictions. Obtaining foreign approvals could result in significant delays, difficulties and costs for us and require additional trials and additional expenses. Regulatory requirements can vary widely from country to country and could delay the introduction of our products in those countries. Clinical trials conducted in one country may not be accepted by other countries, and regulatory approval in one country does not mean that regulatory approval will be obtained in any other country. If we fail to comply with these regulatory requirements or to obtain and maintain required approvals, our target market will be reduced and our ability to generate revenue will be diminished. Our inability to successfully enter all our desired international markets and manage business on a global scale could negatively affect our business, financial results and results of operations.
We may not be able to achieve or maintain satisfactory pricing and margins for our products.
Manufacturers of medical devices have a history of price competition, and we can give no assurance that we will be able to achieve satisfactory prices for our products or maintain prices at the levels we have historically achieved. Any decline in the amount that payors reimburse doctors performing cataract procedures, or any reduction in the flexibility to charge patients for non-reimbursed procedures could make it difficult for us to convince our customers to make the up-front investment in our LDD and could create additional pricing pressure with respect to the patient’s decision to pay the additional cost associated with our LALs and potentially a reduction in the number of procedures performed using the RxSight system and corresponding sales of LDDs, LALs, accessories and services. If we are forced to lower the price we charge for our products, our revenue and gross margins will decrease, which will adversely affect our ability to invest in and grow our business. If we are unable to maintain our prices, or if our costs increase and we are unable to offset such increase with an increase in our prices, our margins could erode. We will continue to be subject to significant pricing pressure, which could harm our business, financial condition and results of operations.
The sizes of the markets for our current and future products have not been established with precision and may be smaller than we estimate.
Our estimates of the annual total addressable markets for our current products and products under development are based on a number of internal and third-party estimates, including, without limitation, the number of patients who have undergone cataract surgery, and the assumed prices at which we can sell our RxSight system. While we believe our assumptions and the data underlying our estimates are reasonable, these assumptions and estimates may not be correct and the conditions supporting our assumptions or estimates may change at any time, thereby reducing the predictive accuracy of these underlying factors. In addition, our estimates of the sizes of the cataract surgery patient population include patients who might never be likely candidates for treatment with our products. As a result, our estimates of the annual total addressable market for our current or future products may prove to be incorrect. If the actual number of patients who would benefit from our products, the price at which we can sell future products, or the annual total addressable market for our products is smaller than we have estimated, it may impair our sales growth and have an adverse impact on our business.
Changes to state regulations and interpretation of the practice of optometry, for public health insurance coverage and government reimbursement rates for our products and related procedures and/or medical or professional malpractice insurance coverage for doctors who perform procedures using our products could affect the adoption of our products and our future revenue.
States regulate the practice of optometry, including the types of procedures optometrists are authorized to perform in each state. To the extent states change or narrow the scope of the practice of optometry or their interpretation of the scope of optometry with respect to those who are qualified to perform LDD procedures involving our RxSight system, such state regulation or policy can have a material impact on which doctors may use our RxSight system, our customer base and market share, and the adoption of our RxSight system. Additionally, payor restrictions on the coverage and/or reimbursement levels for procedures using our RxSight system can negatively impact the adoption of our products and the pricing of our products, which can have a material impact on our profitability. Changes to medical or professional malpractice insurance coverage policies for doctors who perform procedures using our products, including refusal to cover malpractice liability insurance related to the use of our products can have a material impact on the adoption of our products and our business operations. We
can provide no assurance on the impact of current and future federal and state legislative, executive, and administrative actions, including measures implemented by state boards of examiners in optometry, as well as policies of malpractice insurance carriers and payors on us, our business operations, and the business of our customers. The implementation of cost containment measures or other policy and regulatory changes may prevent us from being able to generate revenue, attain profitability, or commercialize our products.
The federal government is considering ways to change, and has changed, the manner in which healthcare services are paid for in the United States. Individual states may also enact legislation that impacts Medicaid payments to doctors. In addition, CMS establishes Medicare payment levels for doctors on an annual basis, which can increase or decrease payment to such entities. Internationally, medical reimbursement systems vary significantly from country to country, with some countries limiting medical centers’ spending through fixed budgets, regardless of levels of patient treatment, and other countries requiring application for, and approval of, government or third-party reimbursement. In addition, the ability to charge patients directly for premium IOLs and associated services also varies widely across different countries and could become more restricted. Even if we succeed in bringing our products to market internationally, uncertainties regarding future healthcare policy, legislation and regulation, as well as private market practices, could affect our ability to sell our products in commercially acceptable quantities at acceptable prices.
Our quarterly and annual results may fluctuate significantly and may not fully reflect the underlying performance of our business.
Our quarterly and annual results of operations, including our revenue, profitability and cash flow, may vary significantly in the future, and period-to-period comparisons of our operating results may not be meaningful. Accordingly, the results of any one quarter or period should not be relied upon as an indication of future performance. Our quarterly and annual financial results may fluctuate as a result of a variety of factors, many of which are outside our control and, as a result, may not fully reflect the underlying performance of our business. Fluctuations in quarterly and annual results may decrease the value of our common stock. Because our quarterly results may fluctuate, period-to-period comparisons may not be the best indication of the underlying results of our business and should only be relied upon as one factor in determining how our business is performing.
We expect to significantly expand our organization, including expanding our sales and marketing capability and creating additional infrastructure to support our operations as a public company, and as a result, we may encounter difficulties in managing our growth, which could disrupt our operations.
We have and expect to experience significant growth in the number of our employees and the scope of our operations, particularly in the areas of sales and marketing and finance and accounting. To manage our anticipated future growth, we must continue to implement and improve our managerial, operational and financial systems, expand our facilities and continue to recruit and train additional qualified personnel. Due to our limited financial resources and our limited experience in managing such anticipated growth, we may not be able to effectively manage the expansion of our operations or recruit and train additional qualified personnel. The expansion of our operations may lead to significant costs and may divert or stretch our management and business development resources in a way that we may not anticipate. Any inability to manage growth could delay the execution of our business plans or disrupt our operations.
Certain of our operating results and financial metrics may be difficult to predict as a result of seasonality.
While we have not yet experienced significant seasonality in our results, it is not uncommon in our industry to experience seasonally weaker revenue during the summer months and end-of-year holiday season. We may be affected by other seasonal trends in the future, including severe weather (which can impact the number of elective procedures performed), particularly as our business matures. Additionally, this seasonality may be reflected to a much lesser extent, and sometimes may not be immediately apparent, in our revenue. To the extent we experience this seasonality, it may cause fluctuations in our operating results and financial metrics and make forecasting our future operating results and financial metrics more difficult.
Our ability to use our net operating loss carryforwards and certain other tax attributes to offset future taxable income may be subject to certain limitations.
As of December 31, 2022, we had federal net operating loss carryforwards (“NOLs”) of approximately $300.4 million, which will begin to expire in various years ranging from 2023 to 2037. Our NOLs could expire unused and be unavailable to offset future income tax liabilities because of their limited duration or because of restrictions under U.S. tax law. Under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (“Tax Act”), as modified by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, or the CARES Act, our federal NOLs generated in tax years ending after December 31, 2017 may be carried forward indefinitely, but the deductibility of such federal NOLs in tax years beginning after December 31, 2020 is limited to 80% of taxable income. It is uncertain if and to what extent various states will conform to the Tax Act, as modified by the CARES Act.
In addition, under Sections 382 and 383 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the “Code”), if a corporation undergoes an “ownership change” (generally defined as a cumulative change in our ownership by “5-percent shareholders” that exceeds 50 percentage points over a rolling three-year period), the corporation’s ability to use its pre-change NOLs and certain other pre-change tax attributes to offset its post-change income and taxes may be limited. Similar rules may apply under state tax laws. We may have experienced such ownership changes in the past, and we may experience an ownership change in the future as a result of subsequent shifts in our stock ownership, some of which are outside our control. We have not conducted any studies to determine annual limitations, if any, that could result from such changes in our stock ownership. Our ability to utilize those NOLs could be limited by an “ownership change” as described above and consequently, we may not be able to utilize a material portion of our NOLs and certain other tax attributes, which could have a material adverse effect on our cash flows and results of operations.
Risks related to intellectual property
If we are unable to obtain, maintain, protect and enforce patent and other intellectual property protection for our technology and products, or if the scope of the patent and other intellectual property protection obtained is not sufficiently broad, we may not be able to compete effectively in our markets.
Our success depends in large part on our ability to obtain, maintain, protect and enforce patent and other intellectual property protection in the United States and other countries with respect to our products and technology we develop. If we fail to obtain, maintain, protect and enforce our intellectual property, third parties may be able to compete more effectively against us, we may lose our technological or competitive advantage, or we may incur substantial litigation costs in our attempts to recover or restrict use of our intellectual property.
We seek to protect our position by in-licensing intellectual property relating to our products and filing patent applications in the United States and abroad related to our technologies and products that are important to our business. We also rely on a combination of contractual provisions, confidentiality procedures and copyright, trademark, trade secret and other intellectual property rights to protect the proprietary aspects of our brands, products, technologies and data. These legal measures afford only limited protection, and competitors or others may gain access to or use our intellectual property and proprietary information. Our success will depend, in part, on obtaining and maintaining patents, copyrights, trademarks, trade secrets, data and know-how and other intellectual property rights.
We may not be able to obtain and maintain intellectual property or other proprietary rights necessary to our business or in a form that provides us with a competitive advantage. For example, our trade secrets, data and know-how could be subject to unauthorized use, misappropriation or disclosure to unauthorized parties, despite our efforts to enter into confidentiality agreements with our employees, consultants, contractors, clients and other vendors who have access to such information, and could otherwise become known or be independently discovered by third parties. In addition, the patent prosecution process is expensive, time-consuming and complex, and we may not be able to file, prosecute, maintain, enforce or license all necessary or desirable patent applications at a reasonable cost, in a timely manner, or in all jurisdictions where protection may be commercially advantageous, or we may not be able to protect our intellectual property at all. Despite our efforts to protect our intellectual property, unauthorized parties may be able to obtain and use information that we regard as proprietary.
The issuance of a patent is not conclusive as to its inventorship, scope, validity or enforceability and our owned and in-licensed issued patents may be challenged in courts or patent offices in the United States and abroad. For example, we may be subject to a third-party submission of prior art to the USPTO, challenging the validity of one or more claims of our owned
or in-licensed issued patents. Such submissions may also be made prior to a patent’s issuance, precluding the granting of a patent based on one of our owned or in-licensed pending patent applications.
It is also possible that we will fail to identify patentable aspects of our research and development output in time to obtain patent protection. Although we enter into non-disclosure and confidentiality agreements with parties who have access to confidential or patentable aspects of our research and development output, such as our employees, consultants, contractors, collaborators, vendors and other third parties, any of these parties may breach the agreements and disclose such output before a patent application is filed, thereby jeopardizing our ability to seek patent protection. We may not be able to obtain or maintain patent applications and issued patents due to the subject matter claimed in such patent applications and issued patents being in disclosures in the public domain, and we may not be able to prevent any third party from using any of our technology that is in the public domain to compete with our technologies. In addition, publications of discoveries in the scientific literature often lag behind the actual discoveries, and patent applications in the United States and other jurisdictions are typically not published until 18 months after filing, or in some cases not at all. Therefore, we cannot be certain that we were the first to make the inventions claimed in our owned or in-licensed issued patents or pending patent applications, or that we were the first to file for patent protection of such inventions. If a third party can establish that we or our licensors were not the first to make or the first to file for patent protection of such inventions, our owned or in-licensed patent applications may not issue as patents and even if issued, may be challenged and invalidated or rendered unenforceable.
The patent position of medical device companies generally is highly uncertain, involves complex legal and factual questions, and has been the subject of much litigation in recent years. Changes in either the patent laws or their interpretation in the United States and other countries may diminish our ability to protect our inventions, obtain, maintain, and enforce our intellectual property rights and, more generally, could affect the value of our intellectual property or narrow the scope of our owned and in-licensed patents. With respect to both in-licensed and owned intellectual property, we cannot predict whether the patent applications we and our licensors are currently pursuing will issue as patents in any particular jurisdiction or whether the claims of any issued patents will provide sufficient protection from competitors. As a result, the issuance, scope, validity, enforceability and commercial value of our patent rights are highly uncertain.
Moreover, the coverage claimed in a patent application can be significantly reduced before a patent is issued, and its scope can be reinterpreted after issuance. Even if patent applications we license or own currently or in the future issue as patents, they may not issue in a form that will provide us with any meaningful protection, prevent competitors or other third parties from competing with us, or otherwise provide us with any competitive advantage. Any patents that we hold or in-license may be challenged, narrowed or invalidated by third parties. Additionally, our competitors or other third parties may be able to circumvent our patents by developing similar or alternative technologies or products in a non-infringing manner. Third parties may also have blocking patents that could prevent us from marketing our own products and practicing our own technology. Alternatively, third parties may seek approval to market their own products similar to or otherwise compete with our products. In these circumstances, we may need to defend and/or assert our patents, including by filing lawsuits alleging patent infringement. In any of these types of proceedings, a court or agency with jurisdiction may find our patents invalid, unenforceable or not infringed, in which case, our competitors and other third parties may then be able to market products and use manufacturing and analytical processes that are substantially similar to ours. Even if we have valid and enforceable patents, these patents still may not provide protection against competing products or processes sufficient to achieve our business objectives.
Given that patent applications are confidential for a period of time after filing, we cannot be certain that we were the first to file any patent application related to our products. Competitors may also contest our patents, if issued, by showing the USPTO, or the applicable other foreign patent agency that the invention was not original, was not novel or was obvious. In litigation, a competitor could claim that our patents, if issued, are not valid for a number of reasons. If a court agrees, we would lose our rights to those challenged patents.
In addition, given the amount of time required for the development, testing and regulatory review of new products, patents protecting such products might expire before or shortly after such products are commercialized. As a result, our intellectual property may not provide us with sufficient rights to exclude others from commercializing products similar or identical to ours. Moreover, some of our owned and in-licensed patents and patent applications may in the future be co-owned with third parties. If we are unable to obtain an exclusive license to any such third-party co-owners’ interest in such patents or patent applications, such co-owners may be able to license their rights to other third parties, including our
competitors, and our competitors could market competing products and technology. In addition, we may need the cooperation of any such co-owners of our patents in order to enforce such patents against third parties, and such cooperation may not be provided to us.
Our other intellectual property, including our trademarks, could also be challenged, invalidated, infringed and circumvented by third parties, and our trademarks could also be diluted, declared generic or found to be infringing on other marks, in which case we could be forced to re-brand our products, resulting in loss of brand recognition and requiring us to devote resources to advertising and marketing new brands, and suffer other competitive harm. Third parties may also adopt trademarks similar to ours, which could harm our brand identity and lead to market confusion.
We may in the future also be subject to claims by our former employees, consultants or contractors asserting an ownership right in our patents or patent applications, as a result of the work they performed on our behalf. Although we generally require all of our employees, consultants, contractors and any other partners or collaborators who have access to our proprietary know-how, information or technology to assign or grant similar rights to their inventions to us, we cannot be certain that we have executed such agreements with all parties who may have contributed to our intellectual property, nor can we be certain that our agreements with such parties will be upheld in the face of a potential challenge, or that they will not be breached, for which we may not have an adequate remedy.
Failure to obtain and maintain patents, trademarks and other intellectual property rights necessary to our business and failure to protect, monitor and control the use of our intellectual property rights could negatively impact our ability to compete and cause us to incur significant expenses. The intellectual property laws and other statutory and contractual arrangements in the United States and other jurisdictions we depend upon may not provide sufficient protection in the future to prevent the infringement, use, violation or misappropriation of our patents, trademarks, data, technology and other intellectual property, and may not provide an adequate remedy if our intellectual property rights are infringed, misappropriated or otherwise violated. Any of the foregoing could have a material adverse effect on our competitive position, business, financial conditions, results of operations and prospects.
Furthermore, our owned and in-licensed patents may be subject to a reservation of rights by one or more third parties. For example, this could arise if the research resulting in certain of our owned or in-licensed patent rights and technology was funded in part by the United States government. As a result, the government may have certain rights, or march-in rights, to such patent rights and technology. When new technologies are developed with government funding, the government generally obtains certain rights in any resulting patents, including a non-exclusive license authorizing the government to use the invention for non-commercial purposes. These rights may permit the government to disclose our confidential information to third parties and to exercise march-in rights to use or allow third parties to use our licensed technology. The government can exercise its march-in rights if it determines that action is necessary because we fail to achieve practical application of the government-funded technology, because action is necessary to alleviate health or safety needs, to meet requirements of federal regulations, or to give preference to United States industry. In addition, our rights in such inventions may be subject to certain requirements to manufacture products embodying such inventions in the United States. Any exercise by the government of such rights could harm our competitive position, business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.
Moreover, a portion of our intellectual property has been acquired from one or more third parties. While we have conducted diligence with respect to such acquisitions, because we did not participate in the development or prosecution of much of the acquired intellectual property, we cannot guarantee that our diligence efforts identified and/or remedied all issues related to such intellectual property, including potential ownership errors, potential errors during prosecution of such intellectual property, and potential encumbrances that could limit our ability to enforce such intellectual property rights.
Patent terms may be inadequate to protect our competitive position on technology for an adequate amount of time.
Patents have a limited lifespan. In the United States, if all maintenance fees are timely paid, the natural expiration of a patent is generally 20 years from its earliest claimed U.S. non-provisional or Patent Cooperation Treaty application filing date. Various extensions may be available, but the life of a patent, and the protection it affords, is limited. Even if patents covering our products are obtained, once the patent life has expired for a product, we may be open to competition. Given the amount of time required for the development, testing and regulatory review of new products, patents protecting such products
might expire before or shortly after such products are commercialized. As a result, our patent portfolio may not provide us with sufficient rights to exclude others from commercializing products similar or identical to ours for a meaningful amount of time, or at all.
Obtaining and maintaining our patent protection depends on compliance with various procedural, document submission, fee payment, and other requirements imposed by governmental patent agencies, and our patent protection could be reduced or eliminated for noncompliance with these requirements.
Periodic maintenance fees, renewal fees, annuity fees and various other government fees on any issued patents and patent applications are due to be paid to the USPTO and other foreign patent agencies in several stages over the lifetime of such issued patents and patent applications. The USPTO and various foreign national or international patent agencies require compliance with a number of procedural, documentary, fee payment, and other similar provisions during the patent application process. While an inadvertent lapse can in many cases be cured by payment of a late fee or by other means in accordance with the applicable rules, there are situations in which noncompliance can result in abandonment or lapse of the patent or patent application, resulting in partial or complete loss of patent rights in the relevant jurisdiction. Noncompliance events that could result in abandonment or lapse of patent rights include, but are not limited to, failure to timely file national and regional stage patent applications based on our international patent application, failure to respond to official actions within prescribed time limits, non-payment of fees, and failure to properly legalize and submit formal documents. We are dependent on our licensors to take the necessary action to comply with these requirements with respect to certain of our in-licensed intellectual property, and if we or any of our current or future licensors fail to maintain the patents and patent applications covering our RxSight system or any future products, our competitors may be able to enter the market, which would have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.
We may not identify relevant third-party patents or may incorrectly interpret the relevance, scope or expiration of a third-party patent, which might adversely affect our ability to develop and market our products.
We cannot guarantee that any of our patent searches or analyses, including the identification of relevant patents, the scope of patent claims or the expiration of relevant patents, are complete or thorough, nor can we be certain that we have identified each and every third-party patent and pending application in the United States and abroad that is relevant to or necessary for the commercialization of our current and future products in any jurisdiction.
The scope of a patent claim is determined by an interpretation of the law, the written disclosure in a patent and the patent’s prosecution history. Our interpretation of the relevance or the scope of a patent or a pending application may be incorrect, which may negatively impact our ability to market our products. We may incorrectly determine that our products are not covered by a third-party patent or may incorrectly predict whether a third party’s pending application will issue with claims of relevant scope. Our determination of the expiration date of any patent in the United States or abroad that we consider relevant may be incorrect, and our failure to identify and correctly interpret relevant patents may negatively impact our ability to develop and market our products.
Our future reliance on third parties may require us to share our trade secrets, which increases the possibility that a competitor will discover them or that our trade secrets will be misappropriated or disclosed.
Because we expect to rely on a third party to manufacture our RxSight system, and any future products, and we expect to collaborate with third parties on the continuing development of our RxSight system, and any future products, we must, at times, share trade secrets with them. We also expect to conduct R&D programs that may require us to share trade secrets under the terms of our partnerships or agreements with CROs. We seek to protect our proprietary technology in part by entering into agreements containing confidentiality and use restrictions and obligations with our advisors, employees, contractors, CMOs, CROs, other service providers and consultants prior to disclosing proprietary information. These agreements typically limit the rights of the third parties to use or disclose our confidential information, including our trade secrets. Despite the contractual provisions employed when working with third parties, the need to share trade secrets and other confidential information increases the risk that such trade secrets become known by our competitors, are inadvertently incorporated into the technology of others, or are disclosed or used in violation of these agreements. Given that our proprietary position is based, in part, on our know-how and trade secrets, a competitor’s discovery of our trade secrets or other unauthorized use or disclosure would impair our competitive position and may have an adverse effect on our business and results of operations.
In addition, these agreements typically restrict the ability of our advisors, employees, third-party contractors, CMOs, CROs, other service providers and consultants to publish data potentially relating to our trade secrets, although our agreements may contain certain limited publication rights. Despite our efforts to protect our trade secrets, our competitors may discover our trade secrets, either through breach of our agreements with third parties, independent development or publication of information by any of our third-party collaborators. A competitor’s discovery of our trade secrets would impair our competitive position and have an adverse impact on our business.
We may be subject to claims that we or our employees have misappropriated the intellectual property of a third party, including trade secrets or know-how, or are in breach of non-competition or non-solicitation agreements with our competitors and third parties may claim an ownership interest in intellectual property we regard as our own.
Many of our employees and consultants were previously employed at or engaged by other medical device, biotechnology or pharmaceutical companies, including our competitors or potential competitors. Some of these employees, consultants and contractors, may have executed proprietary rights, non-disclosure and non-competition agreements in connection with such previous employment. Although we try to ensure that our employees and consultants do not use the intellectual property, proprietary information, know-how or trade secrets of others in their work for us, we may be subject to claims that we or these individuals have, inadvertently or otherwise, misappropriated the intellectual property or disclosed the alleged trade secrets or other proprietary information, of these former employers or competitors. Litigation may be necessary to defend against these claims, and if we fail in defending any such claims, in addition to paying monetary damages, we may lose valuable intellectual property rights. In addition, we may lose personnel as a result of such claims. Any such litigation, or the threat thereof, may adversely affect our ability to hire employees or contract with independent contractors. A loss of key personnel or their work product could hamper or prevent our ability to commercialize our products, which would have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, financial condition and prospects.
Additionally, we may be subject to claims from third parties challenging our ownership interest in intellectual property we regard as our own, based on claims that our employees or consultants have breached an obligation to assign inventions to another employer, to a former employer, or to another person or entity. Litigation may be necessary to defend against any other claims, and it may be necessary or we may desire to enter into a license to settle any such claim; however, there can be no assurance that we would be able to obtain a license on commercially reasonable terms, if at all. If our defense to those claims fails, in addition to paying monetary damages, a court could prohibit us from using technologies or features that are essential to our products, if such technologies or features are found to incorporate or be derived from the trade secrets or other proprietary information of the former employers.
In addition, we or our licensors may in the future be subject to claims by former employees, consultants or other third parties asserting an ownership right in our owned or in-licensed issued patents or patent applications. An adverse determination in any such submission or proceeding may result in loss of exclusivity or freedom to operate or in patent claims being narrowed, invalidated or held unenforceable, in whole or in part, which could limit our ability to stop others from using or commercializing similar technology and therapeutics, without payment to us, or could limit the duration of the patent protection covering our technology. Such challenges may also result in our inability to develop, manufacture or commercialize our technology without infringing third-party patent rights. In addition, if the breadth or strength of protection provided by our owned or in-licensed issued patents and patent applications is threatened, it could dissuade companies from collaborating with us to license, develop or commercialize current or future products. Any of the foregoing could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.
An inability to incorporate technologies or features that are important or essential to our products could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations, and may prevent us from selling our products. In addition, we may lose valuable intellectual property rights or personnel. Even if we are successful in defending against these claims, litigation could result in substantial costs and could be a distraction to management. Any litigation or the threat thereof may adversely affect our ability to hire employees or contract with independent sales representatives. A loss of key personnel or their work product could hamper or prevent our ability to commercialize our products, which could have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
We may become a party to intellectual property litigation or administrative proceedings that could be costly and could interfere with our ability to sell and market our products.
The medical device industry has been characterized by extensive litigation regarding patents, trademarks, trade secrets and other intellectual property rights, and companies in the industry have used intellectual property litigation to gain a competitive advantage. It is possible that U.S. and foreign patents and pending patent applications, copyrights, or trademarks controlled by third parties may be alleged to cover our products, or that we may be accused of misappropriating third parties’ trade secrets. Additionally, our products include components that we purchase from vendors, and may include design components that are outside of our direct control. Our competitors, many of which have substantially greater resources and have made substantial investments in patent portfolios, trade secrets, copyrights, trademarks and competing technologies, may have applied for or obtained, or may in the future apply for or obtain, patents, copyrights, or trademarks that will prevent, limit or otherwise interfere with our ability to make, use, sell and/or export our products or to use product names. Because patent applications can take years to issue and are often afforded confidentiality for some period of time, there may currently be pending applications, unknown to us, that later result in issued patents that could cover one or more of our products. Moreover, in recent years, individuals and groups that are non-practicing entities, commonly referred to as “patent trolls,” have purchased patents and other intellectual property assets for the purpose of making claims of infringement in order to extract settlements. From time to time, we may receive threatening letters, notices or “invitations to license,” or may be the subject of claims that our products and business operations infringe or violate the intellectual property rights of others. We may face patent infringement claims from non-practicing entities that have no relevant product revenue and against whom our owned or in-licensed patent portfolio may therefore have no deterrent effect. We may in the future become party to adversarial proceedings or litigation where our competitors or other third parties may assert claims against us, alleging that our products or services infringe, misappropriate or otherwise violate their intellectual property rights, including patents and trade secrets. The defense of these matters can be time consuming, costly to defend in litigation, divert management’s attention and resources, damage our reputation and brand and cause us to incur significant expenses or make substantial payments. Vendors from whom we purchase hardware or software may not indemnify us in the event that such hardware or software is accused of infringing a third party’s patent or trademark or of misappropriating a third party’s trade secret, or any indemnification granted by such vendors may not be sufficient to address any liability and costs we incur as a result of such claims. Additionally, we may be obligated to indemnify our customers or business partners in connection with litigation and to obtain licenses or refund subscription fees, which could further exhaust our resources.
Even if we believe a third party’s intellectual property claims are without merit, there is no assurance that a court would find in our favor, including on questions of infringement, validity, enforceability or priority of patents. The strength of our defenses will depend on the patents asserted, the interpretation of these patents, and our ability to invalidate the asserted patents. A court of competent jurisdiction could hold that these third-party patents are valid, enforceable and infringed, which could materially and adversely affect our ability to commercialize any products or technology we may develop, and any other products or technologies covered by the asserted third-party patents. In order to successfully challenge the validity of any such United States patent in federal court, we would need to overcome a presumption of validity. As this burden is a high one requiring us to present clear and convincing evidence as to the invalidity of any such United States patent claim, there is no assurance that a court of competent jurisdiction would invalidate the claims of any such United States patent. Conversely, the patent owner need only prove infringement by a preponderance of the evidence, which is a lower burden of proof.
Further, if patents, trademarks, copyrights, or trade secrets are successfully asserted against us, this may harm our business and result in injunctions preventing us from developing, manufacturing, marketing or selling our products, or result in obligations to pay license fees, damages, attorney fees and court costs, which could be significant. In addition, if we are found to willfully infringe third-party patents or trademarks or to have misappropriated trade secrets, we could be required to pay treble damages in addition to other penalties.
Although patent, copyright, trademark, trade secret and other intellectual property disputes in the medical device area have often been settled through licensing or similar arrangements, costs associated with such arrangements may be substantial and could include ongoing royalties. We may be unable to obtain necessary licenses on satisfactory terms, if at all. In addition, if any license we obtain is non-exclusive, we may not be able to prevent our competitors and other third parties from using the intellectual property or technology covered by such license to compete with us. If we do not obtain necessary
licenses, we may not be able to redesign our products to avoid infringement. Any of these events could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Similarly, interference or derivation proceedings provoked by third parties or brought by the USPTO, may be necessary to determine priority with respect to our patents, patent applications, trademarks or trademark applications. We may also become involved in other proceedings, such as reexamination, inter partes review, derivation or opposition proceedings before the USPTO or other jurisdictional body relating to our intellectual property rights or the intellectual property rights of others. Adverse determinations in a judicial or administrative proceeding or failure to obtain necessary licenses could prevent us from manufacturing our products or using product names, which would have a significant adverse impact on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Additionally, we may file lawsuits or initiate other proceedings to protect or enforce our patents or other intellectual property rights, which could be expensive, time consuming and unsuccessful. Competitors may infringe our issued patents or other intellectual property, which we may not always be able to detect. To counter infringement or unauthorized use, we may be required to file infringement claims, which can be expensive and time-consuming. Any claims we assert against perceived infringers could provoke these parties to assert counterclaims against us alleging that we infringe their intellectual property or alleging that our intellectual property is invalid or unenforceable. Grounds for a validity challenge could be an alleged failure to meet any of several statutory requirements, including lack of novelty, obviousness or non-enablement. Grounds for an unenforceability assertion could be an allegation that someone connected with prosecution of the patent withheld relevant information from the USPTO, or made a misleading statement, during prosecution. Third parties may raise challenges to the validity of certain of our owned or in-licensed patent claims before administrative bodies in the United States or abroad, even outside the context of litigation. Such mechanisms include re-examination, post-grant review, inter partes review, interference proceedings, derivation proceedings and equivalent proceedings in foreign jurisdictions (e.g., opposition proceedings). In any such lawsuit or other proceedings, a court or other administrative body may decide that a patent of ours is invalid or unenforceable, in whole or in part, construe the patent’s claims narrowly or refuse to stop the other party from using the technology at issue on the grounds that our patents do not cover the technology in question.
The outcome following legal assertions of invalidity and unenforceability is unpredictable. If a third party were to prevail on a legal assertion of invalidity or unenforceability, we would lose at least part, and perhaps all, of the patent protection on our products or products that we may develop. If our patents are found to be valid and infringed, a court may refuse to grant injunctive relief against the infringer and instead grant us monetary damages and/or ongoing royalties. Such monetary compensation may be insufficient to adequately offset the damage to our business caused by the infringer’s competition in the market. An adverse result in any litigation or other proceeding could put one or more of our patents at risk of being invalidated or interpreted narrowly. Any of these events could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Even if resolved in our favor, litigation or other proceedings relating to intellectual property claims may cause us to incur significant expenses and could distract our personnel from their normal responsibilities. In addition, there could be public announcements of the results of hearings, motions or other interim proceedings or developments, and if securities analysts or investors perceive these results to be negative, it could have a substantial adverse effect on the price of our common stock. Such litigation or proceedings could substantially increase our operating losses and reduce the resources available for development activities or any future sales, marketing or distribution activities. We may not have sufficient financial or other resources to conduct such litigation or proceedings adequately. Some of our competitors may be able to sustain the costs of such litigation or proceedings more effectively than we can because of their greater financial resources and more mature and developed intellectual property portfolios. Furthermore, because of the substantial amount of discovery required in connection with intellectual property litigation, there is a risk that some of our confidential or sensitive information could be compromised by disclosure in the event of litigation. Uncertainties resulting from the initiation and continuation of patent and other intellectual property litigation or other proceedings could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Because of the expense and uncertainty of litigation, we may not be in a position to enforce our intellectual property rights against third parties.
Because of the expense and uncertainty of litigation, we may conclude that even if a third party is infringing, misappropriating or otherwise violating our owned or in-licensed patents, any patents that may be issued as a result of our future patent applications, or other intellectual property rights, the risk-adjusted cost of bringing and enforcing such a claim or action may be too high or not in the best interest of our company or our shareholders. In such cases, we may decide that the more prudent course of action is to simply monitor the situation or initiate or seek some other non-litigious action or solution.
Our rights to develop and commercialize our products are subject, in part, to the terms and conditions of licenses granted to us by others.
We rely, in part, upon licenses to certain patent rights, proprietary technology and other intellectual property from third parties that are important or necessary to the development of our products and technology. Further development and commercialization of our current products, and development of any future products, may require us to enter into additional license or collaboration agreements. These and other licenses may not provide exclusive rights to use such intellectual property and technology in all relevant fields of use and in all territories in which we may wish to develop or commercialize our technology and products in the future. As a result, we may not be able to prevent competitors from developing and commercializing competitive products in territories included in all of our licenses.
In addition, we may not have the right to control the preparation, filing, prosecution, maintenance, enforcement and defense of patents and patent applications covering the technology that we license from third parties. Therefore, we cannot be certain that these patents and patent applications will be prepared, filed, prosecuted, maintained, enforced and defended in a manner consistent with the best interests of our business. Additionally, patents licensed to us could be put at risk of being invalidated or interpreted narrowly in litigation filed by or against our licensors or another licensee or in administrative proceedings brought by or against our licensors or another licensee in response to such litigation or for other reasons. If our licensors fail to prosecute, maintain, enforce and defend such patents, or lose rights to those patents or patent applications, the rights we have licensed may be reduced or eliminated, and our right to develop and commercialize any of our products that are subject of such licensed rights could be adversely affected.
Our licensors may have relied on third-party consultants or collaborators or on funds from third parties such that our licensors are not the sole and exclusive owners of the patents we in-license. This could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.
The agreements under which we currently license intellectual property or technology from third parties are complex, and certain provisions in such agreements may be susceptible to multiple interpretations. The resolution of any contract interpretation disagreement that may arise could narrow what we believe to be the scope of our rights to the relevant intellectual property or technology or increase what we believe to be our financial or other obligations under the relevant agreement. In spite of our best efforts, our licensors might also conclude that we have materially breached our license agreements and terminate the license agreements, thereby removing our ability to develop and commercialize products and technology covered by these license agreements. If these in-licenses are terminated, or if the underlying patents fail to provide the intended exclusivity, competitors would have the freedom to seek regulatory approval of, and to market, products identical to ours. In addition, we may seek to obtain additional licenses from our licensors and, in connection with obtaining such licenses, we may agree to amend our existing licenses in a manner that may be more favorable to the licensors, including by agreeing to terms that could enable third parties (potentially including our competitors) to receive licenses to a portion of the intellectual property that is subject to our existing licenses. Moreover, if disputes over intellectual property that we license prevent or impair our ability to maintain other licensing arrangements on commercially acceptable terms, we may be unable to successfully develop and commercialize the affected products. Any of these events could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.
In the future, we may enter agreements involving licenses or collaborations that provide for access or sharing of intellectual property. If we fail to comply with our obligations under any license, collaboration or other agreements, we may be required to pay damages and could lose intellectual property rights that are necessary for developing and protecting our current and future products.
We currently, and in the future may continue to, license from third parties certain intellectual property relating to our current and future products. In the event we do so, we may have certain obligations to such licensors. If we breach any material obligations, or use the intellectual property licensed to us in an unauthorized manner, we may be required to pay damages and the licensor may have the right to terminate the license, which could result in us being unable to develop, manufacture, and sell products that are covered by the licensed technology or enable a competitor to gain access to the licensed technology.
Disputes may arise between us and our future licensors regarding intellectual property subject to a license agreement, including:
If disputes over intellectual property that we license in the future prevent or impair our ability to maintain our licensing arrangements on acceptable terms, we may not be able to successfully develop and commercialize the affected products, which would have a material adverse effect on our business.
In addition, certain of our future agreements with third parties may limit or delay our ability to consummate certain transactions, may impact the value of those transactions, or may limit our ability to pursue certain activities. For example, we may in the future enter into license agreements that are not assignable or transferable, or that require the licensor’s express consent in order for an assignment or transfer to take place.
Further, we or our future licensors, if any, may fail to identify patentable aspects of inventions made in the course of development and commercialization activities before it is too late to obtain patent protection on them. Therefore, we may miss potential opportunities to strengthen our patent position. It is possible that defects of form in the preparation or filing of our patents or patent applications may exist, or may arise in the future, for example with respect to proper priority claims, inventorship, claim scope, or requests for patent term adjustments. If we or our future licensors fail to establish, maintain or protect such patents and other intellectual property rights, such rights may be reduced or eliminated. If our future licensors are not fully cooperative or disagree with us as to the prosecution, maintenance or enforcement of any patent rights, such patent rights could be compromised. If there are material defects in the form, preparation, prosecution, or enforcement of our patents or patent applications, such patents may be invalid and/or unenforceable, and such applications may never result in valid, enforceable patents. Any of these outcomes could impair our ability to prevent competition from third parties, which may have an adverse impact on our business.
In addition, even where we have the right to control patent prosecution of patents and patent applications under future license from third parties, we may still be adversely affected or prejudiced by actions or inactions of our predecessors or licensors and their counsel that took place prior to us assuming control over patent prosecution.
Our technology acquired or licensed in the future from various third parties may be subject to retained rights. Our predecessors or licensors may retain certain rights under their agreements with us, including the right to use the underlying
technology for noncommercial academic and research use, to publish general scientific findings from research related to the technology, and to make customary scientific and scholarly disclosures of information relating to the technology. It is difficult to monitor whether our predecessors or future licensors limit their use of the technology to these uses, and we could incur substantial expenses to enforce our rights to our licensed technology in the event of misuse.
If we are limited in our ability to utilize acquired or future licensed technologies, or if we lose our rights to critical future in-licensed technology, we may be unable to successfully develop, out-license, market and sell our products, which could prevent or delay new product introductions. Our business strategy depends on the successful development of acquired technologies, and possibly in the future licensed technology, into commercial products. Therefore, any limitations on our ability to utilize these technologies may impair our ability to develop, out-license or market and sell our products.
We may not be successful in obtaining necessary rights to any products we may develop through acquisitions and in-licenses.
We may need to obtain additional licenses from our existing licensors or otherwise acquire or in-license any intellectual property rights from third parties that we identify as necessary for our products. It is possible that we may be unable to obtain any additional licenses or acquire such intellectual property rights at a reasonable cost or on reasonable terms, if at all. The licensing or acquisition of third-party intellectual property rights is a competitive area, and several more established companies may pursue strategies to license or acquire third-party intellectual property rights that we may consider attractive or necessary. These established companies may have a competitive advantage over us due to their size, capital resources and greater clinical development and commercialization capabilities. In addition, companies that perceive us to be a competitor may be unwilling to assign or license rights to us. We also may be unable to license or acquire third-party intellectual property rights on terms that would allow us to make an appropriate return on our investment or at all. In that event, we may be required to expend significant time and resources to redesign our technology, products, or the methods for manufacturing them or to develop or license replacement technology, all of which may not be feasible on a technical or commercial basis. If we are unable to do so, we may be unable to develop or commercialize the affected products, which could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Any collaboration or partnership arrangements that we may enter into in the future may not be successful, which could adversely affect our ability to develop and commercialize our products.
Any future collaborations that we enter into may not be successful. The success of our collaboration arrangements will depend heavily on the efforts and activities of our collaborators. Collaborations are subject to numerous risks, which may include that:
We may be subject to claims challenging the inventorship of our patents and other intellectual property.
We or our licensors may be subject to claims that former consultants, contractors or other third parties have an interest in our owned or in-licensed patents, trade secrets or other intellectual property as an inventor or co-inventor. While it is our policy to require our employees, consultants and contractors who may be involved in the conception or development of intellectual property to execute agreements assigning such intellectual property to us, we may be unsuccessful in executing such an agreement with each party who, in fact, conceives or develops intellectual property that we regard as our own. The assignment of intellectual property rights may not be self-executing, or the assignment agreements may be breached, and we may be forced to bring claims against third parties, or defend claims that they may bring against us, to determine the ownership of what we regard as our intellectual property. If we or our licensors fail in defending any such claims, in addition to paying monetary damages, we may lose valuable intellectual property rights, such as exclusive ownership of, or right to use, intellectual property that is important to our products. Furthermore, individuals executing invention assignment agreements with us may have preexisting or competing obligations to a third party, such as an academic institution, and thus an agreement with us may be ineffective in perfecting ownership of inventions developed by that individual. Any such events could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
If we are unable to protect the confidentiality of our trade secrets and other proprietary information, our business and competitive position may be harmed.
In addition to patent protection, we also rely on other proprietary rights, including protection of trade secrets, and other proprietary information that is not patentable or that we elect not to patent. However, trade secrets can be difficult to protect and some courts inside and outside the United States are less willing or unwilling to protect trade secrets. To maintain the confidentiality of our trade secrets and proprietary information, we rely heavily on confidentiality provisions that we have in contracts with our employees, consultants, collaborators and others upon the commencement of their relationship with us. We cannot guarantee that we have entered into such agreements with each party that may have or have had access to our trade secrets or proprietary technology and processes. We may not be able to prevent the unauthorized disclosure or use of our technical knowledge or other trade secrets by such third parties, despite the existence generally of these confidentiality restrictions. These contracts may not provide meaningful protection for our trade secrets, know-how, or other proprietary information in the event of any unauthorized use, misappropriation, or disclosure of such trade secrets, know-how, or other proprietary information. There can be no assurance that such third parties will not breach their agreements with us, that we will have adequate remedies for any breach, or that our trade secrets will not otherwise become known or independently developed by competitors. Despite the protections we do place on our intellectual property or other proprietary rights, monitoring unauthorized use and disclosure of our intellectual property is difficult, and we do not know whether the steps we have taken to protect our intellectual property or other proprietary rights will be adequate. In addition, the laws of many foreign countries will not protect our intellectual property or other proprietary rights to the same extent as the laws of the United States. Consequently, we may be unable to prevent our proprietary technology from being exploited abroad, which could affect our ability to expand to international markets or require costly efforts to protect our technology.
To the extent our intellectual property or other proprietary information protection is incomplete, we are exposed to a greater risk of direct competition. A third party could, without authorization, copy or otherwise obtain and use our products or technology, or develop similar technology. Our competitors could purchase our products and attempt to replicate some or
all of the competitive advantages we derive from our development efforts or design around our protected technology. Our failure to secure, protect and enforce our intellectual property rights could substantially harm the value of our products, brand and business. The theft or unauthorized use or publication of our trade secrets and other confidential business information could reduce the differentiation of our products and harm our business, the value of our investment in development or business acquisitions could be reduced and third parties might make claims against us related to losses of their confidential or proprietary information. Any of the foregoing could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Further, it is possible that others will independently develop the same or similar technology or otherwise obtain access to our unpatented technology, and in such cases we could not assert any trade secret rights against such parties or those to whom they communicate such trade secrets. Costly and time-consuming litigation could be necessary to enforce and determine the scope of our trade secret rights and related confidentiality and nondisclosure provisions. If we fail to obtain or maintain trade secret protection, or if our competitors obtain our trade secrets or independently develop technology similar to ours or competing technologies, our competitive market position could be materially and adversely affected. In addition, some courts are less willing or unwilling to protect trade secrets and agreement terms that address non-competition are difficult to enforce in many jurisdictions and might not be enforceable in certain cases.
We also seek to preserve the integrity and confidentiality of our data and other confidential information by maintaining physical security of our premises and physical and electronic security of our information technology systems. While we have confidence in these individuals, organizations and systems, agreements or security measures may be breached and detecting the disclosure or misappropriation of confidential information and enforcing a claim that a party illegally disclosed or misappropriated confidential information is difficult, expensive and time-consuming, and the outcome is unpredictable. Further, we may not be able to obtain adequate remedies for any breach.
Changes in United States patent law or the patent law of other countries or jurisdictions could diminish the value of patents in general, thereby impairing our ability to protect our products.
Changes in either the patent laws or interpretation of the patent laws in the United States could increase the uncertainties and costs surrounding the prosecution of patent applications and the enforcement or defense of issued patents. The United States has enacted and implemented wide-ranging patent reform legislation. Assuming that other requirements for patentability are met, prior to March 2013, in the United States, the first to invent the claimed invention was entitled to the patent, while outside the United States, the first to file a patent application was entitled to the patent. After March 2013, under the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act, or the America Invents Act, enacted in September 2011, the United States transitioned to a first inventor to file system in which, assuming that other requirements for patentability are met, the first inventor to file a patent application will be entitled to the patent on an invention regardless of whether a third party was the first to invent the claimed invention. The America Invents Act also includes a number of significant changes that affect the way patent applications are prosecuted and also may affect patent litigation. These include allowing third-party submission of prior art to the USPTO during patent prosecution and additional procedures to challenge the validity of a patent by USPTO administered post-grant proceedings, including post-grant review, inter partes review and derivation proceedings. The America Invents Act and its implementation could increase the uncertainties and costs surrounding the prosecution of our patent applications and the enforcement or defense of our issued patents, all of which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.
In addition, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled on several patent cases in recent years, either narrowing the scope of patent protection available in certain circumstances or weakening the rights of patent owners in certain situations. In addition to increasing uncertainty with regard to our ability to obtain patents in the future, this combination of events has created uncertainty with respect to the value of patents, once obtained. We cannot predict how decisions or actions by the courts, the U.S. Congress or the USPTO may impact the value of our patents. Depending on actions by Congress, the federal courts, and the USPTO, the laws and regulations governing patents could change in unpredictable ways that would weaken our ability to obtain new patents or to enforce patents that we have licensed or that we might obtain in the future. Similarly, changes in patent law and regulations in other countries or jurisdictions or changes in the governmental bodies that enforce them or changes in how the relevant governmental authority enforces patent laws or regulations may weaken our ability to obtain new patents or to enforce patents that we have licensed or that we may obtain in the future. Any of the foregoing could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.
We may not be able to protect our intellectual property rights throughout the world, which could impair our business.
Filing, prosecuting, and defending patents covering our RxSight system, and any of our future products throughout the world would be prohibitively expensive, and our intellectual property rights in some countries outside the United States are less extensive than those in the United States. In some cases, we or our licensors may not be able to obtain patent protection for certain technology outside the United States. In addition, the laws of some foreign countries do not protect intellectual property rights to the same extent as federal and state laws in the United States. Consequently, we may not be able to prevent third parties from practicing our or our licensors’ inventions in all countries outside the United States, even in jurisdictions where we or our licensors do pursue patent protection, or from selling or importing products made using our or our licensors’ inventions in and into the United States or other jurisdictions. Competitors may use our technologies in jurisdictions where we or our licensors have not obtained patent protection to develop their own products and, further, may export otherwise infringing products to territories where we may have or obtain patent protection, but where patent enforcement is not as strong as that in the United States. These unauthorized products may compete with our products in such jurisdictions and take away our market share where we do not have any issued or in-licensed patents and any future patent claims or other intellectual property rights may not be effective or sufficient to prevent them from so competing.
Many companies have encountered significant problems in enforcing and defending intellectual property rights in foreign jurisdictions. The legal systems of certain countries, particularly certain developing countries, do not favor the enforcement of patents, trade secrets and other intellectual property protection, which could make it difficult for us to stop the infringement of our patents, if pursued and obtained, or marketing of competing products in violation of our proprietary rights generally. Proceedings to enforce our or our licensors’ patent rights in foreign jurisdictions could result in substantial costs and divert our efforts and attention from other aspects of our business, could put our patents at risk of being invalidated or interpreted narrowly and our patent applications at risk of not issuing and could provoke third parties to assert claims against us. We or our licensors may not prevail in any lawsuits that we or our licensors initiate, and the damages or other remedies awarded, if any, may not be commercially meaningful. Accordingly, our efforts to enforce our intellectual property rights around the world may be inadequate to obtain a significant commercial advantage from the intellectual property that we develop or license.
Many countries have compulsory licensing laws under which a patent owner may be compelled to grant licenses to third parties. In addition, many countries limit the enforceability of patents against government agencies or government contractors. In these countries, the patent owner may have limited remedies, which could materially diminish the value of such patent. If we or any of our licensors is forced to grant a license to third parties with respect to any patents relevant to our business, our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects could be materially and adversely affected.
No earlier than June 1, 2023, European applications will soon have the option, upon grant of a patent, of becoming a Unitary Patent which will be subject to the jurisdiction of the Unitary Patent Court (“UPC”). This will be a significant change in European patent practice. As the UPC is a new court system, there is no precedent for the court, increasing the uncertainty of any litigation. RxSight will consider its options on a case-by-case basis regarding UPC and will coordinate with foreign counsel in a timely manner.
Intellectual property rights do not necessarily address all potential threats to our competitive advantage.
The degree of future protection afforded by our intellectual property rights is uncertain because intellectual property rights have limitations, and may not adequately protect our business, or permit us to maintain our competitive advantage. The following examples are illustrative:
Our future use of “open source” software could subject our proprietary software to general release, adversely affect our ability to sell our products and subject us to possible litigation.
We intend to incorporate open source software in future products or technologies licensed, developed and/or distributed by us. Open source software is generally licensed by its authors or other third parties under open source licenses. Some open source licenses contain requirements that we disclose source code for modifications we make to the open source software and that we license such modifications to third parties at no cost. In some circumstances, distribution of our software in connection with open source software could require that we disclose and license some or all of our proprietary source code in that software, as well as distribute our products that use particular open source software at no cost to the user. We intend to monitor our use of open source software in an effort to avoid uses in a manner that would require us to disclose or grant licenses under our proprietary source code; however, there can be no assurance that such efforts will be successful. Open source license terms are often ambiguous and such use could inadvertently occur. There is little legal precedent governing the interpretation of many of the terms of these licenses, and the potential impact of these terms on our business may result in unanticipated obligations regarding our products and technologies. Companies that incorporate open source software into their products have, in the past, faced claims seeking enforcement of open source license provisions and claims asserting ownership of open source software incorporated into their product. If an author or other third party that distributes such open source software were to allege that we had not complied with the conditions of an open source license, we could incur significant legal costs defending ourselves against such allegations. In the event such claims were successful, we could be subject to significant damages or be enjoined from the distribution of our products. In addition, if we combine our proprietary software with open source software in certain ways, under some open source licenses, we could be required to release the source code of our proprietary software, which could substantially help our competitors develop products that are similar to or better than ours and otherwise adversely affect our business. These risks could be difficult to eliminate or manage, and, if not addressed, could harm our business, financial condition and results of operations.
If our trademarks, service marks and tradenames are not adequately protected, then we may not be able to build name recognition in our markets and our business may be adversely affected.
We rely on trademarks, service marks, tradenames and brand names to distinguish our products from the products of our competitors and have registered or applied to register these trademarks. We cannot assure you that our trademark and service mark applications will be approved. During trademark and service mark registration proceedings, we may receive rejections. Although we are given an opportunity to respond to those rejections, we may be unable to overcome such rejections. In addition, in proceedings before the USPTO and comparable agencies in many foreign jurisdictions, third parties are given an opportunity to oppose pending trademark and service mark applications and to seek to cancel registered trademarks and service marks. Opposition or cancellation proceedings may be filed against our trademarks and service marks, and our trademarks and service marks may not survive such proceedings. In the event that our trademarks and service marks are successfully challenged, we could be forced to rebrand our products, which could result in loss of brand recognition and could require us to devote resources towards advertising and marketing new brands. At times, competitors may adopt trade names, trademarks or service marks similar to ours, thereby impeding our ability to build brand identity and possibly leading to market confusion. As a means to enforce our trademark and service mark rights and prevent infringement and other violations, we may be required to file claims against third parties or initiate opposition proceedings. This can be expensive
and time-consuming. In addition, there could be potential trademark or service mark infringement claims brought by owners of other registered trademarks, service marks, or trademarks or service marks that incorporate variations of our registered or unregistered trademarks or service marks. Certain of our current or future trademarks or service marks may become so well known by the public that their use becomes generic and they lose trademark or service mark protection. Over the long term, if we are unable to establish name recognition based on our trademarks, service marks and trade names, then we may not be able to compete effectively and our business, financial condition and results of operations may be adversely affected.
Risks related to government regulation
If we fail to obtain and maintain necessary regulatory clearances or approvals for our products, or if clearances or approvals for future products and indications are delayed or not issued, our commercial operations would be harmed.
Our products are subject to extensive regulation by the FDA in the United States and by regulatory agencies in other countries where we may choose to do business. Government regulations specific to medical devices are wide ranging and govern, among other things:
Before a new medical device, or a new intended use for an existing product, can be marketed in the United States, a company must first submit and receive either 510(k) clearance pursuant to Section 510(k) of the FDCA, or approval of a premarket approval, or PMA, application from the FDA, unless an exemption applies.
In many cases, the process of obtaining PMA approval is much more rigorous, costly, lengthy and uncertain than the 510(k) clearance process. In the 510(k) clearance process, the FDA must determine that a proposed device is “substantially equivalent” to a device legally on the market, known as a “predicate” device, in order to clear the proposed device for marketing. To be “substantially equivalent,” the proposed device must have the same intended use as the predicate device, and either have the same technological characteristics as the predicate device or have different technological characteristics and not raise different questions of safety or effectiveness than the predicate device. Clinical data is sometimes required to support substantial equivalence. In the PMA approval process, the FDA must determine that a proposed device is safe and effective for its intended use based on extensive data, including technical, pre-clinical, clinical trial, manufacturing and labeling data. The PMA process is typically required for devices for which the 510(k) process cannot be used and that are deemed to pose the greatest risk. Modifications to products that are approved through a PMA application generally need prior FDA approval of a PMA supplement. Similarly, some modifications made to products cleared through a 510(k) may require a new 510(k), or such modification may put the device into class III and require PMA approval. The FDA’s 510(k) clearance process usually takes from three to 12 months but may last longer. The process of obtaining a PMA generally takes from one to three years, or even longer, from the time the PMA is submitted to the FDA until an approval is obtained. Any delay or failure to obtain necessary regulatory approvals or clearances would have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
The FDA can delay, limit or deny clearance or approval of a device for many reasons, including:
Similarly, regulators may determine that our financial relationships with our principal investigators resulted in a perceived or actual conflict of interest that may have affected the interpretation of a study, the integrity of the data generated at the applicable clinical trial site or the utility of the clinical trial itself. Even if we are granted regulatory clearances or approvals, they may include significant limitations on the indicated uses for the product, which may limit the market for the product. Moreover, the FDA and European Union regulatory authorities strictly regulate the labeling, promotion and advertising of medical devices, including comparative and superiority claims vis a vis competitors’ products, that may be made about products.
As a condition of approving a PMA application, the FDA may also require some form of post-approval study or post-market surveillance, whereby the applicant conducts a follow-up study or follows certain patient groups for a number of years and makes periodic reports to the FDA on the clinical status of those patients when necessary to protect the public health or to provide additional safety and effectiveness data for the device. Failure to conduct the post-approval study in compliance with applicable regulations or to timely complete required post-approval studies or comply with other post-approval requirements could result in withdrawal of approval of the PMA, which would harm our business.
In addition, we are required to timely file various reports with the FDA, including MDR, that requires that we report to the regulatory authorities if our products may have caused or contributed to a death or serious injury or malfunctioned in a way that would likely cause or contribute to a death or serious injury if the malfunction were to recur. If these reports are not filed in a timely manner, regulators may impose sanctions and we may be subject to product liability or regulatory enforcement actions, all of which could harm our business.
If we initiate a correction or removal action for our products to reduce a significant risk to health posed by our products, we would be required to submit a publicly available correction and removal report to the FDA and, in many cases, similar reports to other regulatory agencies. This report could be classified by the FDA as a device recall which could lead to increased scrutiny by the FDA, other international regulatory agencies and our customers regarding the quality and safety of our products. Furthermore, the submission of these reports could be used by competitors against us and cause doctors to delay or cancel procedures, which could harm our reputation.
The FDA and the Federal Trade Commission, or FTC, also regulate the advertising, promotion and labeling of our products to ensure that the claims we make are consistent with our regulatory clearances and approvals, that there is adequate and reasonable scientific data to substantiate the claims and that our promotional labeling and advertising is neither false nor misleading in any respect. If the FDA or FTC determines that any of our advertising or promotional claims are misleading,
not substantiated or not permissible, we may be subject to enforcement actions, including adverse publicity and warning letters, and we may be required to revise our promotional claims and make other corrections or restitutions.
The FDA and state authorities have broad enforcement powers. Our failure to comply with applicable regulatory requirements could result in enforcement action by the FDA or state agencies, which may include any of the following sanctions:
If any of these events were to occur, our business and financial condition could be harmed. In addition, the FDA’s and other regulatory authorities’ policies may change and additional government regulations may be enacted that could prevent, limit or delay regulatory approval of our products. If we are slow or unable to adapt to changes in existing requirements or the adoption of new requirements or policies, or if we are not able to maintain regulatory compliance, we may lose any marketing approval that we may have obtained and we may not achieve or sustain profitability, which would adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Our products and operations are subject to extensive government regulation and oversight in the United States.
Medical devices regulated by the FDA are subject to “general controls” which include: registration with the FDA; listing commercially distributed products with the FDA; complying with all applicable requirements under the QSR; filing reports with the FDA of and keeping records relative to certain types of adverse events associated with devices under the medical device reporting regulation; assuring that device labeling complies with device labeling requirements; reporting certain device field removals and corrections to the FDA; and obtaining pre-market notification 510(k) clearance for devices prior to marketing. Some devices known as “510(k)-exempt” devices can be marketed without prior marketing-clearance or approval from the FDA. In addition to the “general controls,” some Class II medical devices are also subject to “special controls,” including adherence to a particular guidance document and compliance with the performance standard. Instead of obtaining 510(k) clearance, most Class III devices are subject to PMA.
Although our products have received regulatory approval or clearance from FDA in the United States for a particular patient population, they will be subject to ongoing regulatory requirements for manufacturing, labeling, packaging, storage, advertising, promotion, sampling, record-keeping, conduct of post-marketing studies and submission of safety, effectiveness and other post-market information, including both federal and state requirements in the United States and requirements of comparable non-U.S. regulatory authorities in any international markets we choose to enter.
Any regulatory clearances or approvals that we have received for our products will be subject to limitations on the cleared or approved indicated uses for which the product may be marketed and promoted, will be subject to the conditions of approval, or will contain requirements for potentially costly post-marketing testing. We are required to report certain adverse events and production problems, if any, to the FDA and comparable foreign regulatory authorities. Any new legislation addressing product safety issues could result in increased costs to assure compliance. The FDA and other agencies, including the DOJ, closely regulate and monitor the post-clearance or approval marketing and promotion of products to ensure that they are marketed and distributed only for the cleared or approved indications and in accordance with the provisions of the cleared or approved labeling. We have to comply with requirements concerning advertising and promotion for our products.
Promotional communications with respect to devices are subject to a variety of legal and regulatory restrictions and must be consistent with the information in the products’ cleared or approved labeling. As such, we may not promote our products
for indications or uses for which they do not have clearance or approval. We received a PMA for the LAL and LDD, which is indicated for the reduction of residual astigmatism to improve uncorrected visual acuity after removal of the cataractous natural lens by phacoemulsification and implantation of the intraocular lens in the capsular bag, in adult patients with pre-existing corneal astigmatism of > 0.75 diopters and without pre-existing macular disease. We also received a 510(k) clearance for our contact lens, which is indicated for visualization and treatment in the anterior segment of the eye. We train our marketing and sales force against promoting our products for uses outside of the cleared or approved indications for use, known as “off-label uses.” However, doctors may use our products for off-label purposes and are allowed to do so when in the doctor’s independent professional medical judgment he or she deems it appropriate. If the FDA determines that our promotional materials or training constitute promotion of an off-label or other improper use, or that our internal policies and procedures are inadequate to prevent such off-label uses, it could subject us to regulatory or enforcement actions as discussed below.
In addition, we cannot make comparative claims regarding the use of our products against any alternative treatments without conducting head-to-head comparative clinical studies, which would be expensive and time-consuming. If the FDA determines that our promotional, reimbursement or training materials for sales representatives or doctors constitute promotion of an off-label use, the FDA could request that we modify our training, promotional or reimbursement materials and/or subject us to regulatory or enforcement actions, including the issuance of an untitled letter, a warning letter, injunction, seizure, disgorgement of profits, significant penalties, including civil fines and criminal penalties. Other federal, state or foreign governmental authorities also might take action if they consider our promotion, reimbursement or training materials to constitute promotion of an off-label use, which could result in significant fines or penalties under other statutory authorities, such as laws prohibiting false claims for reimbursement. Although we train our sales force not to promote our products for off-label uses, and our instructions for use in all markets specify that our products are not intended for use outside of those indications cleared or approved for use, the FDA or another regulatory agency could conclude that we have engaged in off-label promotion. For example, the government may take the position that off-label promotion resulted in inappropriate reimbursement for an off-label use in violation of the federal civil False Claims Act for which it might impose significant civil fines and even pursue criminal action. In those possible events, our reputation could be damaged, and adoption of the products would be impaired.
If a regulatory agency discovers previously unknown problems with a product, such as adverse events of unanticipated severity or frequency, or problems with our facility where the product is manufactured or disagrees with the promotion, marketing or labeling of a product, such regulatory agency may impose restrictions on that product or us, including requiring withdrawal of the product from the market.
If we fail to comply with applicable regulatory requirements, a regulatory agency or enforcement authority may, among other things:
In addition, violations of the FDCA relating to the promotion of approved products may lead to investigations alleging violations of federal and state healthcare fraud and abuse and other laws, as well as state consumer protection laws.
Any government investigation of alleged violations of law could require us to expend significant time and resources in response and could generate negative publicity. Any failure to comply with ongoing regulatory requirements may significantly and adversely affect our ability to commercialize and generate revenue from our products. If regulatory sanctions are applied or if regulatory clearance or approval is withdrawn, it would have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Material modifications to our products may require new 510(k) clearances or pre-market approvals or may require us to recall or cease marketing our products until clearances or approvals are obtained.
Modifications that could significantly affect the safety and effectiveness of our approved or cleared products, such as changes to the intended use or technological characteristics of our products, will require new 510(k) clearances or PMAs or require us to recall or cease marketing the modified devices until these clearances or approvals are obtained. Based on FDA published guidelines, the FDA requires device manufacturers to initially make and document a determination of whether or not a modification requires a new approval, supplemental approval or clearance; however, the FDA can review a manufacturer’s decision. Any modification to an FDA-cleared device that could significantly affect its safety or efficacy or that would constitute a major change in its intended use would require a new 510(k) clearance or possibly a PMA. We may not be able to obtain the required 510(k) clearances or PMAs, or PMA supplements, or similar marketing authorization in applicable foreign jurisdictions, for new products or for modifications to, or additional indications for, our products in a timely fashion, or at all. Delays in obtaining required future clearances or approvals would adversely affect our ability to introduce new or enhanced products in a timely manner, which in turn would harm our future growth. We have made modifications to our products in the past and expect to make additional modifications in the future that we believe do not or will not require additional clearances or approvals. If the FDA or a comparable foreign regulatory authority disagrees and requires new clearances or approvals for these modifications, we may be required to recall and to stop selling or marketing such products as modified, which could harm our operating results and require us to redesign such products. In these circumstances, we may be subject to significant enforcement actions.
Obtaining and maintaining regulatory approval of our current and future products in one jurisdiction does not mean that we will be successful in obtaining regulatory approval of our current and future products in other jurisdictions. The FDA and other comparable foreign regulatory authorities may not accept data from trials conducted in locations outside of their jurisdiction.
Obtaining and maintaining regulatory approvals or clearances of our current and future products in one jurisdiction does not guarantee that we will be able to obtain or maintain regulatory approval in any other jurisdiction. For example, even if the FDA grants marketing approval or clearance of a current or future product, comparable regulatory authorities in foreign jurisdictions must also approve or clear the manufacturing, marketing and promotion and reimbursement of a current or future product in those countries. However, a failure or delay in obtaining regulatory approval in one jurisdiction may have a negative effect on the regulatory approval process in others. Approval procedures vary among jurisdictions and can involve requirements and administrative review periods different from those in the United States, including additional preclinical studies or clinical trials as clinical trials conducted in one jurisdiction may not be accepted by regulatory authorities in other jurisdictions. In many jurisdictions outside the United States, a product must be approved for reimbursement before it can be approved for sale in that jurisdiction. In some cases, the price that we intend to charge for our products is also subject to approval.
The RxSight system is approved for improving uncorrected visual acuity by adjusting the LAL power to correct residual postoperative refractive error, including for -2.0 to + 2.0 diopters of sphere and -3.0 to -0.50 diopters of cylinder and by changing lens curvature to introduce controlled amounts of spherical aberration (+/- 1 micron) and center near add (up to 2.0 diopters) which is also registered with the MHRA in the United Kingdom, in Canada and in Mexico. Obtaining additional foreign regulatory approvals and establishing and maintaining compliance with foreign regulatory requirements in jurisdictions where we conduct business currently or in the future, such as requirements under the EU MDR, could result in significant delays, difficulties and costs for us and could delay or prevent the introduction of our products in certain countries. If we or any future collaborator fail to comply with the regulatory requirements in international markets or fail to receive applicable marketing approvals or clearances, our target market will be reduced and our ability to realize the full market potential of our current and future products will be harmed.
In addition, we have conducted clinical trials in Mexico and may choose to conduct further international clinical trials. The acceptance of study data by the FDA or other comparable foreign regulatory authority from clinical trials conducted outside of their respective jurisdictions may be subject to certain conditions. In cases where data from foreign clinical trials are intended to serve as the basis for marketing approval in the United States, the FDA will generally not approve the application on the basis of foreign data alone unless (1) the data are applicable to the U.S. population and U.S. medical practice; (2) the trials are performed by clinical investigators of recognized competence and pursuant to current good clinical practices regulations; and (3) audits by regulatory authorities of the clinical data do not identify significant data integrity issues. Additionally, the FDA’s clinical trial requirements, including the adequacy of the patient population studied and statistical powering, must be met. In addition, such foreign trials are subject to the applicable local laws of the foreign jurisdictions where the trials are conducted. There can be no assurance that the FDA or any applicable foreign regulatory authority will accept data from trials conducted outside of its applicable jurisdiction. If the FDA or any applicable foreign regulatory authority does not accept such data, it would result in the need for additional trials, which would be costly and time-consuming and delay aspects of our business plan, and which may result in our products not receiving approval or clearance for commercialization in the applicable jurisdiction.
Our products may be subject to recalls after receiving FDA or foreign approval or clearance, which could divert managerial and financial resources, harm our reputation and adversely affect our business.
The FDA and similar foreign governmental authorities have the authority to require the recall of our products because of any failure to comply with applicable laws and regulations, or defects in design or manufacture. A government mandated or voluntary product recall by us could occur because of, for example, component failures, device malfunctions or other adverse events, such as serious injuries or deaths, or quality-related issues, such as manufacturing errors or design or labeling defects. Any future recalls of our products could divert managerial and financial resources, harm our reputation and adversely affect our business.
If we initiate a correction or removal for one of our devices to reduce a risk to health posed by the device, we would be required to submit a publicly available Correction and Removal report to the FDA and, in many cases, similar reports to other regulatory agencies. This report could be classified by the FDA as a device recall which could lead to increased scrutiny by the FDA, other international regulatory agencies and our customers regarding the quality and safety of our devices. Furthermore, the submission of these reports has been and could be used by competitors against us in competitive situations and cause customers to delay purchase decisions or cancel orders and would harm our reputation.
In addition, we are subject to medical device reporting regulations that require us to report to the FDA or similar foreign governmental authorities if one of our products may have caused or contributed to a death or serious injury or if we become aware that it has malfunctioned in a way that would likely cause or contribute to a death or serious injury if the malfunction recurred. Failures to properly identify reportable events or to file timely reports, as well as failure to address each of the observations to the FDA’s satisfaction, can subject us to sanctions and penalties, including warning letters and recalls.
Doctors may make similar reports to regulatory authorities. Any such reports may trigger an investigation by the FDA or similar foreign regulatory bodies, which could divert managerial and financial resources, harm our reputation and have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
If we, or our suppliers, fail to comply with the FDA’s QSR or applicable foreign regulations, our manufacturing or distribution operations could be delayed or shut down and our revenue could suffer.
Our manufacturing and design processes and those of our third-party component suppliers are required to comply with the FDA’s Quality System Regulation (“QSR”), which covers procedures and documentation of the design, testing, production, control, quality assurance, labeling, packaging, storage and shipping of our products in the United States. We are also subject to similar state requirements and licenses, and to ongoing ISO 13485 compliance in our operations, including design, manufacturing, and service, to maintain our CE Mark in Europe. In addition, we must engage in extensive recordkeeping and reporting and must make available our facilities and records for periodic unannounced inspections by governmental agencies, including the FDA, state authorities, EU Notified Bodies, and comparable agencies in other countries. If we fail a regulatory inspection, our operations could be disrupted and our manufacturing interrupted. Failure to take timely and adequate corrective action in response to an adverse regulatory inspection could result in, among other things, a shutdown of our manufacturing or product distribution operations, significant fines, suspension of marketing clearances and
approvals, seizures or recalls of our device, operating restrictions and criminal prosecutions, any of which would cause our business to suffer. Furthermore, our key component suppliers may not currently be or may not continue to be in compliance with applicable regulatory requirements, which may result in manufacturing delays for our products and cause our revenue to decline.
The FDA has broad post-market and regulatory enforcement powers. We are subject to unannounced inspections by the FDA and the Food and Drug Branch of the California Department of Public Health (“CDPH”), and our Notified Body to determine our compliance with the QSR and other regulations at both our design and manufacturing facilities, and these inspections may include the manufacturing facilities of our suppliers.
We can provide no assurance that we will continue to remain in material compliance with the QSR. If the FDA, CDPH, or any applicable notified body in the European Union or United Kingdom inspects any of our facilities and discover compliance problems, we may have to cease manufacturing and product distribution until we can take the appropriate remedial steps to correct the audit findings. Taking corrective action may be expensive, time consuming and a distraction for management and if we experience a delay at our manufacturing facility, we may be unable to produce our products, which would harm our business.
Healthcare reform initiatives and other administrative and legislative proposals may adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows in our key markets.
There have been and continue to be proposals by the federal government, state governments, regulators and third-party payors to control or manage the increased costs of healthcare and, more generally, to reform the U.S. healthcare system. Certain of these proposals could limit the prices we are able to charge for our products or the coverage and reimbursement available for our products and could limit the acceptance and availability of our products. The adoption of proposals to control costs could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
For example, in the United States, in March 2010, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, as amended by the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010, together, the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”), was enacted. The ACA is a sweeping measure intended to expand healthcare coverage within the United States, primarily through the imposition of health insurance mandates on employers and individuals, the provision of subsidies to eligible individuals enrolled in plans offered on the health insurance exchanges and the expansion of the Medicaid program. The ACA has impacted existing government healthcare programs and has resulted in the development of new programs.
Certain provisions of the ACA have been subject to judicial and Congressional challenges. For example, various portions of the ACA have been the subject of legal and constitutional challenges, including legal proceedings in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. In June 2021, the United States Supreme Court held that Texas and other challengers had no legal standing to challenge the ACA, dismissing the case on procedural grounds without specifically ruling on the constitutionality of the ACA. Thus, the ACA will remain in effect in its current form. It is unclear how this Supreme Court decision, future litigation, and healthcare measures promulgated by the Biden administration will impact the ACA, our business, financial condition and results of operations. Complying with any new legislation or reversing changes implemented under the ACA could be time-intensive and expensive, resulting in a material adverse effect on our business.
In addition, other legislative changes have been proposed and adopted since the ACA was enacted. On August 2, 2011, the Budget Control Act of 2011 was signed into law, which, among other things, includes reductions to Medicare payments to providers of, on average, 2% per fiscal year, which went into effect on April 1, 2013, which, due to subsequent legislative amendments, will stay in effect through 2031, with the exception of a temporary suspension implemented under various COVID-19 relief legislation from May 1, 2020 through March 31, 2022, unless additional congressional action is taken. Under current legislation, the actual reduction in Medicare payments can vary from 1% in 2022 to up to 4% in the final fiscal year of this sequester. In January 2013, President Obama signed into law the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, which, among other things, reduced Medicare payments to several providers, and increased the statute of limitations period for the government to recover overpayments to providers from three to five years. These new laws may result in additional reductions in Medicare and other healthcare funding, which could have a material adverse effect on customers for our products, if approved, and accordingly, our financial operations. We cannot assure you that the ACA, as currently enacted or
as amended in the future, will not harm our business and financial results, and we cannot predict how future federal or state legislative or administrative changes relating to healthcare reform will affect our business.
There likely will continue to be legislative and regulatory proposals at the federal and state levels directed at containing or lowering the cost of healthcare. We cannot predict the initiatives that may be adopted in the future or their full impact. The continuing efforts of the government, insurance companies, managed care organizations and other payors of healthcare services to contain or reduce costs of healthcare may harm:
Further, recently there has been heightened governmental scrutiny over the manner in which manufacturers set prices for their marketed products, which has resulted in several United States Congressional inquiries and proposed and enacted federal legislation designed to bring transparency to product pricing and reduce the cost of products and services under government healthcare programs. While some of these measures may require additional authorization to become effective, Congress and the federal administration have each indicated that it will continue to seek new legislative and/or administrative measures to control healthcare costs. Additionally, individual states in the United States have also increasingly passed legislation and implemented regulations designed to control product pricing, including price or patient reimbursement constraints, discounts, restrictions on certain product access and marketing cost disclosure and transparency measures. Moreover, regional healthcare authorities and individual hospitals are increasingly using bidding procedures to determine what products to purchase and which suppliers will be included in their healthcare programs. Adoption of price controls and other cost-containment measures, and adoption of more restrictive policies in jurisdictions with existing controls and measures may prevent or limit our ability to generate revenue and attain profitability. Various new healthcare reform proposals are emerging at the federal and state level. Any new federal and state healthcare initiatives that may be adopted could limit the amounts that federal and state governments will pay for healthcare products and services and could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
If we fail to comply with United States federal and state fraud and abuse and other healthcare laws and regulations, we could face substantial penalties and our business operations and financial condition could be adversely affected.
Healthcare providers and third-party payors play a primary role in the distribution, recommendation, ordering and purchasing of any medical device for which we have or obtain marketing clearance or approval. Through our arrangements with principal investigators, healthcare professionals, third-party payors and customers, we are exposed to broadly applicable anti-fraud and abuse, anti-kickback, false claims and other healthcare laws and regulations that may constrain our business, our arrangements and relationships with customers, and how we market, sell and distribute our marketed medical devices. We have a compliance program, a Code of Conduct and associated policies and procedures, but it is not always possible to identify and deter misconduct by our employees and other third parties, and the precautions we take to detect and prevent noncompliance may not be effective in protecting us from governmental investigations for failure to comply with applicable fraud and abuse or other healthcare laws and regulations.
In the United States, we are subject to various state and federal anti-fraud and abuse laws, including, without limitation, the federal healthcare Anti-Kickback Statute and federal civil False Claims Act. There are similar laws in other countries. Our current and future arrangements with healthcare providers, third-party payors, customers, and others may expose us to broadly applicable fraud and abuse and other healthcare laws and regulations, which may constrain the business or financial arrangements and relationships through which we research, as well as, sell, market, and distribute any products for which we obtain marketing approval. Healthcare fraud and abuse laws and related regulations are complex, and even minor irregularities can potentially give rise to claims that a statute or prohibition has been violated. The laws that may affect our ability to operate include:
State and federal regulatory and enforcement agencies continue to actively investigate violations of healthcare laws and regulations, and the U.S. Congress continues to strengthen the arsenal of enforcement tools. Most recently, the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 (“BBA”), increased the criminal and civil penalties that can be imposed for violating certain federal health care laws, including the Anti-Kickback Statute. Enforcement agencies also continue to pursue novel theories of liability under these laws. In particular, government agencies recently have increased regulatory scrutiny and enforcement activity with respect to manufacturer reimbursement support activities and patient support programs, including bringing criminal charges or civil enforcement actions under the Anti-Kickback Statute, federal civil False Claims Act and HIPAA’s healthcare fraud and privacy provisions.
Because of the breadth of these laws and the narrowness of available statutory and regulatory exemptions or safe harbors, it is possible that some of our activities, such as stock-option compensation paid to doctors that have entered into consulting agreements with us, could be subject to challenge under one or more of such laws. Any action brought against us for violations of these laws or regulations, even successfully defended, could cause us to incur significant legal expenses and divert our management’s attention from the operation of our business. We may be subject to private “qui tam” actions brought by individual whistleblowers on behalf of the federal or state governments.
The growth of our business and sales organization and our expansion outside of the United States may increase the potential of violating these laws or our internal policies and procedures. The risk of our being found in violation of these or
other laws and regulations is further increased by the fact that many have not been fully interpreted by the regulatory authorities or the courts, and their provisions are open to a variety of interpretations. Any action brought against us for violation of these or other laws or regulations, even if we successfully defend against it, could cause us to incur significant legal expenses and divert our management’s attention from the operation of our business. If our operations are found to be in violation of any of the federal, state and foreign laws described above or any other current or future fraud and abuse or other healthcare laws and regulations that apply to us, we may be subject to penalties, including significant criminal, civil, and administrative penalties, damages, fines, imprisonment of individuals, exclusion from participation in government programs, such as Medicare and Medicaid, and we could be required to curtail or cease our operations. Any of the foregoing consequences could seriously harm our business and our financial results.
Achieving and sustaining compliance with applicable federal and state anti-fraud and abuse laws may prove costly. If we or our employees are found to have violated any of the above laws we may be subjected to substantial criminal, civil and administrative penalties, including imprisonment, exclusion from participation in federal healthcare programs, such as Medicare and Medicaid, and significant fines, monetary penalties, forfeiture, disgorgement and damages, contractual damages, reputational harm, administrative burdens, diminished profits and future earnings and the curtailment or restructuring of our operations, any of which could adversely affect our ability to operate our business and our financial results. Any action or investigation against us for the violation of these healthcare fraud and abuse laws, even if successfully defended, could result in significant legal expenses and could divert our management’s attention from the operation of our business. Companies settling federal civil False Claims Act, Anti-Kickback Statute or civil monetary penalties law cases also may be required to enter into a Corporate Integrity Agreement with the OIG in order to avoid exclusion from participation (i.e., loss of coverage for their products) in federal healthcare programs such as Medicare and Medicaid. Corporate Integrity Agreements typically impose substantial costs on companies to ensure compliance. Defending against any such actions can be costly, time-consuming and may require significant personnel resources, and may have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Changes in the CMS fee schedules may harm our revenue and operating results.
Government payers, such as CMS as well as insurers, have increased their efforts to control the cost, utilization and delivery of healthcare services. From time to time, the United States Congress has considered and implemented changes in the CMS fee schedules in conjunction with budgetary legislation. Reductions of reimbursement by Medicare or Medicaid for procedures that use our products or changes in policy regarding coverage of these procedures, such as adding requirements for payment, or prior authorizations, may be implemented from time to time. Reductions in the reimbursement rates and changes in payment policies of other third-party payers may occur as well. Similar changes in the past have resulted in reduced payments for procedures that use medical device products as well as added costs and have added more complex regulatory and administrative requirements. Further changes in federal, state, local and third-party payer regulations or policies may have a material adverse impact on the demand for our products and on our business. Actions by agencies regulating insurance or changes in other laws, regulations, or policies may also have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Legislative or regulatory reforms may make it more difficult and costly for us to obtain regulatory clearance or approval of our planned or future products and to manufacture, market and distribute our products after clearance or approval is obtained.
From time to time, legislation is drafted and introduced in Congress that could significantly change the statutory provisions governing the regulatory approval, manufacture and marketing of regulated products or the reimbursement thereof. In addition, FDA regulations and guidance are often revised or reinterpreted by the FDA in ways that may significantly affect our business and our products. Any new regulations or revisions or reinterpretations of existing regulations may impose additional costs or lengthen review times of planned or future products. It is impossible to predict whether legislative changes will be enacted, or FDA regulations, guidance or interpretations changed, and what the impact of such changes, if any, may be.
Any change in the laws or regulations that govern the clearance and approval processes relating to our current, planned and future products could make it more difficult and costly to obtain clearance or approval for new products or to produce, market and distribute existing products. Significant delays in receiving clearance or approval or the failure to receive clearance or approval for our new products would have an adverse effect on our ability to expand our business.
Compliance with the EU Medical Device Regulation, applicable regulations in the United Kingdom, and other applicable foreign regulations, as well as any changes to existing regulations, may be costly and disruptive to our business, and expose us to increased liability.
In 2017, the European Union (“EU”) published the new EU Medical Device Regulation (“MDR”) (2017/745), the application of which was postponed until May 26, 2021 for class I devices (lowest risk) and May 26, 2024 for all other class devices (higher risk devices). The new regulations replace predecessor directives and emphasize a global convergence of regulations. With the transition from the Medical Devices Directive (“MDD”), to the MDR, notified bodies are required to seek designation to operate as conformity assessment authorities under the new law. While we are currently in compliance with the MDR and in process of transferring certification from MDD to MDR, compliance with any new or changing regulations in the EU or other jurisdictions where we currently commercialize our products or intend to commercialize in the future is a time consuming process that may require comprehensive quality system audits and new conformity assessment certifications for our products. Major changes include: