SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549
⊠ ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2021
☐ TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
Commission File Number: 001-39522
COMPASS Pathways plc
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
|England and Wales||Not Applicable|
|(State or other jurisdiction of|
incorporation or organization)
33 Broadwick Street
London W1F 0DQ
(Address of principal executive offices)
+1 (646) 905-3974
(Registrant’s telephone number, including area code)
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
|Title of Each Class|| ||Trading Symbol|| ||Name of each exchange on which registered|
American Depositary Shares, each representing one ordinary share, par value of £0.008 per share
Nasdaq Global Select Market
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: None.
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act. Yes ☐ No ☒
Indicate by check mark if the Registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act. Yes ☐ No ☒
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days. Yes ☒ No ☐
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§ 232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files). Yes ☒ No ☐
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company,” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.
|Large accelerated filer||☒||Accelerated filer ||☐|
|Non-Accelerated filer||☐||Smaller reporting company||☐|
|Emerging growth company||☐|
If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act. ☐
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed a report on and attestation to its management’s assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 U.S.C. 7262(b)) by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its audit report. ☒
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act). Yes ☐ No ☒
The aggregate market value of ordinary shares held by non-affiliates of the Registrant as of June 30, 2021, the last business day of the most recently completed second fiscal quarter, was $825 million. This calculation does not reflect a determination that certain persons are affiliates of the Registrant for any other purpose.
The registrant had 42,019,874 shares of common stock outstanding as of February 17, 2022.
DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE
Portions of the Registrant’s Proxy Statement for the 2022 Annual Meeting of Shareholders are incorporated herein by reference into Part III of this Annual Report on Form 10-K to the extent stated herein. Such proxy statement will be filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission within 120 days of the Registrant’s fiscal year ending December 31, 2021.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
|Item 1A.||Risk Factors|
|Item 1B.||Unresolved Staff Comments|
|Item 3.||Legal Proceedings|
|Item 4.||Mine Safety Disclosures|
|Item 5.||Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities|
|Item 7.||Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations|
|Item 7A.||Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk|
|Item 8.||Financial Statements and Supplementary Data|
|Item 9.||Changes in and Disagreements with Accountants on Accounting and Financial Disclosure|
|Item 9A.||Controls and Procedures|
|Item 9B.||Other Information|
|Item 9C.||Disclosure Regarding Foreign Jurisdictions that Prevent Inspections|
|Item 10.||Directors, Executive Officers and Corporate Governance|
|Item 11.||Executive Compensation|
|Item 12.||Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management and Related Stockholder Matters|
|Item 13.||Certain Relationships and Related Transactions, and Director Independence|
|Item 14.||Principal Accountant Fees and Services|
|Item 15.||Exhibit and Financial Statement Schedules|
|Item 16.||Form 10-K Summary|
SPECIAL NOTE REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS
This Report includes forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, (the “Securities Act”) and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, (the “Exchange Act”). Forward-looking statements generally relate to future events or our future financial or operating performance. All statements other than statements of historical fact included in this Annual Report, including regarding our strategy, future operations, financial position, estimated revenues and losses, projected costs, prospects, plans and objectives of management, are forward-looking statements. In some cases, you can identify forward-looking statements because they contain words such as “may,” “will,” “should,” “expects,” “plans,” “anticipates,” “could,” “intends,” “target,” “projects,” “contemplates,” “believes,” “estimates,” “predicts,” “potential” or “continue” or the negative of these words or other similar terms or expressions. When considering forward-looking statements, you should keep in mind the risk factors and other cautionary statements described under the heading “Risk Factors” included in this Annual Report. These forward-looking statements are based on management’s current beliefs, based on currently available information, as to the outcome and timing of future events and are subject to a variety of known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which could cause actual events or results to differ from those expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements contained in this Annual Report include, but are not limited to, statements about:
•the timing, progress and results of our investigational COMP360 psilocybin therapy, including statements regarding the timing of initiation and completion of trials or studies and related preparatory work, the period during which the results of the trials will become available and our research and development programs;
•our reliance on the success of our investigational COMP360 psilocybin therapy;
•the timing, scope or likelihood of regulatory filings and approvals;
•our expectations regarding the size of the eligible patient populations for COMP360 psilocybin therapy, if approved for commercial use;
•our ability to identify third-party clinical sites to conduct our trials and our ability to identify and train appropriately qualified therapists to administer COMP360 psilocybin therapy;
•our ability to implement our business model and our strategic plans for our business and our investigational COMP360 psilocybin therapy;
•our ability to identify new indications for COMP360 beyond our current primary focuses on treatment-resistant depression (TRD) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD);
•our ability to identify, develop or acquire digital technologies to enhance our administration of our investigational COMP360 psilocybin therapy;
•our ability to leverage our technology and drug development candidates to advance new psychedelic compounds in other areas of unmet mental health need;
•our ability to successfully establish and maintain Centers of Excellence;
•our commercialization, marketing and manufacturing capabilities and strategy;
•the pricing, coverage and reimbursement of our investigational COMP360 psilocybin therapy, if approved;
•the scalability and commercial viability of our manufacturing methods and processes;
•the rate and degree of market acceptance and clinical utility of our investigational COMP360 psilocybin therapy, in particular, and psilocybin-based therapies, in general;
•our ability to establish or maintain collaborations or strategic relationships or obtain additional funding;
•our expectations regarding potential benefits of our investigational COMP360 psilocybin therapy and our therapeutic approach generally;
•our expectations around regulatory development paths and with respect to Controlled Substances Act designation;
•the scope of protection we and any current or future licensors or collaboration partners are able to establish and maintain for intellectual property rights covering COMP360;
•our ability to operate our business without infringing, misappropriating, or otherwise violating the intellectual property rights and proprietary technology of third parties;
•regulatory developments in the United States, under the laws and regulations of England and Wales, and other jurisdictions;
•developments and projections relating to our competitors and our industry;
•the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting;
•our estimates regarding expenses, capital requirements and needs for additional financing;
•our ability to effectively manage our anticipated growth;
•our ability to attract and retain qualified employees and key personnel;
•the effect of the ongoing and evolving COVID-19 pandemic, including mitigation efforts and economic effects, on any of the foregoing or other aspects of our business or operations;
•whether we are classified as a controlled foreign corporation, or CFC, or a passive foreign investment company, or PFIC, under the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, for current and future periods; and
•the future trading price of the ADSs and impact of securities analysts’ reports on these prices.
We caution you that the foregoing list may not contain all of the forward-looking statements made in this Annual Report.
You should not rely upon forward-looking statements as predictions of future events, which speak only as of the date made. We have based the forward-looking statements contained in this Annual Report primarily on our current expectations and projections about future events and trends that we believe may affect our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects. The outcomes of the events described in these forward-looking statements are subject to risks, uncertainties and other factors described in the section titled “Risk Factors” in this Annual Report. Moreover, we operate in a very competitive and rapidly changing environment. New risks and uncertainties emerge from time to time and it is not possible for us to predict all risks and uncertainties that could have an impact on the forward-looking statements contained in this Annual Report. We cannot assure you that the results, events and circumstances reflected in the forward-looking statements will be achieved or occur, and actual results, events or circumstances could differ materially from those described in the forward-looking statements. Except as otherwise required by the securities laws of the United States, we disclaim any obligation to subsequently revise any forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances after the date of such statements or to reflect the occurrence of anticipated or unanticipated events.
SUMMARY OF THE MATERIAL RISKS ASSOCIATED WITH OUR BUSINESS
Our business is subject to numerous risks and uncertainties that you should be aware of in evaluating our business. These risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, the following:
•We are a clinical stage mental health care company and have incurred significant losses since our inception. We expect to incur losses for the foreseeable future and may never achieve or maintain profitability;
•Failure to obtain the substantial additional funding we need to complete the development and commercialization of our investigational COMP360 psilocybin therapy or any future therapeutic candidates may force us to delay, limit or terminate certain or all of our product discovery, therapeutic development, research operations or commercialization efforts;
•Raising additional capital may cause dilution to holders of our ordinary shares or ADSs, restrict our operations or require us to relinquish rights to COMP360 or any future therapeutic candidates;
•We are dependent on the successful development of our investigational COMP360 psilocybin therapy. We cannot give any assurance that COMP360 will successfully complete clinical trials or receive regulatory approval, which is necessary before it can be commercialized;
•COMP360 is, and any future therapeutic candidates we may develop in the future may be, subject to controlled substance laws and regulations in the jurisdictions where our products, if approved, may be marketed, and failure to comply with these laws and regulations, or the cost of compliance, may adversely affect the results of our business operations and our financial condition, both during clinical development and post approval. In addition, during the review process of COMP360, and prior to approval, the US Food and Drug Administration, or FDA and/or other regulatory bodies may require additional data, including with respect to whether COMP360 has abuse potential, which may delay approval and any potential rescheduling process;
•Adverse publicity or public perception regarding psilocybin or our current or future investigational therapies using psilocybin may negatively influence the success of these therapies;
•Clinical drug development is a lengthy and expensive process with uncertain timelines and uncertain outcomes. If clinical trials of COMP360 psilocybin therapy or any future therapeutic candidates are prolonged or delayed, we or our current or future collaborators may be unable to obtain required regulatory approvals for, and therefore unable to commercialize, COMP360 psilocybin therapy or any future therapeutic candidates on a timely basis or at all;
•COMP360 and any future therapeutic candidates we may develop may have serious adverse, undesirable or unacceptable side effects which may delay or prevent marketing approval. If such side effects are identified during the development of COMP360 psilocybin therapy or any future therapeutic candidates or following approval, if any, we may need to abandon our development of such therapeutic candidates, the commercial profile of any approved label may be limited, or we may be subject to other significant negative consequences;
•Research and development of drugs targeting the central nervous system are particularly difficult, which makes it difficult to predict and understand why the drug has a positive effect on some patients but not others;
•We have never commercialized a therapeutic candidate before and may lack the necessary expertise, personnel and resources to successfully commercialize our therapies on our own or with suitable collaborators;
•The future commercial success of our investigational COMP360 psilocybin therapy or any future therapeutic candidates will depend on the degree of market access and acceptance of our potential therapies among healthcare professionals, patients, healthcare payors, health technology assessment bodies and the medical community at large;
•Our business and commercialization strategy depends on our ability to identify, qualify, prepare, certify and support third-party therapy sites offering any approved therapy and any inability to do this will limit our commercialization prospects and harm our business, financial condition and results of operations;
•We currently rely on qualified therapists working at third-party clinical trial sites to administer our investigational COMP360 psilocybin therapy in our clinical trials and we expect this to continue upon approval, if any, of COMP360 or any of our future therapeutic candidates. If third-party sites fail to recruit and retain a sufficient number of therapists or effectively manage their therapists, our business, financial condition and results of operations would be materially harmed;
•Intellectual property rights of third parties could adversely affect our ability to develop or commercialize our investigational therapies, such that we could be required to litigate or obtain licenses from third parties in order to develop or market our investigational therapies. Such litigation or licenses could be costly or not available on commercially reasonable terms;
•Others may claim an ownership interest in our intellectual property and our product candidates, which could expose us to litigation and have a significant adverse effect on our prospects;
•Psilocybin and psilocin are listed as Schedule I controlled substances under the CSA in the U.S., and similar controlled substance legislation in other countries and any significant breaches in our compliance with these laws and regulations, or changes in the laws and regulations may result in interruptions to our development activity or business continuity;
•Enacted and future legislation may increase the difficulty and cost for us to obtain marketing approval of and commercialize our investigational COMP360 psilocybin therapy or any future therapeutic candidates and could have a material adverse effect on our business;
•We rely on third parties to supply and manufacture the psilocybin and psilocin incorporated in COMP360 and expect to continue to rely on third parties to supply and manufacture any of our future therapeutic candidates, and we will rely on third parties to manufacture these substances for commercial supply, if approved. If any third-party provider fails to meet its obligations to manufacture COMP360 or our future therapeutic candidates, or fails to maintain or achieve satisfactory regulatory compliance, the development of such substances and the commercialization of any therapies, if approved, could be stopped, delayed or made commercially unviable, less profitable or may result in enforcement actions against us;
•There are a number of third parties who conduct investigator-initiated studies, or IISs, using COMP360 provided by us. We do not sponsor these IISs, and we encourage the open publication of all IIS findings. Any failure by a third party to meet its obligations with respect to the clinical development of our investigational COMP360 psilocybin therapy or any of our future therapeutic candidates may delay or impair our ability to obtain regulatory approval for COMP360. IISs of COMP360 or any future therapeutic candidates may generate clinical trial data that raise concerns regarding the safety or effectiveness of COMP360 and any data generated in IISs may not be predictive of the results in populations or indications in which we are conducting, or plan to conduct, clinical trials;
•A pandemic, epidemic, or outbreak of an infectious disease, or new variant of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, may materially and adversely affect our business, including our preclinical studies, clinical trials, third parties on whom we rely, our supply chain, our ability to raise capital, our ability to conduct regular business and our financial results;
•We face substantial competition and our competitors may discover, develop or commercialize therapies before or more successfully than us, which may result in the reduction or elimination of our commercial opportunities;
•Acquisitions and investments could result in operating difficulties, dilution and other harmful consequences that may adversely impact our business, financial condition and results of operations. Additionally, if we are not able to identify and successfully acquire suitable businesses, our operating results and prospects could be harmed;
•Our business is subject to economic, political, regulatory and other risks associated with international operations; and
•We previously identified material weaknesses in our internal control over financial reporting. We may identify future material weaknesses in our internal controls over financial reporting. If we are unable to remedy these material weaknesses, or if we fail to establish and maintain effective internal controls, we may be unable to produce accurate and timely financial statements, and we may conclude that our internal control over financial reporting is not effective, which could adversely impact our investors’ confidence and our ADS price.
ITEM 1. BUSINESS
We are a mental health care company dedicated to accelerating patient access to evidence-based innovation in mental health. We are motivated by the need to find better ways to help and empower people suffering with mental health challenges who are not helped by existing therapies, and are pioneering the development of a new model of psilocybin therapy, in which our investigational COMP360 psilocybin is administered in conjunction with psychological support. Our initial focus is on treatment-resistant depression, or TRD, a subset of major depressive disorder, or MDD, comprising patients who are inadequately served by the current treatment paradigm. Early signals from academic studies, using formulations of psilocybin not developed by us, have shown that psilocybin therapy may have the potential to improve outcomes for patients suffering with TRD, with rapid reductions in depression symptoms and effects lasting up to six months, after administration of a single high dose. We have developed a proprietary, high-purity polymorphic crystalline formulation of psilocybin, COMP360. In 2019, we completed a Phase I clinical trial administering COMP360, along with psychological support, to 89 healthy volunteers. In this trial, we observed that COMP360 was generally well-tolerated and supported continued progression of Phase IIb studies. We also demonstrated the feasibility of administering COMP360 psilocybin to up to six healthy participants simultaneously, with 1:1 support. In November 2021, we announced positive topline results from our Phase IIb clinical trial evaluating COMP360 in conjunction with psychological support for the treatment of TRD. This is the largest, randomized, controlled, double-blind psilocybin therapy clinical trial completed to date. The topline results from the 233-participant trial showed a rapid and sustained response for patients receiving a single dose of COMP360 psilocybin administered with psychological support. The trial achieved its primary endpoint for the highest dose, with a 25mg dose of COMP360 demonstrating a statistically significant (p<0.001) and clinically relevant treatment difference against the 1mg dose of COMP360 in reducing depressive symptom severity after three weeks. We believe that our COMP360 psilocybin therapy - combining COMP360 psilocybin with psychological support from specially trained therapists - could offer a new approach to depression care.
Globally, more than 320 million people suffer with MDD. The economic burden of MDD in the United States, accounting for comorbid physical and psychiatric conditions, is estimated to be over $200 billion per year. TRD, a condition affecting the approximately 100 million patients worldwide who are not helped after two or more existing depression treatments, has even greater economic and societal cost than non-TRD MDD. TRD patients are often unable to perform daily tasks, are more likely to receive disability or welfare benefits and more frequently have co-occurring conditions compared with non-TRD MDD patients. Direct medical costs for TRD patients are estimated to be two to three times higher than for non-TRD MDD patients, caused by, among other factors, increased rates of hospitalization and longer average hospital stays. Patients with TRD have a higher all-cause mortality compared with non-TRD MDD patients.
Patients suffering with depression are treated through a variety of approaches, each of which can have significant shortcomings in certain subsets of patients. Most pharmacotherapies for depression employ the same mechanism of action, targeting the modulation of the brain’s neurotransmitter monoamine levels, and have exhibited limited efficacy in a significant portion of patients and can result in high relapse rates. There are only two pharmacotherapies specifically approved for TRD in the US: esketamine, and a combination of olanzapine (an atypical antipsychotic) and fluoxetine (a selective serotonergic reuptake inhibitor). Esketamine was approved in 2019 by the FDA. Mixed efficacy and limited durability were observed in clinical trials as well as potential side effects, including dissociation and cognitive impairment. The olanzapine-fluoxetine combination has also shown mixed efficacy and can commonly lead to side effects such as dizziness, drowsiness and weight gain. In addition to pharmacotherapies, various forms of somatic intervention are also used, although these treatments tend to be invasive and/or onerous, and there are limited data supporting their long-term benefit. Psychotherapy is another common treatment approach, but it requires a significant time commitment and is subject to large variability in availability and administration. Despite the range of treatments and therapies available for depression, patients suffering with TRD continue to be underserved, prolonging a significant health, social and economic burden. We believe patients suffering with TRD need a paradigm-shifting treatment that can deliver rapid and sustained relief of their depression.
Psilocybin is considered a serotonergic hallucinogen and is an active ingredient in some species of mushrooms. While classified as a Schedule I drug, there is an accumulating body of evidence that psilocybin may have beneficial effects on depression and other mental health conditions. Therefore, the FDA and the US Drug Enforcement Administration, or DEA, have permitted the use of psilocybin in clinical studies for the treatment of a range of psychiatric conditions.
We believe that our investigational COMP360 psilocybin therapy may confer beneficial effects in depression and other mental health conditions through COMP360’s mechanism of action on the central nervous system, or CNS. By activating the 5-hydroxytryptamine (serotonin) 2A, or 5-HT2A, receptor, psilocybin and its active metabolite psilocin induce a range of downstream effects that may cause important, sustained changes in brain function. These effects include altered extracellular release of serotonin and dopamine, changes in brain network connectivity, and increased levels of neuroplasticity, whereby the nervous system is able to reorganize its structure, function, and connections, all of which we believe contribute to our psilocybin therapy’s potential to generate rapid-onset and sustained positive mood effects.
The potential of psilocybin therapy in mental health conditions has been demonstrated in a number of academic-sponsored studies over the last decade. In these early studies, it was observed that psilocybin therapy provided rapid reductions in depression symptoms after a single high dose, with antidepressant effects lasting for up to at least six months for a number of patients. These studies assessed symptoms related to depression and anxiety through a number of widely used and validated scales. The data generated by these studies suggest that psilocybin is generally well-tolerated and has the potential to treat depression when administered with psychological support.
COMP360 is our proprietary psilocybin formulation that includes our pharmaceutical-grade polymorphic crystalline psilocybin, optimized for stability and purity. Our investigational COMP360 psilocybin therapy comprises administration of our COMP360 with psychological support from specially trained therapists with specific professional and educational qualifications. We believe this support, or therapy, is an integral element of psilocybin therapy. The psilocybin administration session lasts approximately six to eight hours, with patients supported by therapists in a non-directive manner. Psilocybin administration sessions are preceded by preparation sessions, in which patients are given a thorough orientation, and followed by integration sessions to help patients process the range of emotional and physical experiences facilitated by COMP360 administration.
In 2018, we received Breakthrough Therapy designation from the FDA for COMP360 for the treatment of TRD.
In 2019, we completed a Phase I trial in 89 healthy volunteers, with our investigational COMP360 psilocybin therapy. In this trial, we observed that COMP360 was generally well-tolerated and supported continued progression of Phase IIb studies. The trial also showed the feasibility of simultaneous administration of COMP360 to up to six people in the same facility, with 1:1 therapist support, which we believe will accelerate future clinical trials and commercial scale-up upon potential regulatory approval. In August 2020, the FDA approved our request for a 1:1 model of therapist support and we intend to use this model in future clinical trials. We previously conducted a series of in vitro and in vivo toxicology studies, including tests for genotoxicity and cardiotoxicity. We are now undertaking an additional series of safety pharmacology and toxicity studies, to be completed prior to commencement of our anticipated Phase III program.
In 2021, we completed a randomized, controlled, double-blind Phase IIb clinical trial in 233 patients suffering with TRD, in 22 sites across North America and Europe. This dose-finding trial investigated the safety and efficacy of a single administration of COMP360 combined with psychological support from specially trained therapists. In order to determine the optimal dose of COMP360, with three doses (1mg, 10mg, 25mg) were explored. The primary endpoint of this clinical trial was to evaluate the efficacy of COMP360, as assessed by the change in the Montgomery-Åsberg Depression Rating Scale, or MADRS, a widely accepted scale for depression that has been used as a primary endpoint in pivotal trials of other depression treatments. This trial was designed to capture a statistically significant reduction in MADRS. We used digital technology in this trial, including an online portal to help patients prepare for their psilocybin experience, and a web-based “shared knowledge” interactive platform to complement therapist training.
On November 3, 2021, we announced that we are conducting a Phase II clinical trial to assess the safety and tolerability of COMP360 psilocybin therapy in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The study expands COMPASS’s research pipeline in COMP360 psilocybin therapy. It is a multicenter, fixed-dose open label study and will enroll 20 participants; it will begin at The Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN) at King’s College London.
The need for innovation in mental health care is significant, given that the current paradigm is ineffective for millions of people. Our vision is a world of mental wellbeing – a world in which mental health isn’t simply the absence of mental illness, but the ability to flourish. We want to help reduce the stigma surrounding mental health, to acknowledge that “everyone has a story,” and to create a system of care for all who are not helped by the existing system and existing therapies.
Our mission is to accelerate patient access to evidence-based innovation in mental health. Key elements of our strategy to achieve this include:
•Advance our investigational COMP360 psilocybin therapy for the treatment of TRD, including initiating additional and larger clinical trials. In 2021, we completed a randomized, controlled Phase IIb clinical trial in 233 TRD patients, in 22 sites across North America and Europe and a Phase II exploratory trial in 19 TRD patients. We announced positive topline results from these trials in November and December 2021 and intend to initiate a Phase III registrational program, commencing in 2022.
•Expand our investigational COMP360 psilocybin therapy into new indications. We believe that our investigational COMP360 psilocybin therapy may confer beneficial effects in other mental health and neurological conditions. We are generating preclinical and clinical data to further our mechanistic understanding and explore the potential benefits of our psilocybin therapy in other indications. We are performing some of these studies ourselves and some through collaborations with academic institutions, including through investigator-initiated studies (signal-generating studies using our COMP360 psilocybin) and through our Discovery Center which is carrying out preclinical research into new compounds. The outcomes of these studies will inform which indications, compounds and therapies we may pursue. In November 2021, we began a Phase II trial of COMP360 psilocybin therapy for PTSD. This is a multi-center, fixed dose, open label trial of 20 patients.
•Explore other compounds and therapies to address areas of unmet need. We have expanded our Discovery Center, initially based at University of the Sciences in Philadelphia, to include a network of expert teams across the US, and are focused on developing optimized psychedelic and related compounds targeting the 5-HT2A receptor, which is believed to mediate the potential therapeutic effects of psychedelics. We have also acquired an intellectual property portfolio including patent applications covering a variety of psychedelic and empathogenic substances, and are working on an exclusive research project with inventor Matthias Grill PhD, founder and CEO of MiHKAL GmbH in Basel, Switzerland, to develop new product candidates.
•Maximize the reach and value of our investigational COMP360 psilocybin therapy by creating a new model for mental health care. We retain global development and commercialization rights for our investigational COMP360 psilocybin therapy and are developing a commercial rollout plan in the event we are granted approval from regulatory authorities, working with payors to enable reimbursement and with health systems to enable broad patient access. We plan to set up research facilities and innovation labs, which we refer to as Centers of Excellence, in key markets. Through these, we also intend to gather evidence to optimize our therapy model, training and certification of therapists, and prototype digital technology solutions to improve patient experience and outcomes. In January 2021, we established our first Center of Excellence, with The Sheppard Pratt Institute for Advanced Diagnostics and Therapeutics, in Baltimore, Maryland, in the United States. We believe the Centers of Excellence will give us a firm foundation from which to grow and develop potential new business models as we seek to expand access to our investigational COMP360 psilocybin therapy, if approved.
•Use digital technology to improve access to and impact of our investigational COMP360 psilocybin therapy. We are exploring ways to use digital technology to make our therapeutic model more scalable, and to improve patient experience and outcomes. We plan to build upon the technologies used in our Phase IIb clinical trial, which included a patient portal to help patients prepare for their experience, and a web-based “shared knowledge” interactive platform to complement our face-to-face and clinical therapist training. In our Phase IIb trial, we collected some patient data in a remote setting using mobile technologies and using a third-party technology that monitors and measures human-smartphone interactions. Following completion of this trial in 2021, this data may be compared with information collected from validated psychiatric scales, such as MADRS, to develop potential digital applications to help detect early signs of post-treatment relapse and model the course of disease. We are also developing solutions using AI-assisted therapist feedback and monitoring. We continue to build an in-house digital team with experts in technology, engineering, and AI (which we refer to as Augmented Intelligence as well as Artificial Intelligence). We will continue to collaborate with other digital companies to research, develop and ultimately commercialize proprietary digital technology solutions that have the potential to complement and augment our investigational COMP360 psilocybin therapy. We believe this may enable us to offer a personalized, preventative and predictive care model.
Our Market Opportunity
We are developing our investigational COMP360 psilocybin therapy for the treatment of a range of mental health conditions, with an initial focus on TRD. There is a large unmet need for new therapies to improve the response rate and durability of response for patients suffering with TRD. We believe our investigational COMP360 psilocybin therapy, if successfully developed and approved, represents a promising therapeutic option for TRD, as well as potentially for other mental health and neurological conditions, including PTSD for which we are beginning a Phase II clinical trial.
MDD and TRD Prevalence
MDD is a condition characterized by a persistent feeling of sadness and heightened negative emotions. It is considered a unipolar condition, suggesting a distinction between MDD and bipolar depression, the latter of which is often associated with an emotional state fluctuating between depression and hypomania or mania. MDD is a chronic, relapsing, recurring and serious mental health condition associated with high mortality rates, morbidity and diminished quality of life. The World Health Organization, or WHO, estimates that more than 320 million people worldwide are suffering with MDD and that MDD currently accounts for an average of 7.5% of years of life lost due to disability globally, as defined by disability-adjusted life years, or DALYs, or the sum of years of healthy life lost to either mortality or non-fatal illness or impairment.
Due to the limitations of existing treatments, nearly one-third of those suffering with MDD are not adequately helped after two or more existing depression treatments. This condition is referred to as TRD. We estimate the TRD population to be approximately 100 million people globally, based on the most recently available data in 2010. To date, only two pharmacotherapies have been approved specifically for the treatment of TRD in the U.S.
The following table indicates the worldwide estimated patient populations suffering with new onset MDD, persistent MDD and TRD, and the primary treatment options available.
|Treatment pathway stage||New onset depression|
Major depressive disorder (MDD)
Major depressive disorder (MDD)
|Treatment-resistant depression (TRD)|
|Line of therapy||First line ||Second line||Third line +|
|Patients (worldwide)||320 million ||200 million ||100 million |
(~33% of total)
•Psychological interventions eg, CBT*
•Augmentation therapy (antidepressants, mood stabilizers, anticonvulsants, atypical antipsychotics. esketamine)
•Somatic therapy (rTMS*, tDCS*, ECT*, DBS*)
•High-intensity psychological interventions
*CBT = cognitive behavioral therapy; rTMS = repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation; tDCS=transcranial direct current stimulation; ECT=electroconvulsive therapy; DBS=deep brain stimulation. Table adapted from Rush, A. J., Trivedi, M. H., Wisniewski, S. R., Nierenberg, A. A., Stewart, J. W., Warden, D., ... & Fava, M. (2006). Acute and longer-term outcomes in depressed outpatients requiring one or several treatment steps: a STAR* D report. American Journal of Psychiatry, 163(11), 1905-1917.
Economic and Societal Burden
The economic burden of MDD in the United States, accounting for comorbid physical and psychiatric conditions, is estimated to be over $200 billion per year as of 2010. Approximately 47% of this figure is attributable to direct costs including outpatient, inpatient, emergency, medical and pharmaceutical cost, while the rest is attributable to indirect costs, including loss
of productivity, absenteeism and suicide. Between 2005 and 2010, the economic burden of MDD rose by $37.3 billion, an increase of 21.5%. A large proportion of this increase can be attributed to direct costs such as outpatient and inpatient medical services, with an increase of 27.5% from $77.5 billion in 2005 to $98.9 billion in 2010. This figure demonstrates that the economic burden of MDD is large and we believe it is likely to continue to grow over time.
Economic Burden of Individuals with MDD
(U.S., 2010) in $B
Total = $211B
TRD has a greater economic and societal cost than non-TRD MDD. TRD patients are often unable to perform daily tasks, are less productive at work and have higher rates of unemployment. They are also more likely to receive disability or welfare benefits than non-TRD MDD patients. Employees suffering with TRD have higher rates of workplace absenteeism compared with those without a mental health condition. In addition, co-occurring conditions, such as hypertension, anemia and diabetes, are more common in TRD patients versus non-TRD MDD patients.
Direct medical costs for TRD patients are estimated to be two to three times higher than for non-TRD MDD patients. An analysis from commercial claims and Medicare/Medicaid data in the United States points to average annual healthcare costs of between $17,000 and $25,000 per TRD patient per year. This compares with less than $10,000 per year for non-TRD MDD patients. TRD patients have higher prescriptions costs, more doctor visits and increased rates of hospitalization. TRD patients also have, on average, twice the number of inpatient visits compared with non-TRD MDD patients and, on average, their hospital stay is approximately 36% longer.
Every year, approximately 800,000 people die from suicide globally. For each adult suicide death, estimates suggest there may have been more than 20 other attempts. Patients with TRD have a higher all-cause mortality compared with non-TRD MDD patients. Research conducted in 2018 suggests that the proportion of patients suffering with TRD attempting suicide at least once during their lifetime could be as high as 30%.
Existing Therapies for Depression
Because depression has biological, social, psychological, environmental, genetic, and stress-related determinants, many of which co-occur, treatment options are wide-ranging and often combined. Current pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatments, such as antidepressants and psychotherapy, respectively, are well-established and efficacious for a subset of MDD patients. However, many patients experience relapses. Clinicians lack high-quality evidence and often rely on a trial and error approach, course correcting as patients experience these relapses or difficult side effects. Experts are beginning to recommend a shift to more multi-modal treatments where different types of therapy are delivered concomitantly (ie, a mix of pharmacotherapy, psychological/behavioral, and device interventions).
Patients suffering with TRD are treated through a variety of approaches, each of which is associated with significant shortcomings. Consequently, there remains a need for a fast-acting, tolerable treatment that provides a durable response. Despite the condition’s largely heterogeneous nature, most pharmacotherapies for depression use the same mechanism of action, targeting the modulation of the brain’s neurotransmitter monoamine levels. As evidenced by the low response and high relapse rates, these treatments are not effective for a large number of patients. Various forms of somatic intervention are also
used, although there is limited data supporting their long-term benefit. Esketamine, a TRD therapy, demonstrated mixed efficacy in its pivotal clinical trials, with rapid relapse rates even with adjunctive antidepressants and protracted withdrawal reactions. We believe currently available options do not adequately meet the needs of patients suffering with TRD and there is a significant need for a new therapeutic approach.
The following table includes representative ranges and approximate costs for existing treatments of depression as well as their methods of delivery.
|Therapy||Route||Frequency and duration|
Approximate annual cost per patient ³
|Antidepressants: SSRI/SNRI*||Oral||1/day, chronic||Mono/|
|Broad||$500 - 900|
|Atypical antipsychotics||Oral||1/day - chronic||Adjunctive therapy||Broad||$3,000 - 9,000|
|CBT ||Face-to-face or online||10-20 sessions, 3-4 months||Mono/ Adjunctive therapy||Broad||Averaging $1,000|
|Esketamine||Intranasal||Up to 56 sessions/year, under supervision of a healthcare professional||Adjunctive therapy||Limited||$33,000 - 49,000|
|Ketamine**||Intravenous||Up to 9 injections||Adjunctive therapy||No||$2,500 - 5,000|
|rTMS||Magnetic brain stimulation without anesthesia||5 sessions/ week, 4-5 weeks||Mono/Adjunctive therapy||Limited||$6,000 - 12,000|
|ECT||Electric brain stimulation under anesthesia||3 sessions/ week, 4+ weeks||Mono/Adjunctive therapy||Limited||$5,000 - 15,000|
|VNS||Electric pulses sent to the brain||Duration varies from patient to patient – stimulator must first be implanted and given at a starting low dose every 5 minutes from day to night||Mono/Adjunctive therapy||Limited||$40,000 - 45,000 for surgical implementation (excluding costs of post-operative device adjustments)|
|DBS ||Electrical impulses to the brain through implanted electrodes||3-6 hour operations; follow up visits||Mono/Adjunctive therapy||Limited||$200,000 - 250,000 for surgical implementation (excluding costs of battery replacements required every 12-24 months costing ~$95,000 for hardware replacement and surgery)|
Key: orange: established common pharmacotherapies for depression; blue: common psychotherapy for depression; grey: novel pharmacotherapies for depression; green: somatic therapies for depression
*SSRI = selective serotonergic reuptake inhibitor; SNRI =serotonergic norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor ; ** Ketamine is prescribed off label and is not approved for the treatment of depression
1. Based on a year of treatment, 150mg/day, augmentation with fluoxetine for U.S. or citalopram for UK 2. Government reimbursement or private insurance coverage; 3. Assumes one treatment course over the year, direct treatment cost only (not total healthcare costs).
There are five main categories of antidepressants available on the market. These are selective serotonergic reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs, and serotonergic norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors, or SNRIs, atypical antidepressants, monoamine oxidase inhibitors, or MAOIs, and tricyclic antidepressants, or TCAs. These are frequently used in first- and second-line treatment of depression and can also be used after this point. Studies have shown that approximately 50% of patients are not helped by their initial antidepressant treatment. This figure rises to as high as 70% for subsequent treatments.
Currently approved antidepressants have significant limitations, including delayed onset of action, poor therapy adherence rates and various side effects. The onset of action for the most commonly used antidepressants is typically between two and three weeks. Adherence levels are relatively low, with approximately 50% of individuals in primary and psychiatric care not adhering to their prescribed antidepressant medication.
There is limited evidence to effectively guide clinical decisions following non-response or partial response to first-line antidepressant medications. Recommended treatment approaches include optimizing the current antidepressant dose or switching to an antidepressant in the same or different class. Partial response or lack of response thereafter is recommended to be addressed by combining antidepressants from different pharmacological classes, or augmenting with an alternative medication, primarily with atypical antipsychotics, but also mood stabilizers, anticonvulsants, thyroid hormones and stimulants, and N-methyl-D-asparate, or NMDA, antagonists.
Antipsychotics, such as olanzapine, quetiapine and aripiprazole are typically used as adjunctive therapies when there is a lack of notable efficacy with an antidepressant. There is an approved combination of olanzapine and fluoxetine (an SSRI) for TRD. However, using antidepressants and antipsychotics together can have serious side effects, such as weight gain, other metabolic complications, sedation, extrapyramidal side effects (movement disorders), and QTc prolongation, which means the ventricles of the heart take longer than usual to recharge between beats.
Psychotherapies (Including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, or CBT)
Psychotherapy is a form of talk therapy often recommended as first-line treatment in mild depression and often used as adjunctive therapy for MDD patients. Two frequently used psychotherapies for depression are CBT and interpersonal therapy, or IPT. CBT focuses on changing negative thought and behavior patterns. IPT also looks at negative thoughts and behaviors, but only as they apply to interpersonal relationships and social functioning. The incremental efficacy of psychotherapy in more severe cases and in later lines of treatment remains questionable. Psychotherapeutic approaches can be effective for many individuals but require a significant time commitment from patients and are subject to variability in their availability and delivery.
Ketamine is an NMDA receptor antagonist that has been used for several decades in sedation, anesthesia and chronic pain. The S-enantiomer of ketamine, esketamine, is administered intranasally as a spray and has been approved by the FDA to treat TRD (2019) and depressive symptoms in adults with MDD with acute suicidal ideation or behavior (2020). There are mixed efficacy results associated with the use of esketamine. Ketamine and esketamine require multiple administration sessions and are associated with a high abuse potential. Esketamine treatments typically need to be frequently administered, in a controlled environment under medical supervision. This frequency makes administration costly for payors and burdensome for patients, resulting in limited clinical adoption and patient access.
Patients who suffer with severe TRD and have tried several courses of antidepressants are often treated with resource-intensive somatic therapies like electroconvulsive therapy, or ECT, repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation, or rTMS, vagal nerve stimulation, or VNS, and deep brain stimulation, or DBS. These therapies are generally administered in inpatient settings. Somatic and device-related interventions like ECT and VNS are associated with significant adverse reactions and interventional concerns, such as use of general anesthesia and memory loss in the case of ECT, and surgical intervention and infection risk with VNS implantation. Limitations of rTMS include inadvertent seizures, pain, face twitching and application discomfort. Similarly, DBS has the potential to cause pain and seizures as well as a high risk of infection due to the
invasiveness of the surgical procedure. These treatments are typically reserved for patients who have not been helped by other treatments, and are characterized as high-cost treatment options with reimbursement limited for a subset of these therapies.
Despite the range of treatments and therapies available for MDD, patients suffering with TRD continue to be underserved, prolonging a significant health, social and economic burden. We believe patients suffering with TRD need a paradigm-shifting treatment that can deliver rapid and sustained relief of their depression.
Based on early signals from psilocybin therapy studies (using a different formulation of psilocybin from COMP360), which showed a rapid reduction in depression symptoms and effects lasting up to six months for some patients following administration of a single high dose, we believe psilocybin therapy has the potential to transform the current paradigm for TRD and other mental health and neurological conditions.
History of Psilocybin Usage
Psychedelics are a class of psychoactive drugs that act primarily through an agonist action on neurotransmitter receptors and cause psychological, visual and auditory changes, as well as an altered state of consciousness. Prior to psychedelics being classified as Schedule I drugs in the early 1970s, clinical research in psychedelics was widespread, with more than 40,000 patients suffering with mental health conditions participating in clinical studies and case reports. Accumulating evidence suggests that many psychedelic drugs may have psychopharmacological effects on the brain, including increasing the number, density and connections of neurons. This body of evidence has driven a resurgence of interest in the evaluation of psychedelic drugs for therapeutic use to treat a range of mental health conditions. A number of major academic institutions - Imperial College London, Johns Hopkins University, and Mount Sinai Health System - have established dedicated psychedelic research centers in the last two years.
Psilocybin is considered a serotonergic hallucinogen, along with other tryptamines such as dimethyltryptamine, or DMT, ergolines such as lysergic acid diethylamide, or LSD, and phenethylamines such as mescaline. It is an active ingredient in some species of mushrooms and was first isolated from psilocybe mushrooms by Dr. Hofmann and synthesized in the late 1950s. While classified as a Schedule I drug, the FDA and DEA began permitting the use of psilocybin in clinical studies for the treatment of a range of psychiatric conditions in the 1990s. Psilocybin has been researched as a potential treatment for a range of CNS diseases for over 60 years.
Mechanism of Action
There is an accumulating body of evidence that psilocybin may have beneficial effects on depression and other mental health conditions. We believe the benefits of psilocybin are largely derived from its mechanism of action. As shown in the graphic below, by activating a distinct set of receptors in brain areas critical to mood and cognition, psilocybin acts to induce a range of downstream effects that may have important, sustained effects on brain function. In this way, evidence of the
molecular, cellular, and systemic effects of psilocybin in the CNS supports the potential for psilocybin in the treatment of mental health conditions.
1. Stimulation of 5-HT2A receptors results in downstream cascades via G-protein signaling.
2. Altered extracellular release of dopamine leads to enhanced positive mood.
3. Down-regulation of the default mode network, or DMN, and de-synchronization of cortical activity as well as the emergence of new patterns of functional connectivity across the brain.
4. Sustained cellular changes leading to neuroplasticity and “window of opportunity” for therapy.
Molecular Effects of Psilocybin: Partial Agonism of Serotonin Receptors
At the molecular level, psilocybin is rapidly metabolized to its active metabolite psilocin, which is a partial agonist at several 5-hydroxytryptamine (serotonin) 2A, or 5-HT, receptors, also known as serotonin receptors, including 5-HT2A, 2C, and 1A receptors. This means that psilocin binds to and activates these receptors, all of which are expressed in neurons in different areas of the CNS. In particular, many of the prominent acute effects of psilocybin, such as changes in emotion and cognition, are thought to be mediated by 5-HT2A receptor stimulation, an interpretation that is supported by the fact that blocking the 5-HT2A receptor prevents the psychedelic effects of psilocybin in humans. This mechanism of 5-HT2A receptor stimulation is also implicated as a possible component of the antidepressant action of SSRIs, although these operate by inhibiting reuptake of serotonin by presynaptic neurons. In contrast, psilocin is believed to initiate an antidepressant effect by directly activating this receptor. The relevance of 5-HT2A receptors in modulating depressive symptoms may also be supported by the fact that these receptors are abundantly expressed in multiple areas of the brain that have important roles in regulating cognitive and emotional processing. For instance, 5-HT2A receptors are predominately expressed in cortical pyramidal neurons, the most abundant type of neuron found in the human cerebral cortex, and thus may be implicated in executive function. Additionally, 5-HT2A receptors are expressed in other key regions of the brain, like the hippocampus and nucleus accumbens, which are associated with crucial biological functions like memory and reward processing, respectively.
Cellular Effects: Activation of Downstream Signaling Cascades
Activation of 5-HT2A receptors by agonist ligands such as psilocin can modulate a number of downstream signaling cascades to alter the structure and function of neurons, which are the primary signaling components of the CNS. The 5-HT2A receptor is a G-protein coupled receptor, which means that it predominantly relays signals through a family of proteins called G-proteins. Specifically, the main signaling cascade downstream of 5-HT2A receptors occurs via the Gαq/11 protein and leads to increased intracellular calcium release within the cell. In turn, this may promote neuron growth and function. However, non-canonical 5-HT2A receptor signaling cascades specific to certain cell or tissue types may also exist, as there is evidence of
certain downstream effects of psychedelic agonists occurring via the Gαi/o protein, which typically downregulates signaling pathways related to neurotransmitter release, for example, within neurons. This diverse range of cellular signaling cascades that may be modulated by psilocin likely underlie some of the local circuit-level effects of the drug.
Local Circuit-Level Effects: Neurotransmitter Release and Neuroplasticity
The consequences of 5-HT receptor signaling cascades as modulated by psilocin include (i) changes in activation of neurons in the brain, (ii) neuroplasticity, and (iii) alteration of neurotransmitter release. The activation of neurons, or depolarization, corresponds to positive ions flowing into these cells, which ultimately drives signal transmission and communication between neurons.
Neuroplasticity refers to the ability of the nervous system to reorganize its structure, function, and connections. This can involve the generation of new neurons, changes in neuron morphology and connectivity, and neurobiochemical changes in receptor and neurotransmitter levels. In particular, the expression of immediate early genes, or IEGs, such as Early Growth Receptor-1, or EGR-1 and Early Growth Receptor-2, or EGR-2, is induced by psilocin. IEGs are genes activated in response to external stimuli and are associated with depolarization. IEGs produce transcription factors that may cause wider changes in gene regulation and, in turn, could enable longer-term neuroplastic changes through structural and connectivity changes at the synapse. The fact that EGR-1 and EGR-2 appear to be induced specifically by psychedelic compounds suggests that these genes could be relevant to the acute and sustained effects of these drugs.
Alterations in neurotransmitter release are another local circuit-level consequence of psilocin that may be relevant to its psychoactive and mood effects. Specifically, evidence from rodent studies suggests that psilocybin may alter extracellular release of serotonin and dopamine in brain areas such as the prefrontal cortex. By virtue of the extracellular neurotransmitter release changes in certain brain areas, which have established roles in, for example, executive function, psilocybin may drive positive mood effects.
Systemic Effects: Changes in Brain Activity and Functional Connectivity
At the systemic level, psilocybin has been shown to alter the synchronicity of neuronal activation within and between different brain networks, during the psychedelic experience and afterwards. One network that has displayed altered functioning after psilocybin treatment in recent studies is the default mode network, or DMN, a network of brain areas that shows increased activation during self-referential mental activity and recollection of prior experiences and reduced activation during attention-demanding tasks. During the acute experience, psilocybin appears to temporarily reduce synchronicity of areas within the DMN, whereas connectivity between other brain areas and networks is substantially increased.
The below figure is a visualization of the acute changes in brain network connectivity when healthy volunteers were administered with placebo (left) or psilocybin (right). Lines represent connections between or within brain networks (shown as nodes), with the width of those lines representing the weight of each connection. The size of each node corresponds to the sum of its weighted connections. Colors represent communities of networks or regions that are more commonly connected to one another than networks in different communities.
Simplified Visualization of the Acute Changes in Brain Network Connectivity
Study analyzed fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) data from healthy volunteers to compare resting-state functional brain connectivity after intravenous infusion of placebo and psilocybin. Adapted from Petri et al, 2014
On the day after these acute effects, individuals administered with psilocybin may exhibit increased synchronicity within the DMN, as well as changes between areas of the DMN and other brain regions. These brain network alterations may indicate the emergence of novel patterns of connectivity upon decoupling of the DMN and could lead to longer-term changes, such as altered emotional processing, that may ultimately affect behavior.
Psilocybin Academic Studies
The therapeutic potential of psilocybin in depressive and anxiety conditions has been demonstrated in a number of academic-sponsored studies over the last decade. In these studies, psilocybin, when administered in conjunction with psychological support, provided rapid reductions in depression symptoms after a single high dose, with antidepressant and anxiolytic effects occurring on the day of administration and lasting up to the six-month follow-up period for a number of participants. These studies used a range of widely used and validated scales to assess symptoms related to depression and anxiety. Some of these scales are self-reported and others are rated by clinicians.
These studies have shown psilocybin to be generally well-tolerated, with low toxicity and no serious adverse events, or SAEs, reported. The low toxicity profile of psilocybin is corroborated by early non-clinical studies that indicate that very high levels of psilocybin, in excess of 200mg/kg when administered intravenously, are required to induce toxic effects in rodents. A 2004 study estimated a lethal dose to be 6,000mg of psilocybin in an average, healthy 70kg adult, which vastly exceeds a therapeutic dose range.
Psilocybin is categorized as a Schedule I drug in the U.S. and a Class A drug in the UK, due to its abuse potential reported in the 1960s. However, despite evidence of recreational use of natural sources of psilocybin, a recent and comprehensive review used the structure of the eight factors of the U.S. Controlled Substance Act to assess the abuse potential of medically administered psilocybin. It suggested that in a medical context psilocybin does not have a high abuse potential and that there is no clear evidence for a physical dependence potential, based on animal and human data.
The totality of these data suggest that psilocybin therapy may exhibit clinical activity in patients with depression and anxiety, when administered with psychological support from specially trained therapists. The table below summarizes the key findings from academic-sponsored studies that we believe support the use of psilocybin therapy for treating mental health conditions. None of these studies used COMP360.
University of California Los Angeles
Grob et al
New York University
Ross et al
Johns Hopkins Griffiths et al
Imperial College London
Carhart-Harris et al
Davis et al
|Disorder||Anxiety related to advanced-stage cancer||Anxiety or depression related to cancer||Anxiety or depression in life-threatening cancer||TRD||MDD|
|Design||Double-blinded, placebo-controlled||Randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled||Randomized, double-blinded||Open-label||Randomized|
|Dose||14mg/70kg||21mg/70kg||Low (1 or 3mg/70kg) High (22 or 30mg/70kg)||10mg and subsequently 25mg|
|Outcome measures||BDI, STAI, POMS||HADS, BDI, STAI||GRID-HAM-D, HAM-A||QIDS-SR-16||GRID-HAM-D|
|Safety findings||No SAEs attributed |
|No SAEs attributed|
|No SAEs attributed |
|No SAEs attributed|
only mild and transient
|No SAEs attributed to psilocybin administration|
•BDI: 30% improvement at 1 and 6 months vs baseline and significant reduction from mild to minimal depression
•POMS: Trend reduced adverse mood at week 2, returned to baseline at 6 months
•STAI: Sustained decrease in trait anxiety sub-score at every time point for 6 months
•Significant reductions (mild/moderate to normal/minimal) in HADS, BDI and STAI measures
•~60-80% of participants continued with clinically significant responses on depression and anxiety measures
•At 5 weeks and 6 months, 92% and 79% of high-dose participants, respectively, continued to show clinically significant responses on depression and anxiety measures
•QIDS-SR-16 scores showed significant improvement at all post-treatment time points
•Max effect at 5 weeks with 65% response (including 20% remission)
•No patients sought conventional antidepressant treatment within 5 weeks after psilocybin therapy
•71% of participants had a clinically significant response in depression scores at both 1 and 4 weeks. 58% and 54% achieved clinical remission at 1 and 4 weeks respectively
(a)“N” numbers indicate the number of patients that completed at least one administration session. In some studies, not all administration sessions and/or follow-up measures were completed for all patients. Reasons provided for patients not completing the studies included patients becoming too ill due to cancer progression, death due to cancer, or resumption of antidepression medications.
(b)Some patients received the 20mg/70 kg dose again for their second dose.As used herein, “clinically significant response” is defined as a >50% reduction in depression or anxiety scores relative to baseline. “Clinical remission” in the Davis et al study is defined as GRID-HAMD scores <7. Responses and remission shown for Davis et al study are for “Immediate treatment” group that had already received psilocybin therapy.
Abbreviations: BDI, Beck Depression Inventory; GRID-HAM-D, GRID Hamilton Depression Rating Scale; HADS, Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale; HAM-A, Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale; HAM-D, Hamilton Depression Rating Scale; STAI, State-Trait Anxiety Inventory; POMS, Profile of Mood States questionnaire; QIDS-SR-16,Quick Inventory of Depressive Symptomatology
University of California Los Angeles, Grob et al, 2011 - Existential Distress: Feasibility and Safety for Cancer Patients
In this 2011 study, 12 patients with anxiety related to advanced stage cancer (defined as diagnosis of acute stress disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, anxiety disorder due to cancer, or adjustment disorder with anxiety) underwent two experimental sessions spaced several weeks apart. In one session, each patient received 14mg/70kg psilocybin and in the other session each patient received a placebo control (250mg niacin), and the order in which they were administered was randomized. The BDI, POMS and STAI scoring scales were assessed one day before, one day after, and two weeks after each session. Each measure was assessed again once a month for up to six months after the final session. There was a trend showing decreased BDI scores at two weeks compared to one day before the first session. BDI scores were reduced by almost 30% at one month after the second treatment. This change was sustained and became significant at six months. The POMS indicated a trend for reduced adverse mood tone at two weeks after the first session compared to one day prior to psilocybin treatment. Although no significant changes were observed on the STAI state anxiety score, a sustained decrease that was significant at one and three-months post-treatment was evident on the STAI trait anxiety score. No SAEs were attributed to psilocybin administration.
Significant Reduction in BDI Scores at Six Months Post Treatment Compared with Baseline
Graph displays changes in depression severity represented by Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) score between baseline and six months following second administration session. A reduction in BDI score was reported at the six month timepoint, compared to baseline. Effect sizes not reported. P-value = 0.03, calculated by performing a t-test to compare the six month score with one day before the first administration. Adapted from Grob et al 2011.
New York University, Ross et al, 2016 – Existential Distress
This 2016 study recruited 29 patients with life-threatening cancer and clinically significant anxiety or depression (defined as a primary diagnosis of acute stress disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, anxiety disorder due to cancer, or adjustment disorder with anxiety and/or depression). Patients underwent two administration sessions, one in which 21mg/70kg psilocybin was administered and one in which they received a placebo (250mg niacin). The administration sessions were spaced seven weeks apart and the order in which they were administered was randomized. Baseline measurements were collected two to four weeks prior to the first session. Statistically significant reductions in measures of anxiety and depression were observed up to 26 weeks following the second dose in patients who received psilocybin first, compared with baseline. Although no significant changes were observed in the placebo-first group prior to crossover, these patients also experienced statistically significant, sustained reductions in a majority (five out of six) of anxiety and depressions measures following psilocybin treatment. At 26 weeks following the final treatment, both groups exhibited antidepressant or anxiolytic, or reduction of anxiety, response rates of 60-80% across a variety of measures, including BDI remission and response rates as well as HADS, as demonstrated in the following graphic. No SAEs were attributed to psilocybin administration.
Statistically Significant Decrease in HADS Depression Scores at 26 Weeks Post Treatment
Graph illustrates changes in mean HADS Depression scores in niacin-first (blue) and psilocybin-first (purple) groups between baseline and 26-weeks after second treatment. The psilocybin-first group exhibited significant reductions in depressed symptoms compared to the placebo group after the first administration session. The niacin-first group also showed significant reductions in depressive symptoms 26 weeks after receiving psilocybin compared with
baseline. *p<0.05, **p<0.01, ***p<0.001, calculated by performing between-group t-tests. Solid symbols indicate significant within-group differences versus baseline. Data shown as mean ± Standard Error (SE). Adapted from Ross et al, 2016.
Johns Hopkins University, Griffiths et al, 2016 - Existential Distress
This 2016 study enrolled 51 patients with life-threatening cancer and a Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV) diagnosis that included anxiety and/or mood symptoms. The patients were randomized to receive either a low (1 or 3mg/70kg) or a high (22 or 30mg/70kg) dose of psilocybin first. At a second administration session five weeks later, patients who had received the low dose first were given a high dose, whereas the high-dose first group were given a low dose of psilocybin. In the high-dose first group, psilocybin treatment resulted in significant reductions in measures of depression and anxiety at five weeks following the first session. Of the high-dose first group, 92% showed a clinically significant response (≥50% reduction in GRID-HAMD depression scores relative to baseline) at this five-week timepoint, compared with 32% of the low-dose first group. These significant changes were sustained at the six-month follow-up in both groups, with 79% of the high-dose first group and 77% of the low-dose first group continuing to show clinical response. More than two thirds of patients described psilocybin therapy as among the top five most meaningful experiences of their lives, alongside the birth of a child or the death of a parent, six months after their psilocybin therapy session. No SAEs were attributed to psilocybin administration.
Statistically Significant Reductions in Depression and Anxiety (GRID-HAMD) Sustained Six Months Post Treatment
Graph displays changes in GRID-HAMD scores between baseline and six months following first treatment, in groups receiving psilocybin low dose first or psilocybin high dose first. These changes demonstrate the antidepressant effect of psilocybin in this population and supported greater efficacy for the high dose of psilocybin. *p<0.05 and +p<0.05, calculated using planned comparison t-tests. Asterisk indicates significant difference between the groups following session 1 (Post 1) and cross denotes significant difference between scores at Post 1 and Post 2 timepoints in the group that received the psilocybin low dose first. Data shown as mean ± SEM. Adapted from Griffiths et al, 2016.
Imperial College London, Carhart-Harris et al, 2016, 2018 - TRD
In this study, conducted in 2016, 20 TRD patients with moderate to severe depression were dosed with 10mg psilocybin and 25mg psilocybin in two separate administration sessions that occurred one week apart. All patients received the lower dose in the first session. Among the 19 patients who completed the entire follow-up period, a statistically significant reduction in depressive symptoms was observed for up to six months, compared with baseline. The maximum effect size (on the QIDS-SR-16) was observed at five weeks post-treatment, at which point nine patients met the criteria for response (≥50% reduction in BDI score compared with baseline). No patients had sought conventional antidepressant treatment within five weeks of receiving the high psilocybin dose. Only mild and transient adverse events were observed and no SAEs were attributed to psilocybin administration.
Significant Reduction in Depressive Symptoms Observed up to Six Months Post Treatment
Graph shows changes in depression severity represented by QIDS score between baseline and six months after the second treatment. These changes demonstrated a significant reduction in depressive symptoms following psilocybin treatment in TRD. Effect size comparing pre- to post-treatment scores is represented by Cohen’s d values in red. Adapted from Carhart-Harris et al 2018.
Johns Hopkins University, Davis et al, 2020 - MDD
This study analyzed data from a total of 24 MDD patients who were randomized into two groups. One group received treatment immediately following baseline measurements (“immediate treatment”), while a waitlist control group received treatment eight weeks after baseline measurements (“delayed treatment”). Each patient received 20mg/70kg psilocybin in a first session and either 20 or 30mg/70kg psilocybin in a second administration session. The authors reported significant differences between the two treatment groups in depressive symptoms measured using the GRID-HAMD at one and four weeks post-treatment (when the “delayed treatment” group were still awaiting their first administration session), caused by a decrease in scores of the “immediate treatment” group. In addition, at four weeks following treatment, 71% and 54% of study participants met the criteria for clinically significant response (>50% reduction in GRID-HAMD depression scores relative to baseline) and remission (GRID-HAMD scores <7), respectively.
Significant Reduction in Depressive Symptoms Observed up to Four Weeks Post Treatment in Immediate Treatment Group Compared with Delayed Treatment Group
Graph shows depression severity represented by GRID-HAMD score between baseline and at one and four weeks post-treatment of the “immediate treatment” group. Effect size (Cohen’s d): 1 week = 2.5, 4 weeks = 2.6. Graph created based on data from Davis et al 2020.
Our Investigational Psilocybin Therapy - COMP360
Our psilocybin therapy combines the pharmacological effects of psilocybin with psychological support from specially trained therapists who are present throughout the psilocybin administration session. We have developed a proprietary stabilized, high-purity polymorphic crystalline synthesized formulation of psilocybin, COMP360, and are investigating the effectiveness of this psilocybin therapy in TRD and PTSD.
In our Phase I clinical trial in 89 healthy participants, completed in 2019, we observed that COMP360 was generally well-tolerated, with no serious adverse events and no clinically-relevant negative short- or longer-term effects on cognition or emotional processing. According to analyses in this exploratory study, for the duration of the trial, there were no negative effects on cognition (measured up to four weeks from administration) based on a range of validated measures from the Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Automated Battery, or emotional processing (measured up to 12 weeks from administration), based on widely accepted clinical and academic tests. The trial also demonstrated the feasibility of administering COMP360 psilocybin to up to six healthy participants simultaneously, with 1:1 support.
In 2021, we completed a large-scale randomized, controlled, double-blind Phase IIb clinical trial of our COMP360 psilocybin therapy in 233 patients suffering with TRD, in 22 sites in 10 countries in North America and Europe. This is the largest psilocybin trial completed to date. This dose-finding trial investigated the safety and efficacy of COMP360 in TRD, and aimed to determine the optimal dose of COMP360, with three doses (1mg, 10mg, 25mg) explored. In November 2021, we announced positive topline results from this trial which showed a rapid and sustained response for patients receiving a single dose of COMP360 psilocybin with psychological support. The trial achieved its primary endpoint for the highest dose, with a 25mg dose of COMP360 demonstrating a statistically significant (p<0.001) and clinically relevant treatment difference compared with the 1mg dose of COMP360 in terms of a reduction of depressive symptom severity after three weeks.
In December 2021 we announced the results from our exploratory study of COMP360 psilocybin therapy in conjunction with SSRI antidepressant use. This single-arm open label study of 19 patients with TRD taking concomitant SSRI therapy with COMP360 psilocybin therapy using a single dose of 25mg saw comparable treatment outcomes to patients in our Phase IIb
trial where patients were withdrawn from their ongoing antidepressants prior to COMP360 psilocybin therapy. The results of this study challenge the widely-held belief that the use of serotonergic antidepressants together with psilocybin could interfere with psilocybin’s therapeutic effect, and provide a strong signal that COMP360 psilocybin therapy could be an adjunctive treatment to SSRI antidepressants as well as a monotherapy. This could be helpful for some patients with TRD for whom antidepressant withdrawal is a difficult step.
In November 2021 we began a Phase II, multi-center, fixed-dose (25mg), open label study to evaluate the safety and tolerability of COMP360 psilocybin therapy in people who suffer with PTSD resulting from trauma experienced as adults.
Psilocybin Therapy Protocol
Our psilocybin therapy comprises administration of COMP360 with psychological support from specially trained therapists. Psychological support is designed to facilitate patient safety and optimal therapeutic outcomes. Our psychological support model is manualized and standardized for consistent delivery across all our trial sites. Our model is delivered over three different phases: preparation, the COMP360 administration session, and integration.
Our psilocybin therapy takes place over a period of several weeks, and comprises:
•Preparation: The objectives of the preparation sessions are to establish a therapeutic alliance between the patient and therapist, and to demonstrate and practice the skills of self-directed inquiry and experiential processing, which we believe are critical for embracing the psychedelic experience in the psilocybin administration session. We have created an online preparation platform for patients where they can learn more about what to expect from the experience and how to prepare for it.
•Psilocybin administration session: A psilocybin administration session lasts approximately six to eight hours and a therapist and assisting therapist are present throughout the session. The therapist’s goal during the session is to establish psychological safety, minimizing anxiety and encouraging openness to all emerging experiences. The session takes place in a room designed to be ambient, comfortable and calming. Patients wear eyeshades to help them focus internally, lie on a bed, and listen to a carefully curated music playlist through a high-quality sound system and earphones. After the acute effects of psilocybin subside, patients are evaluated for safety and discharged.
•Post-administration integration: The objectives of integration sessions are to help patients process the range of emotional and physical experiences facilitated by the psilocybin session and to generate insights that can lead to cognitive and behavioral changes. We believe psilocybin therapy can give patients a sense of agency, whereby they feel separate from their symptoms and empowered to make changes in their lives.
Therapists in the clinical development program of COMP360 psilocybin therapy for TRD are required to have an active unrestricted professional license to practice as a clinical psychologist, psychiatrist, social worker or mental health counselor. Therapists must also meet the required training and credentialing standards to practice psychotherapy in their region. Those who have active, unrestricted professional licenses as mental health nurses or any other mental health professional may be eligible to practice as a therapist in our clinical trials, subject to fulfilling criteria around equivalent clinical experience and psychotherapy training as the professionals listed above.
Our method of psychological support is based on our current understanding of psilocybin’s potential to generate new insights and perspectives leading to reduced rigidity in thinking. This modification of thought patterns can be uncomfortable or anxiety-provoking. Therapists refrain from intervening with the patient’s experience, unless required for safety reasons. Such an approach differs from some forms of psychotherapy which can be more directive and interventional. Our therapist training program sets out a formal and scalable methodology for psychological support in psilocybin therapy. It will continue to evolve as we progress COMP360 psilocybin therapy through clinical trials, but this manualized approach to the training program is an important first step in reducing variation in psychological support and setting out a framework for training and evaluation of this support. Details of the program were published in February 2021 in the peer-reviewed journal Frontiers in Psychiatry.
Preclinical and Clinical Experience
We previously conducted a series of in vitro and in vivo toxicology studies, including tests for studies evaluating genotoxicity and cardiotoxicity. The results of these studies allowed us to begin our Phase IIb clinical trial in TRD. We are currently undertaking an additional series of safety pharmacology and toxicity studies, to be completed prior to commencement of our anticipated Phase III program.
Phase I: Healthy Volunteers Trial
In 2019, we completed a Phase I clinical trial of COMP360 administered along with psychological support in healthy participants. The trial recruited 89 healthy participants, of which 41 were females and 48 were males, with an average age of 36 years. This double-blind, placebo-controlled trial was the largest randomized controlled trial of psilocybin at the time, and the first to simultaneously administer psilocybin, with 1:1 support from therapists in a clinical research setting. The trial was conducted at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, King’s College London and it was peer-reviewed and published in The Journal of Psychopharmacology in January 2022.
Prior to administration, participants took part in a two-hour preparatory group session. Participants were randomized to three arms: placebo, 10mg or 25mg doses of COMP360 in a 1:1:1 ratio. COMP360 was administered orally and 1:1 psychological support was given to up to six participants simultaneously at the facility. Participants were followed up for 12 weeks following drug administration and completed safety assessments, using a range of validated measures of cognitive function and emotional processing.
Key Enrollment Criteria
Participants were males or females aged between 18 to 65 years of age. Participants with a current diagnosis or past history of schizophrenia, psychosis, bipolar disorder, delusional disorder, paranoid personality disorder, schizoaffective disorder, borderline personality disorder, major depressive disorder, panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, eating disorder, or body dysmorphic disorder, were excluded. Patients with first-degree relatives with the aforementioned conditions, or a past history thereof, were also excluded. Additionally, participants were not deemed eligible if they met criteria for current, or history of, substance abuse or dependency, had taken psychiatric medications within one year of enrollment or had prior exposure to psilocybin within one year of signing the informed consent.
There were no SAEs reported, and no adverse events, or AEs, led to withdrawal. A total of 511 AEs were reported throughout the 12-week duration of the trial. The tables below summarize the most frequently reported AEs, including AE profile by treatment group, as well as ranking the most frequently reported AEs based on the COMP360 25mg psilocybin arm, by group:
10mg COMP360 (n=30)
25mg COMP360 (n=30)
Total number of treatment-emergent AEs reported
Total number of treatment-emergent AEs reported deemed to be related or possibly related to study treatment
Number of treatment-emergent adverse events (AEs) reported by treatment group in our health volunteers trial.
Most Frequently Reported AEs (MedDRA Code)a in our Phase I healthy volunteers trial
aRanked by incidence in the 25mg COMP360 group
bIncludes auditory, gustatory, olfactory, tactile, and visual hallucinations
AE, adverse event; MedDRA, Medical Dictionary for Regulatory Activities
COMP360 induced expected psychedelic experiences that generally resolved on the day of administration. In previous third-party studies, these have been found to correlate with therapeutic effect. Of all AEs, 68% reported as starting and resolving on the day of administration. The median duration of AEs in all treatment arms across the 12-week trial was one day.
Above Figure: Most frequent AEs: onset and duration by treatment arm in our healthy volunteers trial.
There were 57 AEs reported of “mood altered,” of which only two related to negative alterations in mood. One of these was in the placebo arm (“negative mood,” which started and resolved on the day of dosing) and one in the COMP360 10 mg psilocybin arm (“feeling moody or sensitive,” which started on Day 2 and resolved eight days later).
|25mg COMP360 (n=30)||10mg COMP360 (n=30)||Placebo (n=29)|
|Any “mood altered” AE||15 (50.0)||13 (43.3)||6 (20.7)|
|Introspection||7 (23.3)||5 (16.7)||1 (3.4)|
|Reflections||3 (10.0)||2 (6.7)||2 (6.9)|
|Increased empathy||2 (6.7)||3 (10.0)||0|
|Sense of oneness||1 (3.3)||4 (13.3)||0|
|Introspection/reflection||1 (3.3)||1 (3.3)||1 (3.4)|
|Laughter||1 (3.3)||1 (3.3)||0|
|New perspective||1 (3.3)||1 (3.3)||0|
|Awareness of importance of considering others||1 (3.3)||0||0|
|Clarity of thought||1 (3.3)||0||0|
|Contemplative state||1 (3.3)||0||1 (3.4)|
|Increased compassion||1 (3.3)||0||0|
|Increased creativity||1 (3.3)||0||0|
|Increased sense of connectedness||1 (3.3)||0||0|
|More socially upbeat||1 (3.3)||0||0|
|Reflections and new perspectives||1 (3.3)||0||0|
|Sense of oneness and connectedness||1 (3.3)||0||0|
|Being less judgmental||0||1 (3.3)||0|
|Feeling more moody/sensitive||0||1 (3.3)||0|
|Feeling rested||0||1 (3.3)||0|
|Increased wit||0||1 (3.3)||0|
|Reflections and new perspectives on relationships and society||0||1 (3.3)||0|
|Sense of oneness||0||1 (3.3)||0|
|Feeling of adrenaline release||0||0||1 (3.4)|
|Negative mood||0||0||1 (3.4)|
|Unusual appreciation of music||0||0||1 (3.4)|
Above Table: Reported “mood altered” AEs ranked by incidence in the COMP360 25mg group in our healthy volunteers trial.
“Mood altered” AEs were grouped into this MedDRA preferred term post hoc, while retaining the non-MedDRA AE description originally reported by the participant/investigator.
Participants completed a range of assessments of cognitive function and emotional processing. These included a range of validated measures of cognition from the Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Automated Battery, or CANTAB, including, amongst others, tasks of spatial working memory, rapid visual information processing and paired associates learning. Small differences in cognitive outcomes were seen between the groups, but no negative trends were identified.
Assessments of emotional processing included, amongst others, tasks of social cognition such as the Pictorial Empathy Test, the Reading the Mind in the Eyes Test, the Scale of Social Responsibility, the Social Value Orientation, and the Toronto Empathy Questionnaire. There were no consistent negative trends in emotional processing outcomes to suggest that either COMP360 dose had short- or longer-term effects on these indicators.
According to analyses, we found no negative trends on cognition or emotional processing.
This trial suggests that COMP360 was generally well-tolerated in healthy volunteers. There were no SAEs and analyses assessing cognitive and emotional functions showed no clinically-relevant negative short- or longer term effects on cognition or emotional processing of COMP360. The trial also showed the feasibility of simultaneous administration of COMP360 in up to six people in the same facility, with 1:1 therapist support, which we believe could accelerate future clinical trials and commercial scale-up.
Phase IIb Trial of Our COMP360 Psilocybin Therapy in TRD
In 2021, we completed a Phase IIb international multi-site, randomized, controlled, double-blind, dose-finding clinical trial to assess the safety and efficacy of active doses of COMP360 (10mg or 25mg) compared with 1mg COMP360, administered with psychological support, in patients suffering with TRD, across 22 trial sites in 10 countries in North America and Europe. Results of the study, including additional details, are expected to be published in a peer-reviewed journal.
Patients who are on serotonergic medications were expected to taper off their medicine at least two weeks prior to the baseline (Day -1) visit. Prior to administration, patients received at least one, and up to three, preparatory sessions with an assigned therapist, in order to be informed and prepared for the COMP360 psilocybin session. During the COMP360 psilocybin session, a single dose of COMP360 was administered to patients. The objective was to provide a safe and supportive environment during the session. Patients received two post-administration integration sessions with their therapists in which the psychedelic experience was discussed. Patients were followed up for 12 weeks, with a visit the day after administration followed by an additional six visits, weekly for the first three weeks, and every three weeks for the remaining nine weeks.
Primary, Secondary and Exploratory Endpoints
The primary endpoint of this trial was the change in the MADRS total score from baseline to Week 3. MADRS is assessed by independent raters in native language and is a widely accepted assessment of mood disorders. This variable was also being analyzed for change from baseline to Day 2, Weeks 1, 6, 9 and 12. This Phase IIb clinical trial was powered to capture a statistically significant reduction in MADRS.
Secondary endpoints of the trial included:
•The proportion of participants with a response (defined as a ≥50% decrease in MADRS total score from baseline) at Week 3;
•The proportion of participants with remission (defined as a MADRS total score ≤10) at Week 3;
•The proportion of participants who had a sustained response at Week 12. Sustained response was defined as the proportion of patients fulfilling response criteria at any visit up to and including Week 3, that also fulfills response criteria at all subsequent visits up to and including Week 12; and
•Time to event measures: including restarting of antidepressant medication for any reason, suicidality, hospitalization for depression, and relapse from a previous response to COMP360 psilocybin therapy.
Safety and tolerability of COMP360 in patients suffering with TRD was assessed based on AEs, vital signs, clinical laboratory assessments, ECG findings and suicidal ideation/behavior (measured using the Columbia-Suicide Severity Rating Scale, or C-SSRS score, at all visits).
The trial also assessed exploratory endpoints including, but not limited to, quality of life ( EQ-5D-3L), functional impairment (Sheehan Disability Scale, SDS), psychosocial functioning (Work and Social Adjustment scale, WSAS), cognition (Digit Symbol Substitution Test, DSST), anxiety (Generalized anxiety disorder, GAD-7), and self-reported depression severity (QIDS-SR-16).
We recruited a total of 233 adult patients with TRD into the trial. We define TRD patients as those who meet Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition, or DSM-5, diagnostic criteria for a single or recurrent episode of MDD without psychotic features, who have not responded to an adequate dose and duration of two, three, or four pharmacological treatments for the current episode of depression.
The 25mg group vs the 1mg group showed a -6.6 difference on the MADRS depression scale at week 3 (p<0.001). The 25mg group demonstrated statistical significance on the MADRS efficacy endpoint on the day after the COMP360 psilocybin administration, day 2 (p=0.002). The 10mg vs 1mg dose did not show a statistically significant difference at week 3. The MADRS was assessed by independent raters who were remote from the trial site, and blind to intervention and study design, effectively creating a triple blind.
Change from baseline in MADRS total score
MADRS = Montgomery-Åsberg Depression Rating Scale
At week 3, 36.7% (29 patients) in the 25mg group were responders (defined as a ≥50% decrease in MADRS total score from baseline), compared with 17.7% (14 patients) in the 1mg group. Furthermore, 29.1% (23 patients) in the 25mg group were in remission (defined as a MADRS total score ≤10) at week 3, compared with 7.6% (6 patients) in the 1mg group. At week 12, 24.1% (19 patients) in the 25mg group were sustained responders (defined as meeting the MADRS response criteria at week 3 and week 12, and at least at one visit out of week 6 and week 9) compared with 10.1% (8 patients) in the 1mg group.
MADRS response rates
MADRS = Montgomery-Åsberg Depression Rating Scale
MADRS remission rates
MADRS = Montgomery-Åsberg Depression Rating Scale
MADRS sustained response rates
MADRS = Montgomery-Åsberg Depression Rating Scale
As well as looking at clinician-rated depression severity on the MADRS, the trial explored other aspects which are recognized as being important for patients with TRD - and essential to recovery - including positive and negative affect, anxiety, self-rated depression severity, quality of life, functioning and cognition. These exploratory measures also showed that patients in the 25mg dose group of COMP360 psilocybin therapy reported benefits on those measures over those in the 1mg group. On the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule measuring positive and negative affect, patients in the 25mg group had a higher increase in positive affect (eg including feeling interested, excited, strong) and a greater decrease in negative affect (including feeling distressed, upset, afraid) on the day after COMP360 administration and at the questionnaire’s final administration at week 3. On scales measuring anxiety (the Generalized Anxiety Disorder – 7 item scale), self-rated depression (QIDS-SR-16) and functioning (Sheehan Disability Scale and Work and Social Adjustment Scale), a greater improvement was also shown at week 3 by patients in the 25mg group compared with the 1mg group. A post-hoc analysis of the 19 sustained responders in the 25mg group found that changes in quality of life, self-reported depression severity, and functioning, were clinically meaningful, with mean scores for these patients returning to “normal” levels and maintained to 12 weeks, the end of
the trial. Additionally, sustained responders were found to have clinically meaningful increases in positive affect from Baseline at Day 2 and Week 3.
COMP360 was generally well tolerated, with more than 90% of treatment-emergent adverse events (TEAEs) being mild or moderate in severity. 179 patients reported at least one TEAE; the most common TEAEs across treatment groups (>10% overall incidence) were headache, nausea, fatigue, and insomnia. There were 12 patients who reported treatment-emergent serious adverse events (TESAEs). These TESAEs included suicidal behavior, intentional self-injury, and suicidal ideation, which are regularly observed in a TRD patient population.
Two thirds of the patients had previous thoughts of wishing to be dead, as assessed by a suicidality scale completed during patient screening; this included all patients reporting one of these adverse events, meaning that patients who experienced these events during the trial had said in patient screening that they had had suicidal thoughts prior to the trial. Further detailed case-by-case analysis of safety data found no evidence to suggest, at this time, a causal relationship between these reported adverse events and administration of COMP360. The events occurred in all treatment groups and at a range of onset times and durations; the majority occurred more than a week after the psilocybin session.
•There was no difference between the three groups post-administration in scores from item 10 on the MADRS, which measures suicidality and was assessed by a blinded remote rater; mean scores across treatment groups were lower than baseline at all subsequent time points
•27 of the TEAEs of suicidal ideation, suicidal behaviour and intentional self-injury occurred across 17 patients, with seven patients in the 25mg group, six in the 10mg group, and four in the 1mg group
•14 of these events were reported as treatment-emergent serious adverse events (TESAEs); these occurred across nine patients, with four patients in the 25mg group, four patients in the 10mg group, and one in the 1mg group
•The majority of these TESAEs (10 events out of 14) occurred at least one week after the COMP360 psilocybin session
•All suicidal behaviours occurred at least one month after the psilocybin therapy session and all patients reporting these events were non responders at their last assessment prior to the event or at the time of the event
Overall, 209 patients completed the study; there were five withdrawals from the 25mg group, nine from the 10mg, and 10 from the 1mg.
Phase II study of COMP360 psilocybin therapy as adjunct to SSRI antidepressants
In addition to our completed Phase IIb trial, we have also completed a Phase II trial of the safety and efficacy of COMP360 in TRD patients when administered as an adjunct to SSRIs. Results of this study, including additional details, will also be published in a peer-reviewed journal.
This open-label study included 19 patients from clinical sites in Ireland and the United States. The primary endpoint was the change in baseline MADRS total score at 3 weeks in patients having 25mg COMP360 psilocybin therapy given in augmentation with their existing SSRI antidepressant regimen.
The baseline MADRS score of patients entering the study was 31.7, representing moderate to severe depression. At week 3, 8 of the 19 patients (42.1%) were responders and all 8 were also remitters. The mean reduction from baseline observed in MADRS total score was 14.9 at week 3. There was a rapid response from day 2 to week 3 after COMP360 therapy, which is consistent with the Phase IIb result.
Change from baseline in MADRS total score
COMP360 psilocybin therapy using a 25mg dose also showed overall signals of improvement in most other measures including improvement in anxiety, clinician and self-rated depressive symptoms, and positive and negative affect.
25mg COMP360 psilocybin therapy was generally well-tolerated when it was administered simultaneously with the patient’s existing SSRI treatment. There were no TEAEs classed as serious (life threatening, leading to disabilities, hospitalization or in general medically significant) and no TEAEs related to suicidal ideation or behavior or intentional self-injury.
Ongoing Long-Term Phase II Study:
•A long-term follow-up study of participants who took part in the abovementioned Phase II trials is ongoing.
The outcomes of our Phase II trials will help inform our future clinical development plans. We will be sharing our data with regulators as part of an ongoing dialogue around our clinical development program, including our Phase III registrational studies.
Additional clinical trials
•We are conducting an open-label, multi-center, fixed-dose study with 20 participants to evaluate the safety and tolerability of COMP360 psilocybin therapy in patients suffering with PTSD resulting from trauma experienced as adults.
The active metabolite of psilocybin, psilocin, is a partial agonist at several 5-HT receptors, including the 5-HT2A receptor. The 5-HT2A receptors are abundantly expressed in multiple areas of the brain that have important roles in cognitive and emotional processing and could impact a range of cognitive and mental health conditions. We therefore believe psilocybin could have transdiagnostic utility and intend to explore various expansion opportunities beyond our core program of developing our psilocybin therapy for TRD. For example, we are conducting an additional study to evaluate the safety and tolerability of COMP360 psilocybin therapy in patients suffering from PTSD. We are also investigating the potential benefits of compounds other than psilocybin through our Discovery Center, a research collaboration with University of the Sciences in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, US; UC San Diego, School of Medicine, in San Diego, California, US; and Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, US. See “—Drug Discovery Center”.
We are working with academic researchers and CROs to investigate the mechanistic characteristics of psilocybin therapy. We have also established a network of PhD studentships predominantly within the United Kingdom (namely at the following universities: University of Oxford, University of Bristol, University of Reading and University of Southampton) to research elements of this work. Our mechanistic research utilizes our COMP360 and currently focuses on the following themes:
•Study of the mechanisms by which psilocin, the active moiety of our high-purity polymorphic crystalline formulation psilocybin, and other psychedelic agents engage receptors in recombinant cell based assays (collaboration with Professor Trevor Sharp, University of Oxford), human induced pluripotent stem cell-derived neurons (collaboration with Professor Stephen Haggarty, Massachusetts General Hospital - Harvard Medical School) and also native tissues. The aim here is to understand which systems are optimal to use for discovery research, and to understand further how different drugs may influence receptor-mediated signal transduction;
•Via collaborations with the University of Bristol (Professor Matt Jones, in particular) and CROs (e.g. Neurotar and Ulysses Neuroscience), we are also investigating the integrated electrophysiological response to psychedelic administration, to determine how changes in neuronal excitatory activity mediate brain-wide changes in resting state network activity;
•Preclinical academic collaborations with the University of Bristol, Harvard University, and the Southern Denmark University to study the effects of our high-purity polymorphic crystalline formulation of psilocybin on a number of different aspects of behavior, including affective bias, reward learning and compulsive behavior that may provide insights relevant to information processing alterations frequently observed in mental health conditions;
•Collaborations with the University of Reading and the University of Southampton also focus on understanding what the potential role of inflammatory modulating processes might be in the mechanism of action of COMP360;
•A study of the sustained effects of our high-purity polymorphic crystalline formulation psilocybin through the investigation of short- and long-term changes in gene expression (mRNA) and epigenetic regulation (miRNA and DNA methylation) as part of an academic collaboration with the University of Bordeaux, France; and
•A healthy volunteers study with Imperial College London, investigating the acute and long-term psychological and brain effects of psilocybin therapy, using COMP360.
These studies will further our understanding of the mechanism of action and inform our decisions over which other indications to explore, beyond TRD and PTSD.
Other Indications: Preclinical Studies
Through collaborations with academic institutions, we are generating preclinical and clinical data to explore the benefits of our psilocybin therapy in indications outside TRD.
We work with CROs and academic institutions, including the University of Bristol and the University of Bordeaux, in conducting preclinical studies.
Other Indications: Investigator-Initiated Studies, or IISs
With respect to clinical studies, we work with leading academic institutions and researchers under IIS clinical trial agreements. These institutions include: Imperial College London, Kings College London, Maryland Oncology Hematology, New York State Psychiatric Institute at Columbia University Medical Center, Sheppard Pratt, UC San Diego School of
Medicine, University of Copenhagen, and University of Zurich. The indications being explored in these IIS signal-generating and mechanistic studies include: anorexia nervosa, autism, bipolar type II disorder, body dysmorphic disorder, chronic cluster headache, depression in cancer, MDD, severe TRD, and suicidal ideation.
We supply our IIS researchers with COMP360 and encourage the open publication of all study findings. If an IIS using COMP360 produces results with the potential to improve mental health care, we may seek to advance this research through a clinical development program, with the goal of making it available for patients, although we have no pre-existing contractual right to do so. In addition to providing our IIS researchers with COMP360, we have in the past and may continue to offer support with regulatory submissions. Through our IIS collaborations, we ultimately hope to bring more innovation to patients, as quickly and safely as possible.
Data from IISs
In 2020, Imperial College London, London, UK completed an IIS of COMP360 titled ‘Psilocybin for Major Depressive Disorder: Comparative Mechanisms’ (Psilodep-RCT, ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT03429075). In this randomized, double-blind, exploratory clinical trial, the efficacy and mechanisms of action of COMP360 were compared with those of a 6-week course of the SSRI, escitalopram. A total of 59 adult participants with MDD of at least moderate severity were randomized to receive either two 25mg doses of COMP360 three weeks apart or 6 weeks of daily escitalopram (10mg for three weeks and 20mg for the following three weeks) alongside two 1mg doses COMP360 three weeks apart. In both trial arms, participants received psychological support as part of the trial. The primary efficacy endpoint of the change from baseline on the 16-item Quick Inventory of Depressive Symptomatology-Self-Report (QIDS-SR-16) showed a 2-point trend in favor of the COMP360 arm which was apparent from week 1. Adjusted-response rates for QIDS-SR-16 (defined as ≥50% reduction from baseline in the QIDS-SR-16 total score) at week 6 were 70.2% for the COMP360 arm vs. 48.0% for the escitalopram arm and adjusted-remission rates (defined as a QIDS-SR-16 total score ≤5) at week 6 were 57.1% and 29.1%, respectively. For the MADRS – a more widely used and accepted clinician-rated scale which COMPASS is using as the primary endpoint in their clinical trials – a least square means treatment difference of -7.2 was found. Similar patterns were found on other secondary endpoints measuring work and social functioning, anxiety, avoidance, anhedonia, and wellbeing. This work has been published in the New England Journal of Medicine (Carhart-Harris et al. 2021).
In 2021, Maryland Oncology Hematology at the Aquilino Cancer Center in Rockville, Maryland, U.S. completed an IIS of COMP360 titled ‘The Safety and Efficacy of Psilocybin in Cancer Patients with Major Depressive Disorder’ (ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT04593563). In this open-label study involving 30 patients with a cancer diagnosis and MDD, patients received a 25mg dose of COMP360 in conjunction with psychological support. Patients began with an average MADRS score of 25.9, representing moderate depression and after COMP360 psilocybin therapy, the average score decreased by 19.1 points. A sustained response (a decrease of ≥50% in the MADRS total score from baseline observed at any visit up to and including week 3, and also fulfilled at week 8) was seen in 24 patients; 15 patients showed remission of depressive symptoms (a MADRS score <10) one week after a single dose of COMP360, which was sustained up to eight weeks. COMP360 psilocybin therapy was found to be generally well-tolerated with no treatment-related serious adverse events. Adverse effects on the day of dosing were transient and as expected in line with other studies included headache, changes in sensory perception, and mood alteration.
Drug Discovery Center
On August 5, 2020, we established a Drug Discovery Center under a sponsored research agreement with the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, or USciences, to focus on developing optimized psychedelic and related compounds targeting the 5-HT2A receptor, which is believed to mediate the potential therapeutic effects of psychedelics. Pursuant to the agreement, USciences is performing research services on our behalf, and has granted us an exclusive, royalty bearing, worldwide license, including rights to sublicense, all jointly held intellectual property for any and all purposes, and a non-exclusive, fully paid-up, worldwide license to any pre-existing intellectual property utilized over the course of performing the services. Under the agreement, we will pay a one time research service fee of an estimated $0.5 million and tiered payments upon completion of certain milestones by USciences up to an aggregate of $0.9 million per licensed product covered by a valid claim of a patent included in the intellectual property rights licensed to us under the agreement, as well as a low single-digit royalty percentage on annual net sales of licensed products covered by a valid claim of a patent included in the intellectual property rights licensed to us under the agreement, subject to certain reductions. In addition, USciences is entitled to a low double-digit percentage of sublicense revenue for agreements entered into prior to a Phase II trial, and a mid-single-digit percentage of sublicense revenue for agreements entered into after the start of a Phase II trial. Unless earlier terminated, the agreement terminates upon the expiration or revocation of the last valid claim of any patent included in the joint intellectual property. We and USciences can terminate the agreement in the event of a material breach by the other party and
failure to cure such breach within a certain period of time. Additionally, we and USciences can terminate the research service in the event of a material safety or regulatory issue with respect to the research service. We may also terminate the research service at will upon sixty (60) days prior written notice to USciences. USciences can terminate the research service if such services would materially and negatively interfere with its operations or upon the continuation of a force majeure event. There are no current licensed patents or patent applications under the sponsored research agreement.
In February 2021, we expanded the Discovery Center through a collaboration with laboratories at UC San Diego, School of Medicine (San Diego, California, US), and Medical College of Wisconsin (Milwaukee, Wisconsin, US). Scientists from these teams will work with us and the team from USciences, from their different locations, in a virtual network.
Research project with Matthias Grill to develop new product candidates
In September 2021, we acquired an intellectual property, or IP, portfolio including patent applications covering a variety of psychedelic and empathogenic substances at a cost of $1.2 million. The IP was developed together with inventor Matthias Grill PhD, founder and CEO of MiHKAL GmbH in Basel, Switzerland, who will be working with us on an exclusive research project to develop new product candidates. The substances covered in the IP portfolio include a variety of psychedelic and empathogenic compounds, some of which are prodrugs, or pharmacologically inactive compounds which are metabolized inside the body to produce an active drug. The new substances include novel derivatives of known compounds, increasing the confidence in therapeutic effects and safety profile while offering optimized characteristics.
On March 6, 2020 we made a strategic investment to acquire an 8% (on a fully diluted basis) shareholding in Delix Therapeutics, Inc., a drug discovery and development company researching novel small molecules for use in CNS indications. Delix Therapeutics develops non-hallucinogenic psychoplastogens, which are molecules capable of promoting neural plasticity without hallucinogenic effects, by modifying existing psychedelics. These compounds may have potential for a range of neuropsychiatric conditions.
Our established therapist training program was originally designed by experts from the fields of psychology, psychiatry and psychedelic therapy research. We are continuously evaluating opportunities to improve the quality and scalability of our therapist training program. To date, we have trained more than 150 therapists and assisting therapists, more than 65 of whom have worked or continue to work at the sites which conducted our Phase IIb clinical trial or IISs. Therapists are often referred to us by clinical trial sites and are employed by the sites. Details of our therapist training program were published in February 2021 in the peer-reviewed journal Frontiers in Psychiatry.
Our core training curriculum consists of:
•Tier I - Theoretical Training: Approximately 10 hours of self-paced online learning through our interactive therapist training platform, including video re-enactments of preparation, psilocybin administration, and integration sessions, a psilocybin therapy manual, and an online therapist forum;
•Tier II - Practical Clinical Skills Training: Approximately 30 hours of in-person or remotely-delivered (via Zoom) interactive learning, led by senior-level therapists;
•Tier III - Clinical training: At this stage, therapists review pre-selected sessions from our psilocybin therapy studies and gain direct experience of supporting participants in two psilocybin therapy experiences under the guidance of experienced therapists. Trainee therapists gain clinical experience as an assisting therapist at their site, and/or have the opportunity to sit in other psilocybin therapy studies run by our academic collaborators, including the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, or IoPPN, at King’s College London, and Sheppard Pratt Health System (Baltimore, Maryland, US); and
•Tier IV - Continuous Professional Development: Therapists receive 1:1 mentoring and clinical support from mentors. This includes feedback from mentors about therapists’ fidelity to the therapeutic model from recorded video/audio footage of sessions (with participant consent). Additionally, we host a monthly webinar for our therapists that may cover presentations by experts in the field, review of relevant studies and case reviews.
Our therapist training program is currently available to professionals involved in our ongoing studies. However, as we scale, we may expand our training to a larger pool of qualified mental healthcare professionals. We are in discussion with academic centers in the US and Europe to establish an accredited training program for psilocybin therapists. Accrediting the training program would help enable us to meet the needs of any Phase III trials and any post-approval rollout. In addition, in August 2020, the FDA approved our request for virtual face-to-face training of therapists, with immediate effect. Conducting a larger part of the therapist training virtually facilitated the training of therapists during the ongoing COVID pandemic and training at scale in general.
Using Digital Technology
We believe digital technology will change the way in which patients access psychotherapy services and manage their mental health conditions. We anticipate software applications will enhance activities traditionally done with an in-person therapist. We also believe remote consultations will help to remove barriers to accessing treatment such as stigma or lack of transportation. Furthermore, digital tools will enable greater self-care, as they support patients managing depressive episodes on their own, and will be used to complement and augment psychotherapy and pharmacological treatments.
Working with third parties, we currently use digital technology in a number of ways:
•An online preparation platform for participants in our TRD trial to educate them and help prepare them for their psilocybin experience;
•A web-based “shared knowledge” interactive therapist training platform, complementing our comprehensive face-to-face training program;
•Collection of measurements in our Phase IIb clinical trial, including remote data collection using mobile devices so patients do not need to travel into study sites for all in-clinic visits;
•Collection of some digital phenotyping information through the measurement of human-smartphone interactions; and
•Harnessing AI and natural language processing capabilities to potentially characterize the mechanism of change and assess therapist fidelity to our treatment protocol for psychological support. We are building an in-house digital team with experts in digital technology, engineering, and AI, which we refer to as augmented intelligence as well as artificial intelligence. We will continue to collaborate with other digital companies to research, develop and ultimately commercialize proprietary digital technology solutions that have the potential to complement and augment our investigational COMP360 psilocybin therapy. We believe this may enable us to offer a personalized, preventative and predictive care model.
Manufacturing and Supply
We do not own or operate, and currently have no plans to establish, any manufacturing facilities. We rely on contract drug manufacturing organizations, or CDMOs, to synthesize the active pharmaceutical ingredient, or API, that comprises COMP360, and to blend the API excipients and encapsulate. All manufacturing processes are contracted to be compliant with current Good Manufacturing Practice (cGMP). We expect to continue to rely on third parties for the production of all clinical supply drug substance and drug product that we may use. We use additional contract manufacturers to fill, label, package, store and distribute our drug product. We currently rely on a single supplier for our API but have identified additional manufacturers who have the appropriate experience and expertise to act as back-up suppliers of API and fill-and-finish services. We believe we maintain sufficient supply of API to avoid any material disruptions in the event of any need to replace one or more of our suppliers.
If our COMP360 psilocybin therapy is approved, we plan to use our own sales and marketing capabilities, targeting public and private healthcare providers and clinic networks in the U.S. and major European markets. In select geographies, including Asia and South America, we may enter into commercialization collaborations with third parties who have complementary commercial capabilities.
Upon any approval, we intend to offer a range of services to enable the safe and effective use of COMP360 with psychological support in clinical practice. These services are expected to include therapist training, information and education
for patients and healthcare providers, and implementation support for treatment centers, such as guidance on procurement and installation of equipment, certification, and quality assurance.
Centers of Excellence
In line with our ambition to create a new mental health care model, we intend to establish Centers of Excellence to serve as research facilities and innovation labs. In January 2021, we established our first Center of Excellence, with The Sheppard Pratt Institute for Advanced Diagnostics and Therapeutics, in Baltimore, Maryland, in the United States.
Our potential future Centers of Excellence will be designed to model the “clinics of the future,” and through them we intend to gather evidence to shape our therapy model and prototype digital technology solutions to improve patient experience and support therapists. Methodologies developed in the Centers of Excellence will be shared with our partner clinics.
Centers of Excellence will allow us to test and establish a new blueprint for innovative care models that can be licensed or franchised to existing behavioral health providers, community mental health teams, private clinic networks, partial hospitalization programs, and intensive outpatient programs.
We intend to establish additional Centers of Excellence for several purposes, including:
•Conducting clinical trials, including proof of concept studies, to refine our therapeutic model;
•Participating in late-stage trials as a clinical trial site;
•Training and certifying therapists who are supporting or will support our clinical trials;
•Generating and collecting safety and other data, as well as (licensable) intellectual property;
•Developing and testing digital technology solutions to improve patient experience;
•Strengthening our regional presence as a scientific and clinical resource by showcasing what we believe to be the future of mental health care, fostering relationships with stakeholders including patients, providers, payors and public policymakers; and
•Refining our approach to delivering our investigational COMP360 psilocybin therapy safely and cost-effectively.
Our industry is characterized by many newly emerging and innovative technologies, intense competition and a strong emphasis on proprietary product rights. While we believe that our investigational COMP360 psilocybin therapy represents a fundamental shift in the treatment paradigm relative to other TRD treatments, we face potential competition from many different sources, including major pharmaceutical, specialty pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, academic institutions, governmental agencies and medical research organizations. Any product candidates that we successfully develop and commercialize, including our investigational COMP360 psilocybin therapy, will compete with the standard of care and new therapies, both pharmacological and somatic, that may become available in the future.
Currently, only two pharmacotherapies are approved for TRD in the U.S.: Spravato (esketamine), marketed by Janssen, which is an NMDA receptor antagonist; and olanzapine and fluoxetine hydrochloride capsules, which are available generically. Because TRD, by definition, encompasses patients who have not been helped after two or more MDD therapies, antidepressants indicated for use in MDD are frequently prescribed, combined or augmented with a second agent to treat TRD patients. Several biopharmaceutical companies have therapies in clinical development. We are aware that Sage Therapeutics and Axsome Therapeutics, among others, are developing treatments for TRD.
Multiple somatic therapies are also used in TRD, such as ECT and rTMS. Psychotherapeutic approaches, like CBT, are used for MDD and TRD patients.
We also face competition from 501(c)(3) non-profit medical research organizations, including the Usona Institute. Such non-profits may be willing to provide psilocybin-based products at cost or for free, undermining our potential market for COMP360. In addition, a number of for-profit biotechnology companies or institutions are specifically pursuing the development of psilocybin to treat mental health illnesses, including TRD.
We are aware of other organizations or institutions evaluating the use of psilocybin in mental health and neurocognitive conditions. In addition, there are various companies exploring other psychedelic compounds for the treatment of mental health and neurocognitive conditions.
Many of the pharmaceutical, biopharmaceutical and biotechnology companies with whom we may compete have established markets for their therapies and have substantially greater financial, technical, human and other resources than we do and may be better equipped to develop, manufacture and market superior products or therapies. In addition, many of these potential competitors have significantly greater experience than we have in undertaking non-clinical studies and human clinical trials of new therapeutic substances and in obtaining regulatory approvals of human therapeutic products. Accordingly, our competitors may succeed in obtaining FDA, EMA or MHRA approval for alternative or superior products. In addition, many competitors have greater name recognition and more extensive collaborative relationships. Smaller and earlier-stage companies may also prove to be significant competitors, particularly through collaborative arrangements with large, established companies. An increasing number of companies are increasing their efforts in discovery of new psychedelic compounds.
Patents and Other Intellectual and Proprietary Rights
Obtaining, maintaining and defending patents and other intellectual property (“IP”) rights, whether independently or in collaboration with our partners, are of key importance in the protection and commercialization of the Company’s innovative therapies. We shall continue to seek patent, trademark, and trade secret protection of our innovations in the U.S., EU, UK, and other selected jurisdictions. This includes pursuing patent protection for our novel high-purity polymorphic crystalline psilocybin and related manufacturing processes, pharmaceutical compositions, formulations, and methods of treatment of psychiatric and neurological indications, including TRD and MDD. This also includes pursuing trademark protection for the Company’s various marks.
Upon regulatory approval in a particular jurisdiction, we will also seek to meaningfully protect our innovations by asserting available regulatory exclusivity including regulatory data protection and market exclusivity. For example, upon approval from the U.S. FDA, we may be entitled to five years of regulatory exclusivity for New Chemical Entity (“NCE”) and upon approval from the European Medicines Agency (“EMA”), we may be entitled to eight years of data exclusivity (i.e., no generic application), and an additional two years of market exclusivity (i.e., no generic marketing).
We will also defend our patents and other IP and proprietary rights as need be if and when we are subjected to third-party challenges (e.g., litigation, post-grant review, inter-partes review, oppositions).
Patents and Patent Applications
Our patent portfolio related to COMP360 includes the following patents and published patent applications:
|Territory||Patent Number/Application Number||Subject Matter||Expiration Date||Corresponding Ex-U.S. Patents and Patent Applications or PCT National Stage Applications|
|US||10,519,175||Methods of treating treatment-resistant depression||ca.2038*||Applications filed in Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, Eurasian Patent Organization, European Patent Office, Indonesia, Israel, India, Japan, Republic of Korea, Mexico, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Thailand, and South Africa.|
|US||10,947,257||Oral dosage forms of crystalline psilocybin; Methods of treating major depressive disorder (MDD)||ca.2038*|
Method of treating MDD
|US||11,180,517||Method of treating treatment-resistant depression||ca.2038*|
|GB||2571696||Method of Manufacture||ca. 2037*|
Crystalline psilocybin; Pharmaceutical formulations;
Medical uses (including for treatment-resistant depression);
Method of manufacturing
Methods of treating anxiety disorders and other conditions
|ca. 2040*||National Stage Applications filed in U.S., Australia, Canada, China, European Patent Office, Japan and Republic of Korea|
Methods of treating neurocognitive disorders and other conditions
|ca. 2040*||National Stage Applications filed in U.S., Australia, Canada, China, European Patent Office, Japan and Republic of Korea|
Methods of treating depression and other disorders
|ca. 2040*||National Stage Applications filed in U.S., Australia, Canada, China, European Patent Office, Japan, Republic of Korea and Taiwan|
*In general, a U.S. patent, as well as most foreign patents, will expire after 20 years from the earliest effective filing date. In the U.S., it may be possible to extend the patent term beyond the 20 years by requesting patent term extension (“PTE”) of patents that claim a product requiring regulatory approval prior to sale. PTE restores to a patent owner, patent term which was effectively “lost” due to regulatory review. Similar term extensions may be available outside of the U.S. Further, in the U.S., it may also be possible to extend beyond the 20-year patent term as a result of prosecution delays caused by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
U.S. Patent No 10,519,175, was granted on December 31, 2019, with claims directed to methods of treating treatment-resistant depression with oral dosage formulations of COMPASS’s high-purity crystalline psilocybin (including COMP360). Three Third Party Observations were previously filed during the pendency of the application, each considered by the Examiner and found to not be a barrier to patentability. A Petition for post-grant review of the patent was filed on February 21, 2020 and was dismissed on the merits on August 20, 2020.
On December 15, 2021, Freedom to Operate, Inc., filed a petition for post-grant review of U.S. Patent No. 10,947,257. The patent owner’s response is due March 30, 2022. The USPTO’s decision on whether to institute post-grant review is expected by June 30, 2022.
On December 22, 2021, Freedom to Operate, Inc., filed a petition for post-grant review of U.S. Patent No. 10,954,259. The patent owner’s response is due April 12, 2022. The USPTO’s decision on whether to institute post-grant review is expected by July 12, 2022.
UK patent, No GB2571696, was granted in May 2020 with claims directed to large scale manufacture of psilocybin, psilocybin made by said process and formulation comprising psilocybin made by said process. The Intention to Grant was sent in December 2019, and Third-Party Observations were filed in late January 2020, shortly before grant was originally scheduled. Grant of the patent was announced in the Patents Journal on May 27, 2020. This patent has an expiry date of October 8, 2037. On June 11, 2020, Kohn & Associates PLLC filed a request at the UK Intellectual Property Office to issue a post-grant opinion on the validity of the patent claims. On April 27, 2021, the agency issued a decision to refuse the request for an opinion finding that it was inappropriate in all the circumstances to issue such an opinion. No appeal to this decision was lodged within the required 28-day period.
UK patent, No GB2572023, was granted in June of 2020. This patent includes claims covering our crystalline psilocybin (including the form used in COMP360), pharmaceutical formulations of crystalline psilocybin, medical uses of crystalline psilocybin (including for treatment-resistant depression), and a method of manufacturing crystalline psilocybin. The Intention to Grant was sent in December 2019, and Third-Party Observations were filed in late January 2020. A notification of grant was mailed June 23, 2020, and grant was announced in the Patents Journal on July 22, 2020. This patent has an expiry date of June 28, 2038. On August 27, 2020, Freedom to Operate, Inc. filed a request at the UK Intellectual Property Office to issue a post-grant opinion on the validity of the patent claims. On July 28, 2021 a non-binding opinion was issued by the agency finding that granted claims 1, 3 and 10-20 are not inventive. We submitted an amendment to the patent claims and on November 5, 2021 the agency provided notice that the amended specification would be published for opposition in the Patents Journal on December 1, 2021. On December 17, 2021, the agency then issued a decision to not initiate revocation proceedings against the patent.
The Company plans to pursue protection of its various trademarks in classes 5, 9, 10, 35, 41, 42, 44 or various combinations thereof. Our trademark portfolio includes two registered trademarks in the United Kingdom for COMPASS and COMPASS PATHWAYS in Classes 05, 09, 10, 35, 41, and 44 and pending application for C Design in Classes 05, 41 and 44. In the European Union, a registration for COMPASS and pending application for COMPASS PATHWAYS in Classes 05, 09, 10, 35, 41 and 44 and a pending application for C Design in Classes 05, 41 and 44. In the United States, pending applications for COMPASS, COMPASS PATHWAYS and C Design in Classes 05, 09, 10, 35, 41, 44 and a pending application MYPATHFINDER in Classes 9 and 42. The Company also has trademark registrations and pending applications in other countries.
|COMPASS||US||79301429||September 17, 2020||Pending|
|EU||1568499||May 25, 2021||Registered|
|UK||3476175||August 10, 2020||Registered|
|COMPASS PATHWAYS||US||79302207||September 17, 2020||Pending|
|EU||1570415||September 17, 2020||Pending|
|UK||3476163||August 14, 2020||Registered|
|US||90801769||June 29, 2021||Pending|
|US||90801777||June 29, 2021||Pending|
|EU||A0117188||December 10, 2021||Pending|
|UK||A0117188||December 10, 2021||Pending|
|MYPATHFINDER||US||97174167||December 15, 2021||Pending|
The FDA and other regulatory authorities at federal, state and local levels, as well as in foreign countries, extensively regulate, among other things, the research, development, testing, manufacture, quality control, import, export, safety, effectiveness, labeling, packaging, storage, distribution, recordkeeping, approval, advertising, promotion, marketing, post-approval monitoring and post-approval reporting of drugs. We, along with our vendors, contract research organizations and contract manufacturers, will be required to navigate the various preclinical, clinical, manufacturing and commercial approval requirements of the governing regulatory agencies of the countries in which we wish to conduct studies or seek approval of our product candidates. The process of obtaining regulatory approvals of drugs and ensuring subsequent compliance with appropriate federal, state, local and foreign statutes and regulations requires the expenditure of substantial time and financial resources.
In the United States, the FDA regulates drug products under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, or FDCA, as amended, its implementing regulations and other laws. If we fail to comply with applicable FDA or other requirements at any time with respect to product development, clinical testing, approval or any other legal requirements relating to product manufacture, processing, handling, storage, quality control, safety, marketing, advertising, promotion, packaging, labeling, export, import, distribution, or sale, we may become subject to administrative or judicial sanctions or other legal consequences. These sanctions or consequences could include, among other things, the FDA’s refusal to approve pending applications, issuance of clinical holds for ongoing studies, suspension or revocation of approved applications, warning or untitled letters, product withdrawals or recalls, product seizures, relabeling or repackaging, total or partial suspensions of manufacturing or distribution, injunctions, fines, civil penalties or criminal prosecution.
The process required by the FDA before our product candidates are approved as drugs for therapeutic indications and may be marketed in the United States generally involves the following:
•Completion of extensive preclinical studies in accordance with applicable regulations, including studies conducted in accordance with good laboratory practice, or GLP, requirements;
•Completion of the manufacture, under current Good Manufacturing Practices, or cGMP, conditions, of the drug substance and drug product that the sponsor intends to use in human clinical trials along with required analytical and stability testing;
•Submission to the FDA of an investigational new drug application, or IND, which must become effective before clinical trials may begin;
•Approval by an institutional review board, or IRB, or independent ethics committee at each clinical trial site before each trial may be initiated;
•Performance of adequate and well-controlled clinical trials in accordance with applicable IND regulations, good clinical practice, or GCP, requirements and other clinical trial-related regulations to establish the safety and efficacy of the investigational product for each proposed indication;
•Submission to the FDA of a New Drug Application, or NDA;
•Payment of user fees for FDA review of the NDA;
•A determination by the FDA within 60 days of its receipt of an NDA, to accept the filing for review;
•Satisfactory completion of one or more FDA pre-approval inspections of the manufacturing facility or facilities where the drug will be produced to assess compliance with cGMP requirements to assure that the facilities, methods and controls are adequate to preserve the drug’s identity, strength, quality and purity;
•Potentially, satisfactory completion of FDA audit of the clinical trial sites that generated the data in support of the NDA; and
•FDA review and approval of the NDA, including consideration of the views of any FDA advisory committee, prior to any commercial marketing or sale of the drug in the United States.
Preclinical Studies and Clinical Trials for Drugs
Before testing any drug in humans, the product candidate must undergo rigorous preclinical testing. Preclinical studies include laboratory evaluations of drug chemistry, formulation and stability, as well as in vitro and animal studies to assess safety and in some cases to establish the rationale for therapeutic use. The conduct of preclinical studies is subject to federal and state regulation, including GLP requirements for safety/toxicology studies. The results of the preclinical studies, together with manufacturing information and analytical data, must be submitted to the FDA as part of an IND. An IND is a request for authorization from the FDA to administer an investigational product to humans and must become effective before clinical trials may begin. Some long-term preclinical testing may continue after the IND is submitted. The IND automatically becomes effective 30 days after receipt by the FDA, unless the FDA, within the 30-day time period, raises concerns or questions about the conduct of the clinical trial, including concerns that human research subjects will be exposed to unreasonable health risks, and imposes a full or partial clinical hold. FDA must notify the sponsor of the grounds for the hold and any identified deficiencies must be resolved before the clinical trial can begin. Submission of an IND may result in the FDA not allowing clinical trials to commence or not allowing clinical trials to commence on the terms originally specified in the IND. A clinical hold can also be imposed once a trial has already begun, thereby halting the trial until the deficiencies articulated by FDA are corrected.
The clinical stage of development involves the administration of the product candidate to healthy volunteers or patients under the supervision of qualified investigators, who generally are physicians not employed by or under the trial sponsor’s control, in accordance with GCP requirements, which include the requirements that all research subjects provide their informed consent for their participation in any clinical trial. Clinical trials are conducted under protocols detailing, among other things, the objectives of the clinical trial, administration procedures, subject selection and exclusion criteria and the parameters and criteria to be used in monitoring safety and evaluating effectiveness. Each protocol, and any subsequent amendments to the protocol, must be submitted to the FDA as part of the IND. Furthermore, each clinical trial must be reviewed and approved by an IRB for each institution at which the clinical trial will be conducted to ensure that the risks to individuals participating in the clinical trials are minimized and are reasonable compared to the anticipated benefits. The IRB also approves the informed consent form that must be provided to each clinical trial subject or his or her legal representative and must monitor the clinical trial until completed. The FDA, the IRB, or the sponsor may suspend or discontinue a clinical trial at any time on various grounds, including a finding that the subjects are being exposed to an unacceptable health risk. There also are requirements governing the reporting of ongoing clinical trials and completed clinical trials to public registries. Information about clinical trials, including results for clinical trials other than Phase I investigations, must be submitted within specific timeframes for publication on www.ClinicalTrials.gov, a clinical trials database maintained by the National Institutes of Health.
A sponsor who wishes to conduct a clinical trial outside of the United States may, but need not, obtain FDA authorization to conduct the clinical trial under an IND. If a foreign clinical trial is not conducted under an IND, FDA will nevertheless
accept the results of the study in support of an NDA if the study was conducted in accordance with GCP requirements, and the FDA is able to validate the data through an onsite inspection if deemed necessary.
Clinical trials to evaluate therapeutic indications to support NDAs for marketing approval are typically conducted in three sequential phases, which may overlap.
•Phase I—Phase I clinical trials involve initial introduction of the investigational product into healthy human volunteers or patients with the target disease or condition. These studies are typically designed to test the safety, dosage tolerance, absorption, metabolism and distribution of the investigational product in humans, excretion, the side effects associated with increasing doses, and, if possible, to gain early evidence of effectiveness.
•Phase II—Phase II clinical trials typically involve administration of the investigational product to a limited patient population with a specified disease or condition to evaluate the drug’s potential efficacy, to determine the optimal dosages and administration schedule and to identify possible adverse side effects and safety risks.
•Phase III—Phase III clinical trials typically involve administration of the investigational product to an expanded patient population to further evaluate dosage, to provide statistically significant evidence of clinical efficacy and to further test for safety, generally at multiple geographically dispersed clinical trial sites. These clinical trials are intended to establish the overall risk/benefit ratio of the investigational product and to provide an adequate basis for product approval and physician labeling.
Post-approval trials, sometimes referred to as Phase IV clinical trials or post-marketing studies, may be conducted after initial marketing approval. These trials are used to gain additional experience from the treatment of patients in the intended therapeutic indication and are commonly intended to generate additional safety data regarding use of the product in a clinical setting. In certain instances, the FDA may mandate the performance of Phase IV clinical trials as a condition of NDA approval.
Progress reports detailing the results of the clinical trials, among other information, must be submitted at least annually to the FDA. Written IND safety reports must be submitted to the FDA and the investigators fifteen days after the trial sponsor determines the information qualifies for reporting for serious and unexpected suspected adverse events, findings from other studies or animal or in vitro testing that suggest a significant risk for human volunteers and any clinically important increase in the rate of a serious suspected adverse reaction over that listed in the protocol or investigator brochure. The sponsor must also notify the FDA of any unexpected fatal or life-threatening suspected adverse reaction as soon as possible but in no case later than seven calendar days after the sponsor’s initial receipt of the information.
Concurrent with clinical trials, companies usually complete additional animal studies and must also develop additional information about the chemistry and physical characteristics of the product candidate and finalize a process for manufacturing the drug product in commercial quantities in accordance with cGMP requirements. The manufacturing process must be capable of consistently producing quality batches of the product candidate and manufacturers must develop, among other things, methods for testing the identity, strength, quality and purity of the final drug product. In addition, appropriate packaging must be selected and tested, and stability studies must be conducted to demonstrate that the product candidate does not undergo unacceptable deterioration over its shelf life.
US Marketing Approval for Drugs
Assuming successful completion of the required clinical testing, the results of the preclinical studies and clinical trials, together with detailed information relating to the product’s chemistry, manufacture, controls and proposed labeling, among other things, are submitted to the FDA as part of an NDA package requesting approval to market the product for one or more indications. An NDA is a request for approval to market a new drug for one or more specified indications and must contain proof of the drug’s safety and efficacy for the requested indications. The marketing application is required to include both negative and ambiguous results of preclinical studies and clinical trials, as well as positive findings. Data may come from company-sponsored clinical trials intended to test the safety and efficacy of a product’s use or from a number of alternative sources, including studies initiated by investigators. To support marketing approval, the data submitted must be sufficient in quality and quantity to establish the safety and efficacy of the investigational product to the satisfaction of the FDA. FDA must approve an NDA before a drug may be marketed in the United States.
The FDA reviews all submitted NDAs before it accepts them for filing and may request additional information rather than accepting the NDA for filing. The FDA must make a decision on accepting an NDA for filing within 60 days of receipt, and such decision could include a refusal to file by the FDA. Once the submission is accepted for filing, the FDA begins an in-
depth substantive review of the NDA. The FDA reviews an NDA to determine, among other things, whether the drug is safe and effective for the indications sought and whether the facility in which it is manufactured, processed, packaged or held meets standards designed to assure the product’s continued safety, quality and purity. Under the goals and policies agreed to by the FDA under the Prescription Drug User Fee Act, or PDUFA, the FDA targets 10 months, from the filing date, in which to complete its initial review of a new molecular entity NDA and respond to the applicant, and six months from the filing date of a new molecular entity NDA for priority review. The FDA does not always meet its PDUFA goal dates for standard or priority NDAs, and the review process is often extended by FDA requests for additional information or clarification.
Further, under PDUFA, as amended, each NDA must be accompanied by a substantial user fee. The FDA adjusts the PDUFA user fees on an annual basis. Fee waivers or reductions are available in certain circumstances, including a waiver of the application fee for the first application filed by a small business. In addition, no user fees are assessed on NDAs for products designated as orphan drugs, unless the product also includes a non-orphan indication.
The FDA also may require submission of a Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy, or REMS, if it believes that a REMS is necessary to ensure that the benefits of the drug outweigh its risks. A REMS can include use of risk evaluation and mitigation strategies like medication guides, physician communication plans, assessment plans, and/or elements to assure safe use, such as restricted distribution methods, patient registries, or other risk-minimization tools.
The FDA may refer an application for a novel drug to an advisory committee. An advisory committee is a panel of independent experts, including clinicians and other scientific experts, which reviews, evaluates and provides a recommendation as to whether the application should be approved and under what conditions. The FDA is not bound by the recommendations of an advisory committee, but it considers such recommendations carefully when making decisions.
Before approving an NDA, the FDA typically will inspect the facility or facilities where the product is manufactured. The FDA will not approve an application unless it determines that the manufacturing processes and facilities are in compliance with cGMP requirements and are adequate to assure consistent production of the product within required specifications. In addition, before approving an NDA, the FDA may inspect one or more clinical trial sites to assure compliance with GCP and other requirements and the integrity of the clinical data submitted to the FDA.
After evaluating the NDA and all related information, including the advisory committee recommendation, if any, and inspection reports regarding the manufacturing facilities and clinical trial sites, the FDA may issue an approval letter, or, in some cases, a complete response letter. A complete response letter generally contains a statement of specific conditions that must be met in order to secure final approval of the NDA and may require additional clinical or preclinical testing in order for the FDA to reconsider the application. Even with submission of this additional information, the FDA ultimately may decide that the application does not satisfy the regulatory criteria for approval. If and when those conditions have been met to the FDA’s satisfaction, the FDA will typically issue an approval letter. An approval letter authorizes commercial marketing of the drug with specific prescribing information for specific indications.
Even if the FDA approves a product, depending on the specific risks to be addressed it may limit the approved indications for use of the product, require that contraindications, warnings or precautions be included in the product labeling, require that post-approval studies, including Phase IV clinical trials, be conducted to further assess a drug’s safety after approval, require testing and surveillance programs to monitor the product after commercialization, or impose other conditions, including distribution and use restrictions or other risk management mechanisms under a REMS, which can materially affect the potential market and profitability of the product. The FDA may prevent or limit further marketing of a product based on the results of post-marketing studies or surveillance programs. After approval, some types of changes to the approved product, such as adding new indications, manufacturing changes, and additional labeling claims, are subject to further testing requirements and FDA review and approval.
Expedited Development and Review Programs for Drugs
The FDA maintains several programs intended to facilitate and expedite development and review of new drugs to address unmet medical needs in the treatment of serious or life-threatening diseases or conditions. These programs include Fast Track designation, Breakthrough Therapy designation, Priority Review and Accelerated Approval, and the purpose of these programs is to either expedite the development or review of important new drugs to get them to patients more quickly than standard FDA review timelines typically permit.
A drug is eligible for Fast Track designation if it is intended to treat a serious or life-threatening disease or condition and demonstrates the potential to address unmet medical needs for such disease or condition. Fast Track designation provides increased opportunities for sponsor interactions with the FDA during preclinical and clinical development, in addition to the
potential for rolling review once a marketing application is filed. Rolling review means that the agency may review portions of the marketing application before the sponsor submits the complete application. In addition, a drug may be eligible for Breakthrough Therapy designation if it is intended to treat a serious or life-threatening disease or condition and preliminary clinical evidence indicates that the drug may demonstrate substantial improvement over existing therapies on one or more clinically significant endpoints, such as substantial treatment effects observed early in clinical development. Breakthrough Therapy designation provides all the features of Fast Track designation in addition to intensive guidance on an efficient drug development program, and FDA organizational commitment to expedited development, including involvement of senior managers and experienced review staff in a cross-disciplinary review, where appropriate.
Any product submitted to the FDA for approval, including a product with Fast Track or Breakthrough Therapy designation, may also be eligible for additional FDA programs intended to expedite the review and approval process, including Priority Review designation and Accelerated Approval. A product is eligible for Priority Review designation, once an NDA or BLA is submitted, if the drug that is the subject of the marketing application has the potential to provide a significant improvement in safety or effectiveness in the treatment, diagnosis or prevention of a serious disease or condition. Under priority review, the FDA’s goal date to take action on the marketing application is six months compared to ten months for a standard review. Products are eligible for Accelerated Approval if they can be shown to have an effect on a surrogate endpoint that is reasonably likely to predict clinical benefit, or an effect on an intermediate clinical endpoint that can be measured earlier than an effect on irreversible morbidity or mortality, which is reasonably likely to predict an effect on irreversible morbidity or mortality or other clinical benefit, taking into account the severity, rarity, or prevalence of the condition and the availability or lack of alternative treatments.
Accelerated Approval is usually contingent on a sponsor’s agreement to conduct additional post-approval studies to verify and describe the product’s clinical benefit. The FDA may withdraw approval of a drug or an indication approved under Accelerated Approval if, for example, the confirmatory trial fails to verify the predicted clinical benefit of the product. In addition, the FDA generally requires, as a condition for Accelerated Approval, that all advertising and promotional materials intended for dissemination or publication within 120 days of marketing approval be submitted to the agency for review during the pre-approval review period. After the 120-day period has passed, all advertising and promotional materials must be submitted at least 30 days prior to the intended time of initial dissemination or publication.
Even if a product qualifies for one or more of these programs, the FDA may later decide that the product no longer meets the conditions for qualification or the time period for FDA review or approval may not be shortened. Furthermore, Fast Track designation, Breakthrough Therapy designation, Priority Review and Accelerated Approval do not change the scientific or medical standards for approval or the quality of evidence necessary to support approval, though they may expedite the development or review process.
US Post-Approval Requirements for Drugs
Drugs manufactured or distributed pursuant to FDA approvals are subject to continuing regulation by the FDA, including, among other things, requirements relating to recordkeeping, periodic reporting, product sampling and distribution, reporting of adverse experiences with the product, complying with promotion and advertising requirements, which include restrictions on promoting products for unapproved uses or patient populations (known as “off-label use”) and limitations on industry-sponsored scientific and educational activities. Although physicians may prescribe legally available products for off-label uses, manufacturers may not market or promote such uses. The FDA and other agencies actively enforce the laws and regulations prohibiting the promotion of off-label uses, and a company that is found to have improperly promoted off-label uses may be subject to significant liability, including investigation by federal and state authorities. Prescription drug promotional materials must be submitted to the FDA in conjunction with their first use or first publication. Further, if there are any modifications to the drug, including changes in indications, labeling or manufacturing processes or facilities, the applicant may be required to submit and obtain FDA approval of a new NDA or NDA supplement, which may require the development of additional data or preclinical studies and clinical trials.
The FDA may impose a number of post-approval requirements as a condition of approval of an NDA. For example, the FDA may require post-market testing, including Phase IV clinical trials, and surveillance to further assess and monitor the product’s safety and effectiveness after commercialization. In addition, drug manufacturers and their subcontractors involved in the manufacture and distribution of approved drugs are required to register their establishments with the FDA and certain state agencies and are subject to periodic unannounced inspections by the FDA and certain state agencies for compliance with ongoing regulatory requirements, including cGMPs, which impose certain procedural and documentation requirements. Failure to comply with statutory and regulatory requirements may subject a manufacturer to legal or regulatory action, such as
warning letters, suspension of manufacturing, product seizures, injunctions, civil penalties or criminal prosecution. There is also a continuing, annual prescription drug product program user fee.
Later discovery of previously unknown problems with a product, including adverse events of unanticipated severity or frequency, or with manufacturing processes, or failure to comply with regulatory requirements, may result in revisions to the approved labeling to add new safety information, requirements for post-market studies or clinical trials to assess new safety risks, or imposition of distribution or other restrictions under a REMS. Other potential consequences include, among other things:
•Restrictions on the marketing or manufacturing of the product, complete withdrawal of the product from the market or product recalls;
•The issuance of safety alerts, Dear Healthcare Provider letters, press releases or other communications containing warnings or other safety information about the product;
•Fines, warning letters or holds on post-approval clinical trials;
•Refusal of the FDA to approve applications or supplements to approved applications, or suspension or revocation of product approvals;
•Product seizure or detention, or refusal to permit the import or export of products;
•Injunctions or the imposition of civil or criminal penalties; and
•Consent decrees, corporate integrity agreements, debarment or exclusion from federal healthcare programs; or mandated modification of promotional materials and labeling and issuance of corrective information.
The federal Controlled Substances Act of 1970, or CSA, and its implementing regulations establish a “closed system” of regulations for controlled substances. The CSA imposes registration, security, recordkeeping and reporting, storage, manufacturing, distribution, importation and other requirements under the oversight of the DEA. The DEA is the federal agency responsible for regulating controlled substances, and requires those individuals or entities that manufacture, import, export, distribute, research, or dispense controlled substances to comply with the regulatory requirements in order to prevent the diversion of controlled substances to illicit channels of commerce.
The DEA categorizes controlled substances into one of five schedules — Schedule I, II, III, IV or V — with varying qualifications for listing in each schedule. Schedule I substances by definition have a high potential for abuse, have no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States and lack accepted safety for use under medical supervision. Pharmaceutical products having a currently accepted medical use that are otherwise approved for marketing may be listed as Schedule II, III, IV or V substances, with Schedule II substances presenting the highest potential for abuse and physical or psychological dependence, and Schedule V substances presenting the lowest relative potential for abuse and dependence. COMP360, if approved in the United States, will require rescheduling by the DEA before it can be marketed.
Facilities that manufacture, distribute, import or export any controlled substance must register annually with the DEA. The DEA registration is specific to the particular location, activity(ies) and controlled substance schedule(s).
The DEA inspects all manufacturing facilities to review security, recordkeeping, reporting and handling prior to issuing a controlled substance registration. The specific security requirements vary by the type of business activity and the schedule and quantity of controlled substances handled. The most stringent requirements apply to manufacturers of Schedule I and Schedule II substances. Required security measures commonly include background checks on employees and physical control of controlled substances through storage in approved vaults, safes and cages, and through use of alarm systems and surveillance cameras. Once registered, manufacturing facilities must maintain records documenting the manufacture, receipt and distribution of all controlled substances. Manufacturers must submit periodic reports to the DEA of the distribution of Schedule I and II controlled substances, Schedule III narcotic substances, and other designated substances. Registrants must also report any controlled substance thefts or significant losses, and must obtain authorization to destroy or dispose of controlled substances. Imports of Schedule I and II controlled substances for commercial purposes are generally restricted to substances not already available from a domestic supplier or where there is not adequate competition among domestic suppliers. In addition to an importer or exporter registration, importers and exporters must obtain a permit for every import or
export of a Schedule I and II substance or Schedule III, IV and V narcotic, and submit import or export declarations for Schedule III, IV and V non-narcotics. In some cases, Schedule III non-narcotic substances may be subject to the import/export permit requirement, if necessary, to ensure that the United States complies with its obligations under international drug control treaties.
For drugs manufactured in the United States, the DEA establishes annually an aggregate quota for the amount of substances within Schedules I and II that may be manufactured or produced in the United States based on the DEA’s estimate of the quantity needed to meet legitimate medical, scientific, research and industrial needs. The quotas apply equally to the manufacturing of the active pharmaceutical ingredient and production of dosage forms. The DEA may adjust aggregate production quotas a few times per year, and individual manufacturing or procurement quotas from time to time during the year, although the DEA has substantial discretion in whether or not to make such adjustments for individual companies.
The states also maintain separate controlled substance laws and regulations, including licensing, recordkeeping, security, distribution, and dispensing requirements. State authorities, including boards of pharmacy, regulate use of controlled substances in each state. Failure to maintain compliance with applicable requirements, particularly as manifested in the loss or diversion of controlled substances, can result in enforcement action that could have a material adverse effect on our business, operations and financial condition. The DEA may seek civil penalties, refuse to renew necessary registrations, or initiate proceedings to revoke those registrations. In certain circumstances, violations could lead to criminal prosecution.
U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act
The U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, to which we are subject, prohibits corporations and individuals from engaging in certain activities to obtain or retain business or to influence a person working in an official capacity. It is illegal to pay, offer to pay or authorize the payment of anything of value to any foreign government official, government staff member, political party or political candidate in an attempt to obtain or retain business or to otherwise influence a person working in an official capacity.
Regulation and Procedures Governing Approval of Medicinal Products in the European Union
In order to market any product outside of the United States, a company must also comply with numerous and varying regulatory requirements of other countries and jurisdictions regarding quality, safety and efficacy and governing, among other things, clinical trials, marketing authorization, commercial sales and distribution of products. Whether or not it obtains FDA approval for a product, an applicant will need to obtain the necessary approvals by the comparable foreign regulatory authorities before it can initiate clinical trials or marketing of the product in those countries or jurisdictions. Specifically, the process governing approval of medicinal products in the European Union generally follows the same lines as in the United States, although the approval of a medicinal product in the United States is no guarantee of approval of the same product in the European Union, either at all or within the same timescale as approval may be granted in the United States. It entails satisfactory completion of pharmaceutical development, non-clinical studies and adequate and well-controlled clinical trials to establish the safety and efficacy of the medicinal product for each proposed indication. It also requires the submission to relevant competent authorities for clinical trials authorization for a marketing authorization application, or MAA, and granting of a marketing authorization by these authorities before the product can be marketed and sold in the European Union or its member states (as well as Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein). If we fail to comply with applicable requirements, we may be subject to, among other things, fines, suspension of clinical trials, suspension or withdrawal of regulatory approvals, product recalls, seizure of products, operating restrictions and criminal prosecution.
Clinical Trial Approval
In the EU, an applicant for authorization of a clinical trial must obtain prior approval from the national competent authority of the EU Member States in which the clinical trial is to be conducted. Furthermore, the applicant may only start a clinical trial at a specific study site after the relevant independent ethics committee has issued a favorable opinion. In April 2014, the EU adopted the new Clinical Trials Regulation (EU) No 536/2014, which replaced the current Clinical Trials Directive 2001/20/EC on January 31, 2022. It overhauls the current system of approvals for clinical trials in the EU. Specifically, the new legislation, which will be directly applicable in all EU Member States (meaning that no national implementing legislation in each EU Member State is required), aims at simplifying and streamlining the approval of clinical trials in the EU. For instance, the new Clinical Trials Regulation provides for a streamlined application procedure via a single-entry point (instead of submitting applications separately to each national competent authority and ethics committee in the Member States in which the trial will be conducted) and strictly defined deadlines for the assessment of clinical trial applications. The Regulation also makes it more efficient for EU Member States to evaluate and authorize applications together, via the Clinical Trials Information System. The transitory provisions of the new Clinical Trials Regulation offer sponsors the possibility to choose between the requirements of the previous Clinical Trials Directive and the Clinical Trials
Regulation if the request for authorization of a clinical trial is submitted in the year after the new Clinical Trials Regulation became applicable. If the sponsor chooses to submit under the Clinical Trials Directive, the clinical trial continues to be governed by the Directive until three years after the new Clinical Trials Regulation became applicable. If a clinical trial continues for more than three years after the Clinical Trials Regulation became applicable, the Clinical Trials Regulation will at that time begin to apply to the clinical trial.
To obtain a marketing authorization for a product in the European Economic Area (comprised of the EU member states plus Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein), or EEA, an applicant must submit an MAA, either under a centralized procedure administered by the EMA or one of the procedures administered by competent authorities in the EU Member States (decentralized procedure, national procedure, or mutual recognition procedure). A marketing authorization may be granted only to an applicant established in the EEA.
The centralized procedure provides for the grant of a single marketing authorization by the European Commission that is valid throughout the EEA and is mandatory for certain products, including products with a new active substance indicated for the treatment of HIV, AIDS, cancer, neurodegenerative disorders, diabetes, auto-immune and other immune dysfunctions, and viral diseases. Pursuant to Regulation (EC) No 726/2004, our investigational COMP360 psilocybin therapy, as a new active substance indicated for the treatment of treatment-resistant depression, will have the option to be filed through the centralized procedure. For those products for which the use of the centralized procedure is not mandatory, applicants may elect to use the centralized procedure where either the product contains a new active substance indicated for the treatment of diseases other than those on the mandatory list, where the applicant can show that the product constitutes a significant therapeutic, scientific or technical innovation, or for which a centralized authorization would be in the interest of public health.
Under the centralized procedure, the Committee for Medicinal Products for Human use, or the CHMP, which is the EMA’s committee that is responsible for human medicines, is responsible for conducting the assessment of whether a medicine meets the required quality, safety and efficacy requirements, and whether it has a positive risk/benefit profile. Under the centralized procedure, the maximum timeframe for the evaluation of an MAA is 210 days from the receipt of a valid MAA, excluding clock stops when additional information or written or oral explanation is to be provided by the applicant in response to questions asked by the CHMP. Clock stops may extend the timeframe of evaluation of an MAA considerably beyond 210 days. Where the CHMP gives a positive opinion, it provides the opinion together with supporting documentation to the European Commission, who make the final decision to grant a marketing authorization. Within 67 days from the date of the CHMP opinion, the European Commission will adopt its final decision on the MAA. Accelerated evaluation may be granted by the CHMP in exceptional cases, when a medicinal product is of major interest from the point of view of public health and, in particular, from the viewpoint of therapeutic innovation. If the CHMP accepts such a request, the timeframe of 210 days for assessment will be reduced to 150 days (excluding clock stops), but it is possible that the CHMP may revert to the standard time limit for the centralized procedure if it determines that the application is no longer appropriate to conduct an accelerated assessment.
Now that the UK (which comprises Great Britain and Northern Ireland) has left the EU, Great Britain will no longer be covered by centralized marketing authorizations (under the Northern Ireland Protocol, centralized marketing authorizations will continue to be recognized in Northern Ireland). All medicinal products with a current centralized marketing authorization were automatically converted to Great Britain marketing authorizations on January 1, 2021. For a period of two years from January 1, 2021, the MHRA may rely on a decision taken by the European Commission on the approval of a new marketing authorization in the centralized procedure, in order to more quickly grant a new Great Britain marketing authorization. A separate application will, however, still be required.
The decentralized marketing authorization procedure allows an applicant to apply for simultaneous authorization in more than one EU Member State of medicinal products that have not yet been authorized in any EU Member State and that do not fall within the mandatory scope of the centralized procedure.
The mutual recognition procedure is based on the acceptance by the competent authorities of the EU Member States of the marketing authorization of a medicinal product by the competent authorities of another EU Member State. The holder of a national marketing authorization may submit an application to the competent authority of an EU Member State requesting that this authority recognize the marketing authorization delivered by the competent authority of another EU Member State.
In March 2016, the EMA launched a scheme that is intended to reinforce early dialogue with, and regulatory support from, the EMA in order to stimulate innovation, optimize development and enable accelerated assessment of Priority Medicines, or PRIME. It is intended to build upon the scientific advice scheme and accelerated assessment procedure offered by the EMA. The scheme is voluntary and eligibility criteria must be met for a medicine to qualify for PRIME.
The PRIME scheme is open to medicines under development and for which the applicant intends to apply for an initial MAA through the centralized procedure. Eligible products must target conditions for which there is an unmet medical need (there is no satisfactory method of diagnosis, prevention or treatment in the EU or, if there is, the new medicine will bring a major therapeutic advantage) and they must demonstrate the potential to address the unmet medical need by introducing new therapy methods or improving existing ones. Applicants will typically be at the exploratory clinical trial phase of development, and will have preliminary clinical evidence in patients to demonstrate the promising activity of the medicine and its potential to address to a significant extent an unmet medical need. In exceptional cases, applicants from the academic sector or SMEs (small and medium sized enterprises) may submit an eligibility request at an earlier stage of development if compelling non-clinical data in a relevant model provide early evidence of promising activity, and first in man studies indicate adequate exposure for the desired pharmacotherapeutic effects and tolerability.
If a medicine is selected for the PRIME scheme, the EMA:
•appoints a rapporteur from the CHMP or from the Committee for Advanced Therapies (CAT) to provide continuous support and to build up knowledge of the medicine in advance of the filing of an MAA;
•issues guidance on the applicant’s overall development plan and regulatory strategy;
•organizes a kick-off meeting with the rapporteur and experts from relevant EMA committees and working groups;
•provides a dedicated EMA contact person; and
•provides scientific advice at key development milestones, involving additional stakeholders, such as health technology assessment bodies and patients, as needed.
Medicines that are selected for the PRIME scheme are also expected to benefit from EMA’s accelerated assessment procedure at the time of application for marketing authorization. Where, during the course of development, a medicine no longer meets the eligibility criteria, support under the PRIME scheme may be withdrawn.
Orphan Drug Designation
Under the Orphan Drug Act, the FDA may grant orphan designation to a drug intended to treat a rare disease or condition, which is generally a disease or condition that affects fewer than 200,000 individuals in the United States, or 200,000 or more individuals in the United States and for which there is no reasonable expectation that the cost of developing and making a drug available in the United States for this type of disease or condition will be recovered from sales of the product. Orphan drug designation must be requested before submitting an NDA. After the FDA grants orphan drug designation, the identity of the drug and its potential orphan use are disclosed publicly by the FDA. Orphan drug designation does not convey any advantage in or shorten the duration of the regulatory review and approval process.
Orphan drug designation entitles a party to financial incentives such as opportunities for grant funding towards clinical trial costs, tax advantages and user-fee waivers. If a drug that has orphan designation subsequently receives the first FDA approval for the disease or condition for which it has such designation, the drug is entitled to orphan drug exclusivity, which means that the FDA may not approve any other applications to market the same drug for the same indication for seven years, except in limited circumstances, such as a showing of clinical superiority to the drug with orphan exclusivity. Competitors, however, may receive approval of different drugs for the indication for which the orphan drug has exclusivity or obtain approval for the same drug but for a different indication for which the orphan drug has exclusivity. Orphan drug exclusivity also could block the approval of one of our therapeutic candidates for seven years if a competitor obtains approval of the same drug as defined by the FDA or if our therapeutic candidate is determined to be contained within the competitor’s drug for the same indication or disease. If a drug designated as an orphan drug receives marketing approval for an indication broader than what is designated, it may not be entitled to orphan drug exclusivity. Orphan drug status in the European Union has similar, but not identical, benefits.
Regulation (EC) No. 141/2000 and Regulation (EC) No. 847/2000 provide that a product can be designated as an orphan medicine by the European Commission if its sponsor can establish that: (1) the product is intended for the diagnosis, prevention or treatment of a life-threatening or chronically debilitating condition; (2) either (i) such condition affects no more than five in ten thousand persons in the EU when the application is made, or (ii) it is unlikely that the marketing of the product in the EU, without the benefits derived from orphan status, would generate sufficient return to justify the necessary investment in its development; and (3) there exists no satisfactory method of diagnosis, prevention, or treatment of such condition authorized for marketing in the EU or, if such method exists, the product will be of significant benefit compared to products available for the condition.
An orphan designation provides a number of benefits, including fee reductions, regulatory assistance and the possibility to apply for a centralized marketing authorization. The application for orphan designation must be submitted before the application for marketing authorization. Orphan designation does not convey any advantage in, or shorten the duration of, the regulatory review and approval process. The grant of a marketing authorization for an orphan drug leads to a ten-year period of market exclusivity. During this market exclusivity period, neither the EMA nor the European Commission or the Member States can accept an application or grant a marketing authorization for the same therapeutic indication in respect of a “similar medicinal product”. A “similar medicinal product” is defined as a medicinal product containing a similar active substance or substances as contained in an authorized orphan medicinal product, and which is intended for the same therapeutic indication. The market exclusivity period for the authorized therapeutic indication may, however, be reduced to six years if, at the end of the fifth year, it is established that the product no longer meets the criteria for orphan drug designation, for example because the product is sufficiently profitable not to justify market exclusivity. There are also limited derogations from the ten-year period of market exclusivity pursuant to which the European Commission may grant a marketing authorization for a similar medicinal product in the same therapeutic indication. These are where: (i) the second applicant can establish that although their product is similar to the orphan medicinal product already authorized, the second product is safer, more effective or otherwise clinically superior; (ii) the marketing authorization holder for the authorized orphan product consents to the second orphan medicinal product application; or (iii) the marketing authorization holder for the authorized orphan product cannot supply enough orphan medicinal product.
In the EU, companies developing a new medicinal product must agree upon a pediatric investigation plan, or PIP, with the EMA’s Pediatric Committee, or PDCO, and must conduct pediatric clinical trials in accordance with that PIP, unless a waiver applies, (e.g., because the relevant disease or condition occurs only in adults). The PIP sets out the timing and measures proposed to generate data to support a pediatric indication of the drug for which marketing authorization is being sought. The MAA for the product must include the results of pediatric clinical trials conducted in accordance with the PIP, unless a waiver applies, or a deferral has been granted by the PDCO of the obligation to implement some or all of the measures of the PIP until there are sufficient data to demonstrate the efficacy and safety of the product in adults, in which case the pediatric clinical trials must be completed at a later date. Products that are granted a marketing authorization with the results of the pediatric clinical trials conducted in accordance with the PIP are eligible for a six-month extension of the protection under a supplementary protection certificate (if any is in effect at the time of approval) even where the trial results are negative. In the case of orphan medicinal products, a two year extension of the orphan market exclusivity may be available. This pediatric reward is subject to specific conditions and is not automatically available when data in compliance with the PIP are developed and submitted.
Data and Market Exclusivity
In the EU, innovative medicinal products approved on the basis of a complete independent data package qualify for eight years of data exclusivity upon grant of a marketing authorization and an additional two years of market exclusivity pursuant to Regulation (EC) No. 726/2004, as amended, and Directive 2001/83/EC, as amended. Data exclusivity prevents generic and biosimilar applicants from referencing the innovator’s preclinical and clinical trial data contained in the dossier of the reference product when applying for a marketing authorization for a period of eight years from the date on which the reference product was first authorized in the EU. During the additional two-year period of market exclusivity, a generic or biosimilar marketing authorization application can be submitted, and the innovator’s data may be referenced, but no generic or biosimilar medicinal product can be marketed until the expiration of the market exclusivity period. The overall 10-year period will be extended to a maximum of 11 years if, during the first eight years of those 10 years, the marketing authorization holder obtains an authorization for one or more new therapeutic indications which, during the scientific evaluation prior to authorization, is held to bring a significant clinical benefit in comparison with existing therapies. There is no guarantee that a product will be considered by the EMA to be an innovative medicinal product, and products may not qualify for data exclusivity. Even if a product is considered to be an innovative medicinal product so that the innovator gains the prescribed period of data
exclusivity, another company may market another version of the product if such company obtained marketing authorization based on an MAA with a completely independent data package of pharmaceutical tests, preclinical tests and clinical trials.
Periods of Authorization and Renewals
A marketing authorization is valid for five years, in principle, and it may be renewed after five years on the basis of a re-evaluation of the risk benefit balance by the EMA or by the competent authority of the authorizing EU Member State. Once renewed, the marketing authorization is valid for an unlimited period, unless the European Commission or the competent authority decides, on justified grounds relating to pharmacovigilance, to proceed with one additional five-year renewal period. Any authorization that is not followed by the placement of the product on the EEA market (in the case of the centralized procedure) or on the market of the authorizing EU Member State within three years after authorization ceases to be valid (the so-called sunset clause).
Controlled Drugs Classification
In the UK, psilocybin and psilocin are considered Class A drugs under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, as amended, and as Schedule 1 drugs under the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001, as amended. Class A drugs are considered to be the most potentially harmful, and have the highest level of control exerted over them under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. Similarly, Schedule 1 of the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001 lists those drugs to which the most restrictive controls apply: they are considered to have no legitimate or medicinal use, and can only be imported, exported, produced, supplied and the like under a license issued by the UK Government’s Home Office. If and when granted a marketing authorization by the MHRA in respect of the UK, psilocybin would still remain a Schedule 1 drug until rescheduled by the UK Government’s Home Office. Unless and until psilocybin is rescheduled under the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001, and unless a statutory exemption was to be passed for COMP360 following the grant of a UK marketing authorization and before rescheduling, any prescribing doctors in the UK would require a Home Office license to prescribe COMP360, and similarly any patients to whom COMP360 was prescribed would require a Home Office license to possess COMP360. There can be no guarantee that such Home Office licenses would be granted or that rescheduling would be successful.
The position in the Member States of the EU is not harmonized: Member States have implemented the relevant UN Conventions (the Single Convention of Narcotic Drugs 1961 and the Convention on Psychotropic Substances 1971) into their national legislation, which has led to differences in how controlled substances are regulated in different countries of the EU. It is therefore important to determine at a national level whether a substance is controlled and to comply with the applicable legal requirements. If we are successful in obtaining a marketing authorization in key EU Member States, it is likely that rescheduling of psilocybin will also be required to enable prescribing.
Regulatory Requirements After Marketing Authorization
Following approval, the holder of the marketing authorization is required to comply with a range of requirements applicable to the manufacturing, marketing, promotion and sale of the medicinal product.
These include compliance with the EU’s stringent pharmacovigilance or safety reporting rules, pursuant to which post-authorization studies and additional monitoring obligations can be imposed. The holder of a marketing authorization must establish and maintain a pharmacovigilance system and appoint an individual qualified person for pharmacovigilance, who is responsible for oversight of that system. Key obligations include expedited reporting of suspected serious adverse reactions and submission of periodic safety update reports, or PSURs.
In addition, all new MAAs must include a risk management plan, or RMP, describing the risk management system that the company will put in place and documenting measures to prevent or minimize the risks associated with the product. The regulatory authorities may also impose specific obligations as a condition of the marketing authorization. Such risk-minimization measures or post-authorization obligations may include additional safety monitoring, more frequent submission of PSURs, or the conduct of additional clinical trials or post-authorization safety studies. RMPs and PSURs are routinely available to third parties requesting access, subject to limited redactions.
Furthermore, the manufacturing of authorized products, for which a separate manufacturer’s license is mandatory, must also be conducted in strict compliance with the applicable EU laws, regulations and guidance, including Directive 2001/83/EC, Directive 2003/94/EC, Regulation (EC) No 726/2004 and the European Commission Guidelines for Good Manufacturing Practice. These requirements include compliance with the EU cGMP standards which mandate the methods, facilities and controls used in manufacturing, processing and packing of products to assure their safety and identity.
Finally, the marketing and promotion of authorized products, including industry-sponsored continuing medical education and advertising directed toward the prescribers of products, are strictly regulated in the EU under Directive 2001/83/EC, as amended. The advertising of prescription-only medicines to the general public is not permitted in the European Union, or in the UK under the Human Medicines Regulations 2012. Although general requirements for advertising and promotion of medicinal products are established under EU Directive 2001/83/EC as amended, the details are governed by regulations in each EU Member State and can differ from one country to another.
The aforementioned EU rules are generally applicable in the EEA, which consists of the EU Member States, plus Norway, Liechtenstein and Iceland.
Brexit and the Regulatory Framework in the United Kingdom
On June 23, 2016, the electorate in the United Kingdom voted in favor of leaving the EU, commonly referred to as Brexit, and the UK formally left the EU (commonly referred to as “Brexit”) on January 31, 2020. There was a transition period during which EU pharmaceutical laws continued to apply to the UK, which expired on December 31, 2020. However, the EU and the UK have concluded a trade and cooperation agreement, or TCA, which was provisionally applicable since January 1, 2021 and has been formally applicable since May 1, 2021. The TCA includes specific provisions concerning pharmaceuticals, which include the mutual recognition of GMP, inspections of manufacturing facilities for medicinal products and GMP documents issued, but does not foresee wholesale mutual recognition of UK and EU pharmaceutical regulations. At present, Great Britain has implemented EU legislation on the marketing, promotion and sale of medicinal products through the Human Medicines Regulations 2012 (as amended) (under the Northern Ireland Protocol, the EU regulatory framework will continue to apply in Northern Ireland). The regulatory regime in Great Britain therefore currently aligns with EU regulations, however it is possible that these regimes will diverge in future now that Great Britain’s regulatory system is independent from the EU and the TCA does not provide for mutual recognition of UK and EU pharmaceutical legislation. In January 2022, the UK Government announced its intention to begin the legislative process required to facilitate divergence from EU regulations, although it remains unclear at this stage what specific regulations will be affected as a result of this process.
Coverage, Pricing and Reimbursement
Significant uncertainty exists as to the coverage and reimbursement status of any product candidates for which we obtain regulatory approval. In the United States and markets in other countries, sales of any psilocybin therapy for which we receive regulatory approval for commercial sale will depend, in part, on the availability of coverage and reimbursement for our products from third-party payors, such as government health care programs (e.g., Medicare, Medicaid), managed care providers, private health insurers, health maintenance organizations, and other organizations. These third-party payors decide which medications they will pay for and will establish reimbursement levels. The availability of coverage and extent of reimbursement by governmental and other third-party payors is essential for most patients to be able to afford treatments such as novel therapies. In the United States, the principal decisions about reimbursement for new medicines are typically made by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, or CMS, which is a part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, or HHS. CMS decides whether and to what extent our products will be covered and reimbursed under Medicare and private payors tend to follow CMS to a substantial degree. Factors payors consider in determining reimbursement are based on whether the product is:
•a covered benefit under its health plan;
•safe, effective and medically necessary;
•appropriate for the specific patient;
•neither experimental nor investigational.
Our ability to successfully commercialize our product candidates, whether as a single agent or combination therapy, will depend in part on the extent to which coverage and adequate reimbursement for our products and related treatments will be available from third-party payors. Moreover, a payor’s decision to provide coverage for a product does not imply that an adequate reimbursement rate will be approved. Even if coverage is provided, the approved reimbursement amount may not be high enough to allow us to establish or maintain price levels sufficient to realize an appropriate return on our investment in product development.
No uniform policy for coverage and reimbursement for products exist among third-party payors in the United States. Therefore, coverage and reimbursement for our products can differ significantly from payor to payor. The process for determining whether a payor will provide coverage for a product may be separate from the process for setting the reimbursement rate that the payor will pay for the product. One payor’s determination to provide coverage for a medical product or service does not ensure that other payors will also provide coverage for the medical product or service, or will provide coverage at an adequate reimbursement rate. Third-party payors may also limit coverage to specific products on an approved list, or formulary, which might not include all of the FDA-approved products for a particular indication.
A decision by a third-party payor not to cover or not to separately reimburse for our medical products or therapies using our products could reduce physician utilization of our products once approved and have a material adverse effect on our sales, results of operations and financial condition. If there is coverage for our product candidates, or therapies using our product candidates by a third-party payor, the resulting reimbursement payment rates may not be adequate or may require co-payments that patients find unacceptably high. We cannot be sure that coverage and reimbursement in the United States, will be available for our current or future product candidates, or for any procedures using such product candidates, and any reimbursement that may become available may not be adequate or may be decreased or eliminated in the future. Further, if we or our collaborators develop therapies for use with our product candidates, we, or our collaborators, will be required to obtain coverage and reimbursement for these therapies separate and apart from the coverage and reimbursement we seek for our product candidates, once approved.
Further, third-party payors are increasingly challenging the price and examining the medical necessity and cost-effectiveness of medical products and services, in addition to their safety and efficacy. In order to secure coverage and reimbursement for any product candidate that might be approved for sale, we may need to conduct expensive pharmacoeconomic studies in order to demonstrate the medical necessity and cost-effectiveness of such product, in addition to the costs required to obtain FDA or comparable regulatory approvals. Additionally, we may also need to provide discounts to purchasers, private health plans or government healthcare programs. Our product candidates may nonetheless not be considered medically necessary or cost-effective. If third-party payors do not consider a product to be cost-effective compared to other available therapies, they may not cover the product, after approval, as a benefit under their plans or, if they do, the level of payment may not be sufficient to allow a company to sell its products at a profit. A decision by a third-party payor not to cover a product could reduce physician utilization once the product is approved and have a material adverse effect on sales, our operations and financial condition. We expect to experience pricing pressures from third-party payors in connection with the potential sale of any of our product candidates.
Lastly, in some foreign countries, the proposed pricing for a drug must be approved before it may be lawfully marketed. The requirements governing drug pricing vary widely from country to country. For example, in the EU, pricing and reimbursement schemes vary widely from country to country. Some EU Member States provide that products may be marketed only after a reimbursement price has been agreed. Some EU Member States may require the completion of additional studies that compare the cost effectiveness of a particular product candidate to currently available therapies (so called health technology assessments) in order to obtain reimbursement or pricing approval. For example, EU Member States have the option to restrict the range of products for which their national health insurance systems provide reimbursement and to control the prices of medicinal products for human use. EU Member States may approve a specific price for a product or may instead adopt a system of direct or indirect controls on the profitability of the company placing the product on the market. Approaches between EU Member States are diverging. For example, in France, effective market access will be supported by agreements with hospitals and products may be reimbursed by the Social Security Fund. The price of medicines is negotiated with the Economic Committee for Health Products, or CEPS. There can be no assurance that any country that has price controls or reimbursement limitations for pharmaceutical products will allow favorable reimbursement and pricing arrangements for any of our product candidates. Other EU Member States allow companies to fix their own prices for products, but monitor and control prescription volumes and issue guidance to physicians to limit prescriptions. Recently, many countries in the EU have increased the level of discounts required on pharmaceuticals and these efforts could continue as countries attempt to manage health care expenditures, especially in light of the severe fiscal and debt crises experienced by many countries in the EU. The downward pressure on health care costs in general, particularly prescription products, has become intense. As a result, increasingly high barriers are being erected to the entry of new products. Political, economic and regulatory developments may further complicate pricing negotiations, and pricing negotiations may continue after reimbursement has been obtained. Reference pricing used by various EU Member States and parallel trade (arbitrage between low-priced and high-priced EU Member States) can further reduce prices. Acceptance of any medicinal product for reimbursement may come with cost, use and often volume restrictions, which again can vary by country. In addition, results-based rules of reimbursement may apply. There can be no assurance that any country that has price controls or reimbursement limitations for pharmaceutical products will allow favorable reimbursement and pricing arrangements for any of our products,
if approved in those countries. Historically, products launched in the EU do not follow price structures of the United States and generally prices tend to be significantly lower.
Notwithstanding any of the above, as Schedule I substances under the Controlled Substances Act, psilocybin and psilocin are currently deemed to have no accepted medical use and therapies that use psilocybin or psilocin are currently precluded from reimbursement in the United States.
Other Healthcare Laws and Compliance Requirements
Healthcare providers, physicians, and third-party payors will play a primary role in the recommendation and prescription of any products for which we obtain marketing approval. Our business operations and any current or future arrangements with third-party payors, healthcare providers and physicians may expose us to broadly applicable federal and state fraud and abuse laws, as well as other healthcare laws and regulations. These laws may impact, among other things, our business or financial arrangements and relationships through which we research, as well as market, sell and distribute the psilocybin therapies for which we obtain approval. In addition, we may be subject to health information privacy regulation by both the federal government and the states in which we conduct our business. In the United States the laws that may affect our ability to operate include, among others:
•The federal Anti-Kickback Statute, which prohibits, among other things, persons and entities from knowingly and willfully soliciting, receiving, offering or paying any remuneration (including any kickback, bribe, or rebate), directly or indirectly, overtly or covertly, in cash or in kind, to induce, or in return for, either the referral of an individual, or the purchase, lease, order, arrangement or recommendation of any good, facility, item or service for which payment may be made, in whole or in part, under a federal healthcare program, such as Medicare and Medicaid. The term remuneration has been interpreted broadly to include anything of value. Further, courts have found that if “one purpose” of remuneration is to induce referrals, the federal Anti-Kickback Statute is violated. The federal Anti-Kickback Statute has been interpreted to apply to arrangements between manufacturers on one hand and prescribers, purchasers, and formulary managers on the other. A person or entity does not need to have actual knowledge of the federal Anti-Kickback Statute or specific intent to violate it to have committed a violation. Violations are subject to significant administrative, civil and criminal fines and penalties for each violation, plus up to three times the remuneration involved, imprisonment, and exclusion from government healthcare programs. In addition, the government may assert that a claim including items or services resulting from a violation of the federal Anti-Kickback Statute constitutes a false or fraudulent claim for purposes of the federal False Claims Act, or FCA, or federal civil money penalties statute. There are a number of statutory exceptions and regulatory safe harbors protecting some common activities from prosecution; but the exceptions and safe harbors are drawn narrowly and require strict compliance in order to offer protection;
•The federal civil and criminal false claims laws, such as the FCA, which prohibit, among other things, individuals or entities from knowingly presenting, or causing to be presented claims for payment or approval from Medicare, Medicaid, or other third-party payors, that are false, fictitious, or fraudulent; from knowingly making, using or causing to be made or used, a false statement or record material to a false or fraudulent claim or obligation to pay or transmit property to the federal government; or from knowingly concealing or knowingly and improperly avoiding or decreasing an obligation to pay money to the federal government. Manufacturers can be held liable under the FCA even when they do not submit claims directly to government payors if they are deemed to “cause” the submission of false or fraudulent claims. The FCA also permits a private individual acting as a “whistleblower” to bring qui tam actions on behalf of the federal government alleging violations of the FCA and to share in any monetary recovery. When an entity is determined to have violated the FCA, the government may impose civil fines and penalties for each false claim, plus treble damages, and exclude the entity from participation in Medicare, Medicaid and other federal healthcare programs;
•The federal civil monetary penalties laws, which impose civil fines for, among other things, the offering or transferring of remuneration, which includes, without limitation, any transfer of items or services for free or for less than fair market value (with limited exceptions), to a Medicare or Medicaid beneficiary that the person knows or should know is likely to influence the beneficiary’s selection of a particular provider, practitioner, or supplier of items or services reimbursable by a federal or state healthcare program;
•The federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, or HIPAA, which created additional federal criminal liability for knowingly and willfully executing, or attempting to execute, a scheme to defraud any healthcare benefit program or obtain, by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, or promises, any of the money
or property owned by, or under the custody or control of, any healthcare benefit program, regardless of the payor (i.e., public or private) and knowingly and willfully falsifying, concealing or covering up by any trick or device a material fact or making any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statements or representations in connection with the delivery of, or payment for, healthcare benefits, items or services relating to healthcare matters. Similar to the federal Anti-Kickback Statute, a person or entity does not need to have actual knowledge of the statute or specific intent to violate it in order to have committed a violation;
•HIPAA, as amended by the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act of 2009, or HITECH, and its respective implementing regulations, which imposes, among other things, certain requirements on certain covered healthcare providers, health plans, and healthcare clearinghouses as well as their respective business associates and their covered subcontractors relating to the privacy, security and transmission of individually identifiable health information. Among other things, HITECH makes HIPAA’s privacy and security standards directly applicable to business associates, those independent contractors or agents of covered entities that create, receive, maintain, transmit or obtain protected health information in connection with providing a service on behalf of a covered entity. HITECH also increased the civil and criminal penalties that may be imposed against covered entities, business associates and possibly other persons, and gave state attorneys general new authority to file civil actions for damages or injunctions in federal courts to enforce the federal HIPAA laws and seek attorney’s fees and costs associated with pursuing federal civil actions;
•The federal Physician Payment Sunshine Act, created under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, as amended by the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act, collectively, the Affordable Care Act, or ACA, which requires applicable manufacturers of drugs, devices, biologics and medical supplies for which payment is available under Medicare, Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program to report annually to CMS, information related to payments or other transfers of value made to physicians (defined to include doctors, dentists, optometrists, podiatrists and chiropractors) and teaching hospitals, as well as ownership and investment interests held by the physicians described above and their immediate family members. Effective January 1, 2022, these reporting obligations extend to include transfers of value made during the previous year to certain non-physician providers, such as physician assistants and nurse practitioners;
•Federal government price reporting laws, which require us to calculate and report complex pricing metrics in an accurate and timely manner to government programs;
•Federal consumer protection and unfair competition laws, which broadly regulate marketplace activities and activities that potentially harm consumers; and
•Analogous state and foreign equivalents of each of the healthcare laws and regulations described above, such as anti-kickback and false claims laws, which may apply to items or services reimbursed by any third-party payor, including commercial insurers or patients; state and local marketing and/or transparency laws applicable to manufacturers that may be broader in scope than the federal requirements; state laws that require pharmaceutical companies to comply with the pharmaceutical industry voluntary compliance guidelines and other relevant compliance guidance promulgated by the federal government, such as the April 2003 Office of Inspector General Compliance Program Guidance for Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and/or the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America’s Code on Interactions with Healthcare Professionals; state laws that require the reporting of information related to drug pricing; state laws that require drug manufacturers to report information related to payments and other transfers of value to physicians and other healthcare providers or marketing expenditures and pricing information; state and local laws that require the licensure and/or registration of pharmaceutical sales representatives; and state and foreign laws governing the privacy and security of health information that may be more stringent than those in the United States (such as the European Union, which adopted GDPR, which became effective on May 25, 2018), many of which differ from each other in significant ways and often are not preempted by HIPAA, thus complicating compliance efforts.
The distribution of pharmaceutical products is subject to additional requirements and regulations, including extensive record-keeping, licensing, storage and security requirements intended to prevent the unauthorized sale of pharmaceutical products.
The full scope and enforcement of each of these laws is uncertain and subject to rapid change in the current environment of healthcare reform. Federal and state enforcement bodies have continued to increase their scrutiny on interactions between
healthcare companies and healthcare providers, which has led to a number of significant investigations, prosecutions, convictions and settlements in the healthcare industry. It is possible that governmental authorities will conclude that our business practices do not comply with current or future statutes, regulations or case law involving applicable fraud and abuse or other healthcare laws and regulations. If our operations, including our arrangements with physicians and other healthcare providers and entities, such as our Centers of Excellence or therapists, are found to be in violation of any of such laws or any other governmental regulations that apply to us, we may be subject to significant penalties, including, without limitation, administrative, civil and criminal penalties, damages, fines, disgorgement, contractual damages, reputational harm, diminished profits and future earnings, the curtailment or restructuring of our operations, exclusion from participation in federal and state healthcare programs (such as Medicare and Medicaid), imprisonment, and additional oversight and reporting obligations if we become subject to a corporate integrity agreement or similar settlement to resolve allegations of non-compliance with these laws and the curtailment or restructuring of our operations, any of which could adversely affect our ability to operate our business and our financial results. If any of the physicians or other healthcare providers or entities with whom we expect to do business, including our Centers of Excellence and therapists, are found to be not in compliance with applicable laws, they may be subject to similar actions, penalties and sanctions.
Ensuring that our current and future business arrangements with third parties, and our business generally, comply with applicable healthcare laws and regulations, as well as responding to possible investigations by government authorities, can be time- and resource- consuming and can divert a company’s attention from its business.
In the United States and in some foreign jurisdictions, there have been, and likely will continue to be, a number of legislative and regulatory changes and proposed changes regarding the healthcare system directed at broadening the availability of healthcare, improving the quality of healthcare, and containing or lowering the cost of healthcare. For example, in March 2010, the ACA was enacted, which, among other things, increased rebates for drugs sold to Medicaid programs owed by most manufacturers under the Medicaid Drug Rebate Program and extends the rebate program to individuals enrolled in Medicaid managed organizations; introduced a new methodology by which rebates owed by manufacturers under the Medicaid Drug Rebate Program are calculated for drugs that are inhaled, infused, instilled, implanted or injected; imposes mandatory discounts for certain Medicare Part D beneficiaries in which manufacturers must agree to offer 50% (increased to 70% pursuant to the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, or BBA, effective as of January 2019) point-of-sale discounts off negotiated prices of applicable brand drugs to eligible beneficiaries during their coverage gap period as a condition for manufacturers’ outpatient drugs coverage under Medicare Part D; subjects drug manufacturers of certain branded prescription drugs to new annual, nondeductible fees and taxes; expanded healthcare fraud and abuse laws (including the FCA and the Anti-Kickback Statute), government investigative powers and enhances penalties for non-compliance; expands eligibility criteria for Medicaid programs by, among other things, allowing states to offer Medicaid coverage to additional individuals with income at or below 133% of the federal poverty level, thereby potentially increasing manufacturers’ Medicaid rebate liability; expands the entities eligible for discounts under the 340B Drug Pricing Program; created new requirements to report financial arrangements with physicians, as defined by such law, and teaching hospitals, commonly referred to as the Physician Payments Sunshine Act; created a new requirement to annually report the identity and quantity of drug samples that manufacturers and authorized distributors of record provide to physicians; created a new Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute to oversee, identify priorities in and conduct comparative clinical effectiveness research, along with funding for such research; and established the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation at CMS to test innovative payment and service delivery models to lower Medicare and Medicaid spending.
Since its enactment, there have been judicial, Congressional and executive challenges to certain aspects of the ACA. On June 17, 2021, the U.S. Supreme Court dismissed the most recent judicial challenge to the ACA brought by several states without specifically ruling on the constitutionality of the ACA. Prior to the Supreme Court’s decision, President Biden issued an executive order to initiate a special enrollment period from February 15, 2021 through August 15, 2021 for purposes of obtaining health insurance coverage through the ACA marketplace. The executive order also instructed certain governmental agencies to review and reconsider their existing policies and rules that limit access to healthcare, including among others, reexamining Medicaid demonstration projects and waiver programs that include work requirements, and policies that create unnecessary barriers to obtaining access to health insurance coverage through Medicaid or the ACA. It is unclear how other healthcare reform measures of the Biden administration or other efforts, if any, to challenge, repeal or replace the ACA will impact our business.
Other legislative changes have been proposed and adopted in the United States since the ACA was enacted. For example, the Budget Control Act of 2011, among other things, created measures for spending reductions by Congress. Specifically, the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction was created to recommend to Congress proposals in spending reductions. The
Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction did not achieve a targeted deficit reduction of at least $1.2 trillion for the years 2012 through 2021, thereby triggering the legislation’s automatic reduction to several government programs. This includes aggregate reductions of Medicare payments to providers of up to 2% per fiscal year that will, due to subsequent legislative amendments, remain in effect through 2030, with the exception of a temporary suspension from May 1, 2020 through March 31, 2022 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Following the temporary suspension, a 1% payment reduction will occur beginning April 1, 2022 through June 30, 2022, and the 2% payment reduction will resume on July 1, 2022. On January 2, 2013, the American Taxpayer Relief Act was signed into law, which, among other things, reduced Medicare payments to several types of providers, including hospitals, imaging centers and cancer treatment centers, and increased the statute of limitations period for the government to recover overpayments to providers from three to five years.
Further, on May 30, 2018, the Right to Try Act was signed into law. The law, among other things, provides a federal framework for certain patients to access certain investigational new drug products that have completed a Phase I clinical trial and that are undergoing investigation for FDA approval. Under certain circumstances, eligible patients can seek treatment without enrolling in clinical trials and without obtaining FDA permission under the FDA expanded access program. There is no obligation for a drug manufacturer to make its drug products available to eligible patients as a result of the Right to Try Act.
Moreover, payment methodologies may be subject to changes in healthcare legislation and regulatory initiatives. For example, CMS may develop new payment and delivery models, such as bundled payment models. Recently, there has been heightened governmental scrutiny over the manner in which manufacturers set prices for their marketed products. Such scrutiny has resulted in several recent U.S. Congressional inquiries and proposed and enacted federal and state legislation designed to, among other things, bring more transparency to drug pricing, review the relationship between pricing and manufacturer patient programs, reduce the cost of drugs under Medicare, and reform government program reimbursement methodologies for pharmaceutical products. At the federal level, President Biden signed an Executive Order on July 9, 2021 affirming the administration’s policy to (i) support legislative reforms that would lower the prices of prescription drug and biologics, including by allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices, by imposing inflation caps, and, by supporting the development and market entry of lower-cost generic drugs and biosimilars; and (ii) support the enactment of a public health insurance option. Among other things, the Executive Order also directs HHS to provide a report on actions to combat excessive pricing of prescription drugs, enhance the domestic drug supply chain, reduce the price that the Federal government pays for drugs, and address price gouging in the industry; and directs the FDA to work with states and Indian Tribes that propose to develop section 804 Importation Programs in accordance with the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003, and the FDA’s implementing regulations. FDA released such implementing regulations on September 24, 2020, which went into effect on November 30, 2020, providing guidance for states to build and submit importation plans for drugs from Canada. On September 25, 2020, CMS stated drugs imported by states under this rule will not be eligible for federal rebates under Section 1927 of the Social Security Act and manufacturers would not report these drugs for “best price” or Average Manufacturer Price purposes. Since these drugs are not considered covered outpatient drugs, CMS further stated it will not publish a National Average Drug Acquisition Cost for these drugs. If implemented, importation of drugs from Canada may materially and adversely affect the price we receive for any of our product candidates. Further, on November 20, 2020 CMS issued an Interim Final Rule implementing the Most Favored Nation, or MFN, Model under which Medicare Part B reimbursement rates would have been be calculated for certain drugs and biologicals based on the lowest price drug manufacturers receive in Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development countries with a similar gross domestic product per capita. However, on December 29, 2021 CMS rescinded the Most Favored Nations rule. Additionally, on November 30, 2020, HHS published a regulation removing safe harbor protection for price reductions from pharmaceutical manufacturers to plan sponsors under Part D, either directly or through pharmacy benefit managers, unless the price reduction is required by law. The rule also creates a new safe harbor for price reductions reflected at the point-of-sale, as well as a safe harbor for certain fixed fee arrangements between pharmacy benefit managers and manufacturers. Pursuant to court order, the removal and addition of the aforementioned safe harbors were delayed and recent legislation imposed a moratorium on implementation of the rule until January 1, 2026. Although a number of these and other proposed measures may require authorization through additional legislation to become effective, and the Biden administration may reverse or otherwise change these measures, both the Biden administration and Congress have indicated that they will continue to seek new legislative measures to control drug costs.
At the state level, legislatures have increasingly passed legislation and implemented regulations designed to control pharmaceutical product pricing, including price or patient reimbursement constraints, discounts, restrictions on certain product access and marketing cost disclosure and transparency measures, and, in some cases, designed to encourage importation from other countries and bulk purchasing.
We expect that additional foreign, federal and state healthcare reform measures will be adopted in the future, any of which could limit the amounts that federal and state governments will pay for healthcare products and services, which could result in limited coverage and reimbursement and reduced demand for our products, once approved, or additional pricing pressures. It is also possible that additional governmental action will be taken in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Human Capital Management
As a mental health care company, we’re dedicated to accelerating patient access to evidence-based innovation in mental health. Our team is the key to our success, and we believe it is essential to invest in building an engaged, diverse, supported, and incentivized workforce who can help us achieve our vision of a world of mental wellbeing.
As of December 31, 2021, we had 116 employees. Sixty-one employees are engaged in research and development activities and 55 employees are engaged in general administrative functions. Our employee headcount was 59 as of December 31, 2020, and grew by 97% as of December 31, 2021. Twenty-two percent of our employees are located in the US, while the remaining 78% are located in the UK.
We have no collective bargaining agreements with our employees and we have not experienced any work stoppages. We believe our relations with our employees are good.
In 2021 we hired our first Chief People Officer to lead our human capital efforts as described below. Our primary initiatives in attracting, retaining, and developing our employees include:
Mental Health and Wellbeing
As a mental health care company, we strive to be a leader in supporting employee mental health and well-being. Our aim is to create a workplace which reduces the stigma of mental illness and supports our employees in staying well, physically and mentally. We offer various resources which include:
•A global employee assistance program run by certified counsellors, offering over 20 sessions annually, available for employees and their families;
•An in-house wellness concierge providing one-on-one appointments, webinars and workshops, ‘community circles’, as well as providing advisory services to our internal employee-led wellbeing club;
•Access to a meditation app with weekly group meditation sessions;
•Weekly qualified employee-led yoga sessions; and
•‘Sustainability week’ company closedowns over the summer and year-end holidays.
Engagement, Culture and Values
We strive to attract and retain people who are driven by our mission as well as the motivation to find better ways to help and empower those who are suffering with mental health challenges. We all share our values of being compassionate, bold, inclusive and rigorous. We continue to build a positive working culture by:
•Holding annual engagement surveys with results owned by our senior leadership team who are accountable for setting out action plans. Our most recent survey indicates that we have a very strong 45% net promoter score. Our employees have a solid understanding of our vision and mission (97%), how their role contributes to them and high confidence in leadership. Other notable comments were a shared passion, drive and motivation, acknowledgment of an extremely talented group of people, and a sense of community, with clear alignment to our values;
•Employees’ continued participation in our social, wellbeing, green team, corporate social responsibility, learning and development, and equity, diversity and inclusion groups. These groups include junior through executive level employees and are responsible for championing various initiatives;
•Regular company values workshops for all employees to discuss and bring our values to life;
•Regular company-wide team meetings aimed to connect with each other and receive updates from our CEO and the wider teams;
•A company-wide mentor program; and
•Providing various opportunities to stay connected in our hybrid working model, with initiatives such as Friday Fives, randomized five minute ‘water cooler’ Zoom rounds; Quarterly Qs, a quarterly Q&A session hosted by a panel of Executive Team members with a focus on “ask me anything”; remote and in-person social events; and Zoom open ‘office hours’ with our CEO.
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
We are united in our resolve to build a safe, diverse, accepting and inclusive culture in our workplace and have been actively involved in similar efforts in our local communities.
In 2021, we refreshed our focus on Equity, Diversity & Inclusion (EDI), led by our Chief People and Chief Commercial Officers, defining a new global strategy. Together with our EDI club, a group including various levels across the company, we established our first global EDI policy.
The spirit of our policy is recognizing that our people are our most valuable asset. The collective sum of individual differences, life experiences, knowledge, inventiveness, innovation, self-expression, unique capabilities, and talent that our employees rigorously invest in their work, represents a significant part of our culture, our reputation, and our vision for a world of mental wellbeing.
Our EDI policy outlines that our initiatives are applicable, but not limited to, our practices and policies on recruiting talent; compensating, developing, and training employees; social and recreational programs; and the ongoing development of a work environment built on the premise of gender, diversity, and mental health equity that encourages and enforces respect, teamwork, flexible work schedules where possible, and, contributions to our communities.
In 2021 we had four main EDI focus areas, primarily aimed around information gathering and analyzing our current processes, given this is a new area for us. We collaborated on these initiatives alongside the Employers Network for Equality and Inclusion (ENEI), of which we are members, and who serve as our external advisors. These four focus areas were:
•Building a campaign around employees voluntarily providing their personal demographic information enabling us to begin measuring our workforce and set goals;
•Undertaking a gap analysis on neurodiversity as this topic is of particular interest to us given our industry focus on improving mental health;
•Evaluating our current processes to ensure our suppliers embrace diversity, and
•Engaging the whole company in our journey.
As of December 31, 2021, both our board and executive team had 33% female representation. 39% of our wider leadership team were female. Overall, our total female representation in the company as of December 31, 2021 was 54%, which is above the 47% average according to the 2021 report by Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO).
Employee Development and Training
We believe that the individual growth of our employees will fuel the company’s growth over time since our talent is experienced in our pioneering work. We are committed to the continued development of our employees, and in order to support their growth, and to help us identify, foster, and retain high performing employees, we have implemented a number of programs:
•Coaching and career development resources through an external program called Landit, which provides personalized coaching and support for each employee to achieve their career goals;
•Mentoring pairs and circles, providing access to executives and colleagues for mentoring and support;
•Job architecture, providing employees with guidance and clear pathways for developing and progressing in their career;
•Talent reviews, a twice yearly process to assess and calibrate talent for the purposes of rewards and development;
•An annual Learning & Development allowance for each employee to spend on job related training or courses.
Compensation and Benefits
We provide competitive compensation and comprehensive benefits for our employees globally. Our compensation packages include base salary, annual bonuses, and stock-based compensation. We also offer healthcare plans, paid time off, life and disability insurance, income protection insurance, and retirement saving plans. Our compensation and benefits are designed to provide employees with total compensation packages that are competitive with those offered by our peers and other companies with which we compete for talent. In 2021, we introduced an employee stock purchase plan, under which eligible employees can voluntarily opt in to buy common stock at a discount from the fair market value of the stock as determined on specific dates twice a year. We evaluate compensation and benefit offerings on an annual basis to ensure competitiveness of our programs and make adjustments as needed.
Hybrid Culture and COVID-19
We prioritized employee transparency and safety during the pandemic and continue to do so, providing clarity on office closures and evolving guidelines, where possible. Similar to other companies, we adapted during the COVID-19 pandemic and developed a "ways of working" policy with input and feedback from the team. Keeping our values in mind, we recognized that in order to be inclusive and compassionate, we should empower everyone to work in the ways that suit them best. Our guidelines set out core principles around what we expect from each other, rather than enforcing a rigid model. We believe in each other’s dedication to our mission, and we trust each other to make the best use of our working time. We look for the proof of that in our achievements, not in our working hours or location of work. We are bold in doing things differently if that’s what works best, testing new ways of working and adjusting them as we go. We combine our ways of working policy with being as transparent as possible and making sure that we communicate openly with each other. By allowing people to work in the way that suits them, employees have the flexibility to look after themselves. They can choose whether to work in the office or at home, can go out for a walk or a run in the middle of the day, and they have the flexibility to attend appointments. Alongside our ways of working policy, we also introduced a working from home budget for employees to purchase items that will make working at home a more comfortable experience. Our ways of working policy has been effective for the company as we have maintained productivity and engagement throughout this period.
Transition to U.S. Domestic Filer Reporting
We determined that, as of December 31, 2021, we no longer qualified as a ‘‘foreign private issuer’’ under the rules and regulations of the SEC. As a result of this determination, beginning on December 31, 2021, we are no longer entitled to ‘‘foreign private issuer’’ exemptions and we are required to report as a domestic U.S. filer, including filing Annual Reports on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, current reports on Form 8-K and proxy statements under Section 14 of the Exchange Act. In addition, since January 1, 2021, our ‘‘insiders’’ are now subject to the reporting and short-swing profit recovery provisions contained in Section 16 of the Exchange Act and will be no longer exempt from the requirements of Regulation FD promulgated by the SEC under the Exchange Act. Moreover, as a domestic filer, we are no longer permitted to follow our home country rules in lieu of the corporate governance obligations imposed by Nasdaq, and are required to comply with the governance practices required of U.S. domestic issuers.
COMPASS Pathways plc was originally incorporated as a private limited company under the laws of England and Wales in June 2020 under the name COMPASS Rx Limited to become a holding company for COMPASS Pathfinder Holdings Limited. COMPASS Rx Limited was subsequently re-registered as a public limited company in August 2020 and renamed COMPASS Pathways plc. COMPASS Pathfinder Holdings Limited was originally incorporated under the laws of England and Wales in June 2017. Our registered office is located at 3rd Floor, 1 Ashley Road, Altrincham, Cheshire, WA14 2DT, United Kingdom, and our telephone number is +1 (646) 905-3974.
Our website address is www.compasspathways.com. We do not incorporate the information on or accessible through our website into this Annual Report, and you should not consider any information on, or that can be accessed through, our website as part of this Annual Report. We make available free of charge through our website our Annual Reports on Form 10-K, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, Current Reports on Form 8-K and amendments to these reports filed or furnished pursuant to Section 13(a) or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, as soon as reasonably practicable after we electronically file or furnish such materials to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
ITEM 1A. RISK FACTORS
You should carefully consider the following risk factors as well as the other information included in this Annual Report, including “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” and our consolidated financial statements and related notes thereto. Any of the following risks could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition, or results of operations. The selected risks described below, however, are not the only risks facing us. Additional risks and uncertainties not currently known to us or those we currently view to be immaterial may also materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition, or results of operations. The summary of the material risks associated with our business us is included in the “Special Note Regarding Forward Looking Statements” on page 4 above.
Our business faces significant risks. This section of the Annual Report highlights some of the risks that may affect our future operating results. You should carefully consider the risks described below, as well as in our consolidated financial statements and the related notes included elsewhere in this Annual Report and in our other SEC filings. The occurrence of any of the events or developments described below could harm our business, financial condition, results of operations and/or growth prospects. This Annual Report also contains forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties. Our results could materially differ from those anticipated in these forward-looking statements, as a result of certain factors including the risks described below and elsewhere in this Annual Report and our other SEC filings. See “Special Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements” above.
Risks Related to Our Financial Position and Need for Additional Capital
We are a clinical-stage mental health care company and have incurred significant losses since our inception. We expect to incur losses for the foreseeable future and may never achieve or maintain profitability.
We are a clinical-stage mental health care company and we have not generated any revenue to date. We have incurred significant operating losses since our formation. We incurred total net losses of $71.7 million, and $60.3 million, respectively, for the fiscal years ended December 31, 2021 and December 31, 2020. As of December 31, 2021, we had an accumulated deficit of $169.6 million. Our historical losses resulted principally from costs incurred in connection with research and development activities and general and administrative costs associated with our operations. In the future, we intend to continue to conduct research and development, preclinical testing, clinical trials, regulatory compliance, market access, commercialization and business development activities that, together with anticipated general and administrative expenses, will result in incurring further significant losses for at least the next several years. Our expected losses, among other things, may continue to cause our working capital and shareholders’ equity (deficit) to decrease. We anticipate that our expenses will increase substantially if and as we, among other things:
•continue the clinical development of our investigational COMP360 psilocybin therapy for the treatment of treatment-resistant depression, or TRD, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), including initiating additional and larger clinical trials, including the anticipated initiation of a Phase III trial in TRD in 2022;
•continue to invest in the development of prodrug candidates and psychedelic compounds that could be developed into therapies;
•continue the training of therapists who are qualified to deliver our investigational COMP360 psilocybin therapy in our clinical trials;
•establish a sales, marketing and distribution infrastructure and scale-up manufacturing capabilities to commercialize any therapeutic candidates for which we may obtain regulatory approval, including COMP360;
•establish and expand the network of public healthcare institutions and private clinics that administer COMP360 in conjunction with psychological support;
•advance our commercialization strategy in North America and Europe, including using digital technologies to enhance our proposed therapeutic offering;
•research additional indications for our investigational COMP360 psilocybin therapy and discover and develop any future therapeutic candidates;
•continue to invest in our Discovery Center and Centers of Excellence;
•seek regulatory approvals for any future therapeutic candidates that successfully complete clinical trials;
•experience heightened regulatory scrutiny;
•pursue necessary scheduling-related decisions to enable us to commercialize any future therapeutic candidates containing controlled substances for which we may obtain regulatory approval, including COMP360;
•explore external business development opportunities through acquisitions, partnerships, licensing deals to add future therapeutic candidates and technologies to our portfolio;
•obtain, maintain, expand and protect our intellectual property portfolio, including litigation costs associated with defending against alleged patent or other intellectual property infringement claims;
•add clinical, scientific, operational, financial and management information systems and personnel, including personnel to support our therapeutic development and potential future commercialization efforts;
•experience any delays or encounter any issues with respect to any of the above, including failed studies, ambiguous trial results, safety issues or other regulatory challenges, including delays and other impacts as a result of the spread of the coronavirus disease of 2019, or COVID-19, which we refer to as the COVID-19 pandemic;
•expand our operations in the United States, Europe and potential other geographies in the future; and
•incur additional legal, accounting and other expenses associated with operating as an English-domiciled public company listed in the U.S.
To date we have funded our operations through private placements of equity and convertible notes and, since our initial public offering, or IPO, in 2020, through public equity offerings. To become and remain profitable, we will need to continue developing and eventually commercialize therapies that generate significant revenue. This will require us to be successful in a range of challenging activities, including completing clinical trials of COMP360 or any future therapeutic candidates, and initiating new clinical trials, including our planned Phase III trial in TRD, training a sufficient number of qualified therapists to deliver our investigational COMP360 psilocybin therapy, using digital technologies and solutions to enhance our therapeutic offering, establishing and/or collaborating with providers to develop “Centers of Excellence” where we can conduct trainings for therapists, discovering and developing any future therapeutic candidates, obtaining regulatory approval for any future therapeutic candidates that successfully complete clinical trials, and establishing marketing capabilities. Even if any of the future therapeutic candidates that we may develop are approved for commercial sale, we anticipate incurring significant costs associated with commercializing any approved future therapeutic candidate. We are only in the preliminary stages of most of these activities. We may never succeed in these activities and, even if we do, may never generate revenue that is significant enough to achieve profitability.
Because of the numerous risks and uncertainties associated with therapeutic development, we are unable to accurately predict the timing or amount of increased expenses or when, or if, we will be able to achieve profitability. If we are required by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, or the FDA, the European Medicines Agency, or the EMA, the UK’s medicines regulator, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, or the MHRA, or other comparable foreign authorities to perform studies in addition to those we currently anticipate, or if there are any delays in completing our clinical trials or the development of our investigational COMP360 psilocybin therapy or any future therapeutic candidates, our expenses could increase beyond our current expectations and revenue could be further delayed.
Even if we or any future collaborators do generate sales, we may never achieve, sustain or increase profitability on a quarterly or annual basis. Our failure to sustain profitability would depress the market price of our ADSs and could impair our ability to raise capital, expand our business, diversify our therapeutic offerings or continue our operations. If we continue to suffer losses, investors may not receive any return on their investment and may lose their entire investment.
We will need substantial additional funding to complete the development and commercialization of our investigational COMP360 psilocybin therapy or any future therapeutic candidates. Failure to obtain this necessary capital when needed may force us to delay, limit or terminate certain or all of our product discovery, therapeutic development, research operations or commercialization efforts.
We expect to require substantial additional funding in the future to sufficiently finance our operations and advance development of our investigational COMP360 psilocybin therapy or any future therapeutic candidates. We expect that our cash and cash equivalents of $273.2 million as of December 31, 2021, will enable us to fund our operating expenses and capital expenditure requirements through to 2024. 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. Further, 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. Our future funding requirements, both short-term and long-term, will depend on many factors, including:
•the progress, timing and completion of preclinical testing and clinical trials for our current investigational psilocybin therapy program for TRD and for indications outside of TRD or any future therapeutic candidates;
•the outcome, timing and cost of seeking and obtaining regulatory approvals from the FDA, the EMA, the MHRA and comparable foreign regulatory authorities, including the potential for such authorities to require that we perform more preclinical studies or clinical trials than those that we currently expect or change their requirements on studies that had previously been agreed to;
•the outcome and timing of any scheduling-related decisions by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, or DEA, individual states, and comparable foreign authorities;
•the number of potential future therapeutic candidates we identify and decide to develop, either internally through our research and development efforts or externally through acquisitions, licensing or other collaboration agreements;
•the costs involved in growing our organization to the size needed to allow for the research, development and potential commercialization of our investigational COMP360 psilocybin therapy and any future therapeutic candidates;
•the costs of developing sales and marketing capabilities to target public and private healthcare providers and clinic networks in major markets;
•the costs of training and certifying therapists who are supporting or will support our clinical trials;
•the costs of establishing our Centers of Excellence, which includes conducting clinical trials, including proof of concept studies, to refine our therapeutic model;
•generating and collecting data and advancing our intellectual property portfolio; and strengthening our regional presence as a scientific and clinical resource;
•the costs of developing, testing and deploying digital technology solutions to improve the patient experience and therapeutic process;
•the costs involved in filing patent applications and maintaining and enforcing patents or defending against claims of infringements or invalidity raised by third parties;
•the time and costs involved in obtaining regulatory approval for COMP360 or any future therapeutic candidates, and any delays we may encounter as a result of evolving regulatory requirements or adverse results with respect to COMP360 or any future therapeutic candidates;
•selling and marketing activities undertaken in connection with the potential commercialization of our investigational COMP360 psilocybin therapy or any future therapeutic candidates, if approved, and costs involved in the creation of an effective sales and marketing organization;
•the amount of revenue, if any, we may derive either directly or in the form of royalty payments from future sales of our investigational COMP360 psilocybin therapy and any future therapeutic candidates, if approved; and
•the costs of operating as a public company.
Until we can generate sufficient revenue to finance our cash requirements, which we may never do, we expect to finance our future cash needs through a combination of public or private equity offerings, debt financings, strategic collaborations and alliances, licensing arrangements or monetization transactions.
Our ability to raise additional funds will depend on financial, economic and market conditions and other factors, over which we may have no or limited control. If adequate funds are not available on commercially acceptable terms when needed, we may be forced to delay, reduce or terminate the development or commercialization of all or part of our research programs or our investigational COMP360 psilocybin therapy or any future therapeutic candidate, or we may be unable to take advantage of future business opportunities. Market volatility resulting from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the related U.S. and global economic impact or other economic or other factors could also adversely impact our ability to access capital as and when needed.
We cannot guarantee that future financing will be available in sufficient amounts, or on commercially reasonable terms, or at all. Moreover, the terms of any financing may adversely affect the holdings or the rights of holders of our ADSs, the issuance of additional securities, whether equity or debt, by us, or the possibility of such issuance, may cause the market price of our ADSs to decline. The incurrence of indebtedness could result in increased fixed payment obligations and we may be required to agree to certain restrictive covenants, such as limitations on our ability to incur additional debt, limitations on our ability to acquire, sell or license intellectual property rights and other operating restrictions that could adversely impact our ability to conduct our business. We could also be required to seek funds through arrangements with collaborators or others at an earlier stage than otherwise would be desirable and we may be required to relinquish rights to COMP360 or any future therapeutics candidates or otherwise agree to terms unfavorable to us, any of which may have a material adverse effect on our business, operating results and prospects. Further, any additional fundraising efforts may divert our management from its day-to-day activities, which may adversely affect our ability to develop and commercialize our investigational COMP360 psilocybin therapy or any future therapeutic candidates.
In addition, heightened regulatory scrutiny could have a negative impact on our ability to raise capital. Our business activities rely on developing laws and regulations in multiple jurisdictions. It is impossible to determine the extent of the impact of any new laws, regulations or initiatives that may be proposed, or whether any proposals will become law. The regulatory uncertainty surrounding our investigational COMP360 psilocybin therapy or any future therapeutic candidates may adversely affect our business and operations, including without limitation, our ability to raise additional capital.
Our limited operating history may make it difficult for you to evaluate the success of our business to date and to assess our future viability.
In July 2015, The Compass Trust Limited, a non-profit private limited company incorporated in England and Wales, was incorporated by two of our co-founders, George Goldsmith and Ekaterina Malievskaia. Its purpose was to support the research and development of psilocybin therapy for end-of-life anxiety. In June 2016, Mr. Goldsmith and Dr. Malievskaia formed COMPASS Pathways Technologies Limited, a for-profit private limited company incorporated in England and Wales, to manufacture psilocybin for the research. Later in 2016, following discussion with regulators and health technology assessment agencies, Mr. Goldsmith and Dr. Malievskaia began considering the development of psilocybin therapy for TRD, given the significant unmet need in this area. In 2017, Compass Pathways Technologies Limited was renamed Compass Pathways Limited and began to carry out clinical trial and funding activities, and The Compass Trust Limited was dissolved. In August 2020, Compass Pathways Limited was renamed COMPASS Pathfinder Limited and became, through its parent company, Compass Pathfinder Holdings Limited, a wholly owned indirect subsidiary of COMPASS Pathways plc in connection with our corporate reorganization.
To date, we have invested most of our resources in developing our investigational COMP360 psilocybin therapy, building our intellectual property portfolio, conducting business planning, raising capital and providing administrative support for these operations. We have not yet demonstrated an ability to conduct later-stage clinical trials, obtain regulatory approvals, manufacture a commercial-scale product, conduct sales and marketing activities necessary for successful product commercialization or obtain reimbursement in the countries of sale.
We may encounter unforeseen expenses, difficulties, complications, delays and other known or unknown factors in achieving our business objectives. We will eventually need to transition from a company with a development focus to a company capable of supporting commercial activities. We may not be successful in such a transition.
We expect our financial condition and operating results to continue to fluctuate significantly from quarter to quarter and year to year due to a variety of factors, many of which are beyond our control. Accordingly, you should not rely upon the results of any quarterly or annual periods as indications of future operating performance.
Raising additional capital may cause dilution to holders of our ordinary shares or ADSs, restrict our operations or require us to relinquish rights to COMP360 or any future therapeutic candidates.
We may seek additional capital through a combination of equity offerings, debt financings, strategic collaborations and alliances, licensing arrangements or monetization transactions. To the extent that we raise additional capital through the sale of equity, convertible debt securities or other equity-based derivative securities, your ownership interest will be diluted and the terms may include liquidation or other preferences that adversely affect your rights as a shareholder. Any indebtedness we incur would result in increased fixed payment obligations and could involve restrictive covenants, such as limitations on our ability to incur additional debt, acquire or license intellectual property rights, declare dividends, make capital expenditures and other operating restrictions that could adversely impact our ability to conduct our business. Furthermore, the issuance of additional securities, whether equity or debt, by us, or the possibility of such issuance, may cause the market price of our ADSs to decline and existing shareholders may not agree with our financing plans or the terms of such financings. If we raise additional funds through strategic collaborations and alliances, licensing arrangements or monetization transactions with third parties, we may have to relinquish valuable rights to our investigational COMP360 psilocybin therapy or any future therapeutic candidates or otherwise agree to terms unfavorable to us, any of which may have a material adverse effect on our business, operating results and prospects. Adequate additional financing may not be available to us on acceptable terms, or at all. If we are unable to raise additional funds when needed, we may be required to delay, limit, reduce or terminate our product development or future commercialization efforts or grant rights to develop and market our investigational COMP360 psilocybin therapy or any future therapeutic candidates that we would otherwise prefer to develop and market ourselves. Further, any additional fundraising efforts may divert our management from its day-to-day activities, which may adversely affect our ability to develop and commercialize our investigational COMP360 psilocybin therapy or any future therapeutic candidates.
Risks Related to Development, Clinical Testing and Commercialization of Our Investigational COMP360 Psilocybin Therapy and Any Future Therapeutic Candidates
We are dependent on the successful development of our investigational COMP360 psilocybin therapy. We cannot give any assurance that COMP360 will successfully complete clinical trials or receive regulatory approval, which is necessary before it can be commercialized.
We currently have no therapies that are approved for commercial sale and may never be able to develop marketable therapies. We expect that a substantial portion of our efforts and expenditures over the next several years will be devoted to our investigational COMP360 psilocybin therapy, which is currently our only therapeutic candidate in development. Accordingly, our business currently depends on the successful regulatory approval of COMP360 and the commercialization of our investigational COMP360 psilocybin therapy. We cannot be certain that COMP360 will receive regulatory approval or that our therapy will be successfully commercialized even if we receive regulatory approval. If we were required to discontinue development of our investigational COMP360 psilocybin therapy, or if COMP360 does not receive regulatory approval or fails to achieve significant market acceptance, we would be delayed by many years in our ability to achieve profitability, if ever.
The research, testing, manufacturing, safety, efficacy, labeling, approval, sale, marketing, and distribution of psilocybin is, and will remain, subject to comprehensive regulation by the FDA, the DEA, the EMA, the MHRA and foreign regulatory authorities. Failure to obtain regulatory approval in the United States, Europe or other jurisdictions will prevent us from commercializing and marketing our investigational COMP360 psilocybin therapy in such jurisdictions.
Even if we were to successfully obtain approval from the FDA, the EMA, the MHRA and foreign regulatory authorities for COMP360, any approval might contain significant limitations related to use, as well as restrictions for specified age groups, warnings, precautions or contraindications. Furthermore, even if we obtain regulatory approval for COMP360, we will still need to develop a commercial infrastructure or develop relationships with collaborators to commercialize including securing availability of third-party therapy sites for the appropriate administration of our investigational COMP360 psilocybin therapy, secure adequate manufacturing, train and secure access to qualified therapists, establish a commercially viable pricing structure and obtain coverage and adequate reimbursement from third-party payors, including government healthcare programs. If we, or any future collaborators, are unable to successfully commercialize our investigational COMP360 psilocybin therapy, we may not be able to generate sufficient revenue to continue our business.
The success of our investigational COMP360 psilocybin therapy and any future therapeutic candidates will depend on several factors, including the following:
•successful completion of clinical trials and preclinical studies;
•sufficiency of our financial and other resources to complete the necessary preclinical studies and clinical trials;
•receiving regulatory approvals or clearance for conducting our planned clinical trials or future clinical trials;
•successful patient enrollment in and completion of clinical trials;
•positive data from our clinical trials that support an acceptable risk-benefit profile of COMP360 and any future therapeutic candidates in the intended populations;
•receipt and maintenance of regulatory and marketing approvals from applicable regulatory authorities;
•establishing and scaling up, either alone or with third-party manufacturers, manufacturing capabilities of clinical supply for our clinical trials and commercial manufacturing, if COMP360 or any future therapeutic candidates are approved;
•entry into collaborations to further the development of our investigational COMP360 psilocybin therapy and any future therapeutic candidates;
•obtaining and maintaining and defending patent and trade secret protection and/or regulatory exclusivity for COMP360 and any future therapeutic candidates;
•successfully launching commercial sales of our investigational COMP360 psilocybin therapy and any future therapeutic candidates, if approved;
•acceptance of COMP360 and any future therapeutic candidates’ benefits and uses, if approved, by patients, the medical community and third-party payors;
•maintaining a continued acceptable safety profile of COMP360 and any future therapeutic candidates following approval;
•effectively competing with companies developing and commercializing other therapies in the indications which our investigational COMP360 psilocybin therapy targets;
•obtaining and maintaining healthcare coverage and adequate reimbursement from third-party payors;
•maintaining the strength of our reputation; and
•complying with laws and regulations, including laws applicable to controlled substances, data privacy, and pre-commercial activities.
If we are not successful with respect to one or more of these factors in a timely manner or at all, we could experience significant delays or an inability to successfully commercialize our investigational COMP360 psilocybin therapy or any future therapeutic candidates we develop, which would materially harm our business. If we do not receive marketing approvals for COMP360 and any future therapeutic candidates, we may not be able to continue our operations.
COMP360 is, and any future therapeutic candidates we may develop in the future may be, subject to controlled substance laws and regulations in the territories where the product will be marketed, such as the United States, the UK and the rest of Europe, and failure to comply with these laws and regulations, or the cost of compliance with these laws and regulations, may adversely affect the results of our business operations, both during clinical development and post approval, and our financial condition. In addition, during the review process of COMP360, and prior to approval, the FDA and/or other regulatory bodies may require additional data, including with respect to whether COMP360 has abuse or misuse potential. This may delay approval and any potential rescheduling process.
In the United States, psilocybin and its active metabolite, psilocin, are listed by the DEA as “Controlled Substances” or scheduled substances, under the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970, also known as the Controlled Substances Act, or CSA, specifically as a Schedule I substance. The DEA regulates chemical compounds as Schedule I, II, III, IV or V substances. Schedule I substances by definition have a high potential for abuse, have no currently “accepted medical use” in the United States, lack accepted safety for use under medical supervision, and may not be prescribed, marketed or sold in the United States. Pharmaceutical products approved for use in the United States may be listed as Schedule II, III, IV or V, with Schedule II substances considered to present the highest potential for abuse or dependence and Schedule V substances the lowest relative risk of abuse among such substances. Schedule I and II drugs are subject to the strictest controls under the CSA, including manufacturing and procurement quotas, security requirements and criteria for importation. In addition, dispensing of Schedule II drugs is further restricted. For example, they may not be refilled without a new prescription and may have a black box warning. Further, most, if not all, state laws in the United States classify psilocybin and psilocin as Schedule I controlled substances. For any product containing psilocybin to be available for commercial marketing in the United States, psilocybin and psilocin must be rescheduled, or the product itself must be scheduled, by the DEA to Schedule II, III, IV or V. Commercial marketing in the United States will also require scheduling-related legislative or administrative action.
Scheduling determinations by the DEA are dependent on FDA approval of a substance or a specific formulation of a substance. Therefore, while psilocybin and psilocin are Schedule I controlled substances, products approved by the FDA for medical use in the United States that contain psilocybin or psilocin should be placed in Schedules II-V, since approval by the FDA satisfies the “accepted medical use” requirement. If and when COMP360 receives FDA approval, we anticipate that the DEA will make a scheduling determination and place it in a schedule other than Schedule I in order for it to be prescribed to patients in the United States. This scheduling determination will be dependent on FDA approval and the FDA’s recommendation as to the appropriate schedule. During the review process, and prior to approval, the FDA may determine that it requires additional data, either from non-clinical or clinical studies, including with respect to whether, or to what extent, the substance has abuse or misuse potential. This may introduce a delay into the approval and any potential rescheduling process. That delay would be dependent on the quantity of additional data required by the FDA. This scheduling determination will require DEA to conduct notice and comment rule making including issuing an interim final rule. Such action will be subject to public comment and requests for hearing which could affect the scheduling of these substances. There can be no assurance that the DEA will make a favorable scheduling decision. Even assuming categorization as a Schedule II or lower controlled substance (i.e., Schedule III, IV or V), at the federal level, such substances would also require scheduling determinations under state laws and regulations.
If approved by the FDA, and if the finished dosage form of COMP360 is listed by the DEA as a Schedule II, III, or IV controlled substance, its manufacture, importation, exportation, domestic distribution, storage, sale and legitimate use will continue to be subject to a significant degree of regulation by the DEA. In addition, the scheduling process may take significantly longer than the 90-day deadline set forth in the CSA, thereby delaying the launch of our investigational COMP360 psilocybin therapy in the United States. Furthermore, the FDA, DEA, or any foreign regulatory authority could require us to generate more clinical or other data than we currently anticipate to establish whether or to what extent the substance has an abuse potential, which could increase the cost and/or delay the launch of our investigational COMP360 psilocybin therapy and any future therapeutic candidates containing controlled substances. In addition, therapeutic candidates containing controlled substances are subject to DEA regulations relating to manufacturing, storage, distribution and physician prescription procedures, including:
•DEA registration and inspection of facilities. Facilities conducting research, manufacturing, distributing, importing or exporting, or dispensing controlled substances must be registered (licensed) to perform these activities and have the security, control, recordkeeping, reporting and inventory mechanisms required by the DEA to prevent drug loss and diversion. All these facilities must renew their registrations annually, except dispensing facilities, which must renew every three years. The DEA conducts periodic inspections of certain registered establishments that handle controlled substances. Obtaining and maintaining the necessary registrations may result in delay of the importation, manufacturing or distribution of COMP360. Furthermore, failure to maintain compliance with the CSA, particularly non-compliance resulting in loss or diversion, can result in regulatory action that could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations. The DEA may seek civil penalties, refuse to renew necessary registrations, or initiate proceedings to restrict, suspend or revoke those registrations. In certain circumstances, violations could lead to criminal proceedings.
•State-controlled substances laws. Individual U.S. states have also established controlled substance laws and regulations. Though state-controlled substances laws often mirror federal law, because the states are separate jurisdictions, they may separately schedule COMP360. While some states automatically schedule a drug based on federal action, other states schedule drugs through rule making or a legislative action. State scheduling may delay commercial sale of any product for
which we obtain federal regulatory approval and adverse scheduling could have a material adverse effect on the commercial attractiveness of such product. We or our partners must also obtain separate state registrations, permits or licenses in order to be able to obtain, handle, and distribute controlled substances for clinical trials or commercial sale, and failure to meet applicable regulatory requirements could lead to enforcement and sanctions by the states in addition to those from the DEA or otherwise arising under federal law.
•Clinical trials. Because our investigational COMP360 psilocybin therapy contains psilocybin, to conduct clinical trials with COMP360 in the United States prior to approval, each of our research sites must submit a research protocol to the DEA and obtain and maintain a DEA researcher registration that will allow those sites to handle and dispense COMP360 and to obtain the product from our importer. If the DEA delays or denies the grant of a researcher registration to one or more research sites, the clinical trial could be significantly delayed, and we could lose clinical trial sites. The importer for the clinical trials must also obtain a Schedule I importer registration and an import permit for each import. We do not currently conduct any manufacturing or repackaging/relabeling of either COMP360 or its active ingredients (i.e., psilocybin) in the United States. COMP360 is imported in its fully-finished, packaged and labeled dosage form.
•Importation. If COMP360 is approved and classified as a Schedule II, III or IV substance, an importer can import it for commercial purposes if it obtains an importer registration and files an application for an import permit for each import. The DEA provides annual assessments/estimates to the International Narcotics Control Board, which guides the DEA in the amounts of controlled substances that the DEA authorizes to be imported. The failure to identify an importer or obtain the necessary import authority, including specific quantities, could affect the availability of COMP360 and have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition. In addition, an application for a Schedule II importer registration must be published in the Federal Register, and there is a waiting period for third-party comments to be submitted. It is always possible that adverse comments may delay the grant of an importer registration. If COMP360 is approved and classified as a Schedule II controlled substance, federal law may prohibit the import of the substance for commercial purposes. If COMP360 is listed as a Schedule II substance, we will not be allowed to import the drug for commercial purposes unless the DEA determines that domestic supplies are inadequate or there is inadequate domestic competition among domestic manufacturers for the substance as defined by the DEA. Moreover, Schedule I controlled substances, including psilocybin and psilocin, have never been registered with the DEA for importation for commercial purposes, only for scientific and research needs. Therefore, if neither COMP360 nor its drug substance could be imported, COMP360 would have to be wholly manufactured in the United States, and we would need to secure a manufacturer that would be required to obtain and maintain a separate DEA registration for that activity.
•Manufacture in the United States. If, because of a Schedule II classification or voluntarily, we were to conduct manufacturing or repackaging/relabeling in the United States, our contract manufacturers would be subject to the DEA’s annual manufacturing and procurement quota requirements. Additionally, regardless of the scheduling of COMP360, the active ingredient in the final dosage form is currently a Schedule I controlled substance and would be subject to such quotas as this substance could remain listed on Schedule I. The annual quota allocated to us or our contract manufacturers for the active ingredient in COMP360 may not be sufficient to complete clinical trials or meet commercial demand. Consequently, any delay or refusal by the DEA in establishing our, or our contract manufacturers’, procurement and/or production quota for controlled substances could delay or stop our clinical trials or product launches, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial position and results of operations.
•Distribution in the United States. If COMP360 is scheduled as Schedule II, III or IV, we would also need to identify wholesale distributors with the appropriate DEA registrations and authority to distribute COMP360 and any future therapeutic candidates. These distributors would need to obtain Schedule II, III or IV distribution registrations. This limitation in the ability to distribute COMP360 more broadly may limit commercial uptake and could negatively impact our prospects. The failure to obtain, or delay in obtaining, or the loss of any of those registrations could result in increased costs to us. If COMP360 is a Schedule II drug, participants in our supply chain may have to maintain enhanced security with alarms and monitoring systems and they may be required to adhere to recordkeeping and inventory requirements. This may discourage some pharmacies from carrying the product. In addition, COMP360 could be determined to have a high potential for abuse and therefore required to be administered at our trial sites, which could limit commercial update. Furthermore, state and federal enforcement actions, regulatory requirements, and legislation intended to reduce prescription drug abuse, such as the requirement that physicians consult a state prescription drug monitoring program, may make physicians less willing to prescribe, and pharmacies to dispense, Schedule II products.
•Psilocybin and psilocin are “controlled drugs” in the UK, as they are listed under Schedule 1 of the UK’s Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001 and are classified as Class A controlled substances under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. Substances listed under Schedule 1 of the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001 are considered to have little or no therapeutic benefit and are
the most strictly controlled. These substances can therefore only be imported, exported, produced and supplied under a license issued by the UK Government’s Home Office. Psilocybin and psilocin may never be rescheduled under the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001, or reclassified under the UK’s Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.
The potential reclassification of psilocybin and psilocin in the United States could create additional regulatory burdens on our operations and negatively affect our results of operations.
If psilocybin and/or psilocin, other than the FDA-approved formulation, is rescheduled under the CSA as a Schedule II or lower controlled substance (i.e., Schedule III, IV or V), the ability to conduct research on psilocybin and psilocin would most likely be improved. However, rescheduling psilocybin and psilocin may materially alter enforcement policies across many federal agencies, primarily the FDA and DEA. The FDA is responsible for ensuring public health and safety through regulation of food, drugs, supplements, and cosmetics, among other products, through its enforcement authority pursuant to the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, or the FDCA. The FDA’s responsibilities include regulating the ingredients as well as the marketing and labeling of drugs sold in interstate commerce. Because it is currently illegal under federal law to produce and sell psilocybin and psilocin, and because there are no federally recognized medical uses, the FDA has historically deferred enforcement related to psilocybin and psilocin to the DEA. If psilocybin and psilocin were to be rescheduled to a federally controlled, yet legal, substance, the FDA would likely play a more active regulatory role. The DEA would continue to be active in regulating manufacturing, distribution and dispensing of such substances. The potential for multi-agency enforcement post-rescheduling could threaten or have a materially adverse effect on our business.
COMP360 contains controlled substances, the use of which may generate public controversy. Adverse publicity or public perception regarding psilocybin or our current or future investigational therapies using psilocybin may negatively influence the success of these therapies.
Therapies containing controlled substances may generate public controversy. Political and social pressures and adverse publicity could lead to delays in approval of, and increased expenses for, COMP360 and any future therapeutic candidates we may develop. Opponents of these therapies may seek restrictions on marketing and withdrawal of any regulatory approvals. In addition, these opponents may seek to generate negative publicity in an effort to persuade the medical community to reject these therapies. For example, we may face media-communicated criticism directed at our clinical development program. Adverse publicity from psilocybin misuse may adversely affect the commercial success or market penetration achievable by our investigational COMP360 psilocybin therapy. Anti-psychedelic protests have historically occurred and may occur in the future and generate media coverage. Political pressures and adverse publicity could lead to delays in, and increased expenses for, and limit or restrict the introduction and marketing of, our investigational COMP360 psilocybin therapy or any future therapeutic candidates.
If COMP360 or any future therapeutic candidates are approved for commercial sale, we will be highly dependent upon consumer perceptions of the safety and quality of our therapies. We may face limited adoption if third-party therapy sites, therapists, and patients are unwilling to try such a novel treatment. There has been a history of negative media coverage regarding psychedelic substances, including psilocybin, which may affect the public’s perception of our therapies. In addition, psilocybin elicits intense psychological experiences, and this could deter patients from choosing this course of treatment. We could be adversely affected if we were subject to negative publicity or if any of our therapies or any similar therapies distributed by other companies prove to be, or are asserted to be, harmful to patients. Because of our dependence upon consumer perception, any adverse publicity associated with illness or other adverse effects resulting from patients’ use or misuse of our therapies or any similar therapies distributed by other companies could have a material adverse impact on our business, prospects, financial condition and results of operations.
Future adverse events in research into depression and mental health diseases on which we focus our research efforts, or the pharmaceutical industry more generally, could also result in greater governmental regulation, stricter labeling requirements and potential regulatory delays in the testing or approvals of our therapies. Any increased scrutiny could delay or increase the costs of obtaining regulatory approval for COMP360 or any future therapeutic candidates.
Clinical drug development is a lengthy and expensive process with uncertain timelines and uncertain outcomes. If clinical trials of COMP360 or any future therapeutic candidates are prolonged or delayed, we or our current or future collaborators may be unable to obtain required regulatory approvals, and therefore we will be unable to commercialize our investigational COMP360 psilocybin therapy or any future therapeutic candidates on a timely basis or at all, which will adversely affect our business.
Clinical testing is expensive and can take many years to complete, and its outcome is inherently uncertain. Failure can occur at any time during the clinical trial process and our future clinical trial results may not be successful.
We may experience delays in completing our ongoing clinical trial and initiating or completing additional clinical trials. We may also experience numerous unforeseen events, and in some cases have experienced such events, during our clinical trials that could delay or prevent our ability to receive marketing approval or commercialize our investigational COMP360 psilocybin therapy or any future therapeutic candidates, including:
•delays in or failure to obtain regulatory approval to commence or modify a trial, including the imposition of a temporary or permanent clinical hold by regulatory authorities for a number of reasons, including after review of an Investigational New Drug Application, or IND, or amendment, clinical trial application, or CTA, or amendment, or equivalent application or amendment, as a result of a finding that the trial presents unreasonable risk to clinical trial participants or a negative finding from an inspection of our clinical trial operations or study sites, or the occurrence of a suspected, unexpected serious adverse reaction, or SUSAR, which we have experienced in the past, or serious adverse reaction, or SAE, during our clinical trials or investigator-initiated studies, or IISs, using COMP360;
•delays in or failure to reach agreement on acceptable terms with prospective contract research organizations, or CROs, and clinical trial sites, the terms of which can be subject to extensive negotiation and may vary significantly among different CROs and trial sites;
•delays in or failure to obtain institutional review board, or IRB, or ethics committee approval at each site;
•delays in or failure to recruit a sufficient number of suitable patients to participate in a trial;
•failure to have patients complete a trial or return for post-treatment follow-up;
•clinical sites deviating from trial protocol or dropping out of a trial;
•challenges related to conducting adequate and well-controlled clinical trials, including designing an appropriate comparator arm in studies given the potential difficulties related to maintaining the blinding during the trial or placebo or nocebo effects;
•adding new clinical trial sites;
•availability of adequately trained therapists and appropriate third-party clinical trial sites for the conduct of psilocybin therapy sessions, including preparation, psilocybin administration and integration of the therapeutic experience;
•sufficiency of any supporting digital services that may form part of the preparation, integration or long-term follow-up relating to any therapy we develop;
•failure to contract for the manufacture of sufficient quantities of the underlying therapeutic substance for use in clinical trials in a timely manner;
•third-party actions claiming infringement by our investigational COMP360 psilocybin therapy or any future therapeutic candidates in clinical trials and obtaining injunctions interfering with our progress;
•safety or tolerability concerns which could cause us or our collaborators, as applicable, to suspend or terminate a trial if we or our collaborators find that the participants are being exposed to unacceptable health risks;
•changes in regulatory requirements, policies and guidelines;
•lower than anticipated retention rates of patients and patients in clinical trials;
•our third-party research contractors failing to comply with regulatory requirements or meet their contractual obligations to us in a timely manner, or at all;
•delays in establishing the appropriate dosage levels in clinical trials;
•delays in our clinical trials due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, due to factors such as a decrease in the willingness or availability of patients to enroll in our clinical trials and challenges in procuring sufficient supplies of the underlying therapeutic substance;
•the quality or stability of the underlying therapeutic substance falling below acceptable standards; and
•business interruptions resulting from geo-political actions, including war and terrorism, natural disasters including earthquakes, typhoons, floods and fires, pandemics, or failures or significant downtime of our information technology systems resulting from cyber-attacks on such systems or otherwise.
We could encounter delays if a clinical trial is suspended or terminated by us, by the institutional review boards, or IRBs of the institutions in which such trials are being conducted or ethics committees, by the Data Review Committee, or DRC, or Data Safety Monitoring Board for such trial or by the FDA, the EMA, the MHRA or other regulatory authorities or if the DEA registration of an investigator or site conducting the clinical trial is revoked. Such authorities may impose such a suspension or termination due to a number of factors, including failure to conduct the clinical trial in accordance with regulatory requirements or our clinical protocols, inspection of the clinical trial operations or trial site by the FDA, the EMA, the MHRA or other regulatory authorities resulting in the imposition of a clinical hold, unforeseen safety issues or adverse side effects, including any SUSARs or SAEs which have in the past or may in the future occur in our trials or any IISs or other studies using COMP360 and those relating to the class to which COMP360 or any future therapeutic candidates belong, failure to demonstrate a benefit from using a drug, changes in governmental regulations or administrative actions or lack of adequate funding to continue the clinical trial. For example, on June 18, 2018, the FDA placed COMP360 on clinical hold after it reviewed our initial IND submission, citing the need for additional information regarding the structure of the psilocybin sessions, study personnel, and criteria for discharge. We submitted responsive information to our IND, and the FDA removed the clinical hold on August 8, 2018. If we experience delays in the completion of, or termination of, any clinical trial of COMP360 or any future therapeutic candidates, the commercial prospects of our investigational COMP360 psilocybin therapy or any future therapeutic candidates will be harmed, and our ability to generate revenue from any such therapeutic candidates will be delayed. In addition, any delays in completing our clinical trials will likely increase our costs, slow down COMP360 or any future therapeutic candidate development and approval process and jeopardize our ability to commence sales and generate revenue. Moreover, if we make changes to COMP360 or any future therapeutic candidates, we may need to conduct additional studies to bridge such modified therapeutic candidates to earlier versions, which could delay our clinical development plan or marketing approval for our investigational COMP360 psilocybin therapy or any future therapeutic candidates. Significant clinical trial delays could also allow our competitors to bring therapies to market before we do or shorten any periods during which we have the exclusive right to commercialize our investigational COMP360 psilocybin therapy or any future therapeutic candidates and impair our ability to commercialize our investigational COMP360 psilocybin therapy or any future therapeutic candidates and may harm our business and results of operations.
Any of these occurrences may harm our business, financial condition and prospects significantly. In addition, many of the factors that cause, or lead to, a delay in the commencement or completion of clinical trials may also ultimately lead to the denial of regulatory approval of COMP360 or any future therapeutic candidates or result in the development of our investigational COMP360 psilocybin therapy or any future therapeutic candidates being stopped early.
Our clinical trials may fail to demonstrate substantial evidence of the safety and effectiveness of COMP360 or any future product candidates that we may identify and pursue, which would prevent, delay or limit the scope of regulatory approval and commercialization.
Before obtaining regulatory approvals for the commercial sale of our investigational COMP360 psilocybin therapy or future therapeutic candidates, we must demonstrate through lengthy, complex and expensive preclinical studies and clinical trials that the applicable therapeutic candidate is both safe and effective for use in each target indication. A therapeutic candidate must demonstrate an adequate risk versus benefit profile in its intended patient population and for its intended use.
Clinical testing is expensive and can take many years to complete, and its outcome is inherently uncertain. Failure can occur at any time during the clinical development process and, because our investigational COMP360 psilocybin therapy is in an early stage of development, there is a high risk of failure and we may never succeed in developing marketable products. Most product candidates that begin clinical trials are never approved by regulatory authorities for commercialization. We have limited experience in designing clinical trials and may be unable to design and execute a clinical trial to support marketing approval.
We cannot be certain that our current clinical trials or any other future clinical trials will be successful. Clinical trials that we conduct may not demonstrate the efficacy and safety necessary to obtain regulatory approval to market our investigational COMP360 psilocybin therapy. In some instances, there can be significant variability in safety or efficacy results between different clinical trials of the same therapeutic candidate due to numerous factors, including changes in trial procedures set forth in protocols, differences in the size and type of the patient populations, changes in and adherence to the clinical trial protocols and the rate of dropout among clinical trial participants. If the results of our ongoing or future clinical trials are inconclusive with respect to the efficacy of COMP360, if we do not meet the clinical endpoints with statistical and clinically meaningful significance, or if there are safety concerns associated with COMP360, we may be delayed in obtaining marketing approval, or we may never obtain marketing approval. Any safety concerns observed in any one of our clinical trials in our targeted indications could limit the prospects for regulatory approval of COMP360 in those and other indications, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Even if our clinical trials are successfully completed, preclinical and clinical data are often susceptible to varying interpretations and analyses and we cannot guarantee that the FDA, the EMA or comparable foreign regulatory authorities will interpret the results as we do. Accordingly, more trials could be required before we submit COMP360 for approval. To the extent that the results of the trials are not satisfactory to the FDA, the EMA or comparable foreign regulatory authorities for support of a marketing application, approval of COMP360 may be significantly delayed, or we may be required to expend significant resources, which may not be available to us, to conduct additional trials in support of potential approval of COMP360. Moreover, results acceptable to support approval in one jurisdiction may be deemed inadequate by another regulatory authority to support regulatory approval in that other jurisdiction. Due to the inherent risk in the development of therapeutic substances, there is a significant likelihood that COMP360 and any future therapeutic candidates will not successfully complete development and receive approval. Many other companies that believed their therapeutic candidates performed satisfactorily in preclinical studies and clinical trials have nonetheless failed to obtain regulatory approval for the marketing of their therapy. If we do not receive regulatory approvals for COMP360 or future therapeutic candidates, we may not be able to continue our operations. Even if regulatory approval is secured for COMP360 or any future therapeutic candidate, the terms of such approval may limit the scope and use of a specific therapeutic candidate, which may also limit its commercial potential.
Interim, top-line and preliminary data from our clinical trials that we announce or publish from time to time may change as more patient data become available and are subject to audit and verification procedures that could result in material changes in the final data. These data may not be sufficient to support regulatory submissions or approvals.
We have in the past published and, from time to time in the future we may publish, interim, top-line or preliminary data from our clinical trials. We may decide to conduct an interim analysis of the data after a certain number or percentage of subjects have been enrolled, but before completion of the trial. Similarly, we may report top-line or preliminary results of primary and key secondary endpoints before the final trial results are completed. Interim, top-line and preliminary data from our clinical trials may change as more patient data or analyses become available. Preliminary, top-line or interim data from our clinical trials are not necessarily predictive of final results. Interim, top-line and preliminary data are subject to the risk that one or more of the clinical outcomes may materially change as patient enrollment continues, more patient data become available and we issue our final clinical trial report. Interim, top-line and preliminary data also remain subject to audit and verification procedures that may result in the final data being materially different from the preliminary data we previously published. As a result, interim, top-line and preliminary data should be viewed with caution until the final data are available. Material adverse changes in the final data compared to the interim data could significantly harm our business prospects.
Further, others, including regulatory agencies, may not accept or agree with our assumptions, estimates, calculations, conclusions or analyses or may interpret or weigh the importance of data differently, which could impact the value of the particular program, the approvability or commercialization of the particular therapeutic candidate and our company in general, and regulatory agencies may request further data from us. In addition, you or others may not agree with what we determine is the material or otherwise appropriate information to include in our disclosure, and any information we determine not to disclose may ultimately be deemed significant with respect to future decisions, conclusions, views, activities or otherwise regarding a particular therapeutic candidate. If the top-line data that we report differ from actual results, or if others, including regulatory authorities, disagree with the conclusions reached, our ability to obtain approval for, and commercialize COMP360 or any future product candidate, our business, operating results, prospects or financial condition may be harmed.
The regulatory approval process of the FDA, the EMA, the MHRA and comparable foreign authorities are lengthy, time-consuming and inherently unpredictable, and if we are ultimately unable to obtain regulatory approval for COMP360 and any future therapeutic candidates, our business will be substantially harmed.
We have not previously submitted a new drug application, or NDA, to the FDA, or a marketing authorization application, or MAA, to the EMA or the MHRA. Before obtaining regulatory approvals for the commercial sale of COMP360 or any future therapeutic candidates, we must demonstrate through lengthy, complex and expensive preclinical testing and clinical trials that COMP360 and any future therapeutic candidates are both safe and effective for use in each target indication. Clinical testing is expensive and can take many years to complete, and its outcome is inherently uncertain. Failure can occur at any time during the clinical trial process, and, because COMP360 is in an early stage of development, there is a high risk of failure and we may never succeed in developing marketable products.
The time required to obtain approval by the FDA, the EMA, the MHRA and comparable foreign authorities is unpredictable but typically takes many years following the commencement of clinical trials and depends upon numerous factors, including the substantial discretion of the regulatory authorities. In addition, approval policies, regulations, or the type and amount of clinical data necessary to gain approval may change during the course of a therapeutic candidate’s clinical development and may vary among jurisdictions. We have not obtained regulatory approval for COMP360. It is possible that neither COMP360 nor any future therapeutic candidates we may seek to develop in the future will ever obtain regulatory approval.
COMP360 or any future therapeutic candidates could fail to receive regulatory approval from the FDA, the EMA, the MHRA or comparable foreign regulatory authorities or be precluded from commercial marketing for many reasons, including the following:
•the FDA, the EMA, the MHRA or comparable foreign regulatory authorities may disagree with, question or request changes in the design or implementation of our clinical trials;
•the FDA, the EMA, the MHRA or comparable foreign regulatory authorities may determine that COMP360 or any future therapeutic candidates are not safe and effective, only moderately effective, or have undesirable or unintended side effects, toxicities, or other characteristics that preclude our obtaining marketing approval or prevent or limit commercial use;
•the results of clinical trials may not meet the level of statistical significance required by the FDA, the EMA, the MHRA or comparable foreign regulatory authorities for approval;
•we may be unable to demonstrate that our investigational COMP360 psilocybin therapy or any future therapeutic candidate’s clinical and other benefits outweigh its safety risks;
•the FDA, the EMA, the MHRA or comparable foreign regulatory authorities may disagree with our interpretation of data from preclinical studies or clinical trials;
•the data collected from clinical trials of our investigational COMP360 psilocybin therapy or any future therapeutic candidates may not be sufficient to support the submission of an NDA or other submission, or to obtain regulatory approval in the United States or elsewhere;
•the FDA, the EMA, the MHRA or comparable foreign regulatory authorities may find deficiencies with or fail to approve the manufacturing processes or facilities of third-party manufacturers with which we contract for clinical and commercial supplies;
•the approval policies or regulations of the FDA, the EMA, the MHRA or comparable foreign regulatory authorities may significantly change in a manner rendering our clinical data insufficient for approval; and
•the potential risk of our novel therapy and delivery method, including the use of third-party clinical trial sites and therapists.
This lengthy approval process, as well as the unpredictability of future clinical trial results, may result in our failing to obtain regulatory approval to market any COMP360 or any future therapeutic candidates, which would significantly harm our business, results of operations and prospects. The FDA, the EMA, the MHRA and other comparable foreign authorities have substantial discretion in the approval process and determining when or whether regulatory approval will be obtained for any of COMP360 or any future therapeutic candidates. Even if we believe the data collected from clinical trials of COMP360 or any future therapeutic candidates are promising, such data may not be sufficient to support approval by the FDA, the EMA, the MHRA or any other regulatory authority. If COMP360 or any future therapeutic candidates fails to obtain approval on the
basis of any applicable condensed regulatory approval process, this will prevent such therapeutic candidate from obtaining approval on a shortened time frame, or at all, resulting in increased expenses which would materially harm our business.
In addition, even if we were to obtain approval, regulatory or pricing authorities may approve COMP360 or any future therapeutic candidates for fewer or more limited indications than we request, may not approve the price we intend to charge for our therapies, may grant approval contingent on the performance of costly post-marketing clinical trials, or may approve a therapeutic candidate with a label that does not include the labeling claims necessary or desirable for the successful commercialization of that therapeutic candidate. For example, esketamine, a drug targeting major depressive disorder, or MDD, is only available through a Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy, or REMS, program, under the applicable FDA regulations. Any of the foregoing scenarios may have a negative impact on the commercial prospects for our investigational COMP360 psilocybin therapy or any future therapeutic candidates.
Even if COMP360 or any future therapeutic candidates obtain regulatory approval, we will be subject to ongoing obligations and continued regulatory review, which may result in significant additional expense. Additionally, any such therapeutic candidates, if approved, could be subject to labeling and other restrictions and market withdrawal and we may be subject to penalties if we fail to comply with regulatory requirements or experience unanticipated problems with our investigational COMP360 psilocybin therapy or any future therapeutic candidates.
If the FDA, the EMA, the MHRA or a comparable foreign regulatory authority approves COMP360 or any future therapeutic candidates, the manufacturing processes, labeling, packaging, distribution, adverse event reporting, storage, advertising, promotion and recordkeeping for the therapy and underlying therapeutic substance will be subject to extensive and ongoing regulatory requirements. These requirements include submissions of safety and other post-marketing information and reports, registration, as well as continued compliance with current good manufacturing practices, or cGMPs, and with good clinical practices, or GCPs, for any clinical trials that we conduct post-approval, as well as applicable product tracking and tracing requirements, all of which may result in significant expense and limit our ability to commercialize such therapies. Additionally, a company may not promote “off-label” uses for its drug products. An off-label use is the use of a product for an indication that is not described in the product’s FDA-approved label in the U.S. or for uses in other jurisdictions that differ from those approved by the applicable regulatory agencies. Physicians, on the other hand, may prescribe products for off-label uses. Although the FDA and other regulatory agencies do not regulate a physician’s choice of drug treatment made in the physician’s independent medical judgment, they do restrict promotional communications from companies or their sales force with respect to off-label uses of products for which marketing clearance has not been issued. Later discovery of previously unknown problems with any approved therapeutic candidate, including adverse events of unanticipated severity or frequency, or with our third-party manufacturers or manufacturing processes, or failure to comply with regulatory requirements, may result in, among other things:
•restrictions on the labeling, distribution, marketing or manufacturing of COMP360 or any future therapeutic candidates, withdrawal of the product from the market, or product recalls;
•untitled and warning letters, or holds on clinical trials;
•refusal by the FDA, the EMA, the MHRA or other foreign regulatory body to approve pending applications or supplements to approved applications we filed or suspension or revocation of license approvals;
•requirements to conduct post-marketing studies or clinical trials;
•restrictions on coverage by third-party payors;
•fines, restitution or disgorgement of profits or revenue;
•suspension or withdrawal of marketing approvals;
•product seizure or detention, or refusal to permit the import or export of the product; and
•injunctions or the imposition of civil or criminal penalties.
In addition, any regulatory approvals that we receive for COMP360 or any future therapeutic candidates may also be subject to limitations on the approved indicated uses for which the therapy may be marketed or to the conditions of approval, or contain requirements for potentially costly post-marketing testing, including Phase IV clinical trials, and surveillance to monitor the safety and efficacy of such therapeutic candidates. For instance, we believe that COMP360, if approved, would be
subject to a REMS program, under the applicable FDA regulations. REMS programs are costly and time-consuming for providers to comply with, involving high administrative burden, which could delay or limit our ability to commercialize our investigational COMP360 psilocybin therapy.
If there are changes in the application of legislation, regulations or regulatory policies, or if problems are discovered with our investigational COMP360 psilocybin therapy or our manufacture of an underlying therapeutic substance, or if we or one of our distributors, licensees or co-marketers fails to comply with regulatory requirements, the regulators could take various actions. These include imposing fines on us, imposing restrictions on the therapeutic or its manufacture and requiring us to recall or remove the therapeutic from the market. The regulators could also suspend or withdraw our marketing authorizations, requiring us to conduct additional clinical trials, change our therapeutic labeling or submit additional applications for marketing authorization. If any of these events occurs, our ability to sell such therapy may be impaired, and we may incur substantial additional expense to comply with regulatory requirements, which could materially adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.
COMP360 and any future therapeutic candidates we may develop may have serious adverse, undesirable or unacceptable side effects which may delay or prevent marketing approval. If such side effects are identified during the development of COMP360 or any future therapeutic candidates or following approval, if any, we may need to abandon our development of such therapeutic candidates, the commercial profile of any approved label may be limited, or we may be subject to other significant negative consequences.
Undesirable side effects that may be caused by COMP360 or any future therapeutic candidates could cause us or regulatory authorities to interrupt, delay or halt clinical trials or result in clinical holds and could result in a more restrictive label, a requirement that we implement a REMS plan to ensure that the benefits of the therapy outweigh its risks, or the delay or denial of regulatory approval by the FDA, the EMA, the MHRA or other comparable foreign authorities. We or regulatory authorities may also learn of and take similar actions based on side effects related to COMP360 or compounds similar to COMP360 or any future therapeutic candidates in studies not conducted by us, including in IISs or studies conducted by other sponsors, from spontaneous reports of use of psilocybin outside of the clinical trial setting or from safety reports in literature.
The results of future clinical studies may show that COMP360 or any future therapeutic candidates cause undesirable or unacceptable side effects or even death. For example, there were a number of treatment emergent adverse events reported with the results of our Phase II clinical trial in TRD (as described in “Business” above). There can be no assurance that deaths or serious side effects will not occur, even in a clinical setting. In the event serious side effects occur, our trials could be suspended or terminated and the FDA, the EMA, the MHRA or comparable foreign regulatory authorities could order us to cease further development of or deny approval of COMP360 or any future therapeutic candidates for any or all targeted indications. The drug-related side effects could affect patient recruitment or the ability of enrolled patients to complete the trial or result in potential product liability claims. Further, because of the high variability in how different individuals react to psilocybin, certain patients may have negative experiences with the treatment that could subject us to liability or, if publicized, reputational harm. Any of these occurrences may harm our business, financial condition and prospects significantly.
Clinical trials are conducted in representative samples of the potential patient population which may have significant variability. Even if we receive regulatory approval for COMP360 or any future therapeutic candidates, we will have tested them in only a limited number of patients during our clinical trials. Clinical trials are by design based on a limited number of subjects and of limited duration for exposure to the therapy used to determine whether, on a potentially statistically significant basis, the planned safety and efficacy of any such therapeutic candidate can be achieved. As with the results of any statistical sampling, we cannot be sure that all side effects of COMP360 or any future therapeutic candidates may be uncovered, and it may be the case that only with a significantly larger number of patients exposed to such therapeutic candidate for a longer duration, may a more complete safety profile be identified. Further, even larger clinical trials may not identify rare serious adverse effects or the duration of such studies may not be sufficient to identify when those events may occur. If our applications for marketing are approved and more patients begin to use our therapy, new risks and side effects associated with our therapies may be discovered. There have been other products and therapies that have been approved by the regulatory authorities but for which safety concerns have been uncovered following approval. Such safety concerns have led to labelling changes or withdrawal of therapies from the market, and our investigational COMP360 psilocybin therapy and any future therapeutic candidates may be subject to similar risks. We might have to withdraw or recall our investigational COMP360 psilocybin therapy and any future therapeutic candidates from the marketplace. We may also experience a significant drop in the potential future sales of our investigational COMP360 psilocybin therapy or any future therapeutic candidates if and when regulatory approvals for such therapy are obtained, experience harm to our reputation in the marketplace or become subject to lawsuits, including class actions. Any of these results could decrease or prevent any sales of our approved therapeutic
candidates, if any, or substantially increase the costs and expenses of commercializing and marketing our investigational COMP360 psilocybin therapy and any future therapeutic candidates.
Additionally, if our investigational COMP360 psilocybin therapy or any future therapeutic candidates receive marketing approval and we or others later identify undesirable or unacceptable side effects caused by such therapeutic candidates, a number of potentially significant negative consequences could result, including the following:
•regulatory authorities may withdraw approvals of such therapies and require us to take our approved therapeutic candidates, if any, off the market;
•regulatory authorities may require the addition of labeling statements, specific warnings, a contraindication or field alerts to physicians and pharmacies;
•regulatory authorities may require a medication guide outlining the risks of such side effects for distribution to patients, or that we implement a REMS plan to ensure that the benefits of the therapeutic candidate outweigh its risks;
•we may be required to change the way the therapy is administered, conduct additional clinical trials or change the labeling of the therapeutic candidate;
•we may be subject to limitations on how we may promote the therapeutic candidate;
•sales of the therapy may decrease significantly;
•we may be subject to litigation or product liability claims; and
•our reputation may suffer.
Any of these events could prevent us or our potential future collaborators from achieving or maintaining market acceptance of the affected therapeutic candidate or could substantially increase commercialization costs and expenses, which in turn could delay or prevent us from generating significant revenue from the sale of our investigational COMP360 psilocybin therapy or any future therapeutic candidates.
Even if we obtain FDA, EMA or MHRA approval for COMP360 or any future therapeutic candidates that we may identify and pursue in the United States, Europe or the UK, we may never obtain approval to commercialize any such therapeutic candidates outside of those jurisdictions, which would limit our ability to realize their full market potential.
In order to market any products outside of the United States, we must establish and comply with numerous and varying regulatory requirements of other countries regarding safety and effectiveness. Clinical trials conducted in one country may not be accepted by regulatory authorities in other countries, and regulatory approval in one country does not mean that regulatory approval will be obtained in any other country. Approval processes vary among countries and can involve additional product testing and validation and additional or different administrative review periods 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 therapeutic candidate 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.
Seeking foreign regulatory approval could result in difficulties and costs and require additional preclinical studies or clinical trials which could be costly and time-consuming. Regulatory requirements can vary widely from country to country and could delay or prevent the introduction of our investigational COMP360 psilocybin therapy and any future therapeutic candidates in those countries. The foreign regulatory approval process may include all of the risks associated with obtaining FDA, EMA or MHRA approval. We do not have any therapeutic candidates approved for sale in any jurisdiction, including international markets, and we do not have experience in obtaining regulatory approval in international markets for COMP360 or any future therapeutic candidates. If we fail to comply with regulatory requirements in international markets or to obtain and maintain required approvals, or if regulatory approval in international markets is delayed, our target market will be reduced and our ability to realize the full market potential of our investigational COMP360 psilocybin therapy and any future therapeutic candidates will be harmed.
The results of preclinical studies and early-stage clinical trials of our investigational COMP360 psilocybin therapy or any future therapeutic candidates may not be predictive of the results of later stage clinical trials. Initial success in our ongoing clinical trials may not be indicative of results obtained when these trials are completed or in later stage trials.
Therapeutic candidates in later stages of clinical trials may fail to show the desired safety and efficacy traits despite having progressed through preclinical studies and initial clinical trials. Furthermore, there can be no assurance that any of our clinical trials will ultimately be successful or support further clinical development of COMP360 or any future therapeutic candidates. There is a high failure rate for drugs proceeding through clinical trials. A number of companies in the pharmaceutical industry have suffered significant setbacks in clinical development even after achieving promising results in earlier studies.
Additionally, several of our past, planned and ongoing clinical trials utilize an “open-label” trial design. An “open-label” clinical trial is one where both the patient and investigator know whether the patient is receiving the investigational product candidate or either an existing approved drug or placebo. Most typically, open-label clinical trials test only the investigational product candidate and sometimes may do so at different dose levels. Open-label clinical trials are subject to various limitations that may exaggerate any therapeutic effect as patients in open-label clinical trials are aware when they are receiving treatment. Open-label clinical trials may be subject to a “patient bias” where patients perceive their symptoms to have improved merely due to their awareness of receiving an experimental treatment. In addition, open-label clinical trials may be subject to an “investigator bias” where those assessing and reviewing the physiological outcomes of the clinical trials are aware of which patients have received treatment and may interpret the information of the treated group more favorably given this knowledge. The results from an open-label trial may not be predictive of future clinical trial results with any of our product candidates for which we include an open-label clinical trial when studied in a controlled environment with a placebo or active control.
Research and development of drugs targeting the central nervous system is particularly difficult, which makes it difficult to predict and understand why the drug has a positive effect on some patients but not others.
Discovery and development of new drugs targeting central nervous system, or CNS, disorders are particularly difficult and time-consuming, evidenced by the higher failure rate for new drugs for CNS disorders compared with most other areas of drug discovery. Any such setbacks in our clinical development could have a material adverse effect on our business and operating results. In addition, our later stage clinical trials may present challenges related to conducting adequate and well-controlled clinical trials, including designing an appropriate comparator arm in trials given the potential difficulties related to maintaining the blinding during the trial or placebo or nocebo effects.
Due to the complexity of the human brain and the central nervous system, it can be difficult to predict and understand why a drug, including COMP360, may have a positive effect on some patients but not others and why some individuals may react to the drug differently from others. The population of those suffering with TRD is large and heterogenous and individuals may have different levels of severity of TRD. These differences may further result in different reactions to impact the effectiveness of our investigational COMP360 psilocybin therapy. All of these factors may make it difficult to assess the prior use or the overall efficacy of our investigational COMP360 psilocybin therapy.
We depend on enrollment of patients in our clinical trials for COMP360 and any future therapeutic candidates. If we are unable to enroll patients in our clinical trials, our research and development efforts and business, financial condition and results of operations could be materially adversely affected.
Identifying and qualifying patients to participate in our clinical trials is critical to our success. Patient enrollment depends on many factors, including:
•the size of the patient population required for analysis of the trial’s primary endpoints and the process for identifying patients;
•identifying and enrolling eligible patients, including those willing to discontinue use of their existing medications;
•the design of the clinical protocol and the patient eligibility and exclusion criteria for the trial;
•safety profile, to date, of the therapeutic candidate under study;
•the willingness or availability of patients to participate in our trials, including due to the perceived risks and benefits, stigma or other side effects of use of a controlled substance;
•the willingness or availability of patients to participate in our trials, including due to impacts of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic;
•perceived risks and benefits of our approach to treatment of indication;
•the proximity of patients to clinical sites;
•our ability to recruit clinical trial investigators with the appropriate competencies and experience;
•the availability of competing clinical trials;
•the availability of new drugs approved for the indication the clinical trial is investigating;
•clinicians’ and patients’ perceptions of the potential advantages of the drug being studied in relation to other available therapies, including any new therapies that may be approved for the indications we are investigating; and
•our ability to obtain and maintain patient informed consents.
Even once enrolled, we may be unable to retain a sufficient number of patients to complete any of our trials.
In addition, any negative results we may report in clinical trials of COMP360 or any future therapeutic candidates may make it difficult or impossible to recruit and retain patients in other clinical trials of that same therapeutic candidate. Delays in the enrollment for any clinical trial of COMP360 or any future therapeutic candidates will likely increase our costs, slow down COMP360 approval process and delay or potentially jeopardize our ability to commence sales of our investigational COMP 360 psilocybin therapy and generate revenue. In addition, some of the factors that cause, or lead to, a delay in the commencement or completion of clinical trials may also ultimately lead to the denial of regulatory approval of COMP360 or any future therapeutic candidates.
Further, timely enrollment in clinical trials is reliant on clinical trial sites which may be adversely affected by global health matters, including, among other things, pandemics. For example, our clinical trial sites may be located in regions currently or in the future affected by the COVID-19 pandemic or which may in the future be impacted by other pandemics. Some factors from the COVID-19 pandemic that have delayed enrollment in our trial or that we believe could adversely affect enrollment in our trials in the future include:
•the diversion of healthcare resources away from the conduct of clinical trial matters to focus on pandemic concerns, including the attention of infectious disease physicians serving as our clinical trial investigators, hospitals serving as our clinical trial sites and hospital staff supporting the conduct of our clinical trials;
•the limitation of available participants for our trials;
•the inability of patients, therapists or physicians to come to hospitals and universities to participate in our trials, leading to delays and increased costs;
•limitations on travel that interrupt key trial activities, such as clinical trial site initiations and monitoring and patient preparation and integration sessions;
•interruption in global shipping affecting the transport of clinical trial materials, such as investigational drug product and comparator drugs used in our trials; and
•employee furlough days that delay necessary interactions with local regulators, ethics committees and other important agencies and contractors.
These and other factors arising from the COVID-19 pandemic could worsen in countries that are already afflicted with the virus or could continue to spread to additional countries, each of which may further adversely impact our clinical trials. The global outbreak of COVID-19 continues to evolve and the conduct of our trials may continue to be adversely affected, despite efforts to mitigate this impact.
We have never commercialized a therapeutic candidate before and may lack the necessary expertise, personnel and resources to successfully commercialize our therapies on our own or with suitable collaborators.
While we are currently assembling a sales and marketing infrastructure, we have limited organizational experience in the sale or marketing of therapeutic candidates. To achieve commercial success for any approved therapy, we must develop or acquire a sales and marketing organization, outsource these functions to third parties or enter into partnerships.
If our investigational COMP360 psilocybin therapy is approved for commercial sale, we plan on establishing our own market access and commercialization capabilities in primary markets in North America and in the EU. In select geographies, we might also consider relying on the support of a Contract Sales Organization, or CSO, or enter into commercialization arrangements with companies with relevant commercialization capabilities. There are risks involved in establishing our own sales and marketing capabilities, as well as with entering into arrangements with third parties to perform these services. Even if we establish sales and marketing capabilities, we may fail to launch our therapies effectively or to market our therapies effectively since we have limited organizational experience in the sales and marketing of therapeutic substances. In addition, recruiting and training a sales force is expensive and time-consuming, and could delay any therapeutic launch. In the event that any such launch is delayed or does not occur for any reason, we would have prematurely or unnecessarily incurred these commercialization expenses, and our investment would be lost if we cannot retain or reposition our sales and marketing personnel. Factors that may inhibit our efforts to commercialize our therapies on our own include:
•our inability to train an adequate number of therapists to meet the demand for psilocybin therapy;
•the ability of our therapists to perform their roles consistently with our training and our guidelines for the administration of our investigational COMP360 psilocybin therapy;
•our inability to recruit, train and retain effective market access and commercial personnel;
•the inability of commercial personnel to obtain access to or educate adequate numbers of physicians on the benefits of prescribing any future therapies;
•our inability to identify a sufficient number of treatment centers in third-party therapy sites to meet the demands of our therapies;
•the lack of complementary therapies to be offered by our commercial personnel, which may put us at a competitive disadvantage relative to companies with more extensive therapeutic lines;
•unforeseen costs and expenses associated with creating an independent market access and commercial organization; and
•costs of market access and commercialization above those anticipated by us.
If we enter into arrangements with third parties to perform market access and commercial services for any approved therapies, the revenue or the profitability of these revenues to us could be lower than if we were to commercialize any therapies that we develop ourselves. Such collaborative arrangements may place the commercialization of any approved therapies outside of our control and would make us subject to a number of risks including that we may not be able to control the amount or timing of resources that our collaborative partner devotes to our therapies or that our collaborator’s willingness or ability to complete its obligations, and our obligations under our arrangements may be adversely affected by business combinations or significant changes in our collaborator’s business strategy. We may not be successful in entering into arrangements with third parties to commercialize our therapies or may be unable to do so on terms that are favorable to us. Acceptable third parties may fail to devote the necessary resources and attention to commercialize our therapies effectively, to set up sufficient number of treatment centers in third-party therapy sites, or to recruit, train and retain adequate number of therapists to administer our therapies. In addition, we are exploring ways in which we can use digital technology to improve the patient experience and therapeutic outcomes of our therapies. Commercialization partners may lack incentives to promote our digital technology and we may face difficulties in implementing our digital technologies in third-party therapy sites through such third parties.
If we do not establish commercial capabilities successfully, either on our own or in collaboration with third parties, we may not be successful in commercializing our therapies, which in turn would have a material adverse effect on our business, prospects, financial condition and results of operations.
The future commercial success of our investigational COMP360 psilocybin therapy or any future therapeutic candidates will depend on the degree of market access and acceptance of our potential therapies among healthcare professionals, patients, healthcare payors, health technology assessment bodies and the medical community at large.
We may never have a therapy that is commercially successful. To date, we have no therapy authorized for marketing. Our investigational COMP360 psilocybin therapy requires further clinical investigation, regulatory review, significant market access and marketing efforts and substantial investment before it can produce any revenue. Furthermore, if approved, our therapy may not achieve an adequate level of acceptance by payors, health technology assessment bodies, healthcare professionals, patients and the medical community at large, and we may not become profitable. The level of acceptance we ultimately achieve may be affected by negative public perceptions and historic media coverage of psychedelic substances, including psilocybin. Because of this history, efforts to educate the medical community and third-party payors and health technologies assessment bodies on the benefits of our investigational COMP360 psilocybin therapy may require significant resources and may never be successful, which would prevent us from generating significant revenue or becoming profitable. Market acceptance of our future therapies by healthcare professionals, patients, healthcare payors and health technology assessment bodies will depend on a number of factors, many of which are beyond our control, including, but not limited to, the following:
•acceptance by healthcare professionals, patients and healthcare payors of each therapy as safe, effective and cost-effective;
•changes in the standard of care for the targeted indications for any therapeutic candidate;
•the strength of sales, marketing and distribution support;
•potential product liability claims;
•the therapeutic candidate’s relative convenience, ease of use, ease of administration and other perceived advantages over alternative therapies;
•the prevalence and severity of adverse events or publicity;
•limitations, precautions or warnings listed in the summary of therapeutic characteristics, patient information leaflet, package labeling or instructions for use;
•the cost of treatment with our therapy in relation to alternative treatments;
•the steps that prescribers and dispensers must take, given that COMP360 includes a controlled substance, as well as the perceived risks based upon its controlled substance status;
•the ability to manufacture our product in sufficient quantities and yields;
•the availability and amount of coverage and reimbursement from healthcare payors, and the willingness of patients to pay out of pocket in the absence of healthcare payor coverage or adequate reimbursement;
•the willingness of the target patient population to try, and of healthcare professionals to prescribe, the therapy;
•any potential unfavorable publicity, including negative publicity associated with recreational use or abuse of psilocybin;
•any restrictions on the use, sale or distribution of our investigational COMP360 psilocybin therapy or any future therapeutic candidates, including through REMS;
•the extent to which therapies are approved for inclusion and reimbursed on formularies of hospitals and managed care organizations; and
•whether our therapies are designated under physician treatment guidelines or under reimbursement guidelines as a first-line, second-line, third-line or last-line therapy.
If our investigational COMP360 psilocybin therapy or any future therapeutic candidates fail to gain market access and acceptance, this will have a material adverse impact on our ability to generate revenue to provide a satisfactory, or any, return on our investments. Even if some therapies achieve market access and acceptance, the market may prove not to be large enough to allow us to generate significant revenue.
Our business and commercialization strategy depends on our ability to identify, qualify, prepare, certify and support third-party therapy sites offering any approved therapy. If we are unable to do so, our commercialization prospects would be limited and our business, financial condition and results of operations would be harmed.
If we are able to commercialize our investigational COMP360 psilocybin therapy or future therapies, our success will be dependent upon our ability to identify, qualify, prepare, certify and support third-party therapy sites that offer and administer our therapies. Our commercial model of delivering our investigational COMP360 psilocybin therapy will also involve third-party therapists before, during and after the psilocybin administration session, which will be hosted in one of the third-party therapy sites. We intend to commercialize our investigational COMP360 psilocybin therapy and any future therapeutic candidates by building close relationships with qualified third-party therapy sites where these therapists will administer our investigational COMP360 psilocybin therapy. Because we intend to work only with third-party sites and providers who agree to adhere strictly to our treatment protocols, we may face limitations on the number of sites available to administer our investigational COMP360 psilocybin therapy. Any such limitations could make it impracticable or impossible for some potential patients to access our investigational COMP360 psilocybin therapy, if approved, which could limit the overall size of our potential patient population and harm our future results of operations. Although we plan to develop Centers of Excellence to train and certify such third-party therapy sites, conduct further research on and continuously improve our treatment protocol, we expect this to involve significant costs, time and resources, and our efforts may not be successful.
If we are unable to establish a sufficient network of third-party therapy sites certified under applicable standards, including regional, national, state or other applicable standards as needed to render psilocybin therapeutic services, including the certifications that such third-party therapy sites may require, it would have a material adverse effect on our business and ability to grow and would adversely affect our results of operations and commercialization efforts. We expect the therapists to be employed by the third-party therapy sites where the therapists administer our therapies. Third-party therapy sites could, for a number of reasons, demand higher payments for our therapies or take other actions to increase their income from selling our therapies, which could result in higher costs for payors and for our patients to get access to our therapies. For example, legal regimes may have higher levels of licensure which force us to contract with third-party therapy sites that demand higher payment rates to provide psilocybin therapeutic services. In addition, third-party therapy sites may have difficulty meeting regulatory or accreditation requirements.
Given the novel nature of our treatment, third-party therapy sites may face additional financial and administrative burdens in order to deliver any approved therapy, including adhering to a REMS plan in the United States or a Risk Management Program, or RMP, in Europe. The process for a third-party therapy site to obtain a certificate under a REMS plan can be very costly and time-consuming, which could delay a third-party therapy site’s ability to provide our therapies and materially adversely affect our commercialization trajectory. Furthermore, third-party therapy sites will need to ensure that they have the necessary infrastructure and equipment in order to deliver our investigational COMP360 psilocybin therapy, such as adequate audio-visual equipment, ancillary equipment and sufficient treatment rooms. This may deter third-party therapy sites from providing our therapeutic candidate and reduce our ability to expand our network and generate revenue. Our ability to develop and maintain satisfactory relationships with third-party therapy sites may otherwise be negatively impacted by other factors not associated with our operations and, in some instances, outside of our direct or indirect control, such as negative perceptions regarding the therapeutic use of psilocybin, changes in Medicare and/or Medicaid or commercial payors reimbursement levels and other pressures on healthcare providers and consolidation activity among hospitals, physician groups and the providers. Reimbursement levels may be inadequate to cover third-party therapy sites’ costs of delivering our investigational COMP360 psilocybin therapy. The failure to maintain or to secure new cost-effective contracts with third-party therapy sites may result in a loss of or inability to grow our network of third-party therapy sites, patient base, higher costs to our patients and us, healthcare provider network disruptions and/or difficulty in meeting regulatory or accreditation requirements, any of which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
We currently rely on qualified therapists working at third-party clinical trial sites to administer our investigational COMP360 psilocybin therapy in our clinical trials and we expect this to continue upon approval, if any, of COMP360 or any future therapeutic candidates. If third-party sites fail to recruit and retain a sufficient number of therapists or effectively manage their therapists, our business, financial condition and results of operations would be materially harmed.
We currently administer our investigational COMP360 psilocybin therapy in our clinical trials through qualified third-party therapists working at third-party clinical trial sites. However, there are currently not enough trained therapists to carry out our investigational COMP360 psilocybin therapy at a commercial scale, and our efforts to facilitate training and certification programs for therapists, including through our planned Centers of Excellence, may be unsuccessful.
While we currently provide training to the therapists and expect to continue providing trainings in the future (either directly or indirectly through third-party providers), we do not currently employ the therapists who deliver our therapies to patients and do not intend to do so in the future. Such therapists are typically employed by the third-party therapy sites. If our investigational COMP360 psilocybin therapy or any future therapeutic candidates are approved for commercialization, third-party therapy sites may demand substantial financial resources from us to recruit and retain a team of qualified therapists to administer our investigational COMP360 psilocybin therapy or any future therapeutic candidates. If the third-party therapy sites fail to recruit, train and retain sufficient number of therapists, our ability to offer and administer our therapies will be greatly harmed, which may in turn reduce the market acceptance rate of our therapies. If this occurs, our commercialization prospects would be negatively affected and our business, financial condition and results of operations would be harmed.
Although we currently provide training and expect to continue providing training to the therapists (directly or through third-party providers), we generally rely on qualified and certified third-party therapy sites to manage the therapists and monitor the administration of our therapies and ensure that the administration process of our therapies comply with our established protocols. However, if not properly managed and supervised, there is a risk that therapists may deviate from our training protocols, fail to follow the guidelines we have established, or abuse patients during psilocybin administration sessions. The therapists might also administer unauthorized therapies to patients using illegal psilocybin compounds in “underground” clinics. Such illegal activities would put the patients at risk and subject us to potential liabilities, litigations, regulatory proceedings and reputational harm. If this were to occur, we may face serious setbacks for our commercialization process and our financial condition and results of operations would be materially harmed.
Commercialization of our COMP360 psilocybin therapy or other therapeutic candidates is dependent on our relationships with affiliated professional entities, which we do not own, to provide physician services, and our business would be adversely affected if those relationships were disrupted.
There is a risk that U.S. state authorities in some jurisdictions may find that our contractual relationships with our affiliated providers and our Centers of Excellence violate laws prohibiting the corporate practice of medicine and certain other health professions. These laws generally prohibit the practice of medicine and certain other health professions by lay persons or entities and are intended to prevent unlicensed persons or entities from interfering with or inappropriately influencing the professional judgment of clinicians and other health care practitioners. The professions subject to corporate practice restrictions and the extent to which each jurisdiction considers particular actions or contractual relationships to constitute improper influence of professional judgment vary across jurisdictions and are subject to change and evolving interpretations by state boards of medicine and other health professions and enforcement agencies, among others. As such, we must monitor our compliance with laws in every jurisdiction in which we operate on an ongoing basis and we cannot guarantee that subsequent interpretation of the corporate practice laws will not further circumscribe our business operations. State corporate practice restrictions also often impose penalties on health professionals for aiding a corporate practice violation, which could discourage clinicians or other licensed professionals from participating in our network of providers or Centers of Excellence. Any difficulty securing clinicians to participate in our network could impair our ability to provide therapies and could have a material adverse effect on our business.
Corporate practice restrictions exist in some form, whether by statute, regulation, professional board or attorney general guidance, or case law, in at least 42 U.S. states, though the broad variation between jurisdictions with respect to the application and enforcement of the doctrine makes establishing an exact count difficult. Because of the prevalence of corporate practice restrictions on medicine, we contract for provider services and other services provided by the Centers for Excellence through various agreements, such as service agreements, rather than employ providers. We expect that these relationships will continue, but we cannot guarantee that they will. The arrangement in which we have entered to comply with state corporate practice of medicine doctrines could subject us to additional scrutiny by federal and state regulatory bodies regarding federal and state fraud and abuse laws. In addition, a material change in our relationship with the Providers, whether resulting from a dispute among the entities, a change in government regulation, or the loss of these affiliations, could impair our ability to provide therapies and could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Changes in methods of therapeutic candidate manufacturing or formulation may result in additional costs or delay.
As therapeutic candidates are developed through preclinical studies to late-stage clinical trials towards potential approval and commercialization, it is common that various aspects of the development program, such as manufacturing methods and formulation, may be altered along the way in an effort to optimize processes and results. Any of these changes could cause our investigational COMP360 psilocybin therapy or any future therapeutic candidates to perform differently and affect the results of planned clinical trials or other future clinical trials conducted with the materials manufactured using altered processes. Such changes may also require additional testing, FDA notification or FDA approval. This could delay completion of clinical trials,
require the conduct of bridging clinical trials or the repetition of one or more clinical trials, increase clinical trial costs, delay approval of COMP360 or any future therapeutic candidates and jeopardize our ability to commence product sales and generate revenue.
Breakthrough Therapy designation by the FDA for COMP360 or any future therapeutic candidates may not lead to a faster development or regulatory review or approval process and it does not increase the likelihood that our investigational COMP360 psilocybin therapy or any future therapeutic candidates will receive marketing approval.
We have received Breakthrough Therapy designation for COMP360 for the treatment of TRD and may seek it for any future therapeutic candidates. A breakthrough therapy is defined as a drug that is intended, alone or in combination with one or more other drugs, to treat a serious or life-threatening disease or condition and preliminary clinical evidence indicates that the drug may demonstrate substantial improvement over existing therapies on one or more clinically significant endpoints, such as substantial treatment effects observed early in clinical development. For drugs that have been designated as breakthrough therapies, interaction and communication between the FDA and the sponsor of the trial can help to identify the most efficient path for clinical development while minimizing the number of patients placed in ineffective control regimens. Drugs designated as breakthrough therapies by the FDA may also be eligible for accelerated approval.
Designation as a breakthrough therapy is within the discretion of the FDA. Accordingly, even if we believe any future therapeutic candidates meets the criteria for designation as a breakthrough therapy, the FDA may disagree and instead determine not to make such designation. In any event, the receipt of a Breakthrough Therapy designation for COMP360 and any future therapeutic candidates may not result in a faster development process, review or approval compared to drugs considered for approval under non-expedited FDA review procedures and does not assure ultimate approval by the FDA. In addition, even though COMP360 has been designated as a breakthrough therapy, the FDA may later decide that it, or any future therapeutic candidates that are designated by FDA as breakthrough therapies, no longer meet the conditions for qualification.
Fast Track designation by the FDA may not actually lead to a faster development or regulatory review or approval process.
We may seek Fast Track designation for COMP360 or any future therapeutic candidates. If a drug is intended for the treatment of a serious or life-threatening condition and the drug demonstrates the potential to address unmet medical needs for this condition, the drug sponsor may apply for Fast Track designation. The FDA has broad discretion whether or not to grant this designation, so even if we believe a particular therapeutic candidate is eligible for this designation, we cannot assure you that the FDA would decide to grant it. Even if we receive Fast Track designation for any future therapeutic candidates, we may not experience a faster development process, review or approval compared to non-expedited FDA review procedures. In addition, the FDA may withdraw Fast Track designation for any therapeutic candidate that is granted Fast Track designation if it believes that the designation is no longer supported by data from our clinical development program.
We may in the future enter into collaborations for the discovery, development and/or commercialization of additional therapeutic candidates or research programs. Such collaborations may not result in the development of commercially viable therapeutic candidates or the generation of significant future revenue, or we may fail to enter into profitable relationships.
We may enter into collaborations with pharmaceutical companies or others for the discovery, development and/or commercialization of future therapeutic candidates or research programs. For example, we are expanding our Discovery Center, a sponsored research agreement with University of the Sciences (Pennsylvania), through collaborations with academic laboratories at UC San Diego, School of Medicine (California), the Medical College of Wisconsin (Wisconsin), and Dr. Matthias Grill, CEO of MiHKAL GmbH (Switzerland). If we fail to enter into or maintain collaborations on reasonable terms, our ability to discover and develop future therapeutic candidates and research programs could be delayed or become more costly. Any future collaborations may subject us to a number of risks, including the following:
•the inability to control the amount and timing of resources that our collaboration partner devotes to our future research programs and therapeutic candidates;
•for collaboration agreements where we may be solely or partially responsible for funding development expenses through a defined milestone event, we may never recoup the costs of these investments if the therapeutic candidate fails to achieve regulatory approval or commercial success;
•we may rely on the information and data received from third parties regarding their research programs and therapeutic candidates without independent verification;
•we may not have control of the process conducted by the third party in gathering and composing data regarding their research programs and therapeutic candidates and we may not have formal or appropriate guarantees with respect to the quality and the completeness of such data;
•we may not have sufficient funds to satisfy any milestone, royalty or other payments we may owe to any third party collaborator;
•our collaboration agreements may contain non-competition provisions which place restrictions on our business operations and the therapeutic candidates and/or indications we may pursue;
•a collaborative partner may develop or commercialize a competing therapeutic candidate either by itself or in collaboration with others, including one or more of our competitors;
•our collaborative partners’ willingness or ability to complete their obligations under our collaboration arrangements may be adversely affected by business combinations or significant changes in a collaborative partner’s strategy;
•our collaborative partners may experience delays in, or increases in the costs of, the discovery and development of our future therapeutic candidates and research programs and we may be required to pay for any cost increases;
•we may have disagreements with collaborative partners, including disagreements over proprietary rights, selection of lead therapeutic candidates, contract interpretation or the preferred course of development that might cause delays or termination of the research, development or commercialization of therapeutic candidates, might lead to additional responsibilities for us with respect to therapeutic candidates, or might result in litigation or arbitration, any of which would be time-consuming and expensive;
•our collaborative partners may not properly obtain, maintain, defend or enforce intellectual property rights; and
•our collaborative partners may infringe, misappropriate or otherwise violate the intellectual property rights of third parties, which may expose us to litigation and potential liability.
We may face significant competition in seeking appropriate collaborative partners. Our ability to reach a definitive agreement for a collaborative partnership depends, among other things, upon our assessment of a potential collaborator’s resources and expertise, the terms and conditions of the proposed partnership and the potential collaborator’s evaluation of a number of factors. Proposing, negotiating, and implementing collaborations, licensing arrangements, joint ventures, strategic alliances, or partnerships may be a lengthy and complex process. We have limited institutional knowledge and experience with respect to such activities and we may also not realize the anticipated benefits of any such transaction or arrangement.
Should any of the foregoing risks materialize, any collaborations we enter into could fail to result in the development of commercially viable therapeutic candidates or the generation of future revenue, which could have a material adverse effect on our business.
Our business strategy includes developing Centers of Excellence, which we expect will involve significant costs, time and resources. If our efforts are unsuccessful, our business, prospects and financial condition would be adversely affected.
A key element of our business strategy involves setting up research facilities and innovation labs, which we refer to as Centers of Excellence, in key markets. We announced the establishment of our first Center of Excellence in collaboration with The Sheppard Pratt Institute for Advanced Diagnostics and Therapeutics in Baltimore, Maryland, in January 2021. We intend to use these Centers of Excellence to gather evidence to optimize our therapy model, train and certify therapists, conduct clinical trials, including proof of concept studies, develop and test digital technology solutions to improve patient experience and outcomes and pursue other activities to refine our approach to delivering our investigational COMP360 psilocybin therapy safely and cost-effectively. Our efforts to design, build and staff these Centers of Excellence, or identify suitable third parties with whom we may collaborate to open these centers, will involve significant time, costs, including potential capital expenditures to acquire and develop facilities, and other resources, and may divert our management team’s focus from executing on other key elements of our business strategy. If we fail to enter into or maintain agreements with third parties to develop and operate these Centers of Excellence on reasonable terms, or at all, our ability to develop our future research
programs and therapeutic candidates could be delayed, the commercial potential of our therapies could change and our costs of development and commercialization could increase. If our efforts to develop these Centers of Excellence are unsuccessful, it will have a materially adverse impact on our business, future prospects and financial position.
We may become exposed to costly and damaging liability claims, either when testing our investigational COMP360 psilocybin therapy or any future therapeutic candidates in the clinic or at the commercial stage, and our product liability insurance may not cover all damages from such claims.
We are exposed to potential product liability and professional indemnity risks that are inherent in the research, development, manufacturing, marketing and use of therapeutic substances. Currently, we have no therapies that have been approved for commercial sale; however, the current and future use of our investigational COMP360 psilocybin therapy or any future therapeutic candidates by us and our corporate collaborators in clinical trials, and the potential sale of any approved therapies in the future, may expose us to liability claims. These claims might be made by patients who use our therapies, healthcare providers, pharmaceutical companies, our corporate collaborators or other third parties that sell our therapies. Any claims against us, regardless of their merit, could be difficult and costly to defend and could materially adversely affect the market for our investigational COMP360 psilocybin therapy or any future therapeutic candidates or any prospects for commercialization of our investigational COMP360 psilocybin therapy or any future therapeutic candidates. Although the clinical trial process is designed to identify and assess potential side effects, it is always possible that a drug, even after regulatory approval, may exhibit unforeseen side effects. If COMP360 or any future therapeutic candidates causes adverse side effects during clinical trials or after regulatory approval, we may be exposed to substantial liabilities. Physicians and patients may not comply with warnings that identify known potential adverse effects and describe which patients should not use COMP360 or any future therapeutic candidates. Regardless of the merits or eventual outcome, liability claims may cause, among other things, the following:
•decreased demand for our therapies due to negative public perception;
•injury to our reputation;
•withdrawal of clinical trial participants or difficulties in recruiting new trial participants;
•initiation of investigations by regulators;
•costs to defend or settle the related litigation;
•a diversion of management’s time and our resources;
•substantial monetary awards to trial participants or patients;
•recalls, withdrawals or labeling, marketing or promotional restrictions;
•loss of revenue from therapeutic sales; and
•the inability to commercialize our investigational COMP360 psilocybin therapy or any future therapeutic candidates, if approved.
It is possible that our liabilities could exceed our insurance coverage. We intend to expand our insurance coverage to include the sale of commercial therapies if we obtain marketing approval for our investigational COMP360 psilocybin therapy or any future therapeutic candidates. However, we may not be able to maintain insurance coverage at a reasonable cost or obtain insurance coverage that will be adequate to satisfy any liability that may arise. If a successful product liability claim or series of claims is brought against us for uninsured liabilities or in excess of insured liabilities, our assets may not be sufficient to cover such claims and our business, financial condition and results of operations could be materially adversely affected.
Liability claims resulting from any of the events described above could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Risks Related to Regulatory Compliance
Psilocybin and psilocin are listed as Schedule I controlled substances under the CSA in the U.S., and similar controlled substance legislation in other countries and any significant breaches in our compliance with these laws and regulations, or changes in the laws and regulations may result in interruptions to our development activity or business continuity.
Psilocybin and psilocin are categorized as Schedule I controlled substances under the CSA, Schedule 1 drugs under the UK’s Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001 and are similarly categorized by most states and foreign governments. Even assuming that COMP360 or any future therapeutic candidates containing psilocybin or psilocin are approved and scheduled by regulatory authorities to allow their commercial marketing, the ingredients in such therapeutic candidates would likely continue to be Schedule I, or the state or foreign equivalent. Violations of any federal, state or foreign laws and regulations could result in significant fines, penalties, administrative sanctions, convictions or settlements arising from civil proceedings conducted by either the federal government or private citizens, or criminal charges and penalties, including, but not limited to, disgorgement of profits, cessation of business activities, divestiture, or prison time. This could have a material adverse effect on us, including on our reputation and ability to conduct business, our financial position, operating results, profitability or liquidity or the market price of our publicly traded ADSs. In addition, it is difficult for us to estimate the time or resources that would be needed for the investigation or defense of any such matters or our final resolution because, in part, the time and resources that may be needed are dependent on the nature and extent of any information requested by the applicable authorities involved, and such time or resources could be substantial. It is also illegal to aid or abet such activities or to conspire or attempt to engage in such activities. An investor’s contribution to and involvement in such activities may result in federal civil and/or criminal prosecution, including, but not limited to, forfeiture of his, her or its entire investment, fines and/or imprisonment.
Various federal, state, provincial and local laws govern our business in the jurisdictions in which we operate or currently plan to operate, and to which we export or currently plan to export our products, including laws relating to health and safety, the conduct of our operations, and the production, storage, sale and distribution of our products. Complying with these laws requires that we comply concurrently with complex federal, state, provincial and/or local laws. These laws change frequently and may be difficult to interpret and apply. To ensure our compliance with these laws, we will need to invest significant financial and managerial resources. It is impossible for us to predict the cost of such laws or the effect they may have on our future operations. A failure to comply with these laws could negatively affect our business and harm our reputation. Changes to these laws could negatively affect our competitive position and the markets in which we operate, and there is no assurance that various levels of government in the jurisdictions in which we operate will not pass legislation or regulation that adversely impacts our business.
In addition, even if we or third parties were to conduct activities in compliance with U.S. state or local laws or the laws of other countries and regions in which we conduct activities, potential enforcement proceedings could involve significant restrictions being imposed upon us or third parties, while diverting the attention of key executives. Such proceedings could have a material adverse effect on our business, revenue, operating results and financial condition as well as on our reputation and prospects, even if such proceedings conclude successfully in our favor. In the extreme case, such proceedings could ultimately involve the criminal prosecution of our key executives, the seizure of corporate assets, and consequently, our inability to continue business operations. Strict compliance with state and local laws with respect to psilocybin and psilocin does not absolve us of potential liability under U.S. federal law, EU law or English law, nor provide a defense to any proceeding which may be brought against us. Any such proceedings brought against us may adversely affect our operations and financial performance.
Despite the current status of psilocybin and psilocin as Schedule I controlled substances in the United States, there may be changes in the status of psilocybin or psilocin under the laws of certain U.S. cities or states. For instance, the city of Denver voted to decriminalize the possession of psilocybin in 2019, and in Oregon, Measure 109 was passed in November 2020 to pave the way for the legal medical use of “psilocybin products,” including magic mushrooms, to treat mental health conditions in licensed facilities with registered therapists. Similar legislation has been passed in Washington, D.C. (November 2020), Somerville, Massachusetts (January 2021), Cambridge, Massachusetts (February 2021), and Northampton, Massachusetts (April 2021). The legalization of psilocybin without regulatory oversight may lead to the setup of clinics without proper therapeutic infrastructure or adequate clinical research, which could put patients at risk and bring reputational and regulatory risk to the entire industry, making it harder for us to achieve regulatory approval. Furthermore, the legalization of psilocybin could also impact our commercial sales if we receive regulatory approval as it would reduce the barrier to entry and could increase competition.
We are subject to anti-corruption laws, as well as export control laws, customs laws, sanctions laws and other laws governing our operations. If we fail to comply with these laws, we could be subject to civil or criminal penalties, other remedial measures and legal expenses, be precluded from manufacturing COMP360 and developing and selling our
investigational COMP360 psilocybin therapy or any future therapeutic candidates outside the United States or be required to develop and implement costly compliance programs, which could adversely affect our business, results of operations and financial condition.
Our operations are subject to anti-corruption laws, including the UK Bribery Act 2010, or Bribery Act, the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, or FCPA, and other anti-corruption laws that apply in countries where we do business and may do business in the future. The Bribery Act, FCPA and these other laws generally prohibit us, our officers, and our employees and intermediaries from bribing, being bribed or making other prohibited payments to government officials or other persons to obtain or retain business or gain some other business advantage.
The Bribery Act, the FCPA and these other laws generally prohibit us and our employees and intermediaries from authorizing, promising, offering, or providing, directly or indirectly, a financial or other advantage to government officials or other persons to induce them to improperly perform a relevant function or activity (or reward them for such behavior).
Under the Bribery Act, we may also be liable for failing to prevent a person associated with us from committing a bribery offense. We, along with those acting on our behalf and our commercial partners, operate in a number of jurisdictions that pose a high risk of potential Bribery Act or FCPA violations, and we participate in collaborations and relationships with third parties whose corrupt or illegal activities could potentially subject us to liability under the Bribery Act, FCPA or local anti-corruption laws, even if we do not explicitly authorize or have actual knowledge of such activities. In addition, we cannot predict the nature, scope or effect of future regulatory requirements to which our international operations might be subject or the manner in which existing laws might be administered or interpreted.
Compliance with the FCPA, in particular, is expensive and difficult, particularly in countries in which corruption is a recognized problem. In addition, the FCPA presents particular challenges in the pharmaceutical industry, because, in many countries, hospitals are operated by the government, and doctors and other hospital employees are considered foreign officials. Certain payments to hospitals in connection with clinical trials and other work have been deemed to be improper payments to government officials and have led to FCPA enforcement actions.
We may in the future operate in jurisdictions that pose a high risk of potential Bribery Act or FCPA violations, and we may participate in collaborations and relationships with third parties whose actions could potentially subject us to liability under the Bribery Act, FCPA or local anti-corruption laws. In addition, we cannot predict the nature, scope or effect of future regulatory requirements to which our international operations might be subject or the manner in which existing laws might be administered or interpreted. If we expand our operations, we will need to dedicate additional resources to comply with numerous laws and regulations in each jurisdiction in which we plan to operate.
We are also subject to other laws and regulations governing our international operations, including regulations administered by the governments of the UK and the U.S., and authorities in the EU, including applicable export control regulations, economic sanctions on countries and persons, customs requirements and currency exchange regulations, collectively referred to as the Trade Control laws. In addition, various laws, regulations and executive orders also restrict the use and dissemination outside of the United States, or the sharing with certain non-U.S. nationals, of information classified for national security purposes, as well as certain products and technical data relating to those products. If we expand our presence outside of the U.S., it will require us to dedicate additional resources to comply with these laws, and these laws may preclude us from manufacturing COMP360 and developing and selling our investigational COMP360 psilocybin therapy or any future therapeutic candidates outside of the United States, which could limit our growth potential and increase our development costs.
There is no assurance that we will be completely effective in ensuring our compliance with all applicable anti-corruption laws, including the Bribery Act, the FCPA or other legal requirements, including Trade Control laws. If we are not in compliance with the Bribery Act, the FCPA and other anti-corruption laws or Trade Control laws, we may be subject to criminal and civil penalties, disgorgement and other sanctions and remedial measures, and legal expenses, which could have an adverse impact on our business, financial condition, results of operations and liquidity. The SEC also may suspend or bar issuers from trading securities on U.S. exchanges for violations of the FCPA’s accounting provisions. Any investigation of any potential violations of the Bribery Act, the FCPA, other anti-corruption laws or Trade Control laws by UK, U.S. or other authorities could also have an adverse impact on our reputation, our business, results of operations and financial condition.
We may become subject to U.S. federal and state forfeiture laws which could negatively impact our business operations.
Violations of any U.S. federal laws and regulations could result in significant fines, penalties, administrative sanctions, convictions or settlements arising from civil proceedings conducted by either the federal government or private citizens, or criminal charges, including, but not limited to, seizure of assets, disgorgement of profits, cessation of business activities or divestiture. As an entity that conducts business involving psilocybin and psilocin, we are potentially subject to federal and state forfeiture laws (criminal and civil) that permit the government to seize the proceeds of criminal activity. Civil forfeiture laws could provide an alternative for the federal government or any state (or local police force) that wants to discourage residents from conducting transactions with psilocybin- and psilocin-related businesses but believes criminal liability is too difficult to prove beyond a reasonable doubt. Also, an individual can be required to forfeit property considered to be the proceeds of a crime even if the individual is not convicted of the crime, and the standard of proof in a civil forfeiture matter is lower than the standard in a criminal matter. Depending on the applicable law, whether federal or state, rather than having to establish liability beyond a reasonable doubt, the federal government or the state, as applicable, may be required to prove that the money or property at issue is proceeds of a crime only by either clear and convincing evidence or a mere preponderance of the evidence.
Investors located in jurisdictions where psilocybin and psilocin remains illegal may be at risk of prosecution under conspiracy, aiding and abetting, and money laundering statutes, and be at further risk of losing their investments or proceeds under forfeiture statutes. Many jurisdictions remain fully able to take action to prevent the proceeds of psilocybin and psilocin businesses from entering their state. Our investors and prospective investors should be aware of these potentially relevant laws in considering whether to invest in us.
We are subject to certain tax risks and treatments that could negatively impact our results of operations.
Section 280E of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, or the Code, prohibits businesses from deducting certain expenses associated with trafficking controlled substances (within the meaning of Schedule I and II of the CSA). The U.S. Internal Revenue Service, or IRS, has invoked Section 280E in tax audits against various businesses in the United States that are permitted under applicable state laws. Although the IRS issued a clarification allowing the deduction of certain expenses, the scope of such items is interpreted very narrowly and the bulk of operating costs and general administrative costs are not permitted to be deducted. While there are currently several pending cases before various administrative and federal courts challenging these restrictions, there is no guarantee that these courts will issue an interpretation of Section 280E favorable to psilocybin and psilocin businesses.
We may be unable to use net operating loss and tax credit carryforwards and certain built-in losses to reduce future tax payments or benefit from favorable UK tax legislation.
As a UK incorporated and tax resident entity, we are subject to UK corporate taxation on tax-adjusted trading profits. Due to the nature of our business, we have generated losses since inception and therefore have not paid any UK corporation tax. We had accumulated trading losses for carry forward in the UK of $144.0 million and $53.0 million as of December 31, 2021 and 2020, respectively. Subject to any relevant utilization criteria and restrictions (including those that limit the percentage of profits that can be reduced by carried forward losses and those that can restrict the use of carried forward losses where there is a change of ownership of more than half of our ordinary shares and a major change in the nature, conduct or scale of the trade), we expect these to be eligible for carry forward and utilization against future operating profits. The use of loss carryforwards in relation to UK profits incurred on or after April 1, 2017 will be limited each year to £5.0 million per group plus, broadly, an incremental 50% of UK taxable profits. In addition, if we were to have a major change in the nature of the conduct of our trade, loss carryforwards may be restricted or extinguished.
As a company that carries out extensive research and development activities, we seek to benefit from the UK research and development tax relief programs, being the Small and Medium-sized Enterprises R&D tax relief program, or SME Program, and, to the extent that our projects are grant funded or relate to work subcontracted to us by third parties, the Research and Development Expenditure Credit program, or RDEC Program. Under the SME Program, we may be able to surrender the trading losses that arise from our qualifying research and development activities for a cash rebate of up to 33.35% of such qualifying research and development expenditures or carried forward for potential offset against future profits (subject to relevant restrictions). The majority of our research, clinical trials management and manufacturing development activities are eligible for inclusion within these tax credit cash rebate claims. We may not be able to continue to claim payable research and development tax credits in the future if we cease to qualify as a SME, based on size criteria concerning employee headcount, turnover and gross assets. The SME Program has been amended by the Finance Act 2021 which came into force in April 2021. This legislation introduced a cap on claims under the SME Program to a multiple of payroll taxes (broadly, to a maximum payable credit equal to £20,000 plus three times the total PAYE and NICs liability of the company) subject to an exception which prevents the cap from applying. That exception requires the company to be creating, taking steps to create or
managing intellectual property, as well as having qualifying research and development expenditure in respect of connected parties which does not exceed 15% of the total claimed. If such exception does not apply, this could restrict the amount of payable credit that we claim.
We may benefit in the future from the UK’s “patent box” regime, which allows certain profits attributable to revenue from patented products (and other qualifying income) to be taxed at an effective rate of 10% by giving an additional tax deduction. We own two UK patents which cover our investigational COMP360 psilocybin therapy, and accordingly, future upfront fees, milestone fees, product revenue and royalties could be eligible for this deduction. When taken in combination with the enhanced relief available on our research and development expenditures, we expect a long-term rate of corporation tax lower than the statutory to apply to us. If, however, there are unexpected adverse changes to the UK research and development tax credit regime or the “patent box” regime, or for any reason we are unable to qualify for such advantageous tax legislation, or we are unable to use net operating loss and tax credit carryforwards and certain built-in losses to reduce future tax payments then our business, results of operations and financial condition may be adversely affected. This may impact our ongoing requirement for investment and the timeframes within which additional investment is required.
Enacted and future legislation may increase the difficulty and cost for us to obtain marketing approval of and commercialize our investigational COMP360 psilocybin therapy or any future therapeutic candidates and could have a material adverse effect on our business.
In the United States, the EU and other foreign jurisdictions, there have been a number of legislative and regulatory changes to the healthcare system that could affect our future results of operations. In particular, there have been and continue to be a number of initiatives at the U.S. federal and state levels that seek to reduce healthcare costs and improve the quality of healthcare. For example, in March 2010, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, as amended by the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010, or collectively the ACA, substantially changed the way healthcare is financed by both governmental and private insurers, and significantly impacted the U.S. biopharmaceutical industry.
We expect that changes and challenges to the ACA, as well as other healthcare reform measures that may be adopted in the future, may result in additional reductions in Medicare and other healthcare funding, more rigorous coverage criteria, new payment methodologies, and additional downward pressure on the price that we receive for our products and any future approved product. See section entitled “Business – Healthcare Reform.” On July 9, 2021, President Biden issued an executive order directing the FDA to, among other things, continue to clarify and improve the approval framework for generic drugs and identify and address any efforts to impede generic drug competition.
New laws and additional health reform measures may result in additional reductions in Medicare and other healthcare funding, which may adversely affect customer demand and affordability for our investigational COMP360 psilocybin therapy and any future therapeutic candidates and, accordingly, the results of our financial operations. It is also possible that additional governmental action will be taken in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Our business operations and current and future relationships with investigators, health care professionals, consultants, third-party payors and customers may be subject, directly or indirectly, to U.S. federal and state healthcare fraud and abuse laws, false claims laws, health information privacy and security laws, other healthcare laws and regulations and other foreign privacy and security laws. If we are unable to comply, or have not fully complied, with such laws, we could face substantial penalties.
Although we do not currently have any therapies on the market, our current and future operations may be directly, or indirectly through our relationships with investigators, health care professionals, customers and third-party payors, subject to various U.S. federal and state healthcare laws and regulations, including, without limitation, the U.S. federal Anti-Kickback Statute or the federal Anti-Kickback Statute. Healthcare providers, physicians and others play a primary role in the recommendation and prescription of any therapies for which we obtain marketing approval. These laws impact, among other things, our research activities and proposed sales, marketing and education programs and constrain our business and financial arrangements and relationships with third-party payors, healthcare professionals who participate in our clinical research program, healthcare professionals and others who recommend, purchase, or provide our approved therapies, and other parties through which we market, sell and distribute our therapies for which we obtain marketing approval. In addition, we may be subject to patient data privacy and security regulation by both the U.S. federal government and the states in which we conduct our business, along with foreign regulators (including European data protection authorities). Finally, our current and future operations are subject to additional healthcare-related statutory and regulatory requirements and enforcement by foreign regulatory authorities in jurisdictions in which we conduct our business. See section entitled “Business – Other Healthcare Laws and Compliance Requirements.”
The distribution of pharmaceutical products is subject to additional requirements and regulations, including licensing, extensive record-keeping, storage and security requirements intended to prevent the unauthorized sale of pharmaceutical products.
Further, if any of our Centers for Excellence conduct clinical studies, we may face risks relating to operating a clinical trial site. Such risks may include research misconduct and patient injury. In addition, we may end up possessing a large amount of individually identifiable health information. Such activities are subject to a wide variety of laws, such as the aforementioned HIPAA.
The scope and enforcement of each of these laws is uncertain and subject to rapid change in the current environment of healthcare reform, especially in light of the lack of applicable precedent and regulations. Federal and state enforcement bodies have recently increased their scrutiny of interactions between healthcare companies and healthcare providers, which has led to a number of investigations, prosecutions, convictions and settlements in the healthcare industry. Even if precautions are taken, it is possible that governmental authorities will conclude that our business practices may not comply with current or future statutes, regulations or case law involving applicable fraud and abuse or other healthcare laws and regulations. If our operations are found to be in violation of any of these laws or any other governmental regulations that may apply to us, we may be subject to significant civil, criminal and administrative penalties, damages, fines, disgorgement, imprisonment, exclusion of drugs from government funded healthcare programs, such as Medicare and Medicaid, additional reporting requirements and oversight if we become subject to a corporate integrity agreement or similar agreement to resolve allegations of non-compliance with these laws, reputational harm and the curtailment or restructuring of our operations. If any of the physicians or other healthcare providers or entities with whom we expect to do business is found not to be in compliance with applicable laws, that person or entity may be subject to significant criminal, civil or administrative sanctions, including exclusions from government funded healthcare programs. Prohibitions or restrictions on sales or withdrawal of future marketed products could materially affect business in an adverse way.
Efforts to ensure that our business arrangements with third parties will comply with applicable healthcare laws and regulations will involve substantial costs. Any action against us for violation of these laws, 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. The shifting compliance environment and the need to build and maintain robust and expandable systems to comply with multiple jurisdictions with different compliance or reporting requirements increases the possibility that a healthcare company may run afoul of one or more of the requirements.
Failure to comply with health and data protection laws and regulations could lead to U.S. federal and state government enforcement actions, including civil or criminal penalties, private litigation, and adverse publicity and could negatively affect our operating results and business.
We and any potential collaborators may be subject to U.S. federal and state data protection laws and regulations, such as laws and regulations that address privacy and data security. In the United States, numerous federal and state laws and regulations, including state data breach notification laws, state health information privacy laws, and federal and state consumer protection laws, govern the collection, use, disclosure, and protection of health-related and other personal information. In addition, we may obtain health information from third parties, including research institutions from which we obtain clinical trial data, which are subject to privacy and security requirements under HIPAA, as amended by HITECH. To the extent that we act as a business associate to a healthcare provider engaging in electronic transactions, we may also be subject to the privacy and security provisions of HIPAA, as amended by HITECH, which restricts the use and disclosure of patient-identifiable health information, mandates the adoption of standards relating to the privacy and security of patient-identifiable health information, and requires the reporting of certain security breaches to healthcare provider customers with respect to such information. Additionally, many states have enacted similar laws that may impose more stringent requirements on entities like ours. Depending on the facts and circumstances, we could be subject to significant civil, criminal, and administrative penalties if we obtain, use, or disclose individually identifiable health information maintained by a HIPAA-covered entity in a manner that is not authorized or permitted by HIPAA.
Additionally, in June 2018, the State of California enacted the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018, or CCPA, which came into effect on January 1, 2020 and became enforceable by the California Attorney General on July 1, 2020. The CCPA provides new data privacy rights for consumers (as that term is broadly defined) and new operational requirements for companies, which may increase our compliance costs and potential liability. The CCPA requires covered companies to provide certain disclosures to consumers about its data collection, use and sharing practices, and to provide affected California residents with ways to opt-out of certain sales or transfers of personal information. In particular, the CCPA gives California residents expanded rights to access and delete their personal information, opt out of certain personal information sharing, and
receive detailed information about how their personal information is used. The CCPA provides for civil penalties for violations, as well as a private right of action for data breaches that has resulted in an increase in data breach litigation. While there is currently an exception for protected health information that is subject to HIPAA and clinical trial regulations, as currently written, the CCPA may impact certain of our business activities. There continues to be uncertainty surrounding the enforcement and implementation of the CCPA, exemplifying the vulnerability of our business to the evolving regulatory environment related to personal data and protected health information.
Additionally, a new California ballot initiative, the California Privacy Rights Act, or “CPRA,” was passed in November 2020. Effective starting on January 1, 2023, the CPRA imposes additional obligations on companies covered by the legislation and will significantly modify the CCPA, including by expanding consumers’ rights with respect to certain sensitive personal information. The CPRA also creates a new state agency that will be vested with authority to implement and enforce the CCPA and the CPRA. The effects of the CCPA and the CPRA are potentially significant and may require us to modify our data collection or processing practices and policies and to incur substantial costs and expenses in an effort to comply and increase our potential exposure to regulatory enforcement and/or litigation.
The CCPA could mark the beginning of a trend toward more stringent state privacy legislation in the United States, which could increase our potential liability and adversely affect our business. Certain other state laws impose similar privacy obligations, and we anticipate that more states may enact legislation similar to the CCPA, which provides consumers with new privacy rights and increases the privacy and security obligations of