Risk Factors Related to argenx’s Business and Industry
Our Employees may Engage in Misconduct or Other Improper Activities, Including Noncompliance with Regulatory Standards and Requirements, or Consider Trading Violations, Which could Significantly Harm our Business.
We are exposed to the risk of employee fraud or other misconduct. Misconduct by employees could include intentional failures to comply with governmental regulations, comply with healthcare fraud and abuse and anti-kickback laws and regulations in the U.S. and other markets, or failure to report financial information or data accurately or disclose unauthorized activities to us. In particular, sales, marketing and business arrangements in the healthcare industry are subject to extensive laws and regulations intended to prevent fraud, misconduct, kickbacks, self-dealing and other abusive practices. These laws and regulations may restrict or prohibit a wide range of pricing, discounting, marketing and promotion, sales commission, customer incentive programs and other business arrangements. Employee misconduct could also involve the improper use of, including improper trading based upon, information obtained in the course of clinical studies, which could result in regulatory sanctions and serious harm to our reputation. We maintain a global compliance program and remain focused on its evolution and enhancement. Our program includes efforts such as risk assessment and monitoring, fostering a culture encouraging employees and third parties to raise good faith questions or concerns, and defined processes and systems for reviewing and remediating allegations and identified potential concerns. It is not always possible, however, to identify and deter employee misconduct, and the precautions we take to detect and prevent this activity may not be effective in controlling unknown or unmanaged risks or losses or in protecting us from governmental investigations or other actions or lawsuits stemming from a failure to comply with these laws or regulations. If any such actions are instituted against us, and we are not successful in defending ourselves or asserting our rights, those actions could have a significant impact on our business and results of operations, including the imposition of significant fines or other sanctions.
We may Become Exposed to Costly and Damaging Liability Claims.
We are exposed to potential product liability and professional indemnity risks that are inherent in the research, development, manufacturing, marketing and use of pharmaceutical products and marketing of human therapeutic products. The current and future use of products and product candidates by us and our collaborators in clinical trials and the sale of any approved products may further expose us to liability claims. If any of our products or product candidates were to cause adverse side effects during clinical trials or after approval of the product candidate, we may be exposed to substantial liabilities. These claims might be made by patients who use the product, healthcare providers, pharmaceutical companies, physicians, payors, caregivers, investors, employees, government agencies, or our collaborators or others selling such products. Physicians and patients may not comply with any warnings that identify known potential adverse effects and patients who should not use our product candidates. Any claims against us, regardless of their merit, could be difficult and costly to defend and could materially adversely affect the market for our products and product candidates or any prospects for commercialization of our products and product candidates. Any such claims, regardless of their merit, could also adversely affect our reputation and the trust that physician and patients place in our products.
Regardless of the merits or eventual outcome litigation or liability claims may result in:
- decreased demand for our products due to negative public perception;
- damage to our reputation;
- withdrawal of clinical trial participants or difficulties in recruiting new clinical 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 clinical trial participants or patients;
- product recalls, withdrawals or labeling, marketing or promotional restrictions;
- loss of revenues from product sales; and
- the inability to successfully commercialize VYVGART and any of our other product candidates, if approved.
Although we maintain product liability insurance, we may not be able to maintain insurance coverage at a reasonable cost or to obtain adequate insurance coverage to satisfy any liability that may arise. Product liability claims could delay or prevent completion of our clinical development programs. In addition, claims made by patients, healthcare professionals or others might not be fully covered by product liability insurance and could result in investigations of the safety of our products or product candidates or may result in recalls. 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 would be adversely affected.
We may Engage in Strategic Transactions, Including Acquisitions, Collaborations, Licenses or Investments in Other Companies or Technologies, and we may not Realize the Benefits of such Transactions.
We may enter into strategic transactions, including acquisitions, collaborations, licenses or investments for or in other companies or technologies that complement or augment our existing business and facilitate our access to new products, research projects or geographical areas. However, we may not be able to identify appropriate targets or enter into such transactions under satisfactory conditions. In addition, we may need additional funding to finance these transactions including through issuances of public or private equity or convertible debt securities, which could be dilutive to our shareholders and ADS holders.
Integrating any newly acquired companies, business, technologies or products could be expensive, time-consuming, and may never be successful. Integration efforts often take a significant amount of time, place a significant strain on managerial, operational and financial resources, result in loss of key personnel and could prove to be more difficult or expensive than we predict. The diversion of our management’s attention and any delay or difficulties encountered in connection with any future transactions we may consummate could result in the disruption of our ongoing business or inconsistencies in standards and controls that could negatively affect our ability to maintain third-party relationships. We cannot assure that we will achieve the expected synergies to justify any such transaction, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and future growth prospects and our investors’ ability to realize on their investment.
Our Business and Operations Could Suffer in the Event of System Failures or Unauthorized or Inappropriate Use of or Access to our Systems.
We are increasingly dependent on our information technology systems and infrastructure for our business. We collect, store and transmit sensitive information including intellectual property, proprietary business information, including highly sensitive clinical trial data, and personal information in connection with business operations. The secure maintenance of this information is critical to our operations and business strategy. Some of this information could be an attractive target of criminal attack or unauthorized access and use by third parties with a wide range of motives and expertise, including organized criminal groups, “hacktivists,” patient groups, disgruntled current or former employees and others. Cyber-attacks are of ever-increasing levels of sophistication, and despite our security measures, our information technology and infrastructure may be vulnerable to such attacks or may be breached, including due to employee error or malfeasance.
The pervasiveness of cybersecurity incidents in general and the risks of cyber-crime are complex and continue to evolve. Although we are making significant efforts to maintain the security and integrity of our information systems and are exploring various measures to manage the risk of a security breach or disruption, there can be no assurance that our security efforts and measures will be effective or that attempted security breaches or disruptions would not be successful or damaging. Despite the implementation of security measures, our internal computer systems and those of our contractors and consultants are vulnerable to damage or interruption from computer viruses, unauthorized or inappropriate access or use, natural disasters, pandemics (including COVID-19), terrorism, war (including the ongoing conflict in Ukraine), and telecommunication and electrical failures. Such events could cause interruption of our operations. For example, the loss of pre-clinical trial data or data from completed or ongoing clinical trials for our product candidates could result in delays in our regulatory filings and development efforts, as well as delays in the commercialization of our products, and significantly increase our costs. To the extent that any disruption, security breach or unauthorized or inappropriate use or access to our systems were to result in a loss of or damage to our data, or inappropriate disclosure of confidential or proprietary information, including but not limited to patient, employee or vendor information, we could incur notification obligations to affected individuals and government agencies, liability, including potential lawsuits from patients, collaborators, employees, stockholders or other third parties and liability under foreign, federal and state laws that protect the privacy and security of personal information, and the development and potential commercialization of our product candidates could be delayed.
We are Highly Dependent on Public Perception of our Products.
We are highly dependent upon consumer perceptions of the safety and quality of our products. We could be adversely affected if we, or any of our collaborators, are subject to negative publicity or if any of our products or any similar products distributed by other companies prove to be, or are asserted to be, harmful to patients, or for example, be deemed cruel to animals. 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 products or any similar products distributed by other companies could have a material adverse impact on our business, prospects, financial condition and results of operations.