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trueThis Amendment No. 1 is being filed to revise the Company's consolidated financial statements previously filed by the Company with the SEC for each of the fiscal years ended December 31, 2022, 2021 and 2020 as a result of certain accounting errors relating to the completeness, accuracy and disclosure of reserves for product returns and to update the Company's assessment of its internal control over financial reporting and its disclosure controls and procedures because of a material weakness identified by the Company to indicate that they were not effective as of December 31, 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UNITED STATES
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549
FORM 10-K/A
Amendment No. 1
(Mark One)
ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2022
OR
TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the transition period from _to_

Commission File Number 001-36352
AKEBIA THERAPEUTICS, INC.
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
Delaware 20-8756903
(State or other jurisdiction of
incorporation or organization)
 (I.R.S. Employer
Identification No.)
 245 First Street, Cambridge, MA
 02142
(Address of principal executive offices) (Zip Code)
Registrant’s telephone number, including area code: (617871-2098
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
Title of each classTrading Symbol(s)Name of each exchange on which registered
Common Stock, par value $0.00001 per shareAKBA
The Nasdaq Capital 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 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, a smaller reporting company, or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company,” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.
Large accelerated filerAccelerated filer
Non-accelerated filerSmaller reporting company
  Emerging growth company
If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act.
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed a report on and attestation to its management’s assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 U.S.C. 7262(b)) by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its audit report.
If securities are registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act, indicate by check mark whether the financial statements of the registrant included in the filing reflect the correction of an error to previously issued financial statements.
Indicate by check mark whether any of those error corrections are restatements that required a recovery analysis of incentive-based compensation received by any of the registrant’s executive officers during the relevant recovery period pursuant to § 240.10D-1(b). Indicate by check mark whether registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act).    Yes      No  
The aggregate market value of the voting and non-voting common equity held by non-affiliates of the registrant, based on the closing price of the registrant’s Common Stock on The Nasdaq Global Market on June 30, 2022, was $64,134,957.
The number of shares of registrant’s Common Stock outstanding as of February 28, 2023 was 184,248,045.



Explanatory Note

Akebia Therapeutics, Inc. (the “Company") is filing this Amendment No. 1 on Form 10-K/A (this “Form 10-K/A”) to its Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2022, originally filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) on March 10, 2023 (the “Original 10-K”), to amend and restate certain items in the Original 10-K as described below.

As previously disclosed, including in the Company's Form 12b-25 filed with the SEC on August 10, 2023, in the course of preparing its financial statements for the quarter ended June 30, 2023, the Company identified certain accounting errors relating to the completeness, accuracy and disclosure of reserves for returns of the Company’s product, Auryxia® (ferric citrate) at the time the Company acquired Keryx Biopharmaceuticals, Inc. ("Keryx") on December 12, 2018 and when calculating the product return reserves for subsequent annual and quarterly periods through March 31, 2023 (collectively, the "Product Return Reserve Errors”). This resulted in errors in the Company's consolidated financial statements previously filed by the Company with the SEC for each of the fiscal years ended December 31, 2022, 2021 and 2020. The Product Return Reserve Errors resulted in, among other things, errors to the following as of and for the years ended December 31, 2022, 2021 and 2020:
an understatement of accrued expenses and other current liabilities by $5.1 million, $4.6 million and $2.0 million respectively;
an understatement of other non-current liabilities by $3.1 million, $3.4 million and $4.0 million, respectively;
an overstatement of revenue by $0.1 million, $1.9 million and $0.6 million, respectively;
an understatement of accounts receivable by $1.1 million, $0.7 million and $0.7 million, respectively; and
an understatement of goodwill by $2.6 million.

The Company evaluated the materiality of the impacts caused by the Product Return Reserve Errors and concluded they do not result in a material misstatement of the Company's previously issued consolidated financial statements for the fiscal years ended December 31, 2022, 2021 and 2020, but that correcting the errors in the quarter ended June 30, 2023 would be material to the quarter ended June 30, 2023. In addition to the Product Return Reserve Errors, the Company has corrected other immaterial misstatements in the revised consolidated financial statements for the years ended December 31, 2022, 2021 and 2020 and related quarterly periods, including an understatement of $1.4 million for an excess purchase commitment that also impacted goodwill recorded in connection with the Keryx acquisition.

Due to the discovery of the Product Return Reserve Errors, the Company re-evaluated the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting (“ICFR”) as of December 31, 2022, and the Company's management identified a material weakness in the Company's ICFR related to the completeness, accuracy and disclosure of reserves for Auryxia product returns. For a more detailed description of this material weakness, refer to Part II, Item 9A, “Controls and Procedures.” This Form 10-K/A therefore updates the Company's assessment of its ICFR and its disclosure controls and procedures to indicate that they were not effective as of December 31, 2022 because of this material weakness. The Company's independent registered public accounting firm, Ernst & Young LLP, has also restated its opinion on the Company's ICFR as of December 31, 2022.

This Form 10-K/A is being filed to also amend the following sections of the Original 10-K:

The Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements;
Part I, Item 1A. Risk Factors;
Part II, Item 7. Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations;
Part II, Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data;
Part II, Item 9A. Controls and Procedures; and
Part IV, Item 15. Exhibits, Financial Statement Schedules.

Except as described in this Explanatory Note, this Form 10-K/A does not amend, update or change any other item or disclosure in the Original 10-K. In addition, the information contained in this Form 10-K/A does not reflect events occurring after the filing of the Original 10-K and does not modify or update the disclosures therein, except as specifically identified in this Explanatory Note. Significant developments with respect to those disclosures, as well as other changes in and risks to the Company's business, have occurred and are described in filings the Company has made with the SEC subsequent to filing the Original 10-K. Accordingly, this Form 10-K/A should be read in conjunction with the Original 10-K and the Company’s filings made with the SEC subsequent to the filing of the Original 10-K, including the information contained under the heading “Risk Factors,” or otherwise identified as risks to the Company and its operations, in such filings.




TABLE OF CONTENTS
 
    Page No.
  
  
  
  
  




NOTE REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS
This Annual Report on Form 10-K contains forward-looking statements that are being made pursuant to the provisions of the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 with the intention of obtaining the benefits of the “safe harbor” provisions of that Act. All statements contained in this Annual Report on Form 10-K other than statements of historical fact are forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements may be accompanied by words such as “anticipate,” “believe,” “build,” “can,” “contemplate,” “continue,” “could,” “should,” “designed,” “estimate,” “project,” “expect,” “forecast,” “future,” “goal,” “intend,” “likely,” “may,” “plan,” “possible,” “potential,” “predict,” “strategy,” “seek,” “target,” “will,” “would,” and other words and terms of similar meaning, but the absence of these words does not necessarily mean that a statement is not forward-looking. These forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, statements about:
the potential therapeutic benefits, safety profile, and effectiveness of vadadustat; 
our expectations with respect to the development of vadadustat, if any, following our receipt of a complete response letter to our new drug application for vadadustat for the treatment of anemia due to chronic kidney disease in adult patients, including the timing of a potential response to the Formal Dispute Resolution Request from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration;
that delivering value broadly to the kidney community, as well as others who may benefit from our medicines, will result in delivering value for stockholders;
our pipeline and portfolio, including its potential, and our related research and development activities;
the timing of or likelihood of regulatory filings and approvals, including with respect to labeling or other restrictions, the potential approval of vadadustat and our outlook related thereto, and potential indications for vadadustat;
the timing, investment and associated activities involved in continued commercialization of Auryxia® (ferric citrate), its growth opportunities and our ability to execute thereon;
the potential indications, demand and market opportunity, potential and acceptance of Auryxia and vadadustat, if approved, including the size of eligible patient populations; 
the potential therapeutic applications of the hypoxia inducible factor pathway;
our competitive position, including estimates, developments and projections relating to our competitors and their products and product candidates, and our industry; 
our expectations, projections and estimates regarding our capital requirements, need for additional capital, financing our future cash needs, costs, expenses, revenues, capital resources, cash flows, financial performance, profitability, tax obligations, liquidity, growth, contractual obligations, the period of time our cash resources and collaboration funding will fund our current operating plan, estimates with respect to our ability to operate as a going concern, our internal control over financial reporting and disclosure controls and procedures, and any future deficiencies or material weaknesses in our internal controls and procedures; 
the direct or indirect impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on our business, operations and the markets and communities in which we and our partners, collaborators, vendors, and customers operate;
our manufacturing, supply and quality matters and any recalls, write-downs, impairments or other related consequences or potential consequences;
estimates, beliefs and judgments related to the valuation of intangible asset, goodwill, debt and other assets and liabilities, including our impairment analysis and our methodology and assumptions regarding fair value measurements;
the timing of the availability and disclosure of clinical trial data and results;
our and our collaborators’ strategy, plans and expectations with respect to the development, manufacturing, supply, commercialization, launch, marketing and sale of Auryxia and vadadustat, if approved, and the associated timing thereof; 
the designs of our studies, and the type of information and data expected from our studies and the expected benefits thereof;
our ability to maintain any marketing authorizations we currently hold or will obtain, including our marketing authorizations for Auryxia and our ability to complete post-marketing requirements with respect thereto;
our ability to negotiate, secure and maintain adequate pricing, coverage and reimbursement terms and processes on a timely basis, or at all, with third-party payors for Auryxia and vadadustat, if approved;
the timing of initiation of our clinical trials and plans to conduct preclinical studies and clinical trials in the future; 
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the timing and amounts of payments from or to our collaborators and licensees, and the anticipated arrangements and benefits under our collaboration and license agreements, including with respect to milestones and royalties; 
our intellectual property position, including obtaining and maintaining patents, and the timing, outcome and impact of administrative, regulatory, legal and other proceedings relating to our patents and other proprietary and intellectual property rights, patent infringement suits that we have filed or may file, or other actions that we may take against companies, and the timing and resolution thereof;
expected ongoing reliance on third parties, including with respect to the development, manufacturing, supply and commercialization of Auryxia and vadadustat, if approved;
accounting standards and estimates, their impact, and their expected timing of completion;
estimated periods of performance of key contracts;
our facilities, lease commitments, and future availability of facilities;
cybersecurity;
insurance coverage;
management of personnel, including our management team, and our employees, including employee compensation, employee relations, and our ability to attract, train and retain high quality employees;
the implementation of our business model, current operating plan, and strategic plans for our business, product candidates and technology, and business development opportunities including potential collaborations, alliances, mergers, acquisitions or licensing of assets;
our workforce reductions, future charges expected to be incurred in connection therewith and estimated reductions in net cash required for operating activities in connection therewith; and
the timing, outcome and impact of current and any future legal proceedings.
Any or all of these forward-looking statements in this Annual Report on Form 10-K may turn out to be inaccurate. These forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties, including those that are discussed below under the heading "Risk Factor Summary," and the risk factors detailed further in Part I, Item 1A. "Risk Factors" included in this Annual Report on Form 10-K and elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K and in our Securities and Exchange Commission reports filed after this report, that could cause our actual results, financial condition, performance or achievements to be materially different from those indicated in these forward-looking statements. Given these risks and uncertainties, you should not place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements speak only as of the date of this Annual Report on Form 10-K. Except as required by law, we assume no obligation to publicly update or revise these forward-looking statements for any reason. Unless otherwise stated, our forward-looking statements do not reflect the potential impact of any future acquisitions, mergers, dispositions, joint ventures or investments we may make.
This Annual Report on Form 10-K also contains estimates and other information concerning our industry and the markets for certain diseases, including data regarding the estimated size of those markets, and the incidence and prevalence of certain medical conditions. Unless otherwise expressly stated, we obtained this industry, market and other data from reports, research surveys, studies and similar data prepared by market research firms and other third parties, industry, medical and general publications, government data and similar sources.
In this Annual Report on Form 10-K, unless otherwise stated or the context otherwise requires, references to “Akebia,” “we,” “us,” “our,” “the Company,” and similar references refer to Akebia Therapeutics, Inc. and, where appropriate, its subsidiaries, including Keryx Biopharmaceuticals, Inc., or Keryx.
AURYXIA®, AKEBIA Therapeutics®, VafseoTM and their associated logos are trademarks of Akebia and/or its affiliates. All other trademarks, trade names and service marks appearing in this Annual Report on Form 10-K are the property of their respective owners. All website addresses given in this Annual Report on Form 10-K are for information only and are not intended to be an active link or to incorporate any website information into this document.

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RISK FACTORS SUMMARY

Investing in our common stock involves numerous risks, including the risks summarized below and described in further detail in “Part I, Item 1A. Risk Factors” of this Annual Report on Form 10-K, any one of which could materially adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations, and prospects. These risks include, but are not limited to, the risks noted below.
We have incurred significant losses since our inception, and anticipate that we will continue to incur significant losses and cannot guarantee when, if ever, we will become profitable or attain positive cash flows.
We will require substantial additional financing to achieve our goals. A failure to obtain this necessary capital when needed, or on acceptable terms, could force us to delay, limit, reduce or terminate our product development or commercialization efforts.
Raising additional capital may cause dilution to our existing stockholders, restrict our operations or require us to relinquish rights to our product and product candidates on unfavorable terms to us.
If we fail to regain compliance with the continued listing requirements of Nasdaq, our common stock may be delisted and the price of our common stock and our ability to access the capital markets could be negatively impacted.
We may not be successful in our efforts to identify, acquire, in-license, discover, develop and commercialize additional products or product candidates or our decisions to prioritize the development of certain product candidates over others may not be successful, which could impair our ability to grow.
We may engage in strategic transactions to acquire assets, businesses, or rights to products, product candidates or technologies or form collaborations or make investments in other companies or technologies that could harm our operating results, dilute our stockholders’ ownership, increase our debt, or cause us to incur significant expense.
Our business has been and may continue to be, directly or indirectly, adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Our obligations in connection with the loan agreement with Pharmakon and requirements and restrictions in the loan agreement could adversely affect our financial condition and restrict our operations.
Our Royalty Interest Acquisition Agreement with HealthCare Royalty Partners IV, L.P. contains various covenants and other provisions, which, if violated, could materially adversely affect our financial condition.
Our business is substantially dependent on the commercial success of Auryxia. If we are unable to continue to successfully commercialize Auryxia, our results or operations and financial condition will be materially harmed.
If we are unable to maintain or expand, or, if vadadustat is approved, initiate, sales and marketing capabilities or enter into additional agreements with third parties, we may not be successful in commercializing Auryxia, vadadustat, if approved, or any other product candidates that may be approved.
Our, or our partners', failure to obtain or maintain adequate coverage, pricing and reimbursement for Auryxia, vadadustat, if approved, or any other future approved products, could have a material adverse effect on our or our collaboration partners’ ability to sell such approved products profitably and otherwise have a material adverse impact on our business.
We face substantial competition, which may result in others discovering, developing or commercializing products before, or more successfully than, we do.
The commercialization of RionaTM and VafseoTM in Japan and our current and potential future efforts with respect to the development and commercialization of our products and product candidates outside of the United States subject us to a variety of risks associated with international operations, which could materially adversely affect our business.
Clinical drug development involves a lengthy and expensive process with an uncertain outcome, and we will incur additional costs in connection with, and may experience delays in completing, or ultimately be unable to complete, the development and, if approved, commercialization of vadadustat and any other product candidates.
We may find it difficult to enroll patients in our clinical trials, which could delay or prevent clinical trials of Auryxia, vadadustat or any other product or product candidate, including those that may be in-licensed or acquired.
Conducting clinical trials outside of the United States, as we have done historically and as we may decide to do in the future, presents additional risks and complexities and, if we decide to conduct a clinical trial outside of the United States in the future, we may not complete such trials successfully, in a timely manner, or at all, which could affect our ability to obtain regulatory approvals.
Auryxia, vadadustat or any other product or product candidate, including those that may be in-licensed or acquired, may cause undesirable side effects or have other properties that may delay or prevent marketing approval or limit their commercial potential.
We may not be able to obtain marketing approval for, or successfully commercialize, vadadustat or any other product candidate, or we may experience significant delays in doing so, any of which would materially harm our business.
Products approved for marketing are subject to extensive post-marketing regulatory requirements and could be subject to post-marketing restrictions or withdrawal from the market, and we may be subject to penalties, including withdrawal of marketing approval, if we fail to comply with regulatory requirements or if we experience unanticipated problems with our products, or product candidates, when and if any of them is approved.
We are subject to a complex regulatory scheme that requires significant resources to ensure compliance and our failure to comply with applicable laws could subject us to government scrutiny or enforcement, potentially resulting in costly investigations, fines, penalties or sanctions, contractual damages, reputational harm, administrative burdens and diminished profits and future earnings.
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We will incur significant liability if it is determined that we are promoting any “off-label” use of Auryxia or any other product we may develop, in-license or acquire or if it is determined that any of our activities violates the federal Anti-Kickback Statute.
Disruptions in the FDA, regulatory authorities outside the U.S. and other government agencies caused by global health concerns or funding shortages could prevent new products and services from being developed or commercialized in a timely manner, which could negatively impact our business.
Compliance with privacy and data security requirements could result in additional costs and liabilities to us or inhibit our ability to collect and process data globally, and the failure to comply with such requirements could subject us to significant fines and penalties, which may have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations.
Legislative and regulatory healthcare reform may increase the difficulty and cost for us to obtain marketing approval of and commercialize our product candidates and affect the prices we may obtain for any products that are approved in the United States or foreign jurisdictions.
We depend on collaborations with third parties for the development and commercialization of Auryxia, Riona, Vafseo and vadadustat and if these collaborations are not successful or if our collaborators terminate their agreements with us, we may not be able to capitalize on the market potential of Auryxia, Riona, Vafseo and vadadustat, and our business could be materially harmed.
We may seek to establish additional collaborations and, if we are not able to establish them on commercially reasonable terms, or at all, we may have to alter our development and commercialization plans.
We rely upon third parties to conduct all aspects of our product manufacturing, and in many instances only have a single supplier, and the loss of these manufacturers, their failure to supply us on a timely basis, or at all, or their failure to successfully carry out their contractual duties or comply with regulatory requirements, cGMP requirements, or guidance could cause delays in or disruptions to our supply chain and substantially harm our business.
We rely upon third parties to conduct our clinical trials and certain of our preclinical studies. If they do not successfully carry out their contractual duties, comply with regulatory requirements or meet expected deadlines, we may not be able to obtain or maintain marketing approval for Auryxia, vadadustat or any of our product candidates, and our business could be substantially harmed.
If the licensor of certain intellectual property relating to Auryxia terminates, modifies or threatens to terminate existing contracts or relationships with us, our business may be materially harmed.
If we are unable to adequately protect our intellectual property, third parties may be able to use our intellectual property, which could adversely affect our ability to compete in the market.
We may not be able to protect our intellectual property rights throughout the world.
The intellectual property that we own or have licensed and related non-patent exclusivity relating to our current and future products is, and may be, limited, which could adversely affect our ability to compete in the market and adversely affect the value of Auryxia.
The market entry of one or more generic competitors or any third party’s attempt to challenge our intellectual property rights will likely limit Auryxia sales and have an adverse impact on our business and results of operation.
Litigation and administrative proceedings, including third party claims of intellectual property infringement and opposition/invalidation proceedings against third party patents, may be costly and time consuming and may delay or harm our drug discovery, development and commercialization efforts.
We may be subject to claims that our employees, consultants or independent contractors have wrongfully used or disclosed confidential information of third parties.
If we fail to attract, retain and motivate senior management and qualified personnel, we may be unable to successfully develop, obtain and/or maintain marketing approval of and commercialize vadadustat or commercialize Auryxia.
Our cost savings plan and the associated workforce reductions implemented in April, May and November 2022 may not result in anticipated savings, could result in total costs and expenses that are greater than expected and could disrupt our business.
We may encounter difficulties in managing our growth, including with respect to our employee base, and managing our operations successfully.
We have identified a material weakness in our internal control over financial reporting as of December 31, 2022 relating to our product return reserves that resulted in a revision of our financial statements for the years ended December 31, 2022, 2021 and 2020. If we are not able to remediate this material weakness, or if we experience additional material weaknesses or other deficiencies in our internal control over financial reporting in the future or otherwise fail to maintain an effective system of internal control over financial reporting, we may not be able to accurately report our financial results or prevent fraud.
We are currently subject to legal proceedings that could result in substantial costs and divert management's attention, and we could be subject to additional legal proceedings.
Our stock price has been and may continue to be volatile, which could result in substantial losses for holders or future purchasers of our common stock and lawsuits against us and our officers and directors.
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PART I
 
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Item 1A. Risk Factors.

We face a variety of risks and uncertainties in our business. Additional risks and uncertainties not presently known to us or that we currently believe to be immaterial may also become important factors that affect our business. If any of the following risks occurs, our business, financial condition, financial statements, results of operations and future growth prospects could be materially and adversely affected.

Risks Related to our Financial Position, Need for Additional Capital and Growth Strategy

We have incurred significant losses since our inception, and anticipate that we will continue to incur significant losses and cannot guarantee when, if ever, we will become profitable or attain positive cash flows.

Investment in pharmaceutical product development and commercialization is highly speculative because it requires upfront capital expenditures and there is significant risk that a product candidate will fail to gain marketing approval or that an approved product will not be commercially viable. Since our inception, we have devoted most of our resources to research and development, including our preclinical and clinical development activities and commercialization of Auryxia. We have financed our operations primarily through sales of equity securities, our strategic collaborations and product revenues, a royalty monetization transaction and debt. Prior to the merger, or the Merger, whereby Keryx Biopharmaceuticals, Inc., or Keryx, became our wholly owned subsidiary, we had no products approved for commercial sale and had not generated any revenue from the sale of products. We are not currently profitable, and we have incurred net losses each year since our inception, including a net loss of $94.2 million for the year ended December 31, 2022. As of December 31, 2022, we had an accumulated deficit of $1.6 billion. We cannot guarantee when, if ever, we will become profitable.

In March 2022, we received a complete response letter, or CRL, from the FDA regarding our NDA for vadadustat, our lead investigational product candidate, for the treatment of anemia associated with CKD. The FDA concluded that the data in the NDA do not support a favorable benefit-risk assessment of vadadustat for dialysis and non-dialysis patients. In October 2022, we submitted a Formal Dispute Resolution Request, or FDRR, to the FDA. The FDRR focuses on the favorable balance between the benefits and risks of vadadustat for the treatment of anemia due to CKD in adult patients on dialysis in light of safety concerns expressed by the FDA in the CRL for dialysis patients related to the rate of adjudicated thromboembolic events driven by vascular access thrombosis for vadadustat compared to the active comparator and the risk of drug-induced liver injury. In February 2023, we received a second interim response from the FDA to our FDRR, and there can be no assurances that we will be successful in our appeal and obtain approval for vadadustat in a timely manner, on favorable terms, or at all. As a result, the regulatory approval process for vadadustat in the U.S. is highly uncertain. We may not obtain approval at all, and if we are able to obtain approval, the expense and time to do so could adversely impact our ability to successfully commercialize vadadustat or conduct our other business operations, and our financial condition could be materially harmed.

Our ability to generate product revenue and achieve profitability depends on the overall success of Auryxia(R), vadadustat, if approved, and any current or future product candidates, including those that may be in-licensed or acquired, which depends on several factors, including:

obtaining adequate or favorable pricing and reimbursement from private and governmental payors for Auryxia, vadadustat, if approved, and any other product or product candidate, including those that may be in-licensed or acquired;
obtaining and maintaining market acceptance of Auryxia, vadadustat, if approved, and any other product candidate, including those that may be in-licensed or acquired;
the size of any market in which Auryxia, vadadustat and any other product or product candidate, including those that may be in-licensed or acquired, receives approval and obtaining adequate market share in those markets;
addressing the issues identified in the CRL for vadadustat that we received from the FDA and the outcome of our appeal;
the timing and scope of marketing approvals for vadadustat, if approved, and any other product candidate, if approved, including those that may be in-licensed or acquired; maintaining marketing approvals for Auryxia, vadadustat, if approved, and any other product, including those that may be in-licensed or acquired;
actual or perceived advantages or disadvantages of our products or product candidates as compared to alternative treatments, including their respective safety, tolerability and efficacy profiles, the potential convenience and ease of administration and cost;
maintaining an acceptable safety and tolerability profile of our approved products, including the frequency and severity of any side effects;
the willingness of the target patient population to try new therapies and of physicians to prescribe these therapies, based, in part, on their perception of our clinical trial data and/or the actual or perceived safety, tolerability and efficacy profile;
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establishing and maintaining supply and manufacturing relationships with third parties that can provide adequate supplies of products that are compliant with good manufacturing practices, or GMPs, to support the clinical development and the market demand for Auryxia, vadadustat, if approved, and any other product and product candidate, including those that may be in-licensed or acquired;
current and future restrictions or limitations on our approved or future indications and patient populations or other adverse regulatory actions or in the event that the FDA requires Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategies, or REMS, or risk management plans that use restrictive risk minimization strategies;
the effectiveness of our sales, marketing, manufacturing and distribution strategies and operations;
competing effectively with any products for the same or similar indications as our products;
maintaining, protecting and expanding our portfolio of intellectual property rights, including patents and trade secrets; and
the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the above factors, including the disproportionate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on CKD patients, the adverse impact on the phosphate binder market in which we compete, and the limitation of our sales professionals to meet in person with healthcare professionals as the result of travel restrictions or limitations on access for non-patients.

Our ability to achieve profitability also depends on our ability to manage our expenses. Following receipt of the CRL, in April and May 2022, we implemented a reduction of our workforce, by approximately 42% across all areas of the Company (47% inclusive of the closing of the majority of open positions), including several members of management. In November 2022, we also implemented a reduction of our workforce, by approximately 14% consisting of individuals within our commercial organization as a result of our decision to shift to a strategic account management focused model for our commercial efforts. We recorded a restructuring charge of $15.9 million in the aggregate primarily related to contractual termination benefits including severance, non-cash stock-based compensation expense, healthcare and related benefits in the year ended December 31, 2022. However, we may incur additional costs not currently contemplated due to events associated with or resulting from the workforce reductions. Additionally, the reductions in workforce could impact our operations, including our commercialization of Auryxia, which could affect our ability to generate revenue.

We expect to continue to incur additional operating expenses, including additional research and development expenses to our pipeline, additional costs related to vadadustat, and research and development and selling, general and administrative expenses for ongoing development and commercialization of Auryxia, which could lead to operating losses for the foreseeable future. In addition to any additional costs not currently contemplated due to events associated with or resulting from the workforce reductions noted above, our ability to achieve profitability and our financial position will depend, in part, on the rate of our future expenditures, on product revenue, collaboration revenue, and our ability to obtain additional funding. On June 30, 2022, we entered into a Termination and Settlement Agreement, or the Termination Agreement, with Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd., or Otsuka, pursuant to which we agreed to the immediate termination of the December 18, 2016 collaboration and license agreement with Otsuka, or the Otsuka U.S. Agreement, and the April 25, 2017 collaboration and license agreement with Otsuka, or the Otsuka International Agreement, in exchange for the payment of $55.0 million to us and the agreement between the parties with respect to the conduct of certain activities. Unless and until we are able to find a new partner for vadadustat in Europe and other countries previously licensed to Otsuka, we will incur additional expenses in connection with the development of vadadustat and will receive less collaboration revenue and, if approved, product revenue than originally anticipated. In addition, we expect to continue to incur significant expenses if and as we:

continue our commercialization activities for Auryxia and vadadustat, if we are able to obtain marketing approval for vadadustat following receipt of the CRL from the FDA in March 2022, and any other product or product candidate, including those that may be in-licensed or acquired;
address the issues identified in the CRL for vadadustat that we received from the FDA and pursue our appeal of the CRL for vadadustat with the FDA;
conduct and enroll patients in any clinical trials, including post-marketing studies or any other clinical trials for Auryxia, vadadustat or any other product or product candidate, including those that may be in-licensed or acquired;
seek marketing approvals for vadadustat and any other product candidate, including those that may be in-licensed or acquired;
maintain marketing approvals for Auryxia and vadadustat, if we are able to obtain marketing approval for vadadustat following receipt of the CRL from the FDA in March 2022, and any other product, including those that may be in-licensed or acquired;
manufacture Auryxia, vadadustat and any other product or product candidate, including those that may be in-licensed or acquired, for commercial sale and clinical trials;
conduct discovery and development activities for additional product candidates or platforms that may lead to the discovery of additional product candidates;
engage in transactions, including strategic, merger, collaboration, acquisition and licensing transactions, pursuant to which we would market and develop commercial products, or develop and commercialize other product candidates and technologies;
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continue to repay, and pay any associated pre-payment penalties, if applicable, the senior secured term loans in an aggregate principal amount of $67.0 million as of December 31, 2022, or the Term Loans, that were made available to us pursuant to the Loan Agreement;
make royalty, milestone or other payments under our license agreements and any future license agreements;
maintain, protect and expand our intellectual property portfolio;
make decisions with respect to our personnel, including the retention of key employees;
make decisions with respect to our infrastructure, including to support our operations as a fully integrated, publicly traded biopharmaceutical company; and
experience any additional delays or encounter issues with any of the above.

We have and will continue to expend significant resources on our legal proceedings, as described in Part I, Item 3. Legal Proceedings of our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2022, or any other legal proceedings brought by or against us in the future.

Because of the numerous risks and uncertainties associated with pharmaceutical product development and commercialization, we are unable to accurately predict the timing or amount of increased expenses. The net losses we incur may fluctuate significantly from quarter to quarter and year to year, such that a period-to-period comparison of our results of operations may not be a good indication of our future performance. In any particular quarter, the progress of our clinical development and our operating results could be below the expectations of securities analysts or investors, which could cause our stock price to decline.

We will continue to incur substantial expenditures relating to continued commercialization and post-marketing requirements for Auryxia and vadadustat, if we are able to obtain marketing approval for vadadustat following receipt of the CRL from the FDA in March 2022, and any other products, including those that may be in-licensed or acquired, as well as costs relating to the research and development of any other product candidate, including those that may be in-licensed or acquired. Our prior losses and expected future losses have had and will continue to have an adverse effect on our stockholders’ equity and working capital.

Our expenses could increase beyond expectations if we are required by the FDA, the European Medicines Agency, or the EMA, or other regulatory authorities, or if we otherwise believe it is necessary, to change our manufacturing processes or assays, to amend or replace our study protocols, to conduct any additional clinical trials, whether in order to obtain approval or as a post-approval study, including any additional clinical trial that we decide to conduct for vadadustat, to perform studies in addition to, different from or larger than those currently planned, if there are any delays in completing our clinical trials or if there are further delays in or issues with obtaining marketing approval for vadadustat in the United States, the European Union, or EU, or other jurisdictions. In addition, our ability to generate revenue would be negatively affected if the size of our addressable patient population is not as significant as we estimate, the indication approved by regulatory authorities is narrower than we sought or the patient population for treatment is narrowed by competition, physician choice, coverage or reimbursement, or payor or treatment guidelines. Even though we generate product revenue from Auryxia and royalties from RionaTM and VafseoTM in Japan and may generate revenue and royalties from the sale of any products that may be approved in the future, including those that may be in-licensed or acquired, we may never generate revenue and royalties that are significant enough for us to become and remain profitable, and we will need to obtain additional funding to continue to fund our operating plan beyond Auryxia and certain development activities, and achieve strategic growth.

We will require substantial additional financing to achieve our goals. A failure to obtain this necessary capital when needed, or on acceptable terms, could force us to delay, limit, reduce or terminate our product development or commercialization efforts.

As of December 31, 2022, our cash and cash equivalents were $90.5 million. We expect to continue to expend substantial amounts of cash for the foreseeable future as we continue to commercialize Auryxia; pursue our appeal for vadadustat in the U.S. with the FDA; support the regulatory process with respect to vadadustat with the EMA and ACCESS Consortium; and develop and commercialize any other product or product candidate, including those that may be in-licensed or acquired. These expenditures will include costs associated with research and development, manufacturing, potentially obtaining marketing approvals and marketing products approved for sale. In addition, other unanticipated costs may arise. Because the outcomes of our current and anticipated clinical trials are highly uncertain, we cannot reasonably estimate the actual amount of funding necessary to successfully complete clinical development for any current or future product candidates, including vadadustat depending on what is required to address the issues identified in the CRL for vadadustat, including the outcome of our appeal and if additional clinical trials are required in order to obtain marketing approval, or to complete post-marketing studies for Auryxia and vadadustat, if approved. Our future capital requirements depend on many factors, including:

the scope, progress, results and costs of conducting clinical trials or any post-marketing requirements or any other clinical trials for Auryxia, vadadustat and any other product or product candidate, including those that may be in-licensed or acquired;
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the cost and timing of commercialization activities, including product manufacturing, marketing, sales and distribution costs, for Auryxia, vadadustat, if approved, and any other product or product candidate, including those that may be in-licensed or acquired;
the results of our meetings with the FDA, the EMA and other regulatory authorities and any consequential effects, including on timing of and ability to obtain and maintain marketing approval, study design, study size and resulting operating costs;
any difficulties or delays in conducting our clinical trials, or enrolling patients in our clinical trials, for Auryxia, vadadustat or any other product candidates;
the outcome of our efforts to obtain marketing approval for vadadustat in the United States, Europe and in other jurisdictions and any other product candidates, including those that may be in-licensed or acquired, including any additional clinical trials or post-approval commitments imposed by regulatory authorities;
the timing of, and the costs involved in obtaining, marketing approvals for vadadustat, including in the United States, Europe and certain other markets, and any other product candidate, including those that may be in-licensed or acquired, including to fund the preparation, filing and prosecution of regulatory submissions;
the costs of maintaining marketing approvals for Auryxia or any other product, including those that may be in-licensed or acquired;
the number of generic versions of Auryxia that enter the market following loss of exclusivity for Auryxia in March 2025, and the timing of, and the magnitude of, the impact on the price of Auryxia;
the cost of securing and validating commercial manufacturing for any of our product candidates, including those that may be in-licensed or acquired, and maintaining our manufacturing arrangements for Auryxia and vadadustat or any other product, including those that may be in-licensed or acquired, or securing and validating additional arrangements;
the costs involved in preparing, filing and prosecuting patent applications and maintaining, defending and enforcing our intellectual property rights, including litigation costs, and the outcome of such litigation;
the costs involved in any legal proceedings to which we are a party;
our status as a publicly traded company on the Nasdaq Capital Market;
our decisions with respect to personnel;
our decisions with respect to infrastructure; and
the extent to which we engage in transactions, including strategic, merger, collaboration, acquisition and licensing transactions, pursuant to which we could develop and market commercial products, or develop other product candidates and technologies.

We will need to obtain substantial additional funding to fund our operating plan beyond Auryxia and certain development activities, and achieve strategic growth. If we are unable to raise capital when needed or on attractive terms, we could be forced to delay, reduce or eliminate our research and development programs or any future commercialization efforts.

We expect our cash resources to fund our current operating plan through at least the next twelve months from the filing of our 2022 Annual Report on Form 10-K on March 10, 2023. However, if our operating performance deteriorates significantly from the levels achieved in 2022, it could have an effect on our liquidity and our ability to continue as a going concern in the future. Our forecast of the period of time through which our financial resources will be adequate to support our operations is a forward-looking statement and involves numerous risks and uncertainties, and actual results could vary as a result of a number of factors, many of which are outside our control. We have based this estimate on assumptions that may be substantially different than actual results, and we could utilize our available capital resources sooner than we currently expect. In addition, if we fail to satisfy any of the covenants under our Loan Agreement with Pharmakon, including the covenant that our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ending December 31, 2023 not be qualified as to going concern, and the loan is accelerated, we may not have sufficient resources to fund our operating plan through the next twelve months from the filing of our 2022 Annual Report on Form 10-K on March 10, 2023. There can be no assurance that the current operating plan will be achieved in the time frame anticipated by us, or that our cash resources will fund our operating plan for the period anticipated by us, or that additional funding will be available on terms acceptable to us, or at all.

Any additional fundraising efforts may divert our management’s attention away from their day-to-day activities, which may adversely affect our ability to develop and commercialize Auryxia and any other products or product candidates, including those that may be in-licensed or acquired, or to continue to seek regulatory approval for vadadustat. Also, additional funds may not be available to us in sufficient amounts or on acceptable terms or at all. If we are unable to raise additional capital in sufficient amounts when needed or on terms acceptable to us, we may have to significantly delay, scale back or discontinue the development and/or commercialization of Auryxia and any other products or product candidates, including those that may be in-licensed or acquired, or to take any actions with respect to vadadustat depending on future decisions with respect to vadadustat in the U.S. Any of these events could significantly harm our business, financial condition and prospects.

Raising additional capital may cause dilution to our existing stockholders, restrict our operations or require us to relinquish rights to our product and product candidates on unfavorable terms to us.

We expect to finance future cash needs through product revenue, royalty transactions, strategic transactions, public or private equity or debt transactions, or a combination of these approaches. To the extent that we raise additional capital through the sale
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of equity or convertible debt securities, the ownership interests of our common stockholders will be diluted, our fixed payment obligations may increase, any such securities may have rights senior to those of our common stock, and the terms may include liquidation or other preferences and anti-dilution protections that adversely affect the rights of our common stockholders. Additional debt financing, if available, may involve agreements that would restrict our operations and potentially impair our competitiveness, such as limitations on our ability to incur additional debt, make capital expenditures, declare dividends, acquire, sell or license intellectual property rights, and other operating restrictions that could adversely impact our ability to conduct our business. If we raise additional funds through royalty transactions, we may have to relinquish valuable rights to our portfolio and future revenue streams, and enter into agreements that would restrict our operations and strategic flexibility. If we raise additional funds through strategic transactions with third parties, we may have to do so at an earlier stage than otherwise would be desirable. In connection with any such strategic transactions, we may be required to relinquish valuable rights to our product and product candidates, future revenue streams or research programs or grant licenses on terms that are not favorable to us. If we are unable to raise additional funds when needed, we may not be able to pursue planned development and commercialization activities and we may need to grant rights to develop and market product candidates that we would otherwise prefer to develop and market ourselves.

If we fail to regain compliance with the continued listing requirements of Nasdaq, our common stock may be delisted and the price of our common stock and our ability to access the capital markets could be negatively impacted.

On May 12, 2022, we received a deficiency letter from the Listing Qualifications Department of the Nasdaq Stock Market, or Nasdaq, notifying us that, for the last 30 consecutive business days, the bid price for our common stock had closed below the minimum $1.00 per share requirement for continued inclusion on the Nasdaq Global Market, referred to as the minimum bid price rule. In accordance with Nasdaq Listing Rules, we were provided an initial period of 180 calendar days, or until November 8, 2022, to regain compliance with the minimum bid price rule. We did not regain compliance with the minimum bid price rule by the initial compliance date.

On November 9, 2022, Nasdaq notified us that we were eligible for an additional 180 calendar day period, or until May 8, 2023, to regain compliance with the minimum bid price rule. Nasdaq’s determination was based on our meeting the continued listing requirement for market value of publicly held shares and all other applicable requirements for initial listing on the Nasdaq Capital Market with the exception of bid price requirement, and our written notice of our intention to cure the deficiency during the second compliance period by effecting a reverse stock split, if necessary. On November 9, 2022, Nasdaq approved our transfer from the Nasdaq Global Market to the Nasdaq Capital Market, a continuous trading market that operates in substantially the same manner as the Nasdaq Global Market. The transfer became effective at the opening of business on November 11, 2022.

To date, we have not regained compliance with the minimum bid price rule. If, at any time during the additional compliance period the bid price for our common stock closes at $1.00 or more per share for a minimum of 10 consecutive business days, the Nasdaq Listing Qualifications Department staff will provide written notification to us that we are in compliance with the minimum bid price rule, unless the staff exercises its discretion to extend this 10-day period pursuant to the Nasdaq Listing Rules.

If we do not regain compliance with the minimum bid price rule by the required date and we are not eligible for any additional compliance period at that time, the Nasdaq Listing Qualifications Department staff will provide us written notification that our common stock may be delisted. At that time, we may appeal the staff’s delisting determination to a Nasdaq Listing Qualifications Panel. We expect that our common stock would remain listed pending the panel’s decision. However, there can be no assurance that, even if we appeal the staff’s delisting determination to the Nasdaq Listing Qualifications Panel, such appeal would be successful.

On March 1, 2023, we filed a definitive proxy statement for a Special Meeting of Stockholders to be held on April 11, 2023 at which meeting we are seeking stockholder approval of a reverse stock split with the primary intent of increasing the price of our common stock to meet the price criteria for continued listing on Nasdaq. We intend to continue to monitor the closing bid price of our common stock and may, if appropriate, consider available options to regain compliance with the minimum bid price rule, which could include seeking to effect a reverse stock split. However, there can be no assurance that our stockholders will approve a reverse stock split or that we will be able to regain compliance with the minimum bid price rule.

There are many factors that may adversely affect our minimum bid price, including those described throughout this section titled “Risk Factors.” Many of these factors are outside of our control. As a result, we may not be able to sustain compliance with the minimum bid price rule in the long term. Any potential delisting of our common stock from the Nasdaq Capital Market would likely result in decreased liquidity and increased volatility for our common stock and would adversely affect our ability to raise additional capital or to enter into strategic transactions. Any potential delisting of our common stock from the Nasdaq Capital Market would also make it more difficult for our stockholders to sell our common stock in the public market.

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We may not be successful in our efforts to identify, acquire, in-license, discover, develop and commercialize additional products or product candidates or our decisions to prioritize the development of certain product candidates over others may not be successful, which could impair our ability to grow.

Although we continue to focus a substantial amount of our efforts on the commercialization of Auryxia and to pursue our appeal for vadadustat in the U.S. with the FDA and to seek regulatory approval for vadadustat in Europe and other territories, a key element of our long-term growth strategy is to develop additional product candidates and acquire, in-license, develop and/or market additional products and product candidates.

Research programs to identify product candidates require substantial technical, financial and human resources, regardless of whether product candidates are ultimately identified. Our research and development programs may initially show promise, yet fail to yield product candidates for clinical development or commercialization for many reasons, including the following:

the research methodology used may not be successful in identifying potential indications and/or product candidates;
we may not be able or willing to assemble sufficient resources to acquire or discover additional product candidates;
a product candidate may be shown to have harmful side effects, a lack of efficacy or other characteristics that indicate that they are unlikely to be drugs that will receive marketing approval and/or achieve market acceptance;
a product candidate we develop and seek regulatory approval for, including vadadustat, may not be approved by the FDA on a timely basis, or at all;
product candidates we develop may nevertheless be covered by third party patents or other exclusive rights;
the market for a product candidate may change during our program so that the continued development of that product candidate is no longer commercially reasonable;
a product candidate may not be capable of being produced in commercial quantities at an acceptable cost, or at all; or
a product candidate may not be accepted as safe and effective by patients, the medical community, or third party payors, if applicable.

If any of these events occur, we may be forced to abandon our research and development efforts for one or more of our programs, or we may not be able to identify, discover, develop or commercialize additional product candidates, which may have a material adverse effect on our business.

Because we have limited financial and managerial resources, especially as a result of the CRL for vadadustat that we received in March 2022 and the reductions in workforce that we implemented in 2022, we focus on products, research programs and product candidates for specific indications. As a result, we may forgo or delay pursuit of opportunities with other product candidates or for other indications, or out license rights to product candidates, that later prove to have greater commercial potential. For example, as a result of receipt of the CRL and implementation of the reductions in workforce, we delayed certain research activities. Our resource allocation decisions may cause us to fail to capitalize on viable commercial products or profitable market opportunities on a timely basis, or at all. Our spending on current and future research and development programs and product candidates for specific indications may not yield any commercially viable products.

Because our internal research capabilities are limited, we may be dependent upon other pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, academic scientists and institutions, and other researchers to sell or license product candidates, products or technology to us. The success of this strategy depends partly upon our ability to identify, select, and acquire promising product candidates and products. The process of identifying, selecting, negotiating and implementing a license or acquisition of a product candidate or an approved product is lengthy and complex. Other companies, including some with substantially greater financial, marketing and sales resources, may compete with us for the license or acquisition of a product candidate or an approved product. We have limited resources to identify and execute the acquisition or in-licensing of third party products, businesses, and technologies and integrate them into our current infrastructure.

Moreover, we may devote resources to potential acquisitions or in-licensing opportunities that are never completed, or we may fail to realize the anticipated benefits of such efforts. Any product candidate that we acquire may require additional development efforts prior to commercial sale, including extensive clinical testing and approval by the FDA, the EMA, the Japanese Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices Agency, or PMDA, or other regulatory authorities, or post-approval testing or other requirements if approved. All product candidates are prone to risks of failure typical of pharmaceutical product development, including the possibility that a product candidate will not be shown to be sufficiently safe and effective for approval by regulatory authorities. In addition, we cannot provide assurance that any of our products will be manufactured in a cost effective manner, achieve market acceptance or not require substantial post-marketing clinical trials.

Accordingly, there can be no assurance that we will ever be able to identify, acquire, in-license or develop suitable additional products or product candidates, which could materially adversely affect our future growth and prospects. We may focus our efforts and resources on potential products, product candidates or other programs that ultimately prove to be unsuccessful.

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We may engage in strategic transactions to acquire assets, businesses, or rights to products, product candidates or technologies or form collaborations or make investments in other companies or technologies that could harm our operating results, dilute our stockholders’ ownership, increase our debt, or cause us to incur significant expense.

As part of our business strategy, we may engage in additional strategic transactions to expand and diversify our portfolio, including through the merger, acquisition or in-license of assets, businesses, or rights to products, product candidates or technologies or through strategic alliances or collaborations, similar to the Merger and our existing and prior collaboration and license arrangements. We may not identify suitable strategic transactions, or complete such transactions in a timely manner, on favorable terms, on a cost-effective basis, or at all. Moreover, we may devote resources to potential opportunities that are never completed or we may incorrectly judge the value or worth of such opportunities. Even if we successfully execute a strategic transaction, we may not be able to realize the anticipated benefits of such transaction and may experience losses related to our investments in such transactions. Integration of an acquired company or assets into our existing business may not be successful and may disrupt ongoing operations, require the hiring of additional personnel and the implementation and integration of additional internal systems and infrastructure, and require management resources that would otherwise focus on developing our existing business. Even if we are able to achieve the long-term benefits of a strategic transaction, our expenses and short-term costs may increase materially and adversely affect our liquidity. Any of the foregoing could have a detrimental effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition. For example, on June 4, 2021, we entered into a license agreement, the Cyclerion Agreement, with Cyclerion Therapeutics Inc., or Cyclerion, pursuant to which Cyclerion granted us an exclusive global license under certain intellectual property rights to research, develop and commercialize praliciguat, an investigational oral soluble guanylate cyclase, or sGC, stimulator. Although we have progressed preclinical studies for praliciguat, we need to do additional work to manufacture product for clinical trials before we can initiate the trials, and when started, we may be unsuccessful in developing praliciguat. If any of the assumptions that we made in valuing the transaction, including the costs or timing of development of, or the potential benefits of, praliciguat, were incorrect, we may not recognize the anticipated benefits of the transaction and our business could be harmed.

In addition, future transactions may entail numerous operational, financial and legal risks, including:

incurring substantial debt, dilutive issuances of securities or depletion of cash to pay for acquisitions;
exposure to known and unknown liabilities, including contingent liabilities, possible intellectual property infringement claims, violations of laws, tax liabilities and commercial disputes;
higher than expected acquisition and integration costs;
difficulty in integrating operations, processes, systems and personnel of any acquired business;
increased amortization expenses or, in the case of a write-down of the value of acquired assets, impairment losses, such as the Auryxia intangible asset impairment in the second quarter of 2020 and corresponding adjustments to the estimated useful life of the developed product rights for Auryxia;
impairment of relationships with key suppliers or customers of any acquired business due to changes in management and ownership;
inability to retain personnel, customers, distributors, vendors and other business partners integral to an in-licensed or acquired product, product candidate or technology;
potential failure of the due diligence processes to identify significant problems, liabilities or other shortcomings or challenges;
entry into indications or markets in which we have no or limited development or commercial experience and where competitors in such markets have stronger market positions; and
other challenges associated with managing an increasingly diversified business.

If we are unable to successfully manage any transaction in which we may engage, our ability to develop new products and continue to expand and diversify our portfolio may be limited.

Our business has been and may continue to be, directly or indirectly, adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The COVID-19 pandemic has presented a substantial public health and economic challenge around the world and continues to affect our patients, healthcare providers with whom we interact, customers, our contract manufacturing organizations, or CMOs, and other vendors. The full extent to which the COVID-19 pandemic and the lasting effects of the pandemic will directly or indirectly impact our business, results of operations and financial condition continues to depend on future developments that are highly uncertain and cannot be accurately predicted, including any resurgences or variants of COVID-19, the actions taken to contain it or treat its impact and the economic and other impacts on local, regional, national and international markets where the healthcare providers with whom we interact, our CMOs, and our other vendors operate. On January 30, 2023, the Biden Administration announced that it will end the public health emergency declarations related to
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COVID-19 on May 11, 2023. On January 31, 2023, the FDA indicated that it would soon issue a Federal Register notice describing how the termination of the public health emergency will impact the agency’s COVID-19 related guidance, including the clinical trial guidance and updates thereto. At this point, it is unclear how, if at all, these developments will impact our efforts to develop and commercialize our product candidates.

We believe our revenue growth was negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021 and 2022 primarily as the CKD patient populations that we serve experienced both high hospitalization and mortality rates due to COVID-19, and the pandemic had an adverse impact on the phosphate binder market in which Auryxia competes. Labor shortages and costs have adversely impacted dialysis providers. These impacts have refocused clinical efforts in addressing bone and mineral disorders like hyperphosphatemia to more acute operational issues to ensure patients receive dialysis treatments and still some patients have been rescheduled or missed treatments due to labor shortages. We believe, this and potentially other factors, has led to the reduction in the phosphate binder market, which has not experienced growth since early 2020. While we are unable to quantify the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on future revenues and revenue growth, the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic continue to adversely and disproportionately impact CKD patients and the phosphate binder market; therefore, we expect the ongoing impacts from the pandemic to continue to have a negative impact on our revenue growth for the foreseeable future.

In addition, several healthcare facilities have previously restricted access for non-patients, including the members of our sales force. For example, DaVita, Inc., or DaVita, and Fresenius Medical Care, or Fresenius, which account for a vast majority of the dialysis population in the United States, have previously restricted access to their clinics. As a result, we continue to engage with some healthcare providers and other customers virtually, where possible. The restrictions on our customer-facing employees’ in-person interactions with healthcare providers have, and could continue to, negatively impact our access to healthcare providers and, ultimately, our sales, including with respect to vadadustat, if approved. Recently, such precautionary measures have been relaxed at certain healthcare facilities and, as a result, members of our sales force have resumed in person interactions with certain customers. Nevertheless, some restrictions remain, and more restrictions may be put in place again due to a resurgence in COVID-19 cases, including those involving new variants of COVID-19, which may be more contagious and more severe than prior strains of the virus. Given this uncertain environment and the disproportionate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on CKD patients, we are actively monitoring the demand in the United States for Auryxia and will be for vadadustat, if approved, including the potential for further declines or changes in prescription trends and customer orders, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, and financial condition.

In addition, the direct and indirect impacts of the pandemic or the response efforts to the pandemic, including, among others, competition for labor and resources and increases in labor, sourcing, manufacturing and shipping costs, may cause disruptions to, closures of or other impacts on our CMOs and other vendors in our supply chain on which we rely for the supply of our products and product candidates. For example, areas of China have recently continued to implement lockdowns for COVID-19, which could impact the global supply chain. At this time, our CMOs continue to operate at or near normal levels. However, it is possible that the COVID-19 pandemic and response efforts may have an impact in the future on our contract manufacturers’ ability to manufacture and deliver Auryxia and vadadustat (if approved in the United States or EMA and which is currently marketed under the trade name VafseoTM by MTPC in Japan), which may result in increased costs and delays, or disruptions to the manufacturing and supply of our products. These impacts could have a negative effect on our inventory reserves, which could result in an increase in inventory write-offs due to expiry.

If we or any of the third parties with whom we engage, including our collaboration partners, vendors, or any of our customers were to experience further shutdowns, delays or other business disruptions, our ability to conduct our business in the manner and on the timelines presently planned, and our revenue expectations, could be materially and negatively impacted, which could have a material adverse effect on our business and our financial results.

While we are working to mitigate the impacts on our business, we are mindful that many of these risks and the impact to the larger healthcare market are outside of our control. The COVID-19 pandemic has, and may continue to, significantly impact the phosphate binder market in which we compete and economies and financial markets worldwide, which could result in adverse effects on our business and operations, impact our ability to raise additional funds and impact the volatility of our stock price and trading in our stock. Even after the COVID-19 pandemic has been contained or mitigated, we may continue to experience adverse impacts to our business as a result of the adverse impact on the patient population for Auryxia, the decline in the phosphate binder market and any economic recession or depression that has occurred or may occur in the future.

Risks Related to our Financial Arrangements

Our obligations in connection with the loan agreement with Pharmakon and requirements and restrictions in the loan agreement could adversely affect our financial condition and restrict our operations.

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We entered into the Loan Agreement with Pharmakon, pursuant to which the Term Loans were made available to us in two tranches. The first tranche of $80.0 million closed on November 25, 2019, and the second tranche of $20.0 million closed on December 10, 2020. See Note 12 to our audited consolidated financial statements in Part II, Item 8. Financial Statements of this Annual Report on Form 10-K/A for additional information regarding our obligations under the Loan Agreement.

The Loan Agreement contains affirmative and negative covenants applicable to us and our subsidiaries, including maintaining, on an annual basis, a minimum liquidity threshold, which started in 2021, and on a quarterly basis, a minimum net sales threshold for Auryxia, which started in the fourth quarter of 2020. In addition, the Loan Agreement contains covenants that our Annual Reports on Form 10-K, must not be subject to any qualification as to going concern. Failure to maintain compliance with these or other covenants would result in an event of default under the Loan Agreement, which could result in enforcement action, including acceleration of amounts due under the Loan Agreement. Additionally, the liabilities under the Loan Agreement will be accelerated, subject to certain exceptions, if we are required to repay to CSL Vifor all or a part of the working capital facility established in connection with the Second Amended and Restated License Agreement that we entered into with CSL Vifor, in February 2022, or the Vifor Second Amended Agreement, as a result of certain terminations of the Vifor Second Amended Agreement or due to a reduction in the balance of the working capital facility by more than a prespecified amount.

In the event there is an acceleration of our and certain of our subsidiaries’ liabilities under the Loan Agreement as a result of an event of default or otherwise, we may not have sufficient funds or may be unable to arrange for additional financing to repay the liabilities or to make any accelerated payments, and Pharmakon could seek to enforce security interests in the collateral securing the Loan Agreement and our guarantee of the Term Loans, which would have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

The Loan Agreement permits voluntary prepayment at any time in whole or in part, subject to prepayment premiums and make-whole premiums prior to certain dates. We made a voluntary prepayment of $25.0 million, including $0.5 million of prepayment penalties on July 15, 2022, pursuant to the Second Amendment and Waiver. This represented the repayment of $5.0 million of the first tranche and the full $20.0 million of the second tranche. Upon a change of control, mandatory prepayment provisions require us to prepay the principal amount outstanding, the applicable prepayment premium and make-whole premium and accrued and unpaid interest. In addition, our obligations in connection with the Loan Agreement could have additional significant adverse consequences, including, among other things:

restricting our activities, including limitations on transferring certain of our assets, engaging in certain transactions, terminating certain agreements, including the Vifor Second Amended Agreement, incurring certain additional indebtedness, creating certain liens, paying dividends or making certain other distributions and investments;
limiting our flexibility in planning for, or reacting to, changes in our business and our industry;
placing us at a possible competitive disadvantage compared to our competitors who have a smaller amount of debt or competitors with comparable debt at more favorable interest rates; and
limiting our ability to borrow additional amounts for working capital, capital expenditures, research and development efforts, acquisitions, debt service requirements, execution of our business strategy and other purposes.

Any of these factors could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Our Royalty Interest Acquisition Agreement with HealthCare Royalty Partners IV, L.P. contains various covenants and other provisions, which, if violated, could materially adversely affect our financial condition.

On February 25, 2021, we entered into a royalty interest acquisition agreement, or the Royalty Agreement, with HealthCare Royalty Partners IV, L.P., or HCR, pursuant to which we sold to HCR our right to the to receive royalties and sales milestones for vadadustat, collectively the Royalty Interest Payments, in each case, payable to us under our Collaboration Agreement dated December 11, 2015, or the MTPC Agreement, with Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma Corporation, or MTPC, subject to an annual maximum “cap” of $13.0 million, or the Annual Cap, and an aggregate maximum “cap” of $150.0 million, or the Aggregate Cap. Under the Royalty Agreement, we are required to comply with various covenants, including obligations to take certain actions, such as actions with respect to the Royalty Interest Payments, the MTPC Agreement, our agreement with MTPC for the commercial supply of vadadustat drug product, and our intellectual property. In addition, the Royalty Agreement includes customary events of default upon the occurrence of enumerated events, including failure to perform certain covenants and the occurrence of insolvency events. In the event we violate certain covenants and other provisions, we may not receive sales milestones from HCR even if the applicable sales thresholds are met. Upon the occurrence of an event of default, HCR would have the ability to exercise all available remedies in law and equity, which could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition.

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Risks Related to Commercialization

Our business is substantially dependent on the commercial success of Auryxia. If we are unable to continue to successfully commercialize Auryxia, our results or operations and financial condition will be materially harmed.

Our business and our ability to generate product revenue largely depend on our, and our collaborators’, ability to successfully commercialize Auryxia. Our ability to generate revenue depends on our ability to execute on our commercialization plans, and the size of the market for, and the level of market acceptance of, Auryxia and any other product or product candidate, including those that may be in-licensed or acquired. If the size of any market for which a product or product candidate is approved decreases or is smaller than we anticipate, our revenue and results of operations could be materially adversely affected. For example, the phosphate binder market has declined since 2020, which we believe was partially a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. If the phosphate market does not recover or continues to decline, our revenue from Auryxia could be materially adversely affected.

Market acceptance is also critical to our ability to generate significant product revenue. Any product may achieve only limited market acceptance or none at all. If Auryxia, or any of our product candidates that is approved, is not accepted by the market to the extent that we expect or market acceptance decreases, we may not be able to generate significant product revenue and our business would be materially harmed. Market acceptance of Auryxia or any other approved product depends on a number of factors, including:

the availability of adequate coverage and reimbursement by and the availability of discounts, rebates and price concessions from third party payors, pharmacy benefit managers, or PBMs, and governmental authorities;
the safety and efficacy of the product, as demonstrated in clinical trials and in the post-marketing setting;
the prevalence and complications of the disease treated by the product;
the clinical indications for which the product is approved and the product label approved by regulatory authorities, including any warnings or limitations that may be required on the label as a consequence of potential safety risks associated with the product;
the countries in which marketing approvals are obtained;
the claims we and our collaborators are able to make regarding the safety and efficacy of the product;
the success of our physician and patient communications and education programs;
acceptance by physicians and patients of the product as a safe and effective treatment and the willingness of the target patient population to try new therapies and of physicians to prescribe new therapies;
the cost, safety and efficacy of the product in relation to alternative treatments;
the timing of receipt of marketing approvals and product launch relative to competing products and potential generic entrants;
relative convenience and ease of administration;
the frequency and severity of adverse side effects;
favorable or adverse publicity about our products or favorable or adverse publicity about competing products;
the effectiveness of our and our collaborators’ sales, marketing and distribution efforts; and
the restrictions on the use of the product together with other medications, if any.

If we are unable to maintain or expand, or, if vadadustat is approved, initiate, sales and marketing capabilities or enter into additional agreements with third parties, we may not be successful in commercializing Auryxia, vadadustat, if approved, or any other product candidates that may be approved.

In order to market Auryxia and any other approved product, we intend to continue to invest in sales and marketing, which will require substantial effort and significant management and financial resources. We have built a commercial infrastructure and sales force in the United States for Auryxia, our only commercial product. However, following receipt of the CRL, in April and May 2022, we implemented a reduction of our workforce by approximately 42% across all areas of the Company (47% inclusive of the closing of the majority of open positions), including several members of management. In November 2022, we also implemented a reduction of our workforce, by approximately 14% consisting of individuals within our commercial organization as a result of our decision to shift to a strategic account management focused model for our commercial efforts. If the remaining sales and marketing team cannot successfully commercialize Auryxia, or if additional sales and marketing employees decide to leave as a result of the reduction in workforce or otherwise, it could have a material adverse effect on Auryxia revenue and our financial condition.

If we obtain regulatory approval to market vadadustat in the U.S., we believe that we can leverage the current commercial foundation for vadadustat in the U.S., but if we are unable to do so successfully this would materially harm our business.
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Additionally, training a sales force to successfully sell and market a new commercial product is expensive and time-consuming and could delay any commercial launch of such product candidate or distract the sales force from promoting Auryxia. We may underestimate the size of the sales force required for a successful product launch and we may need to expand our sales force earlier and at a higher cost than we anticipated. In 2021 and early 2022, we incurred commercialization expenses for vadadustat that were premature or unnecessary as a result of the receipt of the CRL for vadadustat, and may in the future incur additional commercialization expenses prematurely or unnecessarily if we do not receive marketing approval in the timeframe we expect, or at all.

We devote significant effort, in particular, to recruiting individuals with experience in the sales and marketing of pharmaceutical products. Competition for personnel with these skills is significant and retaining qualified personnel with experience in our industry is difficult. Further, our recent reductions in workforce may further exacerbate these conditions and interfere with our ability to find and retain qualified personnel. As a result, we may not be able to retain our existing employees or hire new employees quickly enough to meet our needs. At the same time, we may face high turnover, requiring us to expend time and resources to source, train and integrate new employees.

There are risks involved with maintaining our own sales and marketing capabilities, including the following:
potential inability to recruit, train and retain adequate numbers of effective sales and marketing personnel;
potential lack of complementary products to be offered by sales personnel, which may put us at a competitive disadvantage relative to companies with more extensive product lines, especially as a result of the receipt of the CRL for vadadustat; and
costs and expenses associated with maintaining our own sales and marketing organization.

If we are unable to maintain our own sales and marketing capabilities, we will not be successful in commercializing Auryxia, vadadustat, if approved, and any other product candidate that may be approved.

Furthermore, if we are unable to maintain our arrangements with third parties with respect to sales and marketing, if we are unsuccessful in entering into additional arrangements with third parties to sell and market our products or we are unable to do so on terms that are favorable to us, or if such third parties are unable to carry out their obligations under such arrangements, it will be difficult to successfully commercialize our product and product candidates, including vadadustat, if approved. For example, if in connection with the Vifor Second Amended Agreement, we experience difficulties with CSL Vifor, or if CSL Vifor experiences difficulties with other parties to whom it expects to sell vadadustat, if approved, our ability to commercialize vadadustat, if approved, will be severely hindered and our business operations will be materially harmed.

Our, or our partners', failure to obtain or maintain adequate coverage, pricing and reimbursement for Auryxia, vadadustat, if approved, or any other future approved products, could have a material adverse effect on our or our collaboration partners’ ability to sell such approved products profitably and otherwise have a material adverse impact on our business.

Market acceptance and sales of any approved products, including Auryxia and, if approved, vadadustat, depends significantly on the availability of adequate coverage and reimbursement from third party payors and may be affected by existing and future healthcare reform measures. Governmental authorities, third party payors, and PBMs decide which drugs they will cover, as well as establish formularies or implement other mechanisms to manage utilization of products and determine reimbursement levels. We cannot be sure that coverage or adequate reimbursement will be available for Auryxia, vadadustat, if approved, or any of our potential future products. Even if we obtain coverage for an approved product, third party payors may not establish adequate reimbursement amounts, which may reduce the demand for our product and prompt us to have to reduce pricing for the product. If reimbursement is not available or is limited, we may not be able to commercialize certain of our products. Coverage and reimbursement by a governmental authority, third-party payor or PBM may depend upon a number of factors, including the determination that use of a product is:

a covered benefit under the health plan;
safe, effective and medically necessary;
appropriate for the specific patient; and
cost effective.

Obtaining coverage and reimbursement approval for a product from a governmental authority, PBM or a third-party payor is a time consuming and costly process that could require us to provide supporting scientific, clinical and cost-effectiveness data for the use of our products to the payor. In the United States, there are multiple governmental authorities, PBMs and third-party payors with varying coverage and reimbursement levels for pharmaceutical products, and the timing of commencement of reimbursement by a governmental payor can be dependent on the assignment of codes via the Healthcare Common Procedural Coding System, which codes are assigned on a quarterly basis. Within Medicare, for oral drugs dispensed by pharmacies and
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also administered in facilities, coverage and reimbursement may vary depending on the setting. CMS, local Medicare administrative contractors, Medicare Part D plans and/or PBMs operating on behalf of Medicare Part D plans, may have some responsibility for determining the medical necessity of such drugs, and therefore coverage, for different patients. Different reimbursement methodologies may apply, and CMS may have some discretion in interpreting their application in certain settings.

As an oral drug, Auryxia is covered by Medicare under Part D. However, in September 2018, CMS decided that Auryxia would no longer be covered by Medicare for the treatment of iron deficiency anemia, or IDA, in adult patients with NDD-CKD, or the CMS Decision. While this decision does not impact CMS coverage for the control of serum phosphorus levels in adult patients with DD-CKD, or the Hyperphosphatemia Indication, it requires Part D plan sponsors to impose prior authorization or other steps to ensure that Auryxia is reimbursed only for the Hyperphosphatemia Indication. While we believe that the vast majority of the Medicare prescriptions written for Auryxia today are for the Hyperphosphatemia Indication and therefore will continue to be covered by Medicare with prior authorization, the CMS Decision has had and will continue to have an adverse impact on the sales and future growth of Auryxia for the Hyperphosphatemia Indication and the IDA Indication. For example, in the second quarter of 2020, we reduced our short-term and long-term Auryxia revenue forecast, primarily driven by the compounding impact of the CMS Decision. As a result, we recorded an impairment charge of $114.4 million to the Auryxia intangible asset associated with the developed product rights for Auryxia during the three months ended June 30, 2020.

Medicaid reimbursement of drugs varies by state. Private third-party payor reimbursement policies also vary and may or may not be consistent with Medicare reimbursement methodologies. Manufacturers of outpatient prescription drugs may be required to provide discounts or rebates under government healthcare programs or to certain third-party payors in order to obtain coverage of such products.

Additionally, we may be required to enter into contracts with third party payors and/or PBMs offering rebates or discounts on our products in order to obtain favorable formulary status and we may not be able to agree upon commercially reasonable terms with such third party payors or PBMs, or provide data sufficient to obtain favorable coverage and reimbursement for many reasons, including that we may be at a competitive disadvantage relative to companies with more extensive product lines. In addition, third party payors, PBMs and other entities that purchase our products may impose restrictions on our ability to raise prices for our products over time without incurring additional costs. Four distributors, Fresenius Medical Care Rx, McKesson Corporation, Cardinal Health, Inc. and Amerisource Bergen Drug Corporation, in the aggregate, accounted for a significant percentage of our gross revenue during 2022. If we are not able to maintain our arrangements with these key distributors on favorable terms, on a timely basis or at all, or if there is any adverse change in one or more of these distributors’ business practices or financial condition, it would adversely impact the market opportunity for Auryxia, our product revenues and operating results.

Furthermore, vadadustat was approved in Japan for the treatment of adult patients with anemia due to CKD and is being marketed by MTPC in Japan under the trade name VafseoTM. Pricing and reimbursement strategy is a key component of MTPC’s commercialization plans for Vafseo in Japan. If coverage and reimbursement terms change, MTPC may not be able to, or may decide not to, continue commercialization of Vafseo in Japan.

We currently believe it is likely that vadadustat, if approved, will be reimbursed using the Transitional Drug Add-on Payment Adjustment, or TDAPA, followed by inclusion in the bundled reimbursement model for Medicare beneficiaries. For those that obtain dialysis through commercial insurance during the 30-month coordination period or through Medicaid prior to Medicare becoming primary payer after 90 days, patients may access vadadustat through contracts we negotiate with third party payors for reimbursement of vadadustat, which would be subject to the risks and uncertainties described above. Additionally, applying for and obtaining reimbursement under the TDAPA is expected to take at least six months following approval, which will affect adoption, uptake and product revenue for vadadustat during that time, and if there are updates to the TDAPA rule that decrease the basis for reimbursement or eligibility criteria during the transition period or if the TDAPA is eliminated, then our profitability may be adversely affected. For example, the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, or MedPAC, an independent legislative branch advisory body to Congress on issues related to the Medicare program, has recommended that TDAPA not be provided to newly approved drug products considered to fall within “functional categories” for which costs are already accounted for in the bundled reimbursement model, such as for anemia management drugs.

Further, if vadadustat is approved in the United States and included in the fixed reimbursement model for a bundle of dialysis services, or the bundle, we would be required to enter into contracts to supply vadadustat to specific dialysis providers, instead of through distributors, which we believe could be challenging. The dialysis market is unique and is dominated by two providers: DaVita and Fresenius, which account for a vast majority of the dialysis population in the United States. Under the Vifor Second Amended Agreement, we granted CSL Vifor an exclusive license to sell vadadustat to Fresenius Medical Care North America and its affiliates, including Fresenius Kidney Care Group LLC, to certain third-party dialysis organizations approved by us, to independent dialysis organizations that are members of group purchase organizations, and to certain non-retail specialty pharmacies in the United States. We refer to Fresenius Medical Care North America and its affiliates, these organizations and specialty pharmacies collectively as the “Supply Group". See Note 5 to our consolidated financial statements
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in Part II, Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data of this Annual Report on Form 10-K/A for additional information regarding the Vifor Second Amended Agreement. If vadadustat is approved and we are not able to maintain the Vifor Second Amended Agreement or enter into a supply agreement with DaVita or other dialysis clinics, our business may be materially harmed.

Similar to how payor coverage may affect the sales of a product, formulary status within dialysis organizations may affect what products are prescribed within that specific organization. Therefore, if a product is not on a formulary, the prescribers within that organization may be less likely to prescribe that product or may have a difficult time prescribing that product, resulting in less sales. Further, one dialysis organization’s determination to add a product to their formulary does not assure that other dialysis organizations will also add the product to theirs. There is always a risk a dialysis organization will not contract with a drug manufacturer for a specific product, resulting in that product not being on that organization’s formulary. If any dialysis organization does not add vadadustat, if approved, to the formulary, our business may be materially harmed.

In addition, we may be unable to sell Auryxia or vadadustat, if approved, to dialysis providers on a profitable basis if CMS significantly reduces the level of reimbursement for dialysis services and providers choose to use alternative therapies or look to re-negotiate their contracts with us. Our profitability may also be affected if our costs of production increase faster than increases in reimbursement levels. Adequate coverage and reimbursement of our products by government and private insurance plans are central to patient and provider acceptance of any products for which we receive marketing approval.

Further, in many countries outside the United States, a drug must be approved for reimbursement before it can be marketed or sold in that country. In some cases, the prices that we intend to charge for our products are also subject to approval. Approval by the EMA or another regulatory authority does not ensure approval by reimbursement authorities in that jurisdiction, and approval by one reimbursement authority outside the United States does not ensure approval by any other reimbursement authorities. However, the failure to obtain reimbursement in one jurisdiction may negatively impact our ability to obtain reimbursement in another jurisdiction. We may not be able to obtain such reimbursement approvals on a timely basis, if at all, and favorable pricing in certain countries depends on a number of factors, some of which are outside of our control. In addition, if vadadustat is approved outside of the United States, we plan to rely on a partner to obtain approval by reimbursement authorities outside the United States. If we are unsuccessful or delayed in entering into an agreement with a new partner, the launch of vadadustat following approval outside the United States may be delayed, which could have an adverse effect on our results of operations.

We face substantial competition, which may result in others discovering, developing or commercializing products before, or more successfully than, we do.

The development and commercialization of new drugs is highly competitive and subject to rapid and significant technological change. Our future success depends on our ability to demonstrate and maintain a competitive advantage with respect to the development and commercialization of Auryxia, vadadustat, if approved, and any other product or product candidate, including those that may be in-licensed or acquired. Our objective is to continue to commercialize Auryxia and develop and commercialize new products with clinically proven efficacy, convenience, tolerability and/or safety. In many cases, any approved products that we commercialize will compete with existing, market-leading products.

Auryxia is competing in the hyperphosphatemia market in the United States with other FDA-approved phosphate binders such as Renagel® (sevelamer hydrochloride) and Renvela® (sevelamer carbonate), both marketed by Sanofi, PhosLo® and Phoslyra® (calcium acetate), marketed by Fresenius Medical Care North America, Fosrenol® (lanthanum carbonate), marketed by Shire Pharmaceuticals Group plc, and Velphoro® (sucroferric oxyhydroxide), marketed by Fresenius Medical Care North America, as well as over-the-counter calcium carbonate products such as TUMS® and metal-based options such as aluminum, lanthanum and magnesium. Most of the phosphate binders listed above are now also available in generic forms. In addition, other agents are in development, including OPKO Health Inc.’s Alpharen™ Tablets (fermagate tablets) and Unicycive’s Renazorb (lanthanum dioxycarbonate) or could otherwise enter the market, including Ardelyx, Inc.’s tenapanor (which is approved in the United States for the treatment of adults with irritable bowel syndrome with constipation, and for which the FDA granted an appeal in the fourth quarter of 2022 that will allow Ardelyx to resubmit a new drug application in 2023 with respect to the control of serum phosphorus in adult patients with CKD on dialysis), that may impact the market for Auryxia.

Auryxia is competing in the IDA market in the United States with over-the-counter oral iron, ferrous sulfate, other prescription oral iron formulations, including ferrous gluconate, ferrous fumerate, and polysaccharide iron complex, and intravenous iron formulations, including Feraheme® (ferumoxytol injection), Venofer® (iron sucrose injection), Ferrlicit® (sodium ferric gluconate complex in sucrose injection), Injectafer® (ferric carboxymaltose injection), and Triferic® (ferric pyrophosphate citrate). In addition, other new therapies for the treatment of IDA may impact the market for Auryxia, such as Shield Therapeutics plc's Feraccru® (ferric maltol), which is available in Europe for the treatment of IDA and Accrufer® (ferric maltol), which was launched in the United States for the treatment of IDA in July 2021.

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Furthermore, Auryxia’s commercial opportunities may be reduced or eliminated if our competitors develop and market products that are less expensive, more effective, safer or offer greater patient convenience than Auryxia. Other companies have product candidates in various stages of preclinical or clinical development to treat diseases and complications of the diseases for which we are marketing Auryxia. In addition, we and Keryx’s licensors, Panion & BF Biotech, Inc., or Panion, and, as applicable, Dr. Hsu, entered into settlement agreements with each of the third parties who submitted Paragraph IV certification notice letters regarding Abbreviated New Drug Applications, or ANDAs, submitted to the FDA, pursuant to which we granted licenses to market a generic version of Auryxia in the United States beginning in March 2025 (subject to FDA approval), or earlier under certain circumstances customary for settlement agreements of this nature, which may impact our business and results of operation.

Drugs that may compete with vadadustat include Epogen® (epoetin alfa) and Aranesp® (darbepoetin alfa), both commercialized by Amgen, Procrit® (epoetin alfa) and Eprex® (epoetin alfa), commercialized by Johnson & Johnson in the United States and Europe, respectively, and Mircera® (methoxy PEG-epoetin beta), commercialized by CSL Vifor in the United States and Roche Holding Ltd. outside of the United States.

We and our partners may also face competition from potential new anemia therapies. There are several other hypoxia-inducible factor prolyl hydroxylase, or HIF-PH, inhibitor product candidates in various stages of development for anemia indications that may be in direct competition with vadadustat if and when they are approved and launched commercially. These candidates are being developed by companies such as FibroGen Inc., or FibroGen, together with its collaboration partners, Astellas Pharma Inc. and AstraZeneca PLC, Japan Tobacco International, or JT, GlaxoSmithKline plc, or GSK, and Bayer HealthCare AG, or Bayer.

Furthermore, certain companies are developing potential new therapies for renal-related diseases that could potentially reduce injectable erythropoiesis stimulating agent, or ESA, utilization and thus limit the market potential for vadadustat if they are approved and launched commercially. Other new therapies are in development for the treatment of conditions inclusive of renal anemia that may impact the market for anemia-targeted treatment.

In addition, in the United States, FibroGen filed an NDA for its product candidate, roxadustat, with the FDA, but the FDA issued a complete response letter indicating the FDA will not approve the NDA in its present form and requested that an additional clinical trial for roxadustat be conducted prior to resubmission of the NDA or additional response to the FDA's complete response letter. In Europe however, roxadustat is approved for the treatment of anemia in patients with CKD. Further, in February 2023 the FDA approved daprodustat, an oral HIF-PH inhibitor marketed as Jesduvroq by GSK, as a once-a-day treatment of anemia due to CKD in adult patients who have been receiving dialysis for at least four months. If we obtain approval for vadadustat in the U.S., and roxadustat is also approved by the FDA, then both daprodustat and roxadustat will compete with vadadustat.

In Japan, Vafseo, which is approved for both the DD and NDD indications, competes with roxadustat, daprodustat and enarodustat. Roxadustat is approved for the treatment of anemia due to CKD in patients on dialysis, or DD-CKD, and patients not on dialysis, or NDD-CKD. In addition, daprodustat, GSK’s product, and enarodustat, JT’s product candidate, are approved in Japan for the treatment of anemia due to CKD. In addition. Bayer HealthCare AG has submitted an NDA for its product candidate for the treatment of renal anemia in Japan. In China, roxadustat has launched for the treatment of anemia of DD-CKD and for the treatment of anemia due to CKD in NDD-CKD patients.

A biosimilar is a biologic product that is approved based on demonstrating that it is highly similar to an existing, FDA-approved branded biologic product. The patents for the existing, branded biologic product must expire in a given market before biosimilars may enter that market without risk of being sued for patent infringement. In addition, an application for a biosimilar product cannot be approved by the FDA until 12 years after the existing, branded product was approved under a Biologics License Application, or BLA. The patents for epoetin alfa, an injectable ESA, expired in 2004 in the EU, and the remaining patents expired between 2012 and 2016 in the United States. Because injectable ESAs are biologic products, the introduction of biosimilars into the injectable ESA market in the United States will constitute additional competition for vadadustat if we are able to obtain approval for and commercially launch vadadustat. In the United States, Pfizer’s biosimilar version of injectable ESAs, Retacrit® (epoetin alfa-epbx), was approved by the FDA in May 2018 and launched in November 2018 and several biosimilar versions of injectable ESAs are available for sale in the EU.

Many of our potential competitors have significantly greater financial, manufacturing, marketing, drug development, technical and human resources than we do. Large pharmaceutical companies, in particular, have extensive experience in clinical testing, obtaining marketing approvals, recruiting patients and manufacturing pharmaceutical products. Large and established companies such as Amgen, Roche and GSK, among others, compete in the market for drug products to treat kidney disease. In particular, these companies have greater experience and expertise in conducting preclinical testing and clinical trials, obtaining marketing approvals, manufacturing such products on a broad scale and marketing approved products. These companies also have significantly greater research and marketing capabilities than we do and may also have products that have been approved or are in late stages of development and have collaborative arrangements in our target markets with leading companies and
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research institutions. Established pharmaceutical companies may also invest heavily to accelerate discovery and development of novel compounds or to in-license novel compounds that could make the product candidates that we are developing obsolete. Smaller and other early-stage companies may also prove to be significant competitors. As a result of all of these factors, our competitors may succeed in obtaining patent protection and/or marketing approval, or discovering, developing and commercializing competitive products, before, or more effectively than, we do. If we are not able to compete effectively against potential competitors, our business will not grow and our financial condition and operations will suffer.

The commercialization of RionaTM and VafseoTM in Japan and our current and potential future efforts with respect to the development and commercialization of our products and product candidates outside of the United States subject us to a variety of risks associated with international operations, which could materially adversely affect our business.

Our Japanese sublicensee, JT, and its subsidiary, Torii Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd., or Torii, commercialize Riona, the trade name for ferric citrate hydrate in Japan, as an oral treatment for the improvement of hyperphosphatemia in patients with CKD, including DD-CKD and NDD-CKD, and for the treatment of adult patients with IDA in Japan. In Japan and certain other countries in Asia, we granted MTPC exclusive rights to commercialize vadadustat, which has been approved and is being marketed by MTPC in Japan under the trade name VafseoTM. We also granted Averoa SAS, or Averoa, an exclusive license to develop and commercialize ferric citrate in the EEA, Turkey, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

Pursuant to the terms of the Termination Agreement with Otsuka, Otsuka has transferred to us the marketing authorization application, or MAA, for vadadustat with the EMA, and in the United Kingdom, Switzerland and Australia. In addition, we have conducted and in the future plan to conduct clinical trials outside of the United States for Auryxia, vadadustat and any other product or product candidate that may be in-licensed or acquired. As a result of these and other activities, we are or may become subject to additional risks in developing and commercializing Auryxia and vadadustat outside the United States, including, among others:

political, regulatory, compliance and economic developments, weakness or instability that could restrict our ability to manufacture, market and sell our products;
changes in international medical reimbursement policies and programs;
changes in healthcare policies of foreign jurisdictions;
trade protection measures, including import or export licensing requirements and tariffs and our compliance therewith;
our ability to develop or manage relationships with qualified local distributors and trading companies;
diminished protection of intellectual property in some countries outside of the United States;
differing labor regulations and business practices;
compliance with laws, including the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, or FCPA, the UK Bribery Act or similar local regulation, the EU General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR, and similar data protection laws, and tax, employment, immigration and labor laws;
economic weakness, including inflation, or political instability in particular foreign economies and markets;
foreign currency fluctuations, which could result in increased operating expenses and reduced revenues, and other obligations incident to doing business in another country;
production shortages resulting from any events affecting raw material supply or manufacturing capabilities abroad, including as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic; and
business interruptions resulting from geopolitical actions, including war and terrorism, global pandemics, or natural disasters including earthquakes, typhoons, floods and fires.

In addition, we receive revenues from royalty payments converted to U.S. dollars based on net sales of Riona and VafseoTM in Japanese yen. The exchange rates between the Japanese yen on the one hand, and the U.S. dollar, on the other hand, have changed substantially in recent years and may fluctuate substantially in the future. Our results of operations could be adversely affected over time by certain movements in exchange rates, particularly if the Japanese yen depreciates against the U.S. dollar.

Any of these factors may, individually or as a group, have a material adverse effect on our business and results of operations. As and if we continue to expand our commercialization efforts, we may encounter new risks.

Risks Related to Product Development

Clinical drug development involves a lengthy and expensive process with an uncertain outcome, and we will incur additional costs in connection with, and may experience delays in completing, or ultimately be unable to complete, the development and, if approved, commercialization of vadadustat and any other product candidates.

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The risk of failure in drug development is high. Before obtaining marketing approval from regulatory authorities for the sale of any product candidate, we must complete preclinical development and conduct extensive clinical trials to demonstrate the safety and efficacy of our product candidates in humans. Preclinical studies and clinical trials are expensive, difficult to design and implement, can take several years to complete, and their outcomes are inherently uncertain. Failure can occur at any time during the process. For example, we are currently conducting a clinical trial to evaluate three times per week oral dosing of vadadustat for dialysis dependent patients with anemia due to chronic kidney disease, or CKD. If we experience delays in the conduct of this clinical trial or the results are not positive, it could affect the market potential of vadadustat, if approved.

We may be unable to successfully complete clinical trials of Auryxia, vadadustat and other product candidates or to successfully obtain approval of vadadustat or other product candidates, if the results of those trials and studies are not positive or are only modestly positive, or if there are concerns with the profile due to efficacy or safety. Further, the results of preclinical studies and early clinical trials of our product candidates may not be predictive of the results of later-stage clinical trials, interim results of a clinical trial do not necessarily predict final results, and results of Phase 3 clinical trials for one indication may not be predictive of results of Phase 3 clinical trials for another indication. For example, we announced positive top-line results from INNO2VATE and vadadustat achieved the primary and key secondary efficacy endpoint in each of the two PRO2TECT studies, but the PRO2TECT program did not meet the primary major adverse cardiovascular event, or MACE, safety endpoint. Many companies in the biopharmaceutical industry have suffered significant setbacks in late-stage clinical trials after achieving positive results in early-stage development, and we may face similar setbacks. Moreover, preclinical and clinical data are often susceptible to varying interpretations and analyses, and many companies that have believed their product candidates performed satisfactorily in preclinical studies and clinical trials have nonetheless failed to obtain marketing approval of their product candidates. In addition, in March 2022, we received the CRL for vadadustat indicating that the FDA had determined that it could not approve the NDA in its present form, thus delaying any potential approval of vadadustat. In October 2022, we submitted the FDRR to the FDA and in February 2023, we received a second interim response from the FDA to our FDRR. However, it is impossible to predict when or if vadadustat or any of our other product candidates will prove effective or safe in humans or will receive marketing approval or on what terms. In February 2023, the Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use, or CHMP, of the EMA adopted a positive opinion recommending the European Commission, or EC, to approve Vafseo™ (vadadustat), an oral HIF-PH inhibitor for the treatment of symptomatic anemia associated with CKD in adults on chronic maintenance dialysis. However, before we can market and sell vadadustat in Europe, the EC must approve vadadustat, and there can be no assurances that we will receive such approval in a timely manner, or at all.

We may experience numerous unforeseen events during, or as a result of, preclinical development or clinical trials that could delay, prevent or make more challenging our ability to receive or maintain marketing approval or commercialize our product candidates. We may be required to complete additional clinical trials for Auryxia, vadadustat and any other product or product candidate, including those that may be in-licensed or acquired, in order to obtain or maintain required regulatory approvals. Our preclinical studies and clinical trials may take longer to complete than currently anticipated, or may be delayed, suspended, required to be repeated, prematurely terminated or may not successfully demonstrate safety and/or efficacy needed to obtain or maintain regulatory approval for a variety of other reasons, such as:

the costs may be greater than we anticipate;
the number of patients required for clinical trials may be larger than we anticipate;
enrollment in our clinical trials may be slower than we anticipate, or participants may drop out of these clinical trials at a higher rate than we anticipate;
our third party contractors, such as our CROs, may fail to comply with regulatory requirements, perform effectively, or meet their contractual obligations to us in a timely manner, or at all, or we may fail to communicate effectively or provide the appropriate level of oversight of such third party contractors;
the supply or quality of our starting materials, drug substance and drug product necessary to conduct clinical trials of our product candidates may be insufficient or inadequate;
regulators, independent data monitoring committees, or IDMCs, institutional review boards, or IRBs, safety committees, or ethics committees, may require that we suspend or terminate our clinical trials for various reasons, including noncompliance with regulatory requirements, unforeseen safety issues or adverse side effects, failure to demonstrate a benefit from using our product candidate, or a finding that the participants are being exposed to unacceptable health risks;
clinical trials of our product candidates may produce negative or inconclusive results or results that may be interpreted in a manner different than we interpret them, and we may decide, or regulators may require us, to conduct additional clinical trials, repeat a clinical trial or abandon product development programs;
lack of adequate funding to continue a clinical trial, including unforeseen costs due to enrollment delays, requirements to conduct additional clinical trials or repeat a clinical trial and increased expenses associated with the services of our CROs and other third parties;
we may fail to initiate, delay of or failure to complete a clinical trial as a result of an Investigational New Drug application, or IND, being placed on clinical hold by the FDA, the EMA, the PMDA, or other regulatory authorities, or for other reasons, such as failure to recruit or enroll suitable patients or patients' failure to return for post-treatment follow up;
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we may determine to change or expand a clinical trial, including after it has begun;
clinical trial sites and investigators deviating from the clinical protocol, failing to conduct the trial in accordance with regulatory requirements, or dropping out of a trial, or failure by us or our CROs to communicate effectively or provide the appropriate level of oversight of such clinical sites and investigators;
there may be an inability, delay, or failure in identifying and maintaining a sufficient number of clinical trial sites, many of which may already be engaged in other clinical programs;
there may be a delay or failure in reaching agreement with the FDA, the EMA, the PMDA or other regulatory authorities on a clinical trial design upon which we are able to execute;
there may be a delay or failure in obtaining authorization to commence a clinical trial or inability to comply with conditions imposed by a regulatory authority regarding the scope or design of a clinical trial;
there may be delays in reaching, or failure to reach, agreement on acceptable terms with prospective clinical trial sites and prospective CROs, the terms of which can be subject to extensive negotiation and may vary significantly among different CROs and clinical trial sites;
the FDA, the EMA, the PMDA or other regulatory authorities may require us to submit additional data or impose further requirements before permitting us to initiate a clinical trial or during an ongoing clinical trial;
the FDA, the EMA, the PMDA or other regulatory authorities may disagree with our clinical trial design and our interpretation of data from clinical trials, or may change the requirements for approval even after it has reviewed and commented on the design for our clinical trials;
third parties with which we work may fail to comply with good practice quality guidelines and regulations, or GXP, including good laboratory practice, good clinical practice, or GCP, and current good manufacturing practice, or cGMP; or
there may be changes in governmental regulations or administrative actions.

If any of the foregoing occurs, the following may occur:

regulators may require that we conduct additional clinical trials, repeat clinical trials or conduct other studies beyond those that we currently contemplate;
we may be delayed in obtaining marketing approval for vadadustat or other product candidates;
we may not obtain marketing approval for vadadustat or other product candidates at all;
we may obtain approval for indications or patient populations that are not as broad as intended or desired;
we may obtain approval with labeling that includes significant use or distribution restrictions or safety warnings that would reduce the potential market for any approved product or inhibit our ability to successfully commercialize any approved product;
a REMS or FDA-imposed risk management plan that use risk minimization strategies to ensure that the benefits of certain prescription drugs outweigh their risks, may be required;
we may be subject to additional post-marketing restrictions and/or requirements; or
the product may be removed from the market after obtaining marketing approval.

Our product development costs may also increase if we experience development delays or delays in receiving the requisite marketing approvals. Our preclinical studies or clinical trials may need to be restructured or may not be completed on schedule, or at all. Significant preclinical or clinical trial delays also could shorten any periods during which we may have the exclusive right to commercialize vadadustat, if approved, or any other product candidate, including those that may be in-licensed or acquired, or allow our competitors to bring products to market before we do. This could impair our ability to successfully commercialize our product candidates and may harm our business and results of operations.

We may find it difficult to enroll patients in our clinical trials, which could delay or prevent clinical trials of Auryxia, vadadustat or any other product or product candidate, including those that may be in-licensed or acquired.

Identifying and qualifying patients to participate in clinical trials is critical to our success. The timing of our clinical trials depends, in part, on the speed at which we can recruit patients to participate in our clinical trials. Patients may be unwilling to participate in our clinical trials because of concerns about investigational research studies, the time and commitment needed to participate in a study, adverse events observed with the product candidate under study, the current standard of care, competitor products and/or other investigational agents, in each case for the same indications and/or similar patient populations. In addition, in the case of clinical trials of any product candidate, patients currently receiving treatment with the current standard of care or a competitor product may be reluctant to participate in a clinical trial with an investigational drug. Additionally, it is often more difficult to enroll special or particular subpopulations of patients, such as pediatric or elderly patients, due to a number of factors including parental or other caregiver considerations, concerns and burdens. For example, we enrolled sites in a post-approval pediatric study for the Hypophosphatemia Indication of Auryxia in the second quarter of 2022, which began patient recruitment in the third quarter of 2022, but study sites have not yet enrolled any eligible pediatric patients despite
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efforts to do so. Furthermore, the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in temporary closures of, and may continue to impact, clinical trial sites on which we rely for the conduct of clinical trials and COVID-19 pandemic precautions and staffing shortages have caused moderate delays in enrolling new clinical trials and may cause delays in enrolling other new clinical trials.

Finally, competition for clinical study sites may limit our access to patients appropriate for our clinical trials. As a result, the timeline for recruiting patients and conducting studies may be delayed. These delays could result in increased costs, delays in advancing our development of any product or product candidate, or termination of the clinical trial altogether.

We may not be able to identify, recruit and enroll a sufficient number of patients, or those with required or desired characteristics, to complete our clinical trials in a timely manner. Patient enrollment is affected by many factors, including:

severity of the disease under investigation;
design of the study protocol;
size and nature of the patient population;
eligibility criteria for, and design of, the study in question, including study complexity;
perceived risks and benefits of the product or product candidate under study, including as a result of adverse effects observed in similar or competing therapies;
proximity and availability of clinical study sites for prospective patients;
availability of competing therapies and clinical trials and clinicians’ and patients’ perceptions as to the potential advantages of the product or product candidate being studied in relation to available therapies or other product candidates in development;
efforts to facilitate timely enrollment in clinical trials;
participation length and demands on patients and caregivers;
site staffing shortages and turnover;
clinical trial sites and investigators failing to perform effectively; and
patient referral practices of physicians.

We may not be able to initiate or complete clinical trials in a timely manner, or at all, if we cannot enroll a sufficient number of eligible patients to participate in the clinical trials required by regulatory agencies. If we have difficulty enrolling a sufficient number of patients to conduct our clinical trials as planned, we may need to delay, limit or terminate ongoing or planned clinical trials, any of which may delay approval, or result in failure to maintain or obtain approval, of our products or product candidates, which would have a material adverse effect on our business.

Conducting clinical trials outside of the United States, as we have done historically and as we may decide to do in the future, presents additional risks and complexities and, if we decide to conduct a clinical trial outside of the United States in the future, we may not complete such trials successfully, in a timely manner, or at all, which could affect our ability to obtain regulatory approvals.

Our ability to successfully initiate, enroll and complete a clinical study in any country outside of the United States is subject to numerous additional risks unique to conducting business in jurisdictions outside the United States, including:

difficulty in establishing or managing relationships with qualified CROs, physicians and clinical trial sites;
difficulty in complying with different local standards for the conduct of clinical trials;
difficulty in complying with various and complex import laws and regulations when shipping drug to certain countries; and
the potential burden of complying with a variety of laws, medical standards and regulatory requirements, including the regulation of pharmaceutical and biotechnology products and treatments.

Data obtained from studies conducted in the United States may not be accepted by the EMA, the PMDA and other regulatory authorities outside of the United States. Also, certain jurisdictions require data from studies conducted in their country in order to obtain approval in that country. Further, when a foreign clinical study is not conducted under an IND, the sponsor must ensure that the study complies with certain regulatory requirements of the FDA in order to use the study as support for an IND or application for marketing approval. Specifically, the studies must be conducted in accordance with GCP, including undergoing review and receiving approval by an independent ethics committee, and seeking and receiving informed consent from subjects. Thus, to the extent that we rely on data from foreign clinical studies that are not the subject of an IND but are used to support of an NDA, there is a risk that FDA may not review such data in connection with its review of the NDA.

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If we or our collaboration partners have difficulty conducting future clinical trials in jurisdictions outside the United States as planned, we may need to delay, limit or terminate such clinical trials, any of which could have an adverse effect on our business.

Auryxia, vadadustat or any other product or product candidate, including those that may be in-licensed or acquired, may cause undesirable side effects or have other properties that may delay or prevent marketing approval or limit their commercial potential.

Undesirable effects caused by, or other undesirable properties of, Auryxia, vadadustat or any other product or product candidate, including those that may be in-licensed or acquired, or competing commercial products or product candidates in development that utilize a common mechanism of action could cause us or regulatory authorities to interrupt, delay or halt clinical trials, could result in a more restrictive label or the delay, denial or withdrawal of marketing approval by the FDA or other regulatory authorities, and could lead to potential product liability claims. In addition, results of our clinical trials could reveal a high frequency of undesirable effects or unexpected characteristics. For example, in March 2022, we received the CRL from the FDA for our NDA for vadadustat in which the FDA concluded that the data in the NDA do not support a favorable benefit-risk assessment of vadadustat for dialysis and non-dialysis patients. The FDA expressed safety concerns noting failure to meet non-inferiority in MACE in the non-dialysis patient population, the increased risk of thromboembolic events, driven by vascular access thrombosis in dialysis patients, and the risk of drug-induced liver injury. In October 2022, we submitted the FDRR to the FDA. The FDRR focuses on the favorable balance between the benefits and risks of vadadustat for the treatment of anemia due to CKD in adult patients on dialysis in light of safety concerns expressed by the FDA in the CRL for dialysis patients related to the rate of adjudicated thromboembolic events driven by vascular access thrombosis for vadadustat compared to the active comparator and the risk of drug-induced liver injury. In February 2023, we received a second interim response from the FDA to our FDRR, and there can be no assurances that we will be successful in our appeal. If we are unable to overcome these concerns, vadadustat may not be approved by the FDA on favorable terms, or at all, and our financial condition could be materially harmed. In February 2023, the CHMP of the EMA adopted a positive opinion recommending the EC to approve Vafseo™ for the treatment of symptomatic anemia associated with CKD in adults on chronic maintenance dialysis. However, before we can market and sell vadadustat in Europe, the EC must approve vadadustat, and there can be no assurances that we will receive such approval in a timely manner, or at all.

If we or others identify undesirable effects caused by, or other undesirable properties of, Auryxia, vadadustat, or any other product or product candidate, including those that may be in-licensed or acquired, or if known undesirable effects are more frequent or severe than in the past, or if any of the foregoing are perceived to have occurred, either before or after receipt of marketing approval, a number of potentially significant negative consequences could result, including:

our product candidates may not be approved by regulatory authorities;
our clinical trials may be put on hold;
patient recruitment could be slowed, and enrolled patients may not want to complete the clinical trial;
regulatory authorities may require warnings on the label, such as the warning on Auryxia’s label regarding iron overload;
REMS or FDA-imposed risk management plans that use restrictive risk minimization strategies may be required;
we may decide to, or be required to, send drug warnings or safety alerts to physicians, pharmacists and hospitals (or the FDA or other regulatory authorities may choose to issue such alerts), or we may decide to conduct a product recall or be requested to do so by the FDA or other regulatory authority;
reformulation of the product, additional non-clinical or clinical trials, restrictive changes in labeling or changes to or re-approvals of manufacturing facilities may be required;
we may be precluded from pursuing additional development opportunities to enhance the clinical profile of a product within its indicated populations, or studying the product or product candidate in additional indications and populations or in new formulations; and
we could be investigated by the government or sued and held liable for harm caused to patients, including in class action lawsuits; and
our reputation may suffer.

Any of these events could prevent us from achieving or maintaining, whether on a restricted basis or at all, marketing approval and, ultimately, market acceptance or penetration of Auryxia, vadadustat or any other product or product candidate, including those that may be in-licensed or acquired. In addition, any of these events could substantially increase our costs, and could significantly impact our ability to successfully commercialize Auryxia, vadadustat or any other product and product candidate, including those that may be in-licensed or acquired, and generate product revenue.

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The patient populations treated with Auryxia and potential patient populations for vadadustat, if approved, have CKD, a serious disease that increases the risk of cardiovascular disease including heart attacks and stroke and, in its most severe form, results in, kidney failure and the need for dialysis or kidney transplant. Many patients with CKD are elderly with comorbidities making them susceptible to significant health risks. Therefore, the likelihood of these patients having adverse events, including serious adverse events is high.

With respect to the global INNO2VATE Phase 3 program, the incidence of treatment emergent adverse events during the Correction and Conversion study in vadadustat treated patients was 83.8% and 85.5% in darbepoetin alfa treated patients. During the study, the most common treatment emergent adverse events reported in vadadustat/darbepoetin alfa treated patients were hypertension (16.2%/ 12.9%) and diarrhea (10.1%/ 9.7%). Serious treatment emergent adverse events were lower in vadadustat treated patients at 49.7% compared to 56.5% for darbepoetin alfa treated patients. The incidence of treatment emergent adverse events during the prevalent dialysis patient study (Conversion) in the vadadustat treated patients was 88.3%, and 89.3% in darbepoetin alfa treated patients. During the study, the most common treatment emergent adverse events reported in vadadustat/darbepoetin alfa treated patients were diarrhea (13.0%/ 10.1%), pneumonia (11.0%/ 9.7%), hypertension (10.6%/ 13.8%), and hyperkalemia (9.0%/ 10.8%). Serious treatment emergent adverse events were slightly lower for vadadustat treated patients at 55.0% and 58.3% for darbepoetin alfa-treated patients. Patients with DD-CKD experienced an increased risk of thromboembolic events compared to darbepoetin alfa with a time to first event HR of 1.20 (95% CI 0.96 - 1.50) driven by thrombosis of vascular access.

With respect to the global PRO2TECT Phase 3 program, the incidence of treatment emergent adverse events during the ESA untreated patients study (Correction) in the vadadustat-treated patients was 90.9%, and 91.6% in darbepoetin alfa-treated patients. During the study, the most common treatment emergent adverse events reported in vadadustat/darbepoetin alfa-treated patients were end-stage renal disease (34.7%/ 35.2%), hypertension (17.7%/ 22.1.%), hyperkalemia (12.3.%/ 15.6%), urinary tract infection (12.9%/ 12.0%), diarrhea (13.9%/ 10.0%), peripheral oedema (12.5%/ 10.5%), fall (9.6%/ 10%) and nausea (10%/ 8.2%). Serious treatment emergent adverse events were 65.3% for vadadustat-treated patients and 64.5% for darbepoetin alfa-treated patients. The incidence of treatment emergent adverse events during the ESA-treated patients study (Conversion) in vadadustat treated patients was 89.1% and 87.7% in darbepoetin alfa-treated patients. During the study, the most common treatment emergent adverse events reported in vadadustat/darbepoetin alfa-treated patients were end-stage renal disease (27.5%/ 28.4%), hypertension (14.4%/ 14.8%), urinary tract infection (12.2%/ 14.5%), diarrhea (13.8.%/ 8.8.%), peripheral oedema (9.9%/ 10.1%) and pneumonia (10.0%/ 9.7%). Serious treatment emergent adverse events were 58.5% for vadadustat-treated patients and 56.6% for darbepoetin alfa-treated patients.

For example, during the conduct of our Phase 3 program our team and hepatic experts analyzed hepatic cases (unblinded to treatment) and, following the completion of our global Phase 3 clinical program for vadadustat, there was a review of hepatic safety across the vadadustat clinical program, which included eight completed Phase 2 and 3 studies in NDD-CKD patients, 10 completed Phase 1, 2, and 3 studies, and two then-ongoing Phase 3b studies in DD-CKD patients, and 18 completed studies in healthy subjects (17 Phase 1 and one Phase 3). This review consisted of a blinded re-assessment of hepatic events conducted by a separate panel of hepatic experts. While hepatocellular injury attributed to vadadustat was reported in less than 1% of patients, there was one case of severe hepatocellular injury with jaundice, and we cannot guarantee that similar events will not happen in the future. Additionally, the FDA expressed safety concerns related to the risk of drug-induced liver injury in the CRL that it issued in March 2022.

Serious adverse events considered related to vadadustat, including those noted in the CRL, and any other product candidates could have material adverse consequences on the development and potential approval of vadadustat or our other product candidates and our business as a whole. Our understanding of adverse events in prior clinical trials of our product candidates may change as we gather more information, the FDA may not agree with our assessment of adverse events and additional unexpected adverse events may be observed in future clinical trials or in the market.

Any of the above safety data or other occurrences could delay or prevent us from achieving or maintaining marketing approval, harm or prevent sales of Auryxia or, if approved, vadadustat or any other product or product candidate, including those that may be in-licensed or acquired, increase our expenses and impair or prevent our ability to successfully commercialize Auryxia, vadadustat or any other products or product candidates.

In addition, any post-marketing clinical trials conducted, if successful, may expand the patient populations treated with Auryxia, vadadustat or any other product we acquire or for which we receive marketing approval, within or outside of their current indications or patient populations, which could result in the identification of previously unknown undesirable effects, increased frequency or severity of known undesirable effects, or result in the identification of unexpected safety signals. In addition, as vadadustat, if approved, and any other products are commercialized, they will be used in significantly larger patient populations, in less rigorously controlled environments and, in some cases, by less experienced and less expert treating practitioners, than in clinical trials, which could result in increased or more serious adverse effects being reported. As a result, regulatory authorities, healthcare practitioners, third party payors or patients may perceive or conclude that the use of Auryxia,
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vadadustat, if approved, or any other products are associated with serious adverse effects, undermining our commercialization efforts.

Risks Related to Regulatory Approval

We may not be able to obtain marketing approval for, or successfully commercialize, vadadustat or any other product candidate, or we may experience significant delays in doing so, any of which would materially harm our business.

Clinical trials, manufacturing and marketing of any product or product candidate are subject to extensive and rigorous review and regulation by numerous governmental authorities in the United States and other jurisdictions. Before obtaining marketing approval for the commercial sale of any product candidate, we must demonstrate through extensive preclinical testing and clinical trials that the product candidate is safe and effective for use in each target indication. This process can take many years and marketing approval may never be achieved. Of the large number of drugs in development in the United States and in other jurisdictions, only a small percentage successfully complete the FDA’s and other jurisdictions’ marketing approval processes and are commercialized. Accordingly, even if we are able to obtain the requisite capital to continue to fund our development and commercialization efforts, we may be unable to successfully obtain regulatory approval for or commercialize vadadustat or any other product or product candidate, including those that may be in-licensed or acquired.

We are not permitted to market vadadustat in the United States until we receive approval from the FDA, in the EU until we receive approval from the EMA, or in any other jurisdiction until the requisite approval from regulatory authorities in such jurisdiction is received. As a condition to receiving marketing approval for vadadustat, we may be required by the FDA, the EMA or other regulatory authorities to conduct additional preclinical studies or clinical trials.

In March 2022, we received the CRL from the FDA regarding our NDA for vadadustat for the treatment of anemia due to CKD. The FDA concluded that the data in the NDA do not support a favorable benefit-risk assessment of vadadustat for dialysis and non-dialysis patients. In October 2022, we submitted a Formal Dispute Resolution Request, or FDRR, to the FDA. The FDRR focuses on the favorable balance between the benefits and risks of vadadustat for the treatment of anemia due to CKD in adult patients on dialysis in light of safety concerns expressed by the FDA in the CRL for dialysis patients related to the rate of adjudicated thromboembolic events driven by vascular access thrombosis for vadadustat compared to the active comparator and the risk of drug-induced liver injury. In February 2023, we received a second interim response from the FDA to our FDRR, and there can be no assurances that we will be successful in our appeal and obtain approval for vadadustat in a timely manner, on favorable terms, or at all. As a result, the regulatory approval process for vadadustat in the U.S. is highly uncertain. We may not obtain approval at all, and if we are able to obtain approval, it may only be for patients with DD-CKD and, in any event, the expense and time to do so could adversely impact our ability to successfully commercialize vadadustat, and our financial condition could be materially harmed.

Further, vadadustat and any other product candidate may not receive marketing approval in the United States or the EU even if it is approved in other countries. For example, although vadadustat is approved in Japan for the treatment of anemia due to CKD in DD-CKD and NDD-CKD adult patients, such approval does not guarantee approval in the United States by the FDA or in the EU by the EMA for these indications or at all. In addition, while each regulatory authority makes their own assessment as to the safety and efficacy of a drug, FDA’s concern about the safety or efficacy of vadadustat or any other product candidate could impact the regulatory authority’s decision in another country.

Obtaining marketing approval in the United States and other jurisdictions for any product candidate depends upon numerous factors, many of which are subject to the substantial discretion of the regulatory authorities, including that regulatory agencies may not complete their review processes in a timely manner and, following completion of the review process, may not grant marketing approval or such marketing approval may be limited. Furthermore, approval of a drug does not ensure successful commercialization. For example, on September 23, 2015, the European Commission, or EC, approved Fexeric for the control of hyperphosphatemia in adult patients with CKD. Pursuant to the sunset clause under EU law, the EC’s approval of Fexeric in the EU was contingent on, among other things, our commencing marketing of Fexeric within three years; although we successfully negotiated an extension to December 23, 2019, we did not commence marketing Fexeric by such date and therefore the Fexeric approval in the EU has ceased to be valid.

We could face heightened risks with respect to seeking marketing approval in the United Kingdom, or UK, as a result of the recent withdrawal of the UK from the EU, commonly referred to as Brexit. Pursuant to the formal withdrawal arrangements agreed between the UK and the EU, the UK withdrew from the EU, effective December 31, 2020. On December 24, 2020, the UK and the EU entered into a Trade and Cooperation Agreement. The agreement sets out certain procedures for approval and recognition of medical products in each jurisdiction. Any delay in obtaining, or an inability to obtain, any marketing approvals, as a result of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement would prevent us from commercializing vadadustat or any other product candidate, including those that may be in-licensed or acquired, in the UK and/or the EU and restrict our ability to generate revenue and achieve and sustain profitability. If any of these outcomes occur, we may be forced to restrict or delay efforts to
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seek regulatory approval in the UK and/or the EU for vadadustat or any other product candidate, which could significantly and materially harm our business. As of January 1, 2021, the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency, or the MHRA, became responsible for supervising medicines and medical devices in Great Britain, comprising England, Scotland and Wales under domestic law, whereas Northern Ireland will continue to be subject to European Union rules under the Northern Ireland Protocol. The MHRA will rely on the Human Medicines Regulations 2012 (SI 2012/1916) (as amended) as the basis for regulating medicines.

In addition, the safety concerns associated with the current standard of care for the indications for which we are seeking marketing approval for vadadustat may affect the FDA’s, the EMA’s or other regulatory authorities’ review of the safety results of vadadustat. Additionally, these regulatory authorities may not agree with our assessment of adverse events. Further, the policies or regulations, or the type and amount of clinical data necessary to gain approval, may change during the course of a product candidate’s clinical development and may vary among jurisdictions. It is possible that vadadustat will never obtain marketing approval in the United States or certain other jurisdictions or for some or all of the indications for which we seek approval. The FDA, the EMA or other regulatory authorities may delay, limit or deny approval of vadadustat for many reasons including, among others:

we may not be able to demonstrate that vadadustat is safe and effective in treating adult patients with anemia due to CKD to the satisfaction of the relevant regulatory authority;
the results of our clinical trials may only be modestly positive, or there may be concerns with the profile due to efficacy or safety;
the results of our clinical trials may not meet the level of statistical or clinical significance required by the relevant regulatory authority for review and/or marketing approval;
the relevant regulatory authority may disagree with our interpretation of data from our preclinical studies and clinical trials;
the relevant regulatory authority may disagree with the number, design, size, conduct or implementation of our clinical trials;
the relevant regulatory authority may not approve the formulation, labeling or specifications we request for vadadustat;
the relevant regulatory authority may approve vadadustat or any other product candidate for use only in a small patient population or for fewer or more limited indications than we request;
the relevant regulatory authority may require that we conduct additional clinical trials or repeat one or more clinical trials;
the FDA or other relevant regulatory authority may require development of a REMS as a condition of approval or post-approval;
the relevant regulatory authority may grant approval contingent on the performance of costly post-marketing clinical trials;
the relevant regulatory authority's onsite inspections may be delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic or otherwise;
we, or our CROs or other vendors, may fail to comply with GXP or fail to pass any regulatory inspections or audits;
we or our third party manufacturers may fail to perform in accordance with the FDA’s or other relevant regulatory authority's cGMP requirements and guidance;
the FDA may disagree with inclusion of data obtained from certain regions outside the United States to support the NDA for potential reasons such as differences in clinical practice from United States standards;
the relevant regulatory authority could deem that our financial relationships with certain principal investigators constitute a conflict of interest, such that the data from those principal investigators may not be used to support our applications;
as part of any future regulatory process, the FDA may ask an Advisory Committee to review portions of the NDA, the FDA may have difficulty scheduling an Advisory Committee meeting in a timely manner or, if convened, an FDA Advisory Committee could recommend non-approval, conditions of approval or restrictions on approval, and the FDA may ultimately agree with the recommendations;
the relevant regulatory authority’s review process and decision-making regarding vadadustat and any other product candidate may be impacted by the results of our and our competitors’ clinical trials and safety concerns of marketed products used to treat the same indications as the indications for which vadadustat and any other product candidate are being developed;
the relevant regulatory authority may not approve the manufacturing processes or facilities of third party manufacturers with whom we contract; or
the policies or regulations of the relevant regulatory authority may significantly change in a manner that renders our clinical data insufficient for approval or requires us to amend or submit new clinical protocols.

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If we experience further delays in obtaining approval, or if we fail to obtain approval of vadadustat for some or all of the indications for which we have sought approval, the commercial prospects for vadadustat may be harmed and our ability to generate revenues will be materially impaired, which could have a material adverse effect on our business. For example, the FDRR we submitted to the FDA in October 2022 focuses on the favorable balance between the benefits and risks of vadadustat for the treatment of anemia due to CKD in adult patients on dialysis.

Products approved for marketing are subject to extensive post-marketing regulatory requirements and could be subject to post-marketing restrictions or withdrawal from the market, and we may be subject to penalties, including withdrawal of marketing approval, if we fail to comply with regulatory requirements or if we experience unanticipated problems with our products, or product candidates, when and if any of them is approved.

Marketing approvals may be subject to limitations on the approved indicated uses for which the product may be marketed or other conditions of approval, or contain requirements or commitments for potentially costly post-marketing studies and surveillance to monitor the safety and efficacy of the product, including REMS, or registries or observational studies. For example, in connection with the FDA approvals of Auryxia, we initially committed to the FDA to conduct certain post-approval pediatric studies of Auryxia under the Pediatric Research Equity Act of 2003, or PREA. With regard to the Hyperphosphatemia Indication for Auryxia, we committed to completing the post-approval pediatric study and submitting a final report to the FDA by December 31, 2019. However, we did not complete the study and therefore did not submit the post-marketing requirement pediatric clinical study report by December 31, 2019. Consequently, we received a notification of noncompliance with PREA. Our request to extend this deadline was denied, and the study is considered delayed although we have initiated sites in the study and are recruiting for one patient cohort. Recruitment of the other patients is pending receipt of further data regarding the manufacturing of the smaller size tablets and the FDA’s concurrence before proceeding with the use of such formulation. With regard to our IDA Indication, we initially committed to completing the post-approval pediatric study and submitting a final report to the FDA by January 2023. We did not meet a milestone relating to this post-approval pediatric study of Auryxia in a timely manner and received a notification from the FDA. Subsequently, the FDA agreed to extend the pediatric clinical study timelines for the IDA Indication. We subsequently communicated to the FDA that we would be delaying the start of the clinical trial in the IDA Indication while we work to produce smaller size tablets. In response, the FDA issued a partial clinical hold until we manufacture the smaller tablets and provide the FDA with relevant information regarding the smaller sized tablets for review. The FDA lifted the partial clinical hold in June 2022, however, we have not commenced start up of this study pending resolution of the manufacturing of the smaller size tablets. If we are unable to complete these studies successfully, or have further delays in completing these studies, we will need to inform the FDA, have further discussions and, if the FDA finds that we failed to comply with pediatric study requirements, in violation of applicable law, it could institute enforcement proceedings to seize or enjoin the sale of Auryxia or seek civil penalties, which would have a material adverse impact on our ability to commercialize Auryxia and our ability to generate revenues from Auryxia.

In addition, the manufacturing processes, labeling, packaging, distribution, adverse event reporting, storage, advertising, promotion and recordkeeping for Auryxia, vadadustat, if approved, and any other product for which we receive regulatory approval will be subject to extensive and ongoing regulatory requirements and guidance. These requirements and guidance include manufacturing processes and procedures (including record keeping), the implementation and operation of quality systems to control and assure the quality of the product, submissions of safety and other post-marketing information and reports, as well as continued compliance with cGMPs and GCPs for any clinical trials that we conduct post-approval. If we, our CMOs or other third parties we engage fail to adhere to such regulatory requirements and guidance, we could suffer significant consequences, including product seizures or recalls, loss of product approval, fines and sanctions, reputational damage, loss of customer confidence, shipment delays, inventory shortages, inventory write-offs and other product-related charges and increased manufacturing costs, and our development or commercialization efforts may be materially harmed.

Moreover, the FDA and other regulatory authorities closely regulate the post-approval marketing and promotion of drugs to ensure drugs are marketed only for the approved indications and in accordance with the provisions of the approved labeling. The FDA and other regulatory authorities impose stringent restrictions on companies’ communications regarding use of their products, and if we promote any approved product beyond its approved indications or inconsistent with the approved label, we may be subject to enforcement actions or prosecution arising from such activities. Violations of the U.S. Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, or the FDCA, relating to the promotion of prescription drugs may lead to investigations alleging violations of federal and state healthcare fraud and abuse and other laws, as well as state consumer protection laws, insurance fraud laws, third party payor actions, stockholder actions and other lawsuits.

Post-approval discovery of previously unknown problems with an approved product, including adverse events of unanticipated severity or frequency or relating to manufacturing operations or processes, or failure to comply with regulatory requirements, may result in, among other things:

restrictions on the marketing, distribution, use or manufacturing of the product;
withdrawal of the product from the market, or product recalls;
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restrictions on the labeling or marketing of a product;
fines, restitution or disgorgement of profits or revenues;
warning or untitled letters or clinical holds;
refusal by the FDA or other regulatory authorities to approve pending applications or supplements to approved applications filed by us, or suspension or revocation of product approvals;
product seizure or detention, or refusal to permit the import or export of products;
REMS; and
injunctions or the imposition of civil or criminal penalties.

For example, we previously had three limited, voluntary recalls of Auryxia. These and any other recalls or any supply, quality or manufacturing issues in the future could result in significant negative consequences, including reputational harm, loss of customer confidence, and a negative impact on our financials, any of which could have a material adverse effect on our business and results of operations, and may impact our ability to supply Auryxia, VafseoTM, in Japan or vadadustat, if approved, for commercial and clinical use.

Non-compliance with the FDA, the EMA, the PMDA and other regulatory authorities’ requirements regarding safety monitoring or pharmacovigilance can also result in significant financial penalties.

The FDA’s policies and those of other regulatory authorities may change, and additional government regulations may be enacted. We cannot predict the likelihood, nature or extent of government regulations that may arise from future legislation or administrative action, either in the United States or in other jurisdictions. If we are slow or unable to adapt to changes in existing requirements or the adoption of new requirements or policies, or are not able to maintain regulatory compliance, we may lose any marketing approval that we may have obtained and we may not achieve or sustain profitability, which would materially adversely affect our business.

Risks Related to Governmental Regulation and Compliance

We are subject to a complex regulatory scheme that requires significant resources to ensure compliance and our failure to comply with applicable laws could subject us to government scrutiny or enforcement, potentially resulting in costly investigations, fines, penalties or sanctions, contractual damages, reputational harm, administrative burdens and diminished profits and future earnings.

In general, a variety of laws apply to us or may otherwise restrict our activities, including the following:

laws and regulations governing the conduct of preclinical studies and clinical trials in the United States and other countries in which we are conducting such studies;
anti-corruption and anti-bribery laws, including the FCPA, the UK Bribery Act and various other anti-corruption laws in countries outside of the United States;
data privacy laws existing in the United States, the EU, the UK and other countries in which we operate, including the U.S. Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, or HIPAA, as amended by the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act, or HITECH, state privacy and data protection laws, such as the California Consumer Privacy Act, or CCPA, and the California Privacy Rights Act of 2020, or CPRA, as well as state consumer protection laws, GDPR, any additional applicable EU member state data protection laws in force from time to time, the retained EU law version of the General Data Protection Regulation as saved into United Kingdom law by virtue of section 3 of the United Kingdom's European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018, or the EU GDPR;
federal and state laws requiring the submission of accurate product prices and notifications of price increases;
federal and state securities laws;
environmental, health and safety laws and regulations; and
international trade laws, which are laws that regulate the sale, purchase, import, export, re-export, transfer and shipment of goods, products, materials, services and technology.

In addition, our relationships with healthcare providers, physicians and third party payors expose us to broadly applicable fraud and abuse laws that may constrain the business or financial arrangements and relationships through which we market, sell and distribute Auryxia and vadadustat, if approved, and any other products for which we may obtain marketing approval. As such, these arrangements are subject to applicable anti-kickback, fraud and abuse, false claims, transparency, health information privacy and security, and other healthcare laws and regulations at federal, state and international levels. These restrictions include, but are not limited to, the following:

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the FDCA which among other things, strictly regulates drug product marketing and promotion and prohibits manufacturers from marketing such products for off-label use;
federal laws that require pharmaceutical manufacturers to report certain calculated product prices to the government or provide certain discounts or rebates to government authorities or private entities, often as a condition of reimbursement under government healthcare programs, and laws requiring notification of price increases;
the federal Anti-Kickback Statute, which prohibits, among other things, persons from knowingly and willfully soliciting, offering, receiving or providing remuneration, directly or indirectly, in cash or in kind, to induce or reward, or in return for, either the referral of an individual for, or the purchase, order or recommendation or arranging of, any good or service, for which payment may be made under a federal healthcare program such as Medicare and Medicaid;
the federal False Claims Act, which imposes criminal and civil penalties, including through civil whistleblower or qui tam actions, against individuals or entities for, among other things, knowingly presenting, or causing to be presented, false or fraudulent claims for payment by a federal healthcare program or making a false statement or record material to payment of a false claim or avoiding, decreasing or concealing an obligation to pay money to the federal government, with potential liability including mandatory treble damages and significant per-claim penalties, and violations of the FDCA, the federal government pricing laws, and the federal Anti-Kickback Statute trigger liability under the federal False Claims Act;
HIPAA, which imposes criminal and civil liability for executing a scheme to defraud any healthcare benefit program or making false statements relating to healthcare matters;
HIPAA, as amended by the HITECH, and their respective implementing regulations, also imposes obligations, including mandatory contractual terms, with respect to safeguarding the privacy, security and transmission of individually identifiable health information;
the federal Physician Payments Sunshine Act (renamed the Open Payments Act) requires applicable manufacturers of covered drugs to report payments and other transfers of value to physicians, other healthcare providers and teaching hospitals, as well as ownership and investment interests held by physicians and their immediate family members;
analogous state and foreign laws and regulations, such as state anti-kickback and false claims laws and gift ban and transparency statutes, which may apply to sales or marketing arrangements and claims involving healthcare items or services reimbursed by state Medicaid or other programs, or non-governmental third party payors, including private insurers, and which are not preempted by federal laws and often differ from state to state, thus complicating compliance efforts; and
U.S. state laws restricting interactions with healthcare providers and other members of the healthcare community or requiring pharmaceutical manufacturers to implement certain compliance standards, which vary from state to state.

Because of the breadth of these U.S. laws, and their non-U.S. equivalents, and the narrowness of the statutory exceptions and safe harbors available, it is possible that some of our business activities could be subject to challenge under one or more of such laws. In addition, recent healthcare reforms have strengthened these laws. For example, the Health Care Reform Act, among other things, amended the intent requirement of the federal Anti-Kickback Statute. A person or entity no longer needs to have actual knowledge of the statute or specific intent to violate the law. The Health Care Reform Act also amended the False Claims Act, such that violations of the Anti-Kickback Statute are now deemed violations of the False Claims Act.

Some state laws require pharmaceutical companies to comply with the pharmaceutical industry’s voluntary compliance guidelines, such as the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America Code on Interactions with Health Care Professionals, known as the PhRMA Code. Additionally, some state and local laws require the registration of pharmaceutical sales representatives in the jurisdiction. State and foreign laws also govern the privacy and security of health information in some circumstances, many of which differ from each other in significant ways and often are not preempted by HIPAA.

Efforts to ensure that our business complies with applicable healthcare laws and regulations involves substantial costs and requires us to expend significant resources. One of the potential areas for governmental scrutiny involves federal and state requirements for pharmaceutical manufacturers to submit accurate price reports to the government. Because our processes for calculating applicable government prices and the judgments involved in making these calculations involve subjective decisions and complex methodologies, these calculations are subject to risk of errors and differing interpretations. In addition, they are subject to review and challenge by the applicable governmental agencies, or potential qui tam complaints, and it is possible that such reviews could result in changes, recalculations, or defense costs that may have adverse legal or financial consequences. 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, imprisonment, exclusion of products from government funded healthcare programs, such as Medicare and Medicaid, and the curtailment or restructuring of our operations, any of which could materially adversely affect our business and would result in increased costs and diversion of management attention and could negatively impact the development, regulatory approval and commercialization of Auryxia or vadadustat, any of which could have a material adverse effect on our business. Further, if any of the physicians or other healthcare providers or entities with whom we expect to do business is found to be not in compliance with applicable laws, they
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may be subject to criminal, civil or administrative sanctions, including exclusions from participation in government funded healthcare programs.

We will incur significant liability if it is determined that we are promoting any “off-label” use of Auryxia or any other product we may develop, in-license or acquire or if it is determined that any of our activities violates the federal Anti-Kickback Statute.

Physicians are permitted to prescribe drug products for uses that differ from those approved by the FDA or other applicable regulatory agencies. Although the FDA and other regulatory agencies do not regulate a physician’s choice of treatments, the FDA and other regulatory agencies do restrict manufacturer communications regarding unapproved uses of an approved drug. Companies are not permitted to promote drugs for unapproved uses or in a manner that is inconsistent with the FDA-approved labeling. There are also restrictions about making comparative or superiority claims based on safety or efficacy that are not supported by substantial evidence. Accordingly, we may not promote Auryxia in the United States for use in any indications other than the Hyperphosphatemia Indication and the IDA Indication, and all promotional claims must be consistent with the FDA-approved labeling for Auryxia.

Promoting a drug off-label is a violation of the FDCA and can give rise to liability under the federal False Claims Act, as well as under additional federal and state laws and insurance statutes. The FDA, the Department of Justice and other regulatory and enforcement authorities enforce laws and regulations prohibiting promotion of off-label uses and the promotion of products for which marketing approval has not been obtained, as well as the false advertising or misleading promotion of drugs. In September 2021, the FDA published final regulations which describe the types of evidence that the agency will consider in determining the intended use of a drug product. In addition, laws and regulations govern the distribution and tracing of prescription drugs and prescription drug samples, including the Prescription Drug Marketing Act of 1976 and the Drug Supply Chain Security Act, which regulate the distribution and tracing of prescription drugs and prescription drug samples at the federal level and set minimum standards for the regulation of drug distributors by the states. A company that is found to have improperly promoted off-label uses or to have otherwise engaged in false or misleading promotion or improper distribution of drugs will be subject to significant liability, potentially including civil and administrative remedies as well as criminal sanctions. It may also be subject to exclusion and debarment from federal healthcare reimbursement programs.

Notwithstanding the regulatory restrictions on off-label promotion, the FDA and other regulatory authorities allow companies to engage in truthful, non-misleading, and non-promotional scientific communications concerning their products in certain circumstances. In addition, under some relatively recent guidance from the FDA, companies may also promote information that is consistent with the prescribing information and proactively speak to formulary committee members of payors regarding data for an unapproved drug or unapproved uses of an approved drug. We intend to engage in these discussions and communicate with healthcare providers, payors and other constituencies in compliance with all applicable laws, regulatory guidance and industry best practices. Although we believe we have put in place a robust compliance program and processes designed to ensure that all such activities are performed in a legal and compliant manner, such program and processes may not be sufficient to deter or detect all violations.

In addition, if a company’s activities are determined to have violated the federal Anti-Kickback Statute, this can also give rise to liability under the federal False Claims Act and such violations can result in significant fines, criminal and civil remedies, and exclusion from Medicare and Medicaid. There is increased government focus on relationships between the pharmaceutical industry and physicians, pharmacies (especially specialty pharmacies), and other sources of referrals. Common industry activities, such as speaker programs, insurance assistance and support, relationships with foundations providing copayment assistance, and relationships with patient organizations and patients are receiving increased governmental attention. If any of our relationships or activities is determined to violate applicable federal and state anti-kickback laws, false claims laws, or other laws or regulations, the company and/or company executives, employees, and other representatives could be subject to significant fines and criminal sanctions, imprisonment, and potential exclusion from Medicare and Medicaid, and could harm our reputation or result in significant legal expenses and distraction of management.

Disruptions in the FDA, regulatory authorities outside the U.S. and other government agencies caused by global health concerns or funding shortages could prevent new products and services from being developed or commercialized in a timely manner, which could negatively impact our business.

The ability of the FDA and regulatory authorities outside the U.S. to review and approve new products can be affected by a variety of factors, including global health concerns, government budget and funding levels, staffing shortages, statutory, regulatory, and policy changes and other events that may otherwise affect the FDA’s or other regulatory authorities' ability to perform routine functions. Average review times at the FDA have fluctuated in recent years as a result of certain of these factors. In addition, government funding of other government agencies that fund research and development activities is subject to the political process, which is inherently fluid and unpredictable. Disruptions at the FDA and other agencies may increase the time necessary for new drugs to be reviewed or approved by necessary government agencies, which would adversely affect our
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business. If a prolonged government shutdown occurs, it could significantly impact the ability of the FDA or other regulatory authorities to timely review and process our, or our collaboration partners', regulatory submissions, which could have a material adverse effect on our business.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, a number of companies in 2020 and 2021 announced receipt of complete response letters due to the FDA’s inability to complete required inspections for their applications. Following a period of false starts, and temporary suspensions due to the omicron variant, the FDA announced on February 2, 2022 that it would resume domestic inspections beginning on February 7, 2022, and indicated that it would conduct foreign inspections beginning in April 2022 on a prioritized basis. However, the FDA may not be able to continue its current pace and review timelines could be extended, including where a pre-approval inspection or an inspection of clinical sites is required and due to the COVID-19 pandemic and/or any travel restrictions, the FDA is unable to complete such required inspections during the review period. Regulatory authorities outside the United States may also impose similar restrictions or other policy measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic or other travel restrictions. If a prolonged government shutdown occurs, or if global health concerns prevent the FDA or other regulatory authorities from conducting their regular inspections, reviews, or other regulatory activities, it could significantly impact the ability of the FDA or other regulatory authorities to timely review and process our regulatory submissions, which could have a material adverse effect on our business.

Compliance with privacy and data security requirements could result in additional costs and liabilities to us or inhibit our ability to collect and process data globally, and the failure to comply with such requirements could subject us to significant fines and penalties, which may have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations.

The regulatory framework for the collection, use, safeguarding, sharing, transfer and other processing of information worldwide is rapidly evolving and is likely to remain uncertain for the foreseeable future. Globally, virtually every jurisdiction in which we operate has established its own data security and privacy frameworks with which we must comply. For example, the collection, use, disclosure, transfer, or other processing of personal data regarding individuals in the EU, including personal health data, is subject to the GDPR, which took effect across all member states of the EEA, in May 2018. Following the withdrawal of the U.K. from the EU, the U.K. Data Protection Act 2018 applies to the processing of personal data that takes place in the U.K. and includes parallel obligations to those set forth by GDPR. The GDPR is wide-ranging in scope and imposes numerous requirements on companies that process personal data when required, including requirements relating to processing health and other sensitive data, obtaining consent of the individuals to whom the personal data relates, when required, providing information to individuals regarding data processing activities, implementing safeguards to protect the security and confidentiality of personal data, providing notification of data breaches, and taking certain measures when engaging third party processors. The GDPR increases our obligations as a sponsor in clinical trials in the EEA by expanding the definition of personal data to include coded data and requiring changes to informed consent practices and more detailed notices for clinical trial patients and investigators. The GDPR also permits data protection authorities to require destruction of improperly gathered or used personal information and/or impose substantial fines for violations of the GDPR, which can be up to four percent of global revenues or 20 million Euros, whichever is greater, and it also confers a private right of action on data subjects and consumer associations to lodge complaints with supervisory authorities, seek judicial remedies, and obtain compensation for damages resulting from violations of the GDPR. In addition, the GDPR provides that EU member states may make their own further laws and regulations limiting the processing of personal data, including genetic, biometric or health data and permits EU member states to adopt further penalties for violations that are not subject to the administrative fines outlined in the GDPR.


The GDPR also imposes strict rules on the transfer of personal data to countries outside the EU, including the United States and, as a result, increases the scrutiny that we should apply to transfers of personal data from such sites to countries that are considered to lack an adequate level of data protection, such as the United States. There is ongoing uncertainty about the transfer mechanisms that companies rely upon to enable the legal transfer of personal data from the EU to other countries. For example, in July 2020, the Court of Justice of the European Union, or the CJEU, invalidated the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield, one of the mechanisms used to legitimize the transfer of personal data from the EEA to the U.S. As court decisions and regulatory guidance evolves, challenges remain with respect to GDPR compliance. Companies must continue to monitor the regulatory landscape and implement necessary changes, all of which may be costly and may put the company out of compliance while any changes are being implemented.

Given the breadth and depth of changes in data protection obligations, complying with the GDPR’s requirements is rigorous and time intensive and requires significant resources and a review of our technologies, systems and practices, as well as those of any third party collaborators, service providers, contractors or consultants that process or transfer personal data collected in the EU. The GDPR and other changes in laws or regulations associated with the enhanced protection of certain types of sensitive data, such as healthcare data or other personal information from our clinical trials, could require us to change our business practices and put in place additional compliance mechanisms, may interrupt or delay our development, regulatory and commercialization activities and increase our cost of doing business, and could lead to government enforcement actions, private
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litigation and significant fines and penalties against us and could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations.

Similar privacy and data security requirements are either in place or underway in the United States. There are a broad variety of data protection laws that may be applicable to our activities, and a range of enforcement agencies at both the state and federal levels that can review companies for privacy and data security concerns. The Federal Trade Commission and state Attorneys General all are aggressive in reviewing privacy and data security protections for consumers. New laws also are being considered at both the state and federal levels. For example, the CCPA, which went into effect on January 1, 2020, and the CPRA, which amends CCPA by expanding the scope and applicability, while also introducing new privacy protections, is creating similar risks and obligations as those created by GDPR. The CPRA also creates a new agency that is specifically responsible for enforcing the new law. Because of this, we may need to engage in additional activities (e.g., data mapping) to identify the personal information we are collecting and the purposes for which such information is collected. In addition, we will need to ensure that our policies recognize the rights granted to consumers (as that phrase is broadly defined in the CCPA and can include business contact information). Other states have also passed privacy laws that are similar to the CCPA/CPRA, including Virginia, Colorado, Connecticut, and Utah. The laws in the various states vary in terms of their exact requirements, but they all provide regulators in these states with enforcement authority. Many other states are considering similar legislation. A broad range of legislative measures also have been introduced at the federal level. Accordingly, failure to comply with current and any future federal and state laws regarding privacy and security of personal information could expose us to fines and penalties. We also face a threat of potential consumer class actions related to these laws and the overall protection of personal data. Even if we are not determined to have violated these laws, investigations into these issues typically require the expenditure of significant resources and generate negative publicity, which could harm our reputation and our business.

Legislative and regulatory healthcare reform may increase the difficulty and cost for us to obtain marketing approval of and commercialize our product candidates and affect the prices we may obtain for any products that are approved in the United States or foreign jurisdictions.

In the United States and some foreign jurisdictions, there have been a number of legislative and regulatory changes and proposed changes regarding the healthcare system that could prevent or delay marketing approval of vadadustat, or any other product candidate, restrict or regulate post-approval activities and affect our ability to profitably sell Auryxia and vadadustat, if approved. The pharmaceutical industry has been a particular focus of these efforts and has been significantly affected by legislative initiatives. Current laws, as well as other healthcare reform measures that may be adopted in the future, may result in more rigorous coverage criteria and in additional downward pressure on the price that we receive for any FDA approved product, such as Auryxia or vadadustat, if approved, or any reimbursement that physicians receive for administering any approved product.

In the United States, the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003, or the MMA, changed the way Medicare covers and pays for pharmaceutical products. The legislation expanded Medicare coverage for drug purchases by the elderly and introduced a new reimbursement methodology based on average sales prices for physician-administered drugs. In addition, this legislation provided authority for limiting the number of drugs that will be covered in any therapeutic class. Cost reduction initiatives and other provisions of this legislation could decrease the coverage and price that we receive for Auryxia and any other approved products. While the MMA applies only to drug benefits for Medicare beneficiaries, private payors often follow Medicare coverage policy and payment limitations in setting their own reimbursement rates. Therefore, any reduction in reimbursement that results from the MMA may result in a similar reduction in payments from private payors.

In March 2010, President Obama signed into law the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, as amended by the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010, or, collectively, the ACA. In addition, other legislative changes and regulatory have been proposed and adopted since the ACA was enacted. These changes include the Budget Control Act of 2011, which, among other things, led to aggregate reductions to Medicare payments to providers of up to 2% per fiscal year, which will remain in effect through 2031. However, pursuant to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, or the CARES Act, and subsequent legislation, these Medicare sequester reductions were suspended and reduced through the end of June 2022 but with the full 2% cut resuming as of July 1, 2022. The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, which, among other things, reduced Medicare payments to several types of providers and increased the statute of limitations period for the government to recover overpayments to providers from three to five years. In addition, other legislative and regulatory changes have been proposed, but not yet adopted. For example, in July 2019, HHS proposed regulatory changes in kidney health policy and reimbursement. Any new legislative or regulatory changes may result in additional reductions in Medicare and other healthcare funding and otherwise affect the prices we may obtain for Auryxia or vadadustat, if approved, or the frequency with which Auryxia and vadadustat, if approved, is prescribed or used.

The costs and prices of prescription pharmaceuticals have also been the subject of considerable discussion in the United States. To date, there have been several recent U.S. congressional inquiries and proposed and enacted state and federal legislation designed to, among other things, bring more transparency to drug pricing, review the relationship between pricing and manufacturer patient programs, reduce the costs of drugs under Medicare and reform government program reimbursement
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methodologies for drug products. At the federal level, Congress and the current administration have each indicated that it will continue to seek new legislative and/or administrative measures to control drug costs.

For example, the former administration issued several executive orders intended to lower the costs of prescription products and certain provisions in these orders have been incorporated into regulations. These regulations include an interim final rule implementing a most favored nation model for prices that would tie Medicare Part B payments for certain physician-administered pharmaceuticals to the lowest price paid in other economically advanced countries, effective January 1, 2021. That rule, however, has been subject to a nationwide preliminary injunction and, on December 29, 2021, CMS issued a final rule to rescind it. With issuance of this rule, CMS stated that it will explore all options to incorporate value into payments for Medicare Part B pharmaceuticals and improve beneficiaries' access to evidence-based care.

At the same time, the administration may seek to limit Medicare Part D and public option drug prices through a tax penalty on manufacturers for increases in the cost of drugs and biologics above the general inflation rate. The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, comprehensive COVID-19 pandemic relief legislation recently enacted under the current administration, includes a number of healthcare-related provisions, such as support to rural health care providers, increased tax subsidies for health insurance purchased through insurance exchange marketplaces, financial incentives to states to expand Medicaid programs and elimination of the Medicaid drug rebate cap effective in 2024.

Further, on July 9, 2021, President Biden signed Executive Order 14063, which focuses on, among other things, the price of pharmaceuticals. The Order directs HHS to create a plan within 45 days to combat “excessive pricing of prescription pharmaceuticals and enhance domestic pharmaceutical supply chains, to reduce the prices paid by the federal government for such pharmaceuticals, and to address the recurrent problem of price gouging.” On September 9, 2021, HHS released its plan to reduce pharmaceutical prices. The key features of that plan are to: (a) make pharmaceutical prices more affordable and equitable for all consumers and throughout the health care system by supporting pharmaceutical price negotiations with manufacturers; (b) improve and promote competition throughout the prescription pharmaceutical industry by supporting market changes that strengthen supply chains, promote biosimilars and generic drugs, and increase transparency; and (c) foster scientific innovation to promote better healthcare and improve health by supporting public and private research and making sure that market incentives promote discovery of valuable and accessible new treatments.

More recently, on August 16, 2022, the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, or IRA, was signed into law by President Biden. The new legislation has implications for Medicare Part D, which is a program available to individuals who are entitled to Medicare Part A or enrolled in Medicare Part B to give them the option of paying a monthly premium for outpatient prescription drug coverage. Among other things, the IRA requires manufacturers of certain drugs to engage in price negotiations with Medicare (beginning in 2026), with prices that can be negotiated subject to a cap; imposes rebates under Medicare Part B and Medicare Part D to penalize price increases that outpace inflation (first due in 2023); and replaces the Part D coverage gap discount program with a new discounting program (beginning in 2025). The IRA permits the Secretary of HHS to implement many of these provisions through guidance, as opposed to regulation, for the initial years.

Specifically, with respect to price negotiations, Congress authorized Medicare to negotiate lower prices for certain costly single-source drug and biologic products that do not have competing generics or biosimilars and are reimbursed under Medicare Part B and Part D. CMS may negotiate prices for ten high-cost drugs paid for by Medicare Part D starting in 2026, followed by 15 Part D drugs in 2027, 15 Part B or Part D drugs in 2028, and 20 Part B or Part D drugs in 2029 and beyond. This provision applies to drug products that have been approved for at least 9 years and biologics that have been licensed for 13 years, but it does not apply to drugs and biologics that have been approved for a single rare disease or condition. Further, the legislation subjects drug manufacturers to civil monetary penalties and a potential excise tax for failing to comply with the legislation by offering a price that is not equal to or less than the negotiated “maximum fair price” under the law or for taking price increases that exceed inflation. The legislation also requires manufacturers to pay rebates for drugs in Medicare Part D whose price increases exceed inflation. The new law also caps Medicare out-of-pocket drug costs at an estimated $4,000 a year in 2024 and, thereafter beginning in 2025, at $2,000 a year.

At the state level, individual states are increasingly aggressive in passing legislation and implementing regulations designed to control pharmaceutical and biological product pricing, including price or patient reimbursement constraints, discounts, restrictions on certain product access, marketing cost disclosure and transparency measures, and, in some cases, designed to encourage importation from other countries and bulk purchasing. A number of states, for example, require drug manufacturers and other entities in the drug supply chain, including health carriers, pharmacy benefit managers, wholesale distributors, to disclose information about pricing of pharmaceuticals. In addition, regional healthcare authorities and individual hospitals are increasingly using bidding procedures to determine what pharmaceutical products and which suppliers will be included in their prescription drug and other healthcare programs. These measures could reduce the ultimate demand for our products or put pressure on our product pricing.

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It is likely that federal and state legislatures within the United States and foreign governments will continue to consider changes to existing healthcare legislation. We expect that additional state and federal 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 reduced demand for Auryxia and any product candidates for which we receive marketing approval or additional pricing pressures. We cannot predict the reform initiatives that may be adopted in the future or whether initiatives that have been adopted will be repealed or modified. The continuing efforts of the government, insurance companies, managed care organizations and other payors of healthcare services to contain or reduce costs of healthcare may adversely affect:

the demand for Auryxia and any products candidates for which we receive marketing approval;
our ability to set a price that we believe is fair for our products;
our ability to obtain and maintain coverage and reimbursement approval for Auryxia or any other approved product;
our ability to generate revenues and achieve or maintain profitability; and
the level of taxes that we are required to pay.

In addition, in some countries, including member states of the EU the pricing of prescription pharmaceuticals is subject to governmental control. In these countries, pricing negotiations with governmental authorities can take a significant amount of time after receipt of marketing approval for a product. In addition, there can be considerable pressure by governments and other stakeholders on prices and reimbursement levels, including as part of cost containment measures. 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 distribution, or arbitrage between low-priced and high-priced member states, can further reduce prices, and in certain instances render commercialization in certain markets infeasible or disadvantageous from a financial perspective. In some countries, we or our collaborators may be required to conduct a clinical trial or other studies that compare the cost-effectiveness of our product and/or our product candidates to other available products in order to obtain or maintain reimbursement or pricing approval. Publication of discounts by third party payors or government authorities may lead to further pressure on the prices or reimbursement levels. If reimbursement of our products is unavailable or limited in scope or amount, or if pricing is set at unsatisfactory levels, the commercial launch of our product and/or product candidates could be delayed, possibly for lengthy periods of time, we or our collaborators may not launch at all in a particular country, we may not be able to recoup our investment in one or more product candidates, and there could be a material adverse effect on our business.

If we fail to comply with environmental, health and safety laws and regulations, we could become subject to fines or penalties or incur costs that could harm our business.

We are subject to numerous environmental, health and safety laws and regulations, including those governing laboratory procedures and the handling, use, storage, treatment and disposal of hazardous materials and wastes. Our operations involve the use of hazardous and flammable materials, including chemicals and biological materials. Our operations also produce hazardous waste products. We generally contract with third parties for the use and disposal of these materials and wastes. We cannot eliminate the risk of contamination or injury from these materials. In the event of contamination or injury resulting from the use of hazardous materials by our employees, contractors or consultants, we could be held liable for any resulting damages, and any liability could exceed our resources. We also could incur significant costs associated with civil or criminal fines and penalties for failure to comply with such laws and regulations.

Although we maintain workers’ compensation insurance to cover us for costs and expenses, we may incur due to injuries to our employees resulting from the use of hazardous materials, this insurance may not provide adequate coverage against potential liabilities. We do not maintain insurance for environmental liability or toxic tort claims that may be asserted against us in connection with our storage or disposal of biological, hazardous or radioactive materials.

In addition, we may incur substantial costs in order to comply with current or future environmental, health and safety laws and regulations. These current or future laws and regulations may impair our research, development or production efforts. Our failure to comply with these laws and regulations also may result in substantial fines, penalties or other sanctions.

Risks Related to our Reliance on Third Parties

We depend on collaborations with third parties for the development and commercialization of Auryxia, Riona, Vafseo and vadadustat and if these collaborations are not successful or if our collaborators terminate their agreements with us, we may not be able to capitalize on the market potential of Auryxia, Riona, Vafseo and vadadustat, and our business could be materially harmed.

We sublicensed the rights to commercialize Riona to JT and Torii in Japan. We also entered into a collaboration agreement with MTPC to develop and commercialize vadadustat in Japan and certain other Asian countries. In addition, we entered into the Vifor Second Amended Agreement pursuant to which we granted CSL Vifor an exclusive license to sell vadadustat to the Supply Group in the United States. We also granted to Averoa an exclusive license to develop and commercialize ferric citrate
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in the EEA, Turkey, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. We may form or seek other strategic alliances, joint ventures, or collaborations, or enter into additional licensing arrangements with third parties that we believe will complement or augment our and our partners' commercialization efforts with respect to Auryxia, Riona, Vafseo and our and our partners' development and, if approved, commercialization efforts with respect to vadadustat and any other product candidates. We may not be able to maintain our collaborations for development and commercialization. For example, on May 13, 2022, Otsuka elected to terminate our collaboration agreements with them, and we subsequently negotiated the Termination Agreement with Otsuka. This termination by Otsuka may delay the approval or launch of vadadustat in Europe or other territories or adversely affect how we are perceived in scientific and financial communities. In addition, our current and any future collaborations may not be successful due to a number of important factors, including the following:

collaborators may have significant discretion in determining the efforts and resources that they will apply to these collaborations;
collaborations may be terminated in accordance with the terms of the collaboration agreements and, if terminated, may make it difficult for us to attract new collaborators or adversely affect how we are perceived in scientific and financial communities, and may result in a need for additional capital and expansion of our internal capabilities to pursue further development or commercialization of the applicable products and product candidates;
if permitted by the terms of the collaboration agreements, collaborators may elect not to continue or renew development or commercialization programs based on clinical trial results, changes in their strategic focus, availability of funding or other external factors such as a business combination that diverts resources or creates competing priorities;
if permitted by the terms of the collaboration agreements, collaborators may delay clinical trials, provide insufficient funding for a clinical trial program, stop a clinical trial, abandon a product candidate, repeat or conduct new clinical trials or require a new formulation of a product candidate for clinical testing;
a collaborator with marketing and distribution rights to our products may not commit sufficient resources to their marketing and distribution;
if permitted by the terms of the collaboration agreements, we and our collaborator may have a difference of opinion regarding the development or commercialization strategy for a particular product or product candidate, and our collaborator may have ultimate decision making authority;
disputes may arise between a collaborator and us that cause the delay or termination of activities related to research, development, supply or commercialization of Auryxia, Riona, Vafseo or vadadustat and any other product candidate, or that result in costly litigation or arbitration that diverts management attention and resources;
collaborations may not lead to development or commercialization of products and product candidates, if approved, in the most efficient manner or at all;
a significant change in the senior management team, a change in the financial condition or a change in the business operations, including a change in control or internal corporate restructuring, of any of our collaborators, could result in delayed timelines, re-prioritization of our programs, decreasing resources or funding allocated to support our programs, or termination of the collaborations; and
collaborators may not comply with all applicable regulatory and legal requirements.

If any of these events occurs, the market potential of Auryxia, Riona, Vafseo or vadadustat, if and where approved, and any other products or product candidates, could be reduced, and our business could be materially harmed. Collaborations may also divert resources, including the attention of management and other employees, from other parts of our business, which could have an adverse effect on other parts of our business, and we cannot be certain that the benefits of the collaboration will outweigh the potential risks.

We may seek to establish additional collaborations and, if we are not able to establish them on commercially reasonable terms, or at all, we may have to alter our development and commercialization plans.

We will require substantial additional cash to fund the continued commercialization of Auryxia and the development and potential commercialization of any of our product candidates, including vadadustat, if approved, especially following the termination of our collaboration agreements with Otsuka. We may decide to enter into additional collaborations for the development and commercialization of vadadustat or Auryxia, both within and outside of the United States. For example, we plan to pursue a new partner to develop and commercialize vadadustat in Europe and other territories previously licensed to Otsuka. If we are unsuccessful in entering into a new agreement for the development and commercialization of vadadustat in Europe and other territories in a timely manner, or at all, it may result in a delay in the approval or launch of vadadustat in Europe or other territories, a need for additional capital and expansion of our internal capabilities to pursue further development or commercialization of the applicable products and product candidates, particularly the development and commercialization of vadadustat in Europe and other territories, and could have an adverse effect on our results of operations. Any of these relationships may require us to incur non-recurring and other charges, increase our near and long-term expenditures, issue securities that dilute our existing stockholders, divert management’s attention, or disrupt our business.

We may not be successful in entering into additional collaborations as a result of many factors, including the following:
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competition in seeking appropriate collaborators;
a reduced number of potential collaborators due to recent business combinations in the pharmaceutical industry;
an inability to negotiate collaborations on acceptable terms, on a timely basis or at all;
any international rules, regulations, guidance, laws, risks or uncertainties with respect to potential partners outside of the United States;
a potential collaborator’s evaluation of Auryxia, vadadustat or any other product or product candidate may differ substantially from ours;
a potential collaborator’s evaluation of our financial stability and resources;
a potential collaborator’s resources and expertise; and
restrictions due to an existing collaboration agreement.

If we are unable to enter into additional collaborations in a timely manner, or at all, we may have to delay or curtail the commercialization of Auryxia or vadadustat, if and where approved, reduce or delay its development program or other of our other development programs, or increase our expenditures and undertake additional development or commercialization activities at our own expense. If we elect to increase our expenditures to fund development or commercialization activities on our own, we may need to obtain additional capital, which may not be available to us on acceptable terms or at all. If we do not have sufficient funds, we may not be able to further develop or commercialize Auryxia or vadadustat, if approved.

Even if we enter into additional collaboration agreements and strategic partnerships or license our intellectual property, we may not be able to maintain them or they may be unsuccessful, which could delay our timelines or otherwise adversely affect our business.

Royalties from commercial sales of vadadustat under our MTPC Agreement will likely fluctuate and will impact our rights to receive future payments under our Royalty Agreement with HCR.

Pursuant to the Royalty Agreement with HCR, we sold to HCR our right to receive the Royalty Interest Payments payable to us under the MTPC Agreement, subject to the Annual Cap and the Aggregate Cap. After HCR receives Royalty Interest Payments equal to the Annual Cap in a given calendar year, we will receive 85% of the Royalty Interest Payments for the remainder of that year. After HCR receives Royalty Interest Payments equal to the Aggregate Cap, or we pay the Aggregate Cap to HCR (net of the Royalty Interest Payments already received by HCR), the Royalty Interest Payments will revert back to us, and HCR would have no further right to any Royalty Interest Payments. We received $44.8 million from HCR (net of certain transaction expenses) under the Royalty Agreement, and we are eligible to receive up to an additional $15.0 million under the Royalty Agreement if specified sales milestones are achieved for vadadustat in the territory covered by the MTPC Agreement, subject to the satisfaction of certain customary conditions.

The royalty revenues under the MTPC Agreement may fluctuate considerably because they depend upon, among other things, the rate of growth of sales of vadadustat in the territory covered by the MTPC Agreement. Negative fluctuations in these royalty revenues could delay, diminish or eliminate our right to receive up to the additional $15.0 million under the Royalty Agreement upon achievement of the specified sales milestones, our ability to receive 85% of the Royalty Interest Payments after the Annual Cap is achieved in a given calendar year, or our ability to receive 100% of the Royalty Interest Payments after the Aggregate Cap is achieved.

We rely upon third parties to conduct all aspects of our product manufacturing, and in many instances only have a single supplier, and the loss of these manufacturers, their failure to supply us on a timely basis, or at all, or their failure to successfully carry out their contractual duties or comply with regulatory requirements, cGMP requirements, or guidance could cause delays in or disruptions to our supply chain and substantially harm our business.

We do not have any manufacturing facilities and do not expect to independently manufacture any product or product candidates. We currently rely, and expect to continue to rely, on third party manufacturers to produce all of our commercial, clinical and preclinical supply. Our reliance on third party manufacturers, who have control over the manufacturing process, increases the risk that we will not have or be able to maintain sufficient quantities of Auryxia and vadadustat or the ability to obtain such quantities at an acceptable cost or quality, which could delay, prevent or impair our and our partners' development or commercialization efforts.

We currently rely on a single source supplier for each of Auryxia drug substance and drug product and vadadustat drug substance and drug product, and alternate sources of supply may not be readily available. If any of the following occurs, we may not have sufficient quantities of Auryxia and/or vadadustat to support our clinical trials, development, commercialization,
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or obtaining and maintaining marketing approvals, which could materially and adversely impact our business and results of operations:

we are unsuccessful in maintaining our current supply arrangements for commercial quantities of Auryxia and vadadustat;
we are unsuccessful in validating new sites;
our commercial supply arrangements for Auryxia or vadadustat are terminated;
any of our third party manufacturers are unable to fulfill the terms of their agreements with us, including with respect to quality and quantity, or are unable or unwilling to continue to manufacture on the manufacturing lines included in our regulatory filings; or
any of our third party manufacturers breach our supply agreements, do not comply with quality or regulatory requirements and guidance, including cGMP or are subject to regulatory review or ceases their operations for any reason.

If any of our third party manufacturers cannot or do not perform as agreed or expected, including as a result of catastrophic events, including pandemics, including the COVID-19 pandemic, terrorist attacks, wars or other armed conflicts, geopolitical tensions or natural disasters, if they misappropriate our proprietary information, if they terminate their engagements with us, if we terminate our engagements with them, or if there is a significant disagreement, we may be forced to manufacture the materials ourselves, for which we currently do not have the capabilities or resources, or enter into agreements with other third party manufacturers, which we may not be able to do in a timely manner or on favorable or reasonable terms, if at all. For example, one of our manufacturers has notified us that it will be discontinuing operations at one site at a future date. In some cases, there may be a limited number of qualified replacement manufacturers, or the technical skills or equipment required to manufacture a product or product candidate may be unique or proprietary to the original manufacturer and we may have difficulty transferring such skills or technology to another third party, or a feasible alternative may not exist. These factors would increase our reliance on our current manufacturers or require us to obtain necessary regulatory approvals and licenses in order to have another third party manufacture Auryxia or vadadustat. If we are required to change manufacturers for any reason, we will be required to verify that the new manufacturer maintains facilities and procedures that comply with quality standards and with all applicable regulations and guidelines. The delays and costs associated with the qualification of a new manufacturer and validation of manufacturing processes would negatively affect our ability to supply clinical trials, obtain and maintain marketing approval, or commercialize or satisfy patient demand for Auryxia and vadadustat, where approved, in a timely manner, within budget, or at all.

In addition, the cost of obtaining Auryxia and vadadustat is subject to adjustment based on our third party manufacturers’ costs of obtaining raw materials and producing the product. We have limited control over the production costs of Auryxia and vadadustat, including the costs of raw materials, and have seen increases in the production costs of Auryxia and vadadustat, and any significant increase in the cost of obtaining our products could materially adversely affect our revenue for Auryxia and vadadustat, if approved.

Moreover, issues that may arise in any scale-up and technology transfer and continued commercial scale manufacture of our products may lead to significant delays in our development, marketing approval and commercial timelines and negatively impact our financial performance. For example, a production-related issue resulted in an interruption in the supply of Auryxia in the third and fourth quarters of 2016. This supply interruption negatively impacted Keryx’s revenues in 2016. This supply interruption was resolved, and we have taken and continue to take actions designed to prevent future interruptions in the supply of Auryxia. However, we recently experienced issues in manufacturing Auryxia, and if we continue to experience manufacturing issues or our actions to prevent future interruptions are not successful, we may experience additional supply issues. In addition, before we can manufacture product at a new site, we must validate the process at that site. If the process validation is unsuccessful, or takes longer than we anticipate, we may have to expend additional resources and could experience a supply interruption. Any future supply interruptions, whether quality or quantity based, for Auryxia or vadadustat, if and where approved, would negatively and materially impact our reputation and financial condition.

There are a limited number of manufacturers that are capable of manufacturing Auryxia and vadadustat for us and complying with cGMP regulations and guidance and other stringent regulatory requirements and guidance enforced by the FDA, EMA, PMDA and other regulatory authorities. These requirements include, among other things, quality control, quality assurance and the maintenance of records and documentation, which occur in addition to our own quality assurance releases. The facilities and processes used by our third party manufacturers to manufacture Auryxia may be inspected by the FDA and other regulatory authorities at any time, and the facilities and processes used by our third party manufacturers to manufacture vadadustat will be inspected by the FDA, the EMA and other regulatory authorities prior to or after we submit our marketing applications. Although we have general visibility into the manufacturing processes of our third party manufacturers, we do not ultimately control such manufacturing processes of, and have little control over, our third party manufacturers, including, without limitation, their compliance with cGMP requirements and guidance for the manufacture of certain starting materials, drug substance and finished drug product. Similarly, although we review final production, we have little control over the ability of
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our third party manufacturers to maintain adequate quality control, quality assurance and qualified personnel. Our third party manufacturers may experience problems with their manufacturing and distribution operations and processes, including, for example, quality issues, such as product specification and stability failures, procedural deviations, improper equipment installation or operation, utility failures, contamination, natural disasters and public health epidemics. We may also encounter difficulties relating to our own quality processes and procedures, including regulatory compliance, lot release, quality control and quality assurance, as well as shortages of qualified personnel. If our third party manufacturers cannot successfully manufacture material that conforms to our specifications and regulatory requirements and guidance, or if we or our third party manufacturers experience manufacturing, operations and/or quality issues, including an inability or unwillingness to continue manufacturing our products at all, in accordance with agreed-upon processes or on currently validated manufacturing lines, we may not be able to supply patient demand or maintain marketing approval for Auryxia, secure and maintain marketing approval for vadadustat, and we might be required to expend additional resources to obtain material from other manufacturers. If any of these events occur, our reputation and financial condition would be negatively and materially impacted. In addition, during the year ended December 31, 2022, we had higher write-downs to inventory reserves related to Auryxia drug substance that will not be forward processed into drug product. If we have additional write-downs to inventory reserves in the future, it could negatively impact our ability to supply Auryxia, and our financial condition could be harmed.

If the FDA, the EMA or other regulatory authorities do not approve the facilities being used to manufacture vadadustat, or if they withdraw any approval of the facilities being used to manufacture Auryxia or vadadustat, we may need to find alternative manufacturing facilities, which would significantly impact our ability to continue commercializing Auryxia or Vafseo in Japan, or develop, obtain marketing approval for or market vadadustat or our other product candidates, if approved.

Moreover, our failure or the failure of our third party manufacturers to comply with applicable regulations or guidance, or our failure to oversee or facilitate such compliance, could result in sanctions being imposed on us or our third party manufacturers, including, where applicable, clinical holds, fines, injunctions, civil penalties, delays in, suspension of or withdrawal of approvals, license revocation, seizures or recalls of Auryxia or Vafseo in Japan, operating restrictions, receipt of a Form 483 or warning letter, or criminal prosecutions, any of which could significantly and adversely affect the supply of Auryxia or vadadustat. For example, we previously conducted three limited, voluntary recalls of Auryxia. These and any other recalls or any supply, quality or manufacturing issues in the future and any related write-downs of inventory or other consequences could result in significant negative consequences, including reputational harm, loss of customer confidence, and a negative impact on our financials, any of which could have a material adverse effect on our business and results of operations, and may impact our ability to supply Auryxia, Vafseo in Japan or vadadustat for clinical and commercial use. Also, if our starting materials, drug substance or drug product are damaged or lost while in our or our third party manufacturers’ control, it may adversely impact our ability to supply Auryxia or vadadustat, and we may incur significant financial harm.

In addition, Auryxia and vadadustat may compete with other products and product candidates for access to third party manufacturing facilities. A third party manufacturer may also encounter delays or operational issues brought on by sudden internal resource constraints, labor disputes, shifting priorities or shifting regulatory protocols including, in each case, relating to the COVID-19 pandemic. Certain of these third party manufacturing facilities may be contractually prohibited from manufacturing Auryxia or vadadustat due to exclusivity provisions in agreements with our competitors. Any of the foregoing could negatively impact our third party manufacturers' ability to meet our demand, which could adversely impact our ability to supply Auryxia or vadadustat, and we may incur significant financial harm.

Our current and anticipated future dependence on third parties for the manufacture of Auryxia and vadadustat may adversely affect our and our partners' ability to commercialize Auryxia and vadadustat, where approved, on a timely and competitive basis and may reduce any future profit margins.

We rely upon third parties to conduct our clinical trials and certain of our preclinical studies. If they do not successfully carry out their contractual duties, comply with regulatory requirements or meet expected deadlines, we may not be able to obtain or maintain marketing approval for Auryxia, vadadustat or any of our product candidates, and our business could be substantially harmed.

We do not have the ability to independently conduct certain preclinical studies and clinical trials. We are currently relying, and expect to continue to rely, upon third parties, such as CROs, clinical data management organizations, medical institutions and clinical investigators, to conduct our current and future preclinical studies and clinical trials. The third parties upon whom we rely may fail to perform effectively, or terminate their engagement with us, for a number of reasons, including the following:

if they experience staffing difficulties;
if we fail to communicate effectively or provide the appropriate level of oversight;
if they undergo changes in priorities or corporate structure including as a result of a merger or acquisition or other transaction, or become financially distressed; or
if they form relationships with other entities, some of which may be our competitors.
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If the third parties upon whom we rely to conduct our trials fail to adhere to clinical trial protocols or to regulatory requirements, the quantity, quality or accuracy of the data obtained by the third parties may be compromised. We are exposed to risk of fraud or other misconduct by such third parties.

Any of these events could cause our preclinical studies and clinical trials, including post-approval clinical trials, to be extended, delayed, suspended, required to be repeated or terminated, or we may receive untitled warning letters or be the subject of an enforcement action, which could result in our failing to obtain and maintain marketing approval of vadadustat or any other product candidates on a timely basis, or at all, or fail to maintain marketing approval of Auryxia, or any other products, any of which would adversely affect our business operations. In addition, if the third parties upon whom we rely fail to perform effectively or terminate their engagement with us, we may need to enter into alternative arrangements, which could delay, perhaps significantly, the development and commercialization of vadadustat, if approved, or any other product candidates.

Even though we do not directly control the third parties upon whom we rely to conduct our preclinical studies and clinical trials and therefore cannot guarantee the satisfactory and timely performance of their obligations to us, we are nevertheless responsible for ensuring that each of our clinical trials and preclinical studies is conducted in accordance with the applicable protocol, legal and regulatory requirements, including GXP requirements, and scientific standards, and our reliance on these third parties, including CROs, will not relieve us of our regulatory responsibilities. If we or any of our CROs, their subcontractors, or clinical or preclinical trial sites fail to comply with applicable GXP requirements, the clinical data generated in our trials may be deemed unreliable or insufficient, our clinical trials could be put on hold, and/or the FDA, the EMA or other regulatory authorities may require us to perform additional clinical trials before approving our marketing applications. In addition, our clinical and preclinical trials must be conducted with drug product that meets certain specifications and is manufactured under applicable cGMP regulations. These requirements include, among other things, quality control, quality assurance, and the satisfactory maintenance of records and documentation.

We also rely upon third parties to store and distribute drug product for our clinical trials. For example, we use third parties to store product at various sites in the United States to distribute to our clinical trial sites. Any performance failure on the part of our storage or distributor partners could delay clinical development, marketing approval or commercialization, resulting in additional costs and depriving us of potential product revenue.

If the licensor of certain intellectual property relating to Auryxia terminates, modifies or threatens to terminate existing contracts or relationships with us, our business may be materially harmed.

We do not own all of the rights to our product, Auryxia. We have licensed and sublicensed certain rights, patent and otherwise, to Auryxia from a third party, Panion & BF Biotech, Inc., or Panion, who in turn licenses certain rights to Auryxia from one of the inventors of Auryxia. The license agreement with Panion, or the Panion License Agreement, requires us to meet development milestones and imposes development and commercialization due diligence requirements on us. In addition, under the Panion License Agreement, we must pay royalties based on a mid-single digit percentage of net sales of product resulting from the licensed technologies, including Auryxia, and pay the patent filing, prosecution and maintenance costs related to the license. If we do not meet our obligations in a timely manner, or if we otherwise breach the terms of the Panion License Agreement, Panion could terminate the agreement, and we would lose the rights to Auryxia. For example, following announcement of the Merger, Panion notified Keryx in writing that Panion would terminate the Panion License Agreement on November 21, 2018 if Keryx did not cure the breach alleged by Panion, specifically, that Keryx failed to use commercially reasonable best efforts to commercialize Auryxia outside the United States. Keryx disagreed with Panion’s claims, and the parties entered discussions to resolve this dispute. On October 24, 2018, prior to the consummation of the Merger, we, Keryx and Panion entered into a letter agreement, or the Panion Letter Agreement, pursuant to which Panion agreed to rescind any and all prior termination threats or notices relating to the Panion License Agreement and waived its rights to terminate the license agreement based on any breach by us of our obligation to use commercially reasonable efforts to commercialize Auryxia outside the United States until the parties executed an amendment to the Panion License Agreement in accordance with the terms of the Panion Letter Agreement, following consummation of the Merger. On April 17, 2019, we and Panion entered into an amendment and restatement of the Panion License Agreement, or the Panion Amended License Agreement, which reflects certain revisions consistent with the terms of the Panion Letter Agreement. See Note 5 to our consolidated financial statements in Part II, Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data of this Annual Report on Form 10-K/A for additional information regarding the Panion Amended License Agreement. Even though we entered into the Panion Amended License Agreement, there are no assurances that Panion will not allege other breaches of the Panion Amended License Agreement or otherwise attempt to terminate the Panion Amended License Agreement in the future. In addition, if Panion breaches its agreement with the inventor from whom it licenses rights to Auryxia, Panion could lose its license, which could impair or delay our ability to develop and commercialize Auryxia.

From time to time, we may have disagreements with Panion, or Panion may have disagreements with the inventor from whom it licenses rights to Auryxia, regarding the terms of the agreements or ownership of proprietary rights, which could impact the
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commercialization of Auryxia, could require or result in litigation or arbitration, which would be time-consuming and expensive, could lead to the termination of the Panion Amended License Agreement, or force us to negotiate a revised or new license agreement on terms less favorable than the original. In addition, in the event that the owners and/or licensors of the rights we license were to enter into bankruptcy or similar proceedings, we could potentially lose our rights to Auryxia or our rights could otherwise be adversely affected, which could prevent us from continuing to commercialize Auryxia.

Risks Related to our Intellectual Property

If we are unable to adequately protect our intellectual property, third parties may be able to use our intellectual property, which could adversely affect our ability to compete in the market.

Our commercial success will depend in part on our ability, and the ability of our licensors, to obtain and maintain patent protection on our drug product and technologies, and to successfully defend these patents against third party challenges. We seek to protect our proprietary products and technology by filing patent applications in the United States and certain foreign jurisdictions. The process for obtaining patent protection is expensive and time consuming, and we may not be able to file and prosecute all necessary or desirable patent applications in a cost effective or timely manner. In addition, we may fail to identify patentable subject matter early enough to obtain patent protection. Further, license agreements with third parties may not allow us to control the preparation, filing and prosecution of patent applications, or the maintenance or enforcement of patents. Such third parties may decide not to enforce such patents or enforce such patents without our involvement. Thus, these patent applications and patents may not, under these circumstances, be prosecuted or enforced in a manner consistent with the best interests of the company.

Our pending patent applications may not issue as patents and may not issue in all countries in which we develop, manufacture or potentially sell our product or in countries where others develop, manufacture and potentially sell products using our technologies. Moreover, our pending patent applications, if issued as patents, may not provide additional protection for our product.

The patent positions of pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies can be highly uncertain and involve complex legal and factual questions. No consistent policy regarding the breadth of claims allowed in pharmaceutical and biotechnology patents has emerged to date. Changes in the patent laws or the interpretation of the patent laws in the United States and other jurisdictions may diminish the value of our patents or narrow the scope of our patent protection. Accordingly, the patents we own or license may not be sufficiently broad to prevent others from practicing our technologies or from developing competing products. Furthermore, others may independently develop similar or alternative drug products or technologies or design around our patented drug product and technologies which may have an adverse effect on our business. If our competitors prepare and file patent applications in the United States that claim technology also claimed by us, we may have to participate in interference or derivation proceedings in front of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, or USPTO, to determine priority of invention, which could result in substantial cost, even if the eventual outcome is favorable to us. Because of the extensive time required for development, testing and regulatory review of a potential product, it is possible that any related patent may expire prior to, or remain in existence for only a short period following, commercialization, which may significantly diminish our ability to exclude others from commercializing products that are similar or identical to ours. The patents we own or license may be challenged or invalidated or may fail to provide us with any competitive advantage. Since we have licensed or sublicensed many patents from third parties, we may not be able to enforce such licensed patents against third party infringers without the cooperation of the patent owner and the licensor, which may not be forthcoming. In addition, we may not be successful or timely in obtaining any patents for which we submit applications.

Generally, the first to file a patent application is entitled to the patent if all other requirements of patentability are met. However, prior to March 16, 2013, in the United States, the first to invent was entitled to the patent. Since publications of discoveries in the scientific literature often lag behind the actual discoveries, and patent applications in the United States and other jurisdictions are typically not published until 18 months after filing, or in some cases not at all, we cannot know with certainty whether we were the first to make the inventions claimed in our patents or pending patent applications, or that we were the first to file for patent protection of such inventions. Moreover, the laws enacted by the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act of 2011, which reformed certain patent laws in the United States, introduce procedures that permit competitors to challenge our patents in the USPTO after grant, including inter partes review and post grant review. Similar laws exist outside of the United States. The laws of the European Patent Convention, for example, provide for post-grant opposition procedures that permit competitors to challenge, or oppose, our European patents administratively at the European Patent Office.

We may become involved in addressing patentability objections based on third party submission of references, or we may become involved in defending our patent rights in oppositions, derivation proceedings, reexamination, inter partes review, post grant review, interference proceedings or other patent office proceedings or litigation, in the United States or elsewhere, challenging our patent rights or the patent rights of others. An adverse result in any such proceeding or litigation could reduce
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the scope of, or invalidate, our patent rights, allow third parties to commercialize our technology or products and compete directly with us, without payment to us.

The issuance of a patent is not conclusive as to its inventorship, scope, validity or enforceability, and our owned and licensed patents may be challenged on such a basis in the courts or patent offices in the United States and abroad. As a result of such challenges, we may lose exclusivity or freedom-to-operate or patent claims may be narrowed, invalidated or held unenforceable, in whole or in part, which could limit our ability to prevent third parties from using or commercializing similar or identical products, or limit the duration of the patent protection for our products.

Periodic maintenance fees on any issued patent are due to be paid to the USPTO and foreign patent agencies in several stages over the lifetime of the patent. The USPTO and governmental patent agencies in other jurisdictions also require compliance with a number of procedural, documentary, fee payment (such as annuities) and other similar provisions during the patent application process. While an inadvertent lapse in many cases can be cured by payment of a late fee or by other means in accordance with the applicable rules, there are situations in which non-compliance can result in abandonment or lapse of the patent or patent application, resulting in partial or complete loss of patent rights in the relevant jurisdiction. Non-compliance events that could result in abandonment or lapse of a patent or patent application include, but are not limited to, failure to respond to official actions within prescribed time limits, non-payment of fees, and failure to properly legalize and submit formal documents. In such an event, our competitors might be able to enter the market sooner than we expect, which would have a material adverse effect on our business.

In addition, patents protecting our product candidate might expire before or shortly after such candidate is commercialized. Thus, our patent portfolio may not provide sufficient rights to exclude others from commercializing products similar or identical to ours.

We also rely on trade secrets and know-how to protect our intellectual property where we believe patent protection is not appropriate or obtainable. Trade secrets are difficult to protect. While we require our employees, licensees, collaborators and consultants to enter into confidentiality agreements, this may not be sufficient to adequately protect our trade secrets or other proprietary information. In addition, in some cases, we share certain ownership and publication rights to data relating to some of our products and product candidates with research collaborators, licensees and other third parties. If we cannot maintain the confidentiality of this information, our ability to receive patent protection or protect our trade secrets or other proprietary information will be at risk.

We may not be able to protect our intellectual property rights throughout the world.

Filing, prosecuting and defending patents on our products and product candidates in all countries throughout the world would be prohibitively expensive. Consequently, the breadth of our intellectual property rights in some countries outside the United States may be less extensive than those in the United States. In addition, the laws of some countries do not protect intellectual property rights to the same extent as laws in the United States. As a result, we may not be able to prevent third parties from practicing our inventions in all countries outside the United States, or from selling or importing products made using our inventions in and into the United States or other countries. Competitors may use our technologies in countries where we have not obtained patent protection to develop their own products and, further, may infringe our patents in territories where we have patent protection, but where enforcement is not as strong as in the United States. These products may compete with our products and our patents or other intellectual property rights may not be effective or sufficient to prevent them from competing.

Many companies have encountered significant problems in protecting and defending intellectual property rights in certain countries. The legal systems of certain countries, particularly certain developing countries, do not favor the enforcement of patents, trade secrets and other intellectual property, particularly those relating to pharmaceutical and biotechnology products, which could make it difficult for us to stop the infringement of our patents or the marketing of competing products in violation of our proprietary rights generally. Proceedings to enforce our patent rights in countries outside of the United States could result in substantial costs and divert our efforts and attention from other aspects of our business, could put our patents at risk of being invalidated or interpreted narrowly and our patent applications at risk of not issuing, and could provoke third parties to assert claims against us. We may not prevail in any lawsuits that we initiate, and the damages or other remedies awarded, if any, may not be commercially meaningful. Accordingly, our efforts to enforce our intellectual property rights around the world may be inadequate to obtain a significant commercial advantage for our products and product candidates from the intellectual property that we develop or license.

The intellectual property that we own or have licensed and related non-patent exclusivity relating to our current and future products is, and may be, limited, which could adversely affect our ability to compete in the market and adversely affect the value of Auryxia.

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The patent rights and related non-patent exclusivity that we own or have licensed relating to Auryxia are limited in ways that may affect our ability to exclude third parties from competing against us. For example, a third party may design around our owned or licensed composition of matter patent claims or market a product for the methods of use not covered by our owned or licensed patents.

Obtaining proof of direct infringement by a competitor for a method of use patent requires us to demonstrate that the competitors make and market a product for the patented use(s). Alternatively, we can prove that our competitors induce or contribute to others in engaging in direct infringement. Proving that a competitor contributes to or induces infringement of a patented method by another has additional proof requirements. For example, proving inducement of infringement requires proof of intent by the competitor. If we are required to defend ourselves against claims or to protect our own proprietary rights against others, it could result in substantial costs to us and the distraction of our management. An adverse ruling in any litigation or administrative proceeding could prevent us from marketing and selling Auryxia, increase the risk that a generic or other similar version of Auryxia could enter the market to compete with Auryxia, limit our development and commercialization of Auryxia, or otherwise harm our competitive position and result in additional significant costs.

Moreover, physicians may prescribe a competitive identical product for indications other than the one for which the product has been approved, or “off-label” indications, that are covered by the applicable patents. Although such off-label prescriptions may directly infringe or contribute to or induce infringement of method of use patents, such infringement is difficult to prevent.

In addition, any limitations of our patent protection described above may adversely affect the value of our drug product and may inhibit our ability to obtain a collaboration partner at terms acceptable to us, if at all.

In addition to patent rights in the United States, we may seek non-patent exclusivity for vadadustat and other product candidates under other provisions of the FDCA such as new chemical entity, or NCE, exclusivity, or exclusivity for a new use or new formulation, but there is no guarantee that vadadustat or any other product candidates will receive such exclusivity. The FDCA provides a five-year period of non-patent exclusivity within the United States to the first sponsor to gain approval of an NDA for an NCE. A drug is an NCE if the FDA has not previously approved any other new drug containing the same active moiety, which consists of the molecule(s) or ion(s) responsible for the action of the drug substance (but not including those portions of the molecule that cause it to be a salt or ester or which are not bound to the molecule by covalent or similar bonds). During the exclusivity period, the FDA may not accept for review an ANDA or a 505(b)(2) NDA submitted by another company for another version of such drug where the sponsor does not own or have a legal right of reference to all the data required for approval.

An ANDA that references an NDA product with NCE exclusivity may be submitted after four years if it contains a certification of patent invalidity or non-infringement. The FDCA also provides three years of exclusivity for an NDA, particularly a 505(b)(2) NDA or supplement to an existing NDA, if new clinical investigations, other than bioavailability studies, that were conducted or sponsored by the sponsor are deemed by the FDA to be essential to the approval of the application (for example, for new indications, dosages, or strengths of an existing drug). This three-year exclusivity covers only the conditions associated with the new clinical investigations and does not prohibit the FDA from approving ANDAs for drugs containing the original active agent. The three-year exclusivity period, unlike five-year exclusivity, does not prevent the submission of a competing ANDA or 505(b)(2) NDA. Instead, it only prevents the FDA from granting final approval to such a product until expiration of the exclusivity period. Five-year and three-year exclusivity will not delay the submission (in the case of five-year exclusivity) or the approval (in the case of three-year exclusivity) of a full NDA submitted under section 505(b)(1) of the FDCA; however, a sponsor submitting a full NDA would be required to conduct all of its own studies needed to independently support a finding of safety and effectiveness for the proposed product, or have a full right of reference to all studies not conducted by the sponsor.

In cases where NCE exclusivity has been granted to a new drug product, the 30-month stay triggered by such litigation is extended by the amount of time such that seven years and six months will elapse from the date of approval of the NDA for that product. Without NCE exclusivity, the 30-month stay on FDA final approval of an ANDA runs from the date on which the sponsor of the reference listed drug receives notice of a Paragraph IV certification from the ANDA sponsor.

In addition to NCE, in the United States, the FDA has the authority to grant additional regulatory exclusivity protection for approved drugs where the sponsor conducts specified testing in pediatric or adolescent populations. If granted, this pediatric exclusivity may provide an additional six months which are added to the term of any non-patent exclusivity that has been awarded as well as to the regulatory protection related to the term of a relevant patent, to the extent these protections have not already expired.

We cannot assure you that Auryxia, vadadustat, if approved, or any of our potential future products will obtain such pediatric exclusivity, NCE exclusivity or any other market exclusivity in the United States, EU or any other territory, or that we will be the first to receive the respective regulatory approval for such drugs so as to be eligible for any non-patent exclusivity
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protection. We also cannot assure you that Auryxia, vadadustat, if approved, or any of our potential future products will obtain patent term extension.

The market entry of one or more generic competitors or any third party’s attempt to challenge our intellectual property rights will likely limit Auryxia sales and have an adverse impact on our business and results of operation.

Although the composition and use of Auryxia is currently claimed by 15 issued patents that are listed in the FDA’s Orange Book, we cannot assure you that we will be successful in defending against third parties attempting to invalidate or design around our patents or asserting that our patents are invalid or otherwise unenforceable or not infringed, or in competing against third parties introducing generic equivalents of Auryxia or any of our potential future products. If our Orange Book-listed patents are successfully challenged by a third party and a generic version of Auryxia is approved and launched sooner than we anticipate, revenue from Auryxia could decline significantly, which would have a material adverse effect on our sales, results of operations and financial condition.

We previously received Paragraph IV certification notice letters regarding ANDAs submitted to the FDA requesting approval for generic versions of Auryxia tablets (210 mg ferric iron per tablet). We filed complaints for patent infringement relating to such ANDAs, and subsequently entered into settlement and license agreements with all such ANDA filers that allow such ANDA filers to market a generic version of Auryxia in the United States beginning on March 20, 2025. It is possible that we may receive Paragraph IV certification notice letters from additional ANDA filers and may not ultimately be successful in an ANDA litigation. For example, in February 2023, we received another Paragraph IV certification notice letter regarding an ANDA submitted to the FDA. Generic competition for Auryxia or any of our potential future products could have a material adverse effect on our sales, results of operations and financial condition.

Litigation and administrative proceedings, including third party claims of intellectual property infringement and opposition/invalidation proceedings against third party patents, may be costly and time consuming and may delay or harm our drug discovery, development and commercialization efforts.

We may be forced to initiate litigation to enforce our contractual and intellectual property rights, or we may be sued by third parties asserting claims based on contract, tort or intellectual property infringement. Competitors may infringe our patents or misappropriate our trade secrets or confidential information. We may not be able to prevent infringement of our patents or misappropriation of our trade secrets or confidential information, particularly in countries where the laws may not protect those rights as fully as in the United States. In addition, third parties may have or may obtain patents in the future and claim that our products or other technologies infringe their patents. If we are required to defend against suits brought by third parties, or if we sue third parties to protect our rights, we may be required to pay substantial litigation costs, and our management’s attention may be diverted from operating our business. In addition, any legal action against our licensor, licensees or us that seeks damages or an injunction of commercial activities relating to Auryxia, vadadustat or any other product candidates or other technologies, including those that may be in-licensed or acquired, could subject us to monetary liability, a temporary or permanent injunction preventing the development, marketing and sale of such products or such technologies, and/or require our licensor, licensees or us to obtain a license to continue to develop, market or sell such products or other technologies. In addition, in an infringement proceeding, a court may decide that a patent of ours is not valid or is unenforceable, or may refuse to stop the other party from using the technology at issue on the grounds that our patents do not cover the technology in question. We cannot predict whether our licensor, licensees or we would prevail in any of these types of actions or that any required license would be made available on commercially acceptable terms, if at all.

Our commercial success depends in part on our avoiding infringement of the patents and proprietary rights of third parties. However, there may be patents of third parties of which we are currently unaware with claims to compounds, materials, formulations, methods of manufacture or methods for treatment related to the use or manufacture of our product candidates. Also, because patent applications can take many years to issue, there may be currently pending patent applications which may later result in issued patents that our product candidates may infringe. The pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries are characterized by extensive litigation over patent and other intellectual property rights. We have in the past and may in the future become a party to, or be threatened with, future adversarial litigation or other proceedings regarding intellectual property rights with respect to our product and product candidates. As the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries expand and more patents are issued, the risk increases that our drug candidates may give rise to claims of infringement of the patent rights of others.

While our product candidates are in preclinical studies and clinical trials, we believe that the use of our product candidates in these preclinical studies and clinical trials in the United States falls within the scope of the exemptions provided by 35 U.S.C. Section 271(e), which provides that it shall not be an act of infringement to make, use, offer to sell, or sell within the United States or import into the United States a patented invention solely for uses reasonably related to the development and submission of information to the FDA. There is an increased possibility of a patent infringement claim against us with respect to commercial products. Our portfolio includes one commercial product, Auryxia. We received the CRL from the FDA regarding our NDA for vadadustat in March 2022, and, if in the future vadadustat is approved, vadadustat could be
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commercialized. We attempt to ensure that our products and product candidates and the methods we employ to manufacture them, as well as the methods for their use which we intend to promote, do not infringe other parties’ patents and other proprietary rights. There can be no assurance they do not, however, and competitors or other parties may assert that we infringe their proprietary rights in any event.

FibroGen has filed patent applications in the United States and other countries directed to purportedly new methods of using previously known heterocyclic carboxamide compounds for purposes of treating or affecting specified conditions, and some of these applications have since issued as patents. To the extent any such patents issue or have been issued, we may initiate opposition or other legal proceedings with respect to such patents. We discuss the status of the opposition and/or invalidation proceedings against certain FibroGen patents in Part I, Item 3. Legal Proceedings of our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2022.

Third parties, including FibroGen, may in the future claim that our product and product candidates and other technologies infringe upon their patents and may challenge our ability to commercialize Auryxia and vadadustat, if approved. Parties making claims against us or our licensees may seek and obtain injunctive or other equitable relief, which could effectively block our or their ability to continue to commercialize Auryxia or further develop and commercialize vadadustat or any other product candidates, including those that may be in-licensed or acquired. If any third party patents were held by a court of competent jurisdiction to cover the manufacturing process of any of our products or product candidates, any molecules formed during the manufacturing process or any final product itself, the holders of any such patents may be able to block our ability to commercialize such product or product candidate unless we obtained a license under the applicable patents, or until such patents expire or they are finally determined to be held invalid or unenforceable. Similarly, if any third party patent were held by a court of competent jurisdiction to cover aspects of our formulations, processes for manufacture or our intended methods of use, the holders of any such patent may be able to block or impair our ability to develop and commercialize the applicable product candidate unless we obtained a license or until such patent expires or is finally determined to be held invalid or unenforceable. We may also elect to enter into a license in order to settle litigation or in order to resolve disputes prior to litigation. Furthermore, even in the absence of litigation, we may need to obtain licenses from third parties to advance our research or allow commercialization of our products or product candidates. Should a license to a third party patent become necessary, we cannot predict whether we would be able to obtain a license or, if a license were available, whether it would be available on commercially reasonable terms. If such a license is necessary and a license under the applicable patent is unavailable on commercially reasonable terms, or at all, our ability to commercialize our product or product candidate may be impaired or delayed, which could in turn significantly harm our business.

Further, defense of infringement claims, regardless of their merit, would involve substantial litigation expense and would be a substantial diversion of employee resources from our business. In the event of a successful claim of infringement against us, we may have to pay substantial damages, including treble damages and attorneys’ fees for willful infringement, pay royalties or redesign our products, which may be impossible or require substantial time and monetary expenditure.

In addition, there may be a challenge or dispute regarding inventorship or ownership of patents or applications currently identified as being owned by or licensed to us. Defense of these claims, regardless of their merit, would involve substantial litigation expense and would be a substantial diversion of employee resources from our business. Interference proceedings provoked by third parties or brought by the USPTO may be necessary to determine the priority of inventions with respect to our patents or patent applications.

Various administrative proceedings are also available for challenging patents, including interference, reexamination, inter partes review, and post-grant review proceedings before the USPTO or oppositions and other comparable proceedings in foreign jurisdictions. Competitors may initiate an administrative proceeding challenging our issued patents or pending patent applications, which can be expensive and time-consuming to defend. An adverse result in any current or future defense proceedings could put one or more of our patents at risk of being invalidated, held unenforceable, or interpreted narrowly and held not infringed and could put our patent applications at risk of not issuing. In addition, an unfavorable outcome in any current or future proceeding in which we are challenging third party patents could require us to cease using the patented technology or to attempt to license rights to it from the prevailing party. Our business could be harmed if the prevailing party does not offer us a license on commercially reasonable terms or at all. Even if we are successful, participation in interference or other administrative proceedings before the USPTO or a foreign patent office may result in substantial costs and distract our management and other employees.

We are currently involved in opposition and invalidation proceedings in the European Patent Office, Intellectual Property High Court of Japan, and the Patents Court of the UK. These proceedings may be ongoing for a number of years and may involve substantial expense and diversion of employee resources from our business. In addition, we may become involved in additional opposition proceedings or other legal or administrative proceedings in the future. For more information, see the other risk factors under “Risks Related to our Intellectual Property”.

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Furthermore, because of the substantial amount of discovery required in connection with intellectual property litigation and some administrative proceedings, there is a risk that some of our confidential information could be compromised by disclosure during discovery. In addition, there could be public announcements of the results of hearings, motions or other interim proceedings or developments. If securities analysts or investors perceive these results to be negative, it could have a substantial adverse effect on the price of our common stock.

We may be subject to claims that our employees, consultants or independent contractors have wrongfully used or disclosed confidential information of third parties.

We have received confidential and proprietary information from potential collaborators, prospective licensees and other third parties. In addition, we employ individuals who were previously employed at other biotechnology or pharmaceutical companies. We may be subject to claims that we or our employees, consultants or independent contractors have inadvertently or otherwise used or disclosed confidential information of these third parties or our employees’ former employers. We may also be subject to claims that former employees, collaborators or other third parties have an ownership interest in our patents or other intellectual property. We may be subject to ownership disputes in the future arising, for example, from conflicting obligations of consultants or others who are involved in developing our product candidates. Litigation may be necessary to defend against these claims. If we fail in defending any such claims, in addition to paying monetary damages, we may lose valuable intellectual property rights, such as exclusive ownership of, or right to use, valuable intellectual property. Such an outcome could have a material adverse effect on our business. Even if we are successful in defending against these claims, litigation could result in substantial cost and be a distraction to our management and employees.

Risks Related to our Business and Managing Growth

If we fail to attract, retain and motivate senior management and qualified personnel, we may be unable to successfully develop, obtain and/or maintain marketing approval of and commercialize vadadustat or commercialize Auryxia.

Recruiting and retaining qualified personnel is critical to our success. We are also highly dependent on our executives, certain members of our senior management and certain members of our commercial organization. The loss of the services of our executives, senior managers or other employees could impede the achievement of our research, development, regulatory and commercialization objectives and seriously harm our ability to successfully implement our business strategy. Specifically, following receipt of the CRL, in April and May 2022, we implemented a reduction of our workforce by approximately 42% across all areas of our company (47% inclusive of the closing of the majority of open positions), including several members of management. In November 2022, we also implemented a reduction of our workforce, by approximately 14% consisting of individuals within our commercial organization as a result of our decision to shift to a strategic account management focused model for our commercial efforts. In addition, uncertainty related to the timing and outcome of regulatory decisions, could increase attrition. Losing members of management and other key personnel subjects us to a number of risks, including the failure to coordinate responsibilities and tasks, the necessity to create new management systems and processes, the impact on corporate culture, and the retention of historical knowledge.

Furthermore, replacing executives, senior managers and other key employees may be difficult and may take an extended period of time because of the limited number of individuals in our industry with the breadth of skills and experience required to successfully develop, obtain and/or maintain marketing approval of and commercialize Auryxia, vadadustat and other product candidates. Our future financial performance and our ability to develop, obtain and/or maintain marketing approval of and commercialize Auryxia and vadadustat and to compete effectively will depend, in part, on our ability to manage any future growth effectively. To that end, we must be able to hire, train, integrate, and retain additional qualified personnel with sufficient experience. We may be unable to hire, train, retain or motivate these personnel on acceptable terms given the intense competition among numerous biopharmaceutical companies for similar personnel, particularly in our geographic region.

We also experience competition for the hiring of personnel from universities and research institutions. In addition, we rely on contractors, consultants and advisors, including scientific and clinical advisors, to assist us in formulating and executing our research and development and commercialization strategy. Our contractors, consultants and advisors may become employed by companies other than ours and may have commitments with other entities that may limit their availability to us. If additional members of management or other personnel leave, or we are unable to continue to attract and retain high quality personnel, our ability to grow and pursue our business strategy will be limited.

Our cost savings plan and the associated workforce reductions implemented in April, May and November 2022 may not result in anticipated savings, could result in total costs and expenses that are greater than expected and could disrupt our business.

Following receipt of the CRL, in April and May 2022, we implemented a reduction in workforce by approximately 42% across all areas of our company (47% inclusive of the closing of the majority of open positions), including several members of
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management. In November 2022, we also implemented a reduction of our workforce, by approximately 14% consisting of individuals within our commercial organization. The reductions in workforce reflect our strategic pillars to drive Auryxia revenue while also continuing to decrease operating costs. We may not realize, in full or in part, the anticipated benefits, savings and improvements in our cost structure from our restructuring efforts due to unforeseen difficulties, delays or unexpected costs. We recorded a restructuring charge of approximately $15.9 million in the aggregate primarily related to contractual termination benefits including severance, non-cash stock-based compensation expense, healthcare and related benefits in the year ended December 31, 2022. If we are unable to realize the expected operational efficiencies and cost savings from the restructuring, our operating results and financial condition would be adversely affected. We also cannot guarantee that we will not have to undertake additional workforce reductions or restructuring activities in the future, including as a result of the FDA's decision related to our appeal of the CRL for vadadustat. Furthermore, our cost savings plan may be disruptive to our operations, including our commercialization of Auryxia, which could affect our ability to generate product revenue. In addition, our workforce reductions could yield unanticipated consequences, such as attrition beyond planned staff reductions, or disruptions in our day-to-day operations. Our workforce reductions could also harm our ability to attract and retain qualified management, scientific, clinical, manufacturing and sales and marketing personnel who are critical to our business. Any failure to attract or retain qualified personnel could prevent us from successfully commercializing Auryxia and from successfully developing and commercializing our product candidates in the future, including vadadustat, if approved. If we are ultimately successful in obtaining approval of vadadustat in the United States, we will need to hire additional employees to support the commercialization of vadadustat in the United States, and if we are unsuccessful or delayed in doing so, the potential launch of vadadustat could be delayed.

We may encounter difficulties in managing our growth, including with respect to our employee base, and managing our operations successfully.

In our day-to-day operations, we may encounter difficulties in managing the size of our operations as well as challenges associated with managing our business. We have strategic collaborations for the commercialization of Riona and the development and commercialization of vadadustat, which is now being marketed under the trade name VafseoTM by our collaboration partner, MTPC, in Japan. Additionally, in the United States, we have a strategic relationship with CSL Vifor related to the commercialization of vadadustat, if approved. As our operations continue, we expect that we will need to manage our current relationships and enter into new relationships, especially in light of the termination of our collaboration agreements with Otsuka, with various strategic collaborators, consultants, vendors, suppliers and other third parties. These relationships are complex and create numerous risks as we deal with issues that arise.

Our future financial performance and our ability to commercialize Auryxia and vadadustat, if and where approved, and to compete effectively will depend, in part, on our ability to manage any future growth effectively. This future growth will impose significant added responsibilities on the business and members of management. To manage any future growth, we must continue to implement and improve our managerial, operational and financial systems, procedures and processes. We may not be able to implement these improvements in an efficient or timely manner and may discover deficiencies in existing systems, procedures and processes. Moreover, the systems, procedures and processes currently in place or to be implemented may not be adequate for any such growth. Any expansion of our operations may lead to significant costs and may divert our management and business development resources. Any inability to manage growth could delay the execution of our business plans or disrupt our operations. We may not be able to accomplish these tasks, and our failure to accomplish any of them could prevent us from successfully managing and, as applicable, growing our company.

In addition, we may need to further adjust the size of our workforce as a result of changes to our expectations for our business, which can result in management being required to divert a disproportionate amount of its attention away from our day-to-day activities and devote a substantial amount of time to managing these growth-related activities and related expenses. Further, we rely on independent third parties to provide certain services to us. We structure our relationships with these outside service providers in a manner that we believe results in an independent contractor relationship, not an employee relationship. If any of our service providers are later legally deemed to be employees, we could be subject to employment and tax withholding liabilities and other additional costs as well as other multiple damages and attorneys’ fees.

We have identified a material weakness in our internal control over financial reporting as of December 31, 2022 relating to our product return reserves that resulted in a revision of our financial statements for the years ended December 31, 2022, 2021 and 2020. If we are not able to remediate this material weakness, or if we experience additional material weaknesses or other deficiencies in our internal control over financial reporting in the future or otherwise fail to maintain an effective system of internal control over financial reporting, we may not be able to accurately report our financial results or prevent fraud.

Effective internal control over financial reporting is necessary for us to provide reliable financial reports and, together with adequate disclosure controls and procedures, is designed to prevent fraud. Any failure to maintain or implement required new or improved controls, or difficulties encountered in implementation could cause us to fail to meet our reporting obligations. In
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addition, any testing by us, as and when required, conducted in connection with Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, or Section 404, or any testing by our independent registered public accounting firm may reveal deficiencies in our internal control over financial reporting that are deemed to be material weaknesses or that may require prospective or retroactive changes to our financial statements or identify other areas for further attention or improvement.
During the quarter ended June 30, 2023 we identified a material weakness in our internal control over financial reporting that existed as of December 31, 2022 and continues to be unremediated through the date of this filing. Specifically, we did not appropriately design the controls for accrual of product returns to capture the return lag based on our customer returns policy for Auryxia, or the Product Return Reserve Material Weakness. This resulted in, among other things, errors to the following as of and for the years ended December 31, 2022, 2021 and 2020:
an understatement of accrued expenses and other current liabilities by $5.1 million, $4.6 million and $2.0 million, respectively;
an understatement of other non-current liabilities by $3.1 million, $3.4 million and $4.0 million, respectively;
an overstatement of revenue by $0.1 million, $1.9 million and $0.6 million, respectively;
an understatement of accounts receivable by $1.1 million, $0.7 million and $0.7 million, respectively; and
an understatement of goodwill by $2.6 million.

For further discussion of the material weakness, see Part II, Item 9A, “Controls and Procedures.”

We have taken certain steps and plan to take additional steps to remediate this material weakness, including (i) implementing and documenting a new methodology and new controls to help to ensure the completeness and accuracy of our product return reserves, (ii) engaging additional third party subject matter experts and accounting personnel with U.S. GAAP experience specific to product returns accounting and (iii) establishing effective monitoring and oversight controls to help to ensure the completeness and accuracy of our accrued product returns included in our financial statements and related disclosures. However, we cannot provide assurance that we will be able to correct this material weakness in a timely manner or that our remediation efforts will be adequate to allow us to conclude that our internal control over financial reporting will be effective in the future. Even if this material weakness is remediated in the future, we could identify additional material weaknesses or deficiencies in our internal control over financial reporting that could require correction or remediation. In addition, our conclusion that we have a material weakness could give rise to increased scrutiny, review, audit and investigation over our accounting controls and procedures, which could then lead to additional areas of deficiency or errors in our financial statements.

We will need to continue to dedicate internal resources, engage outside consultants and maintain a detailed work plan to assess and document the adequacy of internal control over financial reporting, continue steps to remediate the material weakness relating to our reserve for Auryxia product returns described above and any future control deficiencies or material weaknesses, and improve control processes as appropriate, validate through testing that controls are functioning as documented and maintain a continuous reporting and improvement process for internal control over financial reporting. If we are not able to correct material weaknesses or deficiencies in internal controls in a timely manner or otherwise comply with the requirements of Section 404 in a timely manner, our ability to record, process, summarize and report financial information accurately and within applicable time periods may be adversely affected, and we could be subject to sanctions or investigations by the SEC, the Nasdaq Stock Market or other regulatory authorities as well as stockholder litigation which, even if resolved in our favor, would require additional financial and management resources and could adversely affect the market price of our common stock. Furthermore, if we cannot provide reliable financial reports or prevent fraud, our business and results of operations could be harmed. Inferior internal controls could also cause investors to lose confidence in our reported financial information, which could have a negative effect on the trading price of our common stock and could also effect our ability to raise capital to fund future business initiatives.

Security breaches and unauthorized use of our information technology systems and information, or the information technology systems or information in the possession of our collaborators and other third parties, could damage the integrity of our clinical trials, impact our regulatory filings, compromise our ability to protect our intellectual property, and subject us to regulatory actions that could result in significant fines or other penalties.

We, our collaborators, contractors and other third parties rely significantly upon information technology, and any failure, inadequacy, interruption or security lapse of that technology, including any cybersecurity incidents, could harm our ability to operate our business effectively. In addition, we and our collaborators, contractors and other third parties rely on information technology networks and systems, including the Internet, to process, transmit and store clinical trial data, patient information, and other electronic information, and manage or support a variety of business processes, including operational and financial transactions and records, personal identifying information, payroll data and workforce scheduling information. We purchase most of our information technology from vendors, on whom our systems depend. We rely on commercially available systems, software, tools and monitoring to provide security for the processing, transmission and storage of company and customer information.

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In the ordinary course of our business, we and our third party contractors maintain personal and other sensitive data on our and their respective networks, including our intellectual property and proprietary or confidential business information relating to our business and that of our clinical trial patients and business partners. In particular, we rely on CROs and other third parties to store and manage information from our clinical trials. We also rely on third parties to manage patient information for Auryxia. The secure maintenance of this sensitive information is critical to our business and reputation.

Companies and other entities and individuals have been increasingly subject to a wide variety of security incidents, cyber-attacks and other attempts to gain unauthorized access to systems and information. These threats can come from a variety of sources, ranging in sophistication from individual hackers to state-sponsored attacks. Cyber threats may be broadly targeted, or they may be custom-crafted against our information systems or those of our vendors or third party service providers. A security breach, cyberattack or unauthorized access of our clinical data or other data could damage the integrity of our clinical trials, impact our regulatory filings, cause significant risk to our business, compromise our ability to protect our intellectual property, and subject us to regulatory actions, including under the GDPR and CCPA discussed elsewhere in these risk factors and the privacy or security rules under federal, state, or other local laws outside of the United States protecting confidential or personal information, that could be expensive to defend and could result in significant fines or other penalties. Cyberattacks can include malware, computer viruses, hacking or other unauthorized access or other significant compromise of our computer, communications and related systems. Although we take steps to manage and avoid these risks and to be prepared to respond to attacks, our preventive and any remedial actions may not be successful and no such measures can eliminate the possibility of the systems’ improper functioning or the improper access or disclosure of confidential or personally identifiable information such as in the event of cyberattacks. Security breaches, whether through physical or electronic break-ins, computer viruses, ransomware, impersonation of authorized users, attacks by hackers or other means, can create system disruptions or shutdowns or the unauthorized disclosure of confidential information.

Although we believe our collaborators, vendors and service providers, such as our CROs, take steps to manage and avoid information security risks and respond to attacks, we may be adversely affected by attacks against our collaborators, vendors or service providers, and we may not have adequate contractual remedies against such collaborators, vendors and service providers to remedy any harm to our business caused by such event. Additionally, outside parties may attempt to fraudulently induce employees, collaborators, or other contractors to disclose sensitive information or take other actions, including making fraudulent payments or downloading malware, by using “spoofing” and “phishing” emails or other types of attacks. Our employees may be targeted by such fraudulent activities. Outside parties may also subject us to distributed denial of services attacks or introduce viruses or other malware through “trojan horse” programs to our users’ computers in order to gain access to our systems and the data stored therein. Cyber-attacks have become more prevalent and much harder to detect and defend against and, because the techniques used to obtain unauthorized access, disable or degrade service, or sabotage systems change frequently and continuously become more sophisticated, often are not recognized until launched against a target and may be difficult to detect for a long time, we may be unable to anticipate these techniques or to implement adequate preventive or detective measures, and we might not immediately detect such incidents and the damage caused by such incidents.

Such attacks, whether successful or unsuccessful, or other compromises with respect to our information security and the measures we implement to prevent, detect and respond to them, could:

result in our incurring significant costs related to, for example, rebuilding internal systems, defending against litigation, responding to regulatory inquiries or actions, paying damages or fines, or taking other remedial steps with respect to third parties;
lead to public exposure of personal information of participants in our clinical trials, Auryxia patients and others;
damage the integrity of our studies or delay their completion, disrupt our development programs, our business operations and commercialization efforts;
compromise our ability to protect our trade secrets and proprietary information;
damage our reputation and deter business partners from working with us; or
divert the attention of our management and key information technology resources.

Any failure to maintain proper functionality and security of our internal computer and information systems could result in a loss of, or damage to, our data or marketing applications or inappropriate disclosure of confidential or proprietary information, interrupt our operations, damage our reputation, subject us to liability claims or regulatory penalties, under a variety of federal, state or other applicable privacy laws, such as HIPAA, the GDPR, or state data protection laws including the CCPA, harm our competitive position and delay the further development and commercialization of our products and product candidates, or impact our relationships with customers and patients.

Our employees, independent contractors, principal investigators, CROs, CMOs, consultants and vendors may engage in misconduct or other improper activities, including non-compliance with regulatory standards and requirements and insider
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trading. In addition, laws and regulations governing any international operations we have or may have in the future may require us to develop and implement costly compliance programs.

We are exposed to the risk that our employees, independent contractors, principal investigators, CROs, CMOs, consultants and vendors may engage in fraudulent conduct or other illegal activity. Misconduct by these parties could include intentional, reckless and/or negligent conduct or unauthorized activities that violate applicable laws, including the following:

FDA and other healthcare authorities’ regulations, including those laws that require the reporting of true, complete and accurate information to regulatory authorities, and those prohibiting the promotion of unapproved drugs or approved drugs for an unapproved use;
quality standards, including GXP;
federal and state healthcare fraud and abuse laws and regulations and their non-U.S. equivalents;
anti-bribery and anti-corruption laws, such as the FCPA and the UK Bribery Act or country-specific anti-bribery or anti-corruption laws, as well as various import and export laws and regulations;
laws that require the reporting of true and accurate financial information and data; and
U.S. state and federal securities laws and regulations and their non-U.S. equivalents, including those related to insider trading.

We are seeking regulatory approval for vadadustat with the EMA and countries in the ACCESS Consortium, and we conducted our global clinical trials for vadadustat, and may in the future conduct additional trials, in countries where corruption is prevalent, and violations of any of these laws by our personnel or by any of our vendors or agents, such as our CROs or CMOs, could have a material adverse impact on our clinical trials and our business and could result in criminal or civil fines and sanctions. We are subject to complex laws that govern our international business practices. These laws include the FCPA, which prohibits U.S. companies and their intermediaries, such as CROs or CMOs, from making improper payments to foreign government officials for the purpose of obtaining or keeping business or obtaining any kind of advantage for the company. The FCPA also requires companies to keep accurate books and records and maintain adequate accounting controls. A number of past and recent FCPA investigations by the Department of Justice and the SEC have focused on the life sciences sector.

Compliance with the FCPA is expensive and difficult, particularly in countries in which corruption is a recognized problem. Some of the countries in which we have conducted clinical trials and in which we have CMOs have a history of corruption, which increases our risks of FCPA violations. In addition, the FCPA presents unique challenges in the pharmaceutical industry because in many countries’ hospitals are operated by the government, and doctors and other hospital employees are considered foreign government officials. Certain payments made by pharmaceutical companies, or on their behalf by CROs, 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.

Additionally, the UK Bribery Act applies to our global activities and prohibits bribery of private individuals as well as public officials. The UK Bribery Act prohibits both the offering and accepting of a bribe and imposes strict liability on companies for failing to prevent bribery, unless the company can show that it had “adequate procedures” in place to prevent bribery. There are also local anti-bribery and anti-corruption laws in countries where we have conducted clinical trials, and many of these also carry the risk of significant financial or criminal penalties.

We are also subject to trade control regulations and trade sanction laws that restrict the movement of certain goods, currency, products, materials, services and technology to, and certain operations in, various countries or with certain persons. Our ability to transfer commercial and clinical product and other clinical trial supplies, and for our employees, independent contractors, principal investigators, CROs, CMOs, consultants and vendors ability to travel, between certain countries is subject to maintaining required licenses and complying with these laws and regulations.

Employee misconduct could also involve the improper use of information obtained in the course of clinical trials, which could result in regulatory sanctions and serious harm to our reputation. This could include violations of HIPAA, other U.S. federal and state laws, and requirements of non-U.S. jurisdictions, including the GDPR. We are also exposed to risks in connection with any insider trading violations by employees or others affiliated with us.

The internal controls, policies and procedures, and training and compliance programs we have implemented to deter prohibited practices may not be effective in preventing our employees, contractors, consultants, agents or other representatives from violating or circumventing such internal policies or violating applicable laws and regulations. The failure to comply with laws governing international business practices may impact any future clinical trials, result in substantial civil or criminal penalties for us and any such individuals, including imprisonment, suspension or debarment from government contracting, withdrawal of our products, if approved, from the market, or being delisted from The Nasdaq Capital Market. In addition, we may incur
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significant costs in implementing sufficient systems, controls and processes to ensure compliance with the aforementioned laws. The laws and regulations referenced above may restrict or prohibit a wide range of pricing, discounting, marketing and promotion, sales commission, customer incentive programs and other business arrangements that could adversely affect our business.

Additionally, it is not always possible to identify and deter misconduct by employees and third parties, and the precautions we take to detect and prevent this activity may not be effective in controlling known or unknown risks or preventing losses or in protecting us from governmental investigations or other actions or lawsuits stemming from a failure to be in compliance with such laws or regulations. If any such actions are instituted against us, and we are not successful in defending ourselves or asserting our rights, or if any such action is instituted against our employees, consultants, independent contractors, CROs, CMOs, vendors or principal investigators, those actions could have a significant impact on our business, including the imposition of civil, criminal and administrative penalties, damages, monetary fines, possible exclusion from participation in Medicare, Medicaid and other federal healthcare programs, contractual damages, reputational harm, diminished profits and future earnings, curtailment of our operations, disclosure of our confidential information and imprisonment, any of which could adversely affect our ability to operate our business and our results of operations.

Our financial statements include goodwill and an intangible asset as a result of the Merger. The intangible asset has become impaired and could become further impaired in the future under certain conditions. In addition, goodwill could become impaired in the future under certain conditions. Any potential future impairment of goodwill or intangible assets may significantly impact our results of operations and financial condition.

As of December 31, 2022, we had approximately $131.1 million in the aggregate of goodwill and a definite lived intangible asset from the Merger. In accordance with generally accepted accounting principles, or GAAP, we are required annually, or more frequently upon certain indicators of impairment, to review our estimates and assumptions underlying the fair value of our goodwill and our definite lived intangible asset when indicators of impairment are present. Events giving rise to impairment of goodwill or intangible asset are an inherent risk in the pharmaceutical industry and often cannot be predicted.

Conditions that could indicate impairment and necessitate such a review include, but are not limited to, Auryxia’s commercial performance, our inability to execute on our strategic initiatives, the deterioration of our market capitalization such that it is significantly below our net book value, a significant adverse change in legal factors, unexpected adverse business conditions, and an adverse action or assessment by a regulator. To the extent we conclude that goodwill and/or definite lived intangible asset have become impaired, we may be required to incur material write-offs relating to such impairment and any such write-offs could have a material impact on our future operating results and financial position. For example, in the second quarter of 2020, in connection with a routine business review, we reduced our short-term and long-term Auryxia revenue forecast. This reduction was primarily driven by the impact of the September 2018 CMS decision that Auryxia would no longer be covered by Medicare for the treatment of the IDA Indication. While this decision does not impact CMS coverage for the use of Auryxia for the control of serum phosphorus levels in adult patients with CKD on dialysis, or the Hyperphosphatemia Indication, it requires all Auryxia prescriptions for Medicare patients to undergo a prior authorization to ensure their use of Auryxia for the Hyperphosphatemia Indication. As a result, we recorded an impairment charge of $114.4 million during the three months ended June 30, 2020, which was entirely allocated to our only intangible asset, the developed product rights for Auryxia, and made a corresponding adjustment to the estimated useful life of the developed product rights for Auryxia, which we again adjusted during the three months ended December 31, 2020. The estimates, judgments and assumptions used in our impairment testing, and the results of our testing, are discussed in Note 10 to our consolidated financial statements in Part II, Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data of this Annual Report on Form 10-K/A. If these estimates, judgments and assumptions change in the future, including if the Auryxia asset group does not meet its current forecasted projections, additional impairment charges related to goodwill or our intangible asset could be recorded in the future and additional corresponding adjustments may need to be made to the estimated useful life of the developed product rights for Auryxia, which could materially impact our financial position, certain of our material agreements, and our future operating results.

If product liability lawsuits are brought against us, we may incur substantial liabilities and may be required to limit commercialization of Auryxia or vadadustat, if approved.

We face an inherent risk of product liability as a result of the clinical and commercial use of Auryxia and vadadustat. For example, we may be sued if Auryxia or vadadustat allegedly causes injury or is found to be otherwise unsuitable during clinical trials, manufacturing, marketing or sale. Any such product liability claims may include allegations of defects in manufacturing, defects in design, a failure to warn of dangers inherent in the product or product candidate, negligence, strict liability and breach of warranties. Claims could also be asserted under state consumer protection acts. If we cannot successfully defend ourselves against product liability claims, we may incur substantial liabilities or be required to limit commercialization of Auryxia or vadadustat, if approved. Even a successful defense would require significant financial and management resources. Regardless of the merits or eventual outcome, product liability claims may result in:

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decreased demand for Auryxia or vadadustat, if approved;
injury to our reputation and significant negative media attention;
withdrawal of clinical trial participants;
delay or termination of clinical trials;
our inability to continue to develop Auryxia or vadadustat;
significant costs to defend the related litigation;
a diversion of management’s time and our resources;
substantial monetary awards to study subjects or patients;
product recalls or withdrawals, or labeling, marketing or promotional restrictions;
decreased demand for Auryxia or vadadustat, if approved;
loss of revenue;
the inability to commercialize Auryxia or vadadustat, if approved; and
a decline in our stock price.

Failure to obtain and retain sufficient product liability insurance at an acceptable cost to protect against potential product liability claims could prevent or inhibit the commercialization of products we develop. We currently carry product liability insurance that we believe is appropriate for our company. Although we maintain product liability insurance, any claim that may be brought against us could result in a court judgment or settlement in an amount that is not covered, in whole or in part, by our insurance or that is in excess of the limits of our insurance coverage. Our insurance policies also have various exclusions, and we may be subject to a product liability claim for which we have insufficient or no coverage. If we have to pay any amounts awarded by a court or negotiated in a settlement that exceed our coverage limitations or that are not covered by our insurance, we may not have, or be able to obtain, sufficient capital to pay such amounts. In addition, insurance coverage is becoming increasingly expensive, and we may not be able to maintain insurance coverage at a reasonable cost. We also may not be able to obtain additional insurance coverage that will be adequate to cover additional product liability risks that may arise. Consequently, a product liability claim may result in losses that could be material to our business.

We will continue to incur increased costs as a result of operating as a public company, and our management will be required to devote substantial time to compliance initiatives and corporate governance practices.

As a public company, we operate in a demanding regulatory environment, and we have and will continue to incur significant legal, accounting and other expenses. The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, or the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, the listing requirements of The Nasdaq Capital Market and other applicable securities rules and regulations impose various requirements on public companies, including establishment and maintenance of effective disclosure and financial controls and certain corporate governance practices. In particular, our compliance with Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act has required and will continue to require that we incur substantial accounting-related expenses and expend significant management efforts. Our testing, or the testing by our independent registered public accounting firm, may reveal deficiencies in our internal controls that we would be required to remediate in a timely manner. If we are not able to comply with the requirements of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, we could be subject to sanctions or investigations by the SEC, the Nasdaq Capital Market or other regulatory authorities, which would require additional financial and management resources and could adversely affect the market price of our securities. Furthermore, if we cannot provide reliable financial reports or prevent fraud, including as a result of remote working by our employees, our business and results of operations would likely be materially and adversely affected.

We cannot predict or estimate the amount of additional costs we may incur to continue to operate as a public company, nor can we predict the timing of such costs. These rules and regulations are often subject to varying interpretations, in many cases due to their lack of specificity and, as a result, their application in practice may evolve over time as new guidance is provided by regulatory and governing bodies, which could result in continuing uncertainty regarding compliance matters and higher costs necessitated by ongoing revisions to disclosure and governance practices.

Claims for indemnification by our directors and officers may reduce our available funds to satisfy successful third-party claims against us and may reduce the amount of money available to us.

Our Ninth Amended and Restated Certificate of Incorporation, as amended, or Charter, and our Amended and Restated By-Laws, or Bylaws, as amended to date, contain provisions that eliminate, to the maximum extent permitted by the General Corporation Law of the State of Delaware, or DGCL, the personal liability of our directors and executive officers for monetary damages for breach of their fiduciary duties as a director or officer. Our Charter and our Bylaws also provide that we will indemnify our directors and executive officers and may indemnify our employees and other agents to the fullest extent permitted by the DGCL.

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In addition, as permitted by Section 145 of the DGCL our Bylaws and our indemnification agreements that we have entered into with our directors and executive officers provide that:

We will indemnify our directors and officers, as defined in our Bylaws, for serving us in those capacities or for serving other related business enterprises at our request, to the fullest extent permitted by Delaware law. Delaware law provides that a corporation may indemnify such person if such person acted in good faith and in a manner such person reasonably believed to be in or not opposed to the best interests of Akebia and, with respect to any criminal proceeding, had no reasonable cause to believe such person’s conduct was unlawful.
We may, in our discretion, indemnify employees and agents in those circumstances where indemnification is permitted by applicable law.
We are required to advance expenses, as incurred, to our directors and officers in connection with defending a proceeding, except that such directors or officers shall undertake to repay such advances if it is ultimately determined that such person is not entitled to indemnification.
The rights conferred in our Bylaws are not exclusive, and we are authorized to enter into indemnification agreements with our directors, officers, employees and agents and to obtain insurance to indemnify such persons.

Any claims for indemnification made by our directors or officers could impact our cash resources and our ability to fund the business.

Our ability to use net operating losses to offset future taxable income may be subject to certain limitations.

Under Section 382 of the Internal Revenue Code, or Section 382, a corporation that undergoes an “ownership change” is subject to limitations on its ability to utilize its pre-change net operating losses, or NOLs, to offset future taxable income. On December 12, 2018, we completed the Merger, which we believe has resulted in an ownership change under Section 382. In addition, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, including amendments made by the CARES Act, includes changes to U.S. federal tax rates and the rules governing net operating loss carryforwards that may significantly impact our ability to utilize our net operating losses to fully offset taxable income in the future. Future changes in our stock ownership, many of which are outside of our control, could result in an additional ownership change under Section 382. As a result, if we generate taxable income, our ability to use our pre-change NOL carryforwards to offset federal taxable income may be subject to limitations, which could potentially result in increased future tax liability to us. At the state level, state net operating losses generated in one state cannot be used to offset income generated in another state and there may be periods during which the use of NOL carryforwards is suspended or otherwise limited, which could accelerate or permanently increase state taxes owed.

Furthermore, our ability to utilize our NOLs is conditioned upon our attaining profitability and generating U.S. taxable income. As described above under “—Risks Related to our Financial Position, Need for Additional Capital and Growth Strategy,” we have incurred significant net losses since our inception and anticipate that we will continue to incur significant losses for the foreseeable future; thus, we do not know whether or when we will generate the U.S. taxable income necessary to utilize our NOLs.

Our Charter designates the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware as the sole and exclusive forum for certain types of actions and proceedings that may be initiated by our stockholders, which could limit our stockholders’ ability to obtain a favorable judicial forum for disputes with us or our directors, officers or employees.

Our Charter provides that, subject to limited exceptions, the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware will be the sole and exclusive forum for (i) any derivative action or proceeding brought on our behalf, (ii) any action asserting a claim of breach of a fiduciary duty owed by any of our directors, officers or other employees to us or our stockholders, (iii) any action asserting a claim against us arising pursuant to any provision of the DGCL our Charter or our Bylaws, or (iv) any other action asserting a claim against us, our directors, officers or other employees that is governed by the internal affairs doctrine. Under our Charter, this exclusive forum provision will not apply to claims that are vested in the exclusive jurisdiction of a court or forum other than the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware, or for which the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware does not have subject matter jurisdiction. For instance, the provision would not apply to actions arising under federal securities laws, including suits brought to enforce any liability or duty created by the Exchange Act, or the rules and regulations thereunder. Any person or entity purchasing or otherwise acquiring any interest in shares of our capital stock shall be deemed to have notice of and to have consented to the provisions of our Charter described above. This choice of forum provision may limit a stockholder’s ability to bring a claim in a judicial forum that it finds favorable for disputes with us or our directors, officers or other employees, which may discourage such lawsuits against us and our directors, officers and employees. Alternatively, if a court were to find these provisions of our Charter inapplicable to, or unenforceable with respect to, one or more of the specified types of actions or proceedings, we may incur additional costs associated with resolving such matters in other jurisdictions, which could adversely affect our business and financial condition.
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We are currently subject to legal proceedings that could result in substantial costs and divert management's attention, and we could be subject to additional legal proceedings.

We are currently subject to legal proceedings, including those described in Part I, Item 3. Legal Proceedings in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2022, and additional claims may arise in the future. In addition, securities class action and derivative lawsuits and other legal proceedings are often brought against companies for any of the risks described in this Annual Report on Form 10-K/A following a decline in the market price of their securities. For example, we were party to a putative class action lawsuit in state court filed by purported Keryx stockholders challenging the disclosures made in connection with the Merger, including those that relate to vadadustat’s safety, approvability and commercial viability. Oral argument was held on October 7, 2022, and the Court dismissed the complaint without prejudice on October 17, 2022, giving plaintiffs thirty days to amend their complaint. On November 16, 2022, plaintiffs filed an amended consolidated complaint, asserting the same claims and seeking the same relief as the consolidated complaint. On January 18, 2023, defendants moved to dismiss the amended consolidated complaint in its entirety. Briefing on defendants’ motion to dismiss is scheduled to be completed by April 5, 2023. In connection with any litigation or other legal proceedings, we could incur substantial costs, and such costs and any related settlements or judgments may not be covered by insurance. Monetary damages or any other adverse judgment would have a material adverse effect on our business and financial position. In addition, if other resolution or actions taken as a result of legal proceedings were to restrain our ability to operate or market our products and services, our consolidated financial position, results of operations or cash flows could be materially adversely affected. We could also suffer an adverse impact on our reputation, negative publicity and a diversion of management’s attention and resources, which could have a material adverse effect on our business.

Risks Related to our Common Stock

Our stock price has been and may continue to be volatile, which could result in substantial losses for holders or future purchasers of our common stock and lawsuits against us and our officers and directors.

Our stock price has been and will likely continue to be volatile. The stock market in general and the market for similarly situated biopharmaceutical companies specifically have experienced extreme volatility that has often been unrelated to the operating performance of particular companies. Since our initial public offering in March 2014, the price of our common stock as reported on The Nasdaq Stock Market has ranged from a low of $0.24 on October 24, 2022 to a high of $31.00 on June 20, 2014. The daily closing market price for our common stock varied between a high price of $2.93 on March 9, 2022 and a low price of $0.25 on November 17, 2022 in the twelve-month period ending on December 31, 2022. During that time, the price of our common stock ranged from an intra-day low of $0.24 per share to an intra-day high of $2.93 per share. The market price of shares of our common stock could be subject to wide fluctuations in response to many risk factors listed in this section, including, among others, developments related to and results of our research or clinical trials, developments related to our regulatory submissions and meetings with regulatory authorities, in particular as it relates to vadadustat, commercialization of Auryxia, vadadustat, if and as approved in the U.S. and foreign markets including Europe, and any other product candidates, announcements by us or our competitors of significant transactions or strategic collaborations, negative publicity around Auryxia or vadadustat, regulatory or legal developments in the United States and other countries, developments or disputes concerning our intellectual property, the recruitment or departure of key personnel including as a result of our recent reduction in workforce, actual or anticipated changes in estimates as to financial results, changes in the structure of healthcare payment systems, market conditions in the biopharmaceutical sector and other factors beyond our control. As a result of this volatility, our stockholders may not be able to sell their common stock at or above the price at which they purchased it.

In addition, companies that have experienced volatility in the market price of their stock have frequently been the subject of securities class action and shareholder derivative litigation. See Part I, Item 3. Legal Proceedings of our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2022 for information concerning securities class action initiated against Keryx and certain current and former directors and officers of ours and Keryx’s. In addition, we could be the target of other such litigation in the future. Class action and shareholder derivative lawsuits, whether successful or not, could result in substantial costs, damage or settlement awards and a diversion of our management’s resources and attention from running our business, which could materially harm our reputation, financial condition and results of operations.

The issuance of additional shares of our common stock or the sale of shares of our common stock by any of our directors, officers or significant stockholders will dilute our stockholders’ ownership interest in Akebia and may cause the market price of our common stock to decline.

Most of our outstanding common stock can be traded without restriction at any time. As such, sales of a substantial number of shares of our common stock in the public market could occur at any time. These sales, or the perception in the market that the holders of a large number of shares intend to sell such shares, could reduce the market price of our common stock.

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As of December 31, 2022 and based on the amounts reported in the most recent filings made under Section 13(d) and 13(g) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, or the Exchange Act, Satter Management Co., L.P., or Satter, beneficially owned approximately 8.2% of our outstanding shares of common stock, the Vanguard Group, or Vanguard, beneficially owned approximately 6.1% of our outstanding shares of common stock, and CSL Vifor beneficially owned approximately 4.1% of our outstanding shares of common stock. By selling a large number of shares of common stock, Satter or Vanguard could cause the price of our common stock to decline. The shares beneficially owned by CSL Vifor have not been registered pursuant to the Securities Act and were issued and sold in reliance upon the exemption from registration contained in Section 4(a)(2) of the Securities Act and Rule 506 promulgated thereunder, but if they are registered in the future, those shares would become freely tradable and, if a large portion of such shares are sold, could cause the price of our common stock to decline.

We have a significant number of shares that are subject to outstanding options and restricted stock units, and in the future we may issue additional options, restricted stock units, or other derivative securities convertible into our common stock. The exercise or vesting of any such options, restricted stock units, or other derivative securities, and the subsequent sale of the underlying common stock, could cause a further decline in our stock price. These sales also might make it difficult for us to sell equity securities in the future at a time and at a price that we deem appropriate. Such sales of our common stock could result in higher than average trading volume and may cause the market price for our common stock to decline.

In addition, we currently have on file with the SEC a shelf registration statement, which allows us to offer and sell up to $300 million in registered securities, such as common stock, preferred stock, debt securities, warrants and units, from time to time pursuant to one or more offerings at prices and terms to be determined at the time of sale, including a sales agreement prospectus that covers the offering, issuance and sale by us of up to a maximum aggregate offering price of up to $26 million of our common stock that may be issued and sold from time to time under a sales agreement with Jefferies LLC.

Sales of substantial amounts of shares of our common stock or other securities by our employees or our other stockholders or by us under our shelf registration statement, pursuant to at-the-market offerings or otherwise, could dilute our stockholders, lower the market price of our common stock and impair our ability to raise capital through the sale of equity securities.

Our executive officers, directors and principal stockholders maintain the ability to significantly influence all matters submitted to stockholders for approval.

As of December 31, 2022, our executive officers, directors and principal stockholders, in the aggregate, beneficially owned shares representing a significant percentage of our capital stock. As a result, if these stockholders were to choose to act together, they would be able to significantly influence all matters submitted to our stockholders for approval, as well as our management and affairs. For example, these persons could significantly influence the election of directors and approval of any merger, consolidation or sale of all or substantially all of our assets. This concentration of voting power could delay or prevent an acquisition of our company on terms that other stockholders may desire.

Provisions in our organizational documents and Delaware law may have anti-takeover effects that could discourage an acquisition of us by others, even if an acquisition would be beneficial to our stockholders, and may prevent attempts by our stockholders to replace or remove our current management.

Provisions in our Charter and our Bylaws contain provisions that may have the effect of discouraging, delaying or preventing a change in control of us or changes in our management. These provisions could also limit the price that investors might be willing to pay in the future for shares of our common stock, thereby depressing the market price of our common stock. In addition, because our Board of Directors is responsible for appointing certain members of our management team, these provisions may frustrate or prevent any attempts by our stockholders to replace or remove our current management by making it more difficult for stockholders to replace members of our Board of Directors. Among other things, these provisions:

authorize “blank check” preferred stock, which could be issued by our Board of Directors without stockholder approval and may contain voting, liquidation, dividend and other rights superior to our common stock;
create a classified Board of Directors whose members serve staggered three-year terms;
specify that special meetings of our stockholders can be called only by our Board of Directors pursuant to a resolution adopted by a majority of the total number of directors;
prohibit stockholder action by written consent;
establish an advance notice procedure for stockholder approvals to be brought before an annual meeting of our stockholders, including proposed nominations of persons for election to our Board of Directors;
provide that our directors may be removed only for cause;
provide that vacancies on our Board of Directors may be filled only by a majority of directors then in office, even though less than a quorum;
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require a supermajority vote of 75% of the holders of our capital stock entitled to vote or the majority vote of our Board of Directors to amend our Bylaws; and
require a supermajority vote of 85% of the holders of our capital stock entitled to vote to amend the classification of our Board of Directors and to amend certain other provisions of our Charter.

These provisions, alone or together, could delay or prevent hostile takeovers, changes in control or changes in our management.
In addition, Section 203 of the DGCL prohibits a publicly-held Delaware corporation from engaging in a business combination with an interested stockholder, generally a person which together with its affiliates owns, or within the last three years has owned, 15% of our voting stock, for a period of three years after the date of the transaction in which the person became an interested stockholder, unless the business combination is approved in a prescribed manner.

Because we do not anticipate paying any cash dividends on our capital in the foreseeable future, capital appreciation, if any, will be our stockholders’ sole source of gain.

We have never declared or paid cash dividends on our capital stock and we currently intend to retain all of our future earnings, if any, to finance the development and growth of our business. Any payment of cash dividends in the future would be at the discretion of our Board of Directors and would depend on, among other things, our earnings, financial condition, capital requirements, level of indebtedness, statutory and contractual restrictions applying to the payment of dividends and other considerations that the Board of Directors deems relevant. In addition, the terms of the Loan Agreement preclude us from paying cash dividends and future debt agreements may preclude us from paying cash dividends. As a result, capital appreciation, if any, of our common stock will be our stockholders’ sole source of gain for the foreseeable future.
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PART II
 

Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations
You should read the following discussion and analysis of our financial condition and results of operations together with our consolidated financial statements and related notes appearing elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K/A. Some of the information contained in this discussion and analysis, including information with respect to our plans and strategy for our business, includes forward-looking statements that involve significant risks and uncertainties. As a result of many factors, including those factors set forth in the “Risk Factors” section of this Annual Report on Form 10-K/A, our actual results could differ materially from the results described in or implied by the forward-looking statements contained in the following discussion and analysis. Please also refer to the section under the heading “Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements.”
The Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations set forth below gives effect to the revision of our consolidated financial statements and related notes appearing elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K/A to reflect the impact of errors in the periods impacted. For additional information and a detailed discussion of the revision, refer to Note 1, Revisions of Previously Issued Financial Statements, and Note 3, Summary of Significant Accounting Policies, included in the Notes to Financial Statements section of Part II, Item 8, “Financial Statements and Supplementary Data.”
Business Overview
We are a fully integrated biopharmaceutical company committed to addressing patients’ unmet needs. Since our initial public offering in 2014, we have built a business focused on developing and commercializing innovative therapeutics that we believe serves as a foundation for future growth. Our purpose is to better the life of each person impacted by kidney disease, and we have established ourselves as a leader in the kidney community. We believe our demonstrated ability to deliver value broadly to the kidney community has enabled us to build a sustainable company. While our current focus centers on people living with kidney disease, we believe our continued commitment to our products and pipeline assets, focusing on all patients who can realize a meaningful benefit from our medicines, will result in delivering value for shareholders.

Our current portfolio includes:

Auryxia® (ferric citrate), a medicine approved and marketed in the United States for two indications: (1) the control of serum phosphorus levels in adult patients with dialysis dependent chronic kidney disease, or DD-CKD, or the Hyperphosphatemia Indication, and (2) the treatment of iron deficiency anemia, or IDA, in adult patients with non-dialysis-dependent chronic kidney disease, or NDD-CKD. The product is also available in Japan and Taiwan.
Vafseo™ (vadadustat), an oral hypoxia-inducible factor prolyl hydroxylase, or HIF-PH, inhibitor, is approved in Japan for the treatment of anemia due to chronic kidney disease, or CKD, in adult patients. Vadadustat is under regulatory review for the treatment of anemia due to CKD in Europe, where it has received a positive opinion from the Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use, or CHMP, of the European Medicines Agency, or EMA, in adult patients on dialysis. Vadadustat is also under regulatory review for the treatment of anemia due to CKD in Australia, Korea, Taiwan and other countries. We continue to pursue a path to potentially gain approval for vadadustat in the U.S. Further, we have several lifecycle management and indication expansion opportunities currently under evaluation or in development for vadadustat.
HIF-PH inhibitors in preclinical development. The discovery of hypoxia-inducible factor, or HIF, laid the foundation to explore the central role of oxygen sensing in many diseases. As we have seen through the development of vadadustat as a treatment for anemia due to CKD, when stabilized, HIF triggers wide-ranging adaptive, protective responses during hypoxic or ischemic conditions. Our clinical team and research scientists are eager to further develop HIF-PH inhibitors for various indications including acute kidney injury, or AKI, and retinopathy of prematurity, or ROP.

We continue to explore additional commercial and development opportunities to expand our pipeline and portfolio of novel therapeutics through both internal research and external innovation to leverage our fully integrated team.

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Auryxia

Today we market Auryxia in the United States with our well-established, nephrology-focused commercial organization. Auryxia is a non-calcium, non-chewable, orally administered tablet that was approved for marketing by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, or FDA, in September 2014 as a phosphate binder for the Hyperphosphatemia Indication and was commercially launched in the United States shortly thereafter. In November 2017, Auryxia received marketing approval from the FDA for a second indication, the treatment of iron deficiency anemia, and was commercially launched for this indication in the United States shortly thereafter. Our Japanese sublicensee, Japan Tobacco, Inc., or JT, and its subsidiary, Torii Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd., or Torii, commercialize ferric citrate hydrate as Riona® in Japan. Averoa SAS, or Averoa, has an exclusive license to develop and commercialize ferric citrate in the European Economic Area, or EEA, Turkey, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

In 2022, Auryxia product revenue increased approximately 26.1% over 2021 due to the company’s focus on implementing a new contracting strategy in late 2021. Since 2018, Auryxia product revenue has grown at a compounded annual growth rate of approximately 18% due to market share gains and improved net price per pill, despite a 13% decline in total prescriptions for phosphate binders in the United States since 2018.
Vadadustat
We are seeking regulatory approval in the European Union and the United States for vadadustat as an oral treatment of anemia in adult DD-CKD patients. We and Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma Corporation, or MTPC, are also seeking regulatory approval for vadadustat as a treatment for anemia in adult DD-CKD and NDD-CKD patients in the United Kingdom, Switzerland and Australia, and Korea and Taiwan, respectively.

Vadadustat is currently pending an European Commission, or EC, approval decision. On February 23, 2023, the CHMP of the EMA adopted a positive opinion recommending the EC approve Vafseo™ for the treatment of symptomatic anemia associated with CKD in adults on chronic maintenance dialysis. We anticipate that the EC will issue a decision on the marketing authorization for Vafseo in May 2023, which would be applicable to all 27 European Union member states and Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein. Following the termination of our U.S. and international collaboration agreements with Otsuka in June 2022, we regained full rights to vadadustat in Europe, Australia, China, Canada, Latin America, the Middle East and Russia. As we do not have a commercial presence in Europe, we are seeking a partner in Europe and will support the partner’s launch of vadadustat, if approved. We are seeking to identify and secure a partner that can effectively facilitate treatment of as many people as would benefit from vadadustat, if approved, thus maximizing the value of the asset.

We submitted a New Drug Application, or NDA, to the FDA for vadadustat in March of 2021. On March 29, 2022, the FDA issued a complete response letter, or CRL, to our NDA for vadadustat. The FDA concluded that the data in the NDA do not support a favorable benefit-risk assessment of vadadustat for dialysis and non-dialysis patients. The FDA expressed safety concerns noting failure to meet non-inferiority in MACE in the non-dialysis patient population, the increased risk of thromboembolic events, driven by vascular access thrombosis in dialysis patients, and the risk of drug-induced liver injury. We believe there are compelling data supporting a positive benefit-risk profile for the use of vadadustat broadly in patients with CKD, including non-dialysis patients though we have always remained cautious about receiving a broad label for vadadustat that would extend to non-dialysis patients with anemia due to CKD. As such, we began the process to dispute the FDA ruling, and in October 2022, we submitted a Formal Dispute Resolution Request, or FDRR, with the FDA regarding the CRL, specifically related to DD-CKD adult patients. The appeal focused on the favorable balance of the benefits and risks of vadadustat for the treatment of adult DD-CKD patients in light of safety concerns expressed by the FDA in the CRL related to the rate of adjudicated thromboembolic events driven by vascular access thrombosis for vadadustat compared to the active comparator and the risk of drug-induced liver injury. In February 2023, we received a second interim response from the FDA to our FDRR, which is still under consideration by the FDA at the time of this filing.

Following the termination of our collaboration agreement with Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd., or Otsuka, we own full rights to vadadustat in the U.S., subject to our licensing agreement with Vifor (International) Ltd. (now a part of CSL Limited), or CSL Vifor. If we obtain FDA approval of vadadustat for DD-CKD adult patients, we plan to commercialize vadadustat in the United States with CSL Vifor.

Leveraging our learnings from the research and development of vadadustat, and a breadth of scientific expertise on the HIF pathway, we believe there is potential to leverage HIFs to treat other hypoxic conditions and to explore the use of HIFs in acute settings. We believe this potential applies to vadadustat as well as other preclinical assets we are internally developing.

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Regarding broader uses of vadadustat, in July 2020 we partially funded an investigator-sponsored clinical study conducted by The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, or UTHealth, in Houston, Texas, evaluating the use of vadadustat as a potential therapy to prevent and treat acute respiratory distress syndrome, or ARDS, in adult patients who have been hospitalized due to COVID-19 and hypoxemia (O2 saturation ≤94%). The study was a phase 2, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial that measured the proportion of patients who had scores of 6, 7, or 8 on the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease Ordinal Scale, or NIAID-OS, at Day 7 and Day 14, with Day 14 being the primary endpoint. While the study missed the primary endpoint, the data, detailed in the Clinical Development Program section, were encouraging. For reference, subjects receiving vadadustat demonstrated 94% probability for conferring benefit on the NIAID-OS at Day 14, slightly below the primary superiority threshold of >95% probability. We believe vadadustat has the potential to prevent the worsening of ARDS more broadly since the mechanism underlying the benefits are not specific to COVID-19, and we will further explore vadadustat in an acute care setting.
Operating Overview
We have incurred net losses in each year since inception. Our net losses were $94.2 million, $282.0 million and $384.8 million for the years ended December 31, 2022, 2021 and 2020, respectively. Substantially all of our net losses resulted from costs incurred in connection with the continued commercialization of Auryxia and development efforts relating to vadadustat, including conducting clinical trials of, and seeking regulatory approval for, vadadustat, providing general and administrative support for these operations and protecting our intellectual property.
Our ability to achieve profitability depends in part on our ability to manage our expenses. Following receipt of the CRL, in April 2022 and May 2022, we implemented a reduction of our workforce by approximately 42% across all areas of our company including several members of management (47% inclusive of the closing of the majority of open positions). These actions reflect our determination to refocus our strategic priorities around our commercial product, Auryxia®, and our development portfolio, and are steps in a cost savings plan to significantly reduce our expense profile. The workforce reduction included net charges totaling approximately $14.5 million, including costs for one-time termination benefits and contractual termination benefits for severance, healthcare, and related benefits of $11.3 million and non-cash stock-based compensation expense of $3.2 million. On November 7, 2022, we implemented a further reduction in workforce by approximately 14% consisting solely of individuals within the commercial organization as a result of our decision to shift to a strategic account management focused model for our commercial efforts. The workforce reduction included net charges totaling approximately $1.4 million, primarily related to one-time and contractual termination benefits including severance, non-cash stock-based compensation expense, healthcare and related benefits in the fourth quarter of 2022. During the year ended December 31, 2022, we recognized an aggregate of $15.9 million of restructuring charges in the consolidated statement of operations and comprehensive loss. See Note 6 to our consolidated financial statements in Part II, Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data of this Annual Report on Form 10-K/A for further details of the reductions in workforce.
We expect to continue to incur additional operating expenses, including additional research and development expenses to our pipeline, additional costs related to vadadustat, and research and development and selling, general and administrative expenses for ongoing development and commercialization of Auryxia, which could lead to operating losses for the foreseeable future. In addition to any additional costs not currently contemplated due to the events associated with or resulting from the workforce reductions noted above, our ability to achieve profitability and our financial position will depend, in part, on the rate of our future expenditures, on our product revenue from Auryxia, our collaboration revenue, our ability to successfully implement cost avoidance measures and reduce overhead costs and our ability to obtain additional funding. We expect to continue to incur significant expenses if and as we:
continue our commercialization activities for Auryxia and vadadustat, if we are able to obtain marketing approval for vadadustat following receipt of the CRL from the FDA in March 2022, and any other product or product candidate, including those that may be in-licensed or acquired;
address the issues identified in the CRL for vadadustat that we received from the FDA and pursue our appeal of the CRL for vadadustat with the FDA;
conduct and enroll patients in any clinical trials, including post-marketing studies or any other clinical trials for Auryxia, vadadustat or any other product or product candidate, including those that may be in-licensed or acquired;
seek marketing approvals for vadadustat and any other product candidate, including those that may be in-licensed or acquired;
maintain marketing approvals for Auryxia and vadadustat, if we are able to obtain marketing approval for vadadustat following receipt of the CRL from the FDA in March 2022, and any other product, including those that may be in-licensed or acquired;
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manufacture Auryxia, vadadustat and any other product or product candidate, including those that may be in-licensed or acquired, for commercial sale and clinical trials;
conduct discovery and development activities for additional product candidates or platforms that may lead to the discovery of additional product candidates;
engage in transactions, including strategic, merger, collaboration, acquisition and licensing transactions, pursuant to which we would market and develop commercial products, or develop and commercialize other product candidates and technologies;
continue to repay, and pay any associated pre-payment penalties, if applicable, the senior secured term loans in an aggregate principal amount of $67.0 million as of December 31, 2022, or the Term Loans, that were made available to us pursuant to the Loan Agreement;
make royalty, milestone or other payments under our license agreements and any future license agreements;
maintain, protect and expand our intellectual property portfolio;
make decisions with respect to our personnel, including the retention of key employees;
make decisions with respect to our infrastructure, including to support our operations as a fully integrated publicly traded biopharmaceutical company; and
experience any additional delays or encounter issues with any of the above.
We have not generated, and may not generate, enough product revenue to realize net profits from product sales. We have no manufacturing facilities, and all of our manufacturing activities are contracted out to third parties. Additionally, we currently utilize contract research organizations, or CROs, to carry out our clinical development activities. If we obtain marketing approval for vadadustat, and as we continue to commercialize Auryxia, we expect to incur significant commercialization expenses related to product sales, marketing, manufacturing and distribution. We expect to finance future cash needs through product revenue, public or private equity or debt transactions, royalty transactions, strategic transactions, or a combination of these approaches. If we are unable to raise additional capital in sufficient amounts when needed or on attractive terms, we may not be able to pursue development and commercial activities related to Auryxia and vadadustat, if approved, or any additional products and product candidates, including those that may be in-licensed or acquired. Any of these events could significantly harm our business, financial condition and prospects.
From inception through December 31, 2022, we raised approximately $793.5 million of net proceeds from the sale of equity, including $519.8 million from various underwritten public offerings, $223.7 million from at-the-market offerings, or ATM offerings, pursuant to prior sales agreements with Cantor Fitzgerald & Co., and $70.0 million from the sale of 7,571,429 shares of common stock to CSL Vifor. As of December 31, 2022, through our collaboration agreement with MTPC and our prior collaboration agreements with Otsuka, we received approximately $837.1 million in cost-share funding, and are not entitled to receive any additional cost-share funding. On June 30, 2022, we entered into a Termination and Settlement Agreement, or the Termination Agreement, with Otsuka, pursuant to which we received a nonrefundable and non-creditable payment of $55.0 million in consideration for the covenants and agreements set forth in the Termination Agreement.
On November 11, 2019, we entered into a loan agreement, or the Loan Agreement, with funds managed by Pharmakon Advisors LP, or Pharmakon, pursuant to which term loans in an aggregate principal amount of $100.0 million were made available to us in two tranches, subject to certain terms and conditions, or the Term Loans. On July 15, 2022, or the Effective Date, we entered into the Second Amendment and Waiver with BioPharma Credit PLC, or the Collateral Agent, BPCR Limited Partnership, as a Lender, and BioPharma Credit Investments V (Master) LP, as a Lender, or the Second Amendment and Waiver, which amends and waives certain provisions of the Loan Agreement as amended by the First Amendment and Waiver between the Collateral Agent, the Lenders and us, dated February 18, 2022. The Collateral Agent and the Lenders are collectively referred to as Pharmakon. Pursuant to the Second Amendment and Waiver, we made prepayments totaling $25.0 million together with a prepayment premium of $0.5 million plus all accrued and unpaid interest on such prepayments of principal to the Effective Date, and Pharmakon agreed to waive or modify certain covenants in the Loan Agreement. In addition, on February 25, 2021, we received an upfront payment of $44.8 million (net of certain transaction expenses) in connection with our sale to HealthCare Royalty Partners IV, L.P., or HCR, of the right to receive all royalties and sales milestones payable to us under our collaboration agreement with MTPC, or the MTPC Agreement, subject to certain caps and other terms and conditions described in Note 7 to our consolidated financial statements in Part II, Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data of this Annual Report on Form 10-K/A. Finally, on February 18, 2022, we entered into a Second Amended and Restated License Agreement, or the Vifor Second Amended Agreement, with CSL Vifor. Pursuant to the Vifor Second Amended Agreement, CSL Vifor made an upfront payment to us of $25.0 million in lieu of the previously disclosed milestone payment of $25.0 million that CSL Vifor was to pay to us following approval of vadadustat by the FDA. Also
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pursuant to the Vifor Second Amended Agreement, Vifor contributed $40 million to a working capital fund established to partially fund our costs of purchasing vadadustat from our contract manufacturers, or the Working Capital Fund, which amount of funding will fluctuate, and which funding we are required to repay to CSL Vifor over time.
Impacts of COVID-19 Pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic has presented a substantial public health and economic challenge around the world and continues to affect our patients, healthcare providers with whom we interact, customers, collaboration partners, CROs, contract manufacturing organizations, or CMOs, vendors, communities and business operations.

We believe our revenue growth was negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021 and 2022 primarily as the CKD patient populations that we serve experienced both high hospitalization and mortality rates due to COVID-19, and the pandemic had an adverse impact on the phosphate binder market in which Auryxia competes. Labor shortages and costs have adversely impacted dialysis providers. These impacts have refocused clinical efforts in addressing bone and mineral disorders like hyperphosphatemia to more acute operational issues to ensure patients receive dialysis treatments and still some patients have been rescheduled or missed treatments due to labor shortages. We believe, this and potentially other factors, has led to the reduction in the phosphate binder market, which has not experienced growth since early 2020. While we are unable to quantify the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on future revenues and revenue growth, the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic continue to adversely and disproportionately impact CKD patients and the phosphate binder market; therefore, we expect the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing impacts from the pandemic to continue to have a negative impact on our revenue growth for the foreseeable future.

In addition, several healthcare facilities have previously restricted access for non-patients, including the members of our sales force. For example, DaVita, Inc., or DaVita, and Fresenius Medical Care, or Fresenius, which account for a vast majority of the dialysis population in the United States, have previously restricted access to their clinics. As a result, we continue to engage with some healthcare providers and other customers virtually, where possible. The restrictions on our customer-facing employees' in-person interactions with healthcare providers have, and could continue to, negatively impact our access to healthcare providers and, ultimately, our sales, including with respect to vadadustat, if approved. Recently, such precautionary measures have been relaxed at certain healthcare facilities and, as a result, members of our sales force have resumed in person interactions with certain customers. Nevertheless, some restrictions remain, and more restrictions may be put in place again due to a resurgence in COVID-19 cases, including those involving new variants of COVID-19 which may be more contagious and more severe than prior strains of the virus. Given this uncertain environment and the disproportionate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on CKD patients, we are actively monitoring the demand in the United States for Auryxia and will be for vadadustat, if approved, including the potential for further declines or changes in prescription trends and customer orders, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition.

In addition, the direct and indirect impacts of the pandemic or the response efforts to the pandemic, including, among others, competition for labor and resources and increases in labor, sourcing, manufacturing and shipping costs, may cause disruptions to, closures of, or other impacts on our CMOs and other vendors in our supply chain on which we rely for the supply of our products and product candidates. For example, areas of China have recently continued to implement lockdowns for COVID-19, which could impact the global supply chain. At this time, our third party contract manufacturers continue to operate at or near normal levels. However, it is possible that the COVID-19 pandemic and response efforts may have an impact in the future on our contract manufacturers' ability to manufacture and deliver Auryxia and vadadustat (if approved in the United States and EMA and which is currently marketed under the trade name VafseoTM by MTPC in Japan), which may result in increased costs and delays, or disruptions to the manufacturing and supply of our products and product candidates.

COVID-19 pandemic precautions have caused moderate delays in enrolling new clinical trials and may cause delays in enrolling other new clinical trials. We are using remote monitoring and central monitoring, where possible.

This uncertain pandemic environment has presented new risks to our business. While we are working aggressively to mitigate the impacts on our business, we are mindful that many of these risks and the impact to the larger healthcare market are outside of our control.
For additional information on the various risks posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, please refer to Part I, Item 1A. Risk Factors.
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Financial Overview
Revenue
To date, our revenues have been derived from product revenue from commercial sales of Auryxia, collaboration revenues, which include license and milestone payments, royalty and cost-sharing revenue generated through collaboration and license agreements with partners for the development and commercialization of vadadustat, a nonrefundable, non-creditable termination fee pursuant to the terms of the Termination Agreement with Otsuka, and royalty revenue from sales of Riona in Japan. Cost-sharing revenue represents amounts reimbursed by our collaboration partners for expenses incurred by us for research and development activities and, potentially, co-promotion activities, under our collaboration agreements.
We expect our revenue to continue to be generated primarily from our commercial sales of Auryxia, our collaborations with MTPC and Japan Tobacco, Inc., and its subsidiary, Torii Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd., collectively JT and Torii, and any other collaborations into which we may enter. We do not expect to recognize any material future revenue pursuant to our former collaboration with Otsuka.
Cost of Goods Sold
Cost of goods sold includes direct costs to manufacture commercial drug substance and drug product for Auryxia, as well as indirect costs, including costs for packaging, shipping, insurance and quality assurance, idle capacity charges, write-offs for inventory that fails to meet specifications or is otherwise no longer suitable for commercial sale, changes in our excess purchase commitment liability, and royalties due to the licensor of Auryxia related to U.S. and Japan product sales recognized during the period. In addition, cost of goods sold includes personnel-related costs, including salaries and bonuses, employee benefits, and stock-based compensation attributable to employees in a particular function and associated with our products. Cost of goods sold also includes costs to manufacture drug product provided to MTPC for commercial sale of Vafseo in Japan.
As a result of the Merger and the application of purchase accounting, cost of goods sold also includes both amortization expense and, if applicable, impairment charges associated with the fair value of the developed product rights for Auryxia as well as expense associated with the fair value inventory step-up. The fair value of the developed product rights for Auryxia is being amortized over its estimated useful life, which as of December 31, 2022 is estimated to be six years. The fair value inventory step-up as a result of the Merger was fully amortized as of the first quarter of 2021.
Research and Development Expenses
Research and development expenses consist primarily of costs incurred for the development of vadadustat, which include:
personnel-related expenses, including salaries, benefits, recruiting fees, travel and stock-based compensation expense of our research and development personnel;
expenses incurred under agreements with CROs and investigative sites that conduct our clinical trials;
the cost of acquiring, developing and manufacturing clinical study materials through CMOs;
facilities, depreciation and other expenses, which include direct and allocated expenses for rent and maintenance of facilities, insurance and other supplies;
costs associated with preclinical, clinical and regulatory activities; and
costs associated with pre-launch inventory build for vadadustat in the United States and Europe, for which we received the CRL from the FDA in the United States in March 2022.
Research and development costs are expensed as incurred. Costs for certain development activities are recognized based on an evaluation of the progress to completion of specific tasks using information and data provided to us by our vendors and our clinical sites.
We cannot determine with certainty the duration and completion costs of current or future clinical trials of Auryxia and vadadustat or if, when, or to what extent we will receive marketing approval for vadadustat or generate revenue from the commercialization and sale of vadadustat, if approved. We may never succeed in achieving marketing approval for vadadustat.
The duration, costs and timing of clinical trials and development of Auryxia and vadadustat will depend on a variety of factors including, but not limited to, those described in Part I, Item 1A. Risk Factors. A change in the outcome of any of these variables with respect to the development of Auryxia and vadadustat could mean a significant change in the costs and timing associated with that development. For example, if the FDA, the EMA, or other regulatory authorities were to require us to conduct clinical
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trials in addition to or different from those that we currently anticipate, or if we experience delays in any of our clinical trials, we could be required to expend significant additional financial resources and time on the completion of clinical development.
From inception through December 31, 2022, we have incurred $1.6 billion in research and development expenses. We expect to have significant research and development expenditures for the foreseeable future as we continue the development of Auryxia, vadadustat and any other product or product candidate, including those that may be in-licensed or acquired.
Our direct research and development expenses consist principally of external costs, such as fees paid to clinical trial sites, consultants, central laboratories and CROs in connection with our clinical trials, and drug substance and drug product manufacturing for clinical trials.
In 2020, we completed our global Phase 3 clinical program for vadadustat to which the majority of our research and development costs are attributable. A significant portion of our research and development costs have been external costs, which we track on a program-by-program basis. These external costs include fees paid to investigators, consultants, central laboratories and CROs in connection with our clinical trials, and costs related to acquiring and manufacturing clinical trial materials. Our internal research and development costs are primarily personnel-related costs, depreciation and other indirect costs. We do not track our internal research and development expenses on a program-by-program basis as they are deployed across multiple projects under development.
The following table summarizes our external research and development expenses by program, as well as expenses not allocated to programs, for the years ended December 31, 2022 and 2021: 
Year ended December 31,
20222021
(in thousands)
Vadadustat external costs$58,785 $48,506 
External costs for other programs21,422 25,907 
Total external research and development expenses80,207 74,413 
Headcount, consulting, facilities and other49,779 73,439 
Total research and development expenses$129,986 $147,852 
 
Selling, General and Administrative Expenses
Selling, general and administrative expenses consist primarily of salaries and related costs for personnel, including stock-based compensation and travel expenses for our commercial personnel, including our field sales force and other commercial support personnel, as well as personnel in executive and other administrative or non-research and development functions. Other selling, general and administrative expenses include facility-related costs, fees for directors, accounting and legal services fees, recruiting fees and expenses associated with obtaining and maintaining patents.
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Results of Operations
Comparison of the Years Ended December 31, 2022 and 2021
 
Year ended December 31,Increase (Decrease)
20222021
(In Thousands)
Revenues:
Product revenue, net$176,949 $140,288 $36,661 
License, collaboration and other revenue115,535 71,362 44,173 
Total revenues292,484 211,650 80,834 
Cost of goods sold:
Product49,526 114,629 (65,103)
Amortization of intangible asset36,042 36,042 — 
Total cost of goods sold85,568 150,671 (65,103)
Operating expenses:
Research and development129,986 147,852 (17,866)
Selling, general and administrative138,601 174,140 (35,539)
License expense3,175 3,489 (314)
Restructuring15,933 — 15,933 
Total operating expenses287,695 325,481 (37,786)
Operating loss(80,779)(264,502)183,723 
Other expense, net(12,541)(17,522)4,981 
Loss on extinguishment of debt(906)— (906)
Net loss before income taxes(94,226)(282,024)187,798 
Benefit from income taxes— — — 
Net loss$(94,226)$(282,024)$187,798 
 
Product Revenue, Net. Net product revenue is derived from sales of our only commercial product in the United States, Auryxia. We distribute our product principally through a limited number of wholesale distributors as well as certain specialty pharmacy providers. Net product revenue was $176.9 million for the year ended December 31, 2022, compared to net product revenue of $140.3 million for the year ended December 31, 2021. The increase was primarily due to pricing, improved payor mix and a 2022 year-end inventory build by a customer that exceeded 2021, partially offset by a decline in volume during 2022.
License, Collaboration and Other Revenue. License, collaboration and other revenue was $115.5 million for the year ended December 31, 2022, compared to $71.4 million for the year ended December 31, 2021. On June 30, 2022, we and Otsuka entered into the Termination Agreement, which, among other things, terminated the cost sharing arrangement under the Otsuka collaboration agreement for the United States, or the Otsuka U.S. Agreement and the Otsuka collaboration agreement for certain territories outside of the United States, or the Otsuka International Agreement. During the year ended December 31, 2022, we recognized $55.0 million in collaboration revenue related to a payment received pursuant to the terms of the Termination Agreement with Otsuka, $15.5 million related to previously deferred revenue as of the date of termination and $9.6 million of non-cash consideration related to Otsuka's obligations to complete certain agreed upon clinical activities related to the Phase 3b clinical trial of vadadustat Otsuka is conducting, in accordance with the current study protocol, at its own cost and expense. We also recognized $19.1 million in collaboration revenue for the year ended December 31, 2022 from the Otsuka U.S. Agreement and the Otsuka International Agreement prior to the termination. We also recognized royalty revenue under the MTPC Agreement, and revenue under our supply agreement with MTPC, or the MTPC Supply Agreement, totaling $18.0 million. On December 16, 2022, we, MTPC, and Esteve Química, S.A., or Esteve, executed an Assignment of Supply Agreement, or the Assignment Agreement, pursuant to which the supply agreement between us and Esteve, or the Esteve Agreement, was assigned to MTPC. The Assignment Agreement transferred the rights and obligations of the Esteve Agreement to MTPC, including the obligations under certain purchase orders issued by us and accepted by Esteve. Therefore, we expect significantly less revenue in the future under the MTPC Supply Agreement. We recognized $65.5 million in collaboration revenue for the year ended December 31, 2021 from the Otsuka U.S. Agreement and the Otsuka International Agreement, royalty revenue earned under the MTPC Agreement, and revenue under our Supply Agreement with MTPC.
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Cost of Goods Sold - Product. Cost of goods sold of $49.5 million for the year ended December 31, 2022 primarily consisted of costs associated with the manufacturing of Auryxia and supply of Vafseo to MTPC for commercial sale in Japan, $28.7 million in termination fees in connection with the BioVectra Termination Agreement in the fourth quarter of 2022, and $30.2 million primarily related to inventory reserves associated with unusable drug substance. These costs were offset by a non-cash reduction of our excess purchase commitment liability of $65.9 million driven by the reduction in purchase commitments due to execution of the Termination Agreement with BioVectra. See Note 16 to our consolidated financial statements in Part II, Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data of this Annual Report on Form 10-K/A for further details of the BioVectra termination fees and decrease to the liability for excess purchase commitments.
Cost of goods sold of $114.6 million for the year ended December 31, 2021 primarily consisted of costs associated with the manufacturing of Auryxia and supply of Vafseo to MTPC for commercial sale in Japan, $30.3 million in non-cash charges related to our excess purchase commitment liability, $21.6 million in non-cash charges related to the fair-value inventory step-up from the application of purchase accounting, and $15.0 million primarily related to excess and obsolescence reserves associated with Auryxia as well as inventory reserves associated with a previously disclosed manufacturing quality issue related to Auryxia.
Cost of Goods Sold - Amortization of Intangible Asset. Amortization of the intangible asset relates to the acquired developed product rights for Auryxia, which is being amortized using a straight-line method over its estimated useful life of approximately six years. Amortization of our intangible asset during each of the years ended December 31, 2022 and 2021 was $36.0 million.
Research and Development Expenses. Research and development expenses were $130.0 million for the year ended December 31, 2022, compared to $147.9 million for the year ended December 31, 2021. The net decrease of $17.9 million was due to the following changes as compared to the year ended December 31, 2021:
(in millions)
Vadadustat external development expenses$5.8 
Headcount, consulting, facilities and other(23.7)
Total net decrease$(17.9)
 
The decrease in research and development expense was primarily due to decreased headcount related costs as a result of the April 2022 reduction in force, decreased consulting costs, and decreased outsourced contract services. Also during the year ended December 31, 2021, we made an upfront payment of $3.0 million to Cyclerion for an exclusive global license to develop and commercialize praliciguat, an investigational oral sGC stimulator, which was recorded to research and development expense which did not reoccur during the year ended December 31, 2022. Although we expect our research and development expenses to continue to decrease in the near term, we will continue to incur significant research and development expenses in future periods in support of ongoing or planned studies with respect to Auryxia and vadadustat and development of other product candidates.
Selling, General and Administrative Expenses. Selling, general and administrative expenses were $138.6 million for the year ended December 31, 2022, compared to $174.1 million for the year ended December 31, 2021. The decrease of $35.5 million was primarily due to decreased headcount related costs as a result of both the April 2022 and November 2022 reductions in force, decreased one-time legal costs, and lower marketing expenses following receipt of the CRL for vadadustat. We expect our selling, general and administrative expenses to continue to decrease as we reduce our expense profile.
License Expenses. License expense related to royalties due to Panion relating to sales of Riona in Japan were $3.2 million and $3.5 million for the years ended December 31, 2022 and 2021, respectively.
Restructuring. Restructuring expenses were $15.9 million for the year ended December 31, 2022 due to one-time termination benefits and contractual termination benefits for severance, healthcare, and non-cash stock-based compensation related to the April 2022 and November 2022 reductions in force. There were no restructuring expenses for the year ended December 31, 2021.
Other Expense, Net. Other expense, net, was $12.5 million for the year ended December 31, 2022, compared to $17.5 million for the year ended December 31, 2021. The decrease was primarily due to a decrease in interest expense as a result of principal prepayments totaling $25.0 million made on the Term Loans pursuant to the Second Amendment and Waiver in the year ended December 31, 2022, as well as an additional $8.0 million of quarterly principal payments made on the Term Loans pursuant to the Loan Agreement with Pharmakon, reducing our outstanding balance on the Term Loans. The decrease was also related to a
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decrease in the fair value of our derivative liability related to the Loan Agreement with Pharmakon during the year ended December 31, 2022.
Loss on Extinguishment of Debt. During the year ended December 31, 2022, we recorded a debt extinguishment loss of $0.9 million related to the principal prepayments made on the Term Loans pursuant to the Second Amendment and Waiver.

Comparison of the Years Ended December 31, 2021 and 2020
For discussion of our 2021 results and a comparison with 2020 results please refer to Part II, Item 7, "Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Conditions and Results of Operations" in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2021 that was filed with the SEC on March 1, 2022, or the 2021 Form 10-K. We have not revised our results of operations for the years ended December 31, 2021 and 2020 as presented in the “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations - 2021 as compared to 2020” section of our 2021 Form 10-K. The errors that we have corrected in the consolidated financial statements for the fiscal years ended December 31, 2021 and 2020 as disclosed in Note 1, “Revision of Previously Issued Financial Statements” did not have a material impact on management’s discussion contained in our 2021 Form 10-K.
Liquidity and Capital Resources
We have funded our operations principally through sales of our common stock, payments received from our collaboration partners, product sales, debt, a royalty transaction and a refund liability to a customer. As of December 31, 2022, we had cash and cash equivalents of approximately $90.5 million. Cash in excess of immediate requirements is invested in accordance with our investment policy, primarily with a view to liquidity and capital preservation. On April 7, 2022, we entered into an Open Market Sale AgreementSM, or the Sales Agreement, with Jefferies LLC, or Jefferies, as agent, for the offer and sale of common stock at current market prices in amounts to be determined from time to time. Also, on April 7, 2022, we filed a prospectus supplement relating to the Sales Agreement, pursuant to which we are able to offer and sell under the Sales Agreement up to $26.0 million of our common stock at current market prices from time to time. From the date of filing of the prospectus supplement through the date of the filing of the Original 10-K, we have not sold any shares of our common stock under this program. As of December 31, 2022, through our collaboration agreements with Otsuka and MTPC we received approximately $837.1 million in cost-share funding, and are not entitled to receive any additional cost-share funding.
Cash Flows
The following table sets forth the primary sources and uses of cash for each of the periods set forth below:
Year ended December 31,
202220212020
(In Thousands)
Net cash provided by (used in):
Operating activities$(73,154)$(252,965)$(110,388)
Investing activities(114)39,941 (40,004)
Financing activities14,598 133,731 231,720 
Net (decrease) increase in cash, cash equivalents and restricted cash$(58,670)$(79,293)$81,328 
 
Operating Activities. Net cash used in operating activities during the year ended December 31, 2022 was $73.2 million as compared to $253.0 million for the year ended December 31, 2021. The decrease in cash used was primarily due to a lower net loss driven by increased revenue as well as decreased operating expenses. The decrease in cash used was also due to lower accounts receivable and decreased inventory purchases. This was partially offset by payments made related to the reductions in force as well as decreases in accounts payable and accrued expenses and other current liabilities.

Net cash used in operating activities during the year ended December 31, 2021 of $253.0 million was largely driven by net payroll-related expenses, rebate payments and payments for inventory.
Investing Activities. Net cash used in investing activities during the year ended December 31, 2022 of $0.1 million was comprised of purchases of equipment.
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Net cash provided by investing activities during the year ended December 31, 2021 of $39.9 million was comprised of proceeds from the maturities of available for sale securities of $40.0 million, partially offset by immaterial purchases of equipment.
Financing Activities. Net cash provided by financing activities for the year ended December 31, 2022 was $14.6 million and consisted of net proceeds from a refund liability to a customer of $40.0 million, net proceeds from the issuance of common stock of $7.1 million, and proceeds from the sale of stock under our employee stock purchase plan, partially offset by principal payments of debt of $33.0 million.
Net cash provided by financing activities for the year ended December 31, 2021 was $133.7 million and consisted of net proceeds from the sale of future royalties of $44.8 million, net proceeds from the public issuance of common stock in connection with our prior ATM sales agreement of $88.2 million, and proceeds from the exercise of stock options and from the sale of stock under our employee stock purchase plan.
A discussion of changes in our cash flow from the year ended December 31, 2020 to the year ended December 31, 2021 can be found in Part II, Item 7, "Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Conditions and Results of Operations" of the 2021 Form 10-K.
Operating Capital Requirements
We have one product, Auryxia, approved for commercial sale in the United States. While we expect to be able to generate positive cash flows from our existing operations, we have not generated, and may not generate, enough product revenue from the sale of Auryxia to realize net profits from product sales. We currently have exclusive rights under a series of patents and patent applications to commercialize Auryxia in the U.S. that currently protect us from generic drug competition until March 2025. Following loss of exclusivity in the U.S., we may not be able realize enough product revenue from sales of Auryxia to realize net profits from product sales after March 2025. We have incurred losses and cumulative negative cash flows from operations in each year since our inception in February 2007, and as of December 31, 2022, we had an accumulated deficit of $1.6 billion. Our current operating plan anticipates continued increasing levels of cash flows from operations. We expect to continue to incur additional research and development expenses related to our pipeline, additional costs related to vadadustat, and research and development and selling, general and administrative expenses for our ongoing development and commercialization of Auryxia.

We expect our cash resources to fund our current operating plan for at least twelve months from the date of filing of our 2022 Annual Report on Form 10-K on March 10, 2023. Our operating plan includes the effects of certain cost avoidance measures and the reduction of overhead costs that resulted from the amendment or termination of contractual arrangements with certain supply and collaboration partners and the reduction of operating expenses. During 2022, we implemented certain cost avoidance measures. For example, during the fourth quarter of 2022, we and BioVectra entered into a Termination Agreement, pursuant to which the parties agreed, among other things, to terminate, effective immediately, any and all existing agreements entered into between the parties in connection with the manufacture and supply, by BioVectra to us, of Auryxia drug substance, which eliminated future contractual commitments with this supply partner. We, MTPC, and Esteve also executed an Assignment Agreement, pursuant to which the Supply Agreement between us and Esteve was assigned to MTPC. The Assignment Agreement transferred our rights and obligations under the Supply Agreement to MTPC, specifically including the obligations under certain purchase orders issued by us and accepted by Esteve. In addition, in April, May and November of 2022, the Board of Directors approved reductions of our workforce by a combined total of approximately 56% consisting of individuals across our company. These actions reflect our determination to refocus our strategic priorities and drive revenue around our commercial product, Auryxia®, and our development portfolio, and are steps in a cost savings plan to significantly reduce our expense profile in line with being a single commercial product company (see Note 6 to our consolidated financial statements in Part II, Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data of this Annual Report on Form 10-K/A). We expect to finance future cash needs through product revenue, potential strategic transactions, public or private equity or debt transactions, expense management, or a combination of these approaches. We plan to reduce our need for future financing through product sales, expense management, and cost avoidance measures in line with being a single commercial product company.

We believe that the execution of further cost avoidance measures, future decisions by the FDA or foreign regulatory agencies related to the potential regulatory approval of vadadustat, and our ability to generate additional value from vadadustat, if approved, through partnerships or other strategic transactions could potentially further extend our cash runway for a period greater than twelve months. However, these future decisions and transactions are not contemplated in our operating plan and are outside of our control. Additionally, with Loss of Exclusivity, or LOE, in March of 2025, we believe the CMS decision to include phosphate binders in the dialysis bundle could potentially lead to higher sales of Auryxia after the LOE date than in other LOE scenarios, and plan to work with payors and providers to continue the use of Auryxia beyond LOE. Assuming we are successful in those endeavors, we will require additional funding to fund our strategic growth beyond Auryxia or to pursue
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later stage development and commercial activities for our product candidates and any additional product or product candidates, including those that may be in-licensed or acquired.

There can be no assurance that the current operating plan will be achieved in the time frame anticipated by us, or that our cash resources will fund our operating plan for the period of time anticipated by us, or that additional funding will be available on terms acceptable to us, or at all. Our forecast of the period of time through which our financial resources will be adequate to support our operations is a forward-looking statement and involves numerous risks and uncertainties, and actual results could vary as a result of a number of factors, many of which are outside our control. We have based this estimate on assumptions that may be substantially different than actual results, and we could utilize our available capital resources sooner than we currently expect. If our operating performance deteriorates significantly from the levels achieved in 2022, it could have an effect on our liquidity and our ability to continue as a going concern in the future. Our future funding requirements, both near- and long-term, will depend on many factors including, but not limited to, those described under Part I, Item 1A. Risk Factors under the heading "Risks Related to our Financial Position, Need for Additional Capital and Growth Strategy."
Contractual Obligations and Commitments
Leases
We lease approximately 65,167 square feet of office and lab space in Cambridge, Massachusetts under a lease which was most recently amended in November 2020, collectively the Cambridge Lease. Under the Third Amendment to the Cambridge Lease, or the Third Amendment, executed in July 2016, total monthly lease payments under the initial base rent were approximately $242,000 and are subject to annual rent escalations. In addition to such annual rent escalations, base rent payments for a portion of said premises commenced on January 1, 2017 in the monthly amount of approximately $22,000. The Fourth Amendment to the Cambridge Lease, executed in May 2017, provided additional storage space to us and did not impact rent payments. In April 2018, we entered into a Fifth Amendment to the Cambridge Lease, or the Fifth Amendment, for an additional 19,805 square feet of office space on the 12th floor. Monthly lease payments for the existing 45,362 square feet of office and lab space, under the Third Amendment, remain unchanged. The new space leased by us was delivered in September 2018 and additional monthly lease payments of approximately $135,000 commenced in February 2019 and are subject to annual rent escalations, which commenced in September 2019. In November 2020, we entered into a Sixth Amendment to the Cambridge Lease, or the Sixth Amendment, to extend the term of the Cambridge Lease with respect to the lab space from November 30, 2021 to January 31, 2025. The Sixth Amendment includes two months of free rent starting in December 2020 and additional monthly lease payments of approximately $48,000 which commenced in December 2021, and is subject to annual rent escalations, which commenced in December 2022.

Additionally, as a result of the Merger, we have a lease for 27,300 square feet of office space in Boston, Massachusetts, or the Boston Lease. The total monthly lease payments under the Boston Lease are approximately $136,000 and are subject to annual rent escalations. On February 24, 2022, we entered into a First Amendment to Lease, or the First Lease Amendment, with CLPF One Marina Park Drive LLC (successor-in-interest to Fallon Cornerstone One MPD LLC), or the Landlord, amending the Boston Lease. Pursuant to the First Lease Amendment, we agreed to extend the term of the Boston Lease until July 31, 2031. The monthly lease payment pursuant to the First Amendment will be $200,122 commencing on August 1, 2023 and subject to annual rent escalation of approximately 2% commencing on August 1, 2024. The First Lease Amendment also includes a Landlord’s allowance for certain leasehold improvements to the Premises in an amount of up to $1,954,680, provided that such allowance must be used prior to August 1, 2024.