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UNITED STATES

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

Washington, D.C. 20549

 

Form 10-K

 

(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: 001-36740

 

FIBROGEN, INC.

(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)

 

 

Delaware

 

77-0357827

(State or other jurisdiction of incorporation or organization)

 

(I.R.S. Employer Identification No.)

409 Illinois Street

San Francisco, CA

 

94158

(Address of principal executive offices)

 

(zip code)

 

Registrant’s telephone number, including area code:

(415) 978-1200

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:

 

Title of each class

Trading Symbol

Name of each exchange on which registered

Common Stock, $0.01 par value

FGEN

The Nasdaq Global Select Market

 

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act:

None

 

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act. Yes No

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act. Yes No

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant: (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days. Yes No

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§ 232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files). Yes No

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, 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 filer

 

 

Accelerated filer

 

Non-accelerated filer

 

 

Smaller reporting company

 

Emerging growth company

 

 

 

 

 

If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act.

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed a report on and attestation to its management’s assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 U.S.C. 7262(b)) by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its audit report.

If securities are registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act, indicate by check mark whether the financial statements of the Registrant included in the filing reflect the correction of an error to previously issued financial statements. ☐

Indicate by check mark whether any of those error corrections are restatements that required a recovery analysis of incentive-based compensation received by any of the Registrant's executive officers during the relevant recovery period pursuant to §240.10D-1(b). ☐

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Act). Yes No

The aggregate market value of the voting and non-voting common equity held by non-affiliates of the registrant, computed by reference to the closing price as of the last business day of the registrant’s most recently completed second fiscal quarter, June 30, 2022, was approximately $975.1 million. Shares of common stock held by each executive officer and director have been excluded since such persons may be deemed affiliates. This determination of affiliate status is not necessarily a conclusive determination for other purposes.

The number of shares of common stock outstanding as of January 31, 2023 was 94,182,915.

 


DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE

Items 10, 11, 12, 13 and 14 of Part III of this Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2022 (the “Annual Report”) incorporate information by reference from the definitive proxy statement for the registrant’s 2023 Annual Meeting of Stockholders to be filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission pursuant to Regulation 14A not later than after 120 days after the end of the fiscal year covered by this Annual Report.

 

 


 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

 

 

 

 

Page

 

 

Forward-Looking Statements

 

2

 

 

Risk Factor Summary

 

3

 

 

China Operations and Related Risks

 

4

 

 

 

 

 

PART I

 

 

 

6

 

 

 

 

 

Item 1.

 

Business

 

6

Item 1A.

 

Risk Factors

 

38

Item 1B.

 

Unresolved Staff Comments

 

76

Item 2.

 

Properties

 

76

Item 3.

 

Legal Proceedings

 

77

Item 4.

 

Mine Safety Disclosures

 

77

 

 

 

 

 

PART II

 

 

 

78

 

 

 

 

 

Item 5.

 

Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

 

78

Item 6.

 

[Reserved]

 

79

Item 7.

 

Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations

 

80

Item 7A.

 

Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosure About Market Risks

 

102

Item 8.

 

Consolidated Financial Statements and Supplementary Data

 

103

Item 9.

 

Changes in and Disagreements with Accountants on Accounting and Financial Disclosure

 

159

Item 9A.

 

Controls and Procedures

 

159

Item 9B.

 

Other Information

 

160

Item 9C.

 

Disclosure Regarding Foreign Jurisdictions that Prevent Inspections

 

160

 

 

 

 

 

PART III

 

 

 

161

 

 

 

 

 

Item 10.

 

Directors, Executive Officers and Corporate Governance

 

161

Item 11.

 

Executive Compensation

 

161

Item 12.

 

Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management and Related Stockholder Matters

 

161

Item 13.

 

Certain Relationships and Related Transactions, and Director Independence

 

161

Item 14.

 

Principal Accountant Fees and Services

 

161

 

 

 

 

 

PART IV

 

 

 

162

 

 

 

 

 

Item 15.

 

Exhibits and Financial Statement Schedules

 

162

Item 16.

 

Form 10-K Summary

 

169

 

 

Signatures

 

170

 

 

1


 

 

FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

This Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2022 (“Annual Report”) and the information incorporated herein by reference, particularly in the sections captioned “Risk Factors,” “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” and “Business,” contains forward-looking statements, which involve substantial risks and uncertainties. In this Annual Report, all statements other than statements of historical or present facts contained in this Annual Report, including statements regarding our future financial condition, business strategy and plans and objectives of management for future operations, are forward-looking statements. In some cases, you can identify forward-looking statements by terminology such as “believe,” “will,” “may,” “estimate,” “continue,” “anticipate,” “contemplate,” “intend,” “target,” “project,” “should,” “plan,” “expect,” “predict,” “could,” “potentially” or the negative of these terms or other similar terms or expressions that concern our expectations, strategy, plans or intentions. Forward-looking statements appear in a number of places throughout this Annual Report and include statements regarding our intentions, beliefs, projections, outlook, analyses or current expectations concerning, among other things, our ongoing and planned preclinical development and clinical trials, the timing of and our ability to make regulatory filings and obtain and maintain regulatory approvals for roxadustat, pamrevlumab and our other product candidates, our intellectual property position, the potential safety, efficacy, reimbursement, convenience clinical and pharmaco-economic benefits of our product candidates, the potential markets for any of our product candidates, our ability to develop commercial functions, our ability to operate in the People’s Republic of China (“China”), expectations regarding clinical trial data, our results of operations, cash needs, spending of the proceeds from our initial public offering, financial condition, liquidity, prospects, growth and strategies, the industry in which we operate and the trends that may affect the industry or us. We have based these forward-looking statements largely on our current expectations and projections about future events and financial trends that we believe may affect our financial condition, results of operations, business strategy and financial needs.

These forward-looking statements are subject to a number of risks, uncertainties and assumptions described in the section of this Annual Report captioned “Risk Factors” and elsewhere in this Annual Report. A summary of these risk factors can be found in the following section, however, please refer to the full risk factors in Item 1A “Risk Factors.” These risks are not exhaustive. Other sections of this Annual Report may include additional factors that could adversely impact our business and financial performance. Moreover, we operate in a very competitive and rapidly changing environment. New risk factors emerge from time to time, and it is not possible for our management to predict all risk factors nor can we assess the impact of all factors on our business or the extent to which any factor, or combination of factors, may cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in, or implied by, any forward-looking statements.

You should not rely upon forward-looking statements as predictions of future events. We cannot assure you that the events and circumstances reflected in the forward-looking statements will be achieved or occur. Although we believe that the expectations reflected in the forward-looking statements are reasonable, we cannot guarantee future results, levels of activity, performance or achievements. The forward-looking statements made in this Annual Report are based on circumstances as of the date on which the statements are made. Except as required by law, we undertake no obligation to update publicly any forward-looking statements for any reason after the date of this Annual Report or to conform these statements to actual results or to changes in our expectations.

In addition, statements that “we believe” and similar statements reflect our beliefs and opinions on the relevant subject. These statements are based upon information available to us as of the date of this Annual Report, and while we believe such information forms a reasonable basis for such statements, such information may be limited or incomplete, and our statements should not be read to indicate that we have conducted an exhaustive inquiry into, or review of, all potentially available relevant information. These statements are inherently uncertain and investors are cautioned not to unduly rely upon these statements.

This Annual Report also contains market data, research, industry forecasts and other similar information obtained from or based on industry reports and publications, including information concerning our industry, our business, and the potential markets for our product candidates, including data regarding the estimated size and patient populations of those and related markets, their projected growth rates and the incidence of certain medical conditions, as well as physician and patient practices within the related markets. Such data and information involve a number of assumptions and limitations, and you are cautioned not to give undue weight to such estimates.

You should read this Annual Report with the understanding that our actual future results, levels of activity, performance and achievements may be materially different from what we expect. We qualify all of our forward-looking statements by these cautionary statements.

 

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RISK FACTOR SUMMARY

The success of FibroGen will depend on a number of factors, many of which are beyond our control and involve risks, including but not limited to the following:

Risks Related to the Development and Commercialization of Our Product Candidates

We are substantially dependent on the success of our lead products pamrevlumab and roxadustat.
As a company, we have limited late-stage development and commercialization experience, and the time and resources required to develop such experience are significant.
Drug development and obtaining marketing authorization is a very difficult endeavor and we may ultimately be unable to obtain regulatory approval for our various product candidates in one or more jurisdictions and in one or more indications.
The complete response letter we received from the FDA for roxadustat has decreased the likelihood of approval and successful commercialization of roxadustat in the U.S. and potentially other markets. There is a significant risk that our U.S./Rest of World Collaboration Agreement with AstraZeneca will be amended or terminated.
Preclinical, Phase 1 and Phase 2 clinical trial results may not be indicative of the results that may be obtained in larger clinical trials.
We do not know whether our ongoing or planned clinical trials of roxadustat or pamrevlumab will need to be redesigned based on interim results or if we will be able to achieve sufficient patient enrollment or complete planned clinical trials on schedule.
Our product candidates may cause or have attributed to them undesirable side effects or have other properties that delay or prevent their regulatory approval or limit their commercial potential.
If our manufacturers or we cannot properly manufacture the appropriate volume of product, we may experience delays in development, regulatory approval, launch or successful commercialization.
We face substantial competition in the discovery, development and commercialization of product candidates.
Our product candidates may not achieve adequate market acceptance among physicians, patients, healthcare payors, and others in the medical community necessary for commercial success.

Risks Related to Our Reliance on Third Parties

If our collaborations were terminated or if Astellas or AstraZeneca were to prioritize other initiatives over their collaborations with us, our ability to successfully develop and commercialize our product candidates would suffer.
If our preclinical and clinical trial contractors do not properly perform their agreed upon obligations, we may not be able to obtain or may be delayed in receiving regulatory approvals for our product candidates.
We currently rely, and expect to continue to rely, on third parties to conduct many aspects of our product manufacturing and distribution, and these third parties may terminate these agreements or not perform satisfactorily.
We may experience delays or technical problems associated with technology transfer, scale-up, or validation of our biologics manufacturing.
Certain components of our products are acquired from single-source suppliers or without long-term supply agreements. The loss of these suppliers, or their failure to supply, would materially and adversely affect our business.

Risks Related to Our Intellectual Property

If our efforts to protect our proprietary technologies are not adequate, we may not be able to compete effectively in our market.
Our reliance on third parties and agreements with collaboration partners requires us to share our trade secrets, which increases the possibility that a competitor may discover them or that our trade secrets will be misappropriated or disclosed.
The cost of maintaining our patent protection is high and requires continuous review and diligence. We may not be able to effectively maintain our intellectual property position throughout the major markets of the world.
The laws of some foreign countries do not protect proprietary rights to the same extent as do the laws of the U.S., and we may encounter significant problems in securing and defending our intellectual property rights outside the U.S.

3


 

Risks Related to Government Regulation

The regulatory approval process is highly uncertain and we may not obtain regulatory approval for our product candidates.
Our current and future relationships with customers, physicians, and third-party payors are subject to healthcare fraud and abuse laws, false claims laws, transparency laws, and other regulations. If we are unable to comply with such laws, we could face substantial penalties.
We are subject to stringent and evolving U.S. and foreign laws, regulations, rules, contractual obligations, policies and other obligations related to data privacy and security. Our actual or perceived failure to comply with such obligations could lead to regulatory investigations or actions; litigation; fines and penalties; disruptions of our business operations; reputational harm; loss of revenue or profits; and other adverse business consequences.

Risks Related to Our International Operations

We have established operations in China and are seeking approval to commercialize our product candidates outside of the U.S., and a number of risks associated with international operations could materially and adversely affect our business.
The pharmaceutical industry in China is highly regulated and such regulations are subject to change.
We use our own manufacturing facilities in China to produce roxadustat API and drug product for the market in China. There are risks inherent to operating commercial manufacturing facilities, and with these being our single source suppliers, we may not be able to continually meet market demand.
We may experience difficulties in successfully growing and sustaining sales of roxadustat in China.
The retail prices of any product candidates that we develop will be subject to pricing control in China and elsewhere.
FibroGen Beijing would be subject to restrictions on paying dividends or making other payments to us, which may restrict our ability to satisfy our liquidity requirements.
Our foreign operations, particularly those in China, are subject to significant risks involving the protection of intellectual property.
Uncertainties with respect to the China legal system and regulations could have a material adverse effect on us.
Changes in China’s economic, governmental, or social conditions could have a material adverse effect on our business.

CHINA OPERATIONS AND RELATED RISKS

We are incorporated in the state of Delaware. We operate within the Chinese market through FibroGen (China) Medical Technology Development Co., Ltd. (“FibroGen Beijing”), a wholly-owned subsidiary established in Beijing. FibroGen Beijing consists of development and commercialization operations as well as a drug product manufacturing facility. FibroGen Beijing holds the regulatory licenses issued by the Chinese regulatory authorities in respect of roxadustat. FibroGen Beijing has two branch offices located in Shanghai and Cangzhou, China. The branch office in Cangzhou operates a drug substance manufacturing facility. FibroGen Beijing also owns 51.1% of Beijing Falikang Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. (“Falikang”), a joint venture established by FibroGen and operated in conjunction with AstraZeneca Investment (China) Co., Ltd. for the purpose of distributing our sole drug product approved for sale in China, roxadustat. Falikang conducts distribution activities for roxadustat within China while AstraZeneca Investment (China) Co., Ltd., AstraZeneca AB (“AstraZeneca”) and AstraZeneca (Wuxi) Trading Co., Ltd. provide sales and marketing services in support of roxadustat. Thus, stockholders of FibroGen, Inc. have an ownership interest in the joint venture, Falikang, through the FibroGen, Inc. equity ownership in our subsidiaries, including FibroGen Beijing.

For a full discussion of our business in China, please see the section below titled “China - Roxadustat Commercial Program” as well as the sections titled “ANEMIA ASSOCIATED WITH MYELODYSPLASTIC SYNDROMES” and “CHEMOTHERAPY-INDUCED ANEMIA.” We summarize certain risks associated with our operations in China in this section, however, please refer also to the section of this Annual Report captioned “Item 1A. Risk Factors” for additional risks related to our international operations.

4


 

To operate our business in China, each of our Chinese subsidiaries (and our joint venture with AstraZeneca, Falikang) is required to and does obtain a business license from the local counterpart of the State Administration for Market Regulation. Such business licenses list the business activities we are authorized to carry out and we would be noncompliant if we act outside of the scope of business activities set forth under the relevant business license. Due to China’s regulatory framework in general and for the pharmaceutical industry specifically, we are required to apply for and maintain many approvals or permits specific to many of our business activities, including but not limited to manufacturing, distribution, environmental protection, workplace safety and cybersecurity, from both national and local government agencies. For certain of our clinical trials conducted in China, we need to obtain, through the clinical sites, permits from the Human Genetic Resource Administrative Commission to collect samples that include human genetic resources, such as blood samples. We may also be required to obtain certain approvals from Chinese authorities before transferring certain scientific data abroad or to foreign parties or entities established or actually controlled by them. If we are unable to obtain the necessary approvals or permissions in order to operate our business in China, or if we inadvertently conclude that such approvals or permissions are not required, or if we are subject to additional requirements, approvals, or permissions, it could have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations, our ability to raise capital and the market price of our common stock.

Due to our operations in China and the United States (“U.S.”), any unfavorable government policies on cross-border relations and/or international trade (including increased scrutiny on companies with significant China-based operations, capital controls or tariffs) may affect the competitive position of our drug products, the hiring of personnel, the demand for our drug products, the import or export of products and product components, our ability to raise capital, the market price of our common stock, or prevent us from selling our drug products in certain countries. While we do not operate in an industry that is currently subject to foreign ownership limitations in China, China could decide to limit foreign ownership in our industry, in which case there could be a risk that we would be unable to do business in China as we are currently structured.

Cash flows from Falikang and cash flows into FibroGen Beijing are currently intended to remain onshore in China. Our long-term plans for distributing cash flows from FibroGen Beijing may involve any number of scenarios including keeping the money onshore to fund future expansion of our China operations and paying down certain debt obligations. To date, no such debt repayments have occurred, nor have there been any other payments or distributions from FibroGen Beijing to entities or investors outside of China. Our capital contributions to FibroGen Beijing and the liquidity position of FibroGen Beijing depend on many factors, including those set forth under Part I, Item 1A “Risk Factors” in this Annual Report.

Our independent registered public accounting firm, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, is headquartered in the U.S. and was not identified in the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (“PCAOB”) report dated December 16, 2021 as a firm that the PCAOB was unable to inspect. Therefore, the Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act does not apply to us.

5


 

PART I

ITEM 1. BUSINESS

OVERVIEW

FibroGen, Inc. is a leading biopharmaceutical company discovering, developing and commercializing a pipeline of first-in-class therapeutics. Our lead product candidate and product are pamrevlumab and roxadustat, respectively.

Pamrevlumab, a human monoclonal antibody targeting connective tissue growth factor, is in Phase 3 clinical development for the treatment of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, locally advanced unresectable pancreatic cancer, and Duchenne muscular dystrophy. To date, we have retained exclusive worldwide rights for pamrevlumab.

Roxadustat is an oral small molecule inhibitor of hypoxia-inducible factor prolyl hydroxylase (“HIF-PH”) activity. Roxadustat (爱瑞卓®, EVRENZOTM) is approved in China, Europe, Japan, and numerous other countries for the treatment of anemia in chronic kidney disease (“CKD”) for patients who are on dialysis and not on dialysis.

We are well positioned over the next 18 months to report topline results from seven pivotal clinical studies with two different drug candidates:

Pamrevlumab - our first-in-class antibody developed to inhibit the activity of connective tissue growth factor (“CTGF”), a common factor in fibrotic and fibro-proliferative disorders characterized by persistent and excessive scarring that can lead to organ dysfunction and failure. Our pivotal clinical trials in this indication are:
o
LELANTOS-1, a Phase 3 study of pamrevlumab in non-ambulatory Duchenne muscular dystrophy (“DMD”) – topline data expected in the second quarter of 2023;
o
ZEPHYRUS-1, a Phase 3 study of pamrevlumab in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (“IPF”) – topline data expected in mid-2023;
o
LELANTOS-2, a Phase 3 study of pamrevlumab in ambulatory DMD – topline data expected in the third quarter of 2023;
o
LAPIS, a Phase 3 study of pamrevlumab in locally advanced unresectable pancreatic cancer (“LAPC”) – topline data expected in in the first half of 2024; and
o
ZEPHYRUS-2, a second Phase 3 study of pamrevlumab in IPF – topline data expected in mid-2024.
Roxadustat - our commercial-stage product, an oral small molecule inhibitor of HIF-PH activity that acts by stimulating the body’s natural pathway of erythropoiesis, or red blood cell production. Our pivotal clinical trials in this indication are:
o
MATTERHORN, a Phase 3 study of roxadustat in myelodysplastic syndromes (“MDS”) – topline data expected in the second quarter of 2023; and
o
Phase 3 study in China of roxadustat in chemotherapy-induced anemia (“CIA”) – topline data expected in the second quarter of 2023.

Our goal is to build a diversified pipeline with novel drugs that will address unmet patient needs in oncology, immunology, and fibrosis. We expect to file up to two INDs in the second half of 2023: one for an antibody targeting CCR8; and the other for an antibody targeting Galectin-9.

The following is an overview of our clinical and commercial programs.

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PAMREVLUMAB FOR THE TREATMENT OF FIBROSIS AND CANCER

Our research and discovery work indicate that CTGF is a critical common element in the progression of serious diseases associated with fibrosis.

From our library of human monoclonal antibodies that bind to different parts of the CTGF protein and block various aspects of CTGF biological activity, we selected pamrevlumab, for which we have exclusive worldwide rights. In preclinical studies we demonstrated that pamrevlumab disrupts the fibrosis-promoting activity of CTGF, and based on those data believe that it can inhibit the central role of CTGF in causing diseases associated with fibrosis. Our data to date indicate that pamrevlumab is a promising and highly differentiated product candidate with broad potential to treat a number of fibrotic diseases and cancers.

We have sponsored clinical trials of pamrevlumab in IPF, pancreatic cancer, DMD, liver fibrosis, and diabetic kidney disease. In clinical studies involving more than 1,000 pamrevlumab-treated patients (approximately half of whom were dosed for more than six months), pamrevlumab has been well-tolerated across the range of doses studied, and there have been no dose-limiting toxicities seen thus far.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) has granted Fast Track and Orphan Drug designations to pamrevlumab for the treatment of IPF, LAPC, and DMD (with DMD also receiving Rare Pediatric Disease designation).

To date, we have retained exclusive worldwide rights for pamrevlumab. We are advancing our brand development activities for pamrevlumab in preparation for potential launches in IPF, LAPC and DMD.

In the next 18 months, we expect to report topline results from each of our five ongoing Phase 3 studies of pamrevlumab.

Overview of Fibrosis

Fibrosis is an aberrant response of the body to tissue injury that may be caused by trauma, inflammation, infection, cell injury, or cancer. The normal response to injury involves the activation of cells that produce collagen and other components of the extracellular matrix (“ECM”) that are part of the healing process. This healing process helps to fill in tissue voids created by the injury or damage, segregate infections or cancer, and provide strength to the recovering tissue. Under normal circumstances, where the cause of the tissue injury is limited, the scarring process is self-limited and the scar resolves to approximate normal tissue architecture. However, in certain disease states, this process is prolonged and excessive and results in progressive tissue scarring, or fibrosis, which can cause organ dysfunction and failure as well as, in the case of certain cancers, promote cancer progression.

Excess CTGF levels are associated with fibrosis. CTGF increases the abundance of myofibroblasts, a cell type that drives wound healing, and stimulates them to deposit ECM proteins such as collagen at the site of tissue injury. In the case of normal healing of a limited tissue injury, myofibroblasts eventually die by programmed cell death, or apoptosis, and the fibrous scarring process recedes.

Multiple proteins and signaling pathways have been implicated in the fibrotic process, many of which converge on CTGF, a central mediator of fibrosis. In the case of cancer, tumor-associated fibrotic tissue can promote tumor cell survival and metastasis. CTGF is a secreted glycoprotein produced by fibroblasts, endothelium, mesangial cells and other cell types, including cancers, and is induced by a variety of regulatory modulators, including TGF-ß and VEGF. CTGF expression has been demonstrated to be up-regulated in fibrotic tissues. Thus, we focused on targeting CTGF to block or inhibit its activity to mitigate, stop or reverse tissue fibrosis. In addition, since CTGF is implicated in nearly all forms of fibrosis, we believe pamrevlumab has the potential to provide clinical benefit in a wide range of clinical indications that are characterized by fibrosis.

Until recently, it was believed that fibrosis was an irreversible process. It is now generally understood that the process is dynamic and potentially amenable to reversal. Based on studies in animal models of fibrosis of the liver, kidney, muscle and cardiovascular system, it has been shown that fibrosis can be reversed. It has also been demonstrated in humans that fibrosis caused by hepatitis virus can be reversed (Chang et al. Hepatology (2010)). Additionally, we generated data in human and animal studies suggesting that lung fibrosis progression can be slowed, arrested, or possibly reversed in some instances upon treatment with pamrevlumab.

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IDIOPATHIC PULMONARY FIBROSIS

Understanding IPF and Current Therapies

IPF is a form of progressive pulmonary fibrosis, or abnormal scarring, which destroys the structure and function of the lungs. As tissue scarring progresses in the lungs, transfer of oxygen into the bloodstream is increasingly impaired. Average life expectancy at the time of confirmed diagnosis of IPF is estimated to be between three to five years, with approximately two-thirds of patients dying within five years of diagnosis. Thus, the survival rates are comparable to some of the most deadly cancers. The cause of IPF is unknown but is believed to be related to injury to the alveolar epithelial cells, inflammation and fibrosis.

Patients with IPF experience debilitating symptoms, including shortness of breath and difficulty performing routine functions, such as walking and talking. Other symptoms include chronic dry, hacking cough, fatigue, weakness, discomfort in the chest, loss of appetite, and weight loss. Over the last decade, refinements in diagnosis criteria and enhancements in high-resolution computed tomography imaging technology (“quantitative HRCT”) have enabled more reliable diagnosis of IPF without the need for a lung biopsy.

Based on numerous sources, we estimate the U.S. prevalence and incidence of IPF to be approximately 120,000 cases, and 30,000 new cases per year, respectively, and the global prevalence of IPF to be 330,000 cases (including the major regions of U.S., Europe, Japan, and China. We believe that with the availability of technology to enable more accurate diagnoses, the number of individuals diagnosed per year with IPF will continue to increase.

There are currently two anti-fibrotic therapies approved to treat IPF in Europe and the U.S., pirfenidone and nintedanib, which have shown the commercial potential in IPF with over $4 billion in worldwide sales in 2021. Hoffmann-La Roche (“Roche”) reported worldwide sales of approximately $1.12 billion in 2021 for Esbriet (pirfenidone). Boehringer Ingelheim Pharma GmbH & Co. KG (“Boehringer Ingelheim”) reported total sales of approximately $2.9 billion for Ofev (nintedanib) in 2021.

Phase 3 Clinical Trials of Pamrevlumab in IPF

We are conducting two Phase 3 trials of pamrevlumab in IPF patients, ZEPHYRUS-1 and ZEPHYRUS-2.

Similar to PRAISE, our randomized and completed Phase 2 trial in 101 IPF patients described below, both of these Phase 3 studies are double-blind, placebo-controlled trials with a primary efficacy endpoint of change in forced vital capacity (“FVC”) at 48 weeks. FVC is a lung function test measuring the volume of air exhaled by a patient.

We amended the ZEPHYRUS-2 protocol to harmonize the primary endpoint between the U.S. and Europe as change in FVC. Previously the primary endpoint for Europe was disease progression (as defined below), with change in FVC as a key secondary endpoint. This change makes the primary endpoint for both studies consistent with other recent pivotal trials in IPF that formed the basis of regulatory approval in the U.S. and Europe.

Secondary efficacy endpoints for each study include disease progression (defined by a decline in FVC percent predicted of greater than or equal to 10% or death), acute IPF exacerbation, and quantitative changes in lung fibrosis volume from baseline.

We have completed enrollment of ZEPHYRUS-1, our first Phase 3 trial of pamrevlumab in 356 IPF patients, and we expect topline data from ZEPHYRUS-1 in mid-2023.

We continue to enroll patients in ZEPHYRUS-2, our second Phase 3 trial of pamrevlumab in approximately 340 IPF patients, and we expect topline data from ZEPHYRUS-2 in mid-2024.

Phase 2 Clinical Trial of Pamrevlumab in IPF

Positive results from PRAISE were published in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine (September 2019). PRAISE was designed to evaluate the safety and efficacy of pamrevlumab in patients with mild-to-moderate IPF (baseline FVC percentage predicted of 55%), as well as topline results from two sub-studies that were added to evaluate the safety of combining pamrevlumab with approved IPF therapies.

8


 

In the double-blind, placebo-controlled 48-week portion of this study, 103 patients were randomized (1:1) to receive either 30mg/kg of pamrevlumab or placebo intravenously every three weeks. Lung function assessments were conducted at baseline and at Weeks 12, 24, 36 and 48. Quantitative HRCT assessments of lung fibrosis volume were performed at baseline and at Weeks 24 and 48.

Pamrevlumab met the primary efficacy endpoint of change of FVC percent predicted, a measure of a patient’s lung volume as a percentage of what would be expected for such patient’s age, race, sex and height. The average decline (least squares mean) in FVC percent predicted from baseline to Week 48 was 2.9 in the pamrevlumab arm (n=50) as compared to an average decline of 7.2 in the placebo arm (n=51), a statistically significant difference of 4.33 (p=0.033).

FVC Change by Visit

https://cdn.kscope.io/e12d02abce483a9b8b22f27da95c5765-img63869824_0.jpg 

Pamrevlumab-treated patients had an average decrease (least squares mean) in FVC of 129 ml at Week 48 compared to an average decrease of 308 ml in patients receiving placebo, a statistically significant difference of 178 ml (p=0.0249, using a linear slope analysis in the intent-to-treat population). This represents a 57.9% relative difference. In addition, the pamrevlumab-treated arm had a lower proportion of patients (10%) who experienced disease progression (defined by a decline in FVC percent predicted of greater than or equal to 10% or death), than did the placebo arm (31.4%) at Week 48 (p=0.0103).

Proportion of Patients with Decline in Percentage of Predicted FVC of 10% or Greater, or Death, by Visit

https://cdn.kscope.io/e12d02abce483a9b8b22f27da95c5765-img63869824_1.jpg 

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In this study, we measured change in quantitative lung fibrosis (“QLF”) from baseline to Week 24 and Week 48 using quantitative HRCT. The pamrevlumab arm achieved a statistically significant reduction in the rate of progression of lung fibrosis compared to placebo using HRCT to measure QLF. The change in QLF volume from baseline to Week 24 for pamrevlumab-treated patients was 24.8 ml vs. 86.4 ml for placebo, with a treatment difference of -61.6 ml (p=0.009). The change in QLF volume from baseline to 48 weeks was 75.4 ml in pamrevlumab-treated patients vs. 151.5 ml in patients on placebo, with a treatment difference of -76.2 ml (p=0.038).

Change from Baseline in Volume of Quantitative Lung Fibrosis (mL) in the Intention-to-Treat Population

https://cdn.kscope.io/e12d02abce483a9b8b22f27da95c5765-img63869824_2.jpg 

As in our previous open label Phase 2 study, a correlation between FVC percent predicted and QLF was confirmed at both Weeks 24 and 48 in this study.

We are not aware of any other IPF therapies that have shown a statistically significant effect on lung fibrosis as measured by quantitative HRCT analysis.

The treatment effects of pamrevlumab were demonstrated not only on change in FVC, a measure of pulmonary function and IPF disease progression, and change in fibrosis using quantitative HRCT, but pamrevlumab-treated patients also showed a trend of clinically meaningful improvement in a measure of health-related quality of life using the St. George’s Respiratory Questionnaire vs. a reduction in quality of life seen in placebo patients over the 48 weeks of treatment. The St. George’s Respiratory Questionnaire quality of life measurement has been validated in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. In the subgroup of patients that were evaluated by the UCSD Shortness of Breath Questionnaire, pamrevlumab-treated patients had a significant attenuation of their worsening dyspnea in comparison to placebo patients.

Pamrevlumab was well-tolerated in the placebo-controlled study. The treatment-emergent adverse events were comparable between the pamrevlumab and placebo arms and the adverse events in the pamrevlumab arm were consistent with the known safety profile of pamrevlumab. In this study, as compared with the placebo group, fewer pamrevlumab patients were hospitalized, following an IPF-related or respiratory treatment-emergent adverse event, or died for any reason.

Open-Label Phase 2 Clinical Trial of Pamrevlumab in IPF

Our completed open-label extension of Study 049, a Phase 2 open-label, dose-escalation study to evaluate the safety, tolerability, and efficacy of pamrevlumab in 89 patients with IPF, was consistent with the results from our randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled Phase 2 clinical trial PRAISE. We presented data from our open-label Phase 2 IPF extension study (049) at the International Colloquium on Lung and Airway Fibrosis in November 2016, reporting that no safety issues were observed during prolonged treatment with pamrevlumab.

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PANCREATIC CANCER

Understanding Pancreatic Cancer and Current Therapies

Certain solid malignant tumors have a prominent fibrosis component consisting mostly of ECM that contributes to metastasis and progressive disease. ECM is the connective tissue framework of an organ or tissue.

Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma, or pancreatic cancer, is the third leading cause of cancer deaths in the U.S. According to the American Cancer Society, approximately 64,500 people will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in the U.S. in 2023, and approximately 50,500 people will die of pancreatic cancer. Of all people diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in the U.S. between 2011 and 2017, the 5-year survival rate was 11%. Globally, an estimated 495,000 people were diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2020 and an estimated 466,000 people worldwide died from the disease. Because pancreatic cancer is difficult to diagnose, over 50% of new cased are metastatic, with a five-year survival rate of approximately 3%. An additional 15-20% of new pancreatic cancer patients are diagnosed with localized resectable tumors, with the remaining 30-35% of newly diagnosed patients having localized, unresectable tumors. For those with resectable tumors, 50% survive 17 to 27 months post-diagnosis and ~20% achieve five-year survival. In its report of December 2017, Decision Resources Group estimated that the major market sales (U.S., Europe and Japan) of pancreatic cancer drugs would grow from $1.3 billion in 2016 to approximately $3.7 billion in 2026.

Pancreatic cancer is aggressive and typically not diagnosed until it is largely incurable. Most patients are diagnosed after the age of 45, and according to the American Cancer Society, 94% of patients die within five years from diagnosis. The majority of patients are treated with chemotherapy, but pancreatic cancer is highly resistant to chemotherapy. Approximately 15% to 20% of patients are treated with surgery; however, even for those with successful surgical resection, the median survival is approximately two years, with a five-year survival rate of 15% to 20% (Neesse et al. Gut (2011)). Radiation treatment may be used for locally advanced diseases, but it is not curative.

The duration of effect of approved anti-cancer agents to treat pancreatic cancer is limited. Gemcitabine demonstrated improvement in median overall survival from approximately four to six months, and erlotinib in combination with gemcitabine demonstrated an additional ten days of survival. Nab-paclitaxel in combination with gemcitabine was approved by the FDA in 2013 for the treatment of pancreatic cancer, having demonstrated median survival of 8.5 months. The combination of folinic acid, 5-fluorouracil, irinotecan and oxaliplatin (FOLFIRINOX) was reported to increase survival to 11.1 months from 6.8 months with gemcitabine. These drugs illustrate that progress in treatment for pancreatic cancer has been modest, and there remains a need for substantial improvement in patient survival and quality of life.

The approved chemotherapeutic treatments for pancreatic cancer target the cancer cells themselves. Tumors are composed of cancer cells and associated non-cancer tissue, or stroma, of which ECM is a major component. In certain cancers such as pancreatic cancer, both the stroma and tumor cells produce CTGF which in turn promotes the proliferation and survival of stromal and tumor cells. CTGF also induces ECM deposition that provides advantageous conditions for tumor cell adherence and proliferation, promotes blood vessel formation, or angiogenesis, and promotes metastasis, or tumor cell migration, to other parts of the body.

Pancreatic cancers are generally resistant to powerful chemotherapeutic agents, and there is now growing interest in the use of an anti-fibrotic agent to diminish the supportive role of stroma in tumor cell growth and metastasis. The anti-tumor effects observed with pamrevlumab in preclinical models indicate that it has the potential to inhibit tumor expansion through effects on tumor cell proliferation and apoptosis as well as reduce metastasis.

Phase 3 Clinical Trial in Locally Advanced Unresectable Pancreatic Cancer

LAPIS is our double-blind placebo-controlled Phase 3 clinical program for pamrevlumab as a therapy for LAPC. We completed enrollment of 284 patients, randomized at a 1:1 ratio to receive either pamrevlumab or placebo, in each case in combination with chemotherapy (either FOLFIRINOX or gemcitabine plus nab-paclitaxel). We expect topline data for the primary endpoint of overall survival in the first half of 2024.

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Clinical Development in Metastatic Pancreatic Cancer

In June 2021, the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network’s (PanCAN) Precision PromiseSM adaptive trial platform included pamrevlumab in combination with standard of care chemotherapy treatments for pancreatic cancer (gemcitabine and Abraxane®), in its study for patients with metastatic pancreatic cancer. The pamrevlumab portion of the trial is still ongoing. Drug candidates in the Precision Promise study will continue to progress (including from Phase 2 to Phase 3) unless stopped sooner for safety or futility. The pamrevlumab combination therapy is offered to patients as either a first- or second-line treatment option. Pamrevlumab was the first experimental treatment arm to be offered as a first-line treatment in PanCAN’s innovative Precision Promise trial. The objective of Precision Promise is to expedite the study and approval of promising therapies for pancreatic cancer by bringing multiple stakeholders together, including academic, industry and regulatory entities.

Completed Phase 1/2 Clinical Trial in Locally Advanced Unresectable Pancreatic Cancer

We completed an open-label, randomized (2:1) Phase 1/2 trial (FGC004C-3019-069) of pamrevlumab combined with gemcitabine plus nab-paclitaxel chemotherapy vs. the chemotherapy regimen alone in patients with inoperable LAPC that has not been previously treated. We enrolled 37 patients in this study and completed the six-month treatment period and surgical assessment at the end of 2017. The overall goal of the trial was to determine whether the pamrevlumab combination can convert inoperable pancreatic cancer to operable, or resectable, cancer. Tumor removal is the only chance for cure of pancreatic cancer, but only approximately 15% to 20% of patients are eligible for surgery.

We reported updated results from this study at the American Society of Clinical Oncology Annual Meeting in June 2018. A higher proportion (70.8%) of pamrevlumab-treated patients whose tumors were previously considered unresectable became eligible for surgical exploration than patients who received chemotherapy alone (15.4%), based on pre-specified eligibility criteria at the end of six months of treatment. Furthermore, a higher proportion of pamrevlumab-treated patients (33.3%) achieved surgical resection than those who received chemotherapy alone (7.7%).

In addition, this data showed improved overall survival among patients whose tumors were resected vs. not resected (NE vs. 18.56 months, p-value=0.0141) and a trend toward improved overall survival in patients eligible for surgery vs. patients who were not (27.73 vs. 18.40 months, p-value=0.0766). No increase in serious adverse events was observed in the pamrevlumab arm and no delay in wound healing was observed post-surgery.

Patients with LAPC have a median survival of less than 12 months, only slightly better than patients with metastatic pancreatic cancer, whereas patients with resectable pancreatic cancer have a much better prognosis with median survival of approximately 23 months and some patients being cured. If pamrevlumab in combination with chemotherapy continues to demonstrate an enhanced rate of conversion from unresectable cancer to resectable cancer, it may support the possibility that pamrevlumab could provide a substantial survival benefit for LAPC patients.

Completed Phase 1/2 Clinical Trial in Pancreatic Cancer

We completed an open-label Phase 1/2 (FGCL-MC3019-028) dose finding trial of pamrevlumab combined with gemcitabine plus erlotinib in patients with previously untreated locally advanced (Stage 3) or metastatic (Stage 4) pancreatic cancer. These study results were published in the Journal of Cancer Clinical Trials (Picozzi et al., J Cancer Clin Trials 2017, 2:123). Treatment continued until progression of the cancer or the patient withdrew for other reasons. Patients were then followed until death.

Seventy-five patients were enrolled in this study with 66 (88%) having Stage 4 metastatic cancer. The study demonstrated a drug exposure-related increase in survival. At the lowest doses, no patients survived for even one year while at the highest doses up to 31% of patients survived one year.

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A post-hoc analysis found that there was a significant relationship between survival and trough levels of plasma pamrevlumab measured immediately before the second dose (Cmin). Cmin greater than or equal to 150 µg/mL was associated with significantly improved progression-free survival (p=0.01) and overall survival (p=0.03) vs. those patients with Cmin less than 150 µg/mL. For patients with Cmin >150 µg/mL median survival was 9.0 months compared to median survival of 4.4 months for patients with Cmin <150 µg/mL. Similarly, 34.2% of patients with Cmin >150 µg/mL survived for longer than one year compared to 10.8% for patients with Cmin <150 µg/mL. These data suggest that sufficient blockade of CTGF requires pamrevlumab threshold blood levels of approximately 150 µg/mL in order to improve survival in patients with advanced pancreatic cancer.

In the study, the majority of adverse events were mild to moderate, and were consistent with those observed for erlotinib plus gemcitabine treatment without pamrevlumab. There were 99 treatment-emergent serious adverse events, six of which were assessed as possibly related to the investigational drug by the principal investigator, and 93 as not related to study treatment. After investigation, it was our determination that there is no causal relationship between pamrevlumab and the treatment-emergent serious adverse events deemed possibly related by the principal investigator. We did not identify any evolving dose-dependent pattern, and higher doses of pamrevlumab were not associated with higher numbers of serious adverse events or greater severity of the serious adverse events observed.

DUCHENNE MUSCULAR DYSTROPHY

Understanding DMD and Current Therapies

In the U.S., approximately one in every 5,000 boys have DMD, and approximately 20,000 children are diagnosed with DMD globally each year. There are currently no approved disease-modifying treatments. Despite taking steroids to mitigate progressive loss of muscle function, a majority of children with DMD are non-ambulatory by adolescence and median survival is age 25.

DMD is an inherited disorder of one of the dystrophin genes resulting in absence of the dystrophin protein and abnormal muscle structure and function, leading to progressively diminished mobility as well as pulmonary function and cardiac function, which result in early death. Constant myofiber breakdown results in persistent activation of myofibroblasts and altered production of ECM resulting in extensive fibrosis in skeletal muscles of DMD patients. Desguerre et al. (2009) showed that muscle fibrosis was the only myo-pathologic parameter that significantly correlated with poor motor outcome as assessed by quadriceps muscle strength, manual muscle testing of upper and lower limbs, and age at ambulation loss. Numerous pre-clinical studies including those in the mdx model of DMD suggest that CTGF contributes to the process by which muscle is replaced by fibrosis and fat and that CTGF may also impair muscle cell differentiation during muscle repair after injury.

Phase 3 Clinical Trial of Pamrevlumab

Non-Ambulatory DMD Patients

LELANTOS-1 is our double-blind, placebo-controlled Phase 3 clinical trial evaluating pamrevlumab as a treatment for DMD, in combination with systemic corticosteroids. LELANTOS-1 completed enrollment of 99 non-ambulatory DMD patients randomized at a 1:1 ratio to pamrevlumab or placebo for a treatment period of 52 weeks. The primary endpoint will assess change in upper limb function from baseline to Week 52 and additional endpoints will include pulmonary, cardiac, performance, and fibrosis assessments. We expect topline data from this study in the second quarter of 2023.

Ambulatory DMD Patients

LELANTOS-2 is our double-blind, placebo-controlled Phase 3 trial evaluating pamrevlumab in DMD, in combination with systemic corticosteroids. We completed enrollment of 73 ambulatory patients aged 6-12, randomized at a 1:1 ratio to pamrevlumab or placebo for a treatment period of 52 weeks. The primary efficacy endpoint will assess ambulatory function, measured by the change in North Star Ambulatory Assessment from baseline to Week 52. We expect topline data from this study in the third quarter of 2023.

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Phase 2 Open-Label Clinical Trial of Pamrevlumab in DMD

In June 2019 at the Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy meeting, we reported topline results from this 21-patient open-label single-arm trial in non-ambulatory DMD patients. This one-year administrative analysis compared our Phase 2 data to previously published natural disease history studies of DMD patients. While we cannot make direct comparisons between our trial and previously published data due to, among other things, differences in subject numbers, baseline characteristics, inclusion/exclusion criteria, treatment protocols, and analysis methods, pamrevlumab was well tolerated and compares favorably to published studies for FVC percent predicted and other clinical outcomes.

In pulmonary function tests, the results from our study indicate a potential reduction in the one-year decline in FVC percent predicted from baseline for pamrevlumab-treated patients when compared to FVC data of DMD patients (whether such patients were taking steroids or not) published in 2019 by Ricotti. In addition, pamrevlumab showed less decline in both percent predicted forced expiratory volume as compared to previously published study results of Meier in 2016, and in percent predicted peak expiratory flow rate, compared to what was observed in the study by Ricotti in 2019.

In muscle function tests, the majority of the results of this Phase 2 study showed the mean change from baseline in pamrevlumab-treated patients appeared to be more favorable than previously published data. Our results showed a mean increase in grip-strength score in both dominant and non-dominant hands at one year of treatment with pamrevlumab, while earlier results from a 2015 study by Seferian showed a decline at one year as expected.

ROXADUSTAT FOR THE TREATMENT OF ANEMIA

CHRONIC KIDNEY DISEASE

In collaboration with our partners Astellas Pharma Inc. (“Astellas”) and AstraZeneca, we have completed 16 Phase 3 studies worldwide in over 11,000 patients to support our marketing approvals of roxadustat (爱瑞卓®️, EVRENZOTM) to treat CKD anemia in China, Europe, Japan and numerous other countries.

Roxadustat Mechanism of Action

Roxadustat is an orally administered reversible inhibitor of HIF-PH. Inhibition of prolyl hydroxylase stabilizes HIF, which then forms a complex that initiates transcription of a number of genes involved in the erythropoietic process. This in turn stimulates a coordinated response that includes the increase of plasma endogenous erythropoietin (“EPO”) levels and reduction of hepcidin, a key regulator of iron homeostasis, ultimately resulting in increased oxygen delivery to tissues.

In anemia of CKD, roxadustat temporarily inhibits HIF-PH, stimulating a coordinated erythropoietic response.

Patients taking roxadustat typically have a transient increase in circulating endogenous EPO levels at peak concentration within or near the physiologic range naturally experienced by humans adapting to hypoxic conditions such as at high altitude, following blood donation, or impaired lung function, such as pulmonary edema.

By contrast, erythropoiesis stimulating agents (“ESAs”) act only to stimulate erythroid maturation without a corresponding increase in iron availability, and are typically dosed at well above the natural physiologic range of EPO. The sudden demand for iron stimulated by ESA-induced erythropoiesis can lead to functional or absolute iron deficiency. In addition, the lack of a coordinated increase in iron availability with ESAs may explain the hyporesponsiveness of patients with inflammation to this class of drugs. It also explains why patients taking ESAs need more IV iron supplementation and red blood cell transfusions than patients taking roxadustat do. Not only are IV iron and blood transfusions more costly than oral iron, but both are also associated with increased risk of hospitalization and death.

The differentiated mechanism of action of roxadustat, which involves induction of the body’s own natural pathways to achieve a more complete erythropoiesis, has the potential to provide a safe and effective treatment for anemia, including in the presence of inflammation, which normally limits iron availability.

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Background of Anemia in Chronic Kidney Disease

CKD is a progressive disease characterized by gradual loss of kidney function that may eventually lead to kidney failure or end-stage renal disease requiring dialysis or a kidney transplant to survive. CKD affects 12% to 14% of the global adult population. CKD is more prevalent in developed countries but is also growing rapidly in emerging markets such as China.

Anemia is a complication of CKD and can be a serious medical condition in which patients have insufficient red blood cells and low levels of hemoglobin, a protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen to cells throughout the body. Anemia becomes increasingly common as kidney function declines and is associated with increased risk of hospitalization, cardiovascular complications and death, and frequently causes significant fatigue, cognitive dysfunction, and considerable reduction of quality of life.

China – Roxadustat Commercial Program

Since the launch of roxadustat (tradename: 爱瑞卓®) in 2019, the anemia of CKD market has expanded significantly. Roxadustat has captured a majority of this growth, benefiting from inclusion in the 2019 and 2021 National Reimbursement Drug Lists.

In 2022, roxadustat sales volume grew over 80% and it was the top CKD anemia brand in China with a 34% value share within the segment of ESAs and HIF-PH inhibitors. Roxadustat remains the only HIF-PH inhibitor currently on the market in China and we have seen broad adoption across the three segments of hemodialysis, peritoneal dialysis, and non-dialysis.

In 2023, we expect continued and robust growth of roxadustat sales in China due to continued adoption by patients and doctors. Multiple treatment guidelines and expert consensus in China describe or recommend HIF-PH inhibitors as a treatment for CKD anemia - and roxadustat specifically. We believe this increased awareness and confidence in the class will provide strong support for continued expansion of roxadustat sales.

We have established significant clinical experience and market leadership in treating CKD anemia in China, and we believe roxadustat has become the standard of care for the treatment of anemia in CKD in China. In 2023, we will focus on expanding the population treated with roxadustat, as well as duration of treatment which we believe is important to managing the risks associated with anemia in CKD.

Europe - Roxadustat Commercial Program

In Europe, our partner Astellas continues the commercial launch of EVRENZO® (roxadustat). EVRENZO is approved for the treatment of anemia associated with CKD in both non-dialysis and dialysis patients. EVRENZO is the only HIF-PH inhibitor currently on the market in Europe. In 2023, we expect sales of roxadustat for CKD anemia in Europe to accelerate due to reimbursement and launches in additional European countries.

Japan - Roxadustat Commercial Program

In Japan, our partner Astellas continues the commercial launch of EVRENZO (roxadustat), targeting healthcare providers that care for approximately 330,000 dialysis patients across Japan. EVRENZO is approved for the treatment of anemia associated with CKD in both non-dialysis and dialysis patients. The supplemental NDA for the use of roxadustat in patients with anemia of CKD not on dialysis was approved in November 2020 by the Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices Agency. EVRENZO is one of five HIF-PH inhibitors currently on the market in Japan.

United States - Roxadustat Development

There are approximately 39 million CKD patients in the U.S., an estimated six million of whom have anemia.

When ESAs were introduced in 1989, they dramatically reduced the need for blood transfusions in CKD patients, which was a material development since transfusions reduce the patient’s opportunity for a kidney transplant and increase the risk of infections and complications such as heart failure and allergic reactions. However, multiple randomized clinical trials with ESAs suggested safety risks of ESA therapies, and as a result, the anemia guidelines and approved labels have changed to more restrictive use of ESAs.

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In the dialysis-dependent population, most patients start receiving ESAs when the patient is transitioning to dialysis care. As of the end of 2018, there were over 550,000 CKD patients on dialysis in the U.S., a large majority of whom required anemia therapy.

There were approximately 127,000 incident dialysis patients in 2018. Despite the higher risk of blood transfusions, cardiovascular events, and hospitalization in patients with anemia, only 14.6% of patients in 2018 were treated with ESAs prior to initiating dialysis notwithstanding a mean hemoglobin level of 9.3 g/dL at the time of dialysis initiation. These treatment figures at the time of dialysis initiation demonstrate how undertreated CKD anemia is currently in non-dialysis patients.

In August 2021, the U.S. FDA issued a CRL regarding roxadustat’s NDA for the treatment of anemia due to CKD in adult patients, stating that it could not be approved in its present form.

ANEMIA ASSOCIATED WITH MYELODYSPLASTIC SYNDROMES

MDS is a diverse group of bone marrow disorders characterized by ineffective production of healthy blood cells and premature destruction of blood cells in the bone marrow, leading to anemia. In most MDS patients, the cause of the disease is unknown.

The prevalence of MDS in the U.S. is estimated to be between 60,000 and 170,000, and continues to rise as more therapies become available and patients are living longer with MDS. Annual incidence rates are estimated to be 4.9/100,000 adults in the U.S., and 1.51/100,000 adults in China.

Anemia is the most common clinical presentation in MDS, seen in approximately 80% of MDS patients, and producing symptoms, including fatigue, weakness, exercise intolerance, shortness of breath, dizziness, and cognitive impairment.

Limitations of the Current Standard of Care for Anemia in Myelodysplastic Syndromes

Stem cell transplant is the only potentially curative therapy for MDS, but it is not feasible in most patients due to their advanced age and frailty. The high rate of severe anemia leaves recurring red blood cell transfusions as the mainstay of care in MDS patients. Transfusion can result in direct organ damage through transfusional iron overload. Transfusion dependent MDS patients suffer higher rates of cardiac events, infections and transformation to acute leukemia, and a decreased overall survival rate when compared with non-transfused patients with MDS, and decreased survival compared to an age-matched elderly population. Patients receiving red blood cell transfusions may require an iron chelator in order to address toxic elements of iron overload such as lipid peroxidation and cell membrane, protein, DNA, and organ damage.

Lower-risk MDS patients represent approximately 77% of the total diagnosed MDS population. Most national and international guidelines recommend use of ESAs for anemia only in lower-risk MDS patients presenting with symptomatic anemia with serum EPO levels at or below 500 mU/mL.

Even among the eligible subpopulation, the effectiveness of ESAs in treating anemia in MDS remains limited, with the best clinical study results showing 40% to 60% erythroid response rates, in studies where significantly high doses of ESAs were used, enrolled patients had low serum EPO levels, and in lower-risk categories. New strategies to broaden the eligible population, improve anemia and maintain adequate iron balance, as well as avoidance of transfusions, are highly desired in managing patients with MDS.

Market Opportunity for Roxadustat in Myelodysplastic Syndromes

We believe there is a significant need for a safer, more effective, and more convenient option to address anemia in patients with lower-risk MDS. Roxadustat, our orally administered small molecule HIF-PH inhibitor, stimulates the body’s natural mechanism of red blood cell production and iron hemostasis based on cellular-level oxygen-sensing and iron-regulation mechanisms. Unlike ESAs which are limited to providing exogenous EPO, roxadustat activates a coordinated erythropoietic response in the body that includes the stimulation of red blood cell progenitors, an increase in the body’s production of endogenous EPO, and an increase in iron availability for hemoglobin synthesis, which we believe is important in a broad range of MDS patients. Moreover, in anemia of CKD, roxadustat has demonstrated the ability in clinical trials to increase and maintain hemoglobin levels in the presence of inflammation as measured by CRP, where ESAs have shown limited effect. We believe that roxadustat has the potential to replicate this result in MDS anemia patients, where it is not uncommon for patients to present with autoimmune and inflammatory conditions.

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Phase 3 Clinical Trial in Myelodysplastic Syndromes

We completed enrollment of the Phase 3 arm of MATTERHORN, our Phase 2/3 placebo-controlled, double-blind clinical trial of roxadustat for the treatment of anemia in MDS in the U.S. and Europe. The Phase 3 portion of this trial is studying roxadustat in 140 transfusion-dependent, lower-risk MDS patients, in which subjects are randomized 3:2 to receive roxadustat or placebo three-times-weekly. The primary endpoint is the proportion of patients who achieve transfusion independence for 56 consecutive days within the first 28 weeks with secondary endpoints and safety evaluated at 52 weeks. We expect topline 28-Week data from this study in the second quarter of 2023.

CHEMOTHERAPY-INDUCED ANEMIA

As blood cell production in bone marrow is highly prolific, it is particularly vulnerable to the cytotoxic effects of chemotherapy used to treat cancer patients. Many chemotherapy agents directly impair hematopoiesis in bone marrow, including disruption of red blood cell production. The nephrotoxic effects of some cytotoxic agents, such as platinum-containing agents, can also result in decreased production of erythropoietin by the kidneys, further contributing to reduced red blood cell production. Radiation therapy has also been associated with hematologic toxicity.

Approximately 40% of total solid tumor cancer patients, or approximately 6.8 million people, undergo chemotherapy each year globally, including 3.2 million in China. Between 60% and 80% of these patients develop anemia. The incidence and severity of CIA depend on a variety of factors, including the tumor type or the level of toxicity of the therapy, and further increases with each successive chemotherapy round. We believe the addressable population is approximately 500,000 in China.

ESAs have been recommended for patients experiencing CIA with the desirable goals of improvement in anemia-related symptoms and the avoidance of blood transfusion, which increases risk of infections and the risk of complications such as heart failure and allergic reactions. However, not all CIA patients respond to ESA therapy, which may be due to the etiology of their CIA or inflammatory comorbidity. ESA use also has associated toxicities, including increased thrombotic events, possible decreased survival and accelerated tumor progression, as published from randomized clinical trials and meta-analyses, that led to label restrictions and boxed warnings in the U.S. for ESAs in cancer populations in 2007, followed by the ESA Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy program.

Market Opportunity for Roxadustat in Chemotherapy-Induced Anemia

China has 4-5 million solid tumor patients, of which approximately 75% receive chemotherapy. Of that population, an estimated 50% (over 1.5 million patients) become anemic, and among them, 40% are considered moderate to severe, defined as Hb < 10 g/dL. This addressable population is largely untreated, with an ESA usage rate of under 10%. We further estimate that the population where anemia has led to chemotherapy dose reduction or delay is around 20-25%.

We believe this population could benefit from treatment with roxadustat, and the oral administration of HIF-PH inhibitors for this very sick population could be a particularly attractive feature over ESAs.

Phase 3 Clinical Trial in Chemotherapy-Induced Anemia

We have completed enrollment of our active-controlled Phase 3 clinical trial in China of roxadustat in CIA for non-myeloid malignancies. The primary efficacy endpoint is the mean change in hemoglobin level from baseline to the level averaged over Weeks 9-13. This trial has enrolled 159 subjects and we expect topline data from this study in the second quarter of 2023.

Phase 2 Clinical Trial in Chemotherapy-Induced Anemia

The results of WHITNEY, the Phase 2 clinical trial of roxadustat in CIA in the U.S., was published by the American Journal of Hematology in January 2023. This study provided the basis for the study design for the China Phase 3 study.

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RESEARCH AT FIBROGEN

Our research programs at FibroGen are grounded in our three areas of expertise: HIF biology, 2-oxoglutarate enzymology, and CTGF biology. More recently, we added two immuno-oncology programs via a partnership with HiFiBiO Therapeutics (“HiFiBiO”) and are actively working to further expand the preclinical pipeline in our therapeutic focus areas of oncology, immunology, and fibrosis.

We have applied our expertise in the field of HIF-PH inhibition to develop an understanding of other areas of HIF biology with important therapeutic implications. This consistent progression of discovery has led to findings relating to HIF-mediated effects associated with inflammatory pathways, various aspects of iron metabolism, insulin sensitivity and glucose and fat metabolism, neurological disease, and ischemic injury. There are at least three different HIF-PH enzymes that are known to regulate the stability of HIF — these enzymes are commonly referred to in the scientific literature as PHD1, PHD2 and PHD3. Studies of genetically modified mice, in which the individual HIF-PH enzymes have been deleted, have revealed that PHD2 plays the major role in regulation of erythropoiesis by HIF. In contrast, PHD1 and PHD3 appear to play less important roles in HIF-mediated erythropoiesis, but instead have been implicated in other important biological pathways. We believe that both pan-PHD and PHD-selective inhibitors could have important therapeutic applications beyond anemia.

The HIF-PH enzymes that are the targets of roxadustat belong to a broader family of enzymes known as 2-oxoglutarate (“2OG”)-dependent oxygenases. In humans, this family comprises more than 60 members that play important roles in a diverse range of biological processes including collagen biosynthesis, oxygen sensing, epigenetic regulation, nucleic acid modification/repair, and lipid metabolism. The first members of this enzyme family to be characterized were the collagen prolyl hydroxylases, which play a critical role in the biosynthesis of collagen and as a result, are potential targets for the treatment of fibrotic disease. Other members of the 2OG-dependent oxygenase family with relevance to human disease include the Jumonji domain-containing histone demethylases, which are emerging cancer targets.

The fact that all members of the 2OG-dependent oxygenase enzyme family use 2OG as a co-substrate makes them viable targets for small molecule inhibitors that compete with 2OG. FibroGen has been a leader in inhibition of enzymes belonging to this family, and our internal medicinal chemistry efforts generated a library of novel compounds designed to target the 2OG-dependent oxygenase family.

We are also applying our knowledge of CTGF to investigate new clinical opportunities for pamrevlumab. We are exploring additional indications in which CTGF-driven fibrosis has been implicated in disease progression and mortality, as well as expanded cancer subtypes for which CTGF biology has been shown to support tumor survival and metastasis.

More recently we in-licensed two preclinical immuno-oncology assets. The first is FG-3165, an antibody that inhibits Galectin-9, a secreted protein implicated in suppression of anti-tumor immune response in multiple solid tumors, and shown to be a driver of cancer progression in acute myeloid leukemia. The other is FG-3163, an antibody targeting the CCR8 protein designed to deplete immune suppressive T regulatory cells from the tumor microenvironment. Multiple preclinical studies demonstrated that depletion of T regulatory cells in solid tumors results in enhanced immune response and reduction in tumor size, particularly when combined with immune checkpoint inhibition. We expect to file INDs for up to two of these programs in the second half of 2023.

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COLLABORATIONS

Collaboration Partnerships for Roxadustat

Our revenue to date has been generated primarily from our collaboration agreements with Astellas and AstraZeneca for the development and commercialization of roxadustat. In addition, we started roxadustat commercial sales in China in 2019. For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2022, 40% of our revenue was related to our collaboration agreements, and 59% of our revenue was from roxadustat commercial sales in China. For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2021, 76% of our revenue was related to our collaboration agreements, and 20% of our revenue was from roxadustat commercial sales in China. For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2020, 59% of our revenue was related to our collaboration agreements, and 41% of our revenue was from roxadustat commercial sales in China.

Astellas

We have two agreements with Astellas for the development and commercialization of roxadustat, one for Japan, and one for Europe, the Commonwealth of Independent States, the Middle East and South Africa. Under these agreements, we provided Astellas the right to develop and commercialize roxadustat for anemia in these territories.

We share responsibility with Astellas for clinical development activities required for U.S. and Europe regulatory approval of roxadustat, and equally share those development costs under the agreed development plan for such activities. Astellas will be responsible for clinical development activities and all associated costs required for regulatory approval in all other countries in the Astellas territories. Astellas will hold and have responsibility for regulatory filings in its territories. We are responsible, either directly or through our contract manufacturers, for the manufacture and supply of all quantities of roxadustat to be used in development and commercialization under the agreements, other than roxadustat drug product for Japan. Astellas is responsible for roxadustat commercialization activities in the Astellas territories.

AstraZeneca

We have two agreements with AstraZeneca for the development and commercialization of roxadustat for anemia, one for China (the “AstraZeneca China Agreement”), and one for the U.S. and all other countries not previously licensed to Astellas (the “AstraZeneca U.S./RoW Agreement”). Under these agreements, we provided AstraZeneca the right to develop and commercialize roxadustat for anemia in these territories. We share responsibility with AstraZeneca for clinical development activities required for U.S. regulatory approval of roxadustat, and FibroGen will transfer the U.S. NDA to AstraZeneca upon approval. AstraZeneca will hold the equivalent regulatory filings in the other licensed countries.

Under the AstraZeneca China Agreement, which is conducted through FibroGen China Anemia Holdings, Ltd., FibroGen Beijing, and FibroGen International (Hong Kong) Limited (collectively, “FibroGen China”), the commercial collaboration was structured as a 50/50 profit share, which was amended by the AstraZeneca China Amendment in the third quarter of 2020, as discussed and defined below.

In 2020, we entered into Master Supply Agreement under the AstraZeneca U.S./RoW Agreement to define general forecast, order, supply and payment terms for AstraZeneca to purchase roxadustat bulk drug product from FibroGen in support of commercial supplies.

In July 2020, FibroGen China and AstraZeneca entered into an amendment, effective July 1, 2020, to the AstraZeneca China Agreement, relating to the development and commercialization of roxadustat in China (the “AstraZeneca China Amendment”).

Under the AstraZeneca China Amendment, in September 2020, FibroGen Beijing and AstraZeneca completed the establishment of a jointly owned entity, Beijing Falikang Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. (“Falikang”), which performs roxadustat distribution, as well as conduct sales and marketing through AstraZeneca.

FibroGen Beijing manufactures and supplies commercial product to Falikang based on an agreed upon transfer price, which includes a gross transfer price, net of a calculated profit share. Revenue is recognized upon the transfer of control of commercial products to Falikang in an amount that reflects the allocation of transaction price of the China manufacturing and supply obligation to the performance obligation satisfied during the reporting period.

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Additional Information Related to Collaboration Agreements

Additional information related to our collaboration agreements is set forth in Item 7 of this Annual Report, and Note 3, Collaboration Agreements, License Agreement and Revenues, to our consolidated financial statements under Item 8 of this Annual Report. Information about collaboration partners that accounted for more than 10% of our total revenue or accounts receivable for the last three fiscal years is set forth in Note 15, Segment and Geographic Information, to our consolidated financial statements under Item 8 of this Annual Report.

HiFiBiO

In June 2021, we entered into an exclusive license and option agreement with HiFiBiO, pursuant to which we exclusively licensed from HiFiBiO all product candidates in HiFiBiO’s Galectin-9 program and subsequently exclusively licensed all product candidates in HiFiBiO’s CCR8 program. In addition to the upfront payments we previously paid, HiFiBiO may receive up to a total of $345 million in future clinical, regulatory, and commercial milestone payments for each program. HiFiBiO will also be eligible to receive tiered royalties based upon worldwide net sales. We expect to file INDs for up to two of these programs in the second half of 2023.

Licensing Activities

Exclusive License with Eluminex

In July 2021, we exclusively licensed to Eluminex Biosciences (Suzhou) Limited (“Eluminex”) global rights to our investigational biosynthetic cornea derived from recombinant human collagen type III. FibroGen may receive up to a total of $64.0 million in future manufacturing, clinical, regulatory, and commercial milestone payments for the biosynthetic cornea program, as well as $36.0 million in commercial milestones for the first recombinant collagen III product that is not the biosynthetic cornea. FibroGen will be eligible to receive mid-single-digit to low double-digit royalties based upon worldwide net sales of cornea products, and low single-digit to mid-single-digit royalties based on worldwide net sales of other recombinant human collagen type III products that are not cornea products.

We received an $8.0 million upfront payment from Eluminex in 2022 and have billed a $3.0 million milestone in the first quarter of 2023 based on Eluminex implanting a biosynthetic cornea in the first patient of its clinical trial in China. Additional information related to the Eluminex license revenue is set forth in Note 3, Collaboration Agreements, License Agreement and Revenues, to our consolidated financial statements under Item 8 of this Annual Report.

Strategic Financing Agreement

On November 4, 2022, we entered into a revenue interest financing agreement (“RIFA”) with an affiliate of NovaQuest Capital Management (“NovaQuest”) with respect to our revenues from Astellas’ sales of roxadustat in Europe, Japan and the other Astellas territories.

Pursuant to the RIFA, we received $49.8 million from NovaQuest, representing the gross proceeds of $50.0 million net of initial issuance costs, in consideration for a portion of future revenues we will receive from Astellas. For additional details about this financing transaction, see Note 8, Liability Related to Sale of Future Revenues, to the consolidated financial statements.

COMPETITION

The pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries are highly competitive, particularly in some of the indications of our developing drug candidates, including anemia in CKD, IPF, pancreatic cancer, and DMD. We face competition from multiple other pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, many of which have significantly greater financial, technical and human resources and experience in product development, manufacturing and marketing. These potential advantages of our competitors are particularly a risk in IPF, pancreatic cancer, and DMD, where we do not currently have a development or commercialization partner.

We expect any products that we develop and commercialize to compete based on, among other things, efficacy, safety, convenience of administration and delivery, price, the level of generic competition, and the availability of reimbursement from government and other third-party payors.

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When any of our product candidates are approved, they will compete with currently marketed products, and product candidates that may be approved for marketing in the future, for treatment of the indications described below.

In addition, we will likely face competition from other companies developing treatments of other anemia indications that we may also seek to pursue in the future or that may be sold in indications we are pursuing but for which they are not yet approved. We may face competition for patient recruitment, enrollment for clinical trials, and potentially in commercial sales. There may also be new therapies for renal-related diseases that could limit the market or level of reimbursement available for roxadustat.

Roxadustat

Approved Medicines

Drugs that will compete with roxadustat are expected to include ESAs, particularly in those patient segments where ESAs are used. Currently available ESAs include epoetin alfa (EPOGEN®, marketed by Amgen Inc. in the U.S., Procrit® and Erypo®/Eprex®, marketed by Johnson & Johnson, Inc., and Espo® marketed by Kyowa Hakko Kirin in Japan and China), darbepoetin (Amgen/Kyowa Hakko Kirin’s Aranesp® and NESP®) and Mircera® marketed by Roche outside the U.S. and by Vifor Pharma, a Roche licensee, in the U.S. and Puerto Rico, as well as biosimilar versions of these currently marketed ESA products. ESAs have been used in the treatment of anemia in CKD for more than 30 years, serving a significant majority of dialysis patients. While non-dialysis CKD anemia patients who are not under the care of nephrologists, including those with diabetes and hypertension, do not typically receive ESAs and are often left untreated, some non-dialysis patients under nephrology or hematology care may be receiving ESA therapy. It may be difficult to encourage healthcare providers and patients to switch to roxadustat from products with which they have become familiar.

Biosimilars

The first biosimilar ESA, Pfizer’s Retacrit® (epoetin zeta), entered the U.S. market in November 2018. Market penetration of Retacrit and the potential addition of other biosimilar ESAs currently under development may alter the competitive and pricing landscape of anemia therapy in CKD patients on dialysis under the end-stage renal disease bundle. The patents for Amgen’s EPOGEN® (epoetin alfa) expired in 2004 in Europe, and the final material patents in the U.S. expired in May 2015. Several biosimilar versions of currently marketed ESAs are available for sale in Europe, China and other territories. In the U.S., a few ESA biosimilars are currently under development. Sandoz, a division of Novartis, markets Binocrit® (epoetin alfa) in Europe and may file a biosimilar Biologics License Application in the U.S.

Product Candidates in Development

We may also face competition from potential new anemia therapies currently on the market or in clinical development, including in those patient segments not adequately addressed by ESAs. Companies that are currently developing HIF-PH inhibitors for anemia in CKD indications include GlaxoSmithKline plc (“GSK”), Bayer Corporation (“Bayer”), Akebia Therapeutics, Inc. (“Akebia”), Otsuka Pharmaceutical, Akebia’s partner in the U.S. and Europe, Japan Tobacco, and Zydus Lifesciences Ltd. (formerly known as Cadila Healthcare Ltd.) (India) (“Zydus”). In March 2021, Akebia submitted an NDA to the FDA for vadadustat for the treatment of anemia due to CKD in patients on dialysis and not on dialysis. On March 30, 2022, Akebia announced that it received a Complete Response Letter from the FDA for vadadustat for the treatment of anemia due to CKD. In November of 2022, Akebia announced that it had filed a Formal Dispute Resolution Request related to the CRL for vadadustat. In October 2021, Otsuka Pharmaceutical submitted an initial marketing authorization application to the EMA for vadadustat for the treatment of anemia associated with CKD in adults. In June 2022, Akebia announced that it had regained rights to vadadustat in various territories, including Europe, upon termination of the Collaboration and License Agreement with Otsuka Pharmaceutical.

GSK announced in February 2023 that the FDA approved daprodustat to treat anemia of CKD in adults who have been receiving dialysis for at least four months. GSK’s marketing authorization application for daprodustat is pending with the EMA.

Japan

In Japan, roxadustat faces the following competitive drugs being sold for the treatment of anemia in CKD for patients who are on dialysis and not on dialysis: vadadustat by Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharmaceutical Corporation, Akebia’s collaboration partner, daprodustat by GSK and its partner Kyowa Hakko Kirin, molidustat by Bayer, and enarodustat by Japan Tobacco (to be sold by Torii Pharmaceuticals Ltd).

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China

In China, ESA is considered the standard of care for the treatment of anemia in CKD, and locally manufactured epoetin alfa is offered by 15 local manufacturers including the market leader EPIAO that is marketed by 3SBio Inc. We may face potential competition from other HIF-PH inhibitors. Companies active in the U.S. such as Akebia, Bayer, and GSK have been authorized by the National Medical Products Administration (“NMPA”) to conduct trials in China to support their ex-China regulatory filings. A number of domestic companies, including Jiangsu Hengrui Medicine Co., Ltd., Nicoya Therapeutics (Shanghai) Co. Ltd (licensed from Guandong Sunshine Health Investment Co., Ltd.), 3SBio Inc., and Hangzhou Andao Pharmaceutical Co., have been permitted by the NMPA to conduct clinical trials in their locally developed HIF-PH inhibitor investigational compounds for the treatment of anemia in CKD. Domestic companies are also in-licensing global compounds to be developed as domestic drugs, including China Medical System which in-licensed Desidustat, a compound that is approved in India, from Zydus for greater China in January 2020. In January 2021, China Medical System Holdings Ltd. was granted approval by the Chinese NMPA to begin trials for Desidustat in patients with anemia of CKD, including dialysis and non-dialysis patients. Shenzhen Salubris Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd., a domestic company in China, in-licensed Enarodustat from Japan Tobacco and received NMPA approval in the third quarter of 2020 to initiate Phase 3 studies. We will also face competition from generics who could enter the market after expiry of our patents in China, and two potential market players have already started bioequivalence studies, including Chia Tai-Tiangqing Pharmaceutical Holdings and CSPA Pharmaceutical Group.

CIA and MDS

Reblozyl® (luspatercept) was approved by the FDA in April 2020 for the treatment of anemia in adults with MDS with ring sideroblasts or myelodysplastic/myeloproliferative neoplasms with ring sideroblasts and thrombocytosis who need regular red blood cell transfusions and have not responded well to or cannot receive an ESA. It is the first and only erythroid maturation agent approved in the U.S., Europe, and Canada and is part of a global collaboration between Acceleron Pharma, Inc. and Bristol Myers Squibb. In addition, Geron Corporation recently released positive data from its ongoing Phase 3 clinical trial of imetelstat in lower risk MDS.

Large Dialysis Organizations

The majority of the current CKD anemia market focuses on dialysis patients who visit dialysis centers on a regular basis, typically three times a week, and are administered anemia therapies as part of the visit. Collectively, DaVita Healthcare Partners Inc. (“DaVita”) and Fresenius Medical Care AG & Co. KGaA (“Fresenius”), two of the largest operators of dialysis clinics in the U.S., provide dialysis care to more than 80% of U.S. dialysis patients, and have historically executed long-term contracts including rebate terms with Amgen. Successful penetration in this market will likely require our partner AstraZeneca to enter into a definitive agreement with Fresenius, DaVita, or other dialysis organizations, on favorable pricing terms and on a timely basis.

Pamrevlumab

We are currently in Phase 3 development of pamrevlumab in IPF, LAPC, metastatic pancreatic cancer, and DMD. Most of our competitors have significantly more resources and expertise in development, commercialization and manufacturing, particularly due to the fact that we have not yet established a partnership for pamrevlumab. For example, both Roche and Boehringer Ingelheim, which market products for the treatment of IPF in the U.S., have successfully developed and commercialized drugs in various indications and have built sales organizations that we do not currently have; both have more resources and more established relationships when competing with us for patient recruitment and enrollment for clinical trials or, if we are approved, in the market.

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Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis

If approved and launched commercially to treat IPF, pamrevlumab is expected to compete with Roche’s Esbriet® (pirfenidone), and Boehringer Ingelheim’s Ofev® (nintedanib). It may be difficult to encourage treatment providers and patients to switch to pamrevlumab from an oral product with which they are already familiar to a product delivered via in-office infusion. Furthermore, there are multiple generic alternatives of pirfenidone in the U.S. and nintedanib may be produced as a generic in the near future. We may also face competition from potential new IPF therapies in recruitment and enrollment in our clinical trials and potentially in commercialization.

Pamrevlumab is a monoclonal antibody that may be more expensive and less convenient than oral small molecules such as nintedanib and pirfenidone. Other potential competitive product candidates in various stages of development for IPF include Boehringer Ingelheim’s BI 1015550. Boehringer Ingelheim enrolled its first patient in the fourth quarter of 2022 in its Phase 3 trial of BI 1015550, a novel investigational phosphodiesterase 4B (PDE4B) inhibitor of IPF. Roche has discontinued its Phase 3 trial evaluating the efficacy and safety of PRM-151, a recombinant human pentraxin-2 (rhPTX-2), compared to placebo in patients with IPF. United Therapeutics Corporation is enrolling patients in its Phase 3 trial of treprostinil in IPF.

Pancreatic Cancer

We are developing pamrevlumab to be used in combination with chemotherapy (either FOLFIRINOX or gemcitabine plus nab-paclitaxel) in pancreatic cancer. If approved, we would face competition from Celgene’s Abraxane® (nab-paclitaxel), gemcitabine, and FOLFIRINOX, a combination chemotherapy regimen of folic acid, 5-fluouracil, oxaliplatin and irinotecan. Gemcitabine and/or nab-paclitaxel are the current standard of care in the first-line treatment of metastatic pancreatic cancer. In 2015, Merrimack Pharmaceuticals Inc. (“Merrimack”) received FDA approval for the use of ONIVYDE (irinotecan liposome injection, acquired by Ipsen in 2017) for the treatment of patients with metastatic adenocarcinoma of the pancreas after disease progression following gemcitabine-based therapy, and the combination therapy with Abraxane and gemcitabine became the first-line standard of care in these patients. As treatments for pancreatic cancer have shown limited success to date, combination therapies are expected, but the incremental cost may slow a new product adoption in the market, at least until the generic versions of Abraxane becomes available. In addition, we may also face competition from other agents seeking approval in combination with gemcitibine and nab-paclitaxel such as Rafael Pharma’s defactinib/CPI-613 and Merrimack’s istiratumab.

Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy

If approved and launched commercially to treat DMD, pamrevlumab is expected to face competition from drugs that have been approved in major markets such as the U.S., European Union, and Japan.

Sarepta Therapeutics Inc.’s (“Sarepta”) Exondys 51TM (eteplirsen) is approved in the U.S. to treat patients who have a mutation of the dystrophin gene amenable to exon 51 skipping, representing approximately 13% of patients with DMD. In Europe, Sarepta received a negative opinion for its marketing application for eteplirsen from the EMA in September 2018. Sarepta’s Vyondys 53TM (golodirsen) is approved in the U.S. for patients with a confirmed genetic mutation that is amenable to exon 53 skipping, which accounts for approximately 8% of the DMD population. Sarepta’s Amondys 45™ (casimersen) is approved in the U.S. for patients with a confirmed genetic mutation that is amenable to exon 45 skipping, which accounts for approximately 8% of the DMD population. Sarepta filed a Biologics License Application for the accelerated approval of SRP-9001 (delandistrogene moxeparvovec) to treat ambulant patients with DMD and has a May 2023 Prescription Drug User Fee Act date.

PTC Therapeutics’ product TranslarnaTM (ataluren) received a conditional approval in Europe in 2014, which was renewed in November 2016 with a request for a new randomized placebo-controlled 18-month study by the Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use of the EMA; however, the FDA informed the sponsor in a CRL in October 2017, as well as in its response to PTC Therapeutics’ appeal, that the FDA is unable to approve the application in its current form. While TranslarnaTM targets a different set of DMD patients from those targeted by Sarepta’s Exondys 51®, it is also limited to a subset of patients who carry a specific mutation. Conversely, pamrevlumab is intended to treat DMD patients without limitation to type of mutation.

Pamrevlumab may also face competition from other drugs currently in clinical development in patient recruiting and enrollment in clinical trials, and, if approved, in commercialization. Examples of those compounds currently under clinical development are the drug candidates from Pfizer, Sarepta and Italfarmaco Group.

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MANUFACTURE AND SUPPLY

We continue to enter into contractual arrangements with qualified third-party manufacturers to manufacture and package our products and product candidates. We believe this manufacturing strategy enables us to more efficiently direct financial resources to the research, development and commercialization of product candidates rather than diverting resources to establishing a significant internal manufacturing infrastructure, unless there is additional strategic value for establishing manufacturing capabilities, such as in China. As our product candidates proceed through development, we explore or enter into longer term commercial supply agreements with key suppliers and manufacturers in order to meet the ongoing and planned clinical and commercial supply needs for ourselves and our partners. Our timing of entry into these agreements is based on the current development and commercialization plans.

Roxadustat

Roxadustat is a small-molecule drug manufactured from generally available commercial starting materials and chemical technologies and multi-purpose equipment available from many third-party contract manufacturers. We have entered into commercial supply arrangements with Shanghai SynTheAll Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. (“WuXi STA”) and Catalent Pharma Solutions, LLC (“Catalent”) as our primary manufacturers of roxadustat drug substance (also known as active pharmaceutical ingredient or “API”) and roxadustat drug product, respectively. WuXi STA is located in China and currently supplies our API globally except for China, for which it manufactures an intermediate to be further manufactured by FibroGen Beijing. WuXi STA has passed inspections by several regulatory agencies, including the FDA and NMPA, and is Current Good Manufacturing Practice (“cGMP”) compliant. Catalent is located in the U.S. and supplies our drug product tablets globally except for Japan, where they are manufactured by Astellas, and China, where they are manufactured by FibroGen Beijing. Catalent has passed several regulatory inspections, including by the FDA, and manufactures commercial products for other clients.

In China, our Beijing facility received the Good Manufacturing Practice license for API and drug product. We are manufacturing drug product at our FibroGen Beijing manufacturing facility for commercial supply, but we are not currently manufacturing API at this facility. We are manufacturing API at our Cangzhou manufacturing facility, which is fully qualified and licensed. We may also qualify a third-party manufacturer to produce commercial API under the Marketing Authorization Holder System program.

Pamrevlumab

We have entered into a clinical and commercial supply agreement for the manufacture of pamrevlumab with Samsung Biologics Co., Ltd., which passed several regulatory inspections, including by the FDA, and manufactures commercial products for other clients. We are transitioning our manufacturing of pamrevlumab from Boehringer Ingelheim to Samsung Biologics Co., Ltd.

GOVERNMENT REGULATION

Our business activities and operations, including the clinical testing, manufacturing, labeling, storage, distribution, record keeping, advertising, promotion, import, export and marketing of our product candidates, among other things, are subject to extensive regulation by governmental authorities in the U.S., China, and other countries. The process of obtaining regulatory approvals and the subsequent compliance with appropriate federal, state, local and foreign statutes and regulations, including in Europe and China, requires the expenditure of substantial time and financial resources. Compliance with environmental laws, rules, and regulations has not had, and is not expected to have, a material effect on our capital expenditures, results of operations, or competitive position, and we do not currently anticipate material capital expenditures for environmental control facilities.

Failure to comply with the applicable requirements at any time during the product development process, approval process or after approval may subject an applicant and/or sponsor to a variety of administrative or judicial sanctions, including refusal by the applicable regulatory authority to approve pending applications, withdrawal of an approval, imposition of a clinical hold, issuance of warning letters and other types of letters, product recalls, product seizures, total or partial suspension of production or distribution, injunctions, fines, refusals of government contracts, restitution, disgorgement of profits, or civil or criminal investigations and penalties brought by FDA and the Department of Justice, or other governmental entities.

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U.S. Product Approval Process

In the U.S., the FDA regulates drugs and biological products, or biologics, under the Public Health Service Act, as well as the FDCA, which is the primary law for regulation of drug products. Both drugs and biologics are subject to the regulations and guidance implementing these laws.

The results of the preclinical studies, together with manufacturing information and analytical data, are submitted to the FDA as part of the IND, which includes a protocol detailing, among other things, the objectives of the clinical trial. The IND will become effective automatically 30 days after receipt by the FDA, unless the FDA raises concerns or questions about the conduct of the trials as outlined in the IND prior to that time. In this case, the IND sponsor and the FDA must resolve any outstanding concerns before clinical trials can proceed.

Further, the protocol for each clinical trial must be reviewed and approved by an independent institutional review board, either centrally or individually at each institution at which the clinical trial will be conducted.

The results of preclinical studies and clinical trials, together with detailed information on the manufacture, composition and quality of the product candidate, are submitted to the FDA in the form of an NDA (for a drug) or BLA (for a biologic), requesting approval to market the product. The application must be accompanied by a significant user fee payment. The FDA has substantial discretion in the approval process and may refuse to accept any application or decide that the data is insufficient for approval and require additional preclinical, clinical or other studies.

Review of Application

Once the NDA or BLA submission is accepted for filing, which occurs, if at all, 60 days after submission, the FDA informs the applicant of the specific date by which the FDA intends to complete its review. During the approval process, the FDA reviews NDAs and BLAs to determine, among other things, whether the proposed product is safe and effective for its intended use, and whether the product is manufactured in accordance with cGMPs to assure and preserve the product’s identity, strength, quality and purity. The FDA may require Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy to assure safe use of the product, and inspections of manufacturing facilities (for cGMP compliance) and clinical trial sites (for integrity of data supporting safety and efficacy). The FDA may also convene an advisory committee of external experts to review issues relating to risk, benefit and interpretation of clinical trial data. The FDA may require post-marketing testing and surveillance to monitor safety or efficacy of a product. FDA will issue either an approval of the NDA or BLA or a CRL detailing the deficiencies and information required in order for reconsideration of the application.

Post-Approval Requirements

Even after approval, drugs and biologics manufactured or distributed pursuant to FDA approvals are subject to continuous regulation by the FDA, including, among other things, requirements relating to recordkeeping, periodic reporting, product distribution, advertising and promotion and reporting of adverse experiences with the product.

In addition, entities involved in the manufacture and distribution of approved drugs and biologics are required to register their establishments with the FDA and state agencies and are subject to periodic unannounced inspections by the FDA and these state agencies for compliance with cGMP requirements. The FDA requires prior approval before implementing any changes to the manufacturing process, investigations and corrections of any deviations from cGMP, and impose reporting and documentation requirements on the sponsor and any third-party manufacturer the sponsor may use. Accordingly, manufacturers must expend time, money, and effort in the area of production and quality control to maintain cGMP compliance.

The FDA strictly regulates marketing, labeling, advertising and promotion of products that are placed on the market. Drugs may be promoted only for the approved indications and in accordance with the provisions of the approved label. The FDA and other agencies actively enforce the laws and regulations prohibiting the promotion of off-label uses, and a company in violation may be subject to significant liability.

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Federal and State Fraud and Abuse and Healthcare and Transparency Laws and Regulations

In addition to FDA restrictions on marketing of pharmaceutical products, federal and state healthcare laws restrict certain business practices in the biopharmaceutical industry. These laws include, but are not limited to, anti-kickback, false claims, data privacy and security, and transparency statutes and regulations.

The federal Anti-Kickback Statute prohibits, among other things, knowingly and willfully offering, paying, soliciting or receiving remuneration, directly or indirectly, to induce, or in return for, purchasing, leasing, ordering or arranging for the purchase, lease or order of any good, facility, item or service reimbursable under Medicare, Medicaid or other federal healthcare programs. Although there are a number of statutory exemptions and regulatory safe harbors protecting certain common activities from prosecution, the exemptions and safe harbors are drawn narrowly. The intent standard under the Anti-Kickback Statute was amended by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act as amended by the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 (collectively “PPACA”), to a stricter intent standard such that a person or entity no longer needs to have actual knowledge of this statute or the specific intent to violate it in order to have committed a violation. In addition, PPACA codified case law that a claim including items or services resulting from a violation of the federal Anti-Kickback Statute constitutes a false or fraudulent claim for purposes of the civil False Claims Act (discussed below).

The federal false claims laws and federal civil monetary penalties statute prohibit, among other things, any person or entity from knowingly presenting, or causing to be presented, a false or fraudulent claim for payment or approval to the federal government or knowingly making, using or causing to be made or used a false record or statement material to a false or fraudulent claim to the federal government. The federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (“HIPAA”), created new federal criminal statutes that prohibit knowingly and willfully executing, or attempting to execute, a scheme to defraud any healthcare benefit program, including private third-party payors and knowingly and willfully falsifying, concealing or covering up a material fact or making any materially false, fictitious or fraudulent statement in connection with the delivery of, or payment for, healthcare benefits, items or services.

In addition, we may be subject to federal and state healthcare regulations. HIPAA, as amended by the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act, and its implementing regulations, imposes certain requirements on covered entities, business associates and their covered subcontractors relating to the privacy, security and transmission of individually identifiable health information. In addition, state laws complicate compliance efforts by the way they govern the privacy and security of health information in certain circumstances, many of which differ from each other in significant ways and with varying effects.

Additionally, the federal Physician Payments Sunshine Act within the PPACA, and its implementing regulations, require that certain manufacturers of drugs, devices, biologicals and medical supplies for which payment is available under Medicare, Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (with certain exceptions) to report information related to certain payments or other transfers of value made or distributed to physicians, other healthcare professionals, and teaching hospitals, or to entities or individuals at the request of, or designated on behalf of, the physicians and teaching hospitals and to report annually certain ownership and investment interests held by physicians and their immediate family members.

Also, many states have similar healthcare statutes or regulations that apply to items and services reimbursed under Medicaid and other state programs, or, in several states, apply regardless of the payor. If our operations are found to be in violation of any of the health regulatory laws described above or any other laws that apply to us, we may be subject to penalties, including potentially significant criminal, civil and/or administrative penalties, damages, fines, disgorgement, individual imprisonment, exclusion of products from reimbursement under government programs, contractual damages, reputational harm, administrative burdens, diminished profits and future earnings and the curtailment or restructuring of our operations, any of which could adversely affect our ability to operate our business and our results of operations. To the extent that any of our products will be sold in a foreign country, we may be subject to similar foreign laws and regulations, which may include, for instance, applicable post-marketing requirements, including safety surveillance, anti-fraud and abuse laws and implementation of corporate compliance programs and reporting of payments or transfers of value to healthcare professionals.

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Data Privacy and Security

In the ordinary course of our business, we may process confidential, proprietary, and sensitive information, including personal data. Accordingly, we are, or may become, subject to numerous data privacy and security obligations, including federal, state, local, and foreign laws, regulations, guidance, and industry standards related to data privacy and security. Such obligations may include, without limitation, the Federal Trade Commission Act, the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 (“CCPA”), the Canadian Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act, Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation, the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation 2016/679 (“EU GDPR”), the EU GDPR as it forms part of United Kingdom (“UK”) law by virtue of section 3 of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 (“UK GDPR”), the ePrivacy Directive, and the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard. Several states within the United States have enacted or proposed data privacy and security laws. For example, Virginia passed the Consumer Data Protection Act, and Colorado passed the Colorado Privacy Act. Additionally, we are, or may become, subject to various U.S. federal and state consumer protection laws which require us to publish statements that accurately and fairly describe how we handle personal data and choices individuals may have about the way we handle their personal data.

The CCPA and EU GDPR are examples of the increasingly stringent and evolving regulatory frameworks related to personal data processing that may increase our compliance obligations and exposure for any noncompliance. For example, the CCPA imposes obligations on covered businesses to provide specific disclosures related to a business’s collection, use, and disclosure of personal data and to respond to certain requests from California residents related to their personal data (for example, requests to know of the business’s personal data processing activities, to delete the individual’s personal data, and to opt out of certain personal data disclosures). Also, the CCPA provides for civil penalties and a private right of action for data breaches which may include an award of statutory damages. In addition, the California Privacy Rights Act of 2020 (“CPRA”), effective January 1, 2023, expanded the CCPA by, among other things, giving California residents the ability to limit use of certain sensitive personal data, establishing restrictions on personal data retention, expanding the types of data breaches that are subject to the CCPA’s private right of action, and establishing a new California Privacy Protection Agency to implement and enforce the new law.

Foreign data privacy and security laws (including but not limited to the EU GDPR and UK GDPR) impose significant and complex compliance obligations on entities that are subject to those laws. As one example, the EU GDPR applies to any company established in the EEA and to companies established outside the EEA that process personal data in connection with the offering of goods or services to data subjects in the EEA or the monitoring of the behavior of data subjects in the EEA. These obligations may include limiting personal data processing to only what is necessary for specified, explicit, and legitimate purposes; requiring a legal basis for personal data processing; requiring the appointment of a data protection officer in certain circumstances; increasing transparency obligations to data subjects; requiring data protection impact assessments in certain circumstances; limiting the collection and retention of personal data; increasing rights for data subjects; formalizing a heightened and codified standard of data subject consents; requiring the implementation and maintenance of technical and organizational safeguards for personal data; mandating notice of certain personal data breaches to the relevant supervisory authority(ies) and affected individuals; and mandating the appointment of representatives in the UK and/or the EU in certain circumstances.

See the section titled “Risk Factors” for additional information about the laws and regulations to which we may become subject and about the risks to our business associated with such laws and regulations.

Pharmaceutical Coverage, Pricing and Reimbursement

In both domestic and foreign markets, our sales of any approved products will depend in part on the availability of coverage and adequate reimbursement from third-party payors. Third-party payors include government health administrative authorities, managed care providers, private health insurers and other organizations. Patients who are prescribed treatments for their conditions and providers performing the prescribed services generally rely on third-party payors to reimburse all or part of the associated healthcare costs. Patients are unlikely to use our products unless coverage is provided and reimbursement is adequate to cover a significant portion of the cost of our products. Third-party payors are increasingly focused on containing healthcare costs by challenging the price and examining the cost-effectiveness of medical products and services. In addition, significant uncertainty exists as to the coverage and reimbursement status of newly approved healthcare product candidates.

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Because each third-party payor individually approves coverage and reimbursement levels, obtaining coverage and adequate reimbursement is a time-consuming, costly and sometimes unpredictable process. We may be required to provide scientific and clinical support for the use of any product to each third-party payor separately with no assurance that approval would be obtained, and we may need to conduct expensive pharmacoeconomic studies in order to demonstrate the cost-effectiveness of our products. This process could delay the market acceptance of any product and could have a negative effect on our future revenues and operating results. We cannot be certain that our products and our product candidates will be considered cost-effective. If we are unable to obtain coverage of, and adequate reimbursement and payment levels for, our product candidates from third-party payors, physicians may limit how much or under what circumstances they will prescribe or administer them and patients may decline to purchase them. This in turn could affect our ability to successfully commercialize our products and impact our profitability, results of operations, financial condition and future success.

In addition, in many foreign countries, particularly the countries of the European Union and China, the pricing of prescription drugs is subject to government control. In some non-U.S. jurisdictions, the proposed pricing for a drug must be approved before it may be lawfully marketed. The requirements governing drug pricing vary widely from country to country. We may face competition for our product candidates from lower-priced products in foreign countries that have placed price controls on pharmaceutical products. In addition, there may be importation of foreign products that compete with our own products, which could negatively impact our profitability.

Healthcare Reform

In the U.S. and foreign jurisdictions, we expect there will continue to be, a number of legislative and regulatory changes to the healthcare system that could affect the future results of our operations as we directly commercialize our products. In particular, there continues to be a number of initiatives at the U.S. federal and state level that seek to reduce healthcare costs.

For example, as a cost containment measure, PPACA established: an annual, nondeductible fee on any entity that manufactures or imports certain branded prescription drugs and biologic agents; revised the methodology by which rebates owed by manufacturers to the state and federal government for covered outpatient drugs under the Medicaid Drug Rebate Program are calculated; increased the minimum Medicaid rebates owed by most manufacturers under the Medicaid Drug Rebate Program; and extended the Medicaid Drug Rebate program to utilization of prescriptions of individuals enrolled in Medicaid managed care organizations. There have been executive, judicial and Congressional challenges to certain aspects of the PPACA. In addition, on August 16, 2022, President Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 (“IRA”) into law, which among other things, extends enhanced subsidies for individuals purchasing health insurance coverage in PPACA marketplaces through plan year 2025. The IRA also eliminates the “donut hole” under the Medicare Part D program beginning in 2025 by significantly lowering the beneficiary maximum out-of-pocket cost and creating a new manufacturer discount program. It is possible that the PPACA will be subject to future judicial or Congressional challenges, other litigation, and healthcare reform measures of the Biden administration that may impact the PPACA and our business.

Further, in the U.S. there was heightened governmental scrutiny over the manner in which manufacturers set prices for their marketed products, which resulted in several Presidential executive orders, Congressional inquiries and proposed and enacted federal and state legislation designed to, among other things, bring more transparency to drug pricing, reduce the cost of prescription drugs under government payor programs, and review the relationship between pricing and manufacturer patient programs. The IRA also, among other things, (1) directs the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to negotiate the price of certain single-source drugs and biologics covered under Medicare and (2) imposes rebates under Medicare Part B and Medicare Part D to penalize price increases that outpace inflation. These provisions will take effect progressively starting in fiscal year 2023, although they may be subject to legal challenges. It is currently unclear how the IRA will be implemented but is likely to have a significant impact on the pharmaceutical industry. Further, the Biden administration released an additional executive order on October 14, 2022, directing U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to report on how the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation can be further leveraged to test new models for lowering drug costs for Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries. It is unclear whether these or similar policy initiatives will be implemented in the future. Congress is also considering additional health reform measures.

Some states implemented, and other states are considering, price controls or patient access constraints under the Medicaid program, and some states are considering price-control regimes that would apply to broader segments of their populations that are not Medicaid-eligible. Further, it is possible that additional governmental action is taken in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to the volatility in the current economic and market dynamics, we are unable to predict the impact of any unforeseen or unknown legislative, regulatory, payor or policy actions, which may include cost containment and healthcare reform measures. Such policy actions could have a material adverse impact on our profitability.

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Approval Process and Other Regulation in China

The pharmaceutical industry in China is highly regulated. The primary regulatory authority is the NMPA, including its provincial and local branches. As a developer, manufacturer and supplier of drugs, we are subject to regulation and oversight by the NMPA and its provincial and local branches. The Drug Administration Law of China provides the basic legal framework for the administration of the production and sale of pharmaceuticals in China and covers the manufacturing, distributing, packaging, pricing and advertising of pharmaceutical products. Its implementing regulations set forth detailed rules with respect to the administration of pharmaceuticals in China. In addition, we are, and we will be, subject to other Chinese laws and regulations that are applicable to business operators, manufacturers and distributors in general.

Pharmaceutical Clinical Development

A new drug must be approved by the NMPA before it can be manufactured and marketed for sale. To obtain NMPA approval, the applicant must conduct clinical trials, which must be approved by the NMPA and are subject to the NMPA’s supervision and inspection. There are four phases of clinical trials. Application for registration of new drugs requires completion of Phase 1, 2 and 3 of clinical trials, similar to the U.S. In addition, the NMPA may require the conduct of Phase 4 studies as a condition to approval.

Phase 4 studies are post-marketing studies to assess the therapeutic effectiveness of and adverse reactions to the new drug, including an evaluation of the benefits and risks, when used among the general population or specific groups, with findings used to inform adjustments to dosage, among other things.

NDA and Approval to Market

China requires approval of the NDA as well as the manufacturing facility before a drug can be marketed in China. Approval and oversight are performed at national and provincial levels of the NMPA, involve multiple agencies and consist of various stages of approval.

Under the applicable drug registration regulations, drug registration applications are divided into three different types, namely Domestic NDA, Domestic Generic Drug Application, and Imported Drug Application. Drugs fall into one of three categories, namely chemical medicine, biological product or traditional Chinese or natural medicine.

Foreign Regulation Outside of China

In order to market any product outside of the U.S., we would need to comply with numerous and varying regulatory requirements of other countries and jurisdictions regarding quality, safety and efficacy and governing, among other things, clinical trials, manufacturing, marketing authorization, commercial sales and distribution of our products. Whether or not we obtain FDA approval for a product, we would need to obtain the necessary approvals by the comparable foreign regulatory authorities before we can commence clinical trials or marketing of the product in foreign countries and jurisdictions. Although many of the issues discussed above with respect to the U.S. apply similarly in the context of other countries we are seeking approval in, including Europe and China, the approval process varies between countries and jurisdictions and can involve different amounts of product testing and additional administrative review periods. For example, in Europe and in China, a sponsor must submit a clinical trial application, much like an IND prior to the commencement of human clinical trials. A clinical trial application must be submitted to each national health authority and an independent ethics committee.

For other countries outside of the European Union, such as China and the countries in Eastern Europe, Latin America or Asia, the requirements governing the conduct of clinical trials, product licensing, pricing, and reimbursement vary from country to country. Regulatory approval in one country or jurisdiction does not ensure regulatory approval in another, but a failure or delay in obtaining regulatory approval in one country or jurisdiction may negatively impact the regulatory approval process in other countries.

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Regulatory Exclusivity for Approved Products

U.S. Patent Term Restoration

Depending upon the timing, duration, and specifics of the FDA approval of our product candidates, some of our U.S. patents may be eligible for limited patent term extension under the Drug Price Competition and Patent Term Restoration Act of 1984, commonly referred to as the Hatch-Waxman Act. The Hatch-Waxman Act permits a patent restoration term of up to five years as compensation for patent term lost during product development and the FDA regulatory review process. The patent term restoration period is generally one-half the time between the effective date of an initial IND and the submission date of an NDA or BLA, plus the time between the submission date of the NDA or BLA and the approval of that product candidate application. Patent term restoration cannot, however, extend the remaining term of a patent beyond a total of 14 years from the product’s approval date. In addition, only one patent applicable to an approved product is eligible for the extension and the application for the extension must be submitted prior to the expiration of the patent. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, in consultation with the FDA, reviews and approves applications for any patent term extension or restoration. In the future, we expect to apply for restoration of patent term for patents relating to each of our product candidates in order to add patent life beyond the current expiration date of such patents, depending on the length of the clinical trials and other factors involved in the filing of the relevant NDA or BLA.

Market exclusivity provisions under the U.S. federal Food, Drug & Cosmetic Act can also delay the submission or the approval of certain applications of companies seeking to reference another company’s NDA or BLA. The Hatch-Waxman Act provides a 5-year period of exclusivity to any approved NDA for a product containing a New Chemical Entity (“NCE”) never previously approved by FDA either alone or in combination with another active moiety. No application or abbreviated NDA directed to the same NCE may be submitted during the 5-year exclusivity period, except that such applications may be submitted after four years if they contain a certification of patent invalidity or non-infringement of the patents listed with the FDA by the innovator NDA.

Biologic Price Competition and Innovation Act

The Biologics Price Competition and Innovation Act of 2009 (“BPCIA”), established an abbreviated pathway for the approval of biosimilar and interchangeable biological products. The abbreviated regulatory approval pathway establishes legal authority for the FDA to review and approve biosimilar biologics, including the possible designation of a biosimilar as “interchangeable” based on similarity to an existing branded product. Under the BPCIA, an application for a biosimilar product cannot be approved by the FDA until 12 years after the original branded product was approved under a BLA. However, an application may be submitted after four years if it contains a certification of patent invalidity or non-infringement to one of the patents listed with the FDA by the innovator BLA holder. The BPCIA is complex and is only beginning to be interpreted and implemented by the FDA. As a result, its ultimate impact, implementation, and interpretation are subject to uncertainty.

Orphan Drug Act

Pamrevlumab has received orphan drug designation in IPF, LAPC, and DMD in the U.S. Under the Orphan Drug Act, the FDA may grant orphan designation to a drug or biological product intended to treat a rare disease or condition, which is a disease or condition that affects fewer than 200,000 individuals in the U.S., or if it affects more than 200,000 individuals in the U.S. there is no reasonable expectation that the cost of developing and making a drug product available in the U.S. for this type of disease or condition will be recovered from sales of the product. Orphan product designation must be requested before submitting an NDA. After the FDA grants orphan product designation, the identity of the therapeutic agent and its potential orphan use are disclosed publicly by the FDA. Orphan product designation does not convey any advantage in or shorten the duration of the regulatory review and approval process.

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If a product that has orphan designation subsequently receives the first FDA approval for the disease or condition for which it has such designation, the product is entitled to orphan product exclusivity, which means that the FDA may not approve any other applications to market the same drug or biological product for the same indication for seven years, except in limited circumstances, such as a showing of clinical superiority to the product with orphan exclusivity. The designation of such drugs also entitles a party to financial incentives such as opportunities for grant funding towards clinical trial costs, tax advantages and user-fee waivers. Competitors, however, may receive approval of different products for the indication for which the orphan product has exclusivity or obtain approval for the same product but for a different indication for which the orphan product has exclusivity. Orphan product exclusivity also could block the approval of one of our products for seven years if a competitor obtains approval of the same drug or biological product as defined by the FDA or if our drug candidate is determined to be contained within the competitor’s product for the same indication or disease. If a drug product designated as an orphan product receives marketing approval for an indication broader than what is designated, it may not be entitled to orphan product exclusivity in any indication.

The EMA has granted Orphan Medicinal Product Designation to pamrevlumab for the treatment of DMD. Orphan Medicinal Product Designation status in Europe has similar but not identical benefits in that jurisdiction.

Products receiving orphan designation in Europe can receive ten years of market exclusivity, during which time no similar medicinal product for the same indication may be placed on the market. The ten-year market exclusivity may be reduced to six years if, at the end of the fifth year, it is established that the product no longer meets the criteria for orphan designation; for example, if the product is sufficiently profitable not to justify maintenance of market exclusivity. Additionally, marketing authorization may be granted to a similar product for the same indication at any time if the second applicant can establish that its product, although similar, is safer, more effective or otherwise clinically superior; the initial applicant consents to a second orphan medicinal product application; or the initial applicant cannot supply enough orphan medicinal product. An orphan product can also obtain an additional two years of market exclusivity in Europe for pediatric studies. No extension to any supplementary protection certificate can be granted on the basis of pediatric studies for orphan indications.

Foreign Country Data Exclusivity

Europe also provides opportunities for additional market exclusivity. For example, in Europe, upon receiving marketing authorization, a NCE generally receives eight years of data exclusivity and an additional two years of market exclusivity. If granted, data exclusivity prevents regulatory authorities in Europe from referencing the innovator’s data to assess a generic application. During the additional two-year period of market exclusivity, a generic marketing authorization can be submitted, and the innovator’s data may be referenced, but no generic product can be marketed until the expiration of the market exclusivity.

In China, there is also an opportunity for data exclusivity for a period of six years for data included in an NDA applicable to a NCE. According to the Implementing Regulations of the China Drug Administration Law, the Chinese government protects undisclosed data from drug studies and prevents the approval of an application made by another company that uses the undisclosed data for the approved drug. In practice, the NMPA has not established an effective mechanism to enforce data exclusivity. The NMPA issued a draft regulation on regulatory data protection on April 25, 2018 for public comments but this draft regulation has yet to be finalized and implemented.

In addition, if an approved drug manufactured in China qualifies as an innovative drug or an improved new drug before December 1, 2019, such drugs will be eligible for a monitoring surveillance period for up to five years. During this post-marketing observation period, the NMPA will not accept marketing authorization applications filed by another company for the same product. Nor will the NMPA approve marketing authorization applications filed by another company to produce, change dosage form of or import the drug while the innovative or improved new drug is under observation for the purpose of protecting public health. The approved manufacturer is required to provide an annual report to the regulatory department of the province, autonomous region or municipality directly under the central government where it is located.

Each of the data exclusivity period and the observation period runs from the date of approval for production of the NCE or innovative or improved new drug, as the case may be.

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INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY

Our success depends in part upon our ability to obtain and maintain patent and other intellectual property protection for our product candidates including compositions-of-matter, dosages, and formulations, manufacturing methods, and novel applications, uses and technological innovations related to our product candidates and core technologies. We also rely on trade secrets, know-how and continuing technological innovation to further develop and maintain our competitive position.

Our policy is to seek to protect our proprietary position by, among other methods, filing U.S. and foreign patent applications related to our proprietary technologies, inventions and any improvements that we consider important to the development and implementation of our business and strategy. Our ability to maintain and solidify our proprietary position for our products and technologies will depend, in part, on our success in obtaining and enforcing valid patent claims. Additionally, we may benefit from a variety of regulatory frameworks in the U.S., Europe, China, and other territories that provide periods of non-patent-based exclusivity for qualifying drug products. Refer to “Government Regulation — Regulatory Exclusivity for Approved Products.”

We cannot ensure that patents will be granted with respect to any of our pending patent applications or with respect to any patent applications that may be filed by us in the future, nor can we ensure that any of our existing or subsequently granted patents will be useful in protecting our drug candidates, technological innovations, and processes. Additionally, any existing or subsequently granted patents may be challenged, invalidated, circumvented or infringed. We cannot guarantee that our intellectual property rights or proprietary position will be sufficient to permit us to take advantage of current market trends or otherwise to provide or protect competitive advantages. Furthermore, our competitors may be able to independently develop and commercialize similar products, or may be able to duplicate our technologies, business model, or strategy, without infringing our patents or otherwise using our intellectual property.

Our extensive worldwide patent portfolio includes multiple granted and pending patent applications relating to roxadustat and pamrevlumab. Currently granted patents relating to composition-of-matter for roxadustat and for pamrevlumab are expected, for each product candidate, to expire in 2024 or 2025, in each case exclusive of any patent term extension that may be available. U.S. and foreign patents relating to crystalline forms of roxadustat are expected to expire in 2033, exclusive of any extension. Additional patents and patent applications relating to manufacturing processes, formulations, and various therapeutic uses, including treatment of specific indications and improvement of clinical parameters, provide further protection for product candidates.

The protection afforded by any particular patent depends upon many factors, including the type of patent, scope of coverage encompassed by the granted claims, availability of extensions of patent term, availability of legal remedies in the particular territory in which the patent is granted, and validity and enforceability of the patent. Changes in either patent laws or in the interpretation of patent laws in the U.S. and other countries could diminish our ability to protect our inventions and to enforce our intellectual property rights. Accordingly, we cannot predict with certainty the enforceability of any granted patent claims or of any claims that may be granted from our patent applications.

The biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries are characterized by extensive litigation regarding patents and other intellectual property rights. Our ability to maintain and solidify our proprietary position for our products and core technologies will depend on our success in obtaining effective claims and enforcing those claims once granted. We have been in the past and are currently involved in various legal proceedings with respect to our patents and patent applications and may be involved in such proceedings in the future. Additionally, we may claim that a third party infringes our intellectual property, or a third party may claim that we infringe its intellectual property. Such legal proceedings may be associated with significant expenses, damages, attorneys’ fees, costs of proceedings, and experts’ fees, and management and employees may be required to spend significant time in connection with these actions.

Because of the extensive time required for clinical development and regulatory review of a product candidate we may develop, it is possible that any patent related to our product candidates may expire before any of our product candidates can be commercialized, or may remain in force for only a short period of time following commercialization, thereby reducing the advantage afforded by any such patent.

The patent positions for our most advanced programs are summarized below.

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Roxadustat Patent Portfolio

Our roxadustat patent portfolio includes multiple granted U.S. patents offering protection for roxadustat, including protection for composition-of-matter, for pharmaceutical compositions, and for methods for treating anemia. Exclusive of any patent term extension, the last of the granted U.S. patents relating to the composition-of-matter of roxadustat is due to expire in 2025, and granted foreign patents are due to expire in 2024. U.S. and foreign patents relating to crystalline forms of roxadustat are due to expire in 2033, and U.S. and foreign patents relating to photostable formulations of roxadustat are due to expire in 2034.

In 2020, oppositions were filed against our European Patent No. 2872488 (the “`488 Patent”), which claims a crystalline form of roxadustat, and our European Patent No. 3003284 (the “`284 Patent”), which claims photostable formulations of roxadustat. Similar challenges have been filed in China against patents which claim a crystalline form of roxadustat. Final resolution of the opposition proceedings will take time and we cannot be assured that these patents will survive these proceedings as originally granted or at all.

If roxadustat is approved in the U.S. prior to expiration of the U.S. composition of matter protection, a full five-year patent term extension under the Hatch-Waxman act will be available, which extension would expire in 2030. Refer to “Government Regulation — Regulatory Exclusivity for Approved Products — U.S. Patent Term Restoration.”

We also hold various U.S. and foreign granted patents and pending patent applications directed to roxadustat manufacturing processes, formulations, and methods for use.

Roxadustat China Patent Portfolio

Our roxadustat China patent portfolio includes granted patents covering composition-of-matter, pharmaceutical compositions, methods of use, and manufacturing processes, as well as medicaments for treating anemia and other conditions. Pending the oppositions referenced in the previous section, patents relating to roxadustat composition-of-matter and crystalline forms are due to expire in 2024 and 2033, respectively.

HIF Anemia-Related Technologies Patent Portfolio

We also have an extensive worldwide patent portfolio providing broad protection for proprietary technologies relating to the treatment of anemia and associated conditions. This portfolio currently contains granted patents and pending patent applications providing exclusivity for use of compounds falling within various and overlapping classes of HIF-PH inhibitors to achieve various therapeutic effects.

Various legal challenges have been initiated against this portfolio in several territories, including in Europe, the United Kingdom, and Japan. Regardless of the final outcome of any such actions, the potential narrowing or revocation of any of these patents does not affect our exclusivity for roxadustat or our freedom-to-operate with respect to use of roxadustat for the treatment of anemia in these or in other territories. A settlement has been reached in the litigation in Canada, resulting in the discontinuance of the action and leaving FibroGen’s Canadian patents valid and enforceable.

In April 2020, in response to an invalidation action brought against certain of our United Kingdom patents by Akebia, the United Kingdom court handed down a decision invalidating certain FibroGen United Kingdom patents. In August 2021, the United Kingdom Court of Appeal handed down a decision favorable to FibroGen, declaring several of the patents valid. Akebia has applied to the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom for permission to appeal the Court of Appeal ruling.

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Pamrevlumab Patent Portfolio

Our pamrevlumab patent portfolio includes U.S. patents providing composition-of-matter protection for pamrevlumab and related antibodies, and for methods of using such in the treatment of fibroproliferative disorders, including IPF, liver fibrosis, and pancreatic cancer. Exclusive of any patent term extension, the last of the U.S. patents relating to pamrevlumab composition-of-matter is due to expire in 2025. Corresponding foreign patents are due to expire, exclusive of any patent term extension, in 2024.

We believe that, if pamrevlumab is approved in the U.S. prior to expiration of the composition-of-matter patent, a full five-year patent term extension under the Hatch-Waxman act will be available, extending the term of that patent to 2030.

We also hold additional granted U.S. and foreign patents and pending patent applications directed to the use of pamrevlumab to treat IPF, DMD, pancreatic cancer, liver fibrosis, and other disorders.

Trade Secrets and Know-How

In addition to patents, we rely upon proprietary trade secrets and know-how and continuing technological innovation to develop and maintain our competitive position. We seek to protect our proprietary information, in part, using confidentiality and other terms in agreements with our commercial partners, collaboration partners, consultants and employees. Such agreements are designed to protect our proprietary information and may also grant us ownership of technologies that are developed through a relationship with a third party, such as through invention assignment provisions. Agreements may expire and we could lose the benefit of confidentiality, or our agreements may be breached, and we may not have adequate remedies for any breach. In addition, our trade secrets may otherwise become known or be independently discovered by competitors.

To the extent that our commercial partners, collaboration partners, employees and consultants use intellectual property owned by others in their work for us, disputes may arise as to the rights in related or resulting know-how and inventions.

In-Licenses

Bristol-Myers Squibb Company (Medarex, Inc.)

Effective July 9, 1998 and as amended on June 30, 2001 and January 28, 2002, we entered into a research and commercialization agreement with Medarex, Inc. and its wholly-owned subsidiary GenPharm International, Inc. (now, collectively, part of Bristol-Myers Squibb Company (“Medarex”)) to develop fully human monoclonal antibodies for potential anti-fibrotic therapies. Under the agreement, Medarex was responsible for using its proprietary immunizable transgenic mice (“HuMAb-Mouse technology”) during a specified research period (the “Research Period”), to produce fully human antibodies against our proprietary antigen targets, including CTGF, for our exclusive use.

The agreement granted us an option to obtain an exclusive worldwide, royalty-bearing, commercial license to develop antibodies derived from Medarex’s HuMAb-Mouse technology, for use in the development and commercialization of diagnostic and therapeutic products. In December 2002, we exercised that option with respect to twelve antibodies inclusive of the antibody from which pamrevlumab is derived. We granted back to Medarex an exclusive, worldwide, royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable license, with the right to sublicense, to certain inventions created during the parties’ research collaboration, with such license limited to use by Medarex outside the scope of our licensed antibodies.

As a result of the exercise of our option to obtain the commercial license, Medarex is precluded from:

 

(i) knowingly using any technology involving immunizable transgenic mice containing unrearranged human immunoglobulin genes with any of our antigen targets that were the subject of the agreement,

 

(ii) granting to a third party a commercial license that covers such antigen targets or those antibodies derived by Medarex during the Research Period, and

(iii) using any antibodies derived by Medarex during the Research Period, except as permitted under the agreement for our benefit or to prosecute patent applications in accordance with the agreement.

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Medarex retained ownership of the patent rights relating to certain mice, mice materials, antibodies and hybridoma cell lines used by Medarex in connection with its activities under the agreement, and Medarex also owns certain claims in patents covering inventions that arise during the Research Period, which claims are directed to (i) compositions of matter (e.g., an antibody) except formulations of antibodies for therapeutic or diagnostic use, or (ii) methods of production. We own the patent rights to any inventions that arise during the Research Period that relate to antigens, as well as claims in patents covering inventions directed to (a) methods of use of an antibody, or (b) formulations of antibodies for therapeutic or diagnostic use. Upon exercise of our option to obtain the commercial license, we obtained the sole right but not obligation to control prosecution of patents relating solely to the licensed antibodies or products. Medarex has back-up patent prosecution rights in the event we decline to further prosecute or maintain such patents.

In addition to research support payments by us to Medarex during the Research Period, and an upfront commercial license fee in the form of 181,819 shares of FibroGen Series D Convertible Preferred Stock paid upon exercise of our option, we committed development-related milestone payments of up to $11 million per therapeutic product containing a licensed antibody, and we have paid a $1 million development-related milestone, in the form of 133,333 shares of FibroGen Series G Convertible Preferred Stock, and a cash payment of $2 million, for pamrevlumab to date. At our election, the remaining milestone payments may be paid in common stock of FibroGen, Inc., or cash.

With respect to our sales and sales by our affiliates, the agreement also requires us to pay Medarex low single-digit royalties for licensed therapeutic products and low double-digit royalties plus certain capped sales-based bonus royalties for licensed diagnostic products. With respect to sales of licensed products by a sublicensee, we may elect to pay the foregoing royalties based on our sublicensee’s sales, or a percentage (in the high-teens) of all payments received by us from such sublicensee. We are also required to reimburse Medarex any pass-through royalties, if any, payable under Medarex’s upstream license agreements with Medical Research Council and DNX. Royalties payable by us under the agreement are on a licensed product-by-licensed product and country-by-country basis and subject to reductions in specified circumstances, and royalties are payable for a period until either expiration of patents covering the applicable licensed product or a specified number of years following the first commercial sale of such product in the applicable country.

Unless earlier terminated, the agreement will continue in effect for as long as there are royalty payment obligations by us or our sublicensees. Either party may terminate the agreement for certain material breaches by the other party, or for bankruptcy, insolvency or similar circumstances. In addition, we may also terminate the agreement for convenience upon written notice.

HUMAN RESOURCES

We had a total of 592 employees at FibroGen as of January 31, 2023. None of our U.S. employees are represented by a labor union. The employees of FibroGen Beijing are represented by a labor union under the China Labor Union Law. None of our employees have entered into a collective agreement with us.

We are highly committed to building a diverse, dedicated, and impassioned team to deliver innovative therapies to patients facing serious unmet medical needs. Our core values of excellence, respect for people, integrity, and empowerment are fundamental to how we attract, grow, engage, and retain our people.

In 2022, we conducted a company-wide employee engagement survey. We had an overall participation rate of 92% with over 90% of employees reporting that they felt highly engaged. Further, for the first time an independent firm established a diversity, equity and inclusion index based upon 10 employee questions within the survey to measure the effectiveness of, and employee sentiment about, our progress in nurturing a culture of diversity, equity, belonging and inclusion; our diversity index score was 88%. These scores significantly exceed normative industry participation and engagement benchmarks.

The biotechnology industry is an extremely competitive labor market and recruiting and retaining employees is critical to the continued success of our business. We focus on recruiting, retaining, and developing employees from a diverse range of backgrounds to conduct our research, development, commercialization, and administrative activities. We also believe that to be an employer of choice, we must support the communities in which we live and operate. In 2022, we re-launched our high school and college internship program which provides opportunities for people of color and/or economically disadvantaged youth to contribute and learn for eight weeks at our U.S. operations.

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We consistently review and evaluate our people practices to ensure that we attract, develop and retain a diverse, engaged and talented workforce. Our offerings include competitive, innovative and equitable pay practices, comprehensive health and wellness benefits, retirement and life insurance offerings, learning and giving programs, and flexible work arrangements. In addition to our employee and manager fundamentals programs, we offer personal coaching and resiliency sessions, as well as access to an on-demand global learning management system. In addition to annual compliance training on harassment prevention, our Code of Conduct, anti-bribery and data privacy, our employees are offered up to 20 hours of internal career development programs each year in addition to tuition reimbursement eligibility.

Our state-of-art, human capital management system, implemented in 2020, has significantly expanded our capabilities to develop and assess our employees. We build comprehensive development and succession plans at all levels in the organization to ensure that we have a strong pipeline of ready talent to meet our business outcomes.

Ensuring diversity in our workforce begins with role modeling and striving for diversity in senior management. On our Board of Directors, 3 of 9 members (33%) are female. Further, 3 of 9 members (33%) identify as Asian or Hispanic ethnicity. Notably, our U.S. workforce is 55% female. Our U.S. employees that self-report ethnicity are 66% Asian, Hispanic or Black. Of our U.S. Executive population (Vice President and above), 37.5% are female and of our U.S. executives that self-report ethnicity, 33.3% identify as Asian or Hispanic. Our China workforce is 58% female, and of our China Executives (Vice President and above) 50% are female. Across our workforce and our leadership, we have increased our female and ethnicity representation year over year and continue to expand our efforts and corporate objectives accordingly. One of our goals in 2023 is to increase female diversity at the executive director level and above.

In addition to furthering our investments in our human resources, we plan to continue our efforts in 2023 in critical environmental, social, and governance (“ESG”) areas. In 2022, we performed an ESG assessment of our operations and determined a number of goals for 2023, including adopting a policy to increase patient diversity in clinical trials and perform a climate impact analysis once the SEC adopts their climate disclosure regulations.

FACILITIES

Our corporate and research and development operations are located in San Francisco, California, where we lease approximately 234,000 square feet of office and laboratory space with approximately 30,000 square feet subleased. The lease for our San Francisco headquarters was originally scheduled to expire in 2023, and in June 2021, we amended the lease to extend it through 2028. We also lease approximately 67,000 square feet of office and manufacturing space in Beijing, China, and multiple office spaces in Beijing and Shanghai, China. Our leases in China expire in 2026. We have constructed a commercial manufacturing facility of approximately 5,500 square meters in Cangzhou, China, on approximately 33,000 square meters of land. Our right to use such land expires in 2068. We believe our facilities are adequate for our current needs and that suitable additional or substitute space would be available if needed.

AVAILABLE INFORMATION

Our internet website address is www.fibrogen.com. In addition to the information about us and our subsidiaries contained in this Annual Report, information about us can be found on our website. The information contained on, or that can be accessed through, our website is not part of, and is not incorporated into, this Annual Report.

Our annual reports on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, current reports on Form 8-K and amendments to those reports filed or furnished pursuant to Section 13(a) or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, are available free of charge through our website as soon as reasonably practicable after they are electronically filed with or furnished to the Securities and Exchange Commission. Additionally the Securities and Exchange Commission maintains an internet site that contains reports, proxy and information statements and other information. The address of the SEC’s website is www.sec.gov.

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CORPORATE INFORMATION

Our headquarters are located at 409 Illinois Street, San Francisco, California 94158 and our telephone number is (415) 978-1200. Our website address is www.FibroGen.com.

Our subsidiaries consist of the following: 1) FibroGen Europe Oy, a majority owned entity incorporated in Finland in 1996; 2) Skin Sciences, Inc., a majority owned entity incorporated in the State of Delaware in 1995; 3) FibroGen International (Cayman) Limited, a majority owned entity incorporated in the Cayman Islands in 2011; 4) FibroGen China Anemia Holdings Ltd., a majority owned entity incorporated in the Cayman Islands in 2012; 5) FibroGen International (Hong Kong) Limited, a majority owned entity incorporated in Hong Kong in 2011; 6) FibroGen INTL LLC, a majority owned entity incorporated in the State of Delaware in 2021; 7) FibroGen (China) Medical Technology Development Co., Ltd., a majority owned entity incorporated in China in 2011; and 8) Beijing Falikang Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd., an unconsolidated variable interest entity incorporated in China in 2020.

“FibroGen,” the FibroGen logo and other trademarks or service marks of FibroGen, Inc. appearing in this Annual Report are the property of FibroGen, Inc. This Annual Report contains additional trade names, trademarks and service marks of others, which are the property of their respective owners. We do not intend our use of display of other companies’ trade names, trademarks or service marks to imply a relationship with, or endorsement or sponsorship of us by, these other companies.

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ITEM 1A. RISK FACTORS

Investing in our common stock involves a high degree of risk. You should carefully consider the risks described below in addition to the other information included or incorporated by reference in this Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2022 (“Annual Report”), including our consolidated financial statements and the related notes and “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations,” before deciding whether to invest in our common stock. The occurrence of any of the events or developments described below could harm our business, financial condition, results of operations and growth prospects. In such an event, the market price of our common stock could decline, and you may lose all or part of your investment. Although we have discussed all known material risks, the risks described below are not the only ones that we may face. Additional risks and uncertainties not presently known to us or that we currently deem immaterial may also impair our business operations.

Risks Related to the Development and Commercialization of Our Product Candidates

We are substantially dependent on the success of our lead products pamrevlumab and roxadustat.

To date, we have invested a substantial portion of our efforts and financial resources in the research and development of pamrevlumab and roxadustat.

Our near-term success depends in large part on pamrevlumab, which is in clinical development for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (“IPF”), locally advanced unresectable pancreatic cancer (“LAPC”), metastatic pancreatic cancer, and Duchenne muscular dystrophy (“DMD”). Pamrevlumab requires substantial further development and commercialization investments, and, at this time, we do not have a collaboration partner to support this compound. In addition, pamrevlumab is a monoclonal antibody, which may require greater financial resources than for our small molecule, roxadustat.

Our near-term prospects also depend in large part on our continued development and commercialization of roxadustat in the People’s Republic of China (“China”), Japan, Europe, the United States (“U.S.”), and elsewhere. Roxadustat has been approved in the European Union, Great Britain, China, Japan, and other countries for the treatment of anemia in chronic kidney disease (“CKD”) for patients who are on dialysis and not on dialysis. However, we received a complete response letter (“CRL”) for roxadustat in CKD anemia in the U.S. from the Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”). While we continue to co-commercialize roxadustat in China with AstraZeneca AB (“AstraZeneca”) and develop roxadustat in the U.S. for the treatment of anemia in patients with myelodysplastic syndromes (“MDS”), we have not been able to agree on a path forward for AstraZeneca to fund further roxadustat development in the U.S. for CKD anemia and there is a significant risk we will be unable to do so. There is also a significant risk that the U.S./RoW Agreement, a collaboration agreement we entered into with AstraZeneca for roxadustat for the treatment of anemia in the U.S. and all territories not previously licensed to Astellas, except China (“AstraZeneca U.S./RoW Agreement”), will be amended or terminated.

With an eye toward our longer-term success, we are investing in new drug programs to expand our early-stage clinical pipeline. While we see great potential value in our early-stage pipeline, these programs are years away from commercialization, and the success of any development program is not guaranteed. Our near-term prospects and the price of our common stock most heavily rely on the success of our lead products pamrevlumab and roxadustat.

As a company, we have limited late-stage and commercialization experience, and the time and resources required to develop such experience are significant.

We are running multiple Phase 3 clinical trials simultaneously with multiple readouts in 2023 and 2024, while also commercializing roxadustat with our collaboration partners. As a Company, we have limited resources and limited experience handling such a large number of data readouts and possible regulatory filings.

For pamrevlumab, which we have not partnered, we do not have a sales infrastructure and we have limited experience in the sales, marketing or distribution of pharmaceutical products in any country.

To the extent that we would undertake sales and marketing of any of our products directly, there are risks involved with establishing our own sales, marketing and distribution capabilities. Factors that may inhibit our efforts to commercialize our products on our own include:

our inability to recruit, train and retain adequate numbers of effective sales and marketing personnel;
the inability of sales personnel to obtain access to physicians or persuade adequate numbers of physicians to prescribe any future products;

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our inability to effectively manage geographically dispersed commercial teams;
the 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; and
unforeseen costs and expenses associated with creating an independent commercial organization.

With respect to roxadustat, we are dependent in part on the commercialization capabilities of our collaboration partners, AstraZeneca and Astellas Pharma Inc. (“Astellas”). If either such partner were to terminate its agreement with us, we would have to commercialize on our own or with another third party. We will have limited control over the commercialization efforts of such third parties, and any of them may fail to devote the necessary resources and attention to sell and market roxadustat effectively.

Successful development and commercialization of any of our products requires us to establish and further develop our clinical, regulatory, and commercialization capabilities, including but not limited to, medical affairs, marketing, product reimbursement, sales, price reporting, pharmacovigilance, supply-chain, and distribution. These efforts require resources and time to either develop or acquire expertise in these areas and there is a risk that we are unsuccessful or we fail to comply with rules or regulations applicable to development or commercialization of our products. There is also a risk that we are delayed due to the need to develop these capabilities or due to a lack of resources. All of which would adversely affect our business and financial condition.

Drug development and obtaining marketing authorization is a very difficult endeavor and we may ultimately be unable to obtain regulatory approval for our various product candidates in one or more jurisdictions and in one or more indications.

The development, manufacturing, marketing, and selling of our products and product candidates are and will continue to be subject to extensive and rigorous review and regulation by numerous government authorities in the U.S. and in other countries where we intend to develop and, if approved, market any product candidates. Before obtaining regulatory approval for the commercial sale of any product candidate, we must demonstrate through extensive preclinical trials and clinical trials that the product candidate is safe and effective for use in each indication for which approval is sought. The drug development and approval processes are expensive and require substantial resources and time, and in general, very few product candidates that enter development ultimately receive regulatory approval. In addition, our collaboration partners for roxadustat have final control over development decisions in their respective territories and they may make decisions with respect to development or regulatory authorities that delay or limit the potential approval of roxadustat, or increase the cost of development or commercialization. Accordingly, we may be unable to successfully develop or commercialize any of our other product candidates in one or more indications and jurisdictions.

Moreover, for any clinical trial to support a New Drug Application (“NDA”)/Biologics License Application submission for approval, the FDA and foreign regulatory authorities require compliance with regulations and standards (including good clinical practices (“GCP”) requirements for designing, conducting, monitoring, recording, analyzing, and reporting the results of clinical trials) to ensure that (1) the data and results from trials are credible and accurate; and (2) that the rights, integrity and confidentiality of trial participants are protected. Although we rely on third parties to conduct our clinical trials, we as the sponsor remain responsible for ensuring that each of these clinical trials is conducted in accordance with its general investigational plan and protocol under legal and regulatory requirements, including GCP.

Regulatory authorities may take actions or impose requirements that delay, limit or deny approval of our product candidates for many reasons, including, among others:

our failure to adequately demonstrate to the satisfaction of regulatory authorities or an independent advisory committee that our product candidate is safe and effective in a particular indication, or that such product candidate’s clinical and other benefits outweigh its safety risks;
our failure of clinical trials to meet the level of statistical significance required for approval;
the determination by regulatory authorities that additional clinical trials are necessary to demonstrate the safety and efficacy of a product candidate,
disagreement over the design or implementation of our clinical trials;
our product candidates may exhibit an unacceptable safety signal at any stage of development;

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we, or the clinical research organizations (“CROs”) or investigators that conduct clinical trials on our behalf, may fail to comply with regulations or GCPs, clinical trial protocols, or contractual agreements, which may adversely impact our clinical trials;
disagreement over whether to accept results from clinical trial sites in a country where the standard of care is potentially different from that in the U.S.;
we or third-party contractors manufacturing our product candidates may not maintain current good manufacturing practices (“cGMP”), successfully pass inspection or meet other applicable manufacturing regulatory requirements;
regulatory authorities may require us to exclude the use of patient data from unreliable clinical trials, or may not agree with our interpretation of the data from our preclinical trials and clinical trials; or
collaboration partners may not perform or complete their clinical programs in a timely manner, or at all.

Any of these factors, many of which are beyond our control, could jeopardize our or our collaboration partners’ abilities to obtain regulatory approval for our product candidates in one or more indications.

The FDA or other regulatory authorities may require more information (including additional preclinical or clinical data to support approval), which may delay or prevent approval or cause us to abandon the development program altogether.

Even if we believe our clinical trials are successful, regulatory authorities may not agree that our completed clinical trials provide adequate data on safety or efficacy. Approval by one regulatory authority does not ensure approval by any other regulatory authority. For example, while we have received approval of our marketing authorization applications for roxadustat in the European Union, Great Britain, China, Japan, and other countries for the treatment of anemia in CKD for patients who are on dialysis and not on dialysis, we received a CRL in CKD anemia in the U.S. from the FDA regarding roxadustat’s NDA for the treatment of anemia due to CKD, stating that it could not be approved in its present form. In addition, a failure or delay in obtaining regulatory approval in one country may have a negative effect on the regulatory process or commercial uptake in other countries.

Even if we do obtain regulatory approval, our product candidates may be approved for fewer or more limited indications than we request, approval may be contingent on the performance of costly post-marketing clinical trials, or approval may require labeling that does not include the labeling claims necessary or desirable for the successful commercialization of that product candidate. In addition, if our product candidates produce undesirable side effects or safety issues, the FDA may require the establishment of Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (or other regulatory authorities may require the establishment of a similar strategy), that may restrict distribution of our approved products, if any, and impose burdensome implementation requirements on us.

Any of the foregoing scenarios could materially harm the commercial prospects for our product candidates.

The CRL we received from the FDA for roxadustat has decreased the likelihood of approval and successful commercialization of roxadustat in the U.S. and potentially other markets. There is a significant risk that our U.S./Rest of World Collaboration Agreement with AstraZeneca will be amended or terminated.

In August 2021, the FDA issued a CRL regarding roxadustat’s NDA for the treatment of anemia due to CKD in adult patients, stating that it could not be approved in its present form. The CRL and the subsequent delay due to discussions with AstraZeneca have decreased the likelihood of approval and successful commercialization of roxadustat in the U.S. and therefore will decrease and/or delay expected revenue. While we continue to commercialize roxadustat in China with AstraZeneca, and develop roxadustat in the U.S. for the treatment of anemia in patients with MDS, we have not been able to agree on a path forward for AstraZeneca to fund further roxadustat development in the U.S. and there is a significant risk we will be unable to do so. There is also a significant risk that the AstraZeneca U.S./RoW Agreement will be amended or terminated. Any of these risks could have a material impact on our business, operating results, and financial condition.

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Preclinical, Phase 1 and Phase 2 clinical trial results may not be indicative of the results that may be obtained in larger clinical trials.

Clinical development is expensive and can take many years to complete, and its outcome is inherently uncertain. Failure can occur at any time during the clinical trial process. Success in preclinical and early clinical trials, which are often highly variable and use small sample sizes, may not be predictive of similar results in humans or in larger, controlled clinical trials, and successful results from clinical trials in one indication may not be replicated in other indications.

Many companies in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries have suffered significant setbacks in late-stage clinical trials after achieving positive results in early-stage development, and we may face similar setbacks.

We do not know whether our ongoing or planned clinical trials of roxadustat or pamrevlumab will need to be redesigned based on interim results or if we will be able to achieve sufficient patient enrollment or complete planned clinical trials on schedule.

Clinical trials can be delayed, suspended, or terminated by us, by the relevant institutional review boards at the sites at which such trials are being conducted, or by the FDA or other regulatory authorities, for a variety of reasons or factors, including:

delay or failure to address any physician or patient safety concerns that arise during the course of the trial, including unforeseen safety issues or adverse side effects, or a principal investigator’s determination that a serious adverse event could be related to our product candidates;
delay or failure to obtain required regulatory or institutional review board approval or guidance;
delay or failure to reach timely agreement on acceptable terms with prospective CROs and clinical trial sites;
delay or failure to recruit, enroll and retain patients through the completion of the trial;
patient recruitment, enrollment, or retention, or clinical site initiation or retention problems associated with the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 and the resulting Coronavirus Disease (“COVID-19”) pandemic;
patient recruitment, enrollment, or retention, clinical site initiation, or retention problems associated with civil unrest or military conflicts around the world;
delay or failure to maintain clinical sites in compliance with clinical trial protocols or to conduct the clinical trial in accordance with regulatory requirements or our clinical protocols;
delay or failure to initiate or add a sufficient number of clinical trial sites;
delay or failure to manufacture sufficient quantities of product candidate for use in clinical trials;
difficulty enrolling a sufficient number of patients to conduct our clinical trials as planned;
inspection of the clinical trial operations or trial site by the FDA or other regulatory authorities resulting in the imposition of a clinical hold, warning letter, or other regulatory action; and
changes in laws or regulations.

In particular, identifying and qualifying patients to participate in clinical trials of our product candidates is critical to our success. The timing of our clinical trials depends on the rate at which we can recruit and enroll patients in testing our product candidates. Patients may be unwilling to participate in clinical trials of our product candidates for a variety of reasons, some of which may be beyond our control, including:

severity of the disease under investigation;
availability of alternative treatments;
size and nature of the patient population;
eligibility criteria for and design of the study in question;
perceived risks and benefits of the product candidate under study;
ability to enroll patients in clinical trials during the COVID-19 pandemic (particularly for IPF);
ongoing clinical trials of competitive agents;

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physicians’ and patients’ perceptions of the potential advantages of our product candidates being studied in relation to available therapies or other products under development;
our CRO’s and our trial sites’ efforts to facilitate timely enrollment in clinical trials;
patient referral practices of physicians; and
ability to monitor patients and collect patient data adequately during and after treatment.

Any delays in completing our clinical trials will increase the costs of the trial, delay the product candidate development and approval process and jeopardize our ability to commence marketing and generate revenues. Any of these occurrences may materially and adversely harm our business, operations, and prospects.

Our product candidates may cause or have attributed to them undesirable side effects or have other properties that delay or prevent their regulatory approval or limit their commercial potential.

Undesirable side effects caused by our product candidates or that may be identified as related to our product candidates by physician investigators conducting our clinical trials or even competing products in development that utilize a similar mechanism of action or act through a similar biological disease pathway could cause us or regulatory authorities to interrupt, delay or halt clinical trials and could result in the delay or denial of regulatory approval by the FDA or other regulatory authorities and potential product liability claims. If we determine that there is a likely causal relationship between a serious adverse event and our product candidate, and such safety event is material or significant enough, it may result in:

our clinical trial development plan becoming longer and more expensive;
terminating some of our clinical trials for the product candidates or specific indications affected;
regulatory authorities increasing the data and information required to approve our product candidates and imposing other requirements; and
our collaboration partners terminating our existing agreements.

The occurrence of any or all of these events may cause the development of our product candidates to be delayed or terminated, which could materially and adversely affect our business and prospects.

Clinical trials of our product candidates may not uncover all possible adverse effects that patients may experience.

Clinical trials are conducted in representative samples of the potential patient population, which may have significant variability. Pamrevlumab is being studied in patient populations that are at high risk of death and adverse events, and even if unrelated to pamrevlumab, adverse safety findings in these trials may limit its further development or commercial potential. Clinical trials are by design based on a limited number of subjects and of limited duration for exposure to the product used to determine whether, on a potentially statistically significant basis, the planned safety and efficacy of any product candidate can be achieved. As with the results of any statistical sampling, we cannot be sure that all side effects of our product candidates may be uncovered, and it may be the case that only with a significantly larger number of patients exposed to the product candidate for a longer duration, that a more complete safety profile is identified. Further, even larger clinical trials may not identify rare serious adverse effects or the duration of such studies may not be sufficient to identify when those events may occur. There have been other products, including erythropoiesis stimulating agents (“ESAs”), for which safety concerns have been uncovered following approval by regulatory authorities. Such safety concerns have led to labeling changes or withdrawal of ESAs products from the market. While roxadustat is chemically unique from ESAs, it or any of our product candidates may be subject to known or unknown risks. Patients treated with our products, if approved, may experience adverse reactions and it is possible that the FDA or other regulatory authorities may ask for additional safety data as a condition of, or in connection with, our efforts to obtain approval of our product candidates. If safety problems occur or are identified after our product candidates reach the market, we may, or regulatory authorities may require us to amend the labeling of our products, recall our products or even withdraw approval for our products.

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If our manufacturers or we cannot properly manufacture the appropriate volume of product, we may experience delays in development, regulatory approval, launch or successful commercialization.

Completion of our clinical trials and commercialization of our products require access to, or development of, facilities to manufacture and manage our product candidates at sufficient yields, quality and at commercial scale. Although we have entered into commercial supply agreements for roxadustat and pamrevlumab, we will need to enter into additional commercial supply agreements, including for backup or second source third-party manufacturers. We may not be able to enter into these agreements with satisfactory terms or on a timely manner. In addition, we may experience delays or technical problems associated with technology transfer of manufacturing processes to any new suppliers.

We have relatively limited experience manufacturing or managing third parties in manufacturing any of our product candidates in the volumes that are expected to be necessary to support large-scale clinical trials and sales. In addition, we have limited experience forecasting supply requirements or coordinating supply chain (including export and customs management) for launch or commercialization, which is a complex process involving our third-party manufacturers and logistics providers, and for roxadustat, our collaboration partners. We may not be able to accurately forecast supplies for commercial launch or do so in a timely manner and our efforts to establish these manufacturing and supply chain management capabilities may not meet our requirements as to quantities, scale-up, yield, cost, potency or quality in compliance with cGMP, particularly if the marketing authorization or market uptake is more rapid than anticipated or we have an unanticipated surge in demand.

We have a limited amount of roxadustat and pamrevlumab in storage, limited capacity reserved at our third-party manufacturers, and, even if we have or are able to put sufficient supply agreements in place for our development and commercialization plan, there are long lead times required to manufacture and scale-up the manufacture of additional supply, as well as for raw materials and components for manufacture of our products, as required for both late-stage clinical trials, post-approval trials, and commercial supply. There is a general risk of delayed drug supply due to delays experienced by any third-party provider in the supply chain, including raw material and components suppliers, export and customs locations, and shipping companies. In addition, if we are not able to obtain regulatory approval of roxadustat in the U.S. in CKD anemia, we may have excess supply manufactured in anticipation of commercialization. Such roxadustat excess supply could be wasted, for example, if it expires prior to being used in other clinical trials or prior to being used in other territories where such roxadustat formulation is approved. If we are unable to forecast, order or manufacture sufficient quantities of roxadustat or pamrevlumab on a timely basis, it may delay our development, launch or commercialization in some or all indications we are currently pursuing. Insufficient supply could be a particular risk if we were to obtain regulatory approval of pamrevlumab in all indications being studied (IPF, LAPC, metastatic pancreatic cancer, and DMD). Any delay or interruption in the supply of our product candidates or products could have a material adverse effect on our business and operations.

Our commercial drug product and the product we use for clinical trials must be produced under applicable cGMP regulations. Failure to comply with these regulations by us or our third-party manufacturers may require us to recall commercial product or repeat clinical trials, which would impact sales revenue and/or delay the regulatory approval process.

We or our partners may add or change manufacturers, change our manufacturing processes, or change packaging specifications to accommodate changes in regulations, manufacturing equipment or to account for different processes at new or second source suppliers. Changes made to roxadustat or pamrevlumab including, but not limited to, demonstration of comparability to regulatory approved/ in approval products and processes, additional clinical trials, delays in development or commercialization, earlier expiration dates, shorter shelf life, or specification failures, may materially impact our operations and potential profitability.

We, and even an experienced third-party manufacturer, may encounter difficulties in production. Difficulties may include:

costs and challenges associated with scale-up and attaining sufficient manufacturing yields, in particular for biologic products such as pamrevlumab, which is a monoclonal antibody;
contracting with additional suppliers and validation/qualification of additional facilities to meet growing demand;
supply chain issues, including coordination of multiple contractors in our supply chain and securing necessary licenses (such as export licenses);
the timely availability and shelf life requirements of raw materials and supplies, including delays in availability due to the COVID-19 pandemic;
limited stability and product shelf life;
equipment maintenance issues or failure;

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quality control and quality assurance issues;
shortages of qualified personnel and capital required to manufacture large quantities of product;
compliance with regulatory requirements that vary in each country where a product might be sold;
capacity or forecasting limitations and scheduling availability in contracted facilities;
natural disasters, such as pandemics, including the COVID-19 pandemic, floods, storms, earthquakes, tsunamis, and droughts, or accidents such as fire, that affect facilities, possibly limit or postpone production, and increase costs; and
failure to obtain license to proprietary starting materials.

Regulatory authorities will do their own benefit risk analysis and may reach a different conclusion than we or our partners have, and these regulatory authorities may base their approval decision on different analyses, data, and statistical methods than ours.

Even if we believe we have achieved positive clinical results, such as superiority or non-inferiority, in certain endpoints, populations or sub-populations, or using certain statistical methods of analysis, the FDA and European Medicines Agency (“EMA”) will each conduct their own benefit-risk analysis and may reach different conclusions, using different statistical methods, different endpoints or definitions thereof, or different patient populations or sub-populations. Furthermore, while we may seek regulatory advice or agreement in key commercial markets prior to and after application for marketing authorization, regulatory authorities may change their approvability criteria based on the data, their internal analyses and external factors, including discussions with expert advisors. For example, while we have received approval of our marketing authorization applications for roxadustat in the European Union, Great Britain, China, Japan, and other countries for the treatment of anemia in CKD for patients who are on dialysis and not on dialysis, we received a CRL in CKD anemia in the U.S. from the FDA. Regulatory authorities may approve one of our product candidates for fewer or more limited indications than we request or may grant approval contingent on the performance of costly post-approval clinical trials. While we have and will present to regulatory authorities certain pre-specified and post hoc (not pre-specified) sub-populations, sub-group, and sensitivity analyses (for example, incident dialysis), multiple secondary endpoints, and multiple sets of stratification factors and analytical methods (such as long-term follow up analyses), including adjusted and censored data, regulatory authorities may reject these analyses, methods, or even parts of our trial design or certain data from our studies, the rationale for our pre-specified non-inferiority margins or other portions of our statistical analysis plans. In addition, even if we are able to provide positive data with respect to certain analyses, regulatory authorities may not include such claims on any approved labeling. The failure to obtain regulatory approval, or any label, population or other approval limitations in any jurisdiction, may significantly limit or delay our ability to generate revenues, and any failure to obtain such approval for all of the indications and labeling claims we deem desirable could reduce our potential revenue.

Even if we are able to obtain regulatory approval of our product candidates, the label we obtain may limit the indicated uses for which our product candidates may be marketed.

With respect to roxadustat, regulatory approvals obtained could limit the approved indicated uses for which roxadustat may be marketed. For example, our label approved in Japan, includes the following warning: “Serious thromboembolism such as cerebral infarction, myocardial infarction, and pulmonary embolism may occur, possibly resulting in death, during treatment with roxadustat.” Additionally, in the U.S., ESAs have been subject to significant safety warnings, including the boxed warnings on their labels. The safety concerns relating to ESAs may result in labeling for roxadustat containing similar warnings. Any label for roxadustat may contain other warnings or limit the market opportunity or approved indications for roxadustat. These warnings could include warnings against exceeding specified hemoglobin targets and other warnings that derive from the safety issues associated with ESAs, even if our Phase 3 clinical trials do not themselves raise safety concerns.

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We face substantial competition in the discovery, development and commercialization of product candidates.

The development and commercialization of new pharmaceutical products is highly competitive. Our future success depends on our ability and/or the ability of our collaboration partners to achieve and maintain a competitive advantage with respect to the development and commercialization of our product candidates. Our objective is to discover, develop and commercialize new products with superior efficacy, convenience, tolerability, and safety.

We expect that in many cases, the products that we commercialize will compete with existing marketed products of companies that have large, established commercial organizations. We face competition from generics that could enter the market after expiry of our patents.

In addition, we will likely face competition from other companies developing products in the same diseases or indications in which we are developing or commercializing products. We will also face competition for patient recruitment, enrollment for clinical trials.

Refer to Item 1. “Business - Competition” in our Annual Report for a discussion of the specific companies that are on the market or in late-stage development with which we may compete.

The success of any or all of these potential competitive products may negatively impact the development and potential for success of our products.

Moreover, many of our competitors have significantly greater resources than we do. Large pharmaceutical companies have extensive experience, greater scale, and efficiency, in clinical testing, obtaining regulatory approvals, recruiting patients, manufacturing pharmaceutical products, and commercialization. If our collaboration partners and we are not able to compete effectively against existing and potential competitors, our business and financial condition may be materially and adversely affected.

Our product candidates may not achieve adequate market acceptance among physicians, patients, healthcare payors, and others in the medical community necessary for commercial success.

Even if our product candidates receive regulatory approval, they may not gain adequate market acceptance among physicians, patients, healthcare payors, and others in the medical community. Demonstrating safety and efficacy of our product candidates and obtaining regulatory approvals will not guarantee future revenue. The degree of market acceptance of any of our approved product candidates will depend on several factors, including:

the efficacy of the product candidate as demonstrated in clinical trials;
the safety profile and perceptions of safety of our product candidates relative to competitive products;
acceptance of the product candidate as a safe and effective treatment by healthcare providers and patients;
the clinical indications for which the product candidate is approved;
the potential and perceived advantages of the product candidate over alternative treatments, including any similar generic treatments;
the inclusion or exclusion of the product candidate from treatment guidelines established by various physician groups and the viewpoints of influential physicians with respect to the product candidate;
the cost of the product candidate relative to alternative treatments;
adequate pricing and reimbursement by third parties and government authorities as described below;
the relative convenience and ease of administration;
the frequency and severity of adverse events;
the effectiveness of sales and marketing efforts; and
any unfavorable publicity relating to the product candidate.

In addition, see the risk factor titled “Our product candidates may cause or have attributed to them undesirable side effects or have other properties that delay or prevent their regulatory approval or limit their commercial potential” above. If any product candidate is approved but does not achieve an adequate level of acceptance by such parties, we may not generate or derive sufficient revenue from that product candidate and may not become or remain profitable.

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No or limited reimbursement or insurance coverage of our approved products, by third-party payors may render our products less attractive to patients and healthcare providers.

Market acceptance and sales of any approved products will depend significantly on reimbursement or coverage of our products by government or third-party payors and may be affected by existing and future healthcare reform measures or prices of related products for which the government or third-party reimbursement applies. Coverage and reimbursement by the government or a third-party payor may depend upon a number of factors, including the payor’s determination that use of a product is:

a covered benefit under applicable health plan;
safe, effective and medically necessary;
appropriate for the specific patient;
cost-effective; and
neither experimental nor investigational.

Obtaining coverage and reimbursement approval for a product from a government or other 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, which we may not be able to provide. Furthermore, the reimbursement policies of governments and third-party payors may significantly change in a manner that renders our clinical data insufficient for adequate reimbursement or otherwise limits the successful marketing of our products. Even if we obtain coverage for our product candidates, the pricing may be subject to re-negotiations or third-party payors may not establish adequate reimbursement amounts, which may reduce the demand for, or the price of, our products. For example, our current National Reimbursement Drug List reimbursement pricing for China is effective for a standard two-year period (between January 1, 2022 to December 31, 2023), after which time we will have to renegotiate a new price for roxadustat.

Reference pricing is used by various Europe member states and parallel distribution, or arbitrage between low-priced and high-priced member states, can further reduce prices. In some countries, our partner or we may be required to conduct a clinical trial or other studies that compare the cost-effectiveness of 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 authorities may lead to further pressure on the prices or reimbursement levels within the country of publication and other countries. If reimbursement of our products is unavailable or limited in scope or amount, or if pricing is set at unacceptable levels, our partner or we may elect not to commercialize our products in such countries, and our business and financial condition could be adversely affected.

Risks Related to Our Reliance on Third Parties

If our collaborations were terminated or if Astellas or AstraZeneca were to prioritize other initiatives over their collaborations with us, our ability to successfully develop and commercialize our product candidates would suffer.

We have entered into collaboration agreements with respect to the development and commercialization of our lead product candidate, roxadustat, with Astellas and AstraZeneca. These agreements provide for reimbursement of our development costs by our collaboration partners and also provide for commercialization of roxadustat throughout the major territories of the world.

Our agreements with Astellas and AstraZeneca provide each of them with the right to terminate their respective agreements with us, upon the occurrence of negative clinical results, delays in the development and commercialization of our product candidates or adverse regulatory requirements or guidance. In addition, each of those agreements provides our respective partners the right to terminate any of those agreements upon written notice for convenience. The termination of any of our collaboration agreements would require us to fund and perform the further development and commercialization of roxadustat in the affected territory, or pursue another collaboration, which we may be unable to do, either of which could have an adverse effect on our business and operations. Moreover, if Astellas or AstraZeneca, or any successor entity, were to determine that their collaborations with us are no longer a strategic priority, or if either of them or a successor were to reduce their level of commitment to their collaborations with us, our ability to develop and commercialize roxadustat could suffer.

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In 2021, we received a CRL for roxadustat for the treatment of anemia due to CKD in adult patients in the U.S. While we continue to co-commercialize roxadustat in China with AstraZeneca and develop roxadustat in the U.S. for the treatment of anemia in patients with MDS, we have not been able to agree on a potential path forward for AstraZeneca to fund further roxadustat development in the U.S. for CKD anemia and there is a significant risk we will be unable to do so. There is also a significant risk that the AstraZeneca U.S./RoW Agreement will be amended or terminated. Our collaborations are exclusive for roxadustat and preclude us from entering into additional collaboration agreements with other parties in those geographies and indications already licensed.

If we do not establish and maintain strategic collaborations related to our product candidates, we will bear all of the risk and costs related to the development and commercialization of any such product candidate, and we may need to seek additional financing, hire additional employees and otherwise develop expertise at significant cost. This in turn may negatively affect the development of our other product candidates as we direct resources to our most advanced product candidates.

Our collaboration partners also have certain rights to control decisions regarding the development and commercialization of our product candidates with respect to which they are providing funding. If we have a disagreement over strategy and activities with our collaboration partners, our plans for obtaining regulatory approval may be revised and negatively affect the anticipated timing and potential for success of our product candidates. Even if a product under a collaboration agreement receives regulatory approval, we will remain substantially dependent on the commercialization strategy and efforts of our collaboration partners, and our collaboration partners have limited or no experience in commercialization of an anemia drug. If our collaboration partners are unsuccessful in their commercialization efforts, our results will be negatively affected.

With respect to our collaboration agreements for roxadustat, there are additional complexities in that our collaboration partners, Astellas and AstraZeneca, and we must reach consensus on certain portions of our development programs and regulatory activities. In addition, there are aspects of commercial operations that require cooperation among the collaboration partners, including safety data reporting. Multi-party decision-making is complex and involves significant time and effort, and there can be no assurance that the parties will cooperate or reach consensus, or that one or both of our partners will not ask to proceed independently in some or all of their respective territories or functional areas of responsibility in which the applicable collaboration partner would otherwise be obligated to cooperate with us. Any disputes or lack of cooperation with us by either Astellas or AstraZeneca, or both, may negatively impact the timing or success of our regulatory approval applications.

We may conduct proprietary research programs in specific disease areas that are not covered by our collaboration agreements. Our pursuit of such opportunities could, however, result in conflicts with our collaboration partners in the event that any of our collaboration partners takes the position that our internal activities overlap with those areas that are exclusive to our collaboration agreements. Moreover, disagreements with our collaboration partners could develop over rights to our intellectual property, including the enforcement of those rights. In addition, our collaboration agreements may have provisions that give rise to disputes regarding the rights and obligations of the parties. Any conflict with our collaboration partners could lead to the termination of our collaboration agreements, delay collaborative activities, reduce our ability to renew agreements or obtain future collaboration agreements or result in litigation or arbitration and would negatively impact our relationship with existing collaboration partners, and could impact our commercial results.

Certain of our collaboration partners could also become our competitors in the future. If our collaboration partners develop competing products, fail to obtain necessary regulatory approvals, terminate their agreements with us prematurely or fail to devote sufficient resources to the development and commercialization of our product candidates, the development and commercialization of our product candidates and products could be delayed.

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If our preclinical and clinical trial contractors do not properly perform their agreed upon obligations, we may not be able to obtain or may be delayed in receiving regulatory approvals for our product candidates.

We rely heavily on university, hospital, dialysis centers and other institutions and third parties, including the principal investigators and their staff, to carry out our clinical trials in accordance with our clinical protocols and designs. We also rely on a number of third-party CROs to assist in undertaking, managing, monitoring and executing our ongoing clinical trials. We expect to continue to rely on CROs, clinical data management organizations, medical institutions and clinical investigators to conduct our development efforts in the future. We compete with many other companies for the resources of these third parties, and large pharmaceutical companies often have significantly more extensive agreements and relationships with such third-party providers, and such third-party providers may prioritize the requirements of such large pharmaceutical companies over ours. The third parties on whom we rely may terminate their engagements with us at any time, which may cause delay in the development and commercialization of our product candidates. If any such third party terminates its engagement with us or fails to perform as agreed, we may be required to enter into alternative arrangements, which would result in significant cost and delay to our product development program. Moreover, our agreements with such third parties generally do not provide assurances regarding employee turnover and availability, which may cause interruptions in the research on our product candidates by such third parties.

Despite our reliance on third parties for certain development and management activities, such as clinical trials, we, as the sponsor, remain responsible for ensuring that these activities are conducted in accordance with the FDA and foreign regulatory authorities’ investigational plans and protocols, including GCP requirements. Regulatory enforcement of GCP requirements can occur through periodic inspections of trial sponsors, principal investigators, and trial sites.

To ensure the quality and accuracy of our data remains uncompromised and reliable, our third-party service providers must comply with applicable GCP requirements, regulations, protocols, and agreements. Failures to do so by such third-party partners, or needing to replace such third-party service providers, may delay, suspend or terminate development of our product candidates, result in exclusion of patient data from approval applications, or require additional clinical trials before approval of marketing applications. Such events may ultimately prevent regulatory approval for our product candidates on a timely basis, at a reasonable cost, or at all.

We currently rely, and expect to continue to rely, on third parties to conduct many aspects of our product manufacturing and distribution, and these third parties may terminate these agreements or not perform satisfactorily.

We do not have operating manufacturing facilities at this time other than our roxadustat manufacturing facilities in China, and our current commercial manufacturing plants in China are not expected to satisfy the requirements necessary to support development and commercialization outside of China. Other than in and for China specifically, we do not expect to independently manufacture our products. We currently rely, and expect to continue to rely, on third parties to scale-up, manufacture and supply roxadustat and our other product candidates outside of China. We rely on third parties for distribution, including our collaboration partners and their vendors, except in China where we have established a jointly owned entity with AstraZeneca to manage most of the distribution in China. Risks arising from our reliance on third-party manufacturers include:

reduced control and additional burdens of oversight as a result of using third-party manufacturers and distributors for all aspects of manufacturing activities, including regulatory compliance and quality control and quality assurance;
termination of manufacturing agreements, termination fees associated with such termination, or nonrenewal of manufacturing agreements with third parties may negatively impact our planned development and commercialization activities;
significant financial commitments we may be required to make with third-party manufacturers for early-stage clinical or pre-clinical programs that may fail to produce scientific results that would justify further development (without the ability to mitigate the manufacturing investments);
the possible misappropriation of our proprietary technology, including our trade secrets and know-how; and
disruptions to the operations of our third-party manufacturers, distributors or suppliers unrelated to our product, including the merger, acquisition, or bankruptcy of a manufacturer or supplier or a catastrophic event, including disruption resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, affecting our manufacturers, distributors or suppliers.

Any of these events could lead to development delays or failure to obtain regulatory approval or affect our ability to successfully commercialize our product candidates. Some of these events could be the basis for action by the FDA or another regulatory authority, including injunction, recall, seizure or total or partial suspension of production.

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Considering we do not control our contract manufacturers’ facilities and operations used to manufacture our product candidates, but are still responsible for cGMP adherence, if our contract manufacturers cannot successfully manufacture material that conforms to our or our collaboration partners’ specifications, or the regulatory requirements, our development and commercialization plans and activities may be adversely affected. Although our longer-term agreements are expected to provide for requirements to meet our quantity and quality requirements (e.g., through audit rights) to manufacture our products candidates for clinical studies and commercial sale, we have limited or minimal direct control over the ability of our contract manufacturers to maintain adequate quality control, quality assurance and qualified personnel. If our contract manufacturers’ facilities do not pass inspection, are not approved or have their approvals withdrawn by regulatory authorities, we would need to identify and qualify alternative manufacturing facilities, which would significantly impact our ability to develop, obtain regulatory approval for or market our products, if approved. Moreover, any failure of our third-party manufacturers, to comply with applicable regulations could result in legal sanctions/penalties being imposed on us or adverse regulatory consequences, which would be expected to significantly and adversely affect our product supplies.

If any third-party manufacturers terminate their engagements with us or fail to perform as agreed, we may be required to identify, qualify, and contract with replacement manufacturers (including entering into technical transfer agreements to share know-how), which process may result in significant costs and delays to our development and commercialization programs.

We may experience delays or technical problems associated with technology transfer, scale-up, or validation of our biologics manufacturing.

We have entered into an initial commercial supply agreement for the manufacture of pamrevlumab with Samsung Biologics Co., Ltd. (“Samsung”) and are transitioning our manufacturing of pamrevlumab from Boehringer Ingelheim to Samsung. However, we may experience delays or technical problems associated with:

technology transfer of the manufacturing process to Samsung;
scale-up and production of cGMP batches;
analytical method validation and transfer to Samsung;
process validation, including process characterization and process performance qualification batches; and
set up and execution of appropriate stability studies.

We have made certain manufacturing commitments to Samsung, and there is a contractual risk we will not require the quantities of pamrevlumab we have committed to, particularly if we cease some of our pamrevlumab clinical trials. In addition, our product candidates and any products that we may develop may compete with other product candidates and products for access and prioritization to manufacture. Certain third-party manufacturers may be contractually prohibited from manufacturing our product due to non-compete agreements with our competitors or a commitment to grant another party priority relative to our products. There are a limited number of third-party manufacturers that operate under cGMP and that might be capable of manufacturing to meet our requirements. Due to the limited number of third-party manufacturers with the contractual freedom, expertise, required regulatory approvals and facilities to manufacture our products on a commercial scale, identifying and qualifying a replacement third-party manufacturer would be expensive and time-consuming and may cause delay or interruptions in the production of our product candidates or products, which in turn may delay, prevent or impair our development and commercialization efforts. We also carry the risk that we may need to pay termination fees to Samsung or other manufacturers in the event that we have to manufacture lower volumes or not at all depending on the results of our clinical trials. In addition, third party manufacturers tend to change their upfront fees or postponement/cancelation fees over time or upon initiation of additional contracts, and this may lead to unanticipated financial loss for FibroGen.

We also carry the risk that if all three indications are successful, the commercial demand may exceed planned production supply at Samsung. In this event, it may be necessary to find third party manufacturers who have the capacity and capability to produce the required quantities of pamrevlumab. This may be subject to availability of such manufacturers since there are only a limited number of suppliers who have the larger scale bioreactors that are needed for commercial pamrevlumab supply. If we need to find a supplier in China, there may be additional delays in importing custom raw materials and supplements into China.

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Certain components of our products are acquired from single-source suppliers or without long-term supply agreements. The loss of these suppliers, or their failure to supply, would materially and adversely affect our business.

We do not have an alternative supplier of certain components of our commercial products and product candidates. While we have obligations for second-source suppliers in our roxadustat collaboration agreements, we may be unable to enter into long-term commercial supply arrangements for some of our other products, or do so on commercially reasonable terms, which could have a material adverse impact upon our business. Although we have entered into long-term clinical and commercial supply arrangements for pamrevlumab, we currently rely on our contract manufacturers to purchase from third-party suppliers some of the materials necessary to produce our product candidates. We do not have direct control over the acquisition of those materials by our contract manufacturers.

The logistics of our supply chain, which include shipment of materials and intermediates from countries such as China and India add additional time and risk (including risk of loss) to the manufacture of our product candidates. While we have in the past maintained sufficient inventory of materials, active pharmaceutical ingredients (“API”), and drug product to meet our and our collaboration partners’ needs to date, the lead-time and regulatory approvals required to source from and into countries outside of the U.S. increase the risk of delay and potential shortages of supply.

Risks Related to Our Intellectual Property

If our efforts to protect our proprietary technologies are not adequate, we may not be able to compete effectively in our market.

We rely upon a combination of patents, trade secret protection, and contractual arrangements to protect the intellectual property related to our technologies. We will only be able to protect our products and proprietary information and technology to the extent that our patents, trade secrets, contractual position, and governmental regulations and laws allow us to do so. Any unauthorized use or disclosure of proprietary information or technology could compromise our competitive position. Moreover, we are, have been, and may in the future be involved in legal proceedings involving our intellectual property and initiated by third parties, which proceedings can be associated with significant costs and commitment of management time and attention.

We have in the past been involved, and may in the future be involved, in initiating legal or administrative proceedings involving the product candidates and intellectual property of our competitors. These proceedings can result in significant costs and commitment of management time and attention, and there can be no assurance that our efforts would be successful in preventing or limiting the ability of our competitors to market competing products.

Composition-of-matter patents are generally considered the strongest form of intellectual property protection for pharmaceutical products, as such, patents provide protection not limited to any one method of use. Method-of-use patents protect the use of a product for the specified method(s), and do not prevent a competitor from making and marketing a product that is identical to our product for an indication that is outside the scope of the patented method. We rely on a combination of these and other types of patents to protect our product candidates, and there can be no assurance that our intellectual property will create and sustain the competitive position of our product candidates.

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Biotechnology and pharmaceutical product patents involve highly complex legal and scientific questions and can be uncertain. Any patent applications we own or license may fail to result in granted or issued patents. Even if patents do successfully issue from our applications, third parties may challenge their validity or enforceability, which may result in such patents being narrowed, invalidated, or held unenforceable. Even if our patents and patent applications are not challenged by third parties, those patents and patent applications may not prevent others from designing around our claims and may not otherwise adequately protect our product candidates. If the breadth or strength of protection provided by the patents and patent applications we hold with respect to our product candidates is threatened, competitors with significantly greater resources could threaten our ability to commercialize our product candidates. Discoveries are generally published in the scientific literature well after their actual development, and patent applications in the U.S. and other countries are typically not published until 18 months after their filing, and in some cases are never published. Therefore, we cannot be certain that our licensors or we were the first to make the inventions claimed in our owned and licensed patents or patent applications, or that our licensors or we were the first to file for patent protection covering such inventions. Subject to meeting other requirements for patentability, for U.S. patent applications filed prior to March 16, 2013, the first to invent the claimed invention is entitled to receive patent protection for that invention while, outside the U.S., the first to file a patent application encompassing the invention is entitled to patent protection for the invention. The U.S. moved to a “first to file” system under the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act, effective March 16, 2013. This system also includes procedures for challenging issued patents and pending patent applications, which creates additional uncertainty. We have, are, and may again become involved in, opposition or interference proceedings challenging our patents and patent applications, or the patents and patent applications of others, and the outcome of any such proceedings are highly uncertain. An unfavorable outcome in any such proceedings could reduce the scope of or invalidate our patent rights, allow third parties to commercialize our technology and compete directly with us, or result in our inability to manufacture, develop or commercialize our product candidates without infringing the patent rights of others.

In addition to the protection afforded by patents, we seek to rely on trade secret protection and confidentiality agreements to protect proprietary know-how, information, or technology that is not covered by our patents. Although our agreements require employees to acknowledge ownership by us of inventions conceived as a result of employment from the point of conception and, to the extent necessary, perfect such ownership by assignment, and we require employees, consultants, advisors and third parties who have access to our trade secrets, proprietary know-how and other confidential information and technology to enter into appropriate confidentiality agreements, we cannot be certain that our trade secrets, proprietary know-how and other confidential information and technology will not be subject to unauthorized disclosure, use, or misappropriation or that our competitors will not otherwise gain access to or independently develop substantially equivalent trade secrets, proprietary know-how and other information and technology. Furthermore, the laws of some foreign countries, in particular, China, where we have operations, do not protect proprietary rights to the same extent or in the same manner as the laws of the U.S. As a result, we may encounter significant problems in protecting and defending our intellectual property globally. If we cannot prevent unauthorized disclosure of our intellectual property related to our product candidates and technology to third parties, we may not establish or maintain a competitive advantage in our market, which could materially and adversely affect our business and operations.

Intellectual property disputes may be costly, time consuming, and may negatively affect our competitive position.

Our commercial success may depend on our avoiding infringement of the patents and other proprietary rights of third parties as well as on enforcing our patents and other proprietary rights against third parties.

Our collaboration partners or we may be subject to patent infringement claims from third parties. We attempt to ensure that our product candidates do not infringe third-party patents and other proprietary rights. However, the patent landscape in competitive product areas is highly complex, and there may be patents of third parties of which we are unaware that may result in claims of infringement. Accordingly, there can be no assurance that our product candidates do not infringe proprietary rights of third parties, and parties making claims against us may seek and obtain injunctive or other equitable relief, which could potentially block further efforts to develop and commercialize our product candidates, including roxadustat or pamrevlumab. Any litigation involving defense against claims of infringement, regardless of the merit of such claims, would involve substantial litigation expense and would be a substantial diversion of management time.

We may consider administrative proceedings and other means for challenging third-party patents and patent applications. An unfavorable outcome in any such challenge could require us to cease using the related technology and to attempt to license rights to it from the prevailing third party, which may not be available on commercially reasonable terms, if at all, in which case our business could be harmed.

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Third parties have challenged and may again challenge our patents and patent applications. For example, various challenges against our HIF anemia-related technologies patent portfolio are ongoing in several territories, including Europe, the United Kingdom, and Japan. Regardless of final outcome, the potential narrowing or revocation of any of the HIF anemia-related technology patents does not affect our exclusivity for roxadustat or our freedom-to-operate with respect to use of roxadustat for the treatment of anemia in these or other territories.

Oppositions were filed against European Patent No. 2872488 (the “`488 Patent”), which claims a crystalline form of roxadustat, and against European Patent No. 3003284 (the “`284 Patent”), which claims photostable formulations of roxadustat. Similar challenges have been filed in China against patents which claim a crystalline form of roxadustat. Final resolution of such proceedings will take time, and we cannot be assured that these patents will ultimately survive as originally granted or at all.

Furthermore, there is a risk that any public announcements concerning the status or outcomes of intellectual property litigation or administrative proceedings may adversely affect the price of our stock. If securities analysts or our investors interpret such status or outcomes as negative or otherwise creating uncertainty, our common stock price may be adversely affected.

Our reliance on third parties and agreements with collaboration partners requires us to share our trade secrets, which increases the possibility that a competitor may discover them or that our trade secrets will be misappropriated or disclosed.

Our reliance on third-party contractors to develop and manufacture our product candidates is based upon agreements that limit the rights of the third parties to use or disclose our confidential information, including our trade secrets and know-how. Despite the contractual provisions, the need to share trade secrets and other confidential information increases the risk that such trade secrets and information are disclosed or used, even if unintentionally, in violation of these agreements. In the highly competitive markets in which our product candidates are expected to compete, protecting our trade secrets, including our strategies for addressing competing products, is imperative, and any unauthorized use or disclosure could impair our competitive position and may have a material adverse effect on our business and operations.

In addition, our collaboration partners are larger, more complex organizations than ours, and the risk of inadvertent disclosure of our proprietary information may be increased despite their internal procedures and contractual obligations that we have in place with them. Despite our efforts to protect our trade secrets and other confidential information, a competitor’s discovery of such trade secrets and information could impair our competitive position and have an adverse impact on our business.

The cost of maintaining our patent protection is high and requires continuous review and diligence. We may not be able to effectively maintain our intellectual property position throughout the major markets of the world.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and foreign patent authorities require maintenance fees and payments as well as continued compliance with a number of procedural and documentary requirements. Noncompliance may result in abandonment or lapse of the subject patent or patent application, resulting in partial or complete loss of patent rights in the relevant jurisdiction. Non-compliance may result in reduced royalty payments for lack of patent coverage in a particular jurisdiction from our collaboration partners or may result in competition, either of which could have a material adverse effect on our business.

We have made, and will continue to make, certain strategic decisions in balancing costs and the potential protection afforded by the patent laws of certain countries. As a result, we may not be able to prevent third parties from practicing our inventions in all countries throughout the world, or from selling or importing products made using our inventions in and into the U.S. or other countries. Third parties may use our technologies in territories in which we have not obtained patent protection to develop their own products and, further, may infringe our patents in territories which provide inadequate enforcement mechanisms, even if we have patent protection. Such third-party products may compete with our product candidates, and our patents or other intellectual property rights may not be effective or sufficient to prevent them from competing.

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The laws of some foreign countries do not protect proprietary rights to the same extent as do the laws of the U.S., and we may encounter significant problems in securing and defending our intellectual property rights outside the U.S.

Many companies have encountered significant problems in protecting and defending intellectual property rights in certain countries. The legal systems of certain countries do not always favor the enforcement of patents, trade secrets, and other intellectual property rights, particularly those relating to pharmaceutical and biotechnology products, which could make it difficult for us to stop infringement of our patents, misappropriation of our trade secrets, or marketing of competing products in violation of our proprietary rights. In China, our intended establishment of significant operations will depend in substantial part on our ability to effectively enforce our intellectual property rights in that country. Proceedings to enforce our intellectual property rights in foreign countries could result in substantial costs and divert our efforts and attention from other aspects of our business, and could put our patents in these territories at risk of being invalidated or interpreted narrowly, or our patent applications at risk of not being granted, and could provoke third parties to assert claims against us. We may not prevail in all legal or other proceedings that we may initiate and, if we were to prevail, the damages or other remedies awarded, if any, may not be commercially meaningful. Accordingly, our efforts to enforce our intellectual property rights around the world may be inadequate to obtain a significant commercial advantage from the intellectual property that we develop or license.

Intellectual property rights do not address all potential threats to any competitive advantage we may have.

The degree of future protection afforded by our intellectual property rights is uncertain because intellectual property rights have limitations, and intellectual property rights may not adequately protect our business or permit us to maintain our competitive advantage. The following examples are illustrative:

Others may be able to make compounds or independently develop similar or alternative technologies that are the same as or similar to our current or future product candidates but that are not covered by the claims of the patents that we own or have exclusively licensed.
Patent protection on our product candidates may expire before we are able to develop and commercialize the product, or before we are able to recover our investment in the product.
Our competitors might conduct research and development activities in the U.S. and other countries that provide a safe harbor from patent infringement claims for such activities, as well as in countries in which we do not have patent rights, and may then use the information learned from such activities to develop competitive products for sale in markets where we intend to market our product candidates.

The existence of counterfeit pharmaceutical products in pharmaceutical markets may compromise our brand and reputation and have a material adverse effect on our business, operations and prospects.

Counterfeit products, including counterfeit pharmaceutical products, are a significant problem, particularly in China. Counterfeit pharmaceuticals are products sold or used for research under the same or similar names, or similar mechanism of action or product class, but which are sold without proper licenses or approvals, and are often lower cost, lower quality, different potency, or have different ingredients or formulations, and have the potential to damage the reputation for quality and effectiveness of the genuine product. Such products may be used for indications or purposes that are not recommended or approved or for which there is no data or inadequate data with regard to safety or efficacy. Such products divert sales from genuine products. If counterfeit pharmaceuticals illegally sold or used for research result in adverse events or side effects to consumers, we may be associated with any negative publicity resulting from such incidents. Consumers may buy counterfeit pharmaceuticals that are in direct competition with our pharmaceuticals, which could have an adverse impact on our revenues, business and results of operations. In addition, the use of counterfeit products could be used in non-clinical or clinical studies, or could otherwise produce undesirable side effects or adverse events that may be attributed to our products as well, which could cause us or regulatory authorities to interrupt, delay or halt clinical trials and could result in the delay or denial of regulatory approval by the FDA or other regulatory authorities and potential product liability claims. With respect to China, although the government has recently been increasingly active in policing counterfeit pharmaceuticals, there is not yet an effective counterfeit pharmaceutical regulation control and enforcement system in China. As a result, we may not be able to prevent third parties from selling or purporting to sell our products in China. The proliferation of counterfeit pharmaceuticals has grown in recent years and may continue to grow in the future. The existence of and any increase in the sales and production of counterfeit pharmaceuticals, or the technological capabilities of counterfeiters, could negatively impact our revenues, brand reputation, business and results of operations.