Many of Seelos' competitors have significantly greater financial resources and expertise in research and development, manufacturing, preclinical studies, clinical trials,
regulatory approvals and marketing approved products than Seelos does. Smaller or early-stage companies may also prove to be significant competitors, particularly through collaborative
arrangements with large and established companies. Seelos' competitors may succeed in developing technologies and therapies that are more effective, better tolerated or less costly than any
which Seelos is developing, or that would render Seelos' product candidates obsolete and noncompetitive. Even if Seelos obtains regulatory approval for any of its product candidates, Seelos'
competitors may succeed in obtaining regulatory approvals for their products earlier than Seelos does. Seelos will also face competition from these third parties in recruiting and retaining
qualified scientific and management personnel, in establishing clinical trial sites and patient registration for clinical trials, and in acquiring and in-licensing technologies and products
complementary to Seelos' programs or advantageous to Seelos' business.
The key competitive factors affecting the success of each of Seelos' product candidates, if approved, are likely to be its efficacy, safety, tolerability, frequency and route
of administration, convenience and price, the level of branded and generic competition and the availability of coverage and reimbursement from government and other third-party payors.
The pharmaceutical market for the treatment of major depressive disorder includes selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors ("SSRIs") serotonin and
norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors ("SNRIs"), and atypical antipsychotics; a number of these marketed antidepressants will be generic, and would be key competitors to SLS-002.
These products include Forest Laboratory's Lexapro/Cipralex (escitalopram) and Viibryd (vilazodone), Pfizer, Inc.'s Zoloft (sertraline) Effexor (venlafaxine), and Pristiq (desvenlafaxine),
GlaxoSmithKline plc's Paxil/Seroxat (paroxetine), Eli Lilly and Company's Prozac (fluoxetine) and Cymbalta (duloxetine), AstraZeneca plc's Seroquel (quetiapine), and Bristol-Myers Squibb
Company's Abilify (aripiprazole), among others.
Patients with treatment-resistant depression often require treatment with several antidepressants, such as an SSRI or SNRI, combined with an "adjunct"
therapy such as an antipsychotic or mood stabilizer. These antipsychotic compounds, such as AstraZeneca plc's Seroquel (quetiapine) and Bristol-Myers Squibb Company's Abilify
(aripiprazole), and mood stabilizers, such as Janssen Pharmaceutica's Topamax (topiramate). In addition, Janssen's intranasal esketamine has recently shown a successful Phase III study in
treatment-resistant depression and along with Allergan's rapastinel (formerly Naurex), both of which target the NMDA receptor and are expected to have a faster onset of therapeutic effect as
compared to currently available therapies.
Current treatments for Parkinson's disease are intended to improve the symptoms of patients. The cornerstone of Parkinson's therapy is levodopa, as it is the most
effective therapy for reducing symptoms of Parkinson's disease. There are other drug therapies in development that will target the disease, such as gene and stem cell therapy and A2A
receptor agonists. Currently, the majority of products in development for Parkinson's disease are still in the pre-clinical stage.
Seelos, or any future collaborators, may not be able to obtain orphan drug designation or orphan drug exclusivity for Seelos' product candidates.
Regulatory authorities in some jurisdictions, including the United States and Europe, may designate drugs for relatively small patient populations as orphan
drugs. Under the Orphan Drug Act, the FDA may designate a product as an orphan drug if it is a drug intended to treat a rare disease or condition, which is generally defined as a patient
population of fewer than 200,000 individuals annually in the United States. In the United States and Europe, obtaining orphan drug approval may allow Seelos to obtain financial incentives,
such as an extended period of exclusivity during which only Seelos is allowed to market the orphan drug. While Seelos plans to seek orphan drug designation from the FDA for SLS-008 for the
treatment of a pediatric indication, Seelos, or any future collaborators, may not be granted orphan drug designations for its product candidates in the U.S. or in other jurisdictions.
Even if Seelos, or any future collaborators, obtain orphan drug designation for a product candidate, Seelos, or they, may not be able to obtain orphan drug exclusivity for
that product candidate. Generally, a product with orphan drug designation only becomes entitled to orphan drug exclusivity if it receives the first marketing approval for the indication for which it
has such designation, in which case the FDA or the EMA will be precluded from approving another marketing application for the same drug for that indication for the applicable exclusivity
period. The applicable exclusivity period is seven years in the United States and ten years in Europe. The European exclusivity period can be reduced to six years if a drug no longer meets the
criteria for orphan drug designation or if the drug is sufficiently profitable so that market exclusivity is no longer justified. Orphan drug exclusivity may be lost if the FDA or the EMA determines
that the request for designation was materially defective or if the manufacturer is unable to assure sufficient quantity of the drug to meet the needs of patients with the rare disease or
Even if Seelos, or any future collaborators, obtain orphan drug exclusivity for a product, that exclusivity may not effectively protect the product from competition because
FDA has taken the position that, under certain circumstances, another drug with the same active chemical and pharmacological characteristics, or moiety, can be approved for the same
condition. Specifically, the FDA's regulations provide that it can approve another drug with the same active moiety for the same condition if the FDA concludes that the later drug is clinically
superior in that it is shown to be safer, more effective or makes a major contribution to patient care.