|PACIRA PHARMACEUTICALS, INC. filed this Form 10-K on 03/01/2017|
based products. The process offers many advantages to the current process, including larger scale production and lower manufacturing costs. In April 2011, we filed an international patent application providing the basis for several non-provisional patent applications, for example in the US, Europe, China and Japan which, if granted, could potentially prevent others from using this process until 2031. In 2016, one such application was granted as a patent in Japan. Also, in 2015, a patent in the People’s Republic of China directed to an apparatus for use in this process was granted. Furthermore, a non-exclusively licensed patent of ours relating to EXPAREL was allowed in Europe with an expiration date in October 2021 and was extended in the United States until October 2023.
We have also taken steps to protect our two pipeline candidates, DepoMLX and DepoTXA. Pending patent applications for compositions and methods of treatment of DepoMLX, if granted, would expire in October 2031. In addition, a provisional patent application for DepoTXA has been filed and, if granted, would expire in January 2036.
Trade Secrets and Proprietary Information
Trade secrets play an important role in protecting DepoFoam-based products and provide protection beyond patents and regulatory exclusivity. The scale-up and commercial manufacture of DepoFoam products involves processes, custom equipment and in-process and release analytical techniques that we believe are unique to us. The expertise and knowledge required to understand the critical aspects of DepoFoam manufacturing steps requires knowledge of both traditional and non-traditional emulsion processing and traditional pharmaceutical production, overlaid with all of the challenges presented by aseptic manufacturing. We seek to protect our proprietary information, including our trade secrets and proprietary know-how, by requiring our employees, consultants and other advisors to execute proprietary information and confidentiality agreements upon the commencement of their employment or engagement. These agreements generally provide that all confidential information developed or made known during the course of the relationship with us be kept confidential and not be disclosed to third parties except in specific circumstances. In the case of our employees, the agreements also typically provide that all inventions resulting from work performed for us, utilizing our property or relating to our business and conceived or completed during employment shall be our exclusive property to the extent permitted by law. Where appropriate, agreements we obtain with our consultants also typically contain similar assignment of invention obligations. Further, we require confidentiality agreements from third parties that receive our confidential data or materials.
The pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries are intensely competitive and subject to rapid and significant technological change. Our competitors include organizations such as major multinational pharmaceutical companies, established biotechnology companies, specialty pharmaceutical companies and generic drug companies. Many of our competitors have greater financial and other resources than we have, such as more commercial resources, larger research and development staffs and more extensive marketing and manufacturing organizations. As a result, these companies may obtain marketing approval more rapidly than we are able and may be more effective in developing, selling and marketing their products. Smaller or early stage companies may also prove to be significant competitors, particularly through collaborative arrangements with large, established companies.
Our competitors may succeed in developing, acquiring or licensing on an exclusive basis technologies and drug products that are more effective or less costly than EXPAREL or any other products that we are currently selling through partners or developing or that we may develop, which could render our products obsolete and noncompetitive. We expect any products that we develop and commercialize to compete on the basis of, among other things, efficacy, safety, convenience of administration and delivery, price and the availability of reimbursement from government and other third-party payers.
EXPAREL competes with well-established products with similar indications. Competing products available for postsurgical pain management include opioids such as morphine, fentanyl, meperidine and hydromorphone, each of which is available generically from several manufacturers, and several of which are available as proprietary products using novel delivery systems. Ketorolac, an NSAID, is also available generically in the United States from several manufacturers, and Caldolor (ibuprofen for injection), an NSAID, has been approved by the FDA for pain management and fever in adults. EXPAREL also competes with currently-marketed non-opioid products such as bupivacaine, marcaine, ropivacaine and other anesthetics/analgesics, all of which are also used in the treatment of postsurgical pain and are available as either oral tablets, injectable dosage forms or administered using novel delivery systems. Additional products may be developed for the treatment of acute pain, including new injectable NSAIDs, novel opioids, new formulations of currently available opioids and NSAIDs, long-acting local anesthetics and new chemical entities as well as alternative delivery forms of various opioids and NSAIDs. Currently EXPAREL also competes with elastomeric pump/catheter devices intended to provide bupivacaine over several days. I-FLOW Corporation (acquired by Kimberly-Clark Corporation in 2009 and spun off into Halyard Health, Inc. in 2014) has marketed these medical devices in the United States since 2004.