Risk Factors Dashboard

Once a year, publicly traded companies issue a comprehensive report of their business, called a 10-K. A component mandated in the 10-K is the ‘Risk Factors’ section, where companies disclose any major potential risks that they may face. This dashboard highlights all major changes and additions in new 10K reports, allowing investors to quickly identify new potential risks and opportunities.

Risk Factors - CURR

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$CURR Risk Factor changes from 00/07/28/23/2023 to 00/05/17/24/2024

ITEM 1A. RISK FACTORS Investing in our securities involves a high degree of risk. You should carefully consider the following information about these risks, together with the other information appearing elsewhere in this Annual Report, including our consolidated financial statements, the notes thereto and the section entitled “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations.” The occurrence of any of these risks could have a material and adverse effect on our business, reputation, financial condition, results of operations and future growth prospects, as well as our ability to accomplish our strategic objectives. Certain statements contained in this section constitute forward-looking statements. See the information included in “Special Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements” in this Annual Report. Additional risks and uncertainties not presently known to us or that we currently deem immaterial may also impair our business operations. Risks Related to Our Business and Industry The report of our independent registered public accounting firm contains an explanatory paragraph regarding substantial doubt about our ability to continue as a going concern. The report of our independent registered public accounting firm on our audited financial statements as of and for the two years in the period ended December 31, 2023 and 2022 contains an explanatory paragraph regarding substantial doubt about our ability to continue as a going concern. The report of our independent registered public accounting firm on our audited financial statements as of and for the year ended December 31, 2022 contains an explanatory paragraph regarding substantial doubt about our ability to continue as a going concern. Our financial statements do not include any adjustments that might result from the outcome of the uncertainty regarding our ability to continue as a going concern. This going concern opinion could materially limit our ability to raise additional funds through the issuance of equity or debt securities or otherwise. Further reports on our financial statements may include an explanatory paragraph with respect to our ability to continue as a going concern. We or our suppliers may experience development or manufacturing problems or delays that could limit the growth of our revenue or increase our losses. We may encounter unforeseen situations in the manufacturing of our products that could result in delays or shortfalls in the production of our products. We may encounter unforeseen situations in the manufacturing of our products that could result in delays or shortfalls in our production. In addition, our suppliers’ production processes may have to change to accommodate any significant future demand for our products, which may increase our suppliers’ manufacturing costs, delay production of our products, reduce our product gross margin and adversely impact our business. In addition, our suppliers’ production processes may have to change to accommodate any significant future expansion of our manufacturing capacity, which may increase our suppliers’ manufacturing costs, delay production of our products, reduce our product gross margin and adversely impact our business. If we are unable to keep up with demand for our products by successfully shipping our products in a timely manner, our revenue could be impaired, market acceptance for our products could be adversely affected and our customers might instead purchase our competitors’ products. If we are unable to keep up with demand for our products by successfully manufacturing and shipping our products in a timely manner, our revenue could be impaired, market acceptance for our products could be adversely affected and our customers might instead purchase our competitors’ products. There has been an increased public focus, including from the United States federal and state governments, on environmental sustainability matters, including with respect to climate change, greenhouse gases, water resources, packaging and waste, animal health and welfare, deforestation, and land use. We endeavor to conduct our business in a manner which reflects our priority of sustainable stewardship, including with respect to environmental sustainability matters, and we are working to manage the risks and costs to us and our supply chain associated with these types of environmental sustainability matters. In addition, as the result of such heightened public focus on environmental sustainability matters, we may face increased pressure to provide expanded disclosure, make or expand commitments, set targets, or establish additional goals and take actions to meet such goals, in connection with such environmental sustainability matters. These matters and our efforts to address them could expose us to market, operational, reputational, and execution costs or risks. Our business could be adversely affected by widespread public health epidemics or other catastrophic events beyond our control. In addition to our reliance on our own employees and facilities, we depend on our collaborators, laboratories and other facilities for the continued operation of our business. Despite any precautions we take for natural disasters or other catastrophic events, events such as pandemic disease, terrorist attacks, hurricanes, fires, floods, ice and snowstorms, may result in interruptions in our business. An outbreak of contagious diseases, and other adverse public health developments, such as the previous COVID-19 pandemic could impact our operations depending on future developments, which are highly uncertain, largely beyond our control and cannot be predicted with certainty. An outbreak of contagious diseases, and other adverse public health developments, such as the continued impact of the COVID-19 pandemic could impact our operations depending on future developments, which are highly uncertain, largely beyond our control and cannot be predicted with certainty. These uncertain factors, including the duration of the outbreak, new information which may emerge concerning the severity of the disease and the actions to contain or treat its impact, could adversely impact our operations, including among others, conduct of our clinical trials, employee mobility and productiveness, temporary closure of facilities, including clinical trial sites, our manufacturing capabilities, and third party service providers, any of which could have an adverse impact on our business and our financial results. In addition, a significant health epidemic could adversely affect the economies and financial markets of many countries, resulting in an economic downturn that could affect demand for our products which could have a material adverse effect on our business, operating results and financial condition. Our ability to compete depends on our ability to attract and retain talented employees. Our future success depends on our ability to identify, attract, train, integrate and retain highly qualified technical, development, sales and marketing, managerial and administrative personnel. Competition for highly skilled individuals is extremely intense and we face difficulty identifying and hiring qualified personnel in many areas of our business. We may not be able to hire and retain such personnel at compensation levels consistent with our existing compensation and salary structure. Many of the companies with which we compete to hire experienced employees have greater resources than we have. Many of the companies with which we compete for hiring experienced employees have greater resources than we have. If we fail to identify, attract, train, integrate and retain highly qualified and motivated personnel, our reputation could suffer and our business, financial condition and results of operations could be adversely affected. Our future success also depends on the continued service and performance of our senior management team. The replacement of members of our senior management team likely would involve significant time and costs, and the loss of any these individuals may delay or prevent the achievement of our business objectives. If we do not achieve, sustain or successfully manage our anticipated growth, our business and prospects will be harmed. If we are unable to obtain or sustain adequate revenue growth, our financial results could suffer. Furthermore, significant growth will place strains on our management and our operational and financial systems and processes, and our operating costs may escalate even faster than planned. If we cannot effectively manage our expanding operations and our costs, we may not be able to grow effectively, or we may grow at a slower pace. Additionally, if we do not successfully forecast the timing of regulatory authorization for our products, marketing and subsequent demand for our products or manage our anticipated expenses accordingly, our operating results will be harmed. New technologies could emerge that might offer better combinations of price and performance than our current products. It is critical to our success that we anticipate changes in technology and customer requirements and to successfully introduce, on a timely and cost-effective basis, new, enhanced and competitive technologies that meet the needs of current and prospective customers. If we do not successfully innovate and introduce new technology into our product lines or manage the transitions to new product offerings, our revenues, results of operations and business will be adversely impacted. Competitors may be able to respond more quickly and effectively than we can to new or changing opportunities, technologies, standards or customer requirements. We anticipate that we will face increased competition in the future as existing companies and competitors develop new or improved products and as new companies enter the market with new technologies. If the market opportunities for our products are smaller than we believe they are, our revenue may be adversely affected, and our business may suffer. Our projections of both the number of people in our target markets are based on our beliefs and estimates. These estimates have been derived from a variety of sources, including market research, and may prove to be incorrect. Further, new studies may change the estimated market size. The number of consumers may turn out to be lower than expected. We face intense competition and rapid technological change and the possibility that our competitors may discover, develop or commercialize products that are similar, more advanced or more effective than ours, which may adversely affect our financial condition and our ability to successfully commercialize our product candidates. We face intense competition and rapid technological change and the possibility that our competitors may discover, develop or commercialize drugs that are similar, more advanced or more effective than ours, which may adversely affect our financial condition and our ability to successfully commercialize our product candidates. The wellness and nutraceutical industries are highly competitive. There are many companies that are actively engaged in the research and development of products that may be similar to our product candidates. We compete with other companies within the wellness and beauty industries, which may have a competitive advantage over us due to their greater size, cash flows and institutional experience. Some of these drug delivery competitors include Aquestive Therapeutics Inc., Tesa-Labtec GmbH, BioDelivery Sciences International, Inc., LTS Lohmann Therapy Systems Corp and IntelGenx. New entrants such as Zim Laboratories in India and CMG Pharmaceuticals in Korea are also pursuing OTF products. Compared to us, many of our competitors may have significantly greater financial, technical and other resources, such as larger research and development staff and experienced marketing and manufacturing organizations. As a result of these factors, our competitors may have an advantage in marketing their products and may get their products to market before we are able to, which may limit our ability to develop or commercialize our products. As a result of these factors, our competitors may have an advantage in marketing their approved products and may obtain regulatory approval of their product candidates before we are able to, which may limit our ability to develop or commercialize our products. Our competitors may also develop products that are safer, more effective, more widely used and less expensive than ours, and may also be more successful than us in marketing their products. These advantages could materially impact our ability to develop and commercialize our products. Even if we successfully develop our new products, and commence the marketing of them, other products may be preferred, and we may not be successful in commercializing our products or in bringing them to market. Additional mergers and acquisitions in the wellness and beauty industries may result in even more resources being concentrated in our competitors. As a result, these companies may achieve greater scale more rapidly than we are able to and may be more effective in selling and marketing their products as well. Smaller or early-stage companies may also prove to be significant competitors, particularly through collaborative arrangements with large, established companies. Competition may increase further as a result of advances in the commercial applicability of technologies and greater availability of capital for investment in these industries. Our competitors may succeed in developing, acquiring or licensing on an exclusive basis, products that are more effective or less costly than any product that we may develop, or achieve earlier product commercialization and market penetration than we do. Additionally, technologies developed by our competitors may render our potential products uneconomical or obsolete, and we may not be successful in marketing our products against those of our competitors. The commercial success of any current or future product will depend upon the degree of market acceptance by consumers. The commercial success of our products will depend in part on consumer acceptance of our products as effective, cost-effective and safe. Any product that we bring to the market may not gain market acceptance by consumers. The degree of market acceptance of any of our products will depend on a number of factors, including: Even if a potential product displays a favorable efficacy and safety profile in clinical studies, market acceptance of the product will not be fully known until after it is launched. If our products are launched but fail to achieve an adequate level of acceptance by consumers, we will not be able to generate sufficient revenue to become or remain profitable. If our products are launched, but fail to achieve an adequate level of acceptance by consumers, we will not be able to generate sufficient revenue to become or remain profitable. Our products under development may not gain market acceptance. Our products may not gain market acceptance among consumers. Significant factors in determining whether we will be able to compete successfully include: We may be required to defend lawsuits or pay damages for product liability claims. Product liability is a risk in marketing wellness and beauty products. We may face substantial product liability exposure for products that we sell. We carry product liability insurance and we expect to continue to maintain such policies. However, product liability claims, regardless of their merits, could exceed policy limits, divert management’s attention, and adversely affect our reputation and demand for our products. Risks Relating to Our Financial Position and Need for Additional Capital We may not be able to continue to operate as a going concern. Our independent registered public accounting firm has included an explanatory paragraph relating to our ability to continue as a going concern in its report on our audited financial statements. We may be unable to continue to operate without the threat of liquidation for the foreseeable future. Even if future financing is successful, we expect that we will need to raise substantial additional funding before we can expect to become profitable from sales of our product candidates. This additional financing may not be available on acceptable terms, or at all. Failure to obtain this necessary capital when needed may force us to delay, limit or terminate our product candidate development efforts or other operations. As of December 31, 2023, our cash and cash equivalents were approximately $49 thousand, our working capital deficit was approximately $10. As of December 31, 2022, our cash and cash equivalents were approximately $2. 5 million, and our accumulated deficit was approximately $123.0 million and an accumulated deficit of approximately $120. 4 million.0 million. Upon the completion of future financing, we expect that our existing cash and cash equivalents will be sufficient to fund operations. Even if future financing is completed, we expect that we may require substantial additional capital to commercialize our product candidates. In addition, our operating plans may change as a result of many factors that may currently be unknown to us, and we may need to seek additional funds sooner than planned. Our future funding requirements will depend on many factors, including but not limited to: Any additional fundraising efforts may divert our management from their day-to-day activities, which may adversely affect our ability to develop and commercialize our product candidates. In addition, we cannot guarantee that future financing will be available in sufficient amounts or on terms acceptable to us, if at all. Moreover, the terms of any financing may adversely affect the holdings or the rights of holders of our securities and the issuance of additional securities, whether equity or debt, by us, or the possibility of such issuance, may cause the market price of our shares to decline. The incurrence of indebtedness could result in increased fixed payment obligations, and we may be required to agree to certain restrictive covenants, such as limitations on our ability to incur additional debt, limitations on our ability to acquire, sell or license intellectual property rights and other operating restrictions that could adversely impact our ability to conduct our business. We could also be required to seek funds through arrangements with collaborative partners or otherwise at an earlier stage than otherwise would be desirable, and we may be required to relinquish rights to some of our technologies or product candidates or otherwise agree to terms unfavorable to us, any of which may have a material adverse effect on our business, operating results and prospects. Even if we believe that we have sufficient funds for our current or future operating plans, we may seek additional capital if market conditions are favorable or if we have specific strategic considerations. If we are unable to obtain funding on a timely basis, we may be required to significantly curtail, delay or discontinue one or more of our research or development programs or the commercialization of any product candidates or be unable to expand our operations or otherwise capitalize on our business opportunities, as desired, which could materially affect our business, financial condition and results of operations. We are an active ingredient and development company and have a limited operating history on which to assess the prospects for our business, have incurred significant losses since the date of our inception, and anticipate that we will continue to incur significant losses until we are able to successfully increase sales of our products. Since our inception, we have been operating as a wellness and beauty company and have a limited operating history on which to assess the prospects for our business, have incurred significant losses, and anticipate that we will continue to incur significant losses for the foreseeable future. We have historically incurred substantial net losses, including net losses of approximately $10.6 million in 2018, approximately $21.4 million in 2019, approximately $30.6 million in 2020, approximately $13.2 million in 2021, approximately $25.2 million in 2021 and approximately $25. 5 million in 2022 and approximately $3.2 million in 2021 and approximately $25. 4 million in 2023.5 million in 2022. As of December 31, 2023 and 2022, we had an accumulated deficit of approximately $123.4 million and approximately $120.0 million and approximately $94. 0 million, respectively. We have devoted a significant portion of our financial resources to develop and market our products. We have financed our operations primarily through the issuance of equity securities and convertible notes and the sale of certain assets. The amount of our future net losses will depend, in part, on completing the development of our new products, the demand for all of our products, the rate of our future expenditures and our ability to obtain funding through the issuance of our securities or borrowings. Even if we bring to market a new product, our future revenue will depend upon the size of the markets for which our products may achieve sufficient market acceptance, pricing, and adequate market share for our products in those markets. We expect to continue to incur significant losses until we are able to generate higher level of sales of our product, which we may not be successful in achieving. We anticipate that our expenses will increase substantially if and as we: Raising additional capital may cause dilution to our existing stockholders and restrict our operations or require us to relinquish certain intellectual property rights. We may seek additional capital through a combination of public and private equity offerings, debt financings, strategic partnerships and alliances, licensing arrangements and the sale of certain non-core assets. To the extent that we raise additional capital through the sale of equity or convertible debt securities, the ownership interest of our existing stockholders may be diluted, and the terms may include liquidation or other preferences that adversely affect the rights of our stockholders. Debt and receivables financings may be coupled with an equity component, such as warrants to purchase shares, which could also result in dilution of our existing stockholders’ ownership. The incurrence of indebtedness would result in increased fixed payment obligations and could also result in certain restrictive covenants, such as limitations on our ability to incur additional debt, limitations on our ability to acquire or license intellectual property rights and other operating restrictions that could adversely impact our ability to conduct our business. If we raise additional funds through strategic partnerships and alliances and licensing arrangements with third parties, we may have to relinquish valuable rights to our products or grant licenses on terms that are not favorable to us. A failure to obtain adequate funds may cause us to curtail certain operational activities, including research and development, regulatory trials, sales and marketing, and manufacturing operations, to reduce costs and sustain the business, and would have a material adverse effect on our business and financial condition. A failure to obtain adequate funds may cause us to curtail certain operational activities, including research and development, regulatory trials, sales and marketing, and manufacturing operations, in order to reduce costs and sustain the business, and would have a material adverse effect on our business and financial condition. Our inability to raise capital on acceptable terms in the future may cause us to delay, diminish, or curtail certain operational activities, including product development activities, sales and marketing, and other operations, to reduce costs and sustain the business, and such inability would have a material adverse effect on our business and financial condition. Our inability to raise capital on acceptable terms in the future may cause us to delay, diminish, or curtail certain operational activities, including research and development activities, sales and marketing, and other operations, in order to reduce costs and sustain the business, and such inability would have a material adverse effect on our business and financial condition. We expect capital outlays and operating expenditures to increase over the next several years as we work to expand our commercial activities, expand our development activities, and expand our infrastructure. We may need to raise additional capital to, among other things: We have broad discretion in the use of the net proceeds from future financings and may not use them effectively. Our management will have broad discretion in the application of the net proceeds from future financings. Our management may not apply our cash from financing in ways that ultimately increase the value of any investment in our securities or enhance stockholder value. The failure by our management to apply these funds effectively could harm our business. Pending their use, we may invest the net proceeds from future financings in short-term, investment-grade, interest-bearing securities. These investments may not yield a favorable return to our stockholders. If we do not invest or apply our cash in ways that enhance stockholder value, we may fail to achieve expected financial results, which may result in a decline in the price of our shares of common stock, and, therefore, may negatively impact our ability to raise capital, invest in or expand our business, acquire additional products or licenses, commercialize our products, or continue our operations. Market and economic conditions may negatively impact our business, financial condition and share price. Concerns over inflation, energy costs, geopolitical issues, the U.S. mortgage market and a declining real estate market, unstable global credit markets and financial conditions, and volatile oil prices have led to periods of significant economic instability, diminished liquidity and credit availability, declines in consumer confidence and discretionary spending, diminished expectations for the global economy and expectations of slower global economic growth going forward, increased unemployment rates, and increased credit defaults in recent years. Our general business strategy may be adversely affected by any such economic downturns, volatile business environments and continued unstable or unpredictable economic and market conditions. If these conditions continue to deteriorate or do not improve, it may make any necessary debt or equity financing more difficult to complete, more costly, and more dilutive. Failure to secure any necessary financing in a timely manner and on favorable terms could have a material adverse effect on our growth strategy, financial performance, and share price and could require us to delay or abandon development or commercialization plans. In addition, a general weakening or decline in the global economy or a reduction in industrial outputs, business or consumer spending or confidence could delay or significantly decrease purchases of our products by our customers and end users. Consumer purchases of discretionary items, which could include our maintenance products and homecare and cleaning products, may decline during periods where disposable income is reduced or there is economic uncertainty, and this may negatively impact our financial condition and results of operations. Risks Related to Intellectual Property The extent to which we can protect our technologies through intellectual property rights that we own, acquire or license is uncertain. We employ a variety of proprietary and patented technologies and methods in connection with our products we sell or are developing. We cannot provide any assurance that the intellectual property rights that we own, or license provide effective protection from competitive threats or that we would prevail in any litigation in which our intellectual property rights are challenged. In addition, we may not be successful in obtaining new proprietary or patented technologies or methods in the future, whether through acquiring ownership or through licenses from third parties. Our currently pending or future patent applications may not result in issued patents, and we cannot predict how long it may take for a patent to issue on any of our pending patent applications, assuming a patent does issue. Other parties may challenge patents issued or exclusively licensed to us, or courts or administrative agencies will hold our patents or the patents we license on an exclusive basis to be valid and enforceable. We may not be successful in defending challenges made against our patents and other intellectual property rights. Any third-party challenge to any of our patents could result in the unenforceability or invalidity of some or all of the claims of such patents and could be time-consuming and expensive. The extent to which the patent rights of many companies effectively protect their technologies is often highly uncertain and involves complex legal and factual questions for which important legal principles remain unresolved. No consistent policy regarding the proper scope of allowable claims of patents held by many companies has emerged to date in the United States. Various courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court, have rendered decisions that impact the scope of patentability of certain inventions or discoveries relating to products. These decisions generally stand for the proposition that inventions that recite laws of nature are not themselves patentable unless they have sufficient additional features that provide practical assurance that the processes are genuine inventive applications of those laws rather than patent drafting efforts designed to monopolize a law of nature itself. What constitutes a “sufficient” additional feature for this purpose is uncertain. While we do not generally rely on gene sequence patents, this evolving case law in the United States may adversely impact our ability to obtain new patents and may facilitate third-party challenges to our existing owned and exclusively licensed patents. We cannot predict the breadth of claims that may be allowed or enforced in patents we own. For example: The patent prosecution process is expensive and time-consuming, is highly uncertain and involves complex legal and factual questions. Recent patent reform legislation could increase the uncertainties and costs surrounding the prosecution of our patent applications and the enforcement or defense of our issued patents. Our success depends in large part on our ability to obtain and maintain patent protection in the United States and other countries with respect to our proprietary technology and product candidates. We seek to protect our proprietary position by filing in the United States patent applications related to our novel technologies and product candidates that are important to our business. The patent prosecution process is expensive and time-consuming, and we may not be able to file and prosecute all necessary or desirable patent applications at a reasonable cost or in a timely manner. It is also possible that we will fail to identify patentable aspects of our research and development output before it is too late to obtain patent protection. In addition, we may not pursue or obtain patent protection in all major markets. Moreover, in some circumstances, we may not have the right to control the preparation, filing or prosecution of patent applications, or to maintain the patents, covering technology that we license from third parties. In some circumstances, our licensors may have the right to enforce the licensed patents without our involvement or consent, or to decide not to enforce or to allow us to enforce the licensed patents. Therefore, these patents and patent applications may not be prosecuted and enforced in a manner consistent with the best interests of our business. If any of our licensors fail to maintain such patents, or lose rights to those patents, the rights that we have licensed may be reduced or eliminated and our right to develop and commercialize any of our product candidates that are the subject of such licensed rights could be adversely affected. Our pending and future patent applications may not result in patents being issued which protect our technology or products, in whole or in part, or which effectively prevent others from commercializing competitive technologies and products. In particular, during prosecution of any patent application, the issuance of any patents based on the application may depend upon our ability to generate additional nonclinical or clinical data that support the patentability of our proposed claims. We may not be able to generate sufficient additional data on a timely basis, or at all. Moreover, changes in either the patent laws or interpretation of the patent laws in the United States or other countries may diminish the value of our patents or narrow the scope of our patent protection. Moreover, we may be subject to a third-party pre-issuance submission of prior art to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”), or become involved in opposition, derivation, reexamination, inter partes review, post-grant review or interference proceedings or other patent office proceedings or litigation, in the United States or elsewhere, challenging our patent rights or the patent rights of others. An adverse determination in any such submission or proceeding could reduce the scope of, or invalidate, our patent rights; allow third parties to commercialize our technology or products and compete directly with us, without payment to us; or result in our inability to manufacture or commercialize products without infringing third-party patent rights. In addition, if the breadth or strength of protection provided by our owned and licensed patents and patent applications is threatened, it could dissuade companies from collaborating with us to license, develop or commercialize current or future product candidates. Obtaining and maintaining our patent protection depends upon compliance with various procedural, document submission, fee payment and other requirements imposed by governmental patent agencies, and our patent protection could be reduced or eliminated for non-compliance with these requirements. The USPTO requires compliance with several procedural, documentary, fee payment and other provisions during the patent prosecution process and following the issuance of a patent. There are situations in which noncompliance with these requirements can result in abandonment or lapse of a patent or patent application, resulting in partial or complete loss of patent rights in the relevant jurisdiction. In such an event, competitors might be able to enter the market earlier than would otherwise have been the case if our patent was in force. Our intellectual property rights may not be sufficient to protect our competitive position and to prevent others from manufacturing, using or selling competing products. The scope of our owned and exclusively licensed intellectual property rights will not be sufficient to prevent others from manufacturing, using or selling competing products. Competitors could purchase our product and attempt to replicate some or all of the competitive advantages we derive from our development efforts, willfully infringe our intellectual property rights, design around our protected technology or develop their own competitive technologies and thereby avoid infringing our intellectual property rights. If our intellectual property is not sufficient to effectively prevent our competitors from developing and selling similar products, our competitive position and our business could be adversely affected. We may become involved in disputes relating to our intellectual property rights and may need to resort to litigation to defend and enforce our intellectual property rights. We may become involved in disputes relating to our intellectual property rights and may need to resort to litigation in order to defend and enforce our intellectual property rights. Extensive litigation regarding patents and other intellectual property rights is common. Litigation may be necessary to assert infringement claims, protect trade secrets or know-how and determine the enforceability, scope and validity of certain proprietary rights. Litigation may even be necessary to resolve disputes of inventorship or ownership of proprietary rights. The defense and prosecution of intellectual property lawsuits, USPTO interference or derivation proceedings and related legal and administrative proceedings (e.g., a re-examination) in the United States and internationally involve complex legal and factual questions. As a result, such proceedings are costly and time consuming to pursue, and their outcome is uncertain. Even if we prevail in such a proceeding in which we assert our intellectual property rights against third parties, the remedy we obtain may not be commercially meaningful or adequately compensate us for any damages we may have suffered. If we do not prevail in such a proceeding, our patents could potentially be declared to be invalid, unenforceable or narrowed in scope, or we could otherwise lose valuable intellectual property rights. Similar proceedings involving the intellectual property we exclusively license could also have an impact on our business. Further, if any of our other owned or exclusively licensed patents are declared invalid, unenforceable or narrowed in scope, our competitive position could be adversely affected. We may be subject to claims challenging the inventorship of our intellectual property. We may be subject to claims that former employees, collaborators or other third parties have an interest in, or right to compensation, with respect to our current patent and patent applications, future patents or other intellectual property as an inventor or co-inventor. For example, we may have inventorship disputes arise from conflicting obligations of consultants or others who are involved in developing our product candidates. Litigation may be necessary to defend against these and other claims challenging inventorship or claiming the right to compensation. If we fail in defending any such claims, in addition to paying monetary damages, we may lose valuable intellectual property rights, such as exclusive ownership of, or right to use, valuable intellectual property. Such an outcome could have a material adverse effect on our business. Even if we are successful in defending against such claims, litigation could result in substantial costs and be a distraction to management and other employees. If we are unable to maintain effective proprietary rights for our products, we may not be able to compete effectively in our markets. In addition to the protection afforded by any patents currently owned and that may be granted, historically, we have relied on trade secret protection and confidentiality agreements to protect proprietary know-how that is not patentable or that we elect not to patent, processes that are not easily known, knowable or easily ascertainable, and for which patent infringement is difficult to monitor and enforce and any other elements of our product candidate discovery and development processes that involve proprietary know-how, information or technology that is not covered by patents. However, trade secrets can be difficult to protect. We seek to protect our proprietary technology and processes, in part, by entering into confidentiality agreements with our employees, consultants, scientific advisors, and contractors. We also seek to preserve the integrity and confidentiality of our data, trade secrets and intellectual property by maintaining physical security of our premises and physical and electronic security of our information technology systems. Agreements or security measures may be breached, and we may not have adequate remedies for any breach. In addition, our trade secrets and intellectual property may otherwise become known or be independently discovered by competitors. We cannot provide any assurances that our trade secrets and other confidential proprietary information will not be disclosed in violation of our confidentiality agreements or that competitors will not otherwise gain access to our trade secrets or independently develop substantially equivalent information and techniques. Also, misappropriation or unauthorized and unavoidable disclosure of our trade secrets and intellectual property could impair our competitive position and may have a material adverse effect on our business. Additionally, if the steps taken to maintain our trade secrets and intellectual property are deemed inadequate, we may have insufficient recourse against third parties for misappropriating any trade secret. We could face claims that our activities or the manufacture, use or sale of our products infringe the intellectual property rights of others, which could cause us to pay damages or licensing fees and limit our ability to sell some or all of our products and services. Our product development and commercialization activities may infringe or be claimed to infringe patents or other intellectual property rights owned by other parties of which we may be unaware because the relevant patent applications may have been filed, but not yet published. Our research, development and commercialization activities may infringe or be claimed to infringe patents or other intellectual property rights owned by other parties of which we may be unaware because the relevant patent applications may have been filed, but not yet published. Certain of our competitors and other companies have substantial patent portfolios and may attempt to use patent litigation as a means to obtain a competitive advantage or to extract licensing revenue. In addition to patent infringement claims, we may also be subject to other claims relating to the violation of intellectual property rights, such as claims that we have misappropriated trade secrets or infringed third party trademarks. The risks of being involved in such litigation may also increase as we gain greater visibility as a public company and as we gain commercial acceptance of our products and move into new markets and applications for our products. Regardless of merit or outcome, our involvement in any litigation, interference or other administrative proceedings could cause us to incur substantial expense and could significantly divert the efforts of our technical and management personnel. Any public announcements related to litigation or interference proceedings initiated or threatened against us could cause our share price to decline. An adverse determination, or any actions we take or agreements we enter into to resolve or avoid disputes, may subject us to the loss of our proprietary position or to significant liabilities, or require us to seek licenses that may include substantial cost and ongoing royalties. An adverse determination, or any actions we take or agreements we enter into in order to resolve or avoid disputes, may subject us to the loss of our proprietary position or to significant liabilities, or require us to seek licenses that may include substantial cost and ongoing royalties. Licenses may not be available from third parties or may not be obtainable on satisfactory terms. An adverse determination or a failure to obtain necessary licenses may restrict or prevent us from manufacturing and selling our products and offering our services. These outcomes could materially harm our business, financial condition and results of operations. Our failure to secure trademark registrations could adversely affect our business and our ability to market our products. Our trademark applications in the United States and any other jurisdictions where we may file may not be allowed for registration, and our registered trademarks may not be maintained or enforced. During trademark registration proceedings, we may receive rejections. Although we are given an opportunity to respond to those rejections, we may be unable to overcome such rejections. In addition, in the USPTO, third parties are given an opportunity to oppose pending trademark applications and to seek to cancel registered trademarks. Opposition or cancellation proceedings may be filed against our applications and/or registrations, and our applications and/or registrations may not survive such proceedings. Failure to secure such trademark registrations in the United States could adversely affect our business and our ability to market our products. Global economic conditions may negatively impact the Company’s financial condition and results of operations. A general weakening or decline in the global economy or a reduction in industrial outputs, business or consumer spending or confidence could delay or significantly decrease purchases of our products by our customers and end users. Consumer purchases of discretionary items, which could include our beauty and wellness products, may decline during periods where disposable income is reduced or there is economic uncertainty, and this may negatively impact our financial condition and results of operations. Risks Related to Common Stock We are a “smaller reporting company” and have elected to comply with certain reduced reporting and disclosure requirements which could make our common stock less attractive to investors. We are a “smaller reporting company,” as defined in the Regulation S-K of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, which allows us to take advantage of certain exemptions from various reporting requirements that are applicable to other public companies that are not smaller reporting companies, including (1) not being required to comply with the auditor attestation requirements of Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (the “Sarbanes-Oxley Act”) and (2) reduced disclosure obligations regarding executive compensation in our periodic reports and proxy statements. Our independent registered public accounting firm is not required to formally attest to the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting until we are no longer a smaller reporting company. Investors may find our common stock less attractive as a result of our election to utilize these exemptions, which could result in a less active trading market for our common stock and/or the market price of our common stock may be more volatile. We do not intend to pay cash dividends to our stockholders for the foreseeable future, so you may not receive any return on your investment in us prior to selling your interest. We have never paid any dividends to our common stockholders and do not foresee doing so as a public company. We currently intend to retain any future earnings for funding growth and, therefore, do not expect to pay any cash dividends in the foreseeable future. If we determine that we will pay cash dividends to the holders of our common stock, we cannot assure that such cash dividends will be paid on a regular basis. The success of an investment in us will likely depend entirely upon any future appreciation. As a result, an investor will not receive any return on their investment prior to selling our shares of common stock and, for the other reasons discussed in this “Risk Factors” section, an investor may not receive any return on their investment even when they sell our shares of common stock. Our stock price may be volatile, and you may not be able to resell your shares at or above the purchase price. Although our common stock is registered under the Exchange Act, and our stock is traded over-the-counter on the OTCQB Market, an active trading market for the securities does not yet exist and may not exist or be sustained in the future. Although our common stock is registered under the Exchange Act, and our stock is traded over-the-counter on the OTC Expert Market, an active trading market for the securities does not yet exist and may not exist or be sustained in the future. The OTCQB Market is an over-the-counter market that provides significantly less liquidity than national securities exchanges. The OTC Expert Market is an over-the-counter market that provides significantly less liquidity than national securities exchanges. Quotes for stocks included on the OTCQB Market are not listed in the financial sections of newspapers as are those listed on national securities exchanges. Quotes for stocks included on the OTC Expert Market are not listed in the financial sections of newspapers as are those listed on national securities exchanges. Therefore, prices for securities traded solely on the OTCQB Market may be difficult to obtain and holders of common stock may be unable to resell their securities at or near their original offering price or at any price. Therefore, prices for securities traded solely on the OTC Expert Market may be difficult to obtain and holders of common stock may be unable to resell their securities at or near their original offering price or at any price. There is no assurance that an established public trading market for our common stock will ultimately develop, and if it does develop, that it will be sustainable, which would adversely affect the ability of our investors to sell their shares of common stock in the public market. In addition, the securities markets have from time-to-time experienced significant price and volume fluctuations that are unrelated to the operating performance of particular companies. These market fluctuations may also materially and adversely affect the market price of our common stock. The market price of our common stock is volatile and could fluctuate widely in price in response to various factors, many of which are beyond our control, including the following: Future sales and issuances of our common stock or rights to purchase common stock could result in additional dilution of the percentage ownership of our stockholders and could cause our share price to fall. We expect that significant additional capital will be needed in the future to continue our planned operations, including expanding research and development, funding clinical trials, purchasing of capital equipment, hiring new personnel, commercializing, and continuing activities as an operating public company. To the extent we raise additional capital by issuing equity securities, our stockholders may experience substantial dilution. We may sell common stock, convertible securities or other equity securities in one or more transactions at prices and in a manner we determine from time to time. If we sell common stock, convertible securities or other equity securities in more than one transaction, investors may be materially diluted by subsequent sales. Such sales may also result in material dilution to our existing stockholders, and new investors could gain rights superior to our existing stockholders. Our common stock is quoted on the over-the-counter market, which subjects us to the SEC’s penny stock rules and may decrease the liquidity of our common stock. Our common stock is traded over-the-counter on the OTCQB Market. Our common stock is traded over-the-counter on the OTC Expert Market. Over-the-counter markets are generally considered to be less efficient than, and not as broad as, a national stock exchange. Accordingly, there may be a limited market for our stock, and trading in our stock may become more difficult and our share price could decrease. Specifically, you may not be able to resell your shares of common stock at or above the price you paid for such shares or at all. In addition, our ability to raise additional capital may be impaired because of the less liquid nature of the over-the-counter markets. While we cannot guarantee that we would be able to complete an equity financing on acceptable terms, or at all, we believe that dilution from any equity financing while our shares are quoted on an over-the-counter market would likely be substantially greater than if we were to complete a financing while our common stock is traded on a national securities exchange. Our common stock is also subject to penny stock rules, which impose additional sales practice requirements on broker-dealers who sell our common stock. The SEC generally defines “penny stock” as an equity security that has a market price of less than $5.00 per share, subject to certain exceptions. The ability of broker-dealers to sell our common stock and the ability of our stockholders to sell their shares in the secondary market will be limited and, as a result, the market liquidity for our common stock will likely be adversely affected. We cannot assure you that trading in our securities will not be subject to these or other regulations in the future. Further, some discount and major brokerage firms have implemented rules regarding the deposit of penny stock shares into new or existing accounts where such stocks do not meet minimum price and volume requirements. Further, recently some discount and major brokerage firms have implemented new rules regarding the deposit of penny stock shares into new or existing accounts where such stocks do not meet minimum price and volume requirements. Such rules may make it difficult or even prevent stockholders from timely selling their shares through such brokerage firms unless the shares meet such minimum requirements. Being a public company is expensive and administratively burdensome. As a public reporting company, we are subject to the information and reporting requirements of the Securities Act, the Exchange Act and other federal securities laws, rules and regulations related thereto, including compliance with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. Complying with these laws and regulations requires the time and attention of our Board and management and increases our expenses. Among other things, we are required to: The costs of preparing and filing annual and quarterly reports, proxy statements, when required, and other information with the SEC and furnishing audited reports to stockholders is expensive and much greater than that of a privately-held company, and compliance with these rules and regulations may require us to hire additional financial reporting, internal controls and other finance personnel, and involve a material increase in regulatory, legal and accounting expenses and the attention of management. These costs require us to divert a significant amount of monies that we could otherwise use to develop our business. These increased costs will require us to divert a significant amount of monies that we could otherwise use to develop our business. If we are unable to satisfy our obligations as a public company, we could be subject to fines, sanctions, and other regulatory action, and potentially civil litigation. There can also be no assurance that we will be able to comply with the applicable regulations in a timely manner, if at all. There can be no assurance that we will be able to comply with the applicable regulations in a timely manner, if at all. In addition, being a public company makes it more expensive for us to obtain director and officer liability insurance. In the future, we may be required to accept reduced coverage or incur substantially higher costs to obtain this coverage. We have identified a material weakness in our internal control over financial reporting. We have identified a material weakness in our internal control over financial reporting. This material weakness could continue to adversely affect our ability to report our results of operations and financial condition accurately and in a timely manner. Our management is responsible for establishing and maintaining adequate internal control over financial reporting designed to provide reasonable assurance regarding the reliability of financial reporting and the preparation of financial statements for external purposes in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles (“GAAP”). Our management is likewise required, on a quarterly basis, to evaluate the effectiveness of our internal controls and to disclose any changes and material weaknesses identified through such evaluation in those internal controls. A material weakness is a deficiency, or a combination of deficiencies, in internal control over financial reporting, such that there is a reasonable possibility that a material misstatement of our annual or interim financial statements will not be prevented or detected on a timely basis. As described elsewhere in this Annual Report, we identified several material weaknesses in our internal control over financial reporting. As a result of these material weaknesses, our management concluded that our internal control over financial reporting was not effective as of December 31, 2023. Any failure to maintain such internal control could adversely impact our ability to report our financial position and results from operations on a timely and accurate basis, which could result in a material adverse effect on our business. If our financial statements are not accurate, investors may not have a complete understanding of our operations. Likewise, if our financial statements are not filed on a timely basis, we could be subject to sanctions or investigations by the SEC or other regulatory authorities. In addition, we would likely incur additional accounting, legal and other costs in connection with any remediation steps. Ineffective internal controls could also cause investors to lose confidence in our reported financial information, which could have a negative effect on the price of our stock. To respond to these material weaknesses, we have devoted, and plan to continue to devote, effort and resources to the remediation and improvement of our internal control over financial reporting. To respond to these material weaknesses, we have devoted, and plan to continue to devote, effort and resources to the remediation and improvement of our internal control over financial reporting. While we have processes to identify and appropriately apply applicable accounting requirements, we plan to enhance these processes to better evaluate our research and understanding of the nuances of the complex accounting standards that apply to our financial statements. Our plans at this time include investing in information technology (“IT”) systems to enhance our operational and financial reporting and internal controls, enhancing our organizational structure to support financial reporting processes and internal controls, further developing and documenting detailed policies and procedures regarding business processes for significant accounts, critical accounting policies and critical accounting estimates, establishing effective general controls over IT systems to ensure that information produced can be relied upon by process level controls is relevant and reliable, providing guidance, education and training to employees relating to our accounting policies and procedures. Additionally, we have hired, and plan to continue to hire, as resources permit, qualified accounting personnel to better manage our functional controls and segregate responsibilities. The elements of our remediation plan can only be accomplished over time, and we can offer no assurance that these initiatives will ultimately have the intended effects. We can give no assurance that the measures we have taken and plan to take in the future will remediate the material weakness identified or that any additional material weaknesses or restatements of financial results will not arise in the future due to a failure to implement and maintain adequate internal control over financial reporting or circumvention of these controls. In addition, even if we are successful in strengthening our controls and procedures, in the future those controls and procedures may not be adequate to prevent or identify irregularities or errors or to facilitate the fair presentation of our financial statements. Cybersecurity risks and cyber incidents, as well as other significant disruptions of our information technology networks and related systems and resources, could adversely affect our business, disrupt operations and expose us to liabilities to employees, customers, governmental regulators, and other third parties. We use information technology and other computer resources to carry out important operational activities and to maintain our business records. As part of our normal business activities, we permit certain employees to perform some or all of their business activities remotely, we collect and store certain personal identifying and/or confidential information relating to our employees, customers, vendors and suppliers, and we maintain operational and financial information related to our business. Furthermore, we rely on products and services provided by third-party suppliers to operate certain critical business systems, including without limitation, cloud-based infrastructure, encryption and authentication technology, email, and other functions, which exposes us to supply-chain attacks or other business disruptions. We face risks associated with security breaches through cyber-attacks or cyber-intrusions, malware, computer viruses and malicious codes, ransomware, attachments to e-mail, unauthorized access attempts, denial of service attacks, phishing, social engineering, persons with access to systems inside our organization, and other significant disruptions of our information technology networks and related systems. The risk of a security breach has generally increased as the frequency, intensity and sophistication of attempted attacks and intrusions from around the world have increased. Even the most well protected information, networks, systems and facilities remain potentially vulnerable because the techniques, tools and tactics used in such attempted security breaches evolve and generally are not recognized until launched against a target, and in some cases are designed to not be detected and, in fact, may not be detected. Accordingly, we may be unable to anticipate these techniques or to implement adequate security barriers, disaster recovery or other preventative or corrective measures, and thus it is impossible for us to entirely counteract this risk or fully mitigate the harms after such an attack. We have implemented certain systems and processes intended to address ongoing and evolving cybersecurity risks, secure our information technology, applications and computer systems, and prevent unauthorized access to or loss of sensitive, confidential and personal data. Although we and our service providers employ what we believe are adequate security, disaster recovery and other preventative and corrective measures, our security measures, taken as a whole, may not be sufficient for all possible situations and may be vulnerable to, among other things, fraud, hacking, employee error, system error, and faulty password management. Additionally, we rely on third-parties for virtually all of our operating infrastructure, who may themselves have standards of materiality of cybersecurity risks that differ from the materiality standards of the Company itself. Our ability to conduct our business may be impaired if our or our services providers’ information technology networks, systems or resources, including our and their websites or e-mail systems, are compromised, degraded, damaged or fail, whether due to a virus or other harmful circumstance, fraud, intentional penetration or disruption of our or their information technology resources by: A significant and extended disruption could damage our business or reputation and cause, amongst other things, loss of revenues or customer relationships, unintended and/or unauthorized public disclosure or the misappropriation of proprietary, personal identifying and confidential information, and us to incur significant expenses to address and remediate or otherwise resolve these kinds of issues. Our disaster recovery procedures and contingency planning rely heavily on third-party providers and may prove insufficient to fully protect our operations and business interests. The release of confidential information may also lead to litigation or other proceedings against us by affected individuals, business partners and/or regulators, and the outcome of such proceedings, which could include losses, penalties, fines, injunctions, expenses and charges recorded against our earnings and cause us reputational harm and/or could have a material and adverse effect on our business, financial position or results of operations. ITEM 1B. UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS Not Applicable. ITEM 1C. ITEM 1B. CYBERSECURITY Risk management and strategy Due to the size of our company, we have not yet developed robust policies and processes for assessing, identifying, and managing material risk from cybersecurity threats. We have implemented access controls with respect to our systems, which we monitor regularly and audit annually. We currently rely heavily on products and services provided by third-party suppliers to operate certain critical business systems, including without limitation, cloud-based infrastructure, encryption and authentication technology, email, and other functions. We rely on third party providers and outsourced IT services to monitor and address cybersecurity related risks, including installing software for threat protection and malware. Such third-party providers are tasked with notifying management of any material risks or cybersecurity concerns that they identify, which management then assesses and may bring to our board of directors to discuss if deemed necessary or appropriate. Based on the results of our risk assessments, if deemed necessary or appropriate, we take steps to re-design, implement, and maintain reasonable safeguards to minimize identified risks; reasonably address any identified gaps in existing safeguards; and regularly monitor the effectiveness of our safeguards. We intend to work with outside counsel and third-party service providers in the near term to further develop our expertise, processes and procedures with respect to cybersecurity protection and our response plan. To date, we have not (to our knowledge) encountered cybersecurity challenges that have materially impaired our operations or financial standing. For additional information regarding risks from cybersecurity threats, please refer to Item 1A, “Risk Factors,” in this Report. Governance Our management team is primarily responsible for assessing and managing our strategic risk exposures, including material risks from cybersecurity threats, with assistance from third-party service providers. Management oversees our cybersecurity process on a day-to-day basis, including those described in “Risk Management and Strategy” above. Our audit committee is tasked with general oversight of our risk management process, including risks from cybersecurity threats. Members of management provide periodic briefings to the audit committee of our board of directors regarding our cybersecurity risks and activities, including any recent cybersecurity incidents and related responses, cybersecurity systems testing, activities of third parties, and the like. In furtherance thereof, the committee is responsible for monitoring and assessing strategic risk exposure. Our audit committee provides regular updates to the board of directors on such reports. . .
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