Quarterly report pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d)

Note 1 - Corporate Information

Note 1 - Corporate Information
9 Months Ended
Sep. 30, 2023
Notes to Financial Statements  
Organization, Consolidation and Presentation of Financial Statements Disclosure [Text Block]

1.     Corporate Information


Pieris Pharmaceuticals, Inc. was founded in May 2013, and acquired 100% interest in Pieris Pharmaceuticals GmbH (formerly Pieris AG, a German company that was founded in 2001) in December 2014. Pieris Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and its wholly-owned subsidiaries, hereinafter collectively Pieris, or the Company, is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company that has focused on the discovery and development of Anticalin®-based drugs to target validated disease pathways in unique and transformative ways. Pieris’ corporate headquarters is located in Boston, Massachusetts and its research facility is located in Hallbergmoos, Germany.


Pieris’ clinical pipeline includes an inhaled Anticalin protein targeting connective tissue growth factor to treat idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, an immuno-oncology, or IO, bispecific targeting 4-1BB and PD-L1, which is being advanced by Servier, an IO bispecific targeting 4-1BB and CD228, which is being advanced by Seagen, and an IO bispecific targeting 4-1BB and GPC3, which is being advanced by Boston Pharmaceuticals. The Company’s core Anticalin technology and platform were developed in Germany, and the Company has partnership arrangements with several major multi-national pharmaceutical companies.


The Company has historically been subject to risks common to companies in the biotechnology industry, including but not limited to, the need for additional capital, risks of failure of preclinical studies and clinical trials, the need to obtain marketing approval and reimbursement for any drug product candidate that it may identify and develop, the need to successfully commercialize and gain market acceptance of its product candidates, dependence on key personnel, protection of proprietary technology, compliance with government regulations, development of technological innovations by competitors, and reliance on third-party manufacturers, suppliers, and service providers. The Company has historically devoted substantially all of its financial resources and efforts to research and development and general and administrative expenses to support such research and development. Going forward and as explained in more detail below, the Company plans to continue to devote substantial time and resources into exploring strategic transactions that the Company's board of directors believes would maximize shareholder value.


Strategic Update and Reduction in Force


On July 18, 2023, the Company announced its intention to explore engaging in one or more strategic transactions, including mergers, reverse mergers, acquisitions, other business combinations or sales of assets, or other strategic transactions. This decision was primarily related to recent events that have impacted the Company’s inhaled respiratory franchise, including AstraZeneca's discontinuation of enrollment of the Phase 2a study for elarekibep. As part of this initiative, the Company engaged Stifel, Nicolaus & Company, Incorporated to serve as strategic advisor in its review of strategic transactions. The Company continues to explore various potential strategic alternatives, such as mergers, reverse mergers, acquisitions, other business combinations or sales of assets, as well as potential partnerships for its therapeutic programs, including cinrebafusp alfa (PRS-343).


Also on July 18, 2023, the Company’s board of directors approved a reduction in the Company’s workforce by approximately 70%.  The Company incurred approximately $6.8 million of costs in connection with the reduction in workforce related to severance pay and other related termination benefits in the third quarter of 2023, inclusive of severance pay and related costs for currently retained employees estimated to be paid through the second quarter of 2024 as the service period to earn such benefits is considered complete.


Going Concern Uncertainties


As of September 30, 2023, cash, cash equivalents, and investments were $44.8 million. For the three months ended September 30, 2023 and 2022, the Company had net losses of $10.8 million and $9.7 million, respectively. The Company has incurred net losses since inception and had an accumulated deficit of $310.4 million as of September 30, 2023. Net losses and negative cash flows from operations have had, and will continue to have, an adverse effect on the Company’s stockholders’ equity and working capital. The Company expects to continue to incur operating losses for the foreseeable future.


As part of the Company's decision to explore strategic transactions, the Company implemented a plan to limit a substantial portion of its research, development and clinical projects, including stopping future investments in PRS-220 phase 2a readiness activities and research and development activities for PRS-400, opting out of co-development of PRS-344/S095012 in the U.S., and reducing discretionary expenditures and other fixed or variable personnel costs.


Further investments in these or other programs could be reevaluated in the future if the Company is successfully able to consummate strategic transactions or collaborations, licensing arrangements, or public or private equity financings. Furthermore, the Company expects to devote substantial time and resources to exploring strategic transactions that the board of directors believes will maximize stockholder value. Despite devoting significant efforts to identify and evaluate potential strategic transactions, there can be no assurance that this strategic review process will result in the Company pursuing any transaction or that any transaction, if pursued, will be completed on attractive terms or at all. The Company has not set a definitive timetable for completion of this strategic review process, and the board of directors has not approved a definitive course of action. Additionally, there can be no assurances that any particular course of action, business arrangement or transaction, or series of transactions, will be pursued, successfully consummated or lead to increased stockholder value. In addition, if the Company seeks to raise additional capital to fulfill its operating and capital requirements through public or private equity financings, utilization of its current “at the market offering” program, or ATM Program, strategic collaborations, licensing arrangements, government grants and/or the achievement of milestones under its collaborative agreements, there is no assurance that the Company would be successful in obtaining sufficient funding on terms acceptable to the Company to fund continuing operations, if at all, and the terms of any future financing may adversely affect the holdings or the rights of the Company’s existing stockholders. On the basis of the Company’s approved budget and actions within management’s control, the Company believes that its currently available funds will be sufficient to fund the Company’s remaining limited operations through at least the next 12 months from the issuance of this Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q. The Company’s belief with respect to its ability to fund operations is based on estimates that are subject to risks and uncertainties.