DESCRIPTION OF THE REGISTRANT’S SECURITIES
REGISTERED PURSUANT TO SECTION 12 OF THE
SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
Alpine Immune Sciences, Inc. has one class of securities registered under Section 12 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended: our common stock, par value $0.001 per share.
The general terms and provisions of our common stock are summarized below. This summary does not purport to be complete and is subject to, and qualified in its entirety by express reference to, the provisions of our amended and restated certificate of incorporation and our amended and restated bylaws, each of which is included as an exhibit to our Annual Reports on Form 10-K, and each of which may be amended from time to time. We encourage you to read our amended and restated certificate of incorporation and our amended and restated bylaws and the applicable provisions of the General Corporation Law of the State of Delaware, or the DGCL, for additional information.
Our authorized capital stock consists of 210,000,000 shares, of which 200,000,000 shares are designated common stock, par value $0.001 per share, and 10,000,000 shares are designated preferred stock, par value $0.001 per share.
Voting rights. The holders of our common stock will be entitled to one vote for each share held of record on all matters submitted to a vote of the stockholders, including the election of directors, and will not have cumulative voting rights. Unless otherwise required by law, our amended and restated certificate of incorporation, or our amended and restated bylaws, each matter submitted to a vote of our stockholders will require the approval of a majority of votes cast by stockholders represented in person or by proxy and entitled to vote on such matter, except that directors will be elected by a plurality of votes cast. Accordingly, the holders of a majority of the shares of common stock entitled to vote in any election of directors will be able to elect all of the directors standing for election, if they so choose.
Dividend rights. Holders of common stock will be entitled to receive ratably dividends if, as and when dividends are declared from time to time by our board of directors out of funds legally available for that purpose, subject to any preferential dividend rights of any then-outstanding preferred stock.
Other matters. Upon our liquidation, dissolution or winding up, the holders of common stock will be entitled to share ratably in the net assets legally available for distribution to stockholders after the payment of all of our debts and other liabilities, subject to any other distribution rights granted to holders of any outstanding preferred stock. Holders of common stock will have no preemptive or conversion rights or other subscription rights, and no redemption or sinking fund provisions will be applicable to our common stock.
Under our amended and restated certificate of incorporation, our board of directors has the authority, without further action by the stockholders (unless such stockholder action is required by applicable law or the rules of any stock exchange or market on which our securities are then traded), to designate and issue up to 10,000,000 shares of preferred stock in one or more series, to establish from time to time the number of shares to be included in each such series, to fix the rights, preferences and privileges of the shares of each wholly unissued series and any qualifications, limitations or restrictions thereon and to increase or decrease the number of shares of any such series, but not below the number of shares of such series then outstanding.
We will fix the designations, voting powers, preferences and rights of the preferred stock of each series, as well as the qualifications, limitations or restrictions thereof, in a certificate of designation relating to that series. We will file as an exhibit to the registration statement of which this prospectus is a part, or will incorporate by reference from reports that we file with the SEC, the form of any certificate of designation that describes the terms of the series of preferred stock we are offering before the issuance of that series of preferred stock. This description will include:
the title and stated value;
the number of shares we are offering;
the liquidation preference per share;
the dividend rate, period and payment date and method of calculation for dividends;
whether dividends will be cumulative or non-cumulative and, if cumulative, the date from which dividends will accumulate;
the procedures for any auction and remarketing, if any;
the provisions for a sinking fund, if any;
the provisions for redemption or repurchase, if applicable, and any restrictions on our ability to exercise those redemption and repurchase rights;
any listing of the preferred stock on any securities exchange or market;
whether the preferred stock will be convertible into our common stock, and, if applicable, the conversion price, or how it will be calculated, and the conversion period;
whether the preferred stock will be exchangeable into debt securities, and, if applicable, the exchange price, or how it will be calculated, and the exchange period;
voting rights, if any, of the preferred stock;
preemptive rights, if any;
restrictions on transfer, sale or other assignment, if any;
whether interests in the preferred stock will be represented by depositary shares;
a discussion of any material U.S. federal income tax considerations applicable to the preferred stock;
the relative ranking and preferences of the preferred stock as to dividend rights and rights if we liquidate, dissolve or wind up our affairs;
any limitations on the issuance of any class or series of preferred stock ranking senior to or on a parity with the series of preferred stock as to dividend rights and rights if we liquidate, dissolve or wind up our affairs; and
any other specific terms, preferences, rights or limitations of, or restrictions on, the preferred stock.
Delaware law provides that the holders of preferred stock will have the right to vote separately as a class (or, in some cases, as a series) on an amendment to our certificate of incorporation if the amendment would change the par value or, unless the certificate of incorporation provided otherwise, the number of authorized shares of the class or change the powers, preferences or special rights of the class or series so as to adversely affect the class or series, as the case may be. This right is in addition to any voting rights that may be provided for in the applicable certificate of designation.
Our board of directors may authorize the issuance of preferred stock with voting or conversion rights that could adversely affect the voting power or other rights of the holders of the common stock. The issuance of preferred stock, while providing flexibility in connection with possible acquisitions and other corporate purposes, could, among other things, have the effect of delaying, deferring or preventing a change in our control that may otherwise benefit holders of our common stock and may adversely affect the market price of the common stock and the voting and other rights of the holders of common stock.
Anti-Takeover Effects of Provisions of Our Amended and Restated Certificate of Incorporation and Bylaws and Delaware and Washington Law
Our amended and restated certificate of incorporation and amended and restated bylaws contain certain provisions that are intended to enhance the likelihood of continuity and stability in the composition of the board of directors and which may have the effect of delaying, deferring or preventing a future takeover or change in control unless such takeover or change in control is approved by the board of directors. These provisions include:
Our amended and restated certificate of incorporation provides that our board of directors will be divided into three classes of directors, with the classes as nearly equal in number as possible. At each annual meeting of the stockholders, a class of directors will be elected for a three-year term to succeed the directors of the same class whose terms are then expiring. As a result approximately one-third of our directors will be elected each year. The classification of directors will have the effect of making it more difficult for stockholders to change the composition of our board.
Our amended and restated certificate of incorporation also provides that, subject to any rights of holders of preferred stock to elect additional directors under specified circumstances, the number of directors will be fixed exclusively pursuant to a resolution adopted by our board of directors. Any additional directorships resulting from an increase in the number of directors will be distributed among the three classes so that, as nearly as possible, each class shall consist of one third of the board of directors. Our board of directors currently has seven members.
Action by Written Consent; Special Meetings of Stockholders
Our amended and restated certificate of incorporation provides that stockholder action can be taken only at an annual or special
meeting of stockholders and cannot be taken by written consent in lieu of a meeting. Our amended and restated certificate of incorporation and our amended and restated bylaws also provide that, except as otherwise required by law, special meetings of the stockholders can be called only by or at the direction of the board of directors pursuant to a resolution adopted by a majority of the total number of directors. Except as described above, stockholders are not permitted to call a special meeting or to require the board of directors to call a special meeting.
Removal of Directors
Our amended and restated certificate of incorporation provides that our directors may be removed only for cause by the affirmative vote of at least 66-2/3% of the voting power of our outstanding shares of capital stock, voting together as a single class and entitled to vote in the election of directors. This requirement of a supermajority vote to remove directors could enable a minority of our stockholders to prevent a change in the composition of our board.
Advance Notice Procedures
Our amended and restated bylaws establish an advance notice procedure for stockholder proposals to be brought before an annual meeting of our stockholders, including proposed nominations of persons for election to the board of directors. Stockholders at an annual meeting are only able to consider proposals or nominations specified in the notice of meeting or brought before the meeting by or at the direction of the board of directors or by a stockholder who was a stockholder of record on the record date for the meeting, who is entitled to vote at the meeting and who has given our Secretary timely written notice, in proper form, of the stockholder’s intention to bring that business before the meeting. Although the amended and restated bylaws do not give the board of directors the power to approve or disapprove stockholder nominations of candidates or proposals regarding other business to be conducted at a special or annual meeting, the amended and restated bylaws may have the effect of precluding the conduct of certain business at a meeting if the proper procedures are not followed or may discourage or deter a potential acquirer from conducting a solicitation of proxies to elect its own slate of directors or otherwise attempting to obtain control of the company.
Super Majority Approval Requirements
The DGCL generally provides that the affirmative vote of a majority of the shares entitled to vote on any matter is required to amend a corporation’s certificate of incorporation or bylaws, unless either a corporation’s certificate of incorporation or bylaws requires a greater percentage. Our amended and restated certificate of incorporation and amended and restated bylaws provide that the affirmative vote of holders of at least 66-2/3% of the outstanding shares of capital stock, voting together as a single class and entitled to vote in the election of directors will be required to amend, alter, change or repeal the amended and restated bylaws and the provisions described above in the amended and restated certificate of incorporation. This requirement of a supermajority vote could enable a minority of our stockholders to exercise veto power over any such amendments.
Authorized but Unissued Shares
Our authorized but unissued shares of common stock and preferred stock will be available for future issuance without stockholder approval. These additional shares may be utilized for a variety of corporate purposes, including future public offerings to raise additional capital, corporate acquisitions and employee benefit plans. The existence of authorized but unissued shares of common stock and preferred stock could render more difficult or discourage an attempt to obtain control of a majority of our common stock by means of a proxy contest, tender offer, merger or otherwise.
Our certificate of incorporation provides that, unless we consent in writing to an alternative forum, the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware will be the sole and exclusive forum for any derivative action or proceeding brought on our behalf, any action asserting a claim of breach of a fiduciary duty owed by any of our directors, officers, employees or agents to us or our stockholders, any action asserting a claim arising pursuant to any provision of the DGCL, our certificate of incorporation or our bylaws or any action asserting a claim that is governed by the internal affairs doctrine, in each case subject to the Court of Chancery having personal jurisdiction over the indispensable parties named as defendants therein and the claim not being one which is vested in the exclusive jurisdiction of a court or forum other than the Court of Chancery or for which the Court of Chancery does not have subject matter jurisdiction. Any person purchasing or otherwise acquiring any interest in any shares of our capital stock shall be deemed to have notice of and to have consented to this provision of our certificate of incorporation. This choice of forum provision may have the effect of discouraging lawsuits against us and our directors, officers, employees and agents. The enforceability of similar choice of forum provisions in other companies’ certificates of incorporation has been challenged in legal proceedings, and it is possible that, in connection with one or more actions or proceedings described above, a court could find the provision of our certificate of incorporation to be inapplicable or unenforceable.
Section 203 of Delaware Law
We are subject to Section 203 of the DGCL, or Section 203. In general, Section 203 prohibits a publicly-held Delaware corporation from engaging in a “business combination” with an “interested stockholder” for a three-year period following the time that this stockholder becomes an interested stockholder, unless the business combination is approved in a prescribed manner. A “business combination” includes, among other things, a merger, asset or stock sale or other transaction resulting in a financial benefit to the interested stockholder. An “interested stockholder” is a person who, together with affiliates and associates, owns, or did own within three years prior to the determination of interested stockholder status, 15% or more of the corporation’s voting stock. Under Section 203, a business combination between a corporation and an interested stockholder is prohibited unless it satisfies one of the following conditions: before the stockholder became interested, the board of directors approved either the business combination or the transaction which resulted in the stockholder becoming an interested stockholder; upon consummation of the transaction which resulted in the stockholder becoming an interested stockholder, the interested stockholder owned at least 85% of the voting stock of the corporation outstanding at the time the transaction commenced, excluding for purposes of determining the voting stock outstanding, shares owned by persons who are directors and also officers, and employee stock plans, in some instances; or at or after the time the stockholder became interested, the business combination was approved by the board of directors of the corporation and authorized at an annual or special meeting of the stockholders by the affirmative vote of at least two-thirds of the outstanding voting stock which is not owned by the interested stockholder. A Delaware corporation may “opt out” of these provisions with an express provision in its original certificate of incorporation or an express provision in its certificate of incorporation or bylaws resulting from a stockholders’ amendment approved by at least a majority of the outstanding voting shares. We have not opted out of these provisions. As a result, mergers or other takeover or change in control attempts of us may be discouraged or prevented.
Washington Business Corporation Act
The laws of Washington, where our principal executive offices are located, impose restrictions on certain transactions between certain foreign corporations and significant stockholders. In particular, the Washington Business Corporation Act, or WBCA, prohibits a “target corporation,” with certain exceptions, from engaging in certain “significant business transactions” with a person or group of persons which beneficially owns 10% or more of the voting securities of the target corporation, an “acquiring person,” for a period of five years after such acquisition, unless the transaction or acquisition of shares is approved by a majority of the members of the target corporation’s board of directors prior to the time of acquisition. Such prohibited transactions may include, among other things:
any merger or consolidation with, disposition of assets to, or issuance or redemption of stock to or from, the acquiring person;
any termination of 5% or more of the employees of the target corporation as a result of the acquiring person’s acquisition of 10% or more of the shares; and
allowing the acquiring person to receive any disproportionate benefit as a stockholder.
After the five-year period, a significant business transaction may take place as long as it complies with certain fair price provisions of the statute or is approved at an annual or special meeting of stockholders.
We will be considered a “target corporation” so long as our principal executive office is located in Washington, and: (1) a majority of our employees are residents of the state of Washington or we employ more than one thousand residents of the state of Washington; (2) a majority of our tangible assets, measured by market value, are located in the state of Washington or we have more than $50 million worth of tangible assets located in the state of Washington; and (3) any one of the following: (a) more than 10% of our stockholders of record are resident in the state of Washington; (b) more than 10% of our shares are owned of record by state residents; or (c) 1,000 or more of our stockholders of record are resident in the state.
If we meet the definition of a target corporation, the WBCA may have the effect of delaying, deferring or preventing a change of control.
Transfer Agent and Registrar
The transfer agent and registrar for our common stock is American Stock Transfer & Trust Company, LLC. The transfer agent and registrar’s address is 6201 15th Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11219.
Nasdaq Global Market Listing
Our common stock is listed on The Nasdaq Global Market under the symbol “ALPN.”
Limitation of Liability and Indemnification
Our amended and restated certificate of incorporation and amended and restated bylaws provide that we will indemnify our directors and officers, and may indemnify our employees and other agents, to the fullest extent permitted by the DGCL, which prohibits our amended and restated certificate of incorporation from limiting the liability of our directors for the following:
any breach of the director’s duty of loyalty to the corporation or its stockholders;
any act or omission not in good faith or that involves intentional misconduct or a knowing violation of law;
unlawful payments of dividends or unlawful stock repurchases or redemptions; or
any transaction from which the director derived an improper personal benefit.
If Delaware law is amended to authorize corporate action further eliminating or limiting the personal liability of a director, then the liability of our directors will be eliminated or limited to the fullest extent permitted by Delaware law, as so amended. Our amended and restated certificate of incorporation does not eliminate a director’s duty of care and in appropriate circumstances, equitable remedies, such as injunctive or other forms of non-monetary relief, remain available under Delaware law. This provision also does not affect a director’s responsibilities under any other laws, such as the federal securities laws or other state or federal laws. Under our amended and restated bylaws, we will also be empowered to purchase insurance on behalf of any person whom we are required or permitted to indemnify.
In addition to the indemnification required in our amended and restated certificate of incorporation and amended and restated bylaws, we have entered into indemnification agreements with each of our current directors and officers. These agreements provide indemnification for certain expenses and liabilities incurred in connection with any action, suit, proceeding, or alternative dispute resolution mechanism, or hearing, inquiry, or investigation that may lead to the foregoing, to which they are a party, or are threatened to be made a party, by reason of the fact that they are or were a director, officer, employee, agent, or fiduciary of our company, or any of our subsidiaries, by reason of any action or inaction by them while serving as an officer, director, agent, or fiduciary, or by reason of the fact that they were serving at our request as a director, officer, employee, agent, or fiduciary of another entity. In the case of an action or proceeding by, or in the right of, our company or any of our subsidiaries, no indemnification will be provided for any claim where a court determines that the indemnified party is prohibited from receiving indemnification. We believe that these bylaw provisions and indemnification agreements are necessary to attract and retain qualified persons as directors and officers. We also maintain directors’ and officers’ liability insurance.
The limitation of liability and indemnification provisions in our amended and restated certificate of incorporation and amended and restated bylaws may discourage stockholders from bringing a lawsuit against directors for breach of their fiduciary duties. They may also reduce the likelihood of derivative litigation against directors and officers, even though an action, if successful, might benefit us and our stockholders. A stockholder’s investment may be harmed to the extent we pay the costs of settlement and damage awards against directors and officers pursuant to these indemnification provisions. Insofar as we may provide indemnification for liabilities arising under the Securities Act to our directors, officers, and controlling persons pursuant to the foregoing provisions, or otherwise, we have been advised that, in the opinion of the Securities and Exchange Commission, such indemnification is against public policy as expressed in the Securities Act, and is, therefore, unenforceable. There is no pending litigation or proceeding naming any of our directors or officers as to which indemnification is being sought, nor are we aware of any pending or threatened litigation that may result in claims for indemnification by any director or officer.