Description of Capital Stock
DESCRIPTION OF THE REGISTRANT’S SECURITIES REGISTERED PURSUANT TO SECTION 12 OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934, AS AMENDED
As of December 31, 2020, Atea Pharmaceuticals, Inc. had one class of securities registered under Section 12 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”). References herein to “we,” “us,” “our” and the “Company” refer to Atea Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
The following description summarizes some of the terms of our restated certificate of incorporation and amended and restated bylaws, the investors’ rights agreement and of the General Corporation Law of the State of Delaware. For a complete description, you should refer to our restated certificate of incorporation, amended and restated bylaws and investors’ rights agreement, copies of which filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, as well as the relevant provisions of the General Corporation Law of the State of Delaware.
Our authorized capital stock consists of 300,000,000 shares of common stock, par value $0.001 per share, and 10,000,000 shares of preferred stock, par value $0.001 per share.
Holders of our common stock are entitled to one vote for each share held on all matters submitted to a vote of stockholders and do not have cumulative voting rights. An election of directors by our stockholders shall be determined by a plurality of the votes cast by the stockholders entitled to vote on the election. Subject to the supermajority votes for some matters, other matters shall be decided by the affirmative vote of our stockholders having a majority in voting power of the votes cast by the stockholders present or represented and voting on such matter. Our restated certificate of incorporation and amended and restated bylaws also provide that our directors may be removed only for cause and only by the affirmative vote of the holders of at least two-thirds in voting power of the outstanding shares of capital stock entitled to vote thereon. In addition, the affirmative vote of the holders of at least two-thirds in voting power of the outstanding shares of capital stock entitled to vote thereon is required to amend or repeal, or to adopt any provision inconsistent with, several of the provisions of our restated certificate of incorporation. See below under “ —Anti-Takeover Effects of Delaware Law and Our Certificate of Incorporation and Bylaws—Amendment of Charter Provisions.” Holders of common stock are entitled to receive proportionately any dividends as may be declared by our board of directors, subject to any preferential dividend rights of any series of preferred stock that we may designate and issue in the future.
In the event of our liquidation or dissolution, the holders of common stock are entitled to receive proportionately our net assets available for distribution to stockholders after the payment of all debts and other liabilities and subject to the prior rights of any outstanding preferred stock. Holders of common stock have no preemptive, subscription, redemption or conversion rights. Our outstanding shares of common stock are validly issued, fully paid and nonassessable. The rights, preferences and privileges of holders of common stock are subject to and may be adversely affected by the rights of the holders of shares of any series of preferred stock that we may designate and issue in the future.
Under the terms of our restated certificate of incorporation, our board of directors is authorized to direct us to issue shares of preferred stock in one or more series without stockholder approval. Our board of directors has the discretion to determine the rights, preferences, privileges and restrictions, including voting rights, dividend rights, conversion rights, redemption privileges and liquidation preferences, of each series of preferred stock.
The purpose of authorizing our board of directors to issue preferred stock and determine its rights and preferences is to eliminate delays associated with a stockholder vote on specific issuances. The issuance
of preferred stock, while providing flexibility in connection with possible acquisitions, future financings and other corporate purposes, could have the effect of making it more difficult for a third party to acquire, or could discourage a third party from seeking to acquire, a majority of our outstanding voting stock. There are no shares of preferred stock outstanding, and we have no present plans to issue any shares of preferred stock.
Certain of our stockholders are entitled to certain rights with respect to the registration of such shares for public resale under the Securities Act, pursuant to an amended and restated stockholders rights agreement by and among us and certain of our stockholders, until the rights otherwise terminate pursuant to the terms of the investors’ rights agreement. The registration of shares of common stock as a result of the following rights being exercised would enable holders to trade these shares without restriction under the Securities Act when the applicable registration statement is declared effective.
Form S-1 Registration Rights
If, at any time beginning 180 days after the closing date of our initial public offering, the holders of a majority of registrable securities request in writing that we effect a registration with respect to all or part of such registrable securities then outstanding and having an anticipated gross aggregate offering price that would exceed $15,000,000, we may be required to register their shares; provided, however, that we will not be required to effect such a registration if, within any twelve month period, we have already effected two registrations on Form S-1 for the holders of registrable securities. If the holders requesting registration intend to distribute their shares by means of an underwriting, the managing underwriter of such offering will have the right to limit the numbers of shares to be underwritten for reasons related to the marketing of the shares.
Piggyback Registration Rights
If we propose to register any shares of our common stock under the Securities Act, subject to certain exceptions, the holders of registrable securities will be entitled to notice of the registration and to include their shares of registrable securities in the registration. If our proposed registration involves an underwriting, the managing underwriter of such offering will have the right to limit the number of shares to be underwritten for reasons related to the marketing of the shares.
Form S-3 Registration Rights
If, at any time after we become entitled under the Securities Act to register our shares on a registration statement on Form S-3, the holders of at least 30% of the then outstanding registrable securities request in writing that we effect a registration with respect to registrable securities at an aggregate price to the public in the offering of at least $5,000,000, we will be required to effect such registration; provided, however, that we will not be required to effect such a registration if, within any twelve month period, we have already effected two registrations on Form S-3 for the holders of registrable securities.
Expenses and Indemnification
Ordinarily, other than underwriting discounts and commissions and subject to certain exceptions, we will be required to pay all expenses incurred by us related to any registration effected pursuant to the exercise of these registration rights. These expenses may include all registration and filing fees, printing expenses, fees and disbursements of our counsel, reasonable fees and disbursements, not to exceed $20,000, of a counsel for the selling security holders and blue sky fees and expenses. Additionally, we have agreed to indemnify selling stockholders for damages, and any legal or other expenses reasonably incurred, arising from or based upon any untrue statement of a material fact contained in any registration statement, an omission or alleged omission to state a material fact in any registration statement or
necessary to make the statements therein not misleading, or any violation or alleged violation by the indemnifying party of securities laws, subject to certain exceptions.
Termination of Registration Rights
The registration rights terminate upon the earliest to occur of three years after the effective date of the registration statement for our initial public offering, the closing of a deemed liquidation event, or such time as an exemption under the Securities Act is available for the sale of all of the registrable securities.
Anti-Takeover Effects of Delaware Law and Our Certificate of Incorporation and Bylaws
Some provisions of Delaware law, our restated certificate of incorporation and our amended and restated bylaws could make the following transactions more difficult: an acquisition of us by means of a tender offer; an acquisition of us by means of a proxy contest or otherwise; or the removal of our incumbent officers and directors. It is possible that these provisions could make it more difficult to accomplish or could deter transactions that stockholders may otherwise consider to be in their best interest or in our best interests, including transactions which provide for payment of a premium over the market price for our shares.
These provisions, summarized below, are intended to discourage coercive takeover practices and inadequate takeover bids. These provisions are also designed to encourage persons seeking to acquire control of us to first negotiate with our board of directors. We believe that the benefits of the increased protection of our potential ability to negotiate with the proponent of an unfriendly or unsolicited proposal to acquire or restructure us outweigh the disadvantages of discouraging these proposals because negotiation of these proposals could result in an improvement of their terms.
Undesignated Preferred Stock
The ability of our board of directors, without action by the stockholders, to issue up to 10,000,000 shares of undesignated preferred stock with voting or other rights or preferences as designated by our board of directors could impede the success of any attempt to change control of us. These and other provisions may have the effect of deferring hostile takeovers or delaying changes in control or management of our company.
Our amended and restated bylaws provide that a special meeting of stockholders may be called only by our chairman of the board, chief executive officer or president (in the absence of a chief executive officer), or by a resolution adopted by a majority of our board of directors.
Requirements for Advance Notification of Stockholder Nominations and Proposals
Our amended and restated bylaws establish advance notice procedures with respect to stockholder proposals to be brought before a stockholder meeting and the nomination of candidates for election as directors, other than nominations made by or at the direction of the board of directors or a committee of the board of directors.
Elimination of Stockholder Action by Written Consent
Our restated certificate of incorporation eliminates the right of stockholders to act by written consent without a meeting.
Our board of directors is divided into three classes. The directors in each class serve for a three-year term, one class being elected each year by our stockholders. This system of electing and removing directors may tend to discourage a third-party from making a tender offer or otherwise attempting to obtain control of us, because it generally makes it more difficult for stockholders to replace a majority of the directors.
Removal of Directors
Our restated certificate of incorporation provides that no member of our board of directors may be removed from office by our stockholders except for cause and, in addition to any other vote required by law, upon the approval of the holders of at least two-thirds in voting power of the outstanding shares of stock entitled to vote in the election of directors.
Stockholders Not Entitled to Cumulative Voting
Our restated certificate of incorporation does not permit stockholders to cumulate their votes in the election of directors. Accordingly, the holders of a majority of the outstanding shares of our common stock entitled to vote in any election of directors can elect all of the directors standing for election, if they choose, other than any directors that holders of our preferred stock may be entitled to elect.
Delaware Anti-Takeover Statute
We are subject to Section 203 of the General Corporation Law of the State of Delaware, which prohibits persons deemed to be “interested stockholders” from engaging in a “business combination” with a publicly held Delaware corporation for three years following the date these persons become interested stockholders unless the business combination is, or the transaction in which the person became an interested stockholder was, approved in a prescribed manner or another prescribed exception applies. Generally, an “interested stockholder” is a person who, together with affiliates and associates, owns, or within three years prior to the determination of interested stockholder status did own, 15% or more of a corporation’s voting stock. Generally, a “business combination” includes a merger, asset or stock sale, or other transaction resulting in a financial benefit to the interested stockholder. The existence of this provision may have an anti-takeover effect with respect to transactions not approved in advance by the board of directors.
Choice of Forum
Our restated certificate of incorporation provides that, unless we consent in writing to the selection of an alternative form, the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware will be the sole and exclusive forum for: (1) any derivative action or proceeding brought on our behalf; (2) any action asserting a claim of breach of a fiduciary duty or other wrongdoing by any of our directors, officers, employees or agents to us or our stockholders; (3) any action asserting a claim against us arising pursuant to any provision of the General Corporation Law of the State of Delaware or our certificate of incorporation or bylaws; (4) any action to interpret, apply, enforce or determine the validity of our certificate of incorporation or bylaws; or (5) any action asserting a claim governed by the internal affairs doctrine; provided that the exclusive forum provisions will not apply to suits brought to enforce any liability or duty created by the Securities Act or the Exchange Act, or to any claim for which the federal courts have exclusive jurisdiction. For instance, the provision would not apply to actions arising under federal securities laws, including suits brought to enforce any liability or duty created by the Securities Act, Exchange Act, or the rules and regulations thereunder. Our restated certificate of incorporation further provides that, unless we consent in writing to the selection of an alternative forum, the federal district courts of the United States of America shall, to the fullest extent permitted by law, be the sole and exclusive forum for the resolution of any complaint asserting a cause of action arising under the Securities Act. Our restated certificate of incorporation also provides that any person or entity purchasing or otherwise acquiring any interest in shares of our capital stock will be deemed to have notice of and to have consented to this choice of forum provision. It is possible that a court of law could rule that the choice of forum provision contained in our restated certificate of incorporation is inapplicable or unenforceable if it is challenged in a proceeding or otherwise.
Amendment of Charter Provisions
The amendment of any of the above provisions, except for the provision making it possible for our board of directors to issue preferred stock and the provision prohibiting cumulative voting, would require approval by holders of at least two-thirds in voting power of the outstanding shares of stock entitled to vote thereon.
The provisions of Delaware law, our restated certificate of incorporation and our amended and restated bylaws could have the effect of discouraging others from attempting hostile takeovers and, as a consequence, they may also inhibit temporary fluctuations in the market price of our common stock that often result from actual or rumored hostile takeover attempts. These provisions may also have the effect of preventing changes in the composition of our board and management. It is possible that these provisions could make it more difficult to accomplish transactions that stockholders may otherwise deem to be in their best interests.
Transfer Agent and Registrar
The transfer agent and registrar for our common stock is American Stock Transfer & Trust Company, LLC.
Stock Exchange Listing
Our common stock are listed on The Nasdaq Global Select Market under the symbol “AVIR.”