Description of the Registrants Securities
EX-4.3 2 exhibit4310k2019.htm EX-4.3 Document
Description of the Registrant’s Securities
Registered Pursuant to Section 12 of the
Securities Exchange Act of 1934
The summary of the general terms and provisions of the registered securities of Axcella Health Inc. (the “Company,” “we,” “us,” and “our”) set forth below does not purport to be complete. It is subject to and qualified in its entirety by reference to our Restated Certificate of Incorporation (“Certificate of Incorporation”) and our Amended and Restated Bylaws (“Bylaws”), each of which are incorporated by reference as an exhibit to the Annual Report on Form 10-K of which this Exhibit 4.3 is a part, and by applicable law. We encourage you to read our Certificate of Incorporation, our Bylaws and the applicable provisions of the Delaware General Corporation Law for additional information.
Authorized Capital Stock
Our authorized capital stock consists of 150,000,000 shares of common stock, $0.001 par value per share, and 10,000,000 shares of preferred stock, $0.001 par value per share, all of which are undesignated preferred stock.
The holders of our common stock are entitled to one vote for each share held on all matters submitted to a vote of the stockholders. The holders of our common stock do not have any cumulative voting rights. Holders of our common stock are entitled to receive ratably any dividends declared by our board of directors out of funds legally available for that purpose, subject to any preferential dividend rights of any outstanding preferred stock. Our common stock has no preemptive rights, conversion rights or other subscription rights, or redemption or sinking fund provisions.
In the event of our liquidation, dissolution or winding up, holders of our common stock will be entitled to share ratably in all assets remaining after payment of all debts and other liabilities and any liquidation preference of any outstanding preferred stock. All outstanding shares are fully paid and nonassessable.
Our common stock is listed and traded on The NASDAQ Stock Market LLC under the symbol “AXLA.”
Transfer Agent and Registrar
The transfer agent and registrar for our common stock is Computershare Trust Company, N.A.
Our board of directors has the authority, without further action by our stockholders, to designate and issue up to 10,000,000 shares of preferred stock in one or more series. Our board of directors may also designate the rights, preferences and privileges of the holders of each such series of preferred stock, any or all of which may be greater than or senior to those granted to the holders of common stock. While, the issuance of preferred stock provides flexibility in connection with possible future financings and acquisitions and other corporate purposes, 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. Though the actual effect of any such issuance on the rights of the holders of common stock will not be known until such time as our board of directors determines the specific rights of the holders of preferred stock, the issuance of preferred stock could have the effect of restricting dividends on our common stock, diluting the voting power of our common stock, impairing the liquidation rights of our common stock, or delaying, deferring or preventing a change in control of our company, which might harm the market price of our common stock.
No shares of preferred stock are outstanding as of the date of our Annual Report on Form 10-K with which this Exhibit 4.3 is filed as an exhibit.
Anti-Takeover Effects of Delaware Law and Provisions of our Charter Documents
Certain provisions of the Delaware General Corporation Law and of our Charter Documents could have the effect of delaying, deferring or discouraging another party from acquiring control of us. These provisions, which are summarized below, are expected to discourage certain types of coercive takeover practices and inadequate takeover bids and, as a consequence, they might also inhibit temporary fluctuations in the market price of our common stock that often result from actual or rumored hostile takeover attempts. These provisions are also designed in part to encourage anyone seeking to acquire control of us to first negotiate with our board of directors. These provisions might also have the effect of preventing changes in our management. It is possible that these provisions could make it more difficult to accomplish transactions that stockholders might otherwise deem to be in their best interests. However, we believe that the advantages gained by protecting our ability to negotiate with any unsolicited and potentially unfriendly acquirer outweigh the disadvantages of discouraging such proposals, including those priced above the then-current market value of our common stock, because, among other reasons, the negotiation of such proposals could improve their terms.
Delaware Anti-Takeover Statute
We are subject to the provisions of Section 203 of the Delaware General Corporation Law. 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. 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, our 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, but not the outstanding voting stock owned by the interested stockholder; or
•at or after the time the stockholder became interested, the business combination was approved by our board of directors 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 that is not owned by the interested stockholder.
Section 203 defines a business combination to include:
•any merger or consolidation involving the corporation and the interested stockholder;
•any sale, transfer, lease, pledge, exchange, mortgage or other disposition involving the interested stockholder of 10% or more of the assets of the corporation;
•subject to exceptions, any transaction that results in the issuance or transfer by the corporation of any stock of the corporation to the interested stockholder;
•subject to exceptions, any transaction involving the corporation that has the effect of increasing the proportionate share of the stock of any class or series of the corporation beneficially owned by the interested stockholder; or
•the receipt by the interested stockholder of the benefit of any loans, advances, guarantees, pledges or other financial benefits provided by or through the corporation.
In general, Section 203 defines an interested stockholder as any entity or person beneficially owning 15% or more of the outstanding voting stock of the corporation and any entity or person affiliated with or controlling or controlled by the entity or person.
Our Charter Documents include a number of provisions that may have the effect of encouraging persons considering unsolicited tender offers or other unilateral takeover proposals to negotiate with our board of directors rather than pursue non-negotiated takeover attempts. These provisions include the items described below.
Board Composition and Filling Vacancies. In accordance with our Certificate of Incorporation, our board is divided into three classes serving three-year terms, with one class being elected each year. Our Certificate of Incorporation also provides that directors may be removed only for cause and then only by the affirmative vote of the holders of two-thirds (2/3) or more of the shares then entitled to vote at an election of directors. Furthermore, any vacancy on our board of directors, however occurring, including a vacancy resulting from an increase in the size of our board, may only be filled by the affirmative vote of a majority of our directors then in office, even if less than a quorum.
No Written Consent of Stockholders. Our Certificate of Incorporation provides that all stockholder actions are required to be taken by a vote of the stockholders at an annual or special meeting, and that stockholders may not take any action by written consent in lieu of a meeting.
Meetings of Stockholders. Our by-laws provide that only a majority of the members of our board of directors then in office may call special meetings of stockholders and only those matters set forth in the notice of the special meeting may be considered or acted upon at a special meeting of stockholders. Our by-laws limit the business that may be conducted at an annual meeting of stockholders to those matters properly brought before the meeting.
Advance Notice Requirements. Our by-laws establish advance notice procedures with regard to stockholder proposals relating to the nomination of candidates for election as directors or new business to be brought before meetings of our stockholders. These procedures provide that notice of stockholder proposals must be timely given in writing to our corporate secretary prior to the meeting at which the action is to be taken. Generally, to be timely, notice must be received at our principal executive offices not less than 90 days or more than 120 days prior to the first anniversary date of the annual meeting for the preceding year. The notice must contain certain information specified in the by-laws. These provisions may have the effect of precluding the conduct of certain business at a meeting if the proper procedures are not followed. These provisions may also discourage or deter a potential acquirer from conducting a solicitation of proxies to elect the acquirer's own slate of directors or otherwise attempting to obtain control of our company.
Amendment to By-laws and Certificate of Incorporation. As required by the Delaware General Corporation Law, any amendment of our Certificate of Incorporation must first be approved by a majority of our board of directors and, if required by law or our Certificate of Incorporation, thereafter be approved by a majority of the outstanding shares entitled to vote on the amendment, and a majority of the outstanding shares of each class entitled to vote thereon as a class, except that the amendment of the provisions relating to stockholder action, directors, limitation of liability, exclusive jurisdiction of Delaware Courts and the amendment of our by-laws and Certificate of Incorporation must be approved by not less than two-thirds (2/3) of the outstanding shares entitled to vote on the amendment, and not less than two-thirds (2/3) of the outstanding shares of each class entitled to vote thereon as a class. Our by-laws may be amended by the affirmative vote of a majority of the directors then in office, subject to any limitations set forth in the by-laws; and may also be amended by the affirmative vote of at least two-thirds (2/3) of the outstanding shares entitled to vote on the amendment, or, if the board of directors recommends that the stockholders approve the amendment, by the affirmative vote of the majority of the outstanding shares entitled to vote on the amendment, in each case voting together as a single class.
Blank Check Preferred Stock. Our Certificate of Incorporation provides for 10,000,000 authorized shares of preferred stock. The existence of authorized but unissued shares of preferred stock may enable our board of directors to render more difficult or to discourage an attempt to obtain control of us by means of a merger, tender offer, proxy contest or otherwise. For example, if in the due exercise of its fiduciary obligations, our board of directors were to determine that a takeover proposal is not in the best interests of us or our stockholders, our board of directors could cause shares of preferred stock to be issued without stockholder approval in one or more private offerings or other transactions that might dilute the voting or other rights of the proposed acquirer or insurgent stockholder or stockholder group. In this regard, our Certificate of Incorporation grants our board of directors broad power to establish the rights and preferences of authorized and unissued shares of preferred stock. The issuance of shares of preferred stock could decrease the amount of earnings and assets available for distribution to holders of shares of common stock. The issuance may also adversely affect the rights and powers, including voting rights, of these holders and may have the effect of delaying, deterring or preventing a change in control of us.
Choice of Forum. Our Bylaws provide that, unless we consent in writing to the selection of an alternative forum, the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware will be the sole and exclusive forum for any state law claim 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 Delaware General Corporation Law 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. The choice of forum provision does not apply to any actions arising under the Securities Act or the Exchange Act.