Form of Non-Employee Director Stock Option Agreement under 2018 Equity Incentive Plan, as amended
2018 Equity Incentive Plan
(Nonstatutory Stock Option)
Pursuant to your Stock Option Grant Notice (“Grant Notice”) and this Option Agreement, Geron Corporation (the “Company”) has granted you an option under its 2018 Equity Incentive Plan (the “Plan”) to purchase the number of shares of the Company’s Common Stock indicated in your Grant Notice at the exercise price indicated in your Grant Notice. The option is granted to you effective as of the date of grant set forth in the Grant Notice (the “Date of Grant”). If there is any conflict between the terms in this Option Agreement and the Plan, the terms of the Plan will control. Capitalized terms not explicitly defined in this Option Agreement or in the Grant Notice but defined in the Plan will have the same definitions as in the Plan.
The details of your option, in addition to those set forth in the Grant Notice and the Plan, are as follows:
1.Vesting. Subject to the provisions contained herein, your option will vest as provided in your Grant Notice. Vesting will cease upon the termination of your Continuous Service. Notwithstanding the foregoing, the following provisions shall apply:
(a)In the event your Continuous Service is terminated due to your Disability, then the vesting and exercisability of your option shall accelerate in an amount equal to the lesser of (i) the then remaining unvested shares covered by your option, and (ii) the number of shares subject to your option that would have vested had you remained in Continuous Service for thirty-six (36) months (or such lesser period of time as is determined by the Board) after the date of such termination.
(b)In the event your Continuous Service is terminated due to your death or in the event that you die within 3 months following the termination of your service for any reason other than Cause, then the vesting and exercisability of your option shall accelerate in an amount equal to the lesser of (i) the then remaining unvested shares covered by your option, and (ii) the number of shares subject to your option that would have vested had you remained in Continuous Service for thirty-six (36) months (or such lesser period of time as is determined by the Board) after the date of such termination.
(c)In the event of either a Change in Control or a Corporate Transaction that is not a license, and you have not terminated your Continuous Service prior to the effective date of the Change in Control or Corporate Transaction, then the vesting and exercisability of your option will be accelerated in full upon the effective date of such Change in Control or Corporate Transaction.
(i)If any payment or benefit you would receive from the Company or otherwise in connection with a Change in Control or other similar transaction (a “280G Payment”) would (i) constitute a “parachute payment” within the meaning of Section 280G of the Code, and (ii) but for this sentence, be subject to the excise tax imposed by Section 4999 of the Code (the “Excise Tax”), then any such 280G Payment (a “Payment”) shall be equal to the Reduced Amount. The “Reduced Amount” shall be either (x) the largest portion of the Payment that would result in no portion of the Payment (after reduction) being subject to the Excise Tax or (y) the largest portion, up to and including the total, of the Payment, whichever amount (i.e., the amount determined by clause (x) or by clause (y)), after taking into
account all applicable federal, state and local employment taxes, income taxes, and the Excise Tax (all computed at the highest applicable marginal rate), results in your receipt, on an after-tax basis, of the greater economic benefit notwithstanding that all or some portion of the Payment may be subject to the Excise Tax. If a reduction in a Payment is required pursuant to the preceding sentence and the Reduced Amount is determined pursuant to clause (x) of the preceding sentence, the reduction shall occur in the manner (the “Reduction Method”) that results in the greatest economic benefit for you. If more than one method of reduction will result in the same economic benefit, the items so reduced will be reduced pro rata (the “Pro Rata Reduction Method”).
(ii)Notwithstanding the foregoing, if the Reduction Method or the Pro Rata Reduction Method would result in any portion of the Payment being subject to taxes pursuant to Section 409A of the Code that would not otherwise be subject to taxes pursuant to Section 409A of the Code, then the Reduction Method and/or the Pro Rata Reduction Method, as the case may be, shall be modified so as to avoid the imposition of taxes pursuant to Section 409A of the Code as follows: (A) as a first priority, the modification shall preserve to the greatest extent possible, the greatest economic benefit for you as determined on an after-tax basis; (B) as a second priority, Payments that are contingent on future events (e.g., being terminated without Cause), shall be reduced (or eliminated) before Payments that are not contingent on future events; and (C) as a third priority, Payments that are “deferred compensation” within the meaning of Section 409A of the Code shall be reduced (or eliminated) before Payments that are not deferred compensation within the meaning of Section 409A of the Code.
(iii)Unless you and the Company agree on an alternative accounting firm, the accounting firm engaged by the Company for general tax compliance purposes as of the day prior to the effective date of a Change in Control triggering the Payment shall perform the foregoing calculations. If the accounting firm so engaged by the Company is serving as accountant or auditor for the individual, entity or group effecting a Change in Control, the Company shall appoint a nationally recognized accounting firm to make the determinations required hereunder. The Company shall bear all expenses with respect to the determinations by such accounting firm required to be made hereunder. The Company shall use commercially reasonable efforts to cause the accounting firm engaged to make the determinations hereunder to provide its calculations, together with detailed supporting documentation, to you and the Company within fifteen (15) calendar days after the date on which your right to a 280G Payment becomes reasonably likely to occur (if requested at that time by you or the Company) or such other time as requested by you or the Company.
(iv)If you receive a Payment for which the Reduced Amount was determined pursuant to clause (x) of the first paragraph of this Section 1(c) and the Internal Revenue Service determines thereafter that some portion of the Payment is subject to the Excise Tax, you shall promptly return to the Company a sufficient amount of the Payment (after reduction pursuant to clause (x) of the first paragraph of this Section 1(c)) so that no portion of the remaining Payment is subject to the Excise Tax. For the avoidance of doubt, if the Reduced Amount was determined pursuant to clause (y) in the first paragraph of this Section 1(c), you shall have no obligation to return any portion of the Payment pursuant to the preceding sentence.
2.Number of Shares and Exercise Price. The number of shares of Common Stock subject to your option and your exercise price per share in your Grant Notice will be adjusted for Capitalization Adjustments.
3.Method of Payment. You must pay the full amount of the exercise price for the shares you wish to exercise. You may pay the exercise price in cash or by check, bank draft or money order payable to the Company or, if permitted by your Grant Notice and if at the time of exercise the Common Stock is publicly traded, then pursuant to a program developed under Regulation T as promulgated by the Federal Reserve Board that, prior to the issuance of Common Stock, results in either the receipt of cash (or check) by the Company or the receipt of irrevocable instructions to pay the aggregate exercise price to the Company from the sales proceeds. This manner of payment is also known as a “broker-assisted exercise”, “same day sale”, or “sell to cover”.
4.Whole Shares. You may exercise your option only for whole shares of Common Stock.
5.Securities Law Compliance. In no event may you exercise your option unless the shares of Common Stock issuable upon exercise are then registered under the Securities Act or, if not registered, the Company has determined that your exercise and the issuance of the shares would be exempt from the registration requirements of the Securities Act. The exercise of your option also must comply with all other applicable laws and regulations governing your option, and you may not exercise your option if the Company determines that such exercise would not be in material compliance with such laws and regulations (including any restrictions on exercise required for compliance with Treas. Reg. 1.401(k)-1(d)(3), if applicable).
6.Term. You may not exercise your option before the Date of Grant or after the expiration of the option’s term. The term of your option expires, subject to the provisions of Sections 5(h) and 9(c) of the Plan, upon the earliest of the following:
(a)immediately upon the termination of your Continuous Service for Cause;
(b)thirty-six (36) months after the termination of your Continuous Service for any reason other than Cause, your Disability or your death (except as otherwise provided in Section 6(d) below); provided, however, that if during any part of such thirty-six (36) month period your option is not exercisable solely because of the condition set forth in the section above relating to “Securities Law Compliance,” your option will not expire until the earlier of the Expiration Date or until it has been exercisable for an aggregate period of thirty-six (36) months after the termination of your Continuous Service;
(c)thirty-six (36) months after the termination of your Continuous Service due to your Disability (except as otherwise provided in Section 6(d)) below;
(d)thirty-six (36) months after your death if you die either during your Continuous Service or within three (3) months after your Continuous Service terminates for any reason other than Cause;
(e)the Expiration Date indicated in your Grant Notice; or
(f)the day before the tenth (10th) anniversary of the Date of Grant.
(a)You may exercise the vested portion of your option (and the unvested portion of your option if your Grant Notice so expressly permits) during its term by (i) delivering a Notice of Exercise (in a form designated by the Company) or completing such other documents and/or procedures designated by the Company for exercise and (ii) paying the exercise price and any applicable withholding taxes to the Company’s Secretary, stock plan administrator, or such other person as the Company may designate, together with such additional documents as the Company may then require.
(b)By exercising your option you agree that, as a condition to any exercise of your option, the Company may require you to enter into an arrangement providing for the payment by you to the Company of any tax withholding obligation of the Company arising by reason of (i) the exercise of your option, (ii) the lapse of any substantial risk of forfeiture to which the shares of Common Stock are subject at the time of exercise, or (iii) the disposition of shares of Common Stock acquired upon such exercise.
8.Transferability. Except as otherwise provided in this Section 8, your option is not transferable, except by will or by the laws of descent and distribution, and is exercisable during your life only by you.
(a)Certain Trusts. Upon receiving written permission from the Board or its duly authorized Officer, you may transfer your option to a trust if you are considered to be the sole beneficial owner (determined under Section 671 of the Code and applicable state law) while the option is held in the trust. You and the trustee must enter into transfer and other agreements required by the Company.
(b)Domestic Relations Orders. Upon receiving written permission from the Board or its duly authorized Officer, and provided that you and the designated transferee enter into transfer and other agreements required by the Company, you may transfer your option pursuant to the terms of a domestic relations order, official marital settlement agreement or other divorce or separation instrument as permitted by Treasury Regulation 1.421-1(b)(2) that contains the information required by the Company to effectuate the transfer. You are encouraged to discuss the proposed terms of any division of this option with the Company prior to finalizing the domestic relations order or marital settlement agreement to help ensure the required information is contained within the domestic relations order or marital settlement agreement.
(c)Beneficiary Designation. Upon receiving written permission from the Board or its duly authorized Officer, you may, by delivering written notice to the Company, in a form approved by the Company and any broker designated by the Company to handle option exercises, designate a third party who, on your death, will thereafter be entitled to exercise this option and receive the Common Stock or other consideration resulting from such exercise. In the absence of such a designation, your executor or administrator of your estate will be entitled to exercise this option and receive, on behalf of your estate, the Common Stock or other consideration resulting from such exercise.
9.Option not a Service Contract. Your option is not an employment or service contract, and nothing in your option will be deemed to create in any way whatsoever any obligation on your part to continue in the employ of the Company or an Affiliate, or of the Company or an Affiliate to continue your employment. In addition, nothing in your option will obligate the Company or an Affiliate, their respective shareholders, boards of directors, officers or employees to continue any relationship that you might have as a Director or Consultant for the Company or an Affiliate.
(a)At the time you exercise your option, in whole or in part, and at any time thereafter as requested by the Company, you hereby authorize withholding from payroll and any other amounts payable to you, and otherwise agree to make adequate provision for (including by means of a “same day sale” pursuant to a program developed under Regulation T as promulgated by the Federal Reserve Board to the extent permitted by the Company), any sums required to satisfy the federal, state, local and foreign tax withholding obligations of the Company or an Affiliate, if any, which arise in connection with the exercise of your option.
(b)Upon your request and subject to approval by the Company, and compliance with any applicable legal conditions or restrictions, the Company may withhold from fully vested shares of Common Stock otherwise issuable to you upon the exercise of your option a number of whole shares of Common Stock having a Fair Market Value, determined by the Company as of the date of exercise, not in excess of the minimum amount of tax required to be withheld by law (or such lower amount as may be necessary to avoid classification of your option as a liability for financial accounting purposes). Notwithstanding the filing of such election, shares of Common Stock shall be withheld solely from fully vested shares of Common Stock determined as of the date of exercise of your option that are otherwise issuable to you upon such exercise. Any adverse consequences to you arising in connection with such share withholding procedure shall be your sole responsibility.
(c)You may not exercise your option unless the tax withholding obligations of the Company and/or any Affiliate are satisfied. Accordingly, you may not be able to exercise your option when desired even though your option is vested, and the Company will have no obligation to issue a certificate for such shares of Common Stock or release such shares of Common Stock from any escrow provided for herein, if applicable, unless such obligations are satisfied.
11.Tax Consequences. You hereby agree that the Company does not have a duty to design or administer the Plan or its other compensation programs in a manner that minimizes your tax liabilities. You will not make any claim against the Company, or any of its Officers, Directors, Employees or Affiliates related to tax liabilities arising from your option or your other compensation. In particular, you acknowledge that this option is exempt from Section 409A of the Code only if the exercise price per share specified in the Grant Notice is at least equal to the Fair Market Value per share of the Common Stock on the Date of Grant and there is no other impermissible deferral of compensation associated with the option.
12.Notices. Any notices provided for in your option or the Plan will be given in writing (including electronically) and will be deemed effectively given upon receipt or, in the case of notices delivered by mail by the Company to you, five (5) days after deposit in the United States mail, postage prepaid, addressed to you at the last address you provided to the Company. The Company may, in its sole discretion, decide to deliver any documents related to participation in the Plan and this option by electronic means or to request your consent to participate in the Plan by electronic means. By accepting this option, you consent to receive such documents by electronic delivery and to participate in the Plan through an on-line or electronic system established and maintained by the Company or another third party designated by the Company.
13.Governing Plan Document. Your option is subject to all the provisions of the Plan, the provisions of which are hereby made a part of your option, and is further subject to all interpretations, amendments, rules and regulations, which may from time to time be promulgated and adopted pursuant to the Plan. If there is any conflict between the provisions of your option and those of the Plan, the provisions of the Plan will control. In addition, your option (and any compensation paid or shares issued
under your option) is subject to recoupment in accordance with The Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act and any implementing regulations thereunder, any clawback policy adopted by the Company and any compensation recovery policy otherwise required by applicable law. No recovery of compensation under such a clawback policy will be an event giving rise to a right to voluntarily terminate employment upon a resignation for “good reason,” or for a “constructive termination” or any similar term under any plan of or agreement with the Company.
14.Other Documents. You hereby acknowledge receipt of and the right to receive a document providing the information required by Rule 428(b)(1) promulgated under the Securities Act, which includes the Plan prospectus. In addition, you acknowledge receipt of the Company’s policy permitting certain individuals to sell shares only during certain “window” periods and the Company’s insider trading policy, in effect from time to time.
15.Effect on Other Employee Benefit Plans. The value of this option will not be included as compensation, earnings, salaries, or other similar terms used when calculating your benefits under any employee benefit plan sponsored by the Company or any Affiliate, except as such plan otherwise expressly provides. The Company expressly reserves its rights to amend, modify, or terminate any of the Company’s or any Affiliate’s employee benefit plans.
16.Voting Rights. You will not have voting or any other rights as a shareholder of the Company with respect to the shares to be issued pursuant to this option until such shares are issued to you. Upon such issuance, you will obtain full voting and other rights as a shareholder of the Company. Nothing contained in this option, and no action taken pursuant to its provisions, will create or be construed to create a trust of any kind or a fiduciary relationship between you and the Company or any other person.
17.Severability. If all or any part of this Option Agreement or the Plan is declared by any court or governmental authority to be unlawful or invalid, such unlawfulness or invalidity will not invalidate any portion of this Option Agreement or the Plan not declared to be unlawful or invalid. Any section of this Option Agreement (or part of such a section) so declared to be unlawful or invalid shall, if possible, be construed in a manner which will give effect to the terms of such section or part of a section to the fullest extent possible while remaining lawful and valid.
(a)The rights and obligations of the Company under your option will be transferable by the Company to any one or more persons or entities, and all covenants and agreements hereunder will inure to the benefit of, and be enforceable by, the Company’s successors and assigns.
(b)You agree upon request to execute any further documents or instruments necessary or desirable in the sole determination of the Company to carry out the purposes or intent of your option.
(c)You acknowledge and agree that you have reviewed your option in its entirety, have had an opportunity to obtain the advice of counsel prior to executing and accepting your option, and fully understand all provisions of your option.
(d)This Option Agreement will be subject to all applicable laws, rules, and regulations, and to such approvals by any governmental agencies or national securities exchanges as may be required.
(e)All obligations of the Company under the Plan and this Option Agreement will be binding on any successor to the Company, whether the existence of such successor is the result of a direct or indirect purchase, merger, consolidation, or otherwise, of all or substantially all of the business and/or assets of the Company.
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This Option Agreement will be deemed to be accepted by you upon your original signature of the Grant Notice to which it is attached or your acknowledgement through an online or electronic system established and maintained by the Company or another third party designated by the Company.