DESCRIPTION OF THE REGISTRANT’S SECURITIES
REGISTERED PURSUANT TO SECTION 12 OF THE
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934, AS AMENDED
The common stock, par value $0.0001 per share (“Common Stock”) of Xeris Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (the “Company,” “we,” “us,” and “our”) is registered under Section 12 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. The following description sets forth certain general terms and provisions of our Common Stock. These descriptions are in all respects subject to and qualified in their entirety by, and should be read in conjunction with the applicable provisions of, our Amended and 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 and 10,000,000 shares of preferred stock, par value $0.0001 per share (“Preferred Stock”), all of which shares of Preferred Stock are undesignated.
Only our Common Stock is registered under Section 12 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”).
Holders of our Common Stock are entitled to receive dividends ratably, if any, as may be declared by our board of directors out of legally available funds, subject to any preferential dividend rights of any Preferred Stock then outstanding.
Holders of our Common Stock are entitled to one vote for each share of Common Stock held of record for the election of directors and on all matters submitted to a vote of the stockholders. The holders of our Common Stock do not have any cumulative voting rights.
Distributions on Liquidation
In the event of our dissolution, liquidation or winding up, holders of our Common Stock are entitled to share ratably in our net assets legally available after the payment of all our debts and other liabilities, subject to the preferential rights of any Preferred Stock then outstanding. 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.
Holders of our Common Stock have no preemptive, subscription, redemption or conversion rights, and no sinking fund provisions are applicable to our Common Stock.
Relationship to Preferred Stock
Our board of directors is authorized, without further action by the stockholders, to designate and issue up to an aggregate of 10,000,000 shares of Preferred Stock in one or more series and to fix the rights, preferences, privileges and restrictions thereof. These rights, preferences and privileges could include dividend rights, conversion rights, voting rights, terms of redemption, liquidation preferences, sinking fund terms and the number of shares constituting, or the designation of, such series, any or all of which may be greater than the rights of Common Stock. 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 Common Stock and the likelihood that such holders will receive dividend payments and payments upon our liquidation.
The purpose of authorizing our board of directors to issue Preferred Stock in one or more series and determine the number of shares in the series and its rights, preferences, privileges and restrictions is to eliminate delays associated with a stockholder vote on specific issuances. The issuance of Preferred Stock, while providing flexibility in connection with possible future financings and acquisitions and other corporate purposes, could, under certain circumstances, have the effect of delaying, deferring or preventing a change in control of our company, as further discussed below under “-Anti-Takeover Effects of Delaware Law and Provisions of our Charter and our By-laws-Provisions of our Charter and our By-laws-Undesignated Preferred 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.
Pursuant to the terms of our investors’ rights agreement, dated as of December 31, 2015, certain of our stockholders are entitled to rights with respect to the registration of their shares under the Securities Act until the earliest of the fifth (5th) anniversary of our initial public offering, or such holder’s registrable securities could be sold without any restriction on volume or manner of sale on any 90-day period under Rule 144 or any successor rule, as described below. We refer to these shares collectively as registrable securities.
Demand Registration Rights
The holders of our registrable securities are entitled to demand registration rights. Under the terms of the investors’ rights agreement, we will be required, upon the written request of holders of at least 20% of the securities eligible for registration then outstanding or such lesser percentage that would result in an aggregate offering price of at least $10.0 million, to file a registration statement and use commercially reasonable efforts to effect the registration of all or a portion of these shares for public resale. We are required to effect only two registrations pursuant to this provision of the investors’ rights agreement.
Short-Form Registration Rights
Pursuant to the investors’ rights agreement, if we are eligible to file a registration statement on Form S-3, upon the written request of majority in interest of these holders to sell registrable securities at an aggregate price of at least $1.0 million, we will be required to use commercially reasonable efforts to effect a registration of such shares. We are not required to effect more than two registrations that have been declared or ordered effective by the SEC pursuant to this provision of the investors’ rights agreement. The right to have such shares registered on Form S-3 is further subject to other specified conditions and limitations.
Piggyback Registration Rights
Pursuant to the investors’ rights agreement, if we register any of our securities either for our own account or for the account of other security holders, the holders of our outstanding registrable securities are entitled to include their shares in the registration. Subject to certain exceptions contained in the investors’ rights agreement, we and the underwriters may limit the number of shares included in the underwritten offering to the number of shares which we and the underwriters determine in our sole discretion will not jeopardize the success of the offering.
Our investors’ rights agreement contains customary cross-indemnification provisions, under which we are obligated to indemnify holders of registrable securities in the event of material misstatements or omissions in the registration statement attributable to us, and they are obligated to indemnify us for material misstatements or omissions attributable to them.
Expiration of Registration Rights
The demand registration rights and short form registration rights granted under the investors’ rights agreement will terminate on the fifth anniversary of the completion of our initial public offering or at such time after this offering when the holders’ shares may be sold without restriction pursuant to Rule 144 within a 90-day period.
Anti-Takeover Effects of Delaware Law and Provisions of our Certificate of Incorporation and our By-laws
Our Certificate of Incorporation and Bylaws include a number of provisions that may have the effect of delaying, deferring or preventing another party from acquiring control of us and 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.
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 which 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 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; and
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.
Choice of Forum
Our Bylaws provide 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 state law claim for (i) any derivative action or proceeding brought on our behalf, (ii) any action asserting a claim of breach of or based on a fiduciary duty owed by any of our directors, officers and employees to us or our stockholders, (iii) any action asserting a claim arising pursuant to any provision of the Delaware General Corporation Law, our Certificate of Incorporation or our Bylaws or (iv) 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 (the “Delaware Forum Provision”). The Delaware Forum Provision will not apply to any causes of action arising under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “Securities Act”) or the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. In addition, our Bylaws further provide that the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois will be the exclusive forum for resolving any complaint asserting a cause of action arising under the Securities Act (the “Federal Forum Provision”). We have chosen the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois as the exclusive forum for Securities Act causes of action because our principal executive offices are located in Chicago, Illinois. Our Bylaws also provide that any person or entity purchasing or otherwise acquiring any interest in shares of our Common Stock is deemed to have notice of and consented to the Delaware Forum Provision and the Federal Forum Provision.
On December 19, 2018, in Sciabacucchi v. Salzberg, C.A. No. 2017-0931-JTL (Del. Ch.), the Delaware Court of Chancery issued a decision declaring that federal forum selection provisions purporting to require claims under the Securities Act be brought in federal court are ineffective and invalid under Delaware law. On August 5, 2019, that decision was appealed to the Delaware Supreme Court and the appeal is pending. Unless and until the Court of Chancery’s decision in Sciabacucchi is reversed by the Delaware Supreme Court or otherwise abrogated, we will not seek to enforce our Federal Forum Provision designating the Northern District of Illinois as the exclusive forum for Securities Act claims. In the event that the Delaware Supreme Court affirms the Court of Chancery’s Sciabacucchi decision or otherwise determines that federal forum selection provisions are invalid, our Board of Directors intends to amend promptly our Bylaws to remove our Federal Forum Provision. As a result of the Court of Chancery’s Sciabacucchi decision or a decision by the Supreme Court of Delaware affirming the Court of Chancery’s decision, we may incur additional costs associated with our Federal Forum Provision, which could have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
We also recognize that the Delaware Forum Provision and the Federal Forum Provision in our Bylaws may impose additional litigation costs on stockholders in pursuing any such claims, particularly if the stockholders do not reside in or near the State of Delaware or the Northern District of Illinois, as applicable. Additionally, the Delaware Forum Provision and/or the Federal Forum Provision may limit a stockholder’s ability to bring a claim in a judicial forum that it finds favorable for disputes with us or our directors, officers or employees, which may discourage such lawsuits against us and our directors, officers and employees even though an action, if successful, might benefit our stockholders. The Federal Forum Provision may also impose additional litigation costs on stockholders who assert the provision is not enforceable. The Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware or the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, as applicable, may also reach different judgments or results than would other courts, including courts where a stockholder considering an action may be located or would otherwise choose to bring the action, and such judgments or results may be more favorable to us than to our stockholders.
Board Composition and Filling Vacancies
Our Certificate of Incorporation provides for the division of our board of directors into three classes serving staggered 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 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. The classification of directors, together with the limitations on removal of directors and treatment of vacancies, has the effect of making it more difficult for stockholders to change the composition of our board of directors.
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. This limit may lengthen the amount of time required to take stockholder actions and would prevent the amendment of our Bylaws or removal of directors by our stockholders without holding a meeting of stockholders.
Meetings of Stockholders
Our Certificate of Incorporation and Bylaws 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 Bylaws 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 Bylaws 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 nor more than 120 days prior to the first anniversary date of the annual meeting for the preceding year. Our Bylaws specify the requirements as to form and content of all stockholders’ notices. These requirements may preclude stockholders from bringing matters before the stockholders at an annual or special meeting.
Amendment to Charter and By-laws
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, must 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, board composition, limitation of liability and the amendment of our Bylaws and Certificate of Incorporation must be approved by not less than two-thirds of the outstanding shares entitled to vote on the amendment, and not less than two-thirds of the outstanding shares of each class entitled to vote thereon as a class. Our Bylaws may be amended by the affirmative vote of a majority of the directors then in office, subject to any limitations set forth in the Bylaws; and may also be amended by the affirmative vote of at least two-thirds of the outstanding shares entitled to vote on the amendment, or, if our 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.
Undesignated 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 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 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.
Nasdaq Global Select Market Listing
Our common stock is listed on The Nasdaq Global Select Market under the symbol “XERS.”
Transfer Agent and Registrar
The transfer agent and registrar for our common stock is Computershare Trust Company, N.A. The transfer agent and registrar’s address is 250 Royall Street, Canton, Massachusetts 02021, and its telephone number is (800) ###-###-####.