Proxy for Annual Meeting 2022

UNITED STATES

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

WASHINGTON, DC 20549

SCHEDULE 14A

(Rule 14a-101)

INFORMATION REQUIRED IN PROXY STATEMENT

SCHEDULE 14A INFORMATION

Proxy Statement Pursuant to Schedule 14a of the Securities

Exchange Act Of 1934

Filed by the Registrant  

Filed by a party other than the Registrant 

Check the appropriate box:



   Preliminary Proxy Statement

   Confidential, for Use of the Commission Only (as permitted by Rule 14a-6(e)(2))

    Definitive Proxy Statement

   Definitive Additional Materials

   Soliciting Material Pursuant to §240.14a‑12





Cassava Sciences, Inc.

(Name of Registrant as Specified in its Charter)





Not Applicable 

(Name of Person(s) Filing Proxy Statement, if other than the Registrant)

Payment of Filing Fee (Check the appropriate box):



    No fee required.

    Fee paid previously with preliminary materials.

    Fee computed on table in exhibit required by Item 25(b) per Exchange Act Rules 14a-6(i)(1) and 0-11







 

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I am pleased to invite you to attend the 2022 Annual Meeting (the “Annual Meeting”) of Stockholders of Cassava Sciences, Inc., which will be held virtually via webcast on May 5, 2022 at 10:00 a.m. Central time. Broad investor participation is valued and encouraged.



The attached Notice of Annual Meeting of Stockholders and proxy statement contain details of the business to be conducted at this Annual Meeting.



Your vote is very important. Whether or not you attend the virtual Annual Meeting, I encourage that your shares be represented and voted at this Annual Meeting. Therefore, I urge you to promptly vote and submit your proxy via the Internet, by phone or by mail. If you decide to attend the virtual Annual Meeting, you will be able to vote electronically, even if you have previously submitted your proxy.



On behalf of the board of directors, I would like to express my appreciation for your ongoing support of Cassava Sciences.



Sincerely,





/s/Remi Barbier



Remi Barbier

Chairman of the Board

President and Chief Executive Officer

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Cassava Sciences, Inc.

7801 North Capital of Texas Highway

Austin, TX 78731



NOTICE OF ANNUAL MEETING OF STOCKHOLDERS

May 5, 2022



Dear Stockholders of Cassava Sciences:



We cordially invite you to attend the 2022 Annual Meeting of Stockholders of Cassava Sciences, Inc. (“we” or the “Company”), a Delaware corporation, which will be held virtually via webcast at meetnow.global/MZG9FH9 on Thursday, May 5, 2022 at 10:00 a.m., Central Time (the “Annual Meeting”). The Annual Meeting will be held for the following purposes, as more fully described in the proxy statement accompanying this notice:

1.    Proposal One: To re-elect Nadav Friedmann, Ph.D., M.D. and Michael J. O’Donnell as Class I Directors to serve for three-year terms and until their successors are duly elected and qualified;

2.    Proposal Two: To approve Amendment No. 1 to the Company’s 2018 Omnibus Incentive Plan, which increases the authorized number of shares issuable thereunder by 4,000,000, from 1,000,000 to 5,000,000 authorized shares;

3.    Proposal Three: To ratify the selection of Ernst & Young LLP as the independent registered public accounting firm for the Company for the fiscal year ending December 31, 2022;  

4.    Proposal Four: To approve, by a non-binding advisory vote, the 2021 executive compensation for the Company’s named executive officers; and

5.    To transact such other business as may properly be brought before the Annual Meeting and any adjournment(s) or postponement(s) thereof.



Our Board of Directors has fixed the close of business on March 15, 2022 as the record date (“Record Date”) for the Annual Meeting. Only stockholders of record on March 15, 2022 are entitled to notice of the meeting and to vote at the meeting. Further information regarding voting rights and the matters to be voted upon is presented in the accompanying proxy statement.



The Annual Meeting will be a completely virtual meeting of stockholders. To participate online, please vote your shares electronically and submit questions during the meeting by visiting meetnow.global/MZG9FH9.  You are entitled to participate in the Annual Meeting only if you were a stockholder of the Company as of the close of business on the Record Date (“Registered Holder”), or if you hold a valid legal proxy for the Annual Meeting if you are a beneficial holder and hold your shares through an intermediary, such as a bank or broker (“Beneficial Holder”).



As a Registered Holder, you may attend the Annual Meeting online, ask questions and vote by visiting meetnow.global/MZG9FH9 and following the instructions on your Notice, proxy card, or on the instructions that accompanied your proxy materials.

 

If you are a Beneficial Holder and want to attend the Annual Meeting online by webcast (with the ability to ask questions and/or vote, if you choose to do so) you have two options:



1)

Registration in Advance of the Annual Meeting

Submit proof of your proxy power (“Legal Proxy”) from your broker or bank reflecting your Company holdings along with your name and email address to Computershare.



Requests for registration as set forth in (1) above must be labeled as “Legal Proxy” and be received no later than 5:00 p.m., Eastern Time, on May 2, 2022. You will receive a confirmation of your registration by email after we receive your registration materials.



Requests for registration should be directed to us at the following:



By emailForward the email from your broker granting you a Legal Proxy, or attach an

image of your Legal Proxy, to legalproxy@computershare.com

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By mail:  Computershare

Cassava Sciences, Inc. Legal Proxy

P.O. Box 43001

Providence, RI 02940-3001



2)

Register at the Annual Meeting

Beneficial Holder Access to Virtual Meetings -  2022 Proxy Season

 

For the 2022 proxy season, an industry solution has been agreed upon to allow Beneficial Holders to register online at the Annual Meeting to attend, ask questions and vote. We expect that the vast majority of Beneficial Holders will be able to fully participate using the control number received with their voting instruction form. Please note, however, that this option is intended to be provided as a convenience to Beneficial Holders only, and there is no guarantee this option will be available for every type of Beneficial Holder voting control number. The inability to provide this option to any or all Beneficial Holders shall in no way impact the validity of the Annual Meeting. Beneficial Holders may choose the Register in Advance of the Annual Meeting option above, if they prefer to use that option.



If you access the Annual Meeting but do not enter your control number, you may listen to the proceedings, but you will not be able to vote or otherwise participate. You should log on to the meeting site at least fifteen minutes prior to the start of the Annual Meeting to provide time to register and download the required software, if needed. For further assistance should you need it, you may call 1-888-724-2416 or 1-781-575-2748.



YOUR VOTE IS IMPORTANT. Whether or not you plan to attend the Annual Meeting, we urge you to submit your vote as soon as possible.





 

 



 

We appreciate your continued support,



 

 



 

/s/Remi Barbier



 

Remi Barbier

Austin, Texas

 

Chairman of the Board,

March 24, 2022

 

President and Chief Executive Officer



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YOUR VOTE IS IMPORTANT

THIS PROXY STATEMENT IS FURNISHED IN CONNECTION WITH THE SOLICITATION OF PROXIES BY THE COMPANY, ON BEHALF OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS, FOR THE ANNUAL MEETING. THE PROXY STATEMENT AND THE RELATED PROXY CARD ARE BEING DISTRIBUTED ON OR ABOUT APRIL 4, 2022. YOU CAN VOTE YOUR SHARES USING ONE OF THE FOLLOWING METHODS:

·

COMPLETE AND RETURN A WRITTEN PROXY CARD

·

BY INTERNET OR TELEPHONE

·

VIRTUALLY ATTENDING THE COMPANY’S ANNUAL MEETING AND VOTE

ALL STOCKHOLDERS ARE CORDIALLY INVITED TO ATTEND THE VIRTUAL MEETING. TO ENSURE YOUR REPRESENTATION AT THE MEETING, HOWEVER, YOU ARE URGED TO MARK, SIGN, DATE AND RETURN THE ENCLOSED PROXY CARD AS PROMPTLY AS POSSIBLE IN THE POSTAGE-PREPAID ENVELOPE ENCLOSED FOR THAT PURPOSE OR TO VOTE YOUR SHARES BY INTERNET OR TELEPHONE.  ANY STOCKHOLDER ATTENDING THE MEETING MAY VOTE VIRTUALLY EVEN IF HE OR SHE HAS RETURNED A PROXY CARD OR HAS VOTED BY INTERNET OR TELEPHONE.



IMPORTANT NOTICE REGARDING THE AVAILABILITY OF PROXY

MATERIALS FOR THE STOCKHOLDER MEETING TO BE HELD ON MAY 5, 2022:  



The Company’s Proxy Statement, form of proxy card and Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2021 are available free of charge at: https://www.CassavaSciences.com/financial-information/annual-reports.



SPECIAL NOTE REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

This proxy statement contains forward-looking statements. All statements contained in this report other than statements of historical fact, including statements regarding the Company’s business strategy and plans and its objectives for future operations, are forward-looking statements. The words “believe,” “may,” “will,” “continue,” “anticipate,” “intend,” “expect,” “seek”, and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements. The Company has based these forward-looking statements largely on its current expectations and projections about future events and trends. These forward-looking statements are subject to risks, uncertainties and assumptions, including those described in the “Risk Factors” section of the Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2021. Moreover, drug development and commercialization involve a high degree of risk, and only a small number of research and development programs result in commercialization of a product. Our clinical results from earlier-stage clinical trials may not be indicative of full results or results from later-stage or larger scale clinical trials and do not ensure regulatory approval. New risks emerge from time to time. It is not possible for management to predict all risks, nor can the Company assess the impact of all factors on its business or the extent to which any factor, or combination of factors, may cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in any forward-looking statements the Company may make. In light of these risks, uncertainties and assumptions, the future events and trends discussed in this proxy statement may not occur and actual results could differ materially and adversely from those anticipated or implied in the forward-looking statements. You should not rely upon forward-looking statements as predictions of future events. The events and circumstances reflected in the forward-looking statements may not be achieved or occur. Although the Company believes that the expectations reflected in the forward-looking statements are reasonable, the Company cannot guarantee future results. The Company is under no duty to update any of these forward-looking statements after the date of this proxy statement.

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TABLE OF CONTENTS







 

General

Can I submit a stockholder question in advance of the Annual Meeting?

How can I attend the Annual Meeting with the ability to ask a question and/or vote?

Do I need to register to attend the Annual Meeting virtually?

How can I vote online at the meeting?

Why are you holding a virtual meeting instead of a physical meeting?

What if I have trouble accessing the Annual Meeting virtually?

Record Date and Share Ownership

Revocability of Proxies

Voting

Solicitation of Proxies

Quorum; Abstentions; Broker, Non-Votes

Deadline for Receipt of Stockholder Proposals 

Householding

Proposal 1: ELECTION OF TWO CLASS I DIRECTORS

Proposal 2: APPROVAL OF AMENDMENT NO. 1 TO THE CASSAVA SCIENCES, INC. 2018 OMNIBUS INCENTIVE PLAN, WHICH INCREASES THE AUTHORIZED NUMBER OF SHARES ISSUABLE THEREUNDER BY 4,000,000, FROM 1,000,000 TO 5,000,000 AUTHORIZED SHARES

Proposal 3: RATIFICATION OF SELECTION OF ERNST & YOUNG LLP AS INDEPENDENT REGISTERED PUBLIC ACCOUNTING FIRM FOR THE COMPANY FOR THE FISCAL YEAR ENDING DECEMBER 31, 2022

Proposal 4: NON-BINDING ADVISORY VOTE ON THE 2021 EXECUTIVE COMPENSATION FOR THE COMPANY’S NAMED EXECUTIVE OFFICERS

Directors and Executive Officers

Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management

Executive Compensation and Other Matters

Report of the Compensation Committee of the Board of Directors

Report of the Audit Committee of the Board of Directors

Certain Relationships and Related Transactions

Other Matters

Amendment No. 1 to the Cassava Sciences, Inc. 2018 Omnibus Incentive Plan

Cassava Sciences, Inc. 2018 Omnibus Incentive Plan





 

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Cassava Sciences, Inc.

7801 N Capital of Texas Highway, Suite 260, Austin, Texas 78731 

________________

PROXY STATEMENT

________________

INFORMATION CONCERNING SOLICITATION AND VOTING



General



The enclosed proxy is solicited on behalf of the Board of Directors of Cassava Sciences, Inc. (the “Company”) for use at the Annual Meeting of Stockholders to be held virtually on Thursday, May 5, 2022, at 10:00 a.m., Central Time, (the “Annual Meeting”) and at any adjournment(s) or postponement(s) thereof, for the purposes set forth herein and in the accompanying Notice of Annual Meeting of Stockholders. The Company’s principal executive offices are located at the address listed at the top of this page and the Company’s telephone number is (512) 501-2444.



The Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K, containing financial statements for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2021 (the “Annual Report”), is being mailed together with these proxy solicitation materials to all stockholders entitled to vote. This proxy statement for the Annual Meeting (the “Proxy Statement”), the accompanying proxy card and the Annual Report will first be mailed on or about April 4, 2022 to all stockholders entitled to vote at the meeting.



THE COMPANY SHALL PROVIDE WITHOUT CHARGE TO ANY STOCKHOLDER SOLICITED BY THESE PROXY SOLICITATION MATERIALS A COPY OF THE ANNUAL REPORT, TOGETHER WITH THE FINANCIAL STATEMENTS REQUIRED TO BE FILED WITH THE ANNUAL REPORT ON FORM 10-K, UPON REQUEST OF A STOCKHOLDER MADE IN WRITING TO CASSAVA SCIENCES, INC., 7801 N CAPITAL OF TEXAS HIGHWAY, SUITE 260, AUSTIN, TEXAS 78731, ATTENTION:  INVESTOR RELATIONS.



Can I submit a stockholder question in advance of the Annual Meeting?



Yes, we invite stockholders to ask questions via email to AnnualMeeting2022@CassavaSciences.com up through the time of the Annual Meeting.



We intend to respond to the question period in two parts: the first for questions that relate to the business of this Annual Meeting, and a second period for general questions about our business as a whole, or for questions or comments that a shareholder may wish to make about the conduct of our business. We may reword questions for clarity. If answering once for multiple questions on the same topic, we may combine or paraphrase substantially similar questions. 



To give all shareholders a fair chance to be heard, we expect shareholders who wish to ask a question at our Annual Meeting to identify themselves - and also to confirm themselves as shareholders in advance. Each questioner may be allowed to ask one brief follow-up question if they wish to do so, to assure a dialogue between the stockholder and the director or manager who answers each question.



Questions are not confidential. However, due to SEC Regulation Fair Disclosure (Reg FD), limits around legal disclosures, time constraints or other limitations, we may not be able to address all comments or questions. 



How can I attend the Annual Meeting with the ability to ask a question and/or vote?



The Annual Meeting will be a completely virtual meeting of stockholders, which will be conducted exclusively by webcast. You are entitled to participate in the Annual Meeting only if you were a stockholder of the Company as of the close of business on the Record Date (“Registered Holder”), or if you hold a valid legal proxy for the Annual Meeting if you are a beneficial holder and hold your shares through an intermediary, such as a bank or broker (“Beneficial Holder”).



As a Registered Holder, you will be able to attend the Annual Meeting online, ask a question and vote by visiting meetnow.global/MZG9FH9 and following the instructions on your Notice, proxy card, or on the instructions that accompanied your proxy materials.

 

If you are a Beneficial Holder and want to attend the Annual Meeting online by webcast (with the ability to ask a question and/or vote, if you choose to do so) you have two options:



1)

Registration in Advance of the Annual Meeting

Submit proof of your proxy power (“Legal Proxy”) from your broker or bank reflecting your Company holdings along with your name and email address to Computershare.



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Requests for registration as set forth in (1) above must be labeled as “Legal Proxy” and be received no later than 5:00 p.m., Eastern Time, on May 2, 2022. You will receive a confirmation of your registration by email after we receive your registration materials.



Requests for registration should be directed to us at the following:



By emailForward the email from your broker granting you a Legal Proxy, or attach an

image of your Legal Proxy, to legalproxy@computershare.com



By mail:  Computershare

Cassava Sciences, Inc. Legal Proxy

P.O. Box 43001

Providence, RI 02940-3001



2)

Register at the Annual Meeting

Beneficial Holder Access to Virtual Meetings -  2022 Proxy Season



For the 2022 proxy season, an industry solution has been agreed upon to allow Beneficial Holders to register online at the Annual Meeting to attend, ask questions and vote. We expect that the vast majority of Beneficial Holders will be able to fully participate using the control number received with their voting instruction form. Please note, however, that this option is intended to be provided as a convenience to Beneficial Holders only, and there is no guarantee this option will be available for every type of Beneficial Holder voting control number. The inability to provide this option to any or all Beneficial Holders shall in no way impact the validity of the Annual Meeting. Beneficial Holders may choose the Register in Advance of the Annual Meeting option above, if they prefer to use that option.



If you access the Annual Meeting but do not enter your control number, you may listen to the proceedings, but you will not be able to vote or otherwise participate. You should log on to the meeting site at least fifteen minutes prior to the start of the Annual Meeting to provide time to register and download the required software, if needed. For further assistance should you need it, you may call 1-888-724-2416 or 1-781-575-2748.



Do I need to register to attend the Annual Meeting virtually?



Registration is only required if you are a Beneficial Holder, as set forth above.



How can I vote online at the meeting?



If you are a Registered Holder follow the instructions on the notice, email or proxy card that you received to access the meeting.



If you are a Beneficial Holder, please see the registration options set forth in numbers (1) and (2) above. 



Online voting will be available during the meeting.



Why are you holding a virtual meeting instead of a physical meeting?



We are embracing virtual technology to provide expanded access, improved communication and cost savings for our stockholders and the Company. We believe that hosting a virtual meeting will enable more of our stockholders to attend and participate in the Annual Meeting since our stockholders can participate from any location around the world with Internet access. We also believe holding a virtual meeting this year will help safeguard the health of all meeting participants in view of the concerns regarding the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.



What if I have trouble accessing the Annual Meeting virtually?

 

The virtual meeting platform is intended to be fully supported across browsers (MS Edge, Firefox, Chrome and Safari) and devices (desktops, laptops, tablets and cell phones) running the most up-to-date version of applicable software and plugins. Note: Internet Explorer is not a supported browser. Participants should ensure that they have a strong WiFi connection wherever they intend to participate in the meeting. We encourage you to access the meeting prior to the start time. For further assistance should you need it, you may call 1-888-724-2416 or 1-781-575-2748.



Record Date and Share Ownership



Stockholders of record at the close of business on March 15, 2022 (the “Record Date”) are entitled to notice of the meeting and to vote at the meeting and at any adjournment(s) or postponement(s) thereof. The Company has one series of common shares issued and outstanding, designated as common stock, $0.001 par value per share (the “Common Stock”), and one series of undesignated preferred stock, $0.001 par value per share (the “Preferred Stock”). As of the Record Date, 120,000,000 shares of Common Stock were authorized and 40,022,394 shares of Common Stock were issued and outstanding and 10,000,000 shares of Preferred Stock were authorized and none were issued or outstanding. Each share of Common Stock entitles its holder to one vote. Cumulative voting of shares of Common Stock is not permitted.

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Revocability of Proxies



Any proxy given pursuant to this solicitation may be changed or revoked at any time prior to the taking of the vote or the polls closing at the Annual Meeting.



Stockholders of record may change their vote by:

·

granting a new proxy bearing a later date (which automatically revokes the earlier proxy) using any of the methods described above (and until the applicable deadline for each method);

·

providing a written notice of revocation to Cassava’s Secretary at Cassava Sciences, Inc., 7801 N Capital of Texas Highway, Suite 260, Austin, Texas 78731, prior to the shares being voted, or

·

participating in the Annual Meeting and voting electronically online at meetnow.global/MZG9FH9. Participation alone at the Annual Meeting will not cause a previously granted proxy to be revoked unless the stockholder specifically votes during the meeting online at meetnow.global/MZG9FH9.



Please note, however, that if shares are held of record by a broker, bank or other nominee and a beneficial owner of shares wishes to revoke a proxy, such beneficial owner must contact that firm to revoke any prior voting instructions.



Voting



There are different voting requirements for the approval of the various proposals, as follows:



·

Proposal One: The directors will be elected by a plurality vote of the shares of Common Stock. See Proposal One – Election of Two Class I Directors – Vote Required.

·

Proposals Two, Three and Four:  The affirmative vote of a majority of votes cast on the proposal at the Annual Meeting is required to approve Amendment No. 1 to the Cassava Sciences, Inc. 2018 Omnibus Incentive Plan, the ratification of the selection of Ernst & Young LLP as the independent registered public accounting firm to the Company and the non-binding advisory vote on the 2021 executive compensation. Abstentions and broker non-votes, if any, will not be counted either for or against any of these proposals.



Solicitation of Proxies



The proxy for the Annual Meeting is being solicited on behalf of the Board of Directors. The Company will bear the entire cost of solicitation of proxies, including preparation, assembly, printing and mailing of this Proxy Statement, the proxy card and any additional information furnished to stockholders. Copies of solicitation materials will be furnished to banks, brokerage houses, fiduciaries and custodians holding shares of Common Stock in street name to forward to the beneficial owners of such shares. The Company may reimburse persons representing beneficial owners of Common Stock for their costs of forwarding solicitation materials to such beneficial owners. Proxies may also be solicited by certain of the Company’s directors, officers and regular employees, without additional compensation, personally, via the internet or by telephone or facsimile, although the Company may reimburse these individuals for their reasonable out-of-pocket expenses. The Company does not expect to, but has the option to, retain a proxy solicitor.



Quorum; Abstentions; Broker, Non-Votes



Votes cast by proxy or virtually at the Annual Meeting (“Votes Cast”) will be tabulated by the Inspector of Elections (the “Inspector”). The Inspector will also determine whether or not a quorum is present at the meeting. Except in certain specific circumstances, the affirmative vote of a majority of shares present virtually or represented by proxy at a duly held meeting at which a quorum is present is required under Delaware law for approval of proposals presented to stockholders. In general, Delaware law provides that a quorum consists of a majority of shares entitled to vote are present or represented by proxy at the meeting.



The Inspector will treat shares that are voted WITHHELD or ABSTAIN as being present and entitled to vote for purposes of determining the presence of a quorum, but shares voted WITHHELD or ABSTAIN will not be treated as votes in favor of approving any matter submitted to the stockholders for a vote. When proxies are properly dated, executed and returned, the shares represented by such proxies will be voted at the Annual Meeting in accordance with the instructions of the stockholder. If no specific instructions are given, the shares will be voted:



·

FOR the election of the nominees for director set forth herein;

·

To APPROVE Amendment No. 1 to the Cassava Sciences, Inc. 2018 Omnibus Incentive Plan;

·

FOR the ratification of the selection of Ernst & Young LLP as the independent registered public accounting firm to the Company for the fiscal year ending December 31, 2022;  

·

To APPROVE, by a non-binding advisory vote, the 2021 executive compensation for the Company’s executive officers; and

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upon such other business as may properly come before the Annual Meeting or any adjournment or postponement thereof, but will not be voted in the election of directors other than as provided above.



If a broker indicates on the enclosed proxy card or its substitute that such broker does not have discretionary authority as to certain shares to vote on a particular matter (“broker non-votes”), those shares will be considered as present at the meeting with respect to establishing a quorum for the transaction of business. Broker non-votes with respect to proposals set forth in this Proxy Statement will not be considered “Votes Cast” and, accordingly, will not affect the determination as to whether the requisite majority of Votes Cast has been obtained with respect to a particular matter. However, as the proposal regarding the ratification of the selection of Ernst & Young LLP as the independent registered public accounting firm to the Company for the fiscal year ending December 31, 2022 is a “routine” item, if you hold your shares through a bank or a broker and you do not provide instructions to your bank or broker, the Company believes that your bank or broker may cast a broker discretionary vote in favor of this proposal.



Deadline for Receipt of Stockholder Proposals 



Requirements for Stockholder Proposals to be considered for inclusion in the Company’s proxy materials for the 2023 Annual Meeting:

 

Stockholders are entitled to present proposals inclusion in the Company’s proxy statement, including nominees for the election of directors and other business, at a forthcoming meeting if they comply with the requirements of the Company’s amended and restated bylaws and Rule 14a-8 under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”) and related SEC regulations regarding the inclusion of stockholder proposals in company-sponsored proxy materials.  



Under these requirements, proposals of stockholders of the Company that are intended to be included in the Company’s proxy statement for 2023 annual meeting of stockholders must be received at the Company’s principal executive offices 7801 N Capital of Texas Highway, Suite 260, Austin, Texas 78731, Attention: Secretary, no later than December 1, 2022, or not less than 120 days prior to the date of the Company’s proxy statement released to the stockholders in connection with the previous year’s annual meeting of stockholders. If the Company does not receive a stockholder proposal by the deadline described in the preceding sentence, the Company may exclude the proposal from its proxy statement for the 2023 annual stockholder meeting of stockholders. However, if the 2023 annual meeting of stockholders is more than 30 days before or after the anniversary date of the Annual Meeting, notice by the stockholder must be delivered a reasonable time before the Company begins to print and send its proxy materials (the “Proposal Deadline”).



Requirements for Stockholder Proposals to be presented at the 2023 Annual Meeting:



The amended and restated bylaws provide that stockholders may present proposals to be considered at an annual meeting by providing timely notice to the Company’s Secretary at 7801 N Capital of Texas Highway, Suite 260, Austin, Texas 78731. A stockholder’s notice to the Secretary must set forth as to each matter the stockholder proposes to bring before the annual meeting the information required by our amended and restated bylaws. To be timely for the 2023 annual meeting of stockholders, the Secretary must receive the written notice by December 6, 2022. After the Proposal Deadline, a proposal of a stockholder is considered untimely. A copy of the relevant bylaw provisions related to stockholder proposals is available upon written request to the Company at: 7801 N Capital of Texas Highway, Suite 260, Austin, Texas 78731, Attention: Investor Relations.  



Requirements for Universal Proxy Rules for the 2023 Annual Meeting:



To comply with the universal proxy rules (once effective), our stockholders who intend to solicit proxies in support of director nominees other than the Company’s nominees must provide notice that sets forth the information required by Rule 14a-19 under the Exchange Act no later than March 6, 2023.

Householding

The SEC has adopted rules that permit companies and intermediaries (e.g., brokers) to satisfy the delivery requirements for proxy statements and annual reports with respect to two or more stockholders sharing the same address by delivering a single proxy statement addressed to those stockholders. This process is commonly referred to as “householding.”



Brokers with account holders who are the Company’s stockholders may be householding the Company’s proxy materials. A single set of proxy materials may be delivered to multiple stockholders sharing an address unless contrary instructions have been received from the affected stockholders. Once a stockholder receives notice from its broker that it will be householding communications to such stockholder’s address, householding will continue until the stockholder is notified otherwise or until the stockholder notifies their broker or the Company that such stockholder no longer wishes to participate in householding.



If, at any time, a stockholder no longer wishes to participate in householding and would prefer to receive a separate proxy statement and annual report, such stockholder may (1) notify their broker, (2) direct their written request to:  Investor Relations, Cassava Sciences, Inc., 7801 N. Capital of Texas Highway, Suite 260, Austin, Texas 78731 or (3) contact the Investor Relations department by email at IR@cassavasciences.com. Stockholders who currently receive multiple copies of the proxy statement or annual report at their address and would like to request householding of their communications should contact their broker. In addition, the Company will promptly deliver, upon

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written or oral request to the address or telephone number above, a separate copy of the annual report and proxy statement to a stockholder at a shared address to which a single copy of the documents was delivered.

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PROPOSAL ONE



ELECTION OF TWO CLASS I DIRECTORS



Nominees



The Company’s Board of Directors consists of seven directors. The Company has a classified Board of Directors, which is divided into three classes of directors whose terms expire at different times. The three classes are currently comprised of the following directors: 



·

Class I consists of Nadav Friedmann, Ph.D., M.D. and Michael J. O’Donnell, who will serve until the upcoming Annual Meeting  and who will stand for re-election as Class I directors at this meeting;

·

Class II consists of Richard J. Barry and Robert Z. Gussin, Ph.D., who will serve until the 2023 annual meeting of stockholders and who will stand for re-election as Class II directors at such meeting; and

·

Class III consists of Remi Barbier, Sanford R. Robertson and Patrick J. Scannon, M.D., Ph.D., who will serve until the 2024 annual meeting of stockholders and who will stand for re-election as Class III directors at such meeting.



At each annual meeting, the successors to directors whose terms will then expire will be elected to serve from the time of election and qualification until the third annual meeting following election and until their successors have been duly elected and qualified.



Unless otherwise instructed, the proxy holders will vote the proxies received by them for the Company’s nominees named below, who are currently directors of the Company. The nominees have consented to be named as such in this Proxy Statement and to continue to serve as directors if elected. If a nominee becomes unable or declines to serve as a director or if additional persons are nominated at the meeting, the proxy holders intend to vote all proxies received by them in such a manner as will assure the election of the nominees listed below if possible (or, if new nominees have been designated by the Company’s Board of Directors, in such a manner as to elect such nominees), and the specific nominees to be voted for will be determined by the proxy holders.



The nominees for Class I directors are Nadav Friedmann, Ph.D., M.D. and Michael J. O’Donnell. Biographical information for the nominees can be found below in the section entitled “Directors and Executive Officers.”



The Company is not aware of any reason that the nominees will be unable or will decline to serve as director. The term of office of an individual elected as director will continue until the Company’s annual meeting of stockholders held in 2025 and until a successor has been elected and qualified. Other than the relationships noted in the section entitled “Certain Relationships and Related Party Transactions – Legal Services,” there are no arrangements or understandings between any director or executive officer and any other person pursuant to which he is or was to be selected as a director or officer of the Company.



Vote Required



Each director will be elected by a plurality vote of the shares of Common Stock present or represented and entitled to vote on this matter at the meeting. Accordingly, the candidates receiving the highest number of affirmative votes of shares represented and voting on this proposal at the meeting will be elected as directors of the Company. Votes withheld from a nominee and broker non-votes will be counted for purposes of determining the presence or absence of a quorum but, because directors are elected by a plurality vote, votes withheld and broker non-votes will have no impact once a quorum is present. See “Quorum; Abstentions; Broker Non-Votes.”



THE CLASS II AND III DIRECTORS RECOMMEND THAT

STOCKHOLDERS VOTE FOR THE TWO CLASS I NOMINEES SET FORTH IN THIS PROPOSAL ONE.

9


 

PROPOSAL TWO



APPROVAL OF AMENDMENT NO. 1 TO THE

 CASSAVA SCIENCES, INC. 2018 OMNIBUS INCENTIVE PLAN, WHICH INCREASES
THE AUTHORIZED NUMBER OF SHARES ISSUABLE THEREUNDER BY 4,000,000,
FROM 1,000,000 TO 5,000,000 AUTHORIZED SHARES



Background and Purpose of Proposal

The Company’s 2018 Omnibus Incentive Plan (the “2018 Plan”) was adopted by the Board of Directors on January 31, 2018 and was approved by our stockholders on May 10, 2018. A total of 1,000,000 shares of Common Stock have been reserved for issuance under the 2018 Plan. Of the 1,000,000 shares of Common Stock originally authorized under the 2018 Plan, after all award grants made by the Compensation Committee of our Board of Directors (the “Compensation Committee”),  151,188 shares remained available for grant as of March 15, 2022.  

The Board of Directors unanimously approved and adopted, subject to the approval of the Company’s stockholders at the Annual Meeting, Amendment No. 1 to the Cassava Sciences, Inc. 2018 Omnibus Incentive Plan (as amended by this Amendment No. 1, the “Amended Plan”) to increase the number of shares of Common Stock authorized under the 2018 Plan by 4,000,000 shares.

Our Board of Directors believes it is important to obtain the additional shares requested under the 2018 Plan given that the current number of shares available for awards under the 2018 Plan is not sufficient for the Company to provide equity incentives to eligible employees, consultants and advisors over the next year, which could inhibit the quality of service providers that the Company is able to attract and retain. The Company’s Compensation Committee has also recommended approval of this proposal and emphasized its importance to our full Board of Directors.

As of March 15, 2022, there were 40,022,394 shares of our Common Stock outstanding. The increase of 4,000,000 shares of Common Stock available for grant under the Amended Plan will result in additional potential dilution of our outstanding Common Stock. The term of the Amended Plan will expire on January 31, 2028.

This Proposal No. 2, if approved, would become effective upon stockholder approval. If stockholders do not approve the Amended Plan, grants will continue to be made under the 2018 Plan as currently in effect to the extent shares of Common Stock are available.

The Importance of Equity Compensation

Our Board believes that long-term equity awards are important to attract and retain key employees, consultants and advisors, including a talented executive team, and align the employees’ and executives’ interests with those of the Company’s stockholders. Our Board also believes that long-term equity compensation is essential to link executive compensation with long-term stockholder value creation. The Board believes equity compensation should represent a significant portion of the compensation package for our key employees, consultants and advisors. Since our equity awards generally vest over several years, any financial value ultimately realized from these awards depends on the long-term appreciation of our common stock. We believe that granting equity awards motivates employees to think and act like owners, rewarding them only when value is created for stockholders.

None of our named executive officers received stock options or other awards in 2021 or 2020. No members of our Board of Directors received stock options or other awards in 2021.



Changes to the Plan

If approved, the shares authorized for issuance under the 2018 Plan would be increased by 4,000,000, to a total of 5,000,000 shares, and the Amended Plan would be named the “Cassava Sciences, Inc. 2018 Omnibus Incentive Plan.” No other amendments are being made to the 2018 Plan at this time.

In prior years, as of March 17, 2022, Remi Barbier (Chairman of the Board, President and Chief Executive Officer) had been granted 160,000 options under the 2018 Plan; Nadav Friedmann,  PhD, M.D., (Chief Medical Officer and Director) had been granted 100,000 options under the 2018 Plan; and Eric J. Schoen (Chief Financial Officer) had been granted 50,000 options under the 2018 Plan. All executive officers as a group had been granted 310,000 options under the 2018 Plan. In prior years, all current directors who are not executive officers as a group had been granted 195,000 options under the 2018 Plan. In prior years, the following nominees for election as directors had been granted the following number of options under the 2018 Plan: Nadav Friedmann, PhD, M.D., had been granted 100,000 options and Michael J. O’Donnell had been granted 30,000 options. No associates of such directors, executive officers or nominees have received options under the 2018 Plan except Mr. Barbier’s spouse, a Company employee, had been granted by the Compensation Committee 110,000 options under the 2018 Plan. No other person has received or is expected to receive five percent or more of the awards under the 2018 Plan in any calendar year. All employees who are not executive officers as a group have received 242,500 options under the 2018 Plan.  Other than options, no other awards have been made under the 2018 Plan. The closing price of a share of Common Stock on March 17, 2022 was $39.13 per share.



Vote Required

 

The approval of the Amended Plan requires the affirmative vote of a majority of the votes cast on the proposal at the Annual Meeting.

 

10


 

Recommendation of the Board of Directors

 

Our Board of Directors unanimously recommends voting “FOR” the adoption of the Amended Plan.  

Summary of the Plan 

The following is a summary of the material terms of the Amended Plan. The summary is qualified in its entirety by reference to the complete text of the Amended Plan. Stockholders are urged to read the actual text of the Amendment No. 1 to the 2018 Plan and the Amended Plan in its entirety, which are set forth as Appendix A and Appendix B, respectively, to this Proxy Statement.



Section 162(m) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (“Section 162(m)”) generally imposes a $1 million limit on the amount a public company may deduct for compensation paid to certain current and former executive officers. Prior to 2018, this limitation did not apply to compensation that met Section 162(m)’s requirements for qualifying performance-based compensation. This performance-based compensation exemption was repealed, effective for taxable years beginning after December 31, 2017, such that awards paid to our covered executive officers in excess of $1 million will not be deductible, unless such award qualifies for transition relief applicable to certain arrangements that were in effect as of November 2, 2017 and are not materially modified thereafter (“Grandfathered Awards”). Consequently, although the Amended Plan includes provisions that are applicable to awards intended to qualify as performance-based compensation under Section 162(m), the Company will no longer be able to grant any such awards.

 

As in prior years, while deductibility of executive compensation for federal income tax purposes is among the factors we consider when structuring our executive compensation arrangements, it is not the sole or primary factor considered. We retain the flexibility to authorize compensation that may not be deductible if we believe it is in the best interests of the Company. 



Types of Awards

The following types of awards are available for issuance under the Amended Plan: (i) stock options; (ii) stock appreciation rights; (iii) restricted stock; (iv) restricted stock units; (v) dividend equivalent rights; and (vi) cash-based awards.



Eligible Participants

The following individuals are eligible to receive awards under the Amended Plan: (i) employees of the Company or any related entity, (ii) directors of the Company or any related entity or (iii) consultants of the Company or any related entity. As of March 15, 2022, approximately 26 employees, 5 non-employee directors and approximately 5 consultants are eligible to participate under the Amended Plan.



Number of Shares of Common Stock Available. 

We initially reserved 1,000,000 shares of our Common Stock for issuance under the 2018 Plan. If the Amendment No. 1 that is the subject of this Proposal Two is approved by our stockholders, the number of shares reserved for issuance will be increased by 4,000,000 shares to a total of 5,000,000 shares. This share limit is subject to adjustment in connection with changes in capitalization as described below.



Share Limits.

The Amended Plan limits (i) the number of shares with respect to which options and stock appreciation rights may be granted to an individual participant in any calendar year to 3,500,000 with allowance for an additional 3,500,000 options and stock appreciation rights in connection with an individual participant’s commencement of employment or service, (ii) the awards granted to any member of the board in any calendar year for services provided as a member of the board to no more than 500,000 shares, and (iii) the aggregate amount of all compensation paid or provided to any member of the board in any calendar year for services provided as a member of the board to no more than $5,000,000 (with equity-based compensation valued based on the grant date fair value of the award). The Amended Plan also limits awards intended to qualify as performance-based compensation under Section 162(m) to no more than: (i) 3,500,000 shares consisting of restricted stock or restricted stock units granted to an individual participant in any calendar year; and (ii) $5 million paid with respect to cash-based awards for each twelve-month period that constitutes or is part of the awards performance period.  The foregoing share limits are subject to adjustment in connection with changes in capitalization as described below.



Any shares covered by an award or portion of an award that are forfeited, canceled or expire will not be counted against the Amended Plan’s share reserve. Shares that actually have been issued under the Amended Plan pursuant to an award are not returned to the Amended Plan and will not become available for future issuance under the Amended Plan, except that if unvested shares are forfeited, or repurchased by the Company at their original purchase price, or at the lower of their original purchase price or their fair market value at the time of repurchase, such shares would become available for future grant under the Amended Plan. Any shares covered by an award that are surrendered (1) in payment of the award exercise or purchase price (including pursuant to the “net exercise” of an option) or (2) in satisfaction of tax withholding obligations incident to the exercise, vesting or settlement of an award will be deemed to have been issued for purposes of determining the maximum number of shares which may be issued pursuant to all awards under the Amended Plan.



Administration of the Incentive Plan.   

The Board of Directors or a committee thereof (the “Administrator”) administers the Amended Plan. In the case of Grandfathered Awards intended to qualify as “performance-based compensation” within the meaning of Section 162(m), the Administrator consists of two or more “outside directors” within the meaning of Section 162(m). The Administrator has the power to determine and interpret the terms and conditions of the awards, including, as applicable, the employees, directors, and consultants who will receive awards, the exercise price, the number of

11


 

shares subject to each award, the vesting schedule and exercisability of the awards, the restrictions on transferability of awards, and the form of consideration payable upon exercise. 



Stock Options. 

The Amended Plan allows for the grant of incentive stock options that qualify under Section 422 of the Code only to our employees and employees of any of our parents or subsidiaries. Non-qualified stock options may be granted to our employees and directors and those of certain of our affiliates. The per share exercise price of all options granted under the Amended Plan must be equal to at least the per share fair market value of our Common Stock on the date of grant. The term of an incentive stock option may not exceed 10 years, except that with respect to any employee who owns more than 10% of the voting power of all classes of our outstanding stock or any parent or subsidiary corporation as of the grant date, the term must not exceed five years, and the exercise price must equal at least 110% of the fair market value on the grant date.

 

After the continuous service of an employee, director or consultant terminates, he or she may exercise his or her option, to the extent vested, for the period of time specified in the option agreement. No option may be exercised after the expiration of its term.



Stock Appreciation Rights. 

The Amended Plan allows for the grant of stock appreciation rights. Stock appreciation rights allow the recipient to receive the appreciation in the fair market value of our Common Stock between the date of grant and the exercise date. The Administrator will determine the terms of stock appreciation rights, including when such rights become exercisable and whether to pay the increased appreciation in cash or with shares of our Common Stock, or a combination thereof, except that the base appreciation amount used to determine the cash or shares to be issued pursuant to the exercise of a stock appreciation right will be no less than 100% of the fair market value per share on the date of grant. 

 

After the continuous service of an employee, director or consultant terminates, he or she may exercise his or her stock appreciation right, to the extent vested, only to the extent provided in the stock appreciation right agreement.



Restricted Stock. 

The Amended Plan allows for the grant of restricted stock. Restricted stock awards are shares of Common Stock that vest in accordance with terms and conditions, if any, established by the Administrator. The Administrator will determine the number of shares of restricted stock granted to any employee, director or consultant. The Administrator may impose whatever conditions, if any, on vesting it determines to be appropriate. For example, the Administrator may set restrictions based on the achievement of specific performance goals. Shares of restricted stock that do not vest are subject to our right of repurchase or forfeiture.



Restricted Stock Units. 

The Amended Plan allows for the grant of restricted stock units. Restricted stock units are awards that will result in payment to a recipient at the end of a specified period only if the vesting criteria established by the Administrator, if any, are achieved or the award otherwise vests. The Administrator may impose whatever conditions, if any, to vesting, or restrictions and conditions, if any, to payment that it determines to be appropriate. The Administrator may set restrictions based on the achievement of specific performance goals or on the continuation of service or employment. Payments of earned restricted stock units may be made, in the Administrator’s discretion, in cash, with shares of Common Stock or other securities, or a combination thereof.



 Awards Denominated in Cash.

The Amended Plan also allows for the grant of awards denominated in cash that may be settled in cash or shares of Common Stock, which may be subject to restrictions, as established by the Administrator. 

 

The Administrator has the authority to:



12


 

·

to select the employees, directors and consultants to whom awards may be granted;

·

to determine whether and to what extent awards are granted;

·

to determine the number of shares or the amount of cash or other consideration to be covered by each award granted;

·

to approve forms of award agreements for use under the Amended Plan;

·

to determine the terms and conditions of any award granted, including vesting schedules, forfeiture provisions, form

·

of payment (cash, shares, or other consideration) upon settlement of the award, payment contingencies, and

·

satisfaction of any performance criteria;

·

to amend the terms of any outstanding award granted under the Amended Plan, subject to certain limitations;

·

to prescribe, amend and rescind rules and regulations relating to the Amended Plan and to define terms not otherwise

      defined;

·

to construe and interpret the terms of the Amended Plan and awards;

·

to approve corrections in the documentation or administration of any award;

·

to grant awards to employees, directors and consultants outside of the United States or to otherwise adopt or

·

administer such procedures or subplans that the Administrator deems appropriate or necessary on such terms and

·

conditions different from those specified in the Amended Plan as may, in the judgment of the Administrator, be

·

necessary or desirable to further the purpose of the Amended Plan; and

·

to take such other action that is not inconsistent with the terms of the Amended Plan as the Administrator deems appropriate.    

  

The performance criteria established by the Administrator for any Grandfathered Awards intended to qualify as “performance-based compensation” for purposes of Section 162(m) was one of, or combination of, the following: net earnings or net income (before or after taxes); earnings per share; revenues or sales (including net sales or revenue growth); net operating profit; regulatory filings; product approvals; return measures (including return on assets, net assets, capital, invested capital, equity, sales, or revenue); cash flow (including operating cash flow, free cash flow, cash flow return on equity, and cash flow return on investment); earnings before or after taxes, interest, depreciation, or amortization; gross or operating margins; productivity ratios; share price (including growth measures and total stockholder return); expense targets; margins; operating efficiency; market share; working capital targets and change in working capital; economic value added or EVA® (net operating profit after tax minus the sum of capital multiplied by the cost of capital); or net operating income. The performance criteria may be applicable to our company, our affiliates or any individual business units of our company or any affiliate and may be measured over any specified period, on an absolute basis or relative to a pre-established target, to previous years’ results or to a designated comparison group, in each case as specified by the Administrator.



Transferability of Awards. 

The Amended Plan allows for the transfer of awards under the Amended Plan only (i) by will, (ii) by the laws of descent and distribution and (iii) for awards other than incentive stock options, to the extent authorized by the Administrator to certain persons or entities. Only the recipient of an incentive stock option may exercise such award during his or her lifetime.



Adjustments in Connection with Changes in Capitalization; Change in Control. 

In the event of certain changes in our capitalization, to prevent enlargement of the benefits or potential benefits available under the Amended Plan, the Administrator will make adjustments to one or more of the number of shares that are covered by outstanding awards, the exercise or purchase price of outstanding awards, the numerical share limits contained in the Amended Plan, and any other terms that the Administrator determines require adjustment.

 

The Amended Plan provides that, for each award that is assumed or replaced in connection with certain corporate transactions, such award will be fully accelerated in the event a grantee’s service provider status with the Company is terminated by the Company (or any successor entity) or a related entity without “cause” or by the grantee for “good reason”, in either case at any time following such corporate transactions. In addition, the Amended Plan provides for full acceleration of vesting (i) if awards are not assumed or replaced in connection with certain corporate transactions and (ii) in the event of certain contested or hostile changes in control. 



Amendment and Termination of the Amended Plan. 

The Amended Plan will automatically terminate on January 31, 2028, unless we terminate it sooner. In addition, the Board of Directors has the authority to amend, suspend or terminate the Amended Plan, provided such action does not impair the rights under any outstanding award.



Certain U.S. Federal Tax Consequences



The following summary of the federal income tax consequences of relate to federal income tax laws in effect on the date of this Proxy Statement. This summary does not purport to be complete. The tax consequences of participating in the Amended Plan may vary with respect to individual situations. Participants should rely upon their own tax advisors for advice concerning the specific tax consequences applicable to them. As such, please refer to the applicable provisions of the Code for additional information. 

 

Non-Qualified Stock Options.

Except as provided under Section 409A of the  Internal Revenue Code and the Treasury Regulations and guidance promulgated thereunder (collectively, “Section 409A”), the grant of a non-qualified stock option under the Amended Plan generally will not result in any U.S. federal income tax consequences to the grantee or to the Company. Upon exercise of a non-qualified stock option, the grantee is generally subject to

13


 

income taxes at the rate applicable to ordinary compensation income on the difference between the option exercise price and the fair market value of the shares on the date of exercise. This income is generally subject to withholding for U.S. federal income and employment tax purposes. The Company is generally entitled to an income tax deduction in the amount of the income recognized by the grantee, subject to possible limitations imposed by Sections 162(m) or 280G of the Code. Any gain or loss on the grantee’s subsequent disposition of the shares of Common Stock will receive long- or short-term capital gain or loss treatment, depending on whether the shares are held for more than one year following exercise. The Company does not receive a tax deduction for any such gain. 

 

Absent special limitations on exercisability, in the event a non-qualified stock option is granted with an exercise price less than 100% of the fair market value of the Common Stock on the date of grant or amended in certain respects, such option may be considered deferred compensation and subject to Section 409A, which provide rules regarding the timing of payment of deferred compensation. An option subject to Section 409A which fails to comply with the rules of Section 409A can result in the acceleration of income recognition, an additional 20% tax obligation, plus potential penalties and interest, and potential additional excise taxes under state law. 

 

Incentive Stock Options.

The grant of an incentive stock option under the Amended Plan will not result in any U.S. federal income tax consequences to the grantee or to the Company. A grantee recognizes no U.S. federal taxable income upon exercising an incentive stock option (subject to the alternative minimum tax rules discussed below), and the Company receives no deduction at the time of exercise. In the event of a disposition of stock acquired upon exercise of an incentive stock option, the tax consequences depend upon how long the grantee has held the shares of Common Stock. If the grantee does not dispose of the shares within two years after the incentive stock option was granted, nor within one year after the incentive stock option was exercised, the grantee will recognize a long-term capital gain (or loss) equal to the difference between the sale price of the shares and the exercise price. The Company is not entitled to any deduction under these circumstances. 

 

If the grantee fails to satisfy either of the foregoing holding periods, he or she must recognize ordinary income in the year of the disposition, which is referred to as a “disqualifying disposition.” The amount of such ordinary income generally is the lesser of (i) the difference between the amount realized on the disposition and the exercise price or (ii) the difference between the fair market value of the stock on the exercise date and the exercise price. Any gain in excess of the amount taxed as ordinary income will be treated as a long- or short-term capital gain, depending on whether the stock was held for more than one year. The Company, in the year of the disqualifying disposition, is generally entitled to a deduction equal to the amount of ordinary income recognized by the grantee, subject to possible limitations imposed by Sections 162(m) and 280G of the Code

 

The “spread” under an incentive stock option — the difference between the fair market value of the shares at exercise and the exercise price — is classified as alternative minimum taxable income in the year of exercise for purposes of the alternative minimum tax. If a grantee’s alternative minimum tax liability exceeds such grantee’s regular income tax liability, the grantee will owe the larger amount of taxes. In order to avoid the application of alternative minimum tax with respect to incentive stock options, the grantee must sell the shares within the same calendar year in which the incentive stock options are exercised. However, such a sale of shares within the same year of exercise will constitute a disqualifying disposition, as described above. 

 

In the event that an incentive stock option is amended in certain respects, such option may be considered deferred compensation and subject to the rules of Section 409A, which provides rules regarding the timing of payment of deferred compensation. An option subject to Section 409A which fails to comply with the rules of Section 409A can result in the acceleration of income recognition, an additional 20% tax obligation, plus potential penalties and interest, and similar treatment under state law. In addition, the amendment of an incentive stock option may convert the option from an incentive stock option to a nonqualified stock option. 

 

Restricted Stock.

The grant of restricted stock will generally subject the recipient to ordinary compensation income on the difference between the amount paid for such stock and the fair market value of the shares on the date that the restrictions lapse. This income is generally subject to withholding for U.S. federal income and employment tax purposes. The Company is generally entitled to an income tax deduction in the amount of the ordinary income recognized by the recipient, subject to possible limitations imposed by Sections 162(m) and 280G of the Code. Any gain or loss on the recipient’s subsequent disposition of the shares will receive long- or short-term capital gain or loss treatment depending on how long the stock has been held since the restrictions lapsed. The Company does not receive a tax deduction for any such gain. 

 

Recipients of restricted stock may make an election under Section 83(b) of the Code, which is referred to as a “Section 83(b) Election,” to recognize as ordinary compensation income in the year that such restricted stock is granted, the amount equal to the spread between the amount paid for such stock (if any) and the fair market value on the date of the issuance of the stock. If such an election is made, the recipient recognizes no further amounts of compensation income upon the lapse of any restrictions and any gain or loss on subsequent disposition will be long or short-term capital gain to the recipient. The Section 83(b) Election must be made within thirty days from the time the restricted stock is issued. 

 

Stock Appreciation Rights.

Recipients of stock appreciation rights, which are referred to as “SARs,” generally should not recognize income until such rights are exercised, assuming there is no ceiling on the value of the right and Section 409A does not apply. Upon exercise, the grantee will normally recognize taxable ordinary income for U.S. federal income tax purposes equal to the amount of cash and fair market value the shares, if any, received upon such exercise. Grantees who are employees will be subject to withholding for U.S. federal income and employment tax purposes with respect to income recognized upon exercise of a SAR. Grantees will recognize gain upon the disposition of any shares received on exercise of a SAR equal to the excess of (i) the amount realized on such disposition over (ii) the ordinary income recognized with respect to such shares

14


 

under the principles set forth above. That gain will be taxable as long or short-term capital gain depending on whether the shares were held for more than one year. 

 

The Company will generally be entitled to a tax deduction to the extent and in the year that ordinary income is recognized by the grantee, subject to possible limitations imposed by Sections 162(m) and 280G of the Code

 

A SAR can be considered deferred compensation and subject to Section 409A. A SAR that does not meet the requirements of Section 409A, such as with respect to the timing of the delivery of cash or shares following vesting, can result in the acceleration of income recognition, an additional 20% tax obligation, plus potential penalties and interest, and similar treatment under state law. 

 

Dividends and Dividend Equivalents.

Recipients of stock-based awards that earn dividends or dividend equivalents will recognize taxable ordinary income on any dividend payments received with respect to unvested shares subject to such awards, which income is generally subject to withholding for U.S. federal income and employment tax purposes. The Company is generally entitled to an income tax deduction in the amount of the income recognized by a grantee, subject to possible limitations imposed by Sections 162(m) and 280G of the Code

  

New Plan Benefits. 

 

Awards under the Amended Plan are based on the discretion of the Administrator and/or the Company’s achievement of performance targets established by the Administrator, and it is not currently possible to determine the amounts that will be received by persons participating in the Amended Plan in the future. 



THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS UNANIMOUSLY RECOMMENDS THAT

STOCKHOLDERS VOTE FOR THE APPROVAL OF AMENDMENT NO. 1 TO THE CASSAVA SCIENCES, INC. 2018 OMNIBUS INCENTIVE PLAN, WHICH INCREASES THE AUTHORIZED NUMBER OF SHARES ISSUABLE THEREUNDER BY 4,000,000 FROM 1,000,000 TO 5,000,000 AUTHORIZED SHARES.

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PROPOSAL THREE



RATIFICATION OF SELECTION OF ERNST & YOUNG LLP

AS INDEPENDENT REGISTERED PUBLIC ACCOUNTING FIRM 

FOR THE COMPANY FOR THE FISCAL YEAR ENDING DECEMBER 31, 2022



The Board of Directors and the Audit Committee have selected Ernst & Young LLP, independent registered public accounting firm, to audit the financial statements of the Company for the fiscal year ending December 31, 2022 and recommend that the stockholders vote to ratify such selection. Although action by stockholders is not required by law, the Board of Directors has determined that it is desirable to request ratification of this selection by the stockholders. Notwithstanding the ratification, the Board of Directors and the Audit Committee, in their discretion, may direct the selection of a new independent registered public accounting firm at any time during the year, if the Board of Directors and the Audit Committee determine that such a change would be in the best interest of the Company.



We expect a representative of Ernst & Young LLP to be present at the meeting and will be afforded the opportunity to make a statement if he or she desires to do so, and is also expected to be available to respond to appropriate questions.



THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS RECOMMENDS A 

VOTE FOR APPROVAL OF PROPOSAL THREE.



Principal Accountant Fees and Services



Fees for professional services provided by our independent registered public accounting firm in each of the last two fiscal years, in each of the following categories were:





 

 

 

 

 



 

 

 

 

 



Years Ended December 31,



2021

 

2020

Audit fees(1)

$

413,710 

 

$

234,500 

Audit-related fees (2)

 

 —

 

 

 —

Tax fees(3)

 

24,720 

 

 

24,720 

All other fees

 

 —

 

 

 —



$

438,430 

 

$

259,220 



 

 

 

 

 



(1)Audit fees include fees associated with the annual Reports on Form 10-K, including internal control attestation in 2021, the Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q and all services that are normally provided by the independent registered public accounting firm in connection with regulatory filings, including comfort letters and consents.  

(2)The Company did not incur audit-related or other fees in the years ended December 31, 2021 or December 31, 2020.

(3)Tax fees include tax compliance services.



Ernst & Young LLP served as the Company’s independent registered public accounting firm for the years ended December 31, 2021 and 2020.



Policy on Audit Committee Pre Approval of Audit and Permissible Non Audit Services of Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm



All auditing services and non-audit services provided to the Company by our independent registered public accounting firm are required to be pre-approved by the Audit Committee. Any pre-approval of non-audit services by Ernst & Young LLP includes making a determination that the provision of the services is compatible with maintaining the independence of Ernst & Young LLP as an independent registered public accounting firm. In addition, the Audit Committee has delegated pre-approval authority to the Chairperson of the Audit Committee, provided that the Chairperson reports any decisions to pre-approve such audit and non-audit services to the Audit Committee at its next regularly scheduled meeting. All services for audit and tax fees for the years ended December 31, 2021 and December 31, 2020 as set forth in the table above were pre-approved by the Company’s Audit Committee.

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PROPOSAL FOUR



NON-BINDING ADVISORY VOTE ON THE 2021 EXECUTIVE COMPENSATION 

FOR THE COMPANY’S NAMED EXECUTIVE OFFICERS



Our compensation programs are designed to provide long-term and currently-paid compensation and cash and non-cash compensation for our executive officers in order to align the compensation of our executive officers with our performance on a short-term and long-term basis. This proposal provides stockholders with the opportunity to cast an advisory vote on the Company’s executive compensation practices and principles.



In 2017, our stockholders recommended that the advisory vote on executive compensation be held every year. Accordingly, we have included this proposal for consideration at the Annual Meeting.



Stockholders should consider the compensation programs and their implementation, including the section entitled “Executive Compensation and Other Matters,” the compensation tables and any other executive compensation disclosure below, and cast a non-binding vote either to endorse or not endorse our executive compensation programs through the following resolution:



RESOLVED: That the compensation paid to the Company’s named executive officers in 2021, as disclosed pursuant to Item 402 of Regulation S-K, including the Compensation Discussion and Analysis, compensation tables, and narrative discussion is hereby approved by the stockholders of the Company, on an advisory basis. 



This vote is being provided pursuant to Section 14A of the Exchange Act. While the vote does not bind our Board of Directors to any particular action, the Board of Directors expects to take into account the outcome of this vote in considering future compensation programs. The next advisory vote on our executive compensation will be at the 2023 annual meeting of stockholders.





THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS RECOMMENDS A 

VOTE FOR APPROVAL OF PROPOSAL FOUR.





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DIRECTORS AND EXECUTIVE OFFICERS

The following table sets forth for each Class I Director, each Class II Director, each Class III Director and the executive officers of the Company, their ages and positions with the Company as of the Record Date.







 

 



 

 

Name

Age

Position

Remi Barbier

62

President, Chief Executive Officer, Chairman of the Board of Directors and Class III Director

Nadav Friedmann, Ph.D., M.D.

79

Chief Medical Officer and Class I Director

James W. Kupiec, M.D.

69

Chief Clinical Development Officer

Eric J. Schoen

53

Chief Financial Officer

Richard J. Barry (1)(3)(4)

63

Class II Director

Robert Z. Gussin, Ph.D. (1)(2)(4) 

84

Class II Director

Michael J. O’Donnell, Esq. (4) 

63

Class I Director

Sanford R. Robertson (1)(2)(3)(4) 

90

Class III Director

Patrick J. Scannon, M.D., Ph.D. (4)

74

Class III Director



 

 

_________

(1)    Member of Audit Committee.

(2)    Member of Compensation Committee.

(3) Member of the Nominating and Governance Committee.

(4)    Meets the definition of independence under the Nasdaq Stock Market LLC listing standards.



The Board of Directors choose the executive officers, who then serve at the discretion of the Board of Directors. There is no family relationship between any director or executive officer of the Company.

Remi Barbier,  the Company’s founder, has served as President, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board of Directors since the Company’s inception in May 1998. Prior to that time, Mr. Barbier helped in the growth or founding of Exelixis Inc., a publicly-traded drug development company, ArQule, Inc., a drug development company acquired by Merck & Co., and EnzyMed, Inc., a chemistry company acquired by Albany Molecular Research, Inc. Mr. Barbier is a trustee emeritus of the Carnegie Institute of Washington, the Santa Fe Institute and the Advisory Board of the University of California Institute for Quantitative Biosciences. He is on the board of BioVentures LLC, a life science incubator at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. Mr. Barbier received his B.A. from Oberlin College and his M.B.A. from the University of Chicago.

Nadav Friedmann, Ph.D., M.D. has served as a director since September 1998. Dr. Friedmann has served as Chief Medical Officer since 2001.  Dr. Friedmann was previously President and CEO of Daiichi Pharmaceutical Corporation. Dr. Friedmann has served as Vice President, Clinical Research at Xoma Corporation, and held various senior leadership positions with Johnson & Johnson, including Head of its Biotechnology Research Center. Dr. Friedmann received his M.D. from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and his Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of California, San Diego.

James W. Kupiec, M.D. has served as Chief Clinical Development Officer since January 2021. Dr. Kupiec joined the Company after three decades of drug development experience at Pfizer, Sanofi and Ciba-Geigy. Dr. Kupiec previously served as Vice President, Global Clinical Leader for Parkinson’s Disease and Clinical Head of the Neuroscience Research Unit for Pfizer, Inc., in Cambridge, MA. He joined Pfizer in 2000 after seven years with Sanofi, and two years with Ciba-Geigy Pharmaceuticals. During his 17-year career at Pfizer, Dr. Kupiec had extensive governance, business development, alliance and leadership responsibilities. Dr. Kupiec earned his BS with Honors in Biochemistry at Stony Brook University and his MD from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. He completed his residency training at the Strong Memorial Hospital, University of Rochester School of Medicine, and is certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine. He served as an investigator on many clinical trials before transitioning to the pharmaceutical industry.

Eric Schoen has served as Chief Financial Officer since October 2018. Prior to joining the Company, Mr. Schoen served in numerous financial leadership roles. Most recently, he served as Vice President, Senior Vice President, Finance and Chief Accounting Officer of Aspira Women’s Health Inc. (formerly Vermillion, Inc.), a publicly-held women’s health company, from 2011 to 2017. Mr. Schoen also began his career and spent nine years with PricewaterhouseCoopers in the audit and assurance, transaction services and global capital markets practices. Mr. Schoen received his B.S. in Finance from Santa Clara University.

Richard J. Barry has served as a director since June 2021. Since June 2015, Mr. Barry has also served as a director of Sarepta Therapeutics, Inc., (Nasdaq: SRPT). Mr. Barry has extensive experience in the investment management business. He was a founding member of Eastbourne Capital Management LLC, and served as a Managing General Partner and Portfolio Manager from 1999 to its close in 2010. Prior to Eastbourne, Mr. Barry was a Portfolio Manager and Managing Director of Robertson Stephens Investment Management. Mr. Barry holds a Bachelor of Arts from Pennsylvania State University. 

Robert Z. Gussin, Ph.D. has served as a director since March 2003. Dr. Gussin worked at Johnson & Johnson for 26 years, most recently as Chief Scientific Officer and Corporate Vice President, Science and Technology from 1986 through his retirement in 2000. Dr. Gussin served on the board of directors of Duquesne University and the advisory boards of the Duquesne University Pharmacy School and the University of

18


 

Michigan Medical School Department of Pharmacology. Dr. Gussin received his B.S. and M.S. degrees and D.Sc. with honors from Duquesne University and his Ph.D. in Pharmacology from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Michael J. O’Donnell, Esq. has served as a director since June 1998. Mr. O’Donnell has been a partner in the law firm of Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP since June 2021. Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP is the Company’s corporate counsel and provides legal services to the Company. Previously, Mr. O’Donnell was a member of Morrison & Foerster LLP from 2011 to 2021.  Mr. O’Donnell serves as corporate counsel to numerous public and private biopharmaceutical and life sciences companies. Previously, Mr. O’Donnell was a member of Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati. Mr. O’Donnell received his J.D., cum laude, from Harvard University and his B.A. from Bucknell University, summa cum laude.

Sanford R. Robertson has served as a director since September 1998. Mr. Robertson has been a partner of Francisco Partners, a technology buyout fund, since 1999. Prior to founding Francisco Partners, Mr. Robertson was the founder and chairman of Robertson, Stephens & Company, a technology investment bank sold to BankBoston in 1998. Mr. Robertson is the lead director of Salesforce.com, a publicly-held provider of enterprise cloud computing applications. Mr. Robertson received his B.A. and M.B.A. degrees with distinction from the University of Michigan.

Patrick J. Scannon, M.D., Ph.D. has served as a director since December 2007. Dr. Scannon is one of the founders of XOMA. From 2006 to 2016, Dr. Scannon was Executive Vice President, Chief Biotechnology Officer of XOMA. From 1993 to 2006, Dr. Scannon served as Chief Scientific and Medical Officer of XOMA. Dr. Scannon retired from XOMA and resigned from XOMA’s board of directors in 2016. Dr. Scannon received his Ph.D. in organic chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley and his M.D. from the Medical College of Georgia.



Board Leadership Structure



The Board of Directors maintains a balance of outside, independent directors and a minority of directors who are employed at the highest level of executive management and therefore do not meet the criteria for an independent director. The Chief Executive Officer of the Company holds the position of Chairman of the Board of Directors. The Audit Committee, Compensation Committee, and Nominating and Governance Committee each have oversight of specific areas of responsibility, discussed further below. The Company believes that this structure is appropriate and allows for efficient and effective oversight, given the Company’s relatively small size (both in terms of number of employees and in scope of operational activities directly conducted by the Company), its corporate strategy (including the use of outsourcing for certain key activities) and its sole focus on biotechnology research and development.



Board of Directors’ Role in Risk Oversight



One of the key functions of the Board of Directors is informed oversight of the risk management process. The Board administers this oversight function directly through the Board of Directors as a whole, as well as through its standing committees that address risks inherent in their respective areas of oversight. Areas of focus include economic, operational, financial (accounting, credit, investment, liquidity and tax), competitive, legal, regulatory, cybersecurity, privacy, compliance and reputational risks, and more recently, risk exposures related to COVID-19. The risk oversight responsibility of the Board of Directors and its committees is supported by the management reporting processes, which are designed to provide visibility to the Board of Directors and to the personnel who are responsible for risk assessment and information about the identification, assessment and management of critical risks, and management’s risk mitigation strategies.



The Audit Committee is responsible for reviewing and discussing major financial risk exposures and the steps management has taken to monitor and control these exposures, including guidelines and policies with respect to risk assessment and risk management. The Audit Committee also monitors compliance with legal and regulatory requirements and assists the Board of Directors in fulfilling its oversight responsibilities with respect to risk management. The Compensation Committee assesses and monitors whether any of the compensation policies and programs has the potential to encourage excessive risk-taking.



The Company believes this division of responsibilities is an effective approach for addressing the risks the Company faces and that the board leadership structure supports this approach.



Independence of Directors

The Nasdaq listing rules generally require that a majority of the members of a listed company’s board of directors be independent. In addition, the listing rules generally require that, subject to specified exceptions, each member of a listed company’s audit, compensation and nominating and corporate governance committees be independent.



In addition, audit committee members must also satisfy the independence criteria set forth in Rule 10A 3 under the Exchange Act. In order to be considered independent for purposes of Rule 10A 3, a member of an audit committee of a listed company may not, other than in such member’s capacity as a member of the audit committee, the board of directors or any other board committee (i) accept, directly or indirectly, any consulting, advisory or other compensatory fee from the listed company or any of its subsidiaries or (ii) be an affiliated person of the listed company or any of its subsidiaries.



The Board of Directors conducts an annual review of the independence of the directors. The Board of Directors has determined that none of the members of the Board of Directors other than Mr. Barbier and Dr. Friedmann has a relationship that would interfere with the exercise of independent judgment in carrying out the responsibilities of a director and that each of the members of the Board of Directors other than Mr.

19


 

Barbier and Dr. Friedmann is “independent” as that term is defined under the rules of Nasdaq. The Board of Directors has also determined that all members of the Audit Committee, Compensation Committee and Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee are independent and satisfy the relevant SEC and Nasdaq independence requirements for such committees.



In determining that Mr. O’Donnell is independent, the Board of Directors considered payments in the ordinary course of business in fiscal 2021 between the Company and Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP where he serves as a partner, and between the Company and Morrison & Forster LLP, where he served as a member until June 2021, which were for amounts representing less than 2% of the annual revenues of the respective firms receiving the payments and did not constitute a related party transaction under SEC rules. The Board of Directors determined that these transactions would not interfere with Mr. O’ Donnell’s exercise of independent judgment in carrying out his responsibilities as a director.



Roles of Lead Independent Director and Chairman of the Board



We established a Lead Independent Director role with broad authority and responsibility, as described further below. The independent members of the Board of Directors also meet in executive session without management, which provides the Board of Directors with the benefit of having the perspective of independent directors. The Lead Independent Director chairs these meetings.



Remi Barbier is the Chairman of the Board of Directors and President and Chief Executive Officer. This allows the Board of Directors to benefit from Mr. Barbier’s in-depth knowledge of the Company’s business and industry, and his ability to effectively identify strategic priorities and formulate and implement strategic initiatives. As President and Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Barbier is also intimately involved in the day-to-day operations and is thus in a position to elevate the most critical business issues for consideration by the Board of Directors. The independent directors bring experience, oversight and expertise from outside of the Company, while Mr. Barbier brings company-specific experience and expertise. The Board of Directors believes that Mr. Barbier’s combined role enables strong leadership, creates clear accountability, and enhances the Company’s ability to communicate its message and strategy clearly and consistently to stockholders. Accordingly, the Board of Directors has determined that the combined role of Chairman and Chief Executive Officer with a strong lead independent director provides balance and is the best leadership structure for the Company at the current time and is in the best interests of the Company and its stockholders. In March 2021, the Board of Directors appointed Sanford Robertson to serve as the Company’s first Lead Independent Director.



The responsibilities of the Chairman and the Lead Independent Director include:





 

 

 

 



 

Chairman/Chief Executive Officer

 

Lead Independent Director

Board Meeting

 

•   Authority to call full meetings of the Board

•   Presides over meetings of the full Board

 

•   Attends full meetings of the Board

•   Presides over meetings of independent directors and non-management directors

•   Briefs Chairman on issues arising from executive sessions

•   Presides over meetings of the Board in the absence of the Chairman

Agenda

 

•   Primary responsibility for shaping Board agendas, consulting with the lead independent director

 

•   Collaborates with Chairman to set Board agenda and provide Board with information

Board Communications

 

•   Communicates with all directors on key issues and concerns outside Board meetings

 

•   Facilitates discussion among independent directors on key issues and concerns outside Board meetings, including contributing to the oversight of the Chairman and management succession planning

Shareholder Communications

 

•   Primary spokesperson for the Company in communications to shareholders

 

•   Serves as liaison for shareholders who wish to communicate with the Board (such communications to be sent through the Corporate Secretary)



20


 

Board Qualifications and Nominations



The Board of Directors requires that its members and its candidates for appointment or nomination maintain high personal and professional integrity and the ability to contribute to the Board of Directors’ effectiveness in serving the interests of the Company’s stockholders. In addition, the Board of Directors and director nominees are expected to have appropriate management or scientific experience that are relevant to our current and expected future direction, a track record of accomplishment and a commitment to ethical business practices. The particular experience, qualification or skills of each member of the Board of Directors that led the Board of Directors to conclude that the individual should serve as a director are set forth below:







 



 

Director

Key Qualifications

Remi Barbier

Experience as President, Chief Executive Officer, Chairman of the Board of Directors since the inception of the Company. Founded and grew several publicly-traded biotechnology companies.

Nadav Friedmann, Ph.D., M.D.

Experience as Chief Medical Officer of the Company. Additional experience as President and CEO and other executive roles at other pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies as an executive officer.

Richard J. Barry

Experience as founder and managing director of investment banks and as a director to public companies, including service on audit, compensation, and nominating and governance committees.

Robert Z. Gussin, Ph.D.

Experience in executive roles at Johnson & Johnson and as a director or as advisor to a number of academic institutions.

Michael J. O’Donnell, Esq.

Experience as a member of law firms and as counsel and advisor to numerous public and private biopharmaceutical and life sciences companies.

Sanford R. Robertson 

Experience as founder and director of investment banks and funds and as a director to public companies.

Patrick J. Scannon, M.D., Ph.D.

Experience as a founder and executive of a biopharmaceutical company.



 



Nominating and Governance Committee

In June 2021, the Board of Directors established the Nominating and Governance Committee. The Nominating and Governance Committee is responsible for identifying individuals qualified to serve as members of the Board, recommending to the Board of Directors nominees for election as our directors, and providing oversight with respect to corporate governance and ethical conduct.

 

Our Nominating and Governance Committee currently consists of Richard J. Barry and Sandford R. Robertson. The Board has determined that the members of our Nominating and Governance Committee are independent pursuant to applicable Nasdaq listing standards. The Nominating and Governance Committee has not yet adopted a written charter, but anticipates doing so in 2022. The Nominating and Governance Committee was formed during fiscal year 2021 but did not hold formal meetings.

 

Board Membership Criteria and Process for Identifying and Evaluating Nominees



The Nominating and Governance Committee evaluates all proposed director nominees and incumbent directors before nomination, including those proposed by the Board of Directors for election and those to be elected or appointed by the Board of Directors to fill interim director vacancies on the Board of Directors. All of the Company’s directors may participate in the consideration of director candidates.



The Nominating and Governance Committee initiates the process for identifying and evaluating nominees to the Board by identifying a slate of candidates who meet the criteria for selection as nominees and have the specific qualities or skills being sought based on input from members of the Board of Directors, management and, if the Nominating and Governance Committee deems appropriate, a third-party search firm. For these services, an executive recruiting firm would be paid a fee. Candidates are evaluated by the Nominating and Governance Committee on the basis of the factors described above. With respect to candidates for initial election to the Board, the Nominating and Governance Committee reviews biographical information and qualifications and may check the candidates’ references. Qualified candidates are interviewed by at least one member of the Nominating and Governance Committee. Serious candidates meet, either in person or by telephone, with both members of the Nominating and Governance Committee and as many other members of the Board of Directors as practicable.



Using the input from interviews and other information obtained, the Nominating and Governance Committee evaluates which of the prospective candidates is qualified to serve as a director and whether the committee should recommend that the Board of Directors nominate, or elect to fill a vacancy with, a prospective candidate. Candidates recommended by the Nominating and Governance Committee are presented to the Board of Directors for selection as nominees to be presented for the approval of the stockholders or for election to fill a vacancy.



The Board of Directors has not established a procedure for considering nominees for director nominated by the Company’s stockholders. Stockholders may nominate candidates for director in accordance with the advance notice and other procedures contained in our bylaws. 



Board Diversity Matrix

 

The table below provides certain highlights of the composition of the Board as of March 15, 2022. Each of the categories listed in the table below has the meaning set forth in Nasdaq Rule 5605(f).

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Total Number of Directors

7



Female

Male

Non-Binary

Did Not
Disclose
Gender

Part I: Gender Identity

Directors

5

2

Part II: Demographic Background

African American or Black

Alaskan Native or Native American

Asian

Hispanic or Latinx

Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander

White

5

Two or More Races or Ethnicities

LGBTQ+

Did Not Disclose Demographic Background

2



Board Meetings



The Board of Directors held a total of five meetings during fiscal year 2021. During fiscal 2021, each member of the Board of Directors attended at least 75% of the aggregate of all meetings of the Board of Directors and all meetings of committees of the Board of Directors on which such director served that were held during the period in which such director served.



The Company does not have formal policies regarding attendance by members of the Board of Directors at its annual meetings of stockholders, but directors are encouraged to attend. Two directors attended the 2021 annual meeting of stockholders.



Stockholder Communications with the Board of Directors



The Company does not have a written policy regarding stockholder communication with the Board of Directors. However, stockholders may communicate with the Board of Directors by sending an e-mail to the Company at IR@cassavasciences.com or by writing to the Company at Cassava Sciences, Inc., Attention: Investor Relations, 7801 N Capital of Texas Highway, Suite 260, Austin, Texas 78731. Stockholders who would like their submissions directed to an individual member of the Board of Directors may so specify, and the communication will be forwarded, as appropriate.



Committees of the Board



The Board of Directors has established a standing Audit Committee , a standing Compensation Committee and a standing Nominating and Governance Committee.



Audit Committee



The Audit Committee consists of directors Mr. Barry, who is the chair of the Audit Committee,  Dr. Gussin and Mr. Robertson. Dr. Scannon served as a member of the Audit Committee in 2021 until the appointment of Mr. Barry to the Board of Directors in June 2021.  The Board of Directors of the Company has determined that each member of the Audit Committee is financially literate. In addition, the Board of Directors has determined that the composition of the Audit Committee meets the requirements for independence under current tNasdaq Stock Market LLC listing standards and SEC rules.  The Board of Directors has also determined that Mr. Robertson is an “audit committee financial expert” as defined in the SEC rules. The Audit Committee operates under a written charter adopted by the Board of Directors. The Company maintains a copy of the Audit Committee charter on its website: www.cassavasciences.com. The Audit Committee reviews the Company’s internal accounting procedures, consults with and reviews the services provided by the Company’s independent registered public accounting firm and makes recommendations to the Board of Directors regarding the selection of the independent registered public accounting firm. The Audit Committee held four meetings during fiscal year 2021.  



Compensation Committee



The Compensation Committee consists of directors Dr. Gussin and Mr. Robertson. The Board of Directors of the Company has determined that these individuals are independent as defined under the Nasdaq Stock Market LLC listing standards. The Compensation Committee reviews and recommends to the Board of Directors the salaries, incentive compensation and benefits of the Company’s officers and administers the Company’s stock plans and employee benefit plans. Refer to the section entitled “Compensation Discussion and Analysis” for more information about the Company’s Compensation Committee and its processes and procedures. The Compensation Committee operates under a written charter adopted by the Board of Directors. The Company maintains a copy of the Compensation Committee charter on its website: www.cassavasciences.com. The Compensation Committee held two meetings during fiscal year 2021.  

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Compensation Committee Interlocks and Insider Participation



No member of the Compensation Committee or any executive officer of the Company has served as a member of the board of directors or compensation committee of any entity that has one or more executive officers serving as a member of the Company’s Board of Directors or Compensation Committee. No Compensation Committee member has been an officer or employee of the Company while also serving as a member of the Compensation Committee.

23


 

SECURITY OWNERSHIP OF CERTAIN BENEFICIAL OWNERS AND MANAGEMENT



The following table sets forth certain information with respect to the beneficial ownership of Common Stock as of March 17, 2022 by:



·

any person (including any group as that term is used in Section 13(d)(3) of the Exchange Act), known by the Company to be the beneficial owner of more than 5% of the Company’s voting securities (a “5% Holder”);

·

each director and each nominee for director to the Company;

·

each executive officer named in the Summary Compensation Table appearing herein; and

·

all executive officers, directors and nominees for director of the Company as a group.





Beneficial ownership is determined in accordance with the rules of the SEC and generally includes any shares over which a person exercises sole or shared voting or investment power. Shares of the Common Stock subject to stock options that are currently exercisable or exercisable within 60 days of March 17, 2022 are deemed to be outstanding and to be beneficially owned by the person holding the stock options for the purpose of computing the percentage ownership of that person, but are not treated as outstanding for the purpose of computing the percentage ownership of any other person.



The number of shares and percentage of Common Stock outstanding are based on the aggregate of 40,022,394 shares of Common Stock outstanding as of March 17, 2022. The Company does not know of any arrangements, including any pledge by any person of securities of the Company, the operation of which may at a subsequent date result in a change of control of the Company.





 

 

 



 

 

 

Name and Address of Beneficial Owners (1)

Number of Shares

 

Percentage of Common Stock Outstanding

5% Holders

 

 

 

Blackrock, Inc.(2)

2,760,978 

 

6.9%

 55 East 52nd Street

 

 

 

 New York, NY 10055

 

 

 

The Vanguard Group(3)

2,060,819 

 

5.1%

 100 Vanguard Blvd.

 

 

 

 Malvern, PA 19355

 

 

 

Remi Barbier(4)

2,092,860 

 

5.1%

Directors and Named Executive Officers

 

 

 

Remi Barbier(4)

2,092,860 

 

5.1%

Nadav Friedmann, Ph.D., M.D.(5)

591,714 

 

1.5%

James W. Kupiec, M.D.

 —

 

*   

Eric J. Schoen(6)

63,050 

 

*   

Richard J. Barry(7)

150,000 

 

*   

Robert Z. Gussin, Ph.D.(8)

132,811 

 

*   

Michael J. O’Donnell, Esq.(9)    

93,640 

 

*   

Sanford R. Robertson(10)

1,047,944 

 

2.6%

Patrick J. Scannon, M.D., Ph.D.(11)

93,341 

 

*   

All current directors, executive officers and nominees for director as a group (9 persons)(12)

4,265,360 

 

10.1%



 

 

 



(1)    This table is based upon information supplied by officers, directors and principal stockholders and Schedules 13G filed with the SEC. Unless otherwise indicated in the footnotes to this table, and subject to community property laws where applicable, each of the stockholders named in this table has sole voting and investment power with respect to the shares indicated as beneficially owned. The address for directors and executive officers is the Company’s address. Percentages of Common Stock outstanding are rounded to the nearest tenth.

(2)Based on a Schedule 13G as filed with the SEC and dated February 3, 2022.

(3) Based on a Schedule 13G as filed with the SEC and dated February 9, 2022.

(4)    Includes (i) 808,104 shares issuable pursuant to options exercisable within 60 days of March 17, 2022, (ii) 201,035 shares issuable pursuant to options exercisable within 60 days of March 17, 2022 by Mr. Barbier’s spouse, who is an employee of the Company and (iii) 326,652 shares held by members of Mr. Barbier’s immediate family.

(5)    Includes 525,482 shares issuable pursuant to options exercisable within 60 days of March 17, 2022 and 143 shares held in trust by Dr. Friedmann for a member of Dr. Friedmann’s family.

(6)    Includes 43,750 shares issuable pursuant to options exercisable within 60 days of March 17, 2022.

(7) Represents shares held in trust for Mr. Barry’s family.

(8)    Includes 127,847 shares issuable pursuant to options exercisable within 60 days of March 17, 2022.

(9)    Includes 88,770 shares issuable pursuant to options exercisable within 60 days of March 17, 2022

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(10)   Includes 127,849 shares issuable pursuant to options exercisable within 60 days of March 17, 2022.

(11)   Represents shares issuable pursuant to options exercisable within 60 days of March 17, 2022.

(12)   Includes 2,016,178 shares issuable pursuant to options exercisable within 60 days of March 17, 2022.

*    Represents beneficial ownership of less than one percent (1%) of the outstanding shares of Common Stock, adjusted as required by the rules promulgated by the SEC.



EXECUTIVE COMPENSATION AND OTHER MATTERS



Compensation Discussion and Analysis



This compensation discussion and analysis provides an overview and analysis of our Compensation Committee’s philosophy and objectives in designing compensation programs for our chief executive officer and other individuals who served as executive officers for our most recently completed fiscal year, whom we refer to collectively as the “named executive officers”.

For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2021, our named executive officers were:





 

Name

Position

Remi Barbier

President, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board of Directors

Nadav Friedmann, Ph.D., M.D.

Chief Medical Officer and Director

James W. Kupiec, M.D.

Chief Clinical Development Officer

Eric J. Schoen

Chief Financial Officer



Our compensation programs are designed to provide long-term and currently-paid compensation and cash and non-cash compensation for our executive officers in order to align the compensation of our executive officers with our performance on a short-term and long-term basis. Our compensation programs reflect the following objectives:



·

to attract and retain high-performing executive talent;

·

to encourage corporate behavior that is consistent with our values and goals;

·

to create financial incentives for superior performance;

·

to balance the achievement of corporate and individual goals, whereby individual executives are rewarded for the performance of the business functions for which they are responsible in addition to our overall performance;

·

to ensure that our executive compensation programs are competitive with those of regional companies in our industry, so that we can continue to attract, retain and motivate executive talent; and

·

to encourage the development of a diverse executive talent pool and continuity of leadership.



These objectives include qualitative factors that strengthen our ability to meet long-term growth, such as demonstrated leadership ability, management development, ensuring compliance with laws, regulations and our policies, and anticipating and responding to changing conditions.



We do not have a set policy for allocating long-term and currently-paid compensation. Each year, our Compensation Committee determines the amount and allocation of long-term and currently-paid compensation and cash and non-cash compensation for executive officers. We believe there is no single source of data that provides the information sought by the Compensation Committee to arrive at these determinations. We have relied on data from a number of sources, including a review of internally generated industry surveys; the experience and knowledge of members of the Compensation Committee, Board of Directors and senior management; and additional factors, such as recent market trends and general business conditions. Survey data that we may use include compensation information regarding publicly-held companies in our industry that are similar in size, breadth, stage of development or complexity to us.



While none of these sources of data is prescriptive per se, each source helps the Compensation Committee evaluate the appropriateness of total compensation for each executive at a particular point in the Company’s life cycle. For example, a certain position may be highly strategic for a period of time and we may believe it desirable to pay that position closer to the level of a chief executive officer during that period.



To assist the Compensation Committee with its responsibilities, we provide briefing materials prepared or summarized by management. Our Chief Executive Officer participates in the collection and dissemination of briefing materials and interacts with the Compensation Committee in reviewing some of the elements of yearly performance and compensation of the executive management team. The Compensation Committee believes that an appropriate level of input from our Chief Executive Officer provides a necessary and valuable perspective in helping the Compensation Committee formulate its own independent views on compensation. The Compensation Committee makes all final determinations as to compensation levels for executive officers.



Compensation Risk Oversight

 

In administering our compensation program, the Compensation Committee strives to achieve a balance among the elements of compensation to accomplish the objectives of the program. The Compensation Committee reviews the Company’s overall compensation

25


 

program in the context of the risks that may be presented by the structure of our compensation program and the metrics used to determine compensation under that program. Based upon this review, the Compensation Committee believes that our compensation program does not create a reasonable likelihood of a material adverse effect on the Company.



Elements of Executive Compensation



We focus our executive compensation program on three related but distinct elements: base salary, cash bonuses and stock related compensation. The Compensation Committee has the authority to retain compensation consultants to assist in its evaluation of executive and director compensation, including the authority to approve the consultant’s reasonable fees and other retention terms. In 2021, the Compensation Committee engaged Arnosti Consulting, Inc. to analyze the compensation for certain officers of the Company. The Compensation Committee has concluded that the Arnosti Consulting, Inc. is an independent consultant after considering the factors relevant to the consultant’s independence from management, including the factors set forth by the SEC rules regarding compensation consultant independence. 



Base Salary. We offer a base salary to attract and retain qualified executive officers. Base salaries are based on broad salary ranges that take into consideration a number of factors, including:



·

an executive’s job responsibilities;

·

individual performance;

·

our corporate performance;

·

competitive market data; and

·

our total compensation expense.



Changes to base salary vary according to individual contributions to our success and comparisons to similar positions at both this Company and other comparable companies.



In its evaluation of performance in 2021 and whether to adjust base salaries or pay annual bonuses, the Compensation Committee considered corporate performance including:



·

Initiation of a major Phase 3 clinical program with two Special Protocol Assessments from FDA;

·

Expanded clinical research team hired during pandemic;

·

Large-scale, clinical drug supply for Phase 3 studies;

·

Capital raises to support a Phase 3 clinical program;

·

New NIH grant award; and

·

Acquisition of a  building to serve as permanent corporate headquarters.



In January 2022, after reviewing each executive’s job responsibilities, individual performance, our corporate performance, competitive market data and our total compensation expense, the annualized base salary of Mr. Barbier was increased by approximately 13% to $1,100,000 from $975,000; the annualized base salary of Dr. Friedmann was increased by approximately 37% to $500,000 from $365,000;  the annualized base salary of Dr. Kupiec was increased by approximately 7% to $400,000 from $375,000; and the annualized base salary of Mr. Schoen increased by 55% to $425,000 from $275,000. These changes were effective January 1, 2022.



Bonuses. Each executive officer is eligible for an annual cash bonus. We provide such bonuses to motivate executive officers to perform on behalf of general corporate goals and to perform in their areas of responsibility. We do not have a policy of prospectively establishing annual target bonuses or bonus criteria. Each individual executive officer’s bonus for the prior year is determined through an evaluation of overall corporate performance with a particular focus on our progress since the prior year’s bonus determination in the areas of research and development, finance and other operations. In its evaluation of performance in 2021, the Compensation Committee considered corporate performance outlined under Base Salary above. As a result of this evaluation, the Compensation Committee determined that cash bonuses should be as follows:

 



 

 

 

 

 

Mr. Barbier was awarded a 2021 bonus totaling $750,000;





 

 

 

 

 

Dr. Friedmann was awarded a 2021 bonus totaling $400,000;



 



 

 

 

 

 

Dr. Kupiec was awarded a 2021 bonus totaling $100,000; and



 



 

 

 

 

 

Mr. Schoen was awarded a 2021 bonus totaling $500,000.

 

We did not pay bonuses to our executive officers in 2020.



2020 Cash Incentive Bonus Plan. On August 26, 2020, the Board of Directors approved the 2020 Cash Incentive Bonus Plan (the Cash Incentive Plan). The Cash Incentive Plan was established to promote the long-term success of the Company by creating an “at-risk” cash

26


 

bonus program that rewards Cash Incentive Plan participants, including the Company’s executive officers and directors, with additional cash compensation in lockstep with significant increases in the Company’s market capitalization. The Cash Incentive Plan is considered “at-risk” because Cash Incentive Plan participants will not receive a cash bonus unless the Company’s market capitalization increases significantly and certain other conditions specified in the Cash Incentive Plan are met.



The Company’s market capitalization for purposes of the Cash Incentive Plan, is determined based on either (1) the closing price of one share of the Company’s Common Stock on the Nasdaq Capital Market multiplied by the total issued and outstanding shares and options to purchase shares of the Company or (2) the aggregate consideration payable to security holders of the Company in the event of a merger or acquisition transaction that constitutes a sale of ownership of the Company or its assets (a Merger Transaction).



The Company’s market capitalization,  including all outstanding stock options, was $89.4 million at the inception of the Cash Incentive Plan on August 26, 2020. The Cash Incentive Plan triggers a potential cash bonus each time specified market capitalization levels are achieved, up to a maximum $5 billion in market capitalization. The Cash Incentive Plan specifies 14 incremental amounts between $200 million and $5 billion (each increment, a “Valuation Milestone”). Each Valuation Milestone triggers a potential cash bonus award in a pre-set amount defined in the Cash Incentive Plan, subject to satisfaction of the additional payout conditions noted below. Each Valuation Milestone must be achieved and maintained for no less than 20 consecutive trading days for Cash Incentive Plan participants to be eligible for a potential cash bonus award.



Payment of cash bonuses is contingent on (1) the Company having completed a Merger Transaction, or (2) the Compensation Committee of the Board (the Compensation Committee)  having determined the Company has sufficient cash on hand, as defined in the Cash Incentive Plan, to render payment, neither of which may ever occur. Accordingly, there can be no assurance that Cash Incentive Plan participants will ever be paid a cash bonus that is awarded under the Cash Incentive Plan, even if the Company’s market capitalization increases significantly.



The Company’s Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer (assuming such participant shall hold all three such offices) shall be entitled to 33.3% of any bonus award triggered upon attainment of a Valuation Milestone. Each independent director as of August 2020 shall be entitled to 2.0%, and each independent director appointed subsequent to August 2020 shall be entitled to 1.0% of any such bonus award, subject to a reasonable increase for committee members as approved by the Board. Dr. Friedmann and Dr. Kupiec are members of the Scientific and Technical team, which is entitled to receive in the aggregate a maximum of 33.3% of any bonus award triggered upon attainment of a Valuation Milestone, provided that actual aggregate amounts may be less than 33.3% in the sole discretion of the Compensation Committee. Mr. Schoen is a member of a team that is entitled to receive in the aggregate a maximum of 23.3% of any bonus award triggered upon attainment of a Valuation Milestone, provided that actual aggregate amounts may be less than 23.3% in the sole discretion of the Compensation Committee. The Compensation Committee expects to consider a variety of factors in allocating Cash Incentive Plan awards among team participants, including years of experience, education level, longevity with the Company, intellectual and other contributions to the Company, the actual and projected success of the Company and additional factors affecting overall compensation. There is no continuing service requirement for Cash Incentive Plan participants once the Compensation Committee approves a cash bonus award. Any amounts not awarded by the Compensation Committee are no longer available for distribution.



As of December 31, 2020, an aggregate of $10.0 million in potential payments were triggered under the Cash Incentive Plan as a result of achievement of a  Valuation Milestone. The Compensation Committee approved a potential cash bonus award of $7.3 million in total for all Cash Incentive Plan participants, with $3,330,000, $1,500,000 and $50,000 of such potential payouts being allocated to Mr. Barbier, Dr. Friedmann and Mr. Schoen, respectively. However, payment of cash bonuses is contingent on achievement of the additional performance conditions noted above. Accordingly, there can be no assurance that executive officers will ever be paid these potential payments or any other  cash bonus under the Cash Incentive Plan.



During the year ended December 31, 2021, the Company’s market capitalization increased substantially. These increases triggered the achievement of 11 additional Valuation Milestones. Collectively, the achievement of such milestones could trigger potential Company obligations to Cash Incentive Plan participants ranging from a minimum of $93.7 million up to a hypothetical maximum of $225.0 million, with exact amounts to be determined by the Compensation Committee and contingent upon future satisfaction of a Performance Condition. Mr. Barbier was entitled to $74.9 million in potential payments, subject to satisfaction of applicable conditions for payment. Drs. Friedmann and Kupiec and Mr. Schoen’s awards are yet to be determined by the Compensation Committee, but will range from no award up to the maximum as established in the Cash Incentive Plan, and subject to satisfaction of applicable conditions for payment.



No actual cash payments were authorized or made to participants under the Cash Incentive Plan through March 24, 2022.



Stock Related Compensation. Stock related compensation includes both stock option grants and other types of equity awards within the terms of our 2008 Equity Incentive Plan and 2018 Plan, as applicable.



Each executive officer is eligible for stock option grants as well as share-based awards that vest upon achievement of certain performance criteria, or “Performance Awards”. Such grants are intended to link executive awards with stockholder value over time. Only our Board of Directors, acting in its sole discretion, or the Compensation Committee grants options or Performance Awards to our executive officers.



We view stock options as one of the more important components of our long-term, performance-based compensation philosophy. We provide options through initial grants at or near the date of hire and through subsequent periodic grants. Options for executive officers are

27


 

granted, vest and become exercisable at such time as determined by our Board of Directors. Generally, stock option grants are exercisable over a four-year period and have an exercise price equal to the fair market value of our stock at the time of grant. Initial grants are based on ranges that take into consideration an executive’s job responsibilities and competitive market data. For subsequent periodic grants, the Compensation Committee evaluates performance based on each individual’s contribution to the long-term success and growth of the Company, the Company’s performance and the motivational value of additional incremental stock option grants. No stock options are granted in the absence of satisfactory performance. Stock option grants generally terminate shortly after an executive officer ceases providing services to the Company.



We grant periodic additional stock options:



·

to reflect the individuals ongoing contributions;

·

to create an incentive to remain with us; and

·

to provide a long-term incentive to achieve or exceed our financial goals.



In granting stock options in the current year, we may consider the cumulative benefit of stock options granted in prior years. We do not have a program, plan or practice to time stock option grants to our executives in coordination with the release of material nonpublic information. We have not re-priced any of our options and do not intend to re-price or otherwise adjust options in the event that fair market value of our Common Stock declines below an option grant price. None of our executive officers received stock option grants in 2021 or 2020 due to the limited number of shares available in the 2018 Plan (See Proposal 2 to increase the number of shares available in the 2018 Plan).



Any personal tax obligations resulting from equity awards are the responsibility of the award recipient. If we issue certain shares for equity awards net of applicable individual taxes, the number of shares issued would be reduced, without reducing the amount of taxable compensation to the award recipient. 



Performance Awards



No Performance Awards were granted in 2021.



Other Compensation



Pension or Retirement Plans.  We do not offer any of our employees a pension plan, retirement plan or other forms of compensation or perquisites paid out upon retirement. Executive officers are eligible for other benefits, in each case, on generally the same basis as other employees, subject to applicable law. 



Employee Medical and Welfare Benefit Plans.  Our employee medical and welfare benefit plans include medical, dental, life, disability and accidental death and dismemberment insurance. We add to taxable income of each named executive officer an amount representing the premium for term life insurance. 



2000 Employee Stock Purchase Plan.    Our named executive officers are eligible to participate in our 2000 Employee Stock Purchase Plan (“ESPP”), but did not participate in the ESPP in 2021. We may terminate the ESPP at any time.



401(k) Plan.  We maintain a 401(k) Plan that is a defined contribution plan intended to qualify under Section 401(a) of the IRS Code. We have not matched any pre-tax contributions to the 401(k) Plan.



Paid Time Off.  Our executive officers do not accrue vacation benefits available to our other employees, but do receive other paid time off benefits on the same basis as other employees.



Post-Employment Obligations



We have employment agreements with Messrs. Barbier, Kupiec and Schoen that provide for payments and benefits in connection with a termination of employment without cause. The primary basis for selecting termination without cause for triggering payment was that such terms are deemed necessary in attracting and retaining high-performing executive talent. For additional information on the specific terms and conditions of this employment arrangements, see the discussion in the section entitled “Executive Compensation and Other Matters –  Employment and Severance Arrangements” of this Proxy Statement.



Accounting and Tax Considerations



Generally, the expense related to an option grant or award is established at the time of awards for purposes of financial reporting and recognized as appropriate over the period of time covered by the option grant or award. Our financial statements include more information regarding accounting for stock options.



The tax deductions related to equity awards are generally determined in the future, usually at the time of exercise or sale of the underlying stock from stock options or at the time of vesting of other equity awards. These tax deductions may be more or less than the amount of the underlying expense recorded for financial reporting purposes. We cannot predict the amount of tax deductions we earn in the future, if any, because the deductions are based on the fair market value of Common Stock on the date when the tax deduction is earned.

28


 



Section 162(m) generally imposes a $1 million limit on the amount a public company may deduct for compensation paid to certain current and former executive officers. Prior to 2018, this limitation did not apply to compensation that met Section 162(m)’s requirements for qualifying performance-based compensation. This performance-based compensation exemption was repealed, effective for taxable years beginning after December 31, 2017, such that compensation paid to our covered executive officers in excess of $1 million will not be deductible, unless such compensation qualifies for transition relief applicable to certain arrangements that were in effect as of November 2, 2017 and are not materially modified thereafter.



As in prior years, while deductibility of executive compensation for federal income tax purposes is among the factors we consider when structuring our executive compensation arrangements, it is not the sole or primary factor considered. We retain the flexibility to authorize compensation that may not be deductible if we believe it is in the best interests of the Company.



Stock Ownership Guidelines



We do not have any stock ownership guidelines, ownership goals or holding requirements. We have an insider trading policy that establishes certain restrictions on trading windows.



If and as we succeed in achieving approval for and commercializing our product candidates, we expect that we will adapt the elements of our compensation program as appropriate and may include or substitute other elements in our compensation program. Changes in the elements of our compensation program may also reflect changes in the importance of tax or accounting treatments of a particular element of our compensation program.



Results of 2021 Say-on-Pay Advisory Vote



In 2021, our stockholders approved, in a non-binding advisory vote by 59%, the 2020 compensation paid to the Company’s named executive officers. We considered the stockholders’ vote in our review of our compensation programs and in establishing compensation for our named executive officers in 2021. We will hold another say-on-pay advisory vote in 2023.



Summary Compensation Table



The following table sets forth information regarding compensation for each of our named executive officers.





 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Name and Principal Position

Year

 

Salary
($)

 

Bonus
($)

 

Stock

Awards

($)

 

Option Awards (1)
($)

 

All Other Compen-
sation(2) 
($)

 

Total
($)

Remi Barbier

2021

 

975,000 

 

750,000 

 

 —

 

 —

 

16,120 

 

1,741,120 

President, Chief Executive Officer

2020

 

920,000 

 

 —

 

 —

 

 —

 

16,120 

 

936,120 

and Chairman of the Board

2019

 

899,375 

 

 —

 

 —

 

166,860 

 

6,991 

 

1,073,226 



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nadav Friedmann, Ph.D., M.D.

2021

 

365,000 

 

400,000 

 

 —

 

 —

 

 —

 

765,000 

Chief Medical Officer

2020

 

345,000 

 

 —

 

 —

 

 —

 

 —

 

345,000 

and Director

2019

 

333,542 

 

 —

 

 —

 

83,430 

 

 —

 

416,972 



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

James W. Kupiec, M.D.(3)

2021

 

373,579 

 

100,000 

 

 —

 

 —

 

 

 

473,579 

Chief Clinical Development Officer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eric J. Schoen

2021

 

275,000 

 

500,000 

 

 —

 

 —

 

1,932 

 

776,932 

Chief Financial Officer

2020

 

250,000 

 

 —

 

 —

 

 —

 

1,932 

 

251,932 



2019

 

250,000 

 

 —

 

 —

 

 —

 

1,369 

 

251,369 



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(1)    Assumptions used in calculating the value of option awards are described in Notes 2 and 7 to the Financial Statements in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2021, incorporated herein by reference.  The amounts reported for option awards are based on the aggregate grant date fair value computed in accordance with ASC Topic 718. 

(2)    Represents life insurance premiums paid by us on behalf of our executive officers.

(3)    Dr. Kupiec joined the Company on January 4, 2021.



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Grants of Plan-based Awards



Grants of Plan-based awards during 2021 to our named executive officers were as follows:





 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



 

 

Estimated future payouts under non-equity incentive plan awards (1)

 

Estimated future payouts under equity incentive plan awards

 

 

 

 

 

 

Name

Grant Date

 

Threshold

 

Target

 

Maximum

 

Threshold

 

Target

 

Maximum

 

All other option awards: Number of securities underlying options (#)

 

Exercise or base price of option awards ($/sh)

 

Grant date fair value of option awards($)



 

 

($)

 

($)

 

($)

 

(#)

 

(#)

 

(#)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Remi Barbier

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nadav Friedmann, Ph.D., M.D.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

James W. Kupiec, M.D.(2)

1/4/2021

 

(3)

(4)

104,895,000

(4)

 

 

 

 

 



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eric J. Schoen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



(1)   Represents potential payments under the Cash Incentive Plan. Payment of cash bonuses is deferred until such time as (1) the Company completes a Merger Transaction, or (2) the Compensation Committee determines the Company has sufficient cash on hand to render payment, neither of which may ever occur. Accordingly, there can be no assurance that Cash Incentive Plan participants will ever be paid a cash bonus under the Cash Incentive Plan.

(2)  Dr. Kupiec became a participant in the Cash Incentive Plan on January 4, 2021, his first date of employment with the Company.

(3)  The Cash Incentive Plan does not include a  minimum or target potential payment amount for Dr. Kupiec.

(4)   Dr. Kupiec is a member of the Scientific and Technical team, which is entitled to receive in the aggregate a maximum of 33.3% of any bonus award triggered upon attainment of a Valuation Milestone, provided that actual aggregate amounts may be less than 33.3% in the sole discretion of the Compensation Committee. Amount under the heading “Maximum” represents the theoretical maximum award for Dr. Kupiec upon his becoming a participant in the Cash Incentive Plan assuming (1) the maximum amount for his team was awarded, and (2) awarded solely to Dr. Kupiec – with no awards to other Scientific and Technical team members, which we believe to be highly improbable and unrealistic assumptions. The Compensation Committee may elect to award no amounts to Dr. Kupiec even if all Valuation Milestones have been met,  such that he has no target payment.

30


 

Outstanding Equity Awards at Fiscal Year End



The following table sets forth information regarding the outstanding equity awards at December 31, 2021 held by each of our executive officers named in the Summary Compensation Table. Dr. Kupiec does not have any outstanding equity awards.







 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



 

 

Option Awards(1) (2) 

Stock Awards(1) (3) 

Name

Option/ Award Grant Date

 

Number of Securities Underlying Unexercised Options Exercisable

(#)

 

Number of Securities Underlying Unexercised Options Unexercisable

(#)

 

Option Exercise Price
($)

 

Option Expiration Date

Equity Incentive Plan Awards: Unearned Shares, Units or Other Rights That Have Not Vested 
(#)

 

Equity Incentive Plan Awards: Market or Payout Value of Unearned Shares, Units or Other Rights That Have Not Vested
($)

Remi Barbier

6/8/12

 

65,368 

 

 —

 

23.38 

 

6/8/22

 

 

 



6/8/12

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

57,142 

 

951,986 



6/5/13

 

71,428 

 

 —

 

16.87 

 

6/5/23

 

 

 



6/6/14

 

85,714 

 

 —

 

35.00 

 

6/6/24

 

 

 



11/14/14

 

85,714 

 

 —

 

12.04 

 

11/14/24

 

 

 



12/11/15

 

85,714 

 

 —

 

13.02 

 

12/11/25

 

 

 



8/23/17

 

300,000 

 

 —

 

3.24 

 

8/23/27

 

 

 -



9/28/18

 

48,750 

 

11,250 

 

1.01 

 

9/28/28

 

 

 



12/13/19

 

50,000 

 

50,000 

 

1.88 

 

12/13/29

 

 

 



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nadav Friedmann, Ph.D., M.D.

6/8/12

 

28,014 

 

 —

 

23.38 

 

6/8/22

 

 

 



6/8/12

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

37,353 

 

622,301 



6/5/13

 

42,856 

 

 —

 

16.87 

 

6/5/23

 

 

 



6/6/14

 

42,857 

 

 —

 

35.00 

 

6/6/24

 

 

 



11/14/14

 

42,857 

 

 —

 

12.04 

 

11/14/24

 

 

 



12/11/15

 

42,857 

 

 —

 

13.02 

 

12/11/25

 

 

 



8/23/17

 

250,000 

 

 —

 

3.24 

 

8/23/27

 

 

 



9/14/18

 

40,625 

 

9,375 

 

0.95 

 

9/14/28

 

 

 



12/13/19

 

25,000 

 

25,000 

 

1.88 

 

12/13/29

 

 

 



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eric J. Schoen

10/31/18

 

39,583 

 

10,417 

 

1.18 

 

10/31/28

 

 

 



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



(1)  All of the outstanding equity awards were granted under our 2008 Equity Incentive Plan and 2018 Plan.

(2)  Option awards were granted with an exercise price equal to the fair market value on the date of grant.  One forty-eighth of the shares subject to each such option vest and become exercisable one month after the vesting commencement date, and an additional one forty-eighth of the shares subject to such option vest each month thereafter. Stock awards reflect Performance Awards. Stock awards granted on June 8, 2012 vest upon achievement of certain performance goals.

(3)  Stock awards granted on June 8, 2012 vest upon achievement of certain performance goals.

 



Option Exercises 



The following table sets forth stock option exercises by our named executive officers in 2021.





 

 

 

 

 

 

 



 

 

 

 

 

 

 



Option Awards

 

Stock Awards

Name

Number of Shares Acquired on Exercise
(#)

 

Value Realized on Exercise
($)

 

Number of Shares Acquired on Vesting
(#)

 

Value Realized on Vesting
($)

Remi Barbier

2,065 

 

114,862 

 

 —

 

 —

Nadav Friedman, Ph.D., M.D.

4,019 

 

251,295 

 

 —

 

 —

James W. Kupiec, M.D.

 —

 

 —

 

 —

 

 —

Eric J. Schoen

 —

 

 —

 

 —

 

 —