We face significant competition in an environment of rapid technological change and the possibility that our competitors may achieve regulatory approval before us or develop therapies that are more advanced or effective than ours, which may adversely affect our financial condition and our ability to successfully market or commercialize AVXS‑101 or other product candidates.
We operate in highly competitive segments of the biopharmaceutical markets. We face competition from many different sources, including larger and better‑funded pharmaceutical, specialty pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, as well as from academic institutions, government agencies and private and public research institutions. Our product candidates, if successfully developed and approved, will compete with established therapies as well as with new treatments that may be introduced by our competitors. There are a variety of drug candidates in development for the indications that we intend to test. Many of our competitors have significantly greater financial, product candidate development, manufacturing and marketing resources than we do. Large pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies have extensive experience in clinical testing and obtaining regulatory approval for drugs. We also may compete with these organizations to recruit management, scientists and clinical development personnel. We will also face competition from these third parties in establishing clinical trial sites, registering subjects for clinical trials and in identifying and in‑licensing new product candidates. Smaller or early‑stage companies may also prove to be significant competitors, particularly through collaborative arrangements with large and established companies.
New developments, including the development of other pharmaceutical technologies and methods of treating disease, occur in the pharmaceutical and life sciences industries at a rapid pace. Developments by competitors may delay the initiation of future clinical trials, or otherwise change our development plans, for AVXS‑101, or may render our product candidates obsolete or noncompetitive. Competition in drug development is intense. We anticipate that we will face intense and increasing competition as new treatments enter the market and advanced technologies become available.
We are aware of several companies, including Voyager Therapeutics, Inc. and Généthon, focused on developing gene therapies in various indications, as well as several companies addressing other methods for modifying genes and regulating gene expression. Any advances in gene therapy technology made by a competitor may be used to develop therapies that could compete against AVXS‑101. In addition to a gene therapy‑based solution such as AVXS‑101, alternative approaches for the treatment of SMA include alternative splicing, neuroprotection and muscle enhancers. Alternative splicing seeks to achieve more efficient production of full‑length SMN protein from the SMN2 gene. Companies utilizing this approach include Ionis Pharmaceuticals, Inc., which in December 2016, together with its licensee, Biogen, received FDA approval for their product SPINRAZA™ (nusinersen) under Priority Review for the treatment of SMA in pediatric and adult patients and subsequently launched the product, Roche Holding Ltd, which is conducting a Phase 2 clinical trial for SMA Type 1 patients and a Phase 2 trial for SMA Types 2 and 3 patients and Novartis Corporation, which is conducting Phase 2 clinical trials for SMA Type 1 patients in the EU. Neuroprotectants seek to mitigate the loss of motor neurons. Trophos SA, which has been acquired by Roche Holding Ltd, has completed its Phase 3 clinical trial of its lead neuroprotectant product candidate, Olesoxime (TRO19622), in patients between the ages of three and 25 with SMA Types 2 and 3. Cytokinetics, in collaboration with Astellas, is conducting a Phase 2 trial of their muscle enhancer CK-2127107 in SMA Types 2, 3 and 4 patients and Catalyst is conducting a Phase 2 trial of their muscle enhancer Firdapse in SMA Type 3 patients.
Many of our potential competitors, alone or with their strategic partners, have substantially greater financial, technical and other resources, such as larger research and development, clinical, marketing and manufacturing organizations. Mergers and acquisitions in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries may result in even more resources being concentrated among a smaller number of competitors. Our commercial opportunity could be reduced or eliminated if competitors develop and commercialize products that are safer, more effective, have fewer or less severe side effects, are more convenient or are less expensive than any product candidate that we may develop. Competitors also may obtain FDA or other regulatory approval for their products more rapidly or earlier than we may obtain approval for ours, which could result in our competitors establishing a strong market position before we are able to enter the market. Additionally, technologies developed by our competitors may render AVXS‑101 uneconomical or obsolete, and we may not be successful in marketing AVXS‑101 against competitors.
In addition, as a result of the expiration or successful challenge of our patent rights, we could face more litigation with respect to the validity and/or scope of patents relating to our competitors’ products. The availability of our