If we are unable to obtain and maintain patent protection for our current product candidate, any future product candidates we may develop and our technology, or if the scope of the patent protection obtained is not sufficiently broad, our competitors could develop and commercialize products and technology similar or identical to ours, and our ability to successfully commercialize our current product candidate, any future product candidates we may develop and our technology may be adversely affected.
Our success depends, in large part, on our ability to seek, obtain and maintain patent protection in the United States and other countries with respect to AVXS‑101 and to future innovation related to our manufacturing technology. Our licensors have sought and we intend to seek to protect our proprietary position by filing patent applications in the United States and, in some cases, abroad related to certain technologies and AVXS‑101 that are important to our business. Our current patent portfolio contains a limited number of patents and applications, all of the patents and patent applications currently in our patent portfolio are in‑licensed from third parties and all of the exclusively licensed patents and patent applications in our patent portfolio are limited to compositions and methods that use an AAV9 capsid. However, the risks associated with patent rights generally apply to patent rights that we in‑license now or in the future, as well as patent rights that we may own in the future. Moreover, the risks apply with respect to patent rights and other intellectual property applicable to AVXS‑101, as well as to any intellectual property rights that we may acquire in the future related to future product candidates, if any.
The patent prosecution process is expensive, time‑consuming and complex, and we may not be able to file, prosecute, maintain, enforce or license all necessary or desirable patent applications at a reasonable cost or in a timely manner. For example, one of the patent application families licensed to us related to AVXS‑101 was filed in the United States only. As a result, we will not have the opportunity to obtain patent protection for the inventions disclosed in that patent application family outside the United States. In addition, certain patents in the field of gene therapy that may have otherwise potentially provided patent protection for our product candidate will soon expire.
We believe our in‑licensed patent portfolio includes claims that, if issued, would cover our AVXS‑101 product candidate. Should a pending application containing such claims issue as a patent, such patent would expire in 2029 in the United States. However, claims covering AVXS‑101 may never issue from this pending application. Additionally, there are no foreign counterpart patents or applications, and thus, comparable protection will not be available outside the United States. Our patent applications are at an early stage and there is no assurance that patents will issue from such applications.
In some cases, the work of certain academic researchers in the gene therapy field has entered the public domain, which we believe precludes our ability to obtain patent protection for certain inventions relating to such work. Consequently, we will not be able to assert any such patents to prevent others from using our technology for, and developing and marketing competing products to treat, these indications. It is also possible that we will fail to identify patentable aspects of our research and development output before it is too late to obtain patent protection.
We are a party to intellectual property license agreements with NCH, REGENXBIO and AskBio, each of which is important to our business, and we expect to enter into additional license agreements in the future. Our existing license agreements impose, and we expect that future license agreements will impose, various diligence, development and commercialization timelines, milestone payments, royalties and other obligations on us. See “Business—Our Collaboration and License Agreements.” If we fail to comply with our obligations under these agreements, or we are subject to a bankruptcy, or, in some cases, under other circumstances, the licensor may have the right to terminate the license, in which event we would not be able to market product candidate(s) covered by the license. In addition, certain of these license agreements are not assignable by us without the consent of the respective licensor, which may have an adverse effect on our ability to engage in certain transactions.
The patent position of biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies generally is highly uncertain, involves complex legal and factual questions and has, in recent years, been the subject of much litigation. As a result, the issuance, scope, validity, enforceability and commercial value of our patent rights are highly uncertain. Our licensed patent rights and future patent applications that we may own or license may not result in patents being issued which protect our technology or product candidate(s), effectively prevent others from commercializing competitive technologies and product candidates or otherwise provide any competitive advantage. In fact, patent applications may