DESCRIPTION OF CAPITAL STOCK
The following description of our capital stock and provisions of our amended and restated certificate of incorporation and amended and restated bylaws are summaries. You should also refer to the amended and restated certificate of incorporation and the amended and restated bylaws, which are included as exhibits to this Annual Report on Form 10-K, and to the provisions of applicable Delaware law.
Under our amended and restated certificate of incorporation, we are authorized to issue up to 200,000,000 shares of common stock, $0.001 par value per share, and 5,000,000 shares of preferred stock, $0.001 par value per share, all of which shares of preferred stock are undesignated. Our board of directors may establish the rights and preferences of the preferred stock from time to time. As of December 31, 2019, we had 44,384,222 shares of common stock outstanding and 2,857,143 shares of preferred stock outstanding.
Each holder of common stock is entitled to one vote for each share held of record on all matters submitted to a vote of the stockholders, including the election of directors, and does not have cumulative voting rights. Accordingly, the holders of a majority of the shares of common stock entitled to vote in any election of directors can elect all of the directors standing for election.
Subject to preferences that may be applicable to any then-outstanding preferred stock, the holders of common stock are entitled to receive dividends, if any, as may be declared from time to time by the board of directors out of legally available funds.
In the event of our liquidation, dissolution or winding up, holders of our common stock will be entitled to share ratably in the net assets legally available for distribution to stockholders after the payment of all of our debts and other liabilities, and the satisfaction of any liquidation preference granted to the holders of any then-outstanding shares of preferred stock.
Rights and Preferences
Holders of our common stock have no preemptive, conversion or subscription rights, and there are no redemption or sinking fund provisions applicable to our common stock. The rights, preferences and privileges of the holders of common stock are subject to, and may be adversely affected by, the rights of the holders of shares of any series of preferred stock that we may designate in the future.
As of December 31, 2019, options to purchase an aggregate of 4,480,606 shares of our common stock, with a weighted average exercise price of $4.82 per share, were outstanding under our 2016 Equity Incentive Plan.
Restricted Stock Units
As of December 31, 2019, we had 267,500 shares of non-vested restricted stock outstanding. The restricted shares vest annually over a four-year period beginning on the first anniversary of the award.
Underwriters' Unit Purchase Option
We issued the underwriters of our initial public offering a unit purchase option (the "UPO") in 2015 that provides the underwriters the option to purchase up to a total of 40,000 units. The units underlying the UPO will be, immediately upon exercise, separated into shares of common stock, underwriters' Class A warrants, and underwriters' Class B warrants (such warrants together referred to as the Underwriters' Warrants). The Underwriters' Warrants were warrants to purchase shares of common stock. The Class B warrants expired in April 2017 and the Class A warrants expired in October 2018, while the UPO, which has a weighted average exercise price of $7.47, expires in October 2020.
As of December 31, 2019, we had outstanding 4,024,708 warrants to purchase shares of our common stock at a weighted average exercise price of $12.47 per share.
Pursuant to our amended and restated certificate of incorporation, our board of directors has the authority, without further action by the stockholders (unless such stockholder action is required by applicable law or stock exchange listing rules), to designate and issue up to 5,000,000 shares of preferred stock in one or more series, to establish from time to time the number of shares to be included in each such series, to fix the designations, powers, preferences, privileges and relative participating, optional or special rights and the qualifications, limitations or restrictions thereof, including dividend rights, conversion rights, voting rights, terms of redemption and liquidation preferences, any or all of which may be greater than the rights of the common stock, and to increase or decrease the number of shares of any such series, but not below the number of shares of such series then outstanding.
Our board of directors, without stockholder approval, can issue preferred stock with voting, conversion or other rights that could adversely affect the voting power and other rights of the holders of common stock. Preferred stock could be issued quickly with terms designed to delay or prevent a change in control of our company or make removal of management more difficult. Additionally, the issuance of preferred stock may have the effect of decreasing the market price of the common stock and may adversely affect the voting power of holders of common stock and reduce the likelihood that common stockholders will receive dividend payments and payments upon liquidation.
Our board of directors will fix the designations, voting powers, preferences and rights of each series, as well as the qualifications, limitations or restrictions thereof, of the preferred stock of each series that we offer under this prospectus and applicable prospectus supplements in the certificate of designation relating to that series. We will file as an exhibit to the registration statement of which this prospectus is a part, or will incorporate by reference from reports that we file with the SEC, the form of any certificate of designation that describes the terms of the series of preferred stock we are offering before the issuance of that series of preferred stock. This description will include:
the title and stated value;
the number of shares we are offering;
the liquidation preference per share;
the purchase price per share;
the dividend rate per share, dividend period and payment dates and method of calculation for dividends;
whether dividends will be cumulative or non-cumulative and, if cumulative, the date from which dividends will accumulate;
our right, if any, to defer payment of dividends and the maximum length of any such deferral period;
the procedures for any auction and remarketing, if any;
the provisions for a sinking fund, if any;
the provisions for redemption or repurchase, if applicable, and any restrictions on our ability to exercise those redemption and repurchase rights;
any listing of the preferred stock on any securities exchange or market;
whether the preferred stock will be convertible into our common stock or other securities of ours, including depositary shares and warrants, and, if applicable, the conversion period, the conversion price, or how it will be calculated, and under what circumstances it may be adjusted;
whether the preferred stock will be exchangeable into debt securities, and, if applicable, the exchange period, the exchange price, or how it will be calculated, and under what circumstances it may be adjusted;
voting rights, if any, of the preferred stock;
preemption rights, if any;
restrictions on transfer, sale or other assignment, if any;
whether interests in the preferred stock will be represented by depositary shares;
a discussion of any material or special U.S. federal income tax considerations applicable to the preferred stock;
the relative ranking and preferences of the preferred stock as to dividend rights and rights if we liquidate, dissolve or wind up our affairs;
any limitations on issuances of any class or series of preferred stock ranking senior to or on a parity with the series of preferred stock being issued as to dividend rights and rights if we liquidate, dissolve or wind up our affairs; and
any other specific terms, rights, preferences, privileges, qualifications or restrictions of the preferred stock.
The Delaware General Corporation Law, the corporate law of our state of our incorporation, provides that the holders of preferred stock will have the right to vote separately as a class (or, in some cases, as a series) on an amendment to our certificate of incorporation if the amendment would change the par value or, unless the certificate of incorporation provided otherwise, the number of authorized shares of the class or change the powers, preferences or special rights of the class or series so as to adversely affect the class or series, as the case may be. This right is in addition to any voting rights that may be provided for in the applicable certificate of designation.
Second Amended and Restated Investors' Rights Agreement
We and certain holders of shares of our common stock issued upon the conversion of our Series A convertible preferred stock, Series A-1 convertible preferred stock and Series B convertible preferred stock, or the Investors' Rights Agreement Shares, upon the closing of our initial public offering in October 2015 are parties to our Second Amended and Restated Investors' Rights Agreement, or the Investors' Rights Agreement. Under the Investors' Rights Agreement, these holders have certain registration rights, as described below.
Demand Registration Rights
The holders of a majority of the Investors' Rights Agreement Shares may request that we register all or a portion of their shares of common stock for sale under the Securities Act. We will effect the registration as requested so long as the aggregate price to the public, net of expenses, in connection with any such offering is at least $10 million unless, in the good faith judgment of our board of directors, such registration would be materially detrimental to our company and its stockholders and should be delayed. We are not obligated to file a registration statement pursuant to this provision on more than two occasions.
Registration on Form S-3
The holders of a majority of the Investors' Rights Agreement Shares may request that we register all or a portion of their common stock for sale under the Securities Act on Form S-3, or any successor form, so long as the aggregate price to the public, net of expenses, in connection with any such offering is at least $1 million unless, in the good faith judgment of our board of directors, such registration would be materially detrimental to our company and its stockholders and should be delayed. We are not obligated to file a Form S-3 pursuant to this provision on more than two occasions in any 12-month period.
Piggyback Registration Rights
If at any time we propose to register any shares of our common stock under the Securities Act for public sale either for our own account or for the account of other stockholders, the holders of the Investors' Rights Agreement Shares are entitled to notice of the registration and may request that include all or a portion of their shares of common stock be included in the registration. These piggyback registration rights are subject to specified conditions and limitations, including the right of the underwriters to limit the number of shares included in any such registration under specified circumstances. The holders of piggyback registration rights under the Investors' Rights Agreement have waived these rights as they may apply to the filing of the registration statement of which this prospectus is a part.
Expenses of Registration
We will pay all registration expenses, other than underwriting discounts and selling commissions, and the reasonable fees and expenses of a single special counsel for the selling stockholders, related to any demand, piggyback and Form S-3 registration.
Termination of Registration Rights
The registration rights described above will expire upon the earlier of (i) October 20, 2020, (ii) the date that a holder holds less than one percent of all the Investors' Rights Agreement Shares and the holder may sell all of its registrable securities subject to the Investors' Rights Agreement pursuant to Rule 144 without restrictions during any three-months period or (iii) the closing of a Deemed Liquidation Event, as such term is defined in our amended and restated certificate of incorporation as in effect prior to the closing of our initial public offering.
Anti-Takeover Effects of Delaware Law and Our Charter and Bylaws
Provisions of Delaware law and our amended and restated certificate of incorporation and amended and restated bylaws could make it more difficult to acquire us by means of a tender offer, a proxy contest, open market purchases, removal of incumbent directors and otherwise. These provisions, summarized below, are expected to discourage types of coercive takeover practices and inadequate takeover bids and to encourage persons to acquire control of us to first negotiate with us. We believe that the benefits of increase protection of our potential ability to negotiate with the proponent of an unfriendly or unsolicited proposal to acquire or restructure us outweigh the disadvantages of discouraging takeover or acquisition proposals because negotiation of these proposals could result in an improvement of their terms.
Delaware Anti-Takeover Law
We are subject to section 203 of the Delaware General Corporation Law, or Section 203. Section 203 generally prohibits a public Delaware corporation from engaging in a "business combination" with an "interested stockholder" for a period of three years after the date of the transaction in which the person became an interested stockholder, unless:
prior to the date of the transaction, the board of directors of the corporation approved either the business combination or the transaction which resulted in the stockholder becoming an interested stockholder;
the interested stockholder owned at least 85% of the voting stock of the corporation outstanding at the time the transaction commenced, excluding for purposes of determining the number of shares outstanding (i) shares owned by persons who are directors and also officers and (ii) shares owned by employee stock plans in which employee participants do not have the right to determine confidentially whether shares held subject to the plan will be tendered in a tender or exchange offer; or
on or subsequent to the date of the transaction, the business combination is approved by the board and authorized at an annual or special meeting of stockholders, and not by written consent, by the affirmative vote of at least 662/3% of the outstanding voting stock which is not owned by the interested stockholder.
Section 203 defines a business combination to include:
any merger or consolidation involving the corporation and the interested stockholder;
any sale, transfer, pledge or other disposition involving the interested stockholder of 10% or more of the assets of the corporation;
subject to exceptions, any transaction involving the corporation that has the effect of increasing the proportionate share of the stock of any class or series of the corporation beneficially owned by the interested stockholder;
subject to exceptions, any transaction that results in the issuance or transfer by the corporation of any stock of the corporation to the interested stockholder; and
the receipt by the interested stockholder of the benefit of any loans, advances, guarantees, pledges or other financial benefits provided by or through the corporation.
In general, Section 203 defines an interested stockholder as any entity or person beneficially owning 15% or more of the outstanding voting stock of the corporation and any entity or person affiliated with or controlling or controlled by the entity or person.
The existence of this provision generally will have an anti-takeover effect for transactions not approved in advance by the board of directors, including discouraging attempts that might result in a premium over the market price for the shares of common stock held by stockholders.
Amended and Restated Certificate of Incorporation and Amended and Restated Bylaws
Provisions of our amended and restated certificate of incorporation and amended and restated bylaws may delay or discourage transactions involving an actual or potential change in our control or change in our management, including transactions in which stockholders might otherwise receive a premium for their shares or transactions that our stockholders might otherwise deem to be in their best interests. Therefore, these provisions could adversely affect the price of our common stock. Among other things, our amended and restated certificate of incorporation and amended and restated bylaws:
permit our board of directors to issue up to 5,000,000 shares of preferred stock, with any rights, preferences and privileges as they may designate (including the right to approve an acquisition or other change in our control);
provide that the authorized number of directors may be changed only be resolution of our board of directors;
provide that all vacancies, including newly created directorships, may, except as otherwise required by law, be filled by the affirmative vote of a majority of directors then in office, even if less than a quorum;
require that any action to be taken by our stockholders must be effected at a duly called annual or special meeting of stockholders and not be taken by written consent;
provide that stockholders seeking to present proposals before a meeting of stockholders or to nominate candidates for election as directors at a meeting of stockholders must provide notice in writing in a timely manner, and also specify requirements as to the form and content of a stockholder's notice;
do not provide for cumulative voting rights (therefore allowing the holders of a majority of the shares of common stock entitled to vote in any election of directors to elect all of the directors standing for election, if they should so choose); and
provide that special meetings of our stockholders may be called only by the chairman of the board, our chief executive officers or by our board of directors pursuant to a resolution adopted by a majority of the total number of authorized directors.
The amendment of any of these provisions, with the exception of the ability of our board of directors to issue shares of preferred stock and designate any rights, preferences and privileges thereto, would require approval by the holders of at least 66 2/3% of our then outstanding common stock.
Choice of Forum
Our amended and restated certificate of incorporation provides that, unless we consent in writing to the selection of an alternative forum, the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware is the exclusive forum for:
any derivative action or proceeding brought on our behalf;
any action asserting a claim of breach of a fiduciary duty;
any action asserting a claim against us arising pursuant to any provision of the Delaware General Corporation Law, our amended and restated certificate of incorporation or our amended and restated bylaws; or
any action asserting a claim against us that is governed by the internal affairs doctrine.
The enforceability of similar choice of forum provisions in other companies' certificates of incorporation has been challenged in legal proceedings, and it is possible that, in connection with any action, a court could find the choice of forum provisions contained in our amended and restated certificate of incorporation to be inapplicable or unenforceable in such action. These provisions would not apply to suits brought to enforce a duty or liability created by the Exchange Act, Securities Act or any other claim for which the federal courts have exclusive or concurrent jurisdiction. Any person or entity purchasing or otherwise acquiring any interest in our securities shall be deemed to have notice of and consented to these provisions. Our exclusive forum provision will not relieve us of our duties to comply with the federal securities laws and the rules and regulations thereunder, and our shareholders will not be deemed to have waived our compliance with these laws, rules and regulations.
The provisions of the DGCL, our amended and restated certificate of incorporation and our amended and restated bylaws could have the effect of discouraging others from attempting hostile takeovers and may also have the effect of preventing changes in our management. It is possible that these provisions could make it more difficult to accomplish transactions that stockholders may otherwise deem to be in their best interests.
Nasdaq Capital Market Listing
Our common stock is listed on The Nasdaq Capital Market under the symbol "CERC."
Transfer Agent and Registrar
The transfer agent and registrar for our common stock is American Stock Transfer & Trust Company, LLC. The transfer agent and registrar's address is 6201 15th Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11219.