Verastem Inc. (NASDAQ:VSTM) recently added to its staff, four new employees. As per company tradition, Verastem extended the new hires an option to buy into the firm. Notably, three of the employees will have access to 19,467 shares of the company’s common stock. The fourth will have a stock option amounting to 22,200 shares of the restricted stock units (RSUs).

2018 was pivotal for Verastem

In particular, the employees will be able to exercise just 20% of the common stock during the first anniversary of their hiring. Thereafter, the stock will vest at a rate of 5%. On the other hand, the employee handed the RSUs will exercise 25% of the stock on every anniversary of employment. Notably, the inducement grant agrees with Nasdaq’s listing conditions, particularly Nasdaq Listing Rule 5635(c)(4).

The ability to add four more employees comes on the back of a great run in 2018. According to the firm’s review of the year, 2018 was pivotal. Verastem outlined the priorities for the New Year at the same time.

Notably, the approval of COPIKTRA, a proprietary drug patient with refractory chronic lymphocytic leukemia, was the most crucial highlight. Further, the FDA approved the enzyme inhibitor for the treatment of relapsed follicular lymphoma (FL) in adult patients. According to Verastem, they anticipate further approvals subject to “verification and description of clinical benefit in a confirmatory trial.”

Verastem pushing COPIKTRA

During the same year, Verastem successfully deployed the sales and market access teams all across the U.S. Notably; the teams accomplished pitches for COPIKTRA to various stakeholders including oncology healthcare professionals and medical institutions. Interestingly, the efforts paid off as there several patients under treatment with COPIKTRA prescriptions. As such, the product is fully operational all across the states.

Further, Verastem entered strategic partnerships with firms in Japan and China. In the first instance, the Company agreed to an exclusive license agreement where Yakult Honsha will push COPIKTRA’s presence in Japan. Notably, the Japan-based firm will develop and commercialize the drug per the signed agreement. Interestingly, Verastem entered a similar agreement with CSPC Pharmaceutical Group Limited based in China.

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