Quarterly report pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d)

4. Commitments and Contingencies

4. Commitments and Contingencies
3 Months Ended
Mar. 31, 2013
Notes to Financial Statements  
4. Commitments and Contingencies

Operating Leases


Our corporate offices are currently located at 14 Norfolk Avenue, South Easton, Massachusetts 02375.  In November 2007, we signed a lease agreement commencing in February 2008 pursuant to which we lease approximately 5,500 square feet of office space.  We extended the lease term until December 31, 2013 with a monthly payment of $4,800.


Effective January 1, 2010, we entered into a three-year lease agreement with the University of Massachusetts in Boston, pursuant to which we are leasing laboratory and office space on campus at the university for research and development activities.  This lease was amended to expire on December 31, 2014.  We pay $5,500 per month for the use of these facilities.


Rental costs are expensed as incurred.  During the three months ended March 31, 2013 and 2012, we incurred $30,900 and $29,400, respectively, in rent expense for the use of our corporate office and research and development facilities.


Royalty Commitments


In 1996, we acquired our initial equity interest in BioSeq, Inc., which at the time was developing our original pressure cycling technology.  BioSeq, Inc. acquired its pressure cycling technology from BioMolecular Assays, Inc. (“BMA”) under a technology transfer and patent assignment agreement.  In 1998, we purchased all of the remaining outstanding capital stock of BioSeq, Inc., and at such time, the technology transfer and patent assignment agreement was amended to require us to pay BMA a 5% royalty on our sales of products or services that incorporate or utilize the original pressure cycling technology that BioSeq, Inc. acquired from BMA.  We are also required to pay BMA 5% of the proceeds from any sale, transfer or license of all or any portion of the original pressure cycling technology.  These payment obligations terminate in 2016.  During the three months ended March 31, 2013 and 2012, we incurred $5,680 and $5,288, respectively, in royalty expense associated with our obligation to BMA.


In connection with our acquisition of BioSeq, Inc., we licensed certain limited rights to the original pressure cycling technology back to BMA.  This license is non-exclusive and limits the use of the original pressure cycling technology by BMA solely for molecular applications in scientific research and development and in scientific plant research and development.  BMA is required to pay us a royalty equal to 20% of any license or other fees and royalties, but not including research support and similar payments, it receives in connection with any sale, assignment, license or other transfer of any rights granted to BMA under the license.  BMA must pay us these royalties until the expiration of the patents held by BioSeq, Inc. in 1998, which we anticipate will be in 2016.  We have not received any royalty payments from BMA under this license.


Battelle Memorial Institute


In December 2008, we entered into an exclusive patent license agreement with the Battelle Memorial Institute ("Battelle"). The licensed technology is described in the patent application filed by Battelle on July 31, 2008 (US serial number 12/183,219). This application includes subject matter related to a method and a system for improving the analysis of protein samples, including through an automated system utilizing pressure and a pre-selected agent to obtain a digested sample in a significantly shorter period of time than current methods, while maintaining the integrity of the sample throughout the preparatory process.  Pursuant to the terms of the agreement we paid Battelle a non-refundable initial fee of $35,000.  In addition to royalty payments on net sales on “licensed products”, we are obligated to make minimum royalty payments for each year that we retain the rights outlined in the patent license agreement and we are required to have our first commercial sale of the licensed products within one year following the issuance of the patent covered by the licensed technology.  Our only obligation for 2012 was a minimum annual royalty payment of $10,000.  Our minimum annual royalty payment for 2013 is $12,500.


Target Discovery Inc.


In March 2010, we signed a strategic product licensing, manufacturing, co-marketing, and collaborative research and development agreement with Target Discovery Inc. (“TDI”). TDI’s Chief Executive Officer is a board member of Pressure BioSciences, Inc.  Under the terms of the agreement, we have been licensed by TDI to manufacture and sell a highly innovative line of chemicals used in the preparation of tissues for scientific analysis ("TDI reagents").  The TDI reagents were designed for use in combination with our pressure cycling technology.  The companies believe that the combination of PCT and the TDI reagents can fill an existing need in life science research for an automated method for rapid extraction and recovery of intact, functional proteins associated with cell membranes in tissue samples. In April 2012 we announced an expanded license agreement and collaboration with TDI with a first target goal to meet unmet needs in treatment guidance for ovarian cancer. We did not incur a royalty liability on sales through March 31, 2013.


Severance and Change of Control Agreements


Each of Mr. Schumacher, Dr. Ting, Dr. Lazarev, and Dr. Lawrence, executive officers of the Company, is entitled to receive a severance payment if terminated by us without cause.  The severance benefits would include a payment in an amount equal to one year of such executive officer’s annualized base salary compensation plus accrued paid time off.  Additionally, the officer will be entitled to receive medical and dental insurance coverage for one year following the date of termination.


Each of these executive officers, other than Mr. Schumacher, is entitled to receive a change of control payment in an amount equal to one year of such executive officer’s annualized base salary compensation, accrued paid time off, and medical and dental coverage, in the event of a change of control of the Company.  In the case of Mr. Schumacher, this payment would be equal to two years of annualized base salary compensation, accrued paid time off, and two years of medical and dental coverage.  The severance payment is meant to induce the executive to become an employee of the Company and to remain in the employ of the Company, in general, and particularly in the occurrence of a change in control.


Promissory Note


On November 4, 2011, the Company entered into an agreement with a former placement agent, pursuant to which the Company and the placement agent released each other of their respective obligations under a prior investment banking agreement.  In connection with this agreement, the Company issued the placement agent a promissory note with an original principal amount of $150,000 and a maturity date of May 4, 2012.  The promissory note was interest free until May 4, 2012.  On November 15, 2012, $75,000 of principal and $16,125 of accrued and unpaid interest were converted into 18,225 shares of the Company’s Series G Convertible Preferred Stock. The $75,000 principal balance remaining as of March 31, 2013 earns interest at a rate of 18% per year.


Convertible Debt


Loans in the aggregate amount of $155,000 were received from two individuals in the quarter ended March 31, 2013. We accrued interest at a rate of 6% on the loans.   These loans, along with $863,000 of other prior outstanding loans and unpaid interest, were converted to the Company’s Series J Convertible Preferred Shares in February 2013.