CODE OF BUSINESS CONDUCT AND ETHICS
I. Purpose and Scope
The Board of Directors of Viron (together with its subsidiaries, the “Company”) has adopted this Code of Business Conduct and Ethics (this “Code”) to aid the Company’s directors, officers and employees in making ethical and legal decisions when conducting the Company’s business and performing their day-to-day duties. The Company’s Board of Directors (the “Board”) is responsible for administering the Code.
The Company expects its directors, officers and employees to exercise reasonable judgment when conducting the Company’s business. The Company encourages its directors, officers and employees to refer to this Code frequently to ensure that they are acting within both the letter and spirit of this Code. The Company also understands that this Code will not provide an answer to every problem you may encounter or address every concern you may have about conducting the Company’s business ethically and legally. In these situations, or if you otherwise have questions or concerns about this Code, the Company encourages you to speak with your supervisor (if applicable).
The Company’s directors, officers and employees generally have other legal and contractual obligations to the Company. This Code is not intended to reduce or limit the other obligations you may have to the Company. Instead, this Code should be viewed as imposing the minimum standards the Company expects from its directors, officers and employees in the conduct of the Company’s business.
II. Standards of Conduct
A. Compliance with Laws, Rules and Regulations
The Company requires that all employees, officers and directors comply with all laws, rules and regulations applicable to the Company wherever it does business. You are expected to use good judgment and common sense in seeking to comply with all applicable laws, rules and regulations and to ask for advice when you are uncertain about them.
If you become aware of the violation of any law, rule or regulation by the Company, whether by its officers, employees, directors, or any third party doing business on behalf of the Company, it is your responsibility to promptly report the matter to your supervisor. While it is the Company’s desire to address matters internally, nothing in this Code should discourage you from reporting any illegal activity, including any violation of the securities laws, antitrust laws, environmental laws or any other federal, state or foreign law, rule or regulation, to the appropriate regulatory authority. Employees, officers and directors shall not discharge, demote, suspend, threaten, harass or in any other manner discriminate or retaliate against an employee because he or she reports any such violation, unless it is determined that the report was made with knowledge that it was false. This Code should not be construed to prohibit you from testifying, participating or otherwise assisting in any state or federal administrative, judicial or legislative proceeding or investigation.
B. Conflicts of Interest
The Company recognizes and respects the right of its directors, officers and employees to engage in outside activities that they may deem proper and desirable, provided that these activities do not impair or interfere with the performance of their duties to the Company or their ability to act in the Company’s best interests. In most, if not all, cases this will mean that our directors, officers and employees must avoid situations that present a potential or actual conflict between their personal interests and the Company’s interests.
A “conflict of interest” occurs when a director’s, officer’s or employee’s personal interest interferes with the Company’s interests. Conflicts of interest can arise in many situations. For example, conflicts of interest can arise when a director, officer or employee takes an action or has an outside interest, responsibility or obligation that can make it difficult for him or her to perform the responsibilities of his or her position objectively or effectively in the Company’s best interests.
Conflicts of interest can also occur when a director, officer or employee or his or her immediate family member receives some personal benefit (whether improper or not) as a result of the director’s, officer’s or employee’s position with the Company. Each individual’s situation is different and in evaluating his or her own situation, a director, officer or employee will have to consider many factors.
Any material transaction, responsibility, obligation, or relationship that reasonably could be expected to give rise to a conflict of interest should be reported promptly to the Chief Executive Officer.
Employees, officers and directors must maintain the confidentiality of confidential information entrusted to them by the Company or other companies, including our suppliers and customers, except when disclosure is authorized by a supervisor or legally mandated. Unauthorized disclosure of any confidential information is prohibited. Additionally, employees should take appropriate precautions to ensure that confidential or sensitive business information, whether it is proprietary to the Company or another company, is not communicated within the Company except to employees who have a need to know such information to perform their responsibilities for the Company.
Third parties may ask you for information concerning the Company. Subject to the exceptions noted in the preceding paragraph, employees, officers and directors (other than the Company’s authorized spokespersons) must not discuss internal Company matters with, or disseminate internal Company information to, anyone outside the Company, except as required in the performance of their Company duties and, if appropriate, after a confidentiality agreement is in place. This prohibition applies particularly to inquiries concerning the Company from the media, market professionals (such as securities analysts, institutional investors, investment advisers, brokers and dealers) and security holders. All responses to inquiries on behalf of the Company must be made only by the Company’s authorized spokespersons. If you receive any inquiries of this nature, you must decline to comment and refer the inquirer to your supervisor or one of the Company’s authorized spokespersons. The Company’s policies with respect to public disclosure of internal matters are described more fully in the Company’s Corporate Communications Policies and Procedures, which are available on the Company’s Intranet.
You also must abide by any lawful obligations that you have to your former employer. These obligations may include restrictions on the use and disclosure of confidential information, restrictions on the solicitation of former colleagues to work at the Company and non-competition obligations.
D. Honest and Ethical Conduct and Fair Dealing
Employees, officers and directors should endeavor to deal honestly, ethically and fairly with the Company’s suppliers, customers, competitors and employees. Statements regarding the Company’s products and services must not be untrue, misleading, deceptive or fraudulent. You must not take unfair advantage of anyone through manipulation, concealment, abuse of privileged information, misrepresentation of material facts or any other unfair-dealing practice.
E. Protection and Proper Use of Corporate Assets
Employees, officers and directors should seek to protect the Company’s assets. Theft, carelessness and waste have a direct impact on the Company’s financial performance. Employees, officers and directors must use the Company’s assets and services solely for legitimate business purposes of the Company and not for any personal benefit or the personal benefit of anyone else.
F. Corporate Opportunities
Directors, officers and employees owe a duty to the Company to advance its legitimate business interests when the opportunity to do so arises. Each employee, officer and director is prohibited from:
● diverting to himself or herself or to others any opportunities that are discovered through the use of the Company’s property or information or as a result of his or her position with the Company unless that opportunity has first been presented to, and rejected by, the Company;
● using the Company’s property or information or his or her position for improper personal gain; or
● competing with the Company.
G. Political Contributions/Gifts
Business contributions to political campaigns are strictly regulated by federal, state, provincial and local law in the U.S. and many other jurisdictions. Accordingly, all political contributions proposed to be made with the Company’s funds must be coordinated through and approved by the Board. Directors, officers and employees may not, without the approval of the Board may use any Company funds for political contributions of any kind to any political candidate or holder of any national, state or local government office. Directors, officers and employees may make personal contributions, but should not represent that they are making contributions on the Company’s behalf. Specific questions should be directed to the Chief Executive Officer.
H. Gifts and Entertainment
The Company strictly prohibits the giving or receiving of entertainment, such as concert tickets and sporting events, in all cases, regardless of the value of such entertainment, the type of entertainment, and the identity of the recipient or donor. In general, employees must be careful to avoid even the appearance of impropriety in giving or receiving gifts and meals. Gifts offered, provided or accepted in connection with an employee’s service to the Company must be of nominal value, and meals must be customary, reasonable, infrequent, not excessive or lavish in nature, and appropriate for business purposes. Gifts and meals must not be susceptible of being construed as a bribe or kickback, or in violation of any laws. This principle applies to our transactions everywhere in the world, even if it conflicts with local custom. Under some statues, such as the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, giving anything of value to a government official to obtain or retain business or favorable treatment is a criminal act subject to prosecution and conviction. For additional information, please see the Company’s Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and Anti-Corruption Policy and its Gifts, Meals and Entertainment Policy.
I. Bribes, Kickbacks and Other Improper Payments
The Company does not permit or condone bribes, kickbacks or other improper payments, transfers or receipts. No director, officer or employee should offer, give, solicit or receive any money or other item of value for the purpose of obtaining, retaining or directing business or bestowing or receiving any kind of favored treatment.
J. International Trade Controls
Many countries regulate international trade transactions, such as imports, exports and international financial transactions and prohibit boycotts against countries or firms that may be “blacklisted” by certain groups or countries. The Company’s policy is to comply with these regulations and prohibitions even if compliance may result in the loss of some business opportunities. Employees should learn and understand the extent to which international trade controls apply to transactions conducted by the Company.
K. Accuracy of Records
Employees, officers and directors must honestly and accurately report all business transactions. You are responsible for the accuracy of your records and reports. Accurate information is essential to the Company’s ability to meet legal and regulatory obligations.
All Company books, records and accounts shall be maintained in accordance with all applicable regulations and standards and accurately reflect the true nature of the transactions they record. The financial statements of the Company shall conform to generally accepted accounting rules and the Company’s accounting policies. No undisclosed or unrecorded account or fund shall be established for any purpose. No false or misleading entries shall be made in the Company’s books or records for any reason, and no disbursement of corporate funds or other corporate property shall be made without adequate supporting documentation.
L. Safety in the working environment
Harassment is any improper or unwelcome conduct that might reasonably be expected or be perceived to cause offend or humiliation to another person. Harassment in any form because of age, gender, gender identify and expression, sexual orientation, physical ability, physical appearance, ethnicity, race, national origin, political affiliation, religion or any other reason is prohibited at Viron. Employees, officers and directors should respect their colleagues, supervisors, and customers. Viron is committed to maintaining a working environment free from all forms of discrimination and harassment, including any action that is considered sexual harassment. Sexual harassment may involve any conduct of a verbal, nonverbal or physical nature, including written and electronic communications, and may occur between persons of the same or different genders.
Sexual Harassment and Gender-Based Discrimination Policy
Viron prohibits all domestic, dating and on job site violence, sexual assault and stalking (as defined by the Clery Act) and is committed to maintaining a environment that emphasizes the dignity and worth of all members of the company. Consequently, the Company has adopted the following policy and procedures for disciplinary action.
Viron is committed to maintaining a safe and healthy work environment in which no member of the Company is, on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity, excluded from participation in, denied the benefits of, or subjected to discrimination in any program or activity in the Company. This Policy is designed to ensure a safe and non-discriminatory work environment and to meet legal requirements, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in the Company’s programs or activities; relevant sections of the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act; Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in employment; and Massachusetts laws that prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity. It is the policy of the Company to encourage reporting of incidents; to prevent incidents of sexual and gender-based harassment from denying or limiting an individual’s ability to participate in or benefit from the Company’s programs; to make available timely services for those who have been affected by discrimination; and to provide prompt and equitable methods of investigation and resolution to stop discrimination, remedy any harm, and prevent its recurrence. Retaliation against an individual for raising an allegation of sexual or gender-based harassment, for cooperating in an investigation of such a complaint, or for opposing discriminatory practices is prohibited. Submitting a complaint that is not in good faith or providing false or misleading information in any investigation of complaints is also prohibited. Nothing in this Policy shall be construed to abridge corporate freedom and inquiry, principles of free speech, or the Company’s mission.
Violations of this Policy may result in the imposition of sanctions, including, termination, dismissal, or expulsion, as determined by Board.
III. Compliance Procedure
A. Communication of Code
All current directors, officers and employees are being supplied a copy of the Code. Future directors, officers and employees will be supplied a copy of the Code when beginning service at the Company. All directors, officers and employees will be expected to review and sign an acknowledgment regarding the Code on a periodic basis. Updates of the Code, when adopted, will be promptly supplied to directors, officers and employees. Directors, officers and employees also can obtain a copy of the Code by requesting one from the human resources department or by accessing the Company’s website at www.vironrx.com.
B. Monitoring Compliance and Disciplinary Action
The Company’s management, under the supervision of its Board shall take reasonable steps to (i) monitor compliance with the Code, and (ii) when appropriate, impose and enforce appropriate disciplinary measures for violations of the Code.
Disciplinary measures for violations of the Code will be determined in the Company’s sole discretion and may include, but are not limited to, counseling, oral or written reprimands, warnings, probation or suspension with or without pay, demotions, reductions in salary, termination of employment or service, and restitution.
The Company’s management shall periodically report to the Board on these compliance efforts including, without limitation, alleged violations of the Code and the actions taken with respect to violations.
C. Communication Channels
Be Proactive. Every employee is encouraged to act proactively by asking questions, seeking guidance and reporting suspected violations of the Code and other policies and procedures of the Company, as well as any violation or suspected violation of law, rule or regulation resulting from the conduct of the Company’s business or occurring on the Company’s property. If an employee believes that actions have taken place, may be taking place, or may be about to take place that violate or would violate the Code or any law, rule or regulation applicable to the Company, he or she is obligated to bring the matter to the attention of the Company.
Seeking Guidance. The best starting point for officers or employees seeking advice on ethics-related issues or wishing to report potential violations of the Code will usually be their supervisor. However, if the conduct in question involves an officer’s or employee’s supervisor, if the officer or employee has reported the conduct in question to the supervisor and does not believe that the supervisor has dealt with it properly, or if the officer or employee does not feel comfortable discussing the matter with the supervisor, the officer or employee may raise the matter with the Chief Executive Officer.
Reporting Accounting and Similar Concerns. Concerns or questions regarding potential violations of the Code, a Company policy or procedure or laws, rules or regulations relating to accounting, internal accounting controls, or auditing or securities law matters will be directed to the Board.
Cooperation. Employees are expected to cooperate with the Company in any investigation of a potential violation of the Code, any other Company policy or procedure, or any law, rule or regulation.
Misuse of Reporting Channels. Employees should not use these reporting channels in bad faith or in a false or frivolous manner or to report grievances that do not involve the Code or other ethics- related issues.
Director Communications. In addition to the foregoing methods, a director also can communicate concerns or seek advice with respect to this Code by contacting the Board.
The Company prefers that officers and employees, when reporting suspected violations of the Code, identify themselves to facilitate the Company’s ability to take steps to address the suspected violation, including conducting an investigation. However, the Company also recognizes that some people may feel more comfortable reporting a suspected violation anonymously.
An officer or employee who wishes to remain anonymous may do so, and the Company will use reasonable efforts to protect confidentiality. If a report is made anonymously, however, the Company may not have sufficient information to investigate or evaluate the allegations. Accordingly, persons who report suspected violations anonymously should provide as much detail as they can to permit the Company to evaluate the allegation and, if it deems appropriate, conduct an investigation.
E. No Retaliation
The Company forbids any retaliation against an officer or employee who, acting in good faith on the basis of a reasonable belief, reports suspected misconduct. Specifically, the Company will not discharge, demote, suspend, threaten, harass or in any other manner discriminate against, such an officer or employee. Anyone who participates in any such conduct is subject to disciplinary action, including termination.
IV. Waivers and Amendments
No waiver of any provisions of the Code for the benefit of a director or an executive officer (which includes, without limitation, the Company’s principal executive, financial and accounting officers) shall be effective unless approved by the Board.
Any waivers of the Code for other employees may be made by the Board.
All amendments to the Code must be approved by the Board.
Adopted on September 1, 2021.