Document


UNITED STATES
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549

SCHEDULE 14A
PROXY STATEMENT PURSUANT TO SECTION 14(A) OF THE
SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
 
Filed by the Registrant  

Filed by a Party other than the Registrant  

 
 
 
 
Check the appropriate box:

 
 
 
 
 
 
Preliminary Proxy Statement
 
 
 
 
 
Confidential, for Use of the Commission only (as permitted by Rule 14a-6(e)(2))
 
 
 
x
 
Definitive Proxy Statement
 
 
 
 
 
Definitive Additional Materials
 
 
 
 
 
Soliciting Material Pursuant to § 240.14a-11(c) or § 240.14a-12
DARÉ BIOSCIENCE, INC.
(Name of Registrant as Specified In Its Charter)


(Name of Person(s) Filing Proxy Statement if Other Than the Registrant)
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x
 
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Fee computed on table below per Exchange Act Rules 14a-6(i)(4) and 0-11.
 
 
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Check box if any part of the fee is offset as provided by Exchange Act Rule 0-11(a)(2) and identify the filing for which the offsetting fee was paid previously. Identify the previous filing by registration statement number, or the Form or Schedule and the date of its filing.
 
 
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http://api.tenkwizard.com/cgi/image?quest=1&rid=23&ipage=12866861&doc=3
DARÉ BIOSCIENCE, INC.
NOTICE OF ANNUAL MEETING OF STOCKHOLDERS
To Be Held On June 13, 2019
Dear Stockholder:
Notice is hereby given that the 2019 Annual Meeting of Stockholders of Daré Bioscience, Inc., a Delaware corporation, will be held on June 13, 2019, at 9:00 a.m. Pacific Time for the following purposes:
 
 
1.
To elect three Class II directors named in the accompanying proxy statement;
 
 
 
 
2.
To ratify the appointment of Mayer Hoffman McCann P.C. as the independent registered public accounting firm for the fiscal year ending December 31, 2019; and

 
 
 
 
3.
To conduct any other business properly brought before the meeting.
The record date for the annual meeting is April 22, 2019. Stockholders owning the company’s common stock at the close of business on the record date, or their legal proxy holders, are entitled to vote at the annual meeting.
 
 
 
 
 
 
By Order of the Board of Directors,
 
 
 
 
 
/s/ Roger L. Hawley
San Diego, California
 
Roger L. Hawley
April 30, 2019
 
Chairman of the Board
Please vote your shares promptly to ensure the presence of a quorum at the annual meeting. You may vote your shares over the Internet or via a toll-free telephone number. If you received a paper copy of a proxy or voting instruction card by mail, you may submit your proxy or voting instruction card for the annual meeting by completing, signing, dating and returning your proxy or voting instruction card. Please follow the instructions beginning on page 1 of the accompanying proxy statement to vote.





Table of Contents
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 




 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 




http://api.tenkwizard.com/cgi/image?quest=1&rid=23&ipage=12866861&doc=2
PROXY STATEMENT
FOR THE 2019 ANNUAL MEETING OF STOCKHOLDERS
TO BE HELD ON JUNE 13, 2019

Daré Bioscience, Inc. (“Daré,” “we,” “us,” “our” or the “Company”) has prepared these materials for use at its 2019 annual meeting of stockholders and any adjournment or postponement thereof (the “Annual Meeting”). The Annual Meeting is scheduled to begin at 9:00 a.m. Pacific Time, on June 13, 2019.
The Annual Meeting will be a completely virtual meeting conducted via live audio webcast. We are excited to embrace the latest technology to provide expanded access, improved communication and cost savings for our stockholders. Hosting a virtual meeting enables increased stockholder attendance and participation from any location around the world.
In accordance with rules of the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”), we opted to use the Internet as the primary means of furnishing proxy materials to our stockholders. Accordingly, unless a stockholder previously elected to receive printed copies of our proxy materials, a Notice of Internet Availability of Proxy Materials (“Notice of Internet Availability”) has been sent to stockholders instead of mailing printed copies. The Notice of Internet Availability provides instructions on how to access our proxy materials via the Internet and how to request a printed set at no charge. In addition, stockholders can elect to receive future proxy materials electronically by email or in printed form by mail, and any such election will remain in effect until terminated by the stockholder. We encourage all stockholders to take advantage of the availability of our proxy materials on the Internet to help reduce the cost and environmental impact of our annual meetings.
Our proxy materials were first sent or made available to stockholders on or about April 30, 2019. We are soliciting proxies pursuant to this Proxy Statement for use at the Annual Meeting.
Important Notice Regarding the Availability of Proxy Materials for the Annual Meeting of Stockholders to be Held on June 13, 2019: This Proxy Statement and our Annual Report are available electronically at www.proxyvote.com.


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QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS ABOUT THE ANNUAL MEETING AND VOTING
How do I attend the Annual Meeting?
You will be able to attend the Annual Meeting online by visiting www.virtualshareholdermeeting.com/DARE2019. Online check-in will begin at 8:45 a.m. Pacific Time and we suggest logging-on at that time to allow ample time for the check-in procedures. Please be aware that you must bear any costs associated with your Internet access, such as usage charges from Internet access providers and telephone or similar companies.
Who can vote at the Annual Meeting?
Only our stockholders of record at the close of business on the record date, or their legal proxy holders, are entitled to vote at the Annual Meeting. The record date for the Annual Meeting is April 22, 2019. There were 16,683,411 shares of common stock outstanding and entitled to vote on the record date.
What am I voting on?
There are two matters scheduled for a vote. Each share of our common stock has one vote on each matter.
 
Proposal 1:
 
Election of three Class II directors named in this Proxy Statement to hold office until our 2022 annual meeting of stockholders
 
Proposal 2:
 
Ratification of the selection of Mayer Hoffman McCann P.C. as our independent registered public accounting firm for the fiscal year ending December 31, 2019
How do I vote?
You are invited to attend the Annual Meeting online to vote on the proposals described in this Proxy Statement during the meeting, however, you may vote your shares by simply following the instructions below to vote via the Internet, by telephone or by mail. Even if you intend to attend the Annual Meeting online, we encourage you to vote your shares in advance using one of the methods described below to ensure that your vote will be represented at the Annual Meeting.
Stockholder of Record: Shares Registered in Your Name
If, on the record date, your shares were registered directly in your name with our transfer agent, American Stock Transfer & Trust Company, LLC, then you are a stockholder of record and you may vote as follows:
 
During the Annual Meeting: You may attend the Annual Meeting online and vote during the meeting online by visiting www.virtualshareholdermeeting.com/DARE2019. You will be asked to provide the control number on your Notice of Internet Availability to access this site.
By Phone: Dial toll-free 1-800-690-6903 using any touch-tone telephone and follow the recorded instructions. You will be asked to provide the control number from your Notice of Internet Availability. Your telephone vote must be received by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on June 12, 2019 in order to be counted.
By Internet: Complete an electronic proxy card at www.proxyvote.com. You will be asked to provide the control number from your Notice of Internet Availability. Your Internet vote must be received by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on June 12, 2019 in order to be counted.
By Mail: Complete, sign and date the proxy card that may be delivered to you and return it promptly in the envelope provided or return it to Vote Processing c/o Broadridge, 51 Mercedes Way, Edgewood, NY 11717. The proxy holders identified in the proxy card will vote all shares of our stock represented by a properly completed and executed proxy received in time for the Annual Meeting in accordance with the stockholder’s instructions. If you submit your executed proxy but do not fill out the voting instructions on the proxy card, the shares represented by your proxy will be voted “FOR” each of the director nominees identified in this Proxy Statement and “FOR” Proposal 2. If any other matter is properly presented at the Annual Meeting, the proxy holders will vote shares represented by a proxy submitted by a stockholder in accordance with the recommendation of our Board of Directors.

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Beneficial Owner: Shares Registered in the Name of a Broker or Bank
If, on the record date, your shares were held, not in your name, but rather in an account at a brokerage firm, bank, dealer or other similar organization, then you are the beneficial owner of shares held in “street name.” The organization holding your shares is considered to be the stockholder of record for purposes of the Annual Meeting. As a beneficial owner, you have the right to direct the organization holding your shares regarding how to vote such shares. You should have received a notice containing voting instructions from the organization that holds your shares. Follow the instructions provided by that organization to ensure that your vote is counted. If you wish to vote online during the Annual Meeting, you must obtain a legal proxy from the organization that holds your shares. A legal proxy is a written document that authorizes you to vote your shares held in street name at the Annual Meeting. Please contact the organization that holds your shares for instructions regarding obtaining a legal proxy.
We provide internet proxy voting to allow you to vote your shares online, with procedures designed to ensure the authenticity and correctness of your proxy vote instructions, however, please be aware that you must bear any costs associated with your internet access, such as usage charges from internet access providers and telephone companies.

What happens if I do not vote?
Stockholder of Record: Shares Registered in Your Name
If you are a stockholder of record and do not vote by completing your proxy card, by telephone, through the Internet or during the Annual Meeting, your shares will not be voted.
Beneficial Owner: Shares Registered in the Name of Broker or Bank
If your shares are held in street name, the bank, broker or other nominee that holds your shares has the authority to vote your shares only on certain of the proposals set forth in this Proxy Statement without receiving voting instructions from you. If you hold your shares in street name and you do not submit voting instructions to the organization that holds your shares, that organization may exercise its discretion to vote your shares on Proposal 2 but will not be permitted to vote your shares on Proposal 1.
We encourage you to provide voting instructions to your bank, broker or other nominee. This ensures your shares will be voted at the Annual Meeting and in the manner you desire. A “broker non-vote” will occur if your broker cannot vote your shares on a particular matter because it has not received instructions from you and does not have discretionary voting authority on that matter or because your broker chooses not to vote on a matter for which it does have discretionary voting authority.
Can I change my vote after submitting my proxy?
Stockholder of Record: Shares Registered in Your Name
Yes. If you are a stockholder of record, you may revoke your proxy and change your vote at any time before the taking of the vote at the Annual Meeting in any one of the following ways:
 
During the Annual Meeting: By attending the Annual Meeting online and voting during the meeting as described above. Your attendance at the Annual Meeting will not automatically revoke your proxy unless you properly vote during the Annual Meeting or specifically request that your prior proxy be revoked by delivering a written notice of revocation prior to the Annual Meeting to our Secretary at 3655 Nobel Drive, Suite 260, San Diego, CA 92122.
By Phone: By using the phone voting method described above, in which case only your latest telephone proxy submitted prior to the Annual Meeting will be counted.
By Internet: By using the online voting method described above, in which case only your latest Internet proxy submitted prior to the Annual Meeting will be counted.
By Mail: By signing and returning a new proxy card or voting instruction form dated as of a later date, in which case only your latest proxy card or voting instruction form received prior to the Annual Meeting will be counted

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Beneficial Owner: Shares Registered in the Name of Broker or Bank
If you are a beneficial owner of shares held in street name, you should follow the instructions provided by the brokerage firm, bank, dealer or other similar organization that holds your shares.
How many votes are required to approve each proposal?
Election of Directors
If a quorum is present at the Annual Meeting, the election of directors will be determined by a plurality of the votes cast by the stockholders entitled to vote on the election. Accordingly, the three nominees receiving the most “FOR” votes from the holders of shares present during the meeting or represented by proxy and entitled to vote on the election of directors will be elected.
You may vote “FOR” or “WITHHOLD” authority to vote for each of the director nominees. If you “WITHHOLD” authority to vote with respect to one or more director nominees, your vote will have no effect on the election of such nominees. Broker non-votes will have no effect on the election of directors.
Other Proposals
If a quorum is present at the Annual Meeting, the approval of Proposal 2 requires the affirmative vote of a majority of the votes cast with respect to such proposal, meaning the number of shares voted “FOR” such proposal must exceed the number of shares voted “AGAINST” such proposal. You may vote “FOR,” “AGAINST” or “ABSTAIN” from voting on Proposal 2. If you “ABSTAIN” from voting with respect to Proposal 2, your vote will have no effect on its outcome. Broker non-votes will have no effect on the vote for Proposal 2, however, a broker or other nominee may generally vote in their discretion on routine matters and therefore broker non-votes are not expected on Proposal No. 2, a routine matter.
What is the quorum requirement?
A quorum is necessary to hold the Annual Meeting. A quorum will be present if the holders of a majority in voting power of the shares of our common stock outstanding and entitled to vote at the Annual Meeting are present during the Annual Meeting or represented by proxy.
Your shares will be counted for purposes of determining if there is quorum if you are entitled to vote and you are present during the Annual Meeting or you have properly voted by proxy online, by phone or by submitting a proxy card or voting instruction form by mail. Abstentions and broker non-votes will be counted for purposes of determining whether a quorum is present.
If a quorum is not present, we may propose to adjourn the Annual Meeting to solicit additional proxies and reconvene the Annual Meeting at a later date.
What does it mean if I receive more than one Notice of Internet Availability?
If you receive more than one Notice of Internet Availability, your shares may be registered in more than one name or held in different registered accounts. Please follow the voting instructions on each Notice of Internet Availability to ensure that all of your shares are voted.
How can I find out the results of the voting at the Annual Meeting?
Preliminary voting results will be announced at the Annual Meeting. Final voting results will be published in a current report on Form 8-K that we expect to file with the SEC within four business days after the Annual Meeting. If final voting results are not available to us in time to file a Form 8-K within four business days after the Annual Meeting, we intend to file a Form 8-K to publish preliminary results and, within four business days after the final results are known to us, file an additional Form 8-K to publish the final results.

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Who is paying for this proxy solicitation?
We will pay for the entire cost of soliciting proxies. Our directors and employees may solicit proxies in person, by telephone, or by other means of communication. None of our directors or employees will be paid any additional compensation for soliciting proxies. We may also reimburse brokerage firms, banks, dealers and other similar organizations for the cost of forwarding proxy materials to beneficial owners.
When are stockholder proposals and director nominations due for next year’s annual meeting?
To be considered for inclusion in our proxy materials for next year’s annual meeting, a stockholder proposal, including director nominations, must be received in writing by our Secretary at our principal executive offices on or before January 1, 2020.
Matters for consideration at next year’s annual meeting, but not for inclusion in our proxy materials, must be received in writing by our Secretary at our principal executive offices no earlier than the close of business on February 14, 2020 and no later than the close of business on March 15, 2020.
Director nominations that a stockholder intends to present at next year’s annual meeting but does not intend to have included in our proxy materials, must be received in writing by our Secretary at our principal executive offices no earlier than the close of business on February 14, 2020 and no later than the close of business on March 15, 2020.
Our principal executive offices are currently located at 3655 Nobel Drive, Suite 260, San Diego, CA 92122.
Stockholders are also advised to review our by-laws, which contain additional requirements relating to stockholder proposals and director nominations, including who may submit them and what information must be included.

THE CERULEAN/PRIVATE DARÉ BUSINESS COMBINATION
In July 2017, Cerulean Pharma Inc. (“Cerulean”) and Daré Bioscience Operations, Inc., a privately held Delaware corporation (“Private Daré”), completed a transaction in which the holders of capital stock and securities convertible into capital stock of Private Daré sold their shares of capital stock of Private Daré to Cerulean in exchange for newly issued shares of Cerulean common stock, and Cerulean changed its name from “Cerulean Pharma Inc.” to “Daré Bioscience, Inc.” That transaction is referred to as the Cerulean/Private Daré stock purchase transaction in this Proxy Statement.
References in this Proxy Statement: (a) to “Cerulean” refer to Cerulean Pharma Inc. prior to the closing of the Cerulean/Private Daré stock purchase transaction; and (b) to “we,” “us,” “our,” “Daré” or the “Company” refer collectively to Daré Bioscience, Inc. and its wholly-owned subsidiaries, unless otherwise stated or the context otherwise requires.


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BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Set forth below are the names, ages, board committee assignments, tenure, class, and certain biographical information of each of the members of our board of directors (“Board”) as of April 22, 2019. In accordance with our certificate of incorporation and by-laws, our Board is divided into three classes, with one class of directors standing for election each year, for a three-year term.
 
Name
 
Age
 
Committees
 
Director
Since
 
Class**
Roger L. Hawley
 
66
 
Audit
 
July 2017
 
III
Jessica D. Grossman, M.D.
 
47
 
Nominating & Corporate Governance
 
April 2018
 
I
Susan L. Kelley, M.D.
 
64
 
Nominating & Corporate Governance*
 
October 2014
 
I
Sabrina Martucci Johnson
 
53
 
None
 
July 2017
 
III
Gregory W. Matz
 
59
 
Audit*
 
September 2018
 
II
William H. Rastetter, Ph.D.
 
71
 
Compensation*
 
January 2014
 
II
Robin J. Steele, J.D., L.L.M.
 
63
 
Audit, Compensation
 
July 2017
 
II
*
Committee chairperson
**
The term for Class II directors ends at the Annual Meeting. The term for Class I and III directors ends at the annual meeting of our stockholders held in 2021 and 2020, respectively.
Roger L. Hawley. Mr. Hawley co-founded Private Daré in 2015 and served as Chairman of its board of directors since its inception and until the closing of the Cerulean/Private Daré stock purchase transaction, at which point he was appointed Chairman of the board of directors of the combined company. In 2006, Mr. Hawley co-founded Zogenix, Inc., a publicly-traded pharmaceutical company that develops and commercializes therapies for central nervous system disorders, where he was a member of the board of directors and served as Chief Executive Officer until April 2015. Mr. Hawley served as a member of the Zogenix Board until April 2019. Mr. Hawley served as member of the board of directors of Alveo Technologies Inc., a privately-held medical diagnostics company from 2014 to 2016. Mr. Hawley served as a member of the board of directors of Cypress Bioscience from 2007 to 2010 and Targeted Genetics from 2006 to 2010, both previously publicly-traded pharmaceutical companies, as well as Alios BioPharma, Inc., a private company that was acquired by Johnson & Johnson in 2014. From 2003 to 2006, Mr. Hawley served as Executive Vice President of Commercial and Technical Operations for InterMune, Inc., and from 2002 to 2003, he was the Chief Commercial Officer at Prometheus Laboratories Inc. From 2001 to 2002, Mr. Hawley served as General Manager & Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Elan Pharmaceuticals. From 1987 to 2001, Mr. Hawley held a broad range of management positions in commercial operations, alliance/partnership management, regional/national sales and corporate finance at Glaxo/Glaxo Wellcome/GSK including Vice President of Sales, CNS/GI Division. From 1976 to 1987, Mr. Hawley held various financial management positions with Marathon Oil Company, including serving four years in London, England, at which time he was a certified treasury manager and a certified public accountant. Our Board believes that experience in the biotechnology industry, his broad leadership experience with several public and private biotechnology companies and his experience with financial matters qualifies him to serve as a member of our Board and to fill the important role of “audit committee financial expert.”
Jessica D. Grossman, M.D. Dr. Grossman has been a member of our Board since April 2018 and currently serves as the Chief Executive Officer of Medicines360, a position she has held since 2015. Medicines360 is a global non-profit women’s health pharmaceutical company that developed the FDA-approved contraceptive IUD LILETTA® (52-mg levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine system). From 2011 to 2014, Dr. Grossman served on the board of directors of Medicines360, and from 2014 to 2018 she served as Chair of AlliancePartners360, a wholly owned subsidiary of Medicines360 that serves the non-profit, public benefit mission of Medicines360 of expanding access to medicines for women regardless of their socioeconomic status, insurance coverage, or geographic location. From 2013 to 2014, Dr. Grossman served as President and Founding Chief Executive Officer of Sense4Baby, Inc. Dr. Grossman served as a Medical Director at Ethicon Endo-Surgery, part of the Johnson & Johnson family of companies, from 2010 to 2013. From 2008 to 2010, Dr. Grossman was the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of JG Limited LLC, a consulting company providing services to medical technology companies and non-profit organizations in the areas of clinical and commercial strategy. From 2005 to 2008, Dr. Grossman was Founder and President of Gynesonics, an early stage medical device company focused on minimally invasive solutions for women’s health which

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developed the first intrauterine ultrasound-guided radiofrequency ablation device for fibroid tumors. Dr. Grossman holds numerous patents, has published several peer-reviewed articles and conducted research at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, one of the teaching hospitals of Harvard Medical School. Dr. Grossman received her M.D. from Thomas Jefferson University, Jefferson Medical College. Our Board believes that Dr. Grossman is qualified to serve on our Board due to her extensive experience in women’s health, her executive leadership experience with several life science companies, and her experience with product development and commercialization.
Susan L. Kelley, M.D. Dr. Kelley served as a member of Cerulean’s board of directors beginning in October 2014 and joined the Board following the closing of the Cerulean/Private Daré stock purchase transaction. Dr. Kelley has been developing drugs in oncology and immunology for over 30 years. Dr. Kelley also serves as a member of the board of directors of ArQule, Inc., an oncology-focused biotechnology company, and Vascular Biogenics Ltd., an oncology-focused biotechnology company. From 2013 to 2015, Dr. Kelley served on the board of directors of Alchemia Pty Ltd, a publicly traded biopharmaceutical company. She served on the board of directors of Immune Design Corp. from 2016 until its acquisition by Merck & Co. in April 2019. From 2008 to 2011, Dr. Kelley served as Chief Medical Officer of the Multiple Myeloma Research Consortium and its sister organization, the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation. Previously, Dr. Kelley held positions at Bayer Healthcare Pharmaceuticals and Bayer-Schering Pharma, including Vice President, Global Clinical Development and Therapeutic Area Head—Oncology, where she led the Bayer team responsible for the development and worldwide regulatory approval of Nexavar® (sorafenib). Prior to joining Bayer, Dr. Kelley worked at Bristol-Myers Squibb in Oncology and Immunology drug development ultimately serving as Executive Director, Oncology Clinical Research, at the Bristol-Myers Squibb Pharmaceutical Research Institute. Dr. Kelley was a Fellow in Medical Oncology and Clinical Fellow in Medicine at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School, and a Fellow in Medical Oncology and Pharmacology at Yale University School of Medicine, where she also served as a Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine. Dr. Kelley received her M.D. from Duke University School of Medicine. Our Board believes that Dr. Kelley is qualified to serve on our Board due to her experience in life sciences and clinical development and her experience as a director of life sciences companies.
Sabrina Martucci Johnson. Ms. Johnson founded Private Daré in 2015 and served as its President and CEO and as member of its board of directors since its inception and until the closing of the Cerulean/Private Daré stock purchase transaction, at which point she was appointed as Chief Executive Officer and a member of the board of directors of the combined company. Ms. Johnson is a life sciences executive committed to advancing improvements in women’s healthcare. Previously, Ms. Johnson served as the Chief Financial Officer of the California Institute for Biomedical Research (now part of The Scripps Research Institute), from May of 2015 to July of 2017, and served as President of WomanCare Global Trading, a specialty pharmaceutical company in female reproductive healthcare with commercial product distribution in over 100 countries, from October of 2014 to May of 2015, and Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer from July 2013 to October 2014. Ms. Johnson provided financial consulting services to the WomanCare Global family of companies, including the United Kingdom-based non-profit division, from November 2012 to July 2013. From 2002 until its sale in 2010, Ms. Johnson served as Chief Financial Officer of Cypress Bioscience, Inc., a publicly-traded pharmaceutical company, and in addition served as its Chief Operating Officer from 2008 until its sale in 2010. Ms. Johnson began her career in the biotechnology industry as a research scientist with Baxter Healthcare, Hyland Division, working on their recombinant factor VIII program, and later held marketing and sales positions with Advanced Tissue Sciences and Clonetics Corporation. Ms. Johnson currently serves on the boards of Aethlon Medical, Inc., a publicly-traded company developing immunotherapeutic technologies to combat infectious disease and cancer; the YWCA of San Diego County, Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest, Athena San Diego, and the Clearity Foundation. Additionally. Ms. Johnson serves on the Board of Advisors of Tulane University School of Science & Engineering, on the University of California San Diego (UCSD) Librarian’s Advisory Board, and on the Audit Committee of Project Concern International. Ms. Johnson has a Masters of International Management degree with honors from the American Graduate School of International Management (Thunderbird), a MSc. in Biochemical Engineering from the University of London, University College London and a BSc. in Biomedical Engineering from Tulane University, where she graduated magna cum laude. Our Board believes that Ms. Johnson is qualified to serve as the Company’s Chief Executive Officer and as a member of our Board due to her leadership experience in life sciences, women’s reproductive healthcare, development and commercial distribution of healthcare products, capital raises, and her experience as an officer in life sciences and women’s reproductive healthcare non-profit and for-profit companies, including publicly traded companies.
Gregory W. Matz. Mr. Matz joined our Board in September 2018. Mr. Matz retired as the Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer for The Cooper Companies in November 2016. Additionally, he served as the company’s Chief Risk Officer. The Cooper Companies is a publicly traded, global medical device company that operates through two business units, CooperVision and CooperSurgical. He previously was the Vice President and Chief Financial Officer for CooperVision from May 2010 to December 2011. Prior to joining the company Mr. Matz held key

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management roles in finance and marketing at Agilent Technologies and Hewlett Packard. He began his career at KPMG and is a CPA with an active certification. Mr. Matz graduated from the University of San Francisco with a Bachelor of Science in Business and the University of Pennsylvania, The Wharton School’s Advanced Management Program. Our Board believes Mr. Matz’s experience as a chief financial officer and chief risk officer of a company within the women’s health industry and his corporate experience and skills in financial functions, including planning, reporting, and audit, in risk management, in managing internal growth and in capital markets and corporate strategy qualifies him to serve as a member of our Board and to fill the important role of “audit committee financial expert.”
William H. Rastetter, Ph.D. Dr. Rastetter served as a member of Cerulean’s board of directors beginning in January 2014 and as Chairman from June 2016 until the closing of the Cerulean/Private Daré stock purchase transaction, at which time he joined the board of directors of the combined company. Dr. Rastetter currently serves as Chairman of the board of directors of Neurocrine Biosciences, Inc. and Fate Therapeutics, Inc., and as a member of the board of directors of Grail, Inc. (a privately-held company) and of Regulus Therapeutics, Inc. Dr. Rastetter co-founded Receptos, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company, where he previously held the roles of Acting Chief Executive Officer from 2009 to 2010, and Director and Chairman of the board of directors from 2009 to 2015. Dr. Rastetter served on the board of Illumina, Inc., a leading public genomic technology company, from 1998 until January 2016, and as Chairman from 2005 to 2016. Dr. Rastetter was a Partner at the venture capital firm of Venrock Associates from 2006 to 2013. Prior to his tenure with Venrock, Dr. Rastetter was Executive Chairman of Biogen Idec Inc. and was previously Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Idec Pharmaceuticals. Prior to Idec, he was Director of Corporate Ventures at Genentech, Inc. Dr. Rastetter held various faculty positions at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University and is an Alfred P. Sloan Fellow. Dr. Rastetter holds a S.B. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and received his M.A. and Ph.D. from Harvard University. Our Board believes that Dr. Rastetter is qualified to serve on our Board due to his extensive experience in the biotechnology industry, his broad leadership experience with several public and private biotechnology companies, and his experience with financial matters.
Robin J. Steele, J.D., LL.M. Ms. Steele served as an advisor to Private Daré since its inception in 2015 and until the closing of the Cerulean/Private Daré stock purchase transaction, at which time she joined the board of directors of the combined company. Ms. Steele previously served as Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary of InterMune, Inc., a publicly-traded biopharmaceutical company, from 2004 to 2014. From 1998 to 2003, Ms. Steele served as Vice President of Legal Affairs for Elan Pharmaceuticals, a publicly traded pharmaceutical company. Ms. Steele currently serves on the board of directors of Alveo Technologies Inc., a privately-held medical diagnostics company and GLAdiator Biosciences, a privately-held biopharmaceutical company. Ms. Steele previously served on the board of Alios Biopharma and Targanta Therapeutics, both of which were biotechnology companies focused on the research and development of therapeutic compounds prior to their respective acquisitions. Ms. Steele received a B.A. from the University of Colorado, a J.D. from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, and an LL.M. in Taxation from New York University School of Law. Our Board believes that Ms. Steele is qualified to serve on our Board due to her expertise in legal matters, her prior experience as general counsel of a public company and her involvement with a number of private biotechnology companies.

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2018 Director Compensation
With the assistance of its compensation committee, our board of directors periodically reviews and evaluates our non-employee director compensation policy. The following is an overview of our non-employee director compensation policy during 2018, which was designed to allow us to recruit and retain individuals with the requisite experience, skills and characteristics for membership on our board of directors, and to align the interests of our directors with those of our stockholders through the grant of stock options.
Retainers. Each of our non-employee directors was paid a retainer for service on our Board and for each Board committee on which the director served as shown in the table below. Retainers are paid in cash in arrears in four equal quarterly installments, prorated to reflect the actual time served by the director during such quarter. Directors may elect to receive up to 100% of their retainer in the form of awards of unrestricted shares of our common stock. If so elected, on the first trading day of the quarter following the quarter to which the retainer relates, we would issue a number of shares of common stock equal to (x) the amount of the cash retainer that would otherwise have been payable to such director on the date of grant divided by (y) the fair market value of our common stock on the date of grant. Directors wishing to make this election for a given calendar year must make the election on or before the last day of the prior calendar year, except that the election with respect to any year in which a director is newly elected must be made on or before June 30th of such year or such other date as determined by our Board.
 
Annual Retainer ($)
Board of Directors
 
Chair
65,000

Member
35,000

Board Committees
 
Audit Chair
20,000

Audit Member
7,500

Compensation Chair
15,000

Compensation Member
5,000

Nominating and Corporate Governance Chair
10,000

Nominating and Corporate Governance Member
3,500

Equity Awards.
Initial Award. Each director newly elected to our Board receives an option to purchase 45,000 shares of our common stock, which vests as to 15,000 shares on each anniversary of the grant date until the third anniversary of the grant date, subject to the director’s continued service as a director, and will become exercisable in full upon a change in control.
Annual Award. On the date of each annual meeting of stockholders, each director that has served on our Board for at least six months receives an option to purchase 15,000 shares of our common stock, which will vest in full on the earlier of the first anniversary of the grant date or immediately prior to our first annual meeting of stockholders occurring after the grant date, subject to the director’s continued service as a director, and will become exercisable in full upon a change in control.
The exercise price of each option granted under our non-employee director compensation policy is set at the fair market value of our common stock on the grant date.
Expense Reimbursement. We reimburse our non-employee directors for reasonable travel and other expenses incurred in connection with attending board and committee meetings.

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2018 Director Compensation Table
The following table sets forth the compensation of our non-employee directors during 2018.
2018 Director Compensation
Name
 
Fee Earned or
Paid in Cash
 
Option
Awards (1)
 
All Other
Compensation
 
Total
Roger Hawley
 
$
85,971

 
$
58,114

 
$

 
$
144,085

Jessica D. Grossman, M.D.
 
$
27,794

 
$
58,114

 
$

 
$
85,908

Susan L. Kelley, M.D.
 
$
45,000

 
$
58,114

 
$

 
$
103,114

Gregory W. Matz
 
$
12,721

 
$
44,202

 
$

 
$
56,923

William H. Rastetter, Ph.D.
 
$
56,241

 
$
58,114

 
$

 
$
114,355

Robin J. Steele, J.D., L.L.M.
 
$
47,500

 
$
58,114

 
$

 
$
105,614

 
(1)
The amounts in this column represent the grant date fair value, determined in accordance with ASC Topic 718, Compensation-Stock Compensation (ASC Topic 718), of stock options granted to the applicable individual. See Note 8. Stock Based Compensation to our consolidated financial statements included in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2018 filed with the SEC on April 1, 2019 for details as to the assumptions used to determine the fair value of the awards.
As of December 31, 2018, our non-employee directors had stock options outstanding to purchase the following number of shares of our common stock:
Name
# of Shares Subject to
Outstanding Options
Roger Hawley
57,349

Jessica D. Grossman, M.D.
45,000

Susan L. Kelley, M.D.
52,300

Gregory W. Matz
45,000

William H. Rastetter, Ph.D.
52,301

Robin J. Steele, J.D., L.L.M.
47,200



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CORPORATE GOVERNANCE
Role of the Board of Directors
Our Board oversees and provides guidance for our business and affairs. Our Board oversees the development of our strategy and business planning process and management’s implementation of them and oversees management.
Board Leadership Structure
Roger Hawley currently serves as Chairman of our Board, and has authority, among other things, to call and preside over Board meetings, to set meeting agendas and to determine materials to be distributed to our directors. The Chairman has substantial ability to shape the work of our Board. We believe that separation of the positions of chairman and chief executive officer reinforces the independence of our Board in its oversight of our business and affairs. In addition, we believe that separation of the positions of chairman and chief executive officer creates an environment that is more conducive to objective evaluation and oversight of management’s performance, increasing management accountability and improving the ability of our Board to monitor whether management’s actions are in our best interests and in the best interests of our stockholders. As a result, we believe that having the positions of chairman and chief executive officer separated can enhance the effectiveness of our Board as a whole.
In addition, we have a separate chair for each committee of our Board. The chair of each committee is expected to report to our Board from time to time, or whenever so requested by our Board, on the activities of his or her committee in fulfilling its responsibilities as detailed in its respective charter or specify any shortcomings should that be the case.
Director Independence
As required under the Nasdaq Stock Market (“Nasdaq”) listing standards, a majority of the members of a listed company’s board of directors must qualify as “independent,” as affirmatively determined by the board of directors. Our Board consults with our legal counsel to ensure that its determinations are consistent with relevant securities and other laws and regulations regarding the definition of “independent,” including those set forth in Nasdaq listing standards, as in effect from time to time. Consistent with these considerations, after review of all relevant identified transactions or relationships between each of our directors, or any of his or her family members, and the Company, its senior management and its independent auditors, our Board affirmatively determined that all of our directors, except Ms. Johnson who is not considered independent because she is one of our executive officers, are independent directors as defined by Rule 5605(a)(2) of the Nasdaq Listing Rules.
Board Committees
Our Board has a standing audit, compensation, and nominating and corporate governance committee comprised of the directors identified in the table below. Our Board has determined that all committee members are independent under applicable Nasdaq and SEC rules for committee memberships. Each committee operates under a written charter adopted by our Board that sets out its role and responsibilities, a copy of which available on our website at www.darebioscience.com.
 
Director
 
Audit
 
Compensation
 
Nominating & Corporate
Governance
Roger L. Hawley
 
M
 
 
 
 
Jessica D. Grossman, M.D.
 
 
 
 
 
M
Susan L. Kelley, M.D.
 
 
 
 
 
C
Sabrina Martucci Johnson
 
 
 
 
 
 
Gregory W. Matz
 
C
 
 
 
 
William H. Rastetter, Ph.D.
 
 
 
C
 
 
Robin J. Steele, J.D., L.L.M.
 
M
 
M
 
 
C = chairperson; M = member

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Board Oversight of Risk
One of the key functions of our Board is informed oversight of our risk management process. Our Board does not have a standing risk management committee, but rather administers this oversight function directly through the Board, as a whole, as well as through various standing committees of our Board that address risks inherent in their respective areas of oversight. In particular, our Board is responsible for monitoring and assessing strategic risk exposure, and our Audit Committee has the responsibility to consider and discuss our major financial risk exposures and the steps our management has taken to monitor and control these exposures, including guidelines and policies to govern the process by which risk assessment and management is undertaken. The Audit Committee also monitors compliance with legal and regulatory requirements. The Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee monitors the effectiveness of our corporate governance practices, including oversight of processes and procedures designed to prevent illegal or improper conduct. The Compensation Committee assesses and monitors whether any of our compensation policies and programs has the potential to encourage excessive risk-taking.
Board Meetings
During 2018, our Board met eight times, the Audit Committee met five times, the Compensation Committee met three times, and the Nominating & Corporate Governance Committee met four times.
All directors attended at least 75% of the aggregate number of meetings of the Board and of the committees on which they served during 2018.
Audit Committee
The Audit Committee is an audit committee established in accordance with Section 3(a)(58)(A) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”). Our Board has determined that each member of the Audit Committee is able to read and understand fundamental financial statements, including our balance sheet, income statement and cash flow statement. Our Board has also determined that both Mr. Hawley and Mr. Matz qualify as an “audit committee financial expert,” as defined in Item 407(d)(5) of Regulation S-K, and that each member is independent as defined under applicable Nasdaq rules and meets the independent requirements contemplated by Rule 10-3A under the Exchange Act.
The Audit Committee’s responsibilities include the authority to retain and terminate the services of our independent registered public accounting firm. In addition, the Audit Committee reviews annual financial statements, considers matters relating to accounting policy and internal controls and reviews the scope of annual audits.

Audit Committee Report *
The Audit Committee has reviewed and discussed the audited financial statements for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2018 with our management. The Audit Committee has discussed with our independent registered accounting firm the matters required to be discussed under the standards of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (United States) (the “PCAOB”). The Audit Committee has also received and reviewed the written disclosures and the letter from our independent registered accounting firm required by applicable requirements of the PCAOB regarding our independent registered accounting firm’s communications with the audit committee concerning independence, and discussed with our independent registered accounting firm its independence from our company. Based on the above reviews and discussions, the Audit Committee recommended to our Board that our audited financial statements be included in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2018 for filing with the SEC.
Gregory W. Matz
 
Roger L. Hawley
 
Robin Steele, J.D., L.L.M.
 
*
The material in this report is not “soliciting material,” is not deemed “filed” with the SEC and is not to be incorporated by reference in any filing of the Company under the Exchange Act or the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, whether made before or after the date hereof and irrespective of any general incorporation language in any such filing.

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Compensation Committee
The Compensation Committee’s responsibilities include reviewing, approving and making recommendations regarding our compensation policies, practices and procedures to ensure that legal and fiduciary responsibilities of our Board are carried out and that such policies, practices and procedures contribute to our success. The Compensation Committee also administers our 2007 Stock Incentive Plan, Amended and Restated 2014 Stock Incentive Plan and the 2015 Employee, Director and Consultant Equity Incentive Plan of Private Daré.
The Compensation Committee has adopted processes and procedures for the consideration and determination of executive and director compensation designed to increase stockholder value, reward executive officers for their contribution to achievement of business objectives, and provide competitive compensation that will attract and retain qualified executives and directors. For further information regarding our non-employee director and executive compensation policies and programs, see "Board of Directors—2018 Director Compensation," above and "Executive Compensation," below.
The Compensation Committee may delegate authority to one or more subcommittees of the Compensation Committee, each subcommittee to consist of at least two members of the Committee. Any such subcommittee, to the extent permitted by the Compensation Committee and to the extent not limited by applicable law, may exercise all the powers and authority of the Compensation Committee.
The Compensation Committee has the authority to directly retain the services of independent consultants and other experts to assist in fulfilling its responsibilities. The Compensation Committee has engaged the services of Radford, an Aon Hewitt company (“Radford”), a national executive compensation consulting firm, to review and provide recommendations concerning all of the components of our executive compensation program. Radford performs services solely on behalf of the Compensation Committee and has no relationship with the Company or management except as it may relate to performing such services. Radford assists the Compensation Committee in defining the appropriate market of the Company’s peer companies for executive compensation and practices and in benchmarking our executive compensation program against the peer group each year. Radford also assists the Committee in benchmarking our director compensation program and practices against those of our peers. The Compensation Committee has assessed the independence of Radford pursuant to SEC rules and the corporate governance rules of Nasdaq and concluded that no conflict of interest exists that would prevent Radford from independently representing the Compensation Committee.

Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee
The responsibilities of the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee (“Nominating Committee”) include:
 
evaluating and making recommendations to our Board as to the composition, organization and governance of our Board and its committees,
evaluating and making recommendations as to director candidates,
evaluating current Board members’ performance
overseeing the process for Chief Executive Officer and other executive officer succession planning, and
developing and recommending governance guidelines for the Company.
Generally, our Nominating Committee considers candidates recommended by stockholders as well as from other sources such as other directors or officers, third party search firms or other appropriate sources. Once identified, the Nominating Committee will evaluate a candidate’s qualifications in accordance with our Nominating Committee Policy Regarding Qualifications of Directors appended to our Nominating Committee’s written charter. Threshold criteria include: personal integrity and sound judgment, business and professional skills and experience, independence, knowledge of our industry, possible conflicts of interest, diversity, the extent to which the candidate would fill a present need on the Board, and concern for the long-term interests of our stockholders. The Nominating Committee has not adopted a formal diversity policy in connection with the consideration of director nominations or the selection of nominees. However, the Nominating Committee will consider issues of diversity among its members in identifying and considering nominees for director, and strive where appropriate to achieve a diverse balance of

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backgrounds, perspectives, experience, age, gender, ethnicity and country of citizenship on our Board and its committees.
If a stockholder wishes to propose a candidate for consideration as a nominee for election to the Board, it must follow the procedures described in our by-laws, including the advance notice procedures therein. The required notice must be in writing and received by our Secretary at our principal executive offices not less than 90 days nor more than 120 days prior to the first anniversary of the preceding year’s annual meeting. However, in the event that the date of the annual meeting is advanced by more than 20 days, or delayed by more than 60 days, from the first anniversary of the preceding year’s annual meeting, a stockholder’s notice must be so received no earlier than the 120th day prior to such annual meeting and not later than the close of business on the later of (A) the 90th day prior to such annual meeting and (B) the tenth day following the day on which notice of the date of such annual meeting was mailed or public disclosure of the date of such annual meeting was made, whichever first occurs.
In general, persons recommended by stockholders will be considered in accordance with our Policy on Shareholder Recommendation of Candidates for Election as Directors appended to our Nominating Committee’s written charter. Any such recommendation should be made in writing to the Nominating Committee, care of our Secretary at our principal office and should be accompanied by the following information, which is a summary, concerning each recommending stockholder and the beneficial owner, if any, on whose behalf the nomination is made:
 
all information relating to such person that would be required to be disclosed in a proxy statement;
certain biographical and share ownership information about the stockholder and any other proponent, including a description of any derivative transactions in the Company’s securities;
a description of certain arrangements and understandings between the proposing stockholder and any beneficial owner and any other person in connection with such stockholder nomination; and
a statement whether or not either such stockholder or beneficial owner intends to deliver a proxy statement and form of proxy to holders of voting shares sufficient to carry the proposal.
The recommendation must also be accompanied by the following information concerning the proposed nominee:
 
certain biographical information concerning the proposed nominee;
all information concerning the proposed nominee required to be disclosed in solicitations of proxies for election of directors;
certain information about any other security holder of the Company who supports the proposed nominee;
a description of all relationships between the proposed nominee and the recommending stockholder or any beneficial owner, including any agreements or understandings regarding the nomination; and
additional disclosures relating to stockholder nominees for directors, including disclosures required by our by-laws.
A copy of the Nominating Committee’s written charter, including its appendices, is publicly available on the Company’s website at www.darebioscience.com.

 Director Nominees
The Nominating Committee seeks to assemble a board of directors that, as a whole, possesses the appropriate balance of professional and industry knowledge, financial expertise and high-level management experience necessary to oversee and direct our business. To that end, the Nominating Committee has identified and evaluated nominees in the broader context of our Board’s overall composition, with the goal of recruiting members who complement and strengthen the skills of other members and who also exhibit integrity, collegiality, sound business judgment and other qualities that the Nominating Committee views as critical to effective functioning of our Board. The biographies of each of our directors beginning on page 6 include information, as of the date of this Proxy Statement, regarding the specific and particular experience, qualifications, attributes or skills of each director or nominee that led the Nominating Committee to believe that that individual should serve on our Board, however, each of the members of the Nominating Committee may have a variety of reasons why he or she believes a particular person would be an appropriate nominee for our Board, and these views may differ from the views of other members.

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Attendance of Directors at Annual Meetings of Stockholders
We expect all of our directors to attend the Annual Meeting. Our Board has adopted a policy under which each director makes every effort to, but is not required to, attend each annual meeting of our stockholders. All of our then-serving directors attended last year's annual meeting of stockholders.
Stockholder Communications with the Board
Our Board has adopted a formal process by which stockholders may communicate with our Board or any of its directors. Stockholders who wish to communicate with the Board may do so by sending written communications addressed to the Secretary of Daré Bioscience, Inc., 3655 Nobel Drive, Suite 260, San Diego, CA 92122. These communications will be reviewed by the Secretary, who will determine whether the communication is appropriate for presentation to our Board or the relevant director. The purpose of this screening is to avoid having our Board consider irrelevant or inappropriate communications (such as advertisements, solicitations and hostile communications).
Family Relationships; Arrangements; Legal Proceedings
There are no family relationships among any of our directors and executive officers. There are no arrangements or understandings with another person under which our directors and officers was or is to be selected as a director or executive officer. Additionally, none of our directors or executive officers is involved in any legal proceeding that requires disclosure under Item 401(f) of Regulation S-K.
Section 16(a) Beneficial Ownership Reporting Compliance
Under Section 16(a) of the Exchange Act, our directors and executive officers, and beneficial owners of more than 10% of our common stock (collectively, reporting persons) are required to file reports of ownership of our common stock and changes in such ownership with the SEC. Reporting persons also are required by SEC rules to furnish us with copies of all Section 16(a) forms they file. Based solely on a review of copies of Section 16(a) forms furnished to us, or representation from reporting persons that no other reports were required during the fiscal year ended December 31, 2018, we believe that all Section 16(a) filing requirements applicable to reporting persons were timely met during 2018.
Code of Conduct and Ethics
We have adopted a Corporate Code of Conduct and Ethics and Whistleblower Policy that applies to all our employees, including our chief executive officer and chief financial and accounting officers. We will provide any person, without charge, a copy of our Corporate Code of Conduct and Ethics and Whistleblower Policy upon written request to Investor Relations, Daré Bioscience, Inc., 3655 Nobel Drive, Suite 260, San Diego, California 92122. We also post on our website a copy of our Corporate Code of Conduct and Ethics and Whistleblower Policy at www.darebioscience.com. Information contained on the website is not incorporated by reference in, or considered part of, this report. We intend to disclose any changes in our Corporate Code of Conduct and Ethics and Whistleblower Policy or waivers from it that apply to our principal executive officer, principal financial officer, or principal accounting officer by posting such information on the same website or by filing with the SEC a Current Report on Form 8-K, in each case if such disclosure is required by SEC or Nasdaq rules.

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EXECUTIVE OFFICERS
Set forth below are the names, ages, offices held, tenure, and certain biographical information of each of our executive officers as of April 22, 2019.
 
Name
 
Age
 
Offices
 
Officer Since
Sabrina Martucci Johnson
 
53
 
Chief Executive Officer, President, Secretary and Director
 
July 2017
Lisa Walters-Hoffert
 
60
 
Chief Financial Officer
 
July 2017
Ms. Johnson’s biographical information is included above with those of the other members of our Board.
Lisa Walters-Hoffert. Ms. Walters-Hoffert co-founded Private Daré in 2015 and served as its Chief Business Officer since its inception and until the closing of the Cerulean/Private Daré stock purchase transaction, at which time she was appointed Chief Financial Officer of the combined company. During the 25 years prior to joining Private Daré, Ms. Walters-Hoffert was an investment banker focused primarily on raising equity capital for, and providing advisory services to, small-cap public companies. From 2003 to 2015, Ms. Walters-Hoffert worked for Roth Capital Partners, an investment banking firm focused on providing investment banking services to such companies, most recently serving as Managing Director in the Investment Banking Division, overseeing the firm’s San Diego office and its activities with respect to medical device, diagnostic and specialty pharma companies. At Roth Capital Partners, Ms. Walters-Hoffert trained and managed transaction deal teams and was responsible for the oversight of all aspects of transactions, including due diligence, internal communications with sales forces and external communications with institutional investors, among others. Ms. Walters-Hoffert has held various positions in the corporate finance and investment banking divisions of Citicorp Securities in San José, Costa Rica and Oppenheimer & Co, Inc. in New York City, New York. Ms. Walters-Hoffert has served as a member of the board of directors of the San Diego Venture Group, as Past Chair of the UCSD Librarian’s Advisory Board and as Immediate Past Chair of the Board of Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest. Ms.  Walters-Hoffert graduated from Duke University with a B.S. in Management Sciences, magna cum laude.
EXECUTIVE COMPENSATION
Overview
The Compensation Committee, currently comprised of two non-employee members of our Board, William H. Rastetter, Ph.D. and Robin J. Steele, J.D., L.L.M, assists our Board in discharging its responsibilities in respect of compensation of our executive officers.
Executive compensation is intended to attract and retain qualified executive officers and to align the interests of our executive officers with those of our stockholders by incentivizing and rewarding achievement of business objectives that we believe will enhance our value and by promoting commitment to long-term success. As a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company, these objectives are to be accomplished primarily by positioning us to successfully execute our drug product development and regulatory approval efforts and to translate those efforts, over time, into revenues and income from commercialization of, or strategic collaborations with respect to, our product candidates.
Our current executive compensation program primarily includes (1) base salary, (2) annual performance-based incentive compensation, and (3) long-term incentive compensation in the form of stock options with the goal of aligning the long-term interests of executive officers with those of our stockholders and otherwise encouraging the achievement of superior results over an extended time period.
With respect to the compensation of our Chief Executive Officer, the Compensation Committee annually reviews and recommends to our Board corporate objectives relevant to compensation, evaluates performance in light of those objectives, and recommends to our Board compensation levels based on this evaluation. Our Chief Executive Officer may not be present during any deliberations or voting with respect to her compensation. The Compensation Committee annually reviews and approves the compensation of our other executive officers.

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With respect to our executive officer compensation program, the Compensation Committee also: (1) reviews competitive practices and trends to determine the adequacy of our executive compensation program; (2) reviews and considers participation and eligibility in the various components of our total executive compensation package; and (3) as deemed necessary or appropriate, approves employment contracts, severance arrangements, change in control provisions and other agreements.
In 2018, the Compensation Committee adopted a formal policy for the timing of granting annual equity awards to our existing employees, including our named executive officers, to provide for a consistent process and to ensure the integrity and efficiency of the company’s award process. Under this policy, annual equity awards will be granted on the date of the Compensation Committee’s first regularly scheduled meeting held each year, subject to the Compensation Committee’s ability to change the annual grant date for any particular year if the Compensation Committee determines that granting annual awards on such date would not be in the company’s best interest.

Named Executive Officers
The table below shows the compensation awarded to or paid to, or earned by our 2018 named executive officers.
2018 Summary Compensation Table
Name and Principal Position
 
Fiscal
Year
 
Salary
($)
 
Bonus
($)
 
Option
Awards ($) (2)
 
Non-equity incentive plan compensation
($) (3)
 
All Other
Compensation ($) (4)
 
Total
($)
Sabrina Martucci Johnson (1)
 
2018
 
325,000

 

 
184,990

 
97,500

 
10,740

 
618,230

President and Chief Executive Officer
 
2017
 
144,278

 

 

 
146,250

 

 
290,528

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Lisa Walters-Hoffert (1)
 
2018
 
260,000

 

 
96,349

 
54,600

 
9,533

 
420,482

Chief Financial Officer
 
2017
 
115,094

 
45,500

 

 
36,400

 

 
196,994

 
(1)
Ms. Johnson and Ms. Walters-Hoffert were appointed to the offices indicated effective July 19, 2017, and their base salaries represent the amounts paid to each of them from such date through December 31, 2017. Compensation for their services in their capacity as officers of Private Daré is not included in this table.
(2)
The amounts in this column represent the grant date fair value, determined in accordance with ASC Topic 718, Compensation-Stock Compensation (ASC Topic 718), of stock options granted to the applicable individual. See Note 8. Stock Based Compensation to our consolidated financial statements included in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2018 filed with the SEC on April 1, 2019 for details as to the assumptions used to determine the fair value of the awards.
(3)
Amounts represent performance bonuses earned for the years indicated.
(4)
Amount reflects Company 401(k) match. The Company provides the named executive officers with health, medical and other non-cash benefits generally available to all employees, which are not included in these columns pursuant to SEC rules.

Narrative to Summary Compensation Table
As reflected in the table above, the 2018 compensation of our named executive officers consisted of three primary components: (1) base salary; (2) equity compensation in the form of stock options; and (3) performance-based cash compensation.
Base Salary. The 2018 annual base salary of our named executive officers ($325,000 for Ms. Ms. Johnson and $260,000 for Ms. Walters-Hoffert) was not increased relative to their 2017 annual base salary. The

17



difference in amounts reflects a full year in 2018, compared to less than 6 months in 2017. Our named executive officers were each appointed to their offices in July 2017 in connection with the closing of the Cerulean/Private Daré stock purchase transaction.
Option Awards. Our named executive officers were each granted a stock option during 2018. Stock options are a key tool in our pay-for-performance philosophy and align the interests of our employees, including our named executive officers, with our stockholders’ interests. Stock options are inherently performance-based, and automatically link executive pay to stockholder return, as the value realized, if any, by the recipient from a stock option depends upon, and directly proportionate to, the appreciation in our stock price. In preparation for making 2018 executive officer compensation decisions, the Compensation Committee evaluated the appropriate form of long-term incentive compensation and determined to use stock options as the primary incentive for long-term compensation in part because of the foregoing reasons.
Annual Performance-Based Bonus Opportunity. For 2018, the annual bonus opportunity for our employees was based on our company’s achievement of four performance objectives. Two were related to the achievement of clinical trial milestones for our lead product candidates, Ovaprene and Sildenafil Cream, 3.6%, and the other three were related to securing capital either through an equity financing, from a strategic partner or from a non-dilutive funding source. The weighting for the performance objectives was up to 70% in the aggregate for the achievement of the clinical trial milestones and up to 30% in the aggregate for securing capital. The amount of the bonus, if any, is determined by multiplying the aggregate weighting percentage by the applicable employee’s target bonus amount. The target bonus amount for Ms. Johnson and Ms. Walters-Hoffert was up to 50% and 35%, respectively, of their respective annual base salary. The Compensation Committee has the sole discretion to apply a weighting of 0 to 150% against the target bonus percentage, and the bonus is payable upon achievement of any objective. Bonus payments if any, are contingent on the applicable employee’s continued employment with us on the date of payment. In February 2019, after careful review, our Board, upon the recommendation of the Compensation Committee, determined to award a 60% aggregate weighting to the achievement of the performance objectives based on the partial achievement of the clinical trial milestones and on progress made in the company’s product portfolio, which although was not one of the performance objectives for 2018, was determined to better position the company for the future. Accordingly, Ms. Johnson was paid a 2018 performance based bonus equal to 60% of 50% of her annual base salary, or $97,500, and Ms. Walters-Hoffert was paid a 2018 performance based bonus equal to 60% of 35% of her annual base salary, or $54,600.

Employment Agreements and Termination of Employment & Change in Control Arrangements
In August 2017, we entered into employment agreements with each of Ms. Johnson and Ms. Walters-Hoffert. The following is a summary of the material terms of such employment agreements necessary to an understanding of the information disclosed in the summary compensation table.
Each executive is eligible to receive an annual base salary, which may be increased at the discretion of our Board.
In our sole discretion, Ms. Johnson and Ms. Walters-Hoffert are each eligible to receive an annual bonus in an amount equal to up to 50% and 35%, respectively, of each their respective then-current annual base salary. The amount of their annual bonus, if any, will be based on the assessment of our Board of the applicable executive’s performance and our company’s performance.
Each executive is entitled to (1) participate in all equity, pension, savings and retirement plans, welfare and insurance plans, practices, policies, programs and perquisites of employment applicable generally to our senior executives, (2) receive reimbursement for reasonably incurred business expenses and (3) receive paid vacation and holiday time in accordance with policies generally applicable to our senior executives.
Subject to earlier termination, including in the event of death, each employment agreement is for a two-year term and automatically renews for successive one-year terms unless either party provides notice of her intent not to renew at least 60 days prior to the applicable expiration date. The executive may terminate her employment for good reason after giving us 14 days to correct or “cure” the circumstances giving rise to a termination for good reason, or for any reason other than for good reason a upon at least 14 days’ prior written notice. We may terminate the employment of each executive without prior written notice for cause, without cause on 14 days’ prior written notice, or

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in the event of the executive’s disability. The employment agreement automatically terminates upon the executive’s death.
The following table summarizes our obligations and the payments and other benefits to which the executive may be entitled if her employment is terminated for the reason specified, other than in connection with a change of control, which is discussed in the paragraph below the table.
 
Reason for
Termination
 
Accrued
Obligations(1)
 
Cash Payments(2)
 
Other Benefits(2)
By us for cause.
By the executive without good reason.
Executive’s death or disability.
Executive elects not to renew agreement.
 
We must pay the executive any accrued obligations as of the date of termination
 
None.
 
None.
By us other than for cause.
By the executive with good reason.
We elect not to renew agreement.
 
We must pay the executive any accrued obligations as of the date of termination
 
We must pay the executive: (1) any accrued but unpaid bonus (or a pro rata portion of such bonus) as of the date of termination; and (2) an amount equal to a specified number of months of the executive’s then-current base salary. (3)
 
We must provide the executive continuing health benefits coverage for a specified number of months.(3)
 
(1)
Consists of any earned but unpaid base salary, unpaid expense reimbursements, and any vested benefits the executive may have under any employee benefit plan, in each case, as of the date of termination.
(2)
Payment and benefits are conditioned on (a) the executive’s continued compliance with her obligations under the employment agreement related to confidentiality and non-interference and intellectual property covenants and (b) the executive (or her estate) executing and delivering a full release of all claims in favor of Daré.
(3)
The number of months is 12 for Ms. Johnson and 9 for Ms. Walters-Hoffert.
Under the terms of their employment agreements, if the executive’s employment is terminated by us without cause or by the executive for good reason, in each case, within three months prior to or 12 months following a change of control: (1) the executive is eligible to receive an amount equal to a specified number of months (18 for Ms. Johnson and 12 for Ms. Walters-Hoffert) of the executive’s then-current base salary and target bonus at the rate in effect immediately prior to such termination, (2) the executive will receive continuing health benefits coverage for a specified number of months (18 for Ms. Johnson and 12 for Ms. Walters-Hoffert) and (3) any unvested and outstanding equity interests such executive may have in Daré will fully vest and accelerate.
All payments made and benefits available to each executive in connection with her employment agreement will comply with Internal Revenue Code Section 409A in accordance with the terms of her employment agreement.
Other Benefits
We maintain a defined contribution employee retirement plan for all our employees. Our 401(k) plan is intended to qualify as a tax-qualified plan under Section 401 of the Internal Revenue Code so that contributions to our 401(k) plan, and income earned on such contributions, are not taxable to participants until withdrawn or distributed from the 401(k) plan. If a participant contributes 5% or more of their compensation, we match their contribution up to 4% of their annual compensation, subject to statutory limits.
We currently do not have any annuity, pension or deferred compensation plan or other arrangements for our executive officers or any employees.


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Outstanding Equity Awards at Fiscal Year-End
The following table sets forth information concerning equity awards held by our named executive officers that were outstanding as of December 31, 2018:
 
 
 
 
2018 Outstanding Equity Awards at Fiscal Year-End
Option  Awards
Name
 
Date of Grant
 
Number of
Securities
Underlying
Unexercised
Options
Exercisable
(#)
 
Number of
Securities
Underlying
Unexercised
Options
Unexercisable
(#)
 
Option
Exercise
Price
($)
 
Option
Expiration
Date
Sabrina Martucci Johnson
 
9/7/2018
 
12,000

 
180,000

 
$
1.01

 
9/7/2028
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Lisa Walters-Hoffert
 
9/7/2018
 
6,250

 
93,750

 
$
1.01

 
9/7/2028
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

SECURITY OWNERSHIP OF CERTAIN BENEFICIAL OWNERS AND MANAGEMENT
The table below sets forth certain information, as of April 22, 2019, regarding the beneficial ownership of our common stock for (1) each person known by us to be the beneficial owner of more than 5% of our common stock, (2) each of our directors, (3) each of our named executive officers and (4) all of our current directors and executive officers as a group.
We have determined beneficial ownership in accordance with applicable SEC rules, and the information reflected in the table below is not necessarily indicative of beneficial ownership for any other purpose. Under applicable SEC rules, beneficial ownership includes any shares of common stock as to which a person has sole or shared voting power or investment power and any shares of common stock which the person has the right to acquire within 60 days after the date set forth in the paragraph above through the exercise of any option, warrant or right or through the conversion of any convertible security. Unless otherwise indicated in the footnotes to the table below and subject to community property laws where applicable, we believe, based on the information furnished to us and on SEC filings, that each of the persons named in table below has sole voting and investment power with respect to the shares indicated as beneficially owned.
The information set forth in the table below is based on 16,683,411 shares of our common stock issued and outstanding on April 22, 2019. In computing the number of shares of common stock beneficially owned by a person and the percentage ownership of that person, we deemed to be outstanding all shares of common stock subject to options, warrants, rights or other convertible securities held by that person that are currently exercisable or will be exercisable within 60 days after such date. We did not deem these shares outstanding, however, for the purpose of computing the percentage ownership of any other person. Except as otherwise noted, the address for each person listed in the table below is c/o Daré Bioscience, Inc., 3655 Nobel Drive, Suite 260, San Diego, California, 92122.
 

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Name
 
Number of
Shares
Beneficially
Owned
 
Percentage
Beneficially Owned
5% Stockholders
 
 
 
 
Roger Hawley (1)
 
1,095,838

 
6.9%
Sabrina Martucci Johnson (2)
 
1,014,312

 
6.3%
 
 
 
 
 
Named Executive Officers and Directors
 
 
 
 
Sabrina Martucci Johnson (2)
 
1,014,312

 
6.3%
Lisa Walters-Hoffert (3)
 
468,511

 
2.9%
Jessica D. Grossman, M.D.
 

 
*
Roger Hawley (1)
 
1,095,838

 
6.9%
Susan L. Kelley, M.D. (4)
 
7,300

 
*
Gregory W. Matz (5)
 
500

 
*
William H. Rastetter, Ph.D. (6)
 
17,604

 
*
Robin Steele (7)
 
246,904

 
1.5%
 
 
 
 
 
All directors and executive officers as a group (8 persons) (8)
 
2,850,969

 
17.8%
 
*
Less than 1%
(1)
Includes 10,882 shares of common stock issuable upon exercise of stock options. 944,956 outstanding shares are held by The Hawley Family Trust Dated October 22, 2004. Mr. Hawley is the trustee of such trust and has sole investment and dispositive power over such shares. 140,000 outstanding shares are held in an individual retirement account for the benefit of Mr. Hawley.
(2)
Includes 52,250 shares of common stock issuable upon exercise of stock options. The outstanding shares are held by The Vincent S. Johnson and Sabrina M. Johnson Family Trust dated February 14, 2005. Ms. Johnson is the co-trustee of such trust and has shared investment and dispositive power over such shares.
(3)
Includes 25,000 shares of common stock issuable upon exercise of stock options. The outstanding shares are held by The Lisa Walters-Hoffert Survivor’s Trust dated October 31, 2002. Ms. Walters-Hoffert is the trustee of such trust and has sole investment and dispositive power over such shares.
(4)
Includes 7,300 shares of common stock issuable upon exercise of stock options.

(5)
These shares are held by the Matz Trust Dated December 20, 1999. Mr. Matz is the co-trustee of such trust and has shared investment and dispositive power over such shares.
(6)
Includes 7,301 shares of common stock issuable upon exercise of stock options. The outstanding shares are held by William and Marisa Rastetter Trustees of the Rastetter Family Trust U/A Dated 09/02/2010. Dr. Rastetter is the co-trustee of such trust and has shared investment and dispositive power over such shares.

(7)
Includes 733 shares of common stock issuable upon exercise of stock options. The outstanding shares are held by the Robin J. Steele Trust DTD 1/30/2015. Ms. Steele is the trustee of such trust and has sole investment and dispositive power over such shares.

(8)
Includes 103,466 shares of common stock issuable upon exercise of stock options. The members of this group are our two current executive officers (Ms. Johnson and Ms. Walters-Hoffert) and our six non-employee directors (Drs. Grossman, Kelley, and Rastetter, Messrs. Hawley and Matz, and Ms. Steele).


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EQUITY COMPENSATION PLAN INFORMATION
The following table sets forth information as of December 31, 2018, with respect to compensation plans (including individual compensation arrangements) under which our equity securities are authorized for issuance. The share numbers in the table and in the footnotes thereto reflect the 1-for-10 reverse stock split of our common stock that was effected on July 20, 2017.
 
Plan Category
 
Number of
securities to be
issued upon
exercise of
outstanding
options, warrants
and rights  (a)
 
Weighted-
average exercise
price of
outstanding
options,
warrants and
rights (b)
 
Number of
securities remaining
available for future
issuance under
equity
compensation plans
(c)  (excluding
securities reflected
in column a))
Equity compensation plans approved by security holders (1)
 
1,625,641

 
$
11.15

 
421,244

Equity compensation plans not approved by security holders (2)
 

 
$

 

Total
 
1,625,641

 
$
11.15

 
421,244

 
(1)
Consists of securities issued under our 2007 Stock Incentive Plan and our Amended and Restated 2014 Stock Incentive Plan, or the 2014 Plan. Under the 2014 Plan, the number of shares of common stock authorized and reserved for issuance automatically increases on an annual basis on the first day of each fiscal year, by an amount equal to the least of (i) 2,000,000 shares of common stock, (ii) 4% of the number of outstanding shares of our common stock on such date, or (iii) an amount determined by our Board.
(2)
The table excludes 10,149 shares of common stock that may be issued upon exercise of outstanding options that were issued by Private Daré and that were assumed in connection with the closing of the Cerulean/Private Daré stock purchase transaction. The weighted average exercise price of such options is $0.01 per share.

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CERTAIN RELATIONSHIPS AND RELATED TRANSACTIONS
Related Transactions
There has not been any transaction since January 1, 2017, nor is there any currently proposed, that requires disclosure Item 404 of Regulation S-K.
Company Policy Regarding Related Party Transactions
Pursuant to its charter, the Audit Committee of our Board has the responsibility to review, approve and oversee any transaction between the Company and a related person (as defined in Item 404 of Regulation S-K) and to develop policies and procedures for Audit Committee’s approval of such transactions.
Indemnification Agreements
As permitted under Delaware law, we have entered into indemnification agreements with our officers and directors that provide that we will indemnify the directors and officers for certain expenses, including attorneys’ fees, judgments, fines and settlement amounts incurred by such director or officer in any action or proceeding arising out of their service as a director and/or officer. The term of the indemnification is for the officer’s or director’s lifetime.


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PROPOSAL 1
ELECTION OF DIRECTORS
Our Board is divided into three classes. Each class consists, as nearly as possible, of one-third of the total number of directors, and each class has a three-year term. Our Class II directors are up for election at the Annual Meeting.
Our Board, upon the recommendation of the Nominating Committee, has nominated Mr. Matz, Dr. Rastetter and Ms. Steele for election at the Annual Meeting and to serve until the 2022 annual meeting of stockholders and until their successors are duly elected and qualified.
Proxies may not be voted for a greater number of persons than the number of nominees named in this Proxy Statement. Each of the directors nominated by our Board has consented to serving as a nominee, being named in this Proxy Statement, and serving on our Board if elected. If any nominee is unable or declines to serve as a director at the time of the Annual Meeting, the proxy holders may vote for any nominee designated by our Board to fill the vacancy.
Vote Required
If a quorum is present at the Annual Meeting, the election of directors will be determined by a plurality of the votes cast by the stockholders entitled to vote on the election. Accordingly, the three nominees receiving the most “FOR” votes from the holders of shares present during the Annual Meeting or represented by proxy and entitled to vote on the election of directors will be elected. You may vote “FOR” or “WITHHOLD” authority to vote for each of the director nominees. If you “WITHHOLD” authority to vote with respect to one or more director nominees, your vote will have no effect on the election of such nominees. Broker non-votes will have no effect on the election of directors.
OUR BOARD RECOMMENDS A VOTE “FOR” EACH NOMINEE NAMED ABOVE.


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PROPOSAL 2
RATIFICATION OF INDEPENDENT AUDITOR
The Audit Committee has selected Mayer Hoffman McCann P.C. (“Mayer Hoffman”), as our independent registered public accounting firm for the fiscal year ending December 31, 2019 and has further directed that management submit such selection for ratification by our stockholders at the Annual Meeting. Mayer Hoffman has served in this capacity since July 2017. The Audit Committee reviews the performance of the independent registered public accounting firm annually.
Neither our by-laws nor other governing documents or law require stockholder ratification of the selection of Mayer Hoffman as our independent registered public accounting firm. However, the Audit Committee is submitting the selection of Mayer Hoffman to the stockholders for ratification as a matter of good corporate practice. If the stockholders fail to ratify the selection, the Audit Committee will reconsider whether to retain that firm. Even if the selection is ratified, the Audit Committee in its discretion may direct the appointment of different independent auditors at any time during the year if they determine that such a change would be in our best interests and in the best interests of our stockholders. Representatives of Mayer Hoffman are expected to be present at the Annual Meeting. They will have an opportunity to make a statement if they so desire and will be available to respond to appropriate questions.
Auditor Fees
The following table shows the fees billed by Mayer Hoffman for our last two fiscal years.  
 
 
Fiscal Year
 
 
2018
 
2017
Audit Fees (1)
 
$
188,560

 
$
227,139

Audit Related Fees (2)
 

 

Tax Fees (3)
 

 

All Other Fees (4)
 

 

Total
 
$
188,560

 
$
227,139

 
(1)
Audit Fees are for professional services rendered for the audit of our annual financial statements and review of financial statements included in our Form 10-Q or services that are normally provided by the accountant in connection with statutory and regulatory filings or engagements.
(2)
Audit Related Fees are for assurance and related services that are reasonably related to the performance of the audit or review of our financial statements and are not included in Audit Fees. No such services were rendered during 2018 or 2017.
(3)
Tax Fees are for professional services for tax compliance, tax advice, and tax planning. No such services were rendered during 2018 or 2017.
(4)
All Other Fees are for products and services other than the services reported above. No such services were rendered during 2018 or 2017.
Mayer Hoffman has advised us that it leases substantially all its personnel, who work under the control of Mayer Hoffman’s shareholders, from wholly-owned subsidiaries of CBIZ, Inc., in an alternative practice structure. Accordingly, substantially all the hours expended on Mayer Hoffman’s engagement to audit our consolidated financial statements were attributed to work performed by persons other than Mayer Hoffman’s full-time, permanent employees.

Policy on Audit Committee Pre-Approval of Audit and Permissible Non-Audit Services of Independent Public Accountant
Consistent with SEC policies regarding auditor independence, the Audit Committee has responsibility for appointing, setting compensation and overseeing the work of our independent registered public accounting firm. In recognition of this responsibility, the Audit Committee has established a policy to pre-approve all audit and permissible

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non-audit services provided by our independent registered public accounting firm. All audit services for 2018 were pre-approved by the Audit Committee.
Prior to engagement of an independent registered public accounting firm for the next year’s audit, management will prepare a list of services that are expected to be required during that year for each of four categories of services to the Audit Committee for approval.
1.    Audit services include audit work performed in the preparation of financial statements, as well as work that generally only an independent registered public accounting firm can reasonably be expected to provide, including comfort letters, statutory audits, and attest services and consultation regarding financial accounting and/or reporting standards.
2.    Audit-Related services are for assurance and related services that are traditionally performed by an independent registered public accounting firm, including due diligence related to mergers and acquisitions, employee benefit plan audits, and special procedures required to meet certain regulatory requirements.
3.    Tax services include all services performed by an independent registered public accounting firm’s tax personnel except those services specifically related to the audit of the financial statements, and includes fees in the areas of tax compliance, tax planning, and tax advice.
4.    Other Fees are those associated with services not captured in the other categories. The Company generally does not request such services from our independent registered public accounting firm.
Prior to engagement, the Audit Committee pre-approves these services by category of service. The fees are budgeted and the Audit Committee is informed periodically throughout the year of actual fees versus the budget by category of service. During the year, circumstances may arise when it may become necessary to engage our independent registered public accounting firm for additional services not contemplated in the original pre-approval. In those instances, the Audit Committee requires specific pre-approval before engaging our independent registered public accounting firm.
The Audit Committee may delegate pre-approval authority to one or more of its members. The member to whom such authority is delegated must report, for informational purposes only, any pre-approval decisions to the Audit Committee at its next scheduled meeting.
Change in Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm
Until July 19, 2017, Deloitte & Touche LLP (“Deloitte”) served as our independent registered public accounting firm. By letter dated (and received) July 19, 2017, the Audit Committee was notified by Deloitte of its resignation as our independent registered public accounting firm. The Audit Committee accepted Deloitte’s resignation.
The audit reports of Deloitte on our financial statements for the fiscal years ended December 31, 2016 and 2015 contained no adverse opinion or disclaimer of opinion and were not qualified or modified as to uncertainty, audit scope or accounting principles.
During the fiscal years ended December 31, 2016 and 2015, and the subsequent periods through July 19, 2017, the date of Deloitte’s resignation, there were no disagreements with Deloitte on any matter of accounting principles or practices, financial statement disclosure, or auditing scope or procedure, which disagreement, if not resolved to the satisfaction of Deloitte, would have caused Deloitte to make reference to the subject matter of the disagreements in connection with its reports. None of the reportable events described under Item 304(a)(1)(v) of Regulation S-K occurred within our two most recent fiscal years and the subsequent interim period through July 19, 2017.
On July 19, 2017, the Audit Committee authorized the appointment of Mayer Hoffman as our new independent registered public accounting firm for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2017. On July 19, 2017, Mayer Hoffman was appointed as our independent registered public accounting firm. During the fiscal years ended December 31, 2016 and 2015, and the subsequent interim period through July 19, 2017, neither we, nor anyone on its behalf, consulted Mayer Hoffman regarding either (i) the application of accounting principles to a specific transaction, either completed or proposed; or the type of audit opinion that might be rendered on our financial statements, and no written

26



report or oral advice was provided to us that Mayer Hoffman concluded was an important factor considered by us in reaching our decision as to an accounting, auditing, or financial reporting issue; or (ii) any matter that was either the subject of a disagreement (as defined in paragraph 304(a)(1)(iv) of Regulation S-K and the related instructions) or a reportable event (as described in paragraph 304(a)(1)(v) of Regulation S-K).
Vote Required
If a quorum is present at the Annual Meeting, the approval of Proposal 2 requires the affirmative vote of a majority of the votes cast with respect to such proposal, meaning the number of shares voted “FOR” such proposal must exceed the number of shares voted “AGAINST” such proposal. You may vote “FOR,” “AGAINST” or “ABSTAIN” from voting on Proposal 2. Abstentions and broker non-votes will have no effect on the outcome of this proposal.
OUR BOARD RECOMMENDS A VOTE “FOR” PROPOSAL 2.
HOUSEHOLDING OF PROXY MATERIALS
We have adopted an SEC-approved procedure called “householding.” This procedure potentially means extra convenience for stockholders and cost savings for companies. Under this procedure, we send only one copy of the Notice of Internet Availability, and if applicable, Notice of Annual Meeting of Stockholders, Proxy Statement and Annual Report, to stockholders of record who share the same address and last name, unless one of those stockholders notifies us that the stockholder would like a separate copy of such documents. If, at any time, you no longer wish to participate in householding and would prefer to receive a separate copy of the Notice of Internet Availability, and if applicable, Notice of Annual Meeting of Stockholders, Proxy Statement and Annual Report, from the other stockholder(s) sharing your address, please direct your written request to Daré Bioscience, Inc., Attention: Secretary, 3655 Nobel Drive, Suite 260, San Diego, California 92122 or contact us by phone at (858) 926-7655. We undertake to deliver promptly, upon any such oral or written request, a separate copy of the Notice of Internet Availability, and if applicable, Notice of Annual Meeting of Stockholders, Proxy Statement and Annual Report, to a stockholder at a shared address to which a single copy of these documents was delivered. Similarly, if stockholders of record sharing the same address are receiving multiple copies of the Notice of Internet Availability, or if applicable, Notice of Annual Meeting of Stockholders, Proxy Statement and Annual Report, and such stockholders would like a single copy to be delivered to them in the future, such stockholders may make such a request by contacting us by the means described above.
If you wish to update your participation in householding and you are a beneficial owner who holds shares in “street name” with a broker, bank or other nominee, you may contact your broker, bank, or other nominee or our mailing agent, Broadridge Investor Communications Solutions, at 800-542-1061.
OTHER MATTERS
As of the time of preparation of this Proxy Statement, we do not know of any matter to be acted upon at the Annual Meeting other than the matters described in this Proxy Statement. If any other matter properly comes before the Annual Meeting, however, the proxy holders will vote the proxies thereon in accordance with the recommendation of our Board.
ANNUAL REPORT
Any person who was a beneficial owner of our common stock on the record date for the Annual Meeting may request a copy of our annual report on Form 10-K, including the financial statements and the financial statement schedules, and it will be furnished without charge upon receipt of a written request identifying the person so requesting a report as our stockholder on such record date. Requests should be directed to Daré Bioscience, Inc., Attention: Secretary, 3655 Nobel Drive, Suite 260, San Diego, California 92122.

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