Annual report pursuant to Section 13 and 15(d)

Summary of Significant Accounting Policies

Summary of Significant Accounting Policies
12 Months Ended
Dec. 31, 2019
Accounting Policies [Abstract]  
Summary of Significant Accounting Policies



Summary of Significant Accounting Policies

Use of Estimates

The preparation of financial statements in conformity with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States (GAAP) requires management to make estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amounts of assets and liabilities and disclosure of contingent assets and liabilities at the date of the financial statements and the reported amounts of revenues and expenses during the reporting period. Actual results could differ from those estimates.

Concentrations of Credit Risk

Financial instruments that potentially subject the Company to significant concentrations of credit risk consist primarily of cash, cash equivalents and marketable securities. The Company maintains deposits in federally insured financial institutions in excess of federally insured limits. The Company has not experienced any losses in such accounts and believes it is not exposed to significant risk on its cash. Additionally, the Company established guidelines regarding approved investments and maturities of investments, which are designed to maintain safety and liquidity.

Cash and Cash Equivalents

The Company considers all highly liquid investments with an original maturity from the date of purchase of three months or less to be cash equivalents. Cash and cash equivalents include cash in readily available checking and money market accounts.

Marketable Securities

The Company classifies its marketable securities as available-for-sale and records such assets at estimated fair value in the balance sheets, with unrealized gains and losses, if any, reported as a component of other comprehensive income (loss) within the statements of operations and comprehensive loss and as a separate component of stockholders’ equity. The Company classifies marketable securities with remaining maturities greater than one year as current assets because such marketable securities are available to fund the Company’s current operations. The Company invests its excess cash balances primarily in corporate debt securities and money market funds with strong credit ratings. Realized gains and losses are calculated on the specific identification method and recorded as interest income. There were no realized gains and losses for the years ended December 31, 2019, 2018 and 2017.

At each balance sheet date, the Company assesses available-for-sale securities in an unrealized loss position to determine whether the unrealized loss is other-than-temporary. The Company considers factors including: the significance of the decline in value compared to the cost basis, underlying factors contributing to a decline in the prices of securities in a single asset class, the length of time the market value of the security has been less than its cost basis, the security’s relative performance versus its peers, sector or asset class, expected market volatility and the market and economy in general. When the Company determines that a decline in the fair value below its cost basis is other-than-temporary, the Company recognizes an impairment loss in the period in which the other-than-temporary decline occurred. There have been no other-than-temporary declines in the value of marketable securities for the years ended December 31, 2019, 2018 and 2017.

Fair Value of Financial Instruments

The carrying amounts of collaboration receivables, prepaid and other current assets, and accounts payable and accrued expenses are reasonable estimates of their fair value because of the short maturity of these items.

Property and Equipment

Property and equipment, which consisted of furniture and fixtures, computers and office equipment, scientific equipment and leasehold improvements, were stated at cost and depreciated over the estimated useful lives of the assets (three to five years) using the straight-line method. Leasehold improvements were amortized over the shorter of their estimated useful lives or the lease term.

Long-Lived Assets

The Company regularly reviews the carrying value and estimated lives of all of its long-lived assets, including property and equipment, to determine whether indicators of impairment may exist which warrant adjustments to carrying values or estimated useful lives. The determinants used for this evaluation include management’s estimate of the asset’s ability to generate positive income from operations and positive cash flow in future periods, as well as the strategic significance of the assets to the Company’s business objective. Should an impairment exist, the impairment loss would be measured based on the excess of the carrying amount of the asset’s fair value. Through December 31, 2019, the Company has recognized $50,000 in impairment losses.

Revenue Recognition

Under the relevant accounting literature, an entity recognizes revenue when its customer obtains control of promised goods or services, in an amount that reflects the consideration that the entity expects to receive in exchange for those goods or services. The Company performs the following five steps in order to determine revenue recognition for contracts: (i) identify the contract(s) with a customer; (ii) identify the performance obligations in the contract; (iii) determine the transaction price; (iv) allocate the transaction price to the performance obligations in the contract; and (v) recognize revenue when, or as, the entity satisfies a performance obligation.

At contract inception, the Company identifies the performance obligations in the contract by assessing whether the goods or services promised within each contract are distinct. Revenue is then recognized for the amount of the transaction price that is allocated to the respective performance obligation when, or as, the performance obligation is satisfied.

In a contract with multiple performance obligations, the Company must develop estimates and assumptions that require judgment to determine the underlying stand-alone selling price for each performance obligation, which determines how the transaction price is allocated among the performance obligations. The estimation of the stand-alone selling price(s) may include estimates regarding forecasted revenues or costs, development timelines, discount rates, and probabilities of technical and regulatory success. The Company evaluates each performance obligation to determine if it can be satisfied at a point in time or over time. Any change made to estimated progress towards completion of a performance obligation and, therefore, revenue recognized will be recorded as a change in estimate. In addition, variable consideration must be evaluated to determine if it is constrained and, therefore, excluded from the transaction price.

If a license to the Company’s intellectual property is determined to be distinct from the other performance obligations identified in a contract, the Company recognizes revenues from the transaction price allocated to the license when the license is transferred to the licensee and the licensee is able to use and benefit from the license. For licenses that are bundled with other promises, the Company utilizes judgment to assess the nature of the combined performance obligation to determine whether the combined performance obligation is satisfied over time or at a point in time and, if over time, the appropriate method of measuring progress for purposes of recognizing revenue from the allocated transaction price. The Company evaluates the measure of progress at each reporting period and, if necessary, adjusts the measure of performance and related revenue or expense recognition as a change in estimate.

At the inception of each arrangement that includes milestone payments, the Company evaluates whether the milestones are considered probable of being reached. If it is probable that a significant revenue reversal would not occur, the associated milestone value is included in the transaction price. Milestone payments that are not within the Company’s or a collaboration partner’s control, such as regulatory approvals, are generally not considered probable of being achieved until those approvals are received. At the end of each reporting period, the Company re-evaluates the probability of achievement of milestones that are within its or a collaboration partner’s control, such as operational developmental milestones and any related constraint, and, if necessary, adjusts its estimate of the overall transaction price. Any such adjustments are recorded on a cumulative catch-up basis, which will affect collaboration revenues and earnings in the period of adjustment. Revisions to the Company’s estimate of the transaction price may also result in negative collaboration revenues and earnings in the period of adjustment.

For arrangements that include sales-based royalties, including commercial milestone payments based on the level of sales, and a license is deemed to be the predominant item to which the royalties relate, the Company will recognize revenue at the later of (i) when the related sales occur, or (ii) when the performance obligation to which some or all of the royalty has been allocated has been satisfied, or partially satisfied. To date, the Company has not recognized any royalty revenue from collaborative arrangements.

In December 2016, the Company entered into an Option, Collaboration and License Agreement (the Collaboration Agreement) and an Investment Agreement (the Investment Agreement) with Novartis Pharma AG (Novartis). The Company concluded that there were two significant performance obligations under the Collaboration Agreement: the license and the research and development services, but that the license is not distinct from the research and development services as Novartis cannot obtain value from the license without the research and development services, which the Company is uniquely able to perform.

The Company concluded that progress towards completion of the performance obligations related to the Collaboration Agreement is best measured in an amount proportional to the collaboration expenses incurred and the total estimated collaboration expenses. The Company periodically reviews and updates the estimated collaboration expenses, when appropriate, which adjusts the percentage of revenue that is recognized for the period. While such changes to the Company’s estimates have no impact on the Company’s reported cash flows, the amount of revenue recorded in the period could be materially impacted. The transaction price to be recognized as revenue under the Collaboration Agreement consists of the upfront payment, option exercise fee, deemed revenue from the premium paid by Novartis under the Investment Agreement and estimated reimbursable research and development costs. Certain expenses directly related to execution of the Collaboration Agreement were capitalized as assets on the balance sheet and are being expensed in a manner consistent with the methodology used for recognizing revenue.

The Collaboration Agreement was terminated, effective September 30, 2019, and the Company will not receive any future milestone, royalty or profit and loss sharing payments under the Collaboration Agreement.

See Note 9 – Collaboration and License Agreements for further information.

Research and Development Expenses

All research and development costs are expensed as incurred.

Income Taxes

The Company’s policy related to accounting for uncertainty in income taxes prescribes a recognition threshold and measurement attribute criteria for the financial statement recognition and measurement of tax positions taken or expected to be taken in a tax return. For those benefits to be recognized, a tax position must be more likely than not to be sustained upon examination by taxing authorities. As of December 31, 2019, there are no unrecognized tax benefits included in the balance sheet that would, if recognized, affect the Company’s effective tax rate. The Company has not recognized interest and penalties in the balance sheets or statements of operations and comprehensive loss. The Company is subject to U.S. and California taxation. As of December 31, 2019, the Company’s tax years beginning 2005 to date are subject to examination by taxing authorities.

Stock-Based Compensation

Stock-based compensation expense for stock option grants and restricted stock units (RSUs) under the Company’s equity plans is recorded at the estimated fair value of the award as of the grant date and is recognized as expense on a straight-line basis over the requisite service period of the stock-based award, and forfeitures are recognized as they occur. Stock-based compensation expense for employee stock purchases under the Company’s 2013 Employee Stock Purchase Plan (the ESPP) is recorded at the estimated fair value of the purchase as of the plan enrollment date and is recognized as expense on a straight-line basis over the applicable six-month ESPP offering period. The estimation of fair value for stock-based compensation requires management to make estimates and judgments about, among other things, employee exercise behavior, forfeiture rates and volatility of the Company’s common stock. The judgments directly affect the amount of compensation expense that will be recognized.

The fair value of stock options is estimated using the Black-Scholes model with the assumptions noted in the following table. The expected life of stock options is based on the simplified method. The expected volatility of stock options is based upon the historical volatility of the Company and a number of publicly traded companies in similar stages of clinical development. The risk-free interest rate is based on the average yield of five- and seven-year U.S. Treasury Bills as of the valuation date.




Year Ended December 31,

























Risk-free interest rate


1.82% - 2.50%



2.55% - 3.03%



1.83% - 2.13%


Expected dividend yield










Expected volatility


105% - 119%



94% - 100%



93% - 97%


Expected term (in years)


5.5 - 6.1



5.5 - 6.1



5.5 - 6.1



Comprehensive Loss

The Company is required to report all components of comprehensive loss, including net loss, in the financial statements in the period in which they are recognized. Comprehensive loss is defined as the change in equity during a period from transactions and other events and circumstances from nonowner sources, including unrealized gains and losses on marketable securities. Comprehensive gains (losses) have been reflected in the statements of operations and comprehensive loss for all periods presented.

Segment Reporting

Operating segments are identified as components of an enterprise about which separate discrete financial information is used in making decisions regarding resource allocation and assessing performance. To date, the Company has viewed its operations and managed its business as one segment operating primarily in the United States.

Net Loss Per Share

Basic net loss per share is calculated by dividing the net loss by the weighted average number of common shares outstanding during the period. Diluted net loss per share is computed by dividing the net loss by the weighted average number of common shares and common share equivalents outstanding for the period. Common stock equivalents are only included when their effect is dilutive. The Company’s potentially dilutive securities have been excluded from the computation of diluted net loss per share in the periods in which they would be anti-dilutive. For all periods presented, there is no difference in the number of shares used to compute basic and diluted shares outstanding due to the Company’s net loss position.

The following table sets forth the outstanding potentially dilutive securities that have been excluded in the calculation of diluted net loss per share because to do so would be anti-dilutive (in thousands):




December 31,












Warrants to purchase common stock













Common stock options issued and outstanding













RSUs outstanding











Shares issuable upon conversion of convertible note payable











ESPP shares pending issuance


























Recent Accounting Pronouncements

In December 2019, the FASB issued ASU No. 2019-12, Simplifying the Accounting for Income Taxes, as part of its initiative to reduce complexity in accounting standards. The amendments in the ASU are effective for fiscal years beginning after December 15, 2020, including interim periods therein. Early adoption of the standard is permitted, including adoption in interim or annual periods for which financial statements have not yet been issued. We have not early adopted this ASU for 2019.  The ASU is currently not expected to have a material impact on our financial statements.

In February 2016, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) issued Accounting Standards Update (ASU) No. 2016-02, Leases (Topic 842). This guidance requires lessees to recognize leases on the balance sheet and disclose key information about leasing arrangements. ASU 2016-02 establishes a right-of-use model (ROU) that requires a lessee to recognize an ROU asset and lease liability on the balance sheet for all leases with a term longer than 12 months. The Company adopted this standard effective January 1, 2019, as required, retrospectively through a cumulative effect adjustment. The new standard provides a number of optional practical expedients in transition. The Company elected the “package of practical expedients,” which permits the Company not to reassess, under ASU 2016-02, prior conclusions about lease identification, lease classification and initial direct costs. The new standard also provides practical expedients for an entity’s ongoing accounting. The Company elected to utilize the short-term lease recognition exemption for all leases that qualify. This means, for those short-term leases that qualify, the Company will not recognize ROU assets or lease liabilities. The Company also elected not to separate lease and non-lease components for facility leases. Adoption of this guidance resulted in the recognition of lease liabilities of $0.7 million, based on the present value of the remaining minimum rental payments under current leasing standards for the Company’s applicable existing office space operating lease, with corresponding ROU assets of $0.6 million.

See Note 11 – Commitments for further information.