Annual report pursuant to Section 13 and 15(d)

Summary of Significant Accounting Policies

Summary of Significant Accounting Policies
12 Months Ended
Mar. 31, 2020
Accounting Policies [Abstract]  
Summary of Significant Accounting Policies

Use of Estimates


The preparation of financial statements in conformity with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles (U.S. GAAP) requires management to make estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amounts of assets and liabilities, the 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.  Significant estimates include, but are not limited to, those relating to stock-based compensation, revenue recognition, research and development expenses, determination of right of use assets under lease transactions and related lease obligations, and the assumptions used to value warrants, warrant modifications and warrant liabilities.


Principles of Consolidation


The accompanying consolidated financial statements include the Company’s accounts, VistaStem’s accounts and the accounts of VistaStem’s two wholly-owned inactive subsidiaries, Artemis Neurosciences and VistaStem Canada. All material intercompany accounts and transactions have been eliminated in consolidation.


Cash and Cash Equivalents


Cash and cash equivalents are considered to be highly liquid investments with maturities of three months or less at the date of purchase.


Property and Equipment


Property and equipment is stated at cost. Repairs and maintenance costs are expensed in the period incurred. Depreciation is calculated using the straight-line method over the estimated useful lives of the assets. The estimated useful lives of property and equipment range from three to seven years. Leasehold improvements are amortized over the shorter of the lease term or the useful life of the improvements.


Impairment of Long-Lived Assets


Our long-lived assets consist of property and equipment. Long-lived assets to be held and used are tested for recoverability whenever events or changes in business circumstances indicate that the carrying amount of the assets may not be fully recoverable. Factors that we consider in deciding when to perform an impairment review include significant underperformance of the business in relation to expectations, significant negative industry or economic trends, and significant changes or planned changes in our use of the assets. An impairment loss would be recognized when estimated undiscounted future cash flows expected to result from the use of an asset are less than its carrying amount. The impairment loss would be based on the excess of the carrying value of the impaired asset over its fair value, determined based on discounted cash flows. To date, we have not recorded any impairment losses on long-lived assets.


Deferred Offering Costs


Deferred offering costs are expenses directly related to our current S-3 Registration Statement (the Shelf Registration), which became effective on October 7, 2019, and expenses transferred from our predecessor registration statement on Form S-3, which became effective on May 12, 2017, and the LPC Registration Statement which we filed on March 31, 2020 and which became effective on April 14, 2020. These costs consist of legal, accounting, printing, SEC filing fees, and, as appropriate, Nasdaq filing fees, and, in the case of the LPC Registration Statement, the issuance-date fair value of certain shares of our common stock issued to Lincoln Park under the terms of the LPC Agreement. Deferred costs associated with the Shelf Registration are reclassified to additional paid-in capital on a pro-rata basis as we complete offerings under the S-3 Registration Statement, with any remaining deferred costs to be charged to results of operations at the end of the three-year life of the S-3 Registration Statement. During the fiscal years ended March 31, 2020 and 2019, we charged deferred offering costs of $300 and $4,800, respectively, to additional paid-in capital as a result of offerings under the Shelf Registration. Deferred costs associated with the LPC Registration Statement are reclassified to additional paid-in capital on a pro-rata basis as we complete sales of our common stock pursuant to the LPC Agreement, with any remaining deferred costs to be charged to results of operations at the end of the two-year life of the LPC Agreement. We charged deferred offering costs of $8,100 to additional paid-in capital during the fiscal year ended March 31, 2020 as a result of sales of our common stock under the LPC Agreement.


Revenue Recognition


We have historically generated revenue principally from collaborative research and development arrangements, licensing and technology transfer agreements, including strategic licenses or sublicenses, and government grants. We adopted Accounting Standards Update (ASU) No. 2014-09, Revenue from Contracts with Customers (Topic 606) and its related amendments, collectively referred to as ASC (Accounting Standards Codification) Topic 606, as of April 1, 2018, using the modified retrospective transition method. At adoption and currently, we have only the BayerAgreement as a potential revenue generating arrangement. Upon adoption of ASC Topic 606, there was no change to the units of accounting previously identified with respect to the Bayer Agreement under legacy GAAP, which are now considered performance obligations under ASC Topic 606, and there was no change to the revenue recognition pattern for the performance obligation. Accordingly, there was no cumulative effect change to our opening accumulated deficit upon the adoption of ASC Topic 606. The EverInsight Agreement, described more completely in Note 16, Subsequent Events, was executed subsequent to the completion of our fiscal year ended March 31, 2020 and we have not yet assessed the impact of Topic 606 on it.


Under ASC Topic 606, we recognize revenue when our customer obtains control of promised goods or services, in an amount that reflects the consideration that we expect to receive in exchange for those goods or services. To determine revenue recognition for arrangements that we determine are within the scope of Topic 606, we perform the following five steps: (i) identify the contract with a customer; (ii) identify the performance obligations in the contract; (iii) determine the transaction price, including variable consideration, if any; (iv) allocate the transaction price to the performance obligations in the contract; and (v) recognize revenue when (or as) we satisfy a performance obligation. We only apply the five-step model to contracts when it is probable that we will collect the consideration to which we are entitled in exchange for the goods or services we transfer to a customer.


Once a contract is determined to be within the scope of Topic 606, we assesses the goods or services promised within each contract and determine those that are performance obligations. Arrangements that include rights to additional goods or services that are exercisable at a customer’s discretion are generally considered options. We assess whether these options provide a material right to the customer and if so, they are considered performance obligations. The exercise of a material right may be accounted for as a contract modification or as a continuation of the contract for accounting purposes.


We assess whether each promised good or service is distinct for the purpose of identifying the performance obligations in the contract. This assessment involves subjective determinations and requires judgments about the individual promised goods or services and whether such are separable from the other aspects of the contractual relationship. Promised goods and services are considered distinct provided that: (i) the customer can benefit from the good or service either on its own or together with other resources that are readily available to the customer (that is, the good or service is capable of being distinct) and (ii) our promise to transfer the good or service to the customer is separately identifiable from other promises in the contract (that is, the promise to transfer the good or service is distinct within the context of the contract). In assessing whether a promised good or service is distinct in the evaluation of a collaboration arrangement subject to Topic 606, we consider factors such as the research, manufacturing and commercialization capabilities of the collaboration partner and the availability of the associated expertise in the general marketplace. We also consider the intended benefit of the contract in assessing whether a promised good or service is separately identifiable from other promises in the contract. If a promised good or service is not distinct, we are required to combine that good or service with other promised goods or services until we identify a bundle of goods or services that is distinct.


The transaction price is then determined and allocated to the identified performance obligations in proportion to their standalone selling prices (SSP) on a relative SSP basis. SSP is determined at contract inception and is not updated to reflect changes between contract inception and satisfaction of the performance obligations. Determining the SSP for performance obligations requires significant judgment. In developing the SSP for a performance obligation, we consider applicable market conditions and relevant Company-specific factors, including factors that were contemplated in negotiating the agreement with the customer and estimated costs. In certain circumstances, we may apply the residual method to determine the SSP of a good or service if the standalone selling price is considered highly variable or uncertain. We validate the SSP for performance obligations by evaluating whether changes in the key assumptions used to determine the SSP will have a significant effect on the allocation of arrangement consideration between multiple performance obligations.


If the consideration promised in a contract includes a variable amount, we estimate the amount of consideration to which we will be entitled in exchange for transferring the promised goods or services to a customer. We determine the amount of variable consideration by using the expected value method or the most likely amount method. We include the unconstrained amount of estimated variable consideration in the transaction price. The amount included in the transaction price is constrained to the amount for which it is probable that a significant reversal of cumulative revenue recognized will not occur. At the end of each subsequent reporting period, we re-evaluate the estimated variable consideration included in the transaction price and any related constraint, and if necessary, adjust our estimate of the overall transaction price. Any such adjustments are recorded on a cumulative catch-up basis in the period of adjustment.


If an arrangement includes development and regulatory milestone payments, we evaluate whether the milestones are considered probable of being reached and estimate the amount to be included in the transaction price using the most likely amount method. 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 our control or the licensee’s control, such as regulatory approvals, are generally not considered probable of being achieved until those approvals are received.


In determining the transaction price, we adjust consideration for the effects of the time value of money if the timing of payments provides us with a significant benefit of financing. We do not assess whether a contract has a significant financing component if the expectation at contract inception is such that the period between payment by the licensee and the transfer of the promised goods or services to the licensee will be one year or less. For arrangements with licenses of intellectual property that include sales-based royalties, including milestone payments based on the level of sales, and the license is deemed to be the predominant item to which the royalties relate, we recognize royalty revenue and sales-based milestones at the later of (i) when the related sales occur, or (ii) when the performance obligation to which the royalty has been allocated has been satisfied.


We then recognize as revenue the amount of the transaction price that is allocated to the respective performance obligation when (or as) each performance obligation is satisfied at a point in time or over time, and if over time, based on the use of an output or input method.


Research and Development Expenses


Research and development expenses are composed of both internal and external costs.  Internal costs include salaries and employment-related expenses, including stock-based compensation expense, of scientific personnel and direct project costs.  External research and development expenses consist primarily of costs associated with clinical and nonclinical development of PH94B, PH10 and AV-101, stem cell research and development costs, and costs related to the application and prosecution of patents related to AV-101 and our stem cell technology platform. All such costs are charged to expense as incurred.


We also record accruals for estimated ongoing clinical trial costs. Clinical trial costs represent costs incurred by contract research organizations (CROs) and clinical trial sites. Progress payments are generally made to CROs, clinical sites, investigators and other professional service providers. We analyze the progress of the clinical trial, including levels of subject enrollment, invoices received and contracted costs when evaluating the adequacy of accrued liabilities. Significant judgments and estimates must be made in determining the clinical trial accrual in any reporting period. Actual results could differ from those estimates under different assumptions. Revisions are charged to research and development expense in the period in which the facts that give rise to the revision become known.


Costs incurred in obtaining product or technology licenses are charged immediately to research and development expense if the product or technology licensed has not achieved regulatory approval or reached technical feasibility and has no alternative future uses. In September 2018, we acquired an exclusive license to develop and commercialize PH94B and an option to acquire a license to develop and commercialize PH10 by issuing an aggregate of 1,630,435 unregistered shares of our common stock having a fair market value of $2,250,000. In October 2018, we exercised our option to acquire an exclusive license to develop and commercialize PH10 by issuing 925,926 shares of our unregistered common stock having a fair market value of $2,000,000. Since, at the date of each acquisition, neither product candidate had achieved regulatory approval and each requires significant additional development and expense, we recorded the costs related to acquiring the licenses and the option as research and development expense.


Stock-Based Compensation


We recognize compensation cost for all stock-based awards to employees and non-employee consultants based on the grant date fair value of the award.  We record stock-based compensation expense over the period during which the employee or other grantee is required to perform services in exchange for the award, which generally represents the scheduled vesting period. We have not granted restricted stock awards to employees or consultants nor do we have any awards with market or performance conditions. Prior to our April 1, 2019 adoption of ASU 2018-07, Compensation-Stock Compensation (Topic 718), Improvements to Nonemployee Share-Based Payment Accounting (ASU 2018-07), we historically re-measured the fair value of option grants to non-employees as they vested and any resulting increase in value was recognized as an expense during the period over which the services were performed. Under ASU 2018-17, expense recognition for grants to non-employees follows the same methodology as for employees. Noncash expense attributable to compensatory grants of our common stock to non-employees is determined by the quoted market price of the stock on the date of grant and is either recognized as fully-earned at the time of the grant or expensed ratably over the term of the related service agreement, depending on the terms of the specific agreement.


Income Taxes


We account for income taxes using the asset and liability approach for financial reporting purposes. Deferred tax assets and liabilities are recognized for the future tax consequences attributable to differences between the financial statement carrying amounts of existing assets and liabilities and their respective tax bases and operating loss and tax credit carryforwards. Deferred tax assets and liabilities are measured using enacted tax rates expected to apply to taxable income in the years in which those temporary differences are expected to be recovered or settled. The effect on deferred tax assets and liabilities of a change in tax rates is recognized in income in the period that includes the enactment date. Valuation allowances are established, when necessary, to reduce the deferred tax assets to an amount expected to be realized.


Right of Use Assets and Operating Lease Obligations


We adopted Accounting Standards Update No. 2016-02, “Leases (Topic 842)” (ASU 2016-02) effective April 1, 2019. ASU 2016-02 requires that we determine, at the inception of an arrangement, whether the arrangement is or contains a lease, based on the unique facts and circumstances present. Operating lease assets represent our right to use an underlying asset for the lease term (Right of use assets) and operating lease liabilities represent our obligation to make lease payments arising from the lease. Right of use assets and operating lease liabilities are recognized at the commencement date of the lease based upon the present value of lease payments over the lease term. When determining the lease term, we include options to extend or terminate the lease when it is reasonably certain, at inception, that we will exercise that option. The interest rate implicit in lease contracts is typically not readily determinable; accordingly, we use our incremental borrowing rate, which is the rate that would be incurred to borrow on a collateralized basis over a similar term an amount equal to the lease payments in a similar economic environment, based upon the information available at the commencement date. The lease payments used to determine our operating lease assets may include lease incentives, stated rent increases and escalation clauses linked to rates of inflation, when determinable, and are recognized in determining our Right of use assets. Our operating lease is reflected in the Right-of-use asset – operating lease; Operating lease obligation - current portion; and Operating lease obligation - non-current portion in our consolidated balance sheets.


Lease expense for minimum lease payments is recognized on a straight-line basis over the lease term. As a result of our adoption of ASU 2016-02, we no longer recognize deferred rent on the consolidated balance sheet. Short-term leases, defined as leases that have a lease term of 12 months or less at the commencement date, are excluded from this treatment and are recognized on a straight-line basis over the term of the lease. Variable lease payments are amounts owed by us to a lessor that are not fixed, such as reimbursement for common area maintenance costs for our facility lease; and are expensed when incurred.


Financing leases, formerly referred to as capitalized leases, are treated similarly to operating leases except that the asset subject to the lease is included in the appropriate fixed asset category, rather than recorded as a Right of use asset, and depreciated over its estimated useful life, or lease term, if shorter.


Concentrations of Credit Risk


Financial instruments, which potentially subject us to concentrations of credit risk, consist of cash and cash equivalents. Our investment policies limit any such investments to short-term, low-risk instruments. We deposit cash and cash equivalents with quality financial institutions which are insured to the maximum of federal limitations. Balances in these accounts may exceed federally insured limits at times.


Fair Value Measurements


We do not use derivative instruments for hedging of market risks or for trading or speculative purposes. When applicable, we follow the principles of fair value accounting as they relate to our financial assets and financial liabilities. Fair value is defined as the estimated exit price received to sell an asset or paid to transfer a liability in an orderly transaction between market participants at the measurement date, rather than an entry price that represents the purchase price of an asset or liability.  Where available, fair value is based on observable market prices or parameters, or derived from such prices or parameters.  Where observable prices or inputs are not available, valuation models are applied.  These valuation techniques involve some level of management estimation and judgment, the degree of which is dependent on several factors, including the instrument’s complexity.  The required fair value hierarchy that prioritizes observable and unobservable inputs used to measure fair value into three broad levels is described as follows:


●  Level 1 — Quoted prices (unadjusted) in active markets that are accessible at the measurement date for assets or liabilities. The fair value hierarchy gives the highest priority to Level 1 inputs.


●  Level 2 — Inputs other than Level 1 that are observable, either directly or indirectly, such as quoted prices for similar assets or liabilities; quoted prices in markets that are not active; or other inputs that are observable or can be corroborated by observable market data for substantially the full term of the assets or liabilities.


●  Level 3 — Unobservable inputs (i.e., inputs that reflect the reporting entity’s own assumptions about the assumptions that market participants would use in estimating the fair value of an asset or liability) are used when little or no market data is available. The fair value hierarchy gives the lowest priority to Level 3 inputs.


A financial instrument’s categorization within the valuation hierarchy is based upon the lowest level of input that is significant to the fair value measurement.  Where quoted prices are available in an active market, securities are classified as Level 1 of the valuation hierarchy. If quoted market prices are not available for the specific financial instrument, then we estimate fair value by using pricing models, quoted prices of financial instruments with similar characteristics or discounted cash flows. In certain cases where there is limited activity or less transparency around inputs to valuation, financial assets or liabilities are classified as Level 3 within the valuation hierarchy.


We carried no assets or liabilities that are measured on a recurring basis at fair value at March 31, 2020 or 2019.


Warrants Issued in Connection with Equity Financing


We generally account for warrants issued in connection with equity financings as a component of equity, unless there is a deemed possibility that we may have to settle the warrants in cash or the warrants contain other features requiring them to be treated as liabilities. For warrants issued with the possibility of cash settlement, or otherwise requiring liability treatment, we record the fair value of the issued warrants as a liability at each reporting period and record changes in the estimated fair value as noncash gain or loss in the Consolidated Statements of Operations and Comprehensive Loss.




Certain prior year amounts in the Consolidated Financial Statements have been reclassified to conform to the current year’s presentation.


Comprehensive Loss


We have no components of other comprehensive loss other than net loss, and accordingly our comprehensive loss is equivalent to our net loss for the periods presented.


Loss per Common Share Attributable to Common Stockholders


Basic net loss attributable to common stockholders per share of common stock excludes the effect of dilution and is computed by dividing net loss increased by the accrual for dividends on our Series B Preferred by the weighted-average number of shares of common stock outstanding for the period. Diluted net loss attributable to common stockholders per share of common stock reflects the potential dilution that could occur if securities or other contracts to issue shares of common stock were exercised or converted into shares of common stock. In calculating diluted net loss attributable to common stockholders per share, we have generally not increased the denominator to include the number of potentially dilutive common shares assumed to be outstanding during the period using the treasury stock method because the result is antidilutive.


As a result of our net loss for both years presented, potentially dilutive securities were excluded from the computation of diluted loss per share, as their effect would be antidilutive.


Basic and diluted net loss attributable to common stockholders per share was computed as follows:


     Fiscal Years Ended March 31,  
     2020      2019  
 Net loss attributable to common stockholders for basic and diluted earnings            
per share   $ (22,037,600 )   $ (25,729,500 )
 Weighted average basic and diluted common shares outstanding     43,869,523       28,562,490  
 Basic and diluted net loss attributable to common stockholders per common share   $ (0.50 )   $ (0.90 )


Potentially dilutive securities excluded in determining diluted net loss per common share for the fiscal years ended March 31, 2020 and 2019 are as follows:


    As of March 31,  
    2020     2019  
Series A Preferred stock issued and outstanding (1)     750,000       750,000  
Series B Preferred stock issued and outstanding (2)     1,160,240       1,160,240  
Series C Preferred stock issued and outstanding (3)     2,318,012       2,318,012  
Outstanding options under the Company's Amended and Restated 2016 (formerly 2008) Stock Incentive Plan and 2019 Omnibus Equity Incentive Plan     10,003,088       6,626,088  
Outstanding warrants to purchase common stock     26,555,281       21,453,402  
Total     40,786,621       32,307,742  


(1) Assumes exchange under the terms of the October 11, 2012 Note Exchange and Purchase Agreement, as amended
(2) Assumes exchange under the terms of the Certificate of Designation of the Relative Rights and Preferences of the Series B 10% Convertible Preferred Stock, effective May 5, 2015; excludes common shares issuable in payment of dividends on Series B Preferred upon conversion
(3) Assumes exchange under the terms of the Certificate of Designation of the Relative Rights and Preferences of the Series C Convertible Preferred Stock, effective January 25, 2016


Recent Accounting Pronouncements


We believe the following recent accounting pronouncements or changes in accounting pronouncements are of significance or potential significance to the Company.


In February 2016, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) issued Accounting Standards Update (ASU) 2016-02, Leases (ASC 842), which replaced the existing guidance in ASC 840, Leases, and which sets out the principles for the recognition, measurement, presentation and disclosure of leases for both parties to a contract (i.e. lessees and lessors). The new standard requires lessees to apply a dual approach, classifying leases as either finance or operating leases based on the principle of whether or not the lease is effectively a financed purchase by the lessee. This classification will determine whether lease expense is recognized based on an effective interest method or on a straight-line basis over the term of the lease, respectively. A lessee is also required to record a right-of-use asset and a lease liability for all leases with a term of greater than 12 months regardless of their classification. Leases with a term of 12 months or less will be accounted for similar to the current guidance for operating leases. We adopted this standard effective with our fiscal year beginning April 1, 2019. At adoption, we recognized approximately $4.3 million as total lease liabilities and $3.9 million as total right-of-use assets in our Consolidated Balance Sheet and derecognized a deferred rent liability of approximately $0.4 million attributable to the operating lease of our primary office and laboratory facilities recorded in accordance with prior guidance. In connection with our adoption of ASC 842, we evaluated our contracts with clinical research and manufacturing organizations and determined that such contracts do not contain embedded leases.


In June 2018, the FASB issued ASU 2018-07, Compensation-Stock Compensation (Topic 718), Improvements to Nonemployee Share-Based Payment Accounting (ASU 2018-07). ASU 2018-07 expands the scope of Topic 718 to include share-based payment transactions for acquiring goods and services from nonemployees. ASU 2018-07 aligns the accounting for share-based payment awards issued to employees and non-employees. Under ASU 2018-07, the existing guidance regarding share-based transactions with employees also applies to share-based transactions with non-employees, as long as the transaction is not effectively a form of financing, with the exception of specific guidance related to the attribution of compensation cost. The cost of non-employee awards will continue to be recorded as if the grantor had paid cash for the goods or services. In addition, the contractual term may be used in lieu of an expected term in the option-pricing model for non-employee awards. We adopted ASU 2018-07 effective with our fiscal year beginning April 1, 2019 and it did not have a material impact on our consolidated financial statements.


Other accounting standards that have been issued or proposed by the FASB or other standards-setting bodies that do not require adoption until a future date are not expected to have a material impact on our consolidated financial statements upon adoption.