Quarterly report pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d)

Summary of Significant Accounting Policies

Summary of Significant Accounting Policies
6 Months Ended
Jun. 30, 2021
Accounting Policies [Abstract]  
Summary of Significant Accounting Policies

2. Summary of Significant Accounting Policies

Basis of Presentation


The Company’s consolidated financial statements have been prepared in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States (“U.S. GAAP”). Any reference in these notes to applicable guidance is meant to refer to the authoritative U.S. GAAP as found in the Accounting Standards Codification (“ASC”) and Accounting Standards Updates (“ASU”) of the Financial Accounting Standards Board (“FASB”). Certain information and footnote disclosures normally included in financial statements prepared in accordance with U.S. GAAP have been condensed or omitted from this report, as is permitted by such rules and regulations. Accordingly, these financial statements should be read in conjunction with the financial statements as of and for the year ended December 31, 2020 and notes thereto included in the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2020 filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) on March 4, 2021. 

The unaudited interim condensed consolidated financial statements have been prepared on the same basis as the audited financial statements. In the opinion of the Company’s management, the accompanying unaudited interim condensed consolidated financial statements contain all adjustments that are necessary to present fairly the Company’s financial position as of June 30, 2021, the results of its operations, statements of cash flows and statements of stockholders’ equity for the three and six months ended June 30, 2021 and 2020. Such adjustments are of a normal and recurring nature. The results for the three and six months ended June 30, 2021 are not necessarily indicative of the results for the year ending December 31, 2021, or for any future period.

Principles of Consolidation

The accompanying condensed consolidated financial statements include the accounts of Syros Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and its wholly owned subsidiaries, Syros Securities Corporation, a Massachusetts corporation formed by the Company in December 2014 to exclusively engage in buying, selling and holding securities on its own behalf, and Syros Pharmaceuticals (Ireland) Limited, an Irish limited liability company formed by the Company in January 2019. All intercompany transactions and balances have been eliminated in consolidation.

Use of Estimates


The preparation of financial statements in conformity with U.S. GAAP requires management to make estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amounts in the financial statements and accompanying notes. Management considers many factors in selecting appropriate financial accounting policies and in developing the estimates and assumptions that are used in the preparation of the financial statements. Management must apply significant judgment in this process. In addition, other factors may affect estimates, which include, but are not limited to, expected business and operational changes, sensitivity and volatility associated with the assumptions used in developing estimates and whether historical trends are expected to be representative of future trends. Management’s estimation process may yield a range of potentially reasonable estimates and management must select an amount that falls within that range of reasonable estimates. On an ongoing basis, the Company’s management evaluates its estimates, which include, but are not limited to, estimates related to revenue recognition, warrant liability, stock-based compensation expense, accrued expenses and income taxes. Actual results may differ from those estimates or assumptions. The full extent to which the COVID-19 pandemic will directly or indirectly impact the Company’s business, results of operations and financial condition, including expenses, reserves and allowances, clinical trials, research and development costs and employee-related amounts, will depend on future developments that are highly uncertain, including as a result of new information that may emerge concerning COVID-19 and the actions taken to contain it or treat it.

Segment Information

Operating segments are identified as components of an enterprise about which separate discrete financial information is available for evaluation by the chief operating decision maker, or decision-making group, in making decisions on how to allocate resources and assess performance. The Company's chief operating decision maker is the Chief Executive Officer. The Company and the chief operating decision maker view the Company's operations and manage its business in one operating segment. The Company operates only in the United States.

Cash and Cash Equivalents

The Company considers all highly liquid instruments that have original maturities of three months or less when acquired to be cash equivalents. Cash equivalents, which generally consist of money market funds that invest in U.S. Treasury obligations, as well as overnight repurchase agreements and corporate debt securities, are stated at fair value. The Company maintains its bank accounts at one major financial institution.

Fair Value of Financial Instruments

ASC 820, Fair Value Measurement (“ASC 820”), established a fair value hierarchy for instruments measured at fair value that distinguishes between assumptions based on market data (observable inputs) and the Company’s own assumptions (unobservable inputs). Observable inputs are those that market participants would use in pricing the asset or liability based on market data obtained from sources independent of the Company. Unobservable inputs are those that reflect the Company’s assumption about the inputs that market participants would use in pricing the asset or liability. These are developed based on the best information available under the circumstances.

ASC 820 identified fair value as the exchange price, or exit price, representing the amount that would be received to sell an asset or paid to transfer a liability in an orderly transaction between market participants. As a basis for considering market participant assumptions in fair value measurements, ASC 820 established a three-tier fair value hierarchy that distinguishes between the following:

Level 1—Quoted market prices (unadjusted) in active markets for identical assets or liabilities.

Level 2—Inputs other than quoted prices included within Level 1 that are either directly or indirectly observable, such as quoted market prices, interest rates and yield curves.

Level 3—Unobservable inputs developed using estimates or assumptions developed by the Company, which reflect those that a market participant would use.

To the extent that the valuation is based on models or inputs that are less observable or unobservable in the market, the determination of fair value requires more judgment. Accordingly, the degree of judgment exercised by the Company in determining fair value is greatest for instruments categorized as Level 3. A financial instrument’s level within the fair value hierarchy is based on the lowest level of any input that is significant to the fair value measurement.

The carrying amounts reflected in the condensed consolidated balance sheets for cash and cash equivalents, prepaid expenses, other current assets, restricted cash, accounts payable, accrued expenses and deferred revenue approximate their respective fair values due to their short-term nature.

Amortization of Debt Discount and Issuance Costs

Long-term debt is initially recorded at its allocated proceeds, net of discounts and issuance costs. Debt discount and issuance costs, consisting of legal fees, fair value of the warrant at its issuance date and other issuance fees directly related to the debt, are offset against the initial carrying value of the debt and are amortized to interest expense over the estimated life of the debt using the effective interest method.

Revenue Recognition


To date the Company’s only revenue has consisted of collaboration and license revenue. The Company has not generated any revenue from product sales and does not expect to generate any revenue from product sales for the foreseeable future.


The Company recognizes revenue in accordance with ASC 606, Revenue from Contracts with Customers (“ASC 606”). ASC 606 applies to all contracts with customers, except for contracts that are within the scope of other standards, such as leases, insurance, collaboration arrangements and financial instruments. Under ASC 606, an entity recognizes revenue when its customer obtains control of promised goods or services, in an amount that reflects the consideration the entity expects to receive in exchange for those goods or services. To determine revenue recognition for arrangements that an entity determines are within the scope of ASC 606, the entity performs the following five steps:




identify the contract(s) with a customer;




identify the performance obligations in the contract;




determine the transaction price;




allocate the transaction price to the performance obligations in the contract; and




recognize revenue when (or as) the entity satisfies a performance obligation.


The Company only applies the five-step model to contracts when it is probable that the Company will collect the consideration it is entitled to in exchange for the goods or services it transfers to the customer. If a contract is determined to be within the scope of ASC 606 at inception, the Company assesses the goods or services promised within such contract, determines which of those goods and services are performance obligations, and assesses whether each promised good or service is distinct. The Company then recognizes as revenue the amount of the transaction price that is allocated to the respective performance obligation when (or as) the performance obligation is satisfied.


If the Company performs by transferring goods or services to a customer before the customer pays consideration or before payment is due, the Company records a contract asset, excluding any amounts presented as accounts receivable. The Company includes unbilled accounts receivable as contract assets on its consolidated balance sheets. The Company records accounts receivable for amounts billed to the customer for which the Company has an unconditional right to consideration. The Company assesses contract assets and accounts receivable for impairment and, to date, no impairment losses have been recorded.



From time to time, the Company may enter into agreements that are within the scope of ASC 606. The terms of these arrangements typically include payment to the Company of one or more of the following: non-refundable, up-front license fees or prepaid research and development services; development, regulatory and commercial milestone payments; and royalties on net sales of licensed products. Each of these payments results in license and collaboration revenues, except for revenues from royalties on net sales of licensed products, which will be classified as royalty revenues.


The Company analyzes its collaboration arrangements to assess whether they are within the scope of ASC 808, Collaborative Arrangements (“ASC 808”), to determine whether such arrangements involve joint operating activities performed by parties that are both active participants in the activities and exposed to significant risks and rewards dependent on the commercial success of such activities. This assessment is performed throughout the life of the arrangement based on changes in the responsibilities of all parties in the arrangement. For collaboration arrangements within the scope of ASC 808 that contain multiple elements, the Company first determines which elements of the collaboration are deemed to be within the scope of ASC 808 and those that are more reflective of a vendor-customer relationship and therefore within the scope of ASC 606. For elements of collaboration arrangements that are accounted for pursuant to ASC 808, an appropriate recognition method is determined and applied consistently, generally by analogy to ASC 606. For those elements of the arrangement that are accounted for pursuant to ASC 606, the Company applies the five-step model described above.

Research and Development

Expenditures relating to research and development are expensed in the period incurred. Research and development expenses consist of both internal and external costs associated with the development of the Company’s gene control platform and product candidates. Research and development costs include salaries and benefits, materials and supplies, external research, preclinical and clinical development expenses, stock-based compensation expense and facilities costs. Facilities costs primarily include the allocation of rent, utilities, depreciation and amortization.

In certain circumstances, the Company is required to make nonrefundable advance payments to vendors for goods or services that will be received in the future for use in research and development activities. In such circumstances, the nonrefundable advance payments are deferred and capitalized, even when there is no alternative future use for the research and development, until related goods or services are provided.

The Company records accruals for estimated ongoing research costs. When evaluating the adequacy of the accrued liabilities, the Company analyzes progress of the work being performed, including the phase or completion of the event, invoices received and costs. Significant judgements and estimates may be made in determining the accrued balances at the end of any reporting period. Actual results could differ from the Company’s estimates.

The Company may in-license the rights to develop and commercialize product candidates. For each in-license transaction the Company evaluates whether it has acquired processes or activities along with inputs that would be sufficient to constitute a “business” as defined under U.S. GAAP. A “business” as defined under U.S. GAAP consists of inputs and processes applied to those inputs that have the ability to create outputs. Although businesses usually have outputs, outputs are not required for an integrated set of activities to qualify as a business. When the Company determines that it has not acquired sufficient processes or activities to constitute a business, any up-front payments, as well as milestone payments, are immediately expensed as acquired research and development in the period in which they are incurred.



The Company accounts for issued warrants either as a liability or equity in accordance with ASC 480-10, Accounting for Certain Financial Instruments with Characteristics of both Liabilities and Equity (“ASC 480-10”) or ASC 815-40, Accounting for Derivative Financial Instruments Indexed to, and Potentially Settled in, a Company’s Own Stock (“ASC 815-40”). Under ASC 480-10, warrants are considered a liability if they are mandatorily redeemable and they require settlement in cash, other assets, or a variable number of shares. If warrants do not meet liability classification under ASC 480-10, the Company considers the requirements of ASC 815-40 to determine whether the warrants should be classified as a liability or as equity. Under ASC 815-40, contracts that may require settlement for cash are liabilities, regardless of the probability of the occurrence of the triggering event. Liability-classified warrants are measured at fair value on the issuance date and at the end of each reporting period. Any change in the fair value of the warrants after the issuance date is recorded in the consolidated statements of operations as a gain or loss. If warrants do not require liability classification under ASC 815-40, in order to conclude warrants should be classified as equity, the Company assesses whether the warrants are indexed to its common stock and whether the warrants are classified as equity under ASC 815-40 or other applicable GAAP standard. Equity-classified warrants are accounted for at fair value on the issuance date with no changes in fair value recognized after the issuance date.

Stock-Based Compensation Expense


The Company accounts for its stock-based compensation awards in accordance with ASC 718, Compensation—Stock Compensation (“ASC 718”). ASC 718 requires all stock-based payments to employees and directors, including grants of restricted stock units and stock option awards, to be recognized as expense in the consolidated statements of operations based on their grant date fair values. Consistent with the grants for employees and directors, grants of restricted stock units and stock option awards to other service providers, referred to as non-employees, are measured based on the grant-date fair value of the award and expensed in the Company’s condensed consolidated statement of operations over the vesting period. The Company estimates the fair value of stock options granted using the Black-Scholes option-pricing model. Prior to June 30, 2016, the Company was a private company and, therefore, lacks Company-specific historical and implied volatility information. As a result, the Company determines its expected volatility by using a blend of its historical experience and a weighted average of selected peer companies. The expected term of the Company’s stock options has been determined utilizing the “simplified” method for awards that qualify as “plain-vanilla” options. The expected term of stock options to non-employees can be determined using either the contractual term of the option award or the “simplified” method. The risk-free interest rate is determined by reference to the U.S. Treasury yield curve in effect at the time of grant of the award for time periods approximately equal to the expected term of the award. Expected dividend yield is based on the fact that the Company has never paid cash dividends and does not expect to pay any cash dividends in the foreseeable future. The Company uses the value of its common stock to determine the fair value of restricted stock units.


The Company expenses the fair value of its stock-based awards to employees and non-employees on a straight-line basis over the associated service period, which is generally the vesting period. The Company accounts for forfeitures as they occur instead of estimating forfeitures at the time of grant. Ultimately, the actual expense recognized over the vesting period will be for only those options that vest.


Compensation expense for discounted purchases under the employee stock purchase plan is measured using the Black-Scholes model to compute the fair value of the lookback provision plus the purchase discount and is recognized as compensation expense over the offering period.


For stock-based awards that contain performance-based milestones, the Company records stock-based compensation expense in accordance with the accelerated attribution model. Management evaluates when the achievement of a performance-based milestone is probable based on the expected satisfaction of the performance conditions as of the reporting date. For certain performance-based awards, notwithstanding any vesting in accordance with the achievement of performance-based milestones, such awards vest in full on the sixth anniversary of the vesting commencement date. Compensation expense for such awards is recognized over the six-year vesting period unless management determines that the achievement of any performance-based milestones is probable, in which case expense is accelerated.

Net Loss per Share

Basic net earnings per share applicable to common stockholders is calculated by dividing net earnings applicable to common stockholders by the weighted average shares outstanding during the period, without consideration for common stock equivalents. Diluted net earnings per share applicable to common stockholders is calculated by adjusting the weighted average shares outstanding for the dilutive effect of common stock equivalents outstanding for the period, determined using the treasury-stock method and the if-converted method. For purposes of the calculation of dilutive net loss per share applicable to common stockholders, stock options, unvested restricted stock units, and warrants are considered to be common stock equivalents but are excluded from the calculation of diluted net loss per share applicable to common stockholders, as their effect would be anti-dilutive; therefore, basic and diluted net loss per share applicable to common stockholders were the same for all periods presented.

As of June 30, 2021, pre-funded warrants to purchase 1,000,000 shares of common stock that were issued in connection with the December 2020 private placement (refer to Note 10) were included in the basic and diluted net loss per share calculation.

The following common stock equivalents were excluded from the calculation of diluted net loss per share applicable to common stockholders for the periods indicated because including them would have had an anti-dilutive effect:




As of June 30,









Stock options









Unvested restricted stock units




























* As of June 30, 2021, this is comprised of 2,117,094 warrants to purchase common stock issued in connection with the Company’s April 2019 financing (refer to Note 10), 27,548 warrants to purchase common stock issued in connection with the execution of the Company’s loan agreement in February 2020 (refer to Note 7), 17,389 warrants to purchase common stock issued in connection with the second draw on this loan agreement in December 2020 (refer to Note 7), and 2,828,125 warrants to purchase common stock issued in connection with the private placement in December 2020 (refer to Note 10). As of June 30, 2020, this is comprised of 2,118,094 warrants to purchase common stock issued in connection with the Company’s April 2019 financing (refer to Note 10) and 27,548 warrants to purchase common stock issued in connection with the execution of the Company’s loan agreement in February 2020 (refer to Note 7).


Income Taxes

The Company accounts for uncertain tax positions using a more-likely-than-not threshold for recognizing and resolving uncertain tax positions. The evaluation of uncertain tax positions is based on factors including, but not limited to, changes in the law, the measurement of tax positions taken or expected to be taken in tax returns, the effective settlement of matters subject to audit, new audit activity, and changes in facts or circumstances related to a tax position.

Recent Accounting Pronouncements

In August 2020, the FASB issued ASU No. 2020-06, Debt—Debt with Conversion and Other Options (Subtopic 470-20) and Derivatives and Hedging—Contracts in Entity’s Own Equity (Subtopic 815-40): Accounting for Convertible Instruments and Contracts in an Entity’s Own Equity (“ASU 2020-06”). The amendments in ASU 2020-06 simplify the accounting for certain financial instruments with characteristics of liabilities and equity, including convertible instruments and contracts in an entity’s own equity. The standard is effective for public companies for fiscal years, and interim periods within those fiscal years, beginning after December 15, 2021. Early adoption is permitted. The Company is currently evaluating this new standard and does not anticipate that it will have a material impact on its consolidated financial statements and related disclosures.

In April 2019, the FASB issued ASU No. 2019-04, Codification Improvements to Topic 326 Financial Instruments – Credit Losses, Topic 815, Derivatives and Hedging, and Topic 825 (“ASU 2019-04”). ASU 2019-04 clarifies the accounting treatment for the measurement of credit losses under ASC 236 and provides further clarification on previously issued updates including ASU 2017-12, Derivatives and Hedging (Topic 815): Targeted Improvements to Accounting for Hedging Activities and ASU 2016-01, Financial Instruments—Overall (Subtopic 825-10): Recognition and Measurement of Financial Assets and Financial Liabilities. ASU 2019-04 is effective for fiscal years beginning after December 15, 2022, including interim periods within those fiscal years. Early adoption is permitted. The Company is currently in the process of evaluating the new standard but does not anticipate ASU 2019-14 will have a material impact on its consolidated financial statements and related disclosures.