Annual report pursuant to Section 13 and 15(d)

Summary of Significant Accounting Policies

Summary of Significant Accounting Policies
12 Months Ended
Dec. 31, 2017
Summary of Significant Accounting Policies  
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 United States generally accepted accounting principles as found in the Accounting Standards Codification (“ASC”) and Accounting Standards Updates (“ASU”) of the Financial Accounting Standards Board (“FASB”).

In connection with preparing for its IPO, the Company effected a one-for-3.75 reverse stock split of the Company’s common stock. The reverse stock split became effective on June 17, 2016. The par value and authorized shares of common stock and convertible preferred stock were not adjusted as a result of the reverse stock split. All share and per share amounts in the financial statements and notes thereto have been retroactively adjusted for all periods presented to give effect to this reverse stock split, including reclassifying an amount equal to the reduction in par value of common stock to additional paid-in capital. The financial statements have also been retroactively adjusted to reflect adjustments to the conversion price for each series of convertible preferred stock effected in connection with the reverse stock split.

Principles of Consolidation

The accompanying consolidated financial statements include the accounts of Syros Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and its wholly owned subsidiary, Syros Securities Corporation, which is a Massachusetts subsidiary formed by the Company in December 2014 to exclusively engage in buying, selling and holding securities on its own behalf. All intercompany transactions and balances have been eliminated.

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 often 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, stock-based compensation expense, including estimating the fair value of the Company’s common stock prior to the completion of the IPO, accrued expenses and income taxes. Actual results may differ from those estimates or assumptions.

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 consist of money market funds that invest in U.S. Treasury obligations, as well as overnight repurchase agreements, are stated at fair value. The Company maintains its bank accounts at one major financial institution.

Marketable Securities

The Company determines the appropriate classification of its marketable securities, which consist primarily of debt securities, at the time of purchase and reevaluates such designation at each balance sheet date. All of the Company’s  marketable securities are considered available-for-sale and carried at estimated fair values and reported in short-term marketable securities. Unrealized gains and losses on available-for-sale securities are excluded from net income and reported in accumulated other comprehensive income (loss) as a separate component of stockholders’ equity (deficit). Other income, net, includes interest, dividends, amortization of premiums and discounts, realized gains and losses on sales of securities and other-than-temporary declines in the fair value of securities, if any. The cost of securities sold is based on the specific identification method. The Company regularly reviews all of its investments for other-than-temporary declines in fair value. The Company’s review includes the consideration of the cause of the impairment, including the creditworthiness of the security issuers, the number of securities in an unrealized loss position, the severity and duration of the unrealized losses, whether the Company has the intent to sell the securities and whether it is more likely than not that it will be required to sell the securities before the recovery of their amortized cost basis. If the Company were to determine that the decline in fair value of an investment is below its accounting basis and the decline is other-than-temporary, the Company would reduce the carrying value of the security and record a loss for the amount of such decline.

Off-Balance Sheet Risk and Concentrations of Credit Risk


The Company has no financial instruments with off-balance sheet risk, such as foreign exchange contracts, option contracts, or other foreign hedging arrangements. Financial instruments that potentially subject the Company to concentrations of credit risk primarily consist of cash equivalents and marketable securities. Under its investment policy, the Company limits amounts invested in such securities by credit rating, maturity, industry group, investment type and issuer, except for securities issued by the U.S. government. The Company is not exposed to any significant concentrations of credit risk from these financial instruments. The goals of the Company’s investment policy, in order of priority, are safety and preservation of principal and liquidity of investments sufficient to meet cash flow requirements.


Fair Value of Financial Instruments

ASC Topic 820, Fair Value Measurement (“ASC 820”), establishes a fair value hierarchy for instruments measured at fair value that distinguished between assumptions based on market data (observable inputs) and the Company’s own assumptions (unobservable inputs). Observable inputs are inputs 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 inputs that reflect the Company’s assumption about the inputs that market participants would use in pricing the asset or liability, and are developed based on the best information available in 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 balance sheets for cash and cash equivalents, prepaid expenses, other current assets, accounts payable and accrued expenses approximate their fair values, due to their short-term nature.

Property and Equipment


Property and equipment consists of laboratory equipment, computer equipment, furniture and fixtures and leasehold improvements, all of which are stated at cost, less accumulated depreciation. Expenditures for maintenance and repairs that do not improve or extend the lives of the respective assets are recorded to expense as incurred. Major betterments are capitalized as additions to property and equipment. Depreciation is recognized over the estimated useful lives of the assets using the straight-line method.


Construction-in-progress is stated at cost, which relates to the cost of research equipment not yet placed into service. No depreciation expense is recorded on construction-in-progress until such time as the relevant assets are completed and put into use.


Impairment of Long-Lived Assets


The Company continually evaluates long-lived assets for potential impairment when events or changes in circumstances indicate the carrying value of the assets may not be recoverable. Recoverability is measured by comparing the book values of the assets to the expected future net undiscounted cash flows that the assets are expected to generate. If such assets are considered to be impaired, the impairment to be recognized is measured by the amount by which the book values of the assets exceed their fair value. The Company has not recognized any impairment losses from inception

through December 31, 2017.


Other Long-Term Assets


At December 31, 2017, other long-term assets consisted of deferred issuance costs, which included direct and incremental legal and accounting fees related to the shelf registration filed in July 2017, as well as advanced payments made to the contract research organization responsible for conducting the Company’s clinical trial of SY-1425 and SY-1365. At December 31, 2016, other long-term assets primarily consisted of advanced payments made to the contract research organization responsible for conducting the Company’s clinical trial of SY-1425.


Revenue Recognition

To date, the Company’s only source of revenue has been a research agreement with a multinational pharmaceutical company, which expired on March 31, 2017 in accordance with its terms..

The Company recognizes revenue in accordance with ASC Topic 605, Revenue Recognition (“ASC 605”). Accordingly, revenue is recognized when all of the following criteria are met:


persuasive evidence of an arrangement exists;


delivery has occurred or services have been rendered;


the seller’s price to the buyer is fixed or determinable; and


collectability is reasonably assured.

Amounts received prior to satisfying the revenue recognition criteria are recognized as deferred revenue in the Company’s consolidated balance sheets. Amounts expected to be recognized as revenue within the 12 months following the balance sheet date are classified in current liabilities. Amounts not expected to be recognized as revenue within the 12 months following the balance sheet date are classified as deferred revenue, net of current portion.

The Company analyzes arrangements with multiple deliverables based on the guidance in ASC Topic 605-25, Revenue Recognition—Multiple Element Arrangements (“ASC 605-25”). Pursuant to the guidance in ASC 605-25, the Company evaluates multiple element arrangements to determine (1) the deliverables included in the arrangement and (2) whether the individual deliverables represent separate units of accounting or whether they must be accounted for as a combined unit of accounting. This evaluation involves subjective determinations and requires management to make judgements about the individual deliverables and whether such deliverables are separate from other aspects of the contractual relationship. Deliverables are considered separate units of accounting provided that: (i) the delivered item(s) has value to the customer on a standalone basis and (ii) if the arrangement includes a general right of return relative to the delivered item(s), delivery or performance of the undelivered item(s) is considered probable and substantially within control of the Company. The Company’s research agreement contained a single unit of accounting.

The Company recognizes arrangement consideration allocated to each unit of accounting when all of the revenue recognition criteria in ASC 605 are satisfied for that particular unit of accounting. In the event that a deliverable does not represent a separate unit of accounting, the Company would recognize revenue from the combined unit of accounting over the contractual or estimated performance period for the undelivered items, which is typically the term of its research and development obligations. If there is no discernible pattern of performance or objectively measurable performance measures do not exist, then the Company would recognize revenue under the arrangement on a straight-line basis over the period it expects to complete its performance obligations or upon completion when the final act is of such significance to the overall arrangement that performance has not substantively occurred until the completion of that act. Conversely, if the pattern of performance over which the service is provided to the customer can be determined and objectively measurable performance measures exist, then the Company would recognize revenue under the arrangement using the proportional performance method.

The Company recognized revenue under its research agreement based upon the completed performance method of revenue recognition as it was unable to reasonably estimate the period of performance of the services and the delivery of the final study report was significant to the arrangement.

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 and depreciation.

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 the future 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.

Stock-Based Compensation Expense

The Company accounts for its stock-based compensation awards in accordance with ASC Topic 718, Compensation—Stock Compensation (“ASC 718”). ASC 718 requires all stock-based payments to employees and directors, including grants of restricted stock and stock options, to be recognized as expense in the consolidated statements of operations based on their grant date fair values. Grants of restricted stock and stock options to other service providers, referred to as non-employees, are required to be recognized as expense in the consolidated statements of operations based on their vesting date fair values. The Company estimates the fair value of options granted using the Black-Scholes option-pricing model. Prior to June 30, 2016, the Company was a private company and as such lacks Company-specific historical and implied volatility information. Therefore, it estimates its expected stock volatility based on the historical volatility of a publicly traded set of peer companies and expects to continue to do so until such time as it has adequate historical data regarding the volatility of its own traded stock price. 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 granted to non-employees is equal to the contractual term of the option award. 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 awards.

Additionally, in March 2016, the FASB issued ASU No. 2016-09, Compensation—Stock Compensation (Topic 718): Improvements to Employee Share-Based Payment Accounting (“ASU 2016-09”). ASU 2016-09 simplifies several aspects of the accounting for share-based payment transactions, including the income tax consequences, classification of awards as either equity or liabilities, and an option to recognize gross stock-based compensation expense with actual forfeitures as they occur, as well as certain classification on the statement of cash flows. For public entities, ASU 2016-09 is effective for fiscal years beginning after December 15, 2016, and interim periods within those fiscal years. The Company has adopted ASU 2016-09 as of January 1, 2017. The Company has applied ASU 2016-09 using a modified retrospective approach and has adopted the option to recognize stock compensation expense with actual forfeitures recognized as they occur. The adoption of this standard had an immaterial impact to the Company’s financial statements. The adoption of ASU 2016-09 also requires all excess tax benefit on stock options to be recorded in the consolidated statements of operations. The adoption did not have a material impact since the expected increase in net deferred tax assets is fully offset by a corresponding increase in the deferred tax asset valuation allowance. The amount of deferred tax assets that had not been previously recognized due to the recognition of excess tax benefits upon adoption was $0.4 million.

The Company expenses the fair value of its stock-based awards to employees on a straight-line basis over the associated service period, which is generally the vesting period. As a result of the adoption of ASU 2016-09, effective January 1, 2017, the Company accounts for forfeitures as they occur instead of estimating forfeitures at the time of grant and revising those estimates in subsequent periods if actual forfeitures differ from its estimates. Ultimately, the actual expense recognized over the vesting period will be for only those options that vest.For stock-based awards granted to consultants and non-employees, compensation expense is recognized over the period during which services are rendered by such consultants and non-employees until completed. At the end of each financial reporting period prior to completion of the service, the fair value of these awards is remeasured using the then-current fair value of such awards.

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 of the Company’s 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.


Income Taxes


The Company accounts for income taxes in accordance with ASC Topic 740, Income Taxes (‘‘ASC 740’’). The Company recognizes deferred tax assets and liabilities for the expected future tax consequences of events that have been recognized in the Company’s financial statements or tax returns. Under this method, deferred tax assets and liabilities are determined based on differences between the financial statement carrying amounts and the tax bases of the assets and liabilities using the enacted tax rates in effect in the years in which the differences are expected to reverse. A valuation allowance against deferred tax assets is recorded if, based on the weight of the available evidence, it is more likely than not that some or all of the deferred tax assets will not be realized.


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.


Net Loss per Share

Basic net loss per share applicable to common stockholders is calculated by dividing net loss applicable to common stockholders by the weighted average shares outstanding during the period, without consideration for common stock equivalents. Diluted net loss 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 dilutive net loss per share applicable to common stockholders calculation, convertible preferred stock, stock options, and unvested restricted stock 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.

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 December 31, 










Convertible preferred stock








Stock options








Unvested restricted stock

















The weighted average number of common shares used in net loss per share applicable to common stockholders on a basic and diluted basis were 25,406,845,  12,696,414 and 1,980,286 for the years ended December 31, 2017, 2016 and 2015, respectively.


Recent Accounting Pronouncements

In May 2014, the FASB issued ASU No. 2014-09, Revenue From Contracts With Customers (“ASU 2014-09”). ASU 2014-09 amends ASC 605, Revenue Recognition, by outlining a single comprehensive model for entities to use in accounting for revenue arising from contracts with customers. ASU 2014-09 will be effective for the Company for interim and annual periods beginning after December 15, 2017. Entities have the option of using either a full retrospective or a modified retrospective approach to adopt this new guidance. The FASB issued supplemental adoption guidance and clarification to ASU 2014-09 in March 2016, April 2016, May 2016, and December 2016 within ASU 2016-08 “Revenue from Contracts with Customers: Principal vs. Agent Considerations,” ASU 2016-10 “Revenue from Contracts with Customers: Identifying Performance Obligations and Licensing,” ASU 2016-12 “Revenue from Contracts with Customers: Narrow-Scope Improvements and Practical Expedients,” and ASU 2016-20 “Technical Corrections and Improvements to Topic 606, Revenue from Contracts with Customers,” respectively. As of December 31, 2017, the Company had one revenue arrangement, which was completed on March 31, 2017, prior to adoption. The Company plans to use the modified retrospective approach in adopting this standard.


As described further in Note 14 – Subsequent Events, the Company entered into a target discovery, research collaboration and option agreement with Incyte in January 2018 under which the Company will use its gene control platform to identify novel therapeutic targets with a focus on myeloproliferative neoplasms, and Incyte will receive options to obtain exclusive worldwide rights to intellectual property resulting from the collaboration for the development and commercialization of therapeutic products directed to up to seven validated targets. Upon execution of the agreement, Incyte paid the Company $10.0 million in up-front consideration, consisting of $2.5 million in cash and $7.5 million in pre-paid research funding. The Company is eligible to receive target selection milestone payments and option exercise fees of up to an aggregate of $54.0 million, and if products arising from the collaboration are approved, the Company would become eligible to receive from Incyte, for each validated target, a total of up to $50.0 million in development and regulatory milestone payments and up to $65.0 million in commercial milestone payments. No revenue was recognized under this agreement during the year ended December 31, 2017. The Company will recognize revenue related to this agreement using the new standard during 2018.


In February 2016, the FASB issued ASU No. 2016-02, Leases (“ASU 2016-02”), which applies to all leases and will require lessees to put most leases on the balance sheet, but recognize expense in a manner similar to the current standard. ASU 2016-02 is effective for fiscal years beginning after December 15, 2018 and interim periods within those years, and, as such, will be effective for the year ended December 31, 2019 for the Company. Entities are required to use a modified retrospective approach of adoption for leases that exist or are entered into after the beginning of the earliest comparative period in the financial statements. Full retrospective application is prohibited. The Company is evaluating the new guidance and the expected effect on the Company’s consolidated financial statements. However, the Company anticipates recognition of additional assets and corresponding liabilities related to its operating leases. To date, the Company has one operating lease for its office and laboratory space in Cambridge, Massachusetts (Note 9).


In August 2016, the FASB issued ASU No. 2016-15, Statement of Cash Flows (Topic 230) (“ASU No. 2016-15”), which simplifies certain elements of cash flow classification. The new guidance is intended to reduce diversity of practice in how certain transactions are classified in the statement of cash flows. ASU No. 2016-15 is effective for annual periods beginning after December 15, 2017. The Company is currently evaluating the impact the adoption of ASU No. 2016-15 will have on its consolidated financial statements.


In November 2016, the FASB issued ASU No. 2016-18, Restricted Cash (“ASU No. 2016-18”). The amendments in ASU No. 2016-18 require an entity to reconcile and explain the period-over-period change in total cash, cash equivalents and restricted cash within its statements of cash flows. ASU No. 2016-18 is effective for fiscal years (including interim reporting periods within those years) beginning after December 15, 2017. Early adoption is permitted. A reporting entity must apply the amendments in ASU No. 2016-18 using a full retrospective approach. The Company believes that the adoption of this guidance will not have a significant impact on its consolidated financial statements and related disclosures.


In January 2017, the FASB issued ASU No. 2017-01, Business Combinations (Topic 805): Clarifying the Definition of a Business (“ASU No. 2017-01”). The amended guidance clarifies the definition of a business with the objective of adding guidance to assist entities with evaluating whether transactions should be accounted for as acquisitions (or disposals) of assets or businesses. The new accounting guidance is effective for annual periods beginning after December 15, 2017, including interim periods within those periods. Early adoption is permitted. The Company will evaluate the impact that the adoption of ASU No. 2017-01 will have on future transactions.