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UNITED STATES

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

Washington, DC 20549


FORM 10‑Q

 

 

QUARTERLY REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

for the quarterly period ended September 30, 2016

OR

TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

 

COMMISSION FILE NUMBER: 001-37590

Cerecor Inc.

(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)

 

 

Delaware
(State of incorporation)

45-0705648
(I.R.S. Employer Identification No.)

400 E. Pratt Street, Suite 606

Baltimore, Maryland 21202
(Address of principal executive offices)

(410) 522‑8707
(Registrant’s telephone number,
including area code)

 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days. Yes ☒  No ☐ 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically and posted on its corporate web site, if any, every Interactive Data File required to be submitted and posted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S‑T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit and post such files). Yes ☒  No ☐

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non‑accelerated filer, or a smaller reporting company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer” and “smaller reporting company” in Rule 12b‑2 of the Exchange Act. (Check one):

 

 

 

 

Large accelerated filer ☐

Accelerated filer ☐

Non‑accelerated filer ☐
(Do not check if a
smaller reporting company)

Smaller reporting company ☒

 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b‑2 of the Exchange Act). Yes ☐  No ☒

As of November 1, 2016, the registrant had 9,264,141 shares of common stock outstanding.

 

 


 

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CERECOR INC.

 

FORM 10-Q

 

For the Quarter Ended September 30, 2016

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Page

 

 

 

 

PART I. 

FINANCIAL INFORMATION 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Item 1.

Financial Statements

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

a)

Balance Sheets as of September 30, 2016 (Unaudited) and December 31, 2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

b)

Statements of Operations (Unaudited) for the Three and Nine Months Ended September 30, 2016 and 2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

c)

Statements of Cash Flows (Unaudited) for the Nine Months Ended September 30, 2016 and 2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

d)

Notes to Unaudited Financial Statements

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Item 2.

Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations 

 

19 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Item 3.

Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk

 

30 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Item 4.

Controls and Procedures

 

30 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PART II. 

OTHER INFORMATION

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Item 1.

Legal Proceedings

 

31 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Item 1A.

Risk Factors

 

31 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Item 2.

Unregistered Sales of Equity Securities and Use of Proceeds

 

33 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Item 6.

Exhibits

 

34 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SIGNATURES

 

36 

 

 

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PART I – FINANCIAL INFORMATION

 

Item 1.  Financial Statements

 

CERECOR INC.

 

Balance Sheets

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

September 30,

 

December 31,

 

 

2016

 

2015

 

 

(unaudited)

 

 

 

Assets

    

 

    

    

 

    

Current assets:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cash and cash equivalents

 

$

8,815,177

 

$

21,161,967

Grants receivable

 

 

379,256

 

 

 —

Prepaid expenses and other current assets

 

 

210,023

 

 

401,550

Restricted cash, current portion

 

 

87,882

 

 

58,832

Total current assets

 

 

9,492,338

 

 

21,622,349

Property and equipment, net

 

 

40,393

 

 

35,216

Restricted cash, net of current portion

 

 

50,001

 

 

 —

Total assets

 

$

9,582,732

 

$

21,657,565

Liabilities and stockholders’ equity

 

 

 

 

 

 

Current liabilities:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Current portion of long term debt, net of discount

 

$

3,189,793

 

$

3,208,074

Accounts payable

 

 

809,151

 

 

678,109

Accrued expenses and other current liabilities

 

 

3,361,189

 

 

1,885,458

Warrant liability

 

 

44,992

 

 

27,606

Unit purchase option liability

 

 

90,780

 

 

50,571

Total current liabilities

 

 

7,495,905

 

 

5,849,818

Long term debt, net of current portion and discount

 

 

 —

 

 

2,353,482

Other long term liabilities

 

 

1,500,000

 

 

370,538

Total liabilities

 

 

8,995,905

 

 

8,573,838

Stockholders’ equity:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Preferred stock—$0.001 par value; 5,000,000 shares authorized at September 30, 2016 and December 31, 2015; zero shares issued and outstanding at September 30, 2016 and December 31, 2015

 

 

 —

 

 

 —

Common stock—$0.001 par value; 200,000,000 shares authorized at September 30, 2016 and December 31, 2015; 9,075,143 and 8,650,143 shares issued and outstanding at September 30, 2016 and December 31, 2015, respectively

 

 

9,075

 

 

8,650

Additional paid-in capital

 

 

68,974,131

 

 

66,638,557

Accumulated deficit

 

 

(68,396,379)

 

 

(53,563,480)

Total stockholders’ equity

 

 

586,827

 

 

13,083,727

Total liabilities and stockholders’ equity

 

$

9,582,732

 

$

21,657,565

 

See accompanying notes to unaudited financial statements.

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CERECOR INC.

 

Statements of Operations (Unaudited)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Three Months Ended

 

Nine Months Ended

 

 

September 30,

 

September 30,

 

 

2016

 

2015

 

2016

 

2015

Grant revenue

 

$

321,497

 

$

 —

 

$

971,985

 

$

 —

Operating expenses:

    

 

    

    

 

    

    

 

    

    

 

    

Research and development

 

 

4,581,605

 

 

1,237,375

 

 

9,376,633

 

 

4,835,981

General and administrative

 

 

1,703,188

 

 

721,658

 

 

5,989,053

 

 

2,498,475

Loss from operations

 

 

(5,963,296)

 

 

(1,959,033)

 

 

(14,393,701)

 

 

(7,334,456)

Other income (expense):

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Change in fair value of warrant liability, unit purchase option liability and investor rights obligation

 

 

(101,246)

 

 

1,465,422

 

 

(57,595)

 

 

1,127,683

Interest expense, net

 

 

(104,183)

 

 

(197,470)

 

 

(381,603)

 

 

(634,772)

Total other income (expense)

 

 

(205,429)

 

 

1,267,952

 

 

(439,198)

 

 

492,911

Net loss

 

$

(6,168,725)

 

$

(691,081)

 

$

(14,832,899)

 

$

(6,841,545)

Net loss per share of common stock, basic and diluted

 

$

(0.70)

 

$

(1.06)

 

$

(1.71)

 

$

(10.53)

Weighted-average shares of common stock outstanding, basic and diluted

 

 

8,756,393

 

 

649,721

 

 

8,685,818

 

 

649,721

 

See accompanying notes to unaudited financial statements.

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CERECOR INC.

 

Statements of Cash Flows (Unaudited)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nine Months Ended September 30,

 

 

2016

 

2015

Operating activities

    

 

    

    

 

    

Net loss

 

$

(14,832,899)

 

$

(6,841,545)

Adjustments to reconcile net loss to net cash used in operating activities:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Depreciation

 

 

20,468

 

 

17,360

Stock-based compensation expense

 

 

1,439,194

 

 

321,228

Non-cash interest expense

 

 

134,096

 

 

204,759

Change in fair value of warrant liability, unit purchase option liability and investor rights obligation

 

 

57,595

 

 

(1,127,683)

Changes in assets and liabilities:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grants receivable

 

 

(379,256)

 

 

 —

Prepaid expenses and other assets

 

 

191,527

 

 

255,248

Restricted cash

 

 

(79,051)

 

 

58,333

Accounts payable

 

 

109,908

 

 

318,218

Accrued expenses and other liabilities

 

 

2,478,234

 

 

178,982

Net cash used in operating activities

 

 

(10,860,184)

 

 

(6,615,100)

Investing activities

 

 

 

 

 

 

Purchase of property and equipment

 

 

(25,646)

 

 

(19,984)

Net cash used in investing activities

 

 

(25,646)

 

 

(19,984)

Financing activities

 

 

 

 

 

 

Proceeds from sale of shares under common stock purchase agreement

 

 

1,000,000

 

 

 —

Principal payments on term debt

 

 

(2,459,493)

 

 

(1,023,798)

Payment of deferred financing costs

 

 

(1,467)

 

 

(775,475)

Net cash used in financing activities

 

 

(1,460,960)

 

 

(1,799,273)

Decrease in cash and cash equivalents

 

 

(12,346,790)

 

 

(8,434,357)

Cash and cash equivalents at beginning of period

 

 

21,161,967

 

 

11,742,349

Cash and cash equivalents at end of period

 

$

8,815,177

 

$

3,307,992

Supplemental disclosures of cash flow information

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cash paid for interest

 

$

287,841

 

$

434,971

Supplemental disclosures of noncash financing activities

 

 

 

 

 

 

Accrued deferred financing costs

 

$

101,728

 

$

1,104,316

 

See accompanying notes to unaudited financial statements.

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CERECOR INC.

 

Notes to Unaudited Financial Statements

 

1. Business

 

Cerecor Inc. (the “Company” or “Cerecor”) is a clinical‑stage biopharmaceutical company developing innovative drug candidates to make a difference in the lives of patients with neurological and psychiatric disorders. The Company’s operations since inception have been limited to organizing and staffing the Company, acquiring rights to and developing certain product candidates, business planning and raising capital.

 

Liquidity

 

The Company's financial statements have been prepared on a going-concern basis, which contemplates the realization of assets and the satisfaction of liabilities in the normal course of business. Accordingly, the financial statements do not include any adjustments that might be necessary should the Company be unable to continue to fund its operations. The Company has not generated any product revenues and has not yet achieved profitable operations. There is no assurance that profitable operations will ever be achieved, and if achieved, could be sustained on a continuing basis.

 

The Company has incurred recurring operating losses since inception. For the nine months ended September 30, 2016, the Company incurred a net loss of $14.8 million and generated negative cash flows from operations of $10.9 million. As of September 30, 2016, the Company had an accumulated deficit of $68.4 million. The Company anticipates operating losses to continue for the foreseeable future due to, among other things, costs related to the clinical development of its product candidates, its preclinical programs, business development and its organizational infrastructure. The Company will require substantial additional financing to fund its operations and to continue to execute its strategy. The Company plans to meet its capital requirements primarily through a combination of equity and debt financings, collaborations, strategic alliances, federal and private grants, marketing, distribution or licensing arrangements and in the longer term, revenue from product sales to the extent its product candidates receive marketing approval and are commercialized. There can be no assurance, however, that the Company will be successful in obtaining financing at the level needed to sustain operations and develop its product candidates or on terms acceptable to the Company, or that the Company will obtain approvals necessary to market its products or achieve profitability or sustainable positive cash flow. The Company currently anticipates that current cash and cash equivalents will be sufficient to meet its anticipated cash requirements through the end of 2016. These factors raise significant doubt about the Company’s ability to continue as a going concern. The Company has the potential to raise additional cash through a common stock purchase agreement with Aspire Capital Fund, LLC (“Aspire Capital”) as described in Note 8.

 

2. Significant Accounting Policies

 

Basis of Presentation

 

The Company’s unaudited financial statements have been prepared in accordance with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles (“GAAP”). In the opinion of management, the accompanying unaudited financial statements include all adjustments, consisting of normal recurring adjustments, which are necessary to present fairly the Company’s financial position, results of operations and cash flows. The balance sheet at December 31, 2015 has been derived from audited financial statements at that date. The interim results of operations are not necessarily indicative of the results that may occur for the full fiscal year. Certain information and footnote disclosure normally included in the financial statements prepared in accordance with GAAP have been condensed or omitted pursuant to instructions, rules and regulations prescribed by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”). The Company believes that the disclosures provided herein are adequate to make the information presented not misleading when these unaudited financial statements are read in conjunction with the December 31, 2015 audited financial statements.

 

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Use of Estimates

 

The preparation of financial statements in conformity with GAAP requires management to make estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amounts of assets, liabilities, revenues, expenses, other comprehensive income and related disclosures. On an ongoing basis, management evaluates its estimates, including estimates related to clinical trial accruals, the warrant liability and the unit purchase option liability. The Company bases its estimates on historical experience and other market‑specific or other relevant assumptions that it believes to be reasonable under the circumstances. Actual results may differ from those estimates or assumptions.

 

Net Loss Per Share, Basic and Diluted

 

Basic net loss per share of common stock is computed by dividing net loss attributable to common stockholders by the weighted‑average number of shares of common stock outstanding during the period, excluding the dilutive effects, if any, of preferred stock, the investor rights obligation, warrants on preferred stock and common stock, stock options and unvested restricted stock. Diluted net loss per share of common stock is computed by dividing the net loss attributable to common stockholders by the sum of the weighted‑average number of shares of common stock outstanding during the period plus the potential dilutive effects of preferred stock, the investor rights obligation, warrants on preferred stock and common stock, stock options and unvested restricted stock outstanding during the period calculated in accordance with the treasury stock method, although these shares and options are excluded if their effect is anti‑dilutive. In addition, the Company analyzes the potential dilutive effect of any outstanding preferred stock, the investor rights obligation, and warrants on preferred stock and common stock under the “if‑converted” method when calculating diluted earnings per share, in which it is assumed that the outstanding security converts into common stock at the beginning of the period. Because the impact of these items is generally anti‑dilutive during periods of net loss, there was no difference between basic and diluted net loss per share of common stock for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2016 and 2015.

 

Cash and Cash Equivalents

 

The Company considers all highly liquid investments with an original maturity of three months or less when purchased to be cash equivalents. The carrying amounts reported in the balance sheets for cash and cash equivalents are valued at cost, which approximates their fair value.

 

Restricted Cash

 

During 2013, the Company entered into a lease for new office space for its principal offices in Baltimore, Maryland. The Company initially provided the landlord with a letter of credit in the amount of $175,000 as security by the Company of the Company’s obligations under the lease. The letter of credit is supported by funds that are invested in a certificate of deposit. Provided there has been no event of default by the Company, the Company may request that the amount of the letter of credit be reduced by one‑third (approximately $58,000) at the end of each of the first three years of the lease term. At the expiration of the third year of the lease term, which will occur in the fourth quarter of 2016, the Company is required to deposit with the landlord the sum of $13,000 as a security deposit.

 

Concentration of Credit Risk

 

Financial instruments that potentially subject the Company to concentrations of credit risk are primarily cash and cash equivalents. The Company maintains a portion of its cash and cash equivalent balances in the form of a money market account with a financial institution that management believes to be creditworthy. The Company has no financial instruments with off‑balance sheet risk of loss.

 

Debt Issuance Costs

 

The Company may record debt and equity discounts in connection with raising funds through the issuance of convertible notes or equity instruments. These discounts may arise from (i) the receipt of proceeds less than the face value of the convertible notes or equity instruments, (ii) allocation of proceeds to beneficial conversion features and/or

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(iii) recording derivative liabilities related to embedded features. These costs are amortized over the life of the debt to interest expense utilizing the effective interest method.

 

Property and Equipment

 

Property and equipment consists of computers, office equipment, and furniture and is recorded at cost. Maintenance and repairs that do not improve or extend the lives of the respective assets are expensed to operations as incurred. Property and equipment are depreciated on a straight‑line basis over their estimated useful lives. The Company uses a life of four years for computers and software, and five years for equipment and furniture. Upon retirement or sale, the cost of the disposed asset and the related accumulated depreciation are removed from the accounts and any resulting gain or loss is recognized.

 

Grant Revenue Recognition

 

The Company recognizes grant revenue when there is (i) reasonable assurance of compliance with the conditions of the grant and (ii) reasonable assurance that the grant will be received. In April 2016, the Company received a research and development grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse at the National Institutes of Health to provide additional resources for the period from May 2016 through April 2017 for the Company’s ongoing Phase 2 clinical trial for CERC-501, “A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Crossover Design Study of CERC-501 in a Human Laboratory Model of Smoking Behavior.” The amount of the award was $1.0 million. The Company recognizes revenue under grants in earnings on a systemic basis in the period the related expenditures for which the grants are intended to compensate are incurred. As such, the Company has recognized revenue in the amounts of $321,497 and $971,985 for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2016, respectively. As of September 30, 2016, the Company had received $592,729 of the revenue earned during the nine months ended September 30, 2016.

 

Research and Development

 

Research and development costs are expensed as incurred. These costs include, but are not limited to, employee‑related expenses, including salaries, benefits and stock‑based compensation of research and development personnel; expenses incurred under agreements with contract research organizations and investigative sites that conduct clinical trials and preclinical studies; the cost of acquiring, developing and manufacturing clinical trial materials; other supplies; facilities, depreciation and other expenses, which include direct and allocated expenses for rent, utilities and insurance; and costs associated with preclinical activities and regulatory operations.

 

Costs for certain development activities, such as clinical trials, are recognized based on an evaluation of the progress to completion of specific tasks using data such as patient enrollment, clinical site activations, or information provided to the Company by its vendors, such as clinical research organizations, with respect to their actual costs incurred. Payments for these activities are based on the terms of the individual arrangements, which may differ from the pattern of costs incurred, and are reflected in the financial statements as prepaid or accrued research and development expense, as the case may be.

 

Comprehensive Loss

 

Comprehensive loss is defined as the change in equity of a business enterprise during a period from transactions and other events and circumstances from non‑owner sources. Comprehensive loss was equal to net loss for all periods presented.

 

Income Taxes

 

The Company accounts for income taxes under the asset and liability method in accordance with ASC 740, Income Taxes (“ASC 740”). 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 using enacted tax rates in effect for the year in which the differences are expected to affect taxable income. The deferred tax asset primarily includes net operating loss and tax credit carryforwards, accrued expenses not currently

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deductible and the cumulative temporary differences related to certain research and patent costs, which have been charged to expense in the accompanying statements of operations but have been recorded as assets for income tax purposes. The portion of any deferred tax asset for which it is more likely than not that a tax benefit will not be realized must then be offset by recording a valuation allowance. A full valuation allowance has been established against all of the deferred tax assets as it is more likely than not that these assets will not be realized given the Company’s history of operating losses. The Company recognizes the tax benefit from an uncertain tax position only if it is more likely than not to be sustained upon examination based on the technical merits of the position. The amount for which an exposure exists is measured as the largest amount of benefit determined on a cumulative probability basis that the Company believes is more likely than not to be realized upon ultimate settlement of the position.

 

The Company’s policy is to record interest and penalties on uncertain tax positions as income tax expense. As of September 30, 2016, the Company does not believe any material uncertain tax positions are present.

 

Stock‑Based Compensation

 

The Company applies the provisions of ASC 718, Compensation—Stock Compensation (“ASC 718”), which requires the measurement and recognition of compensation expense for all stock‑based awards made to employees and non‑employees, including employee stock options, in the statements of operations.

 

For stock options issued to employees and members of the board of directors for their services on the board of directors, the Company estimates the grant date fair value of each option using the Black‑Scholes option pricing model. The use of the Black‑Scholes option pricing model requires management to make assumptions with respect to the expected term of the option, the expected volatility of the common stock consistent with the expected life of the option, risk‑free interest rates and expected dividend yields of the common stock. For awards subject to service‑based vesting conditions, including those with a graded vesting schedule, the Company recognizes stock‑based compensation expense, net of estimated forfeitures, equal to the grant date fair value of stock options on a straight‑line basis over the requisite service period, which is generally the vesting term. Forfeitures are required to be estimated at the time of grant and revised, if necessary, in subsequent periods if actual forfeitures differ from those estimates.

 

For stock options issued to non‑employees, the Company initially measures the options at their grant date fair values and revalues as the underlying equity instruments vest and are recognized as expense over the earlier of the period ending with the performance commitment date or the date the services are completed in accordance with the provisions of ASC 718 and ASC 505‑50, Equity‑Based Payments to Non‑Employees (“ASC 505‑50”).

 

Clinical Trial Expense Accruals

 

As part of the process of preparing its financial statements, the Company is required to estimate its expenses resulting from its obligations under contracts with vendors, clinical research organizations and consultants and under clinical site agreements in connection with conducting clinical trials. The financial terms of these contracts are subject to negotiations, which vary from contract to contract and may result in payment flows that do not match the periods over which materials or services are provided under such contracts. The Company’s objective is to reflect the appropriate trial expenses in its financial statements by matching those expenses with the period in which services are performed and efforts are expended. The Company accounts for these expenses according to the progress of the trial as measured by subject progression and the timing of various aspects of the trial. The Company determines accrual estimates by taking into account discussion with applicable personnel and outside service providers as to the progress or state of consummation of trials, or the services completed. During the course of a clinical trial, the Company adjusts its clinical expense recognition if actual results differ from its estimates. The Company makes estimates of its accrued expenses as of each balance sheet date based on the facts and circumstances known to it at that time. The Company’s clinical trial accruals are dependent upon the timely and accurate reporting of contract research organizations and other third‑party vendors. Although the Company does not expect its estimates to be materially different from amounts actually incurred, its understanding of the status and timing of services performed relative to the actual status and timing of services performed may vary and may result in it reporting amounts that are too high or too low for any particular period.

 

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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 executive officer view the Company’s operations and manage its business as one operating segment. All long‑lived assets of the Company reside in the United States.

 

Recent Accounting Pronouncements

 

In May 2014, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (the “FASB”) issued Accounting Standards Update (“ASU”) No. 2014‑09, Revenue From Contracts With Customers (“ASU 2014‑09”). Pursuant to this update, an entity should recognize revenue to depict the transfer of promised goods or services to customers in an amount that reflects the consideration to which the entity expects to be entitled in exchange for those goods or services. In August 2015, the FASB issued ASU 2015-14, Revenue From Contracts With Customers (Topic 606), which delays the effective date of ASU 2014-09 by one year.  As a result, ASU 2014-09 will be effective for annual reporting periods beginning after December 15, 2017 with early adoption permitted for annual reporting periods beginning after December 15, 2016. In March 2016, the FASB issued ASU No. 2016-08, Revenue from Contracts with Customers (Topic 606): Principal versus Agent Considerations (Reporting Revenue Gross versus Net) (“ASU 2016-08”) and ASU No. 2016-10, Revenue From Contracts With Customers (Topic 606): Identifying Performance Obligations and Licensing (“ASU 2016-10”), and in May 2016 the FASB issued ASU No. 2016-12, Revenue from Contracts with Customers (Topic 606), Narrow-Scope Improvements and Practical Expedients (“ASU 2016-12”), each of which clarify the guidance in ASU 2014-09 and have the same effective date as the original standard. The Company has not yet determined the impact of adoption of ASU 2014-09, ASU 2016-08, ASU 2016-10, or ASU 2016-12 on the financial statements, although, the impact, if any, is not expected to be significant given the Company has not historically recognized significant amounts of revenue.

 

In August 2014, the FASB issued ASU No. 2014‑15, Disclosure of Uncertainties about an Entity’s Ability to Continue as a Going Concern. The amendments in this update will explicitly require a company’s management to assess an entity’s ability to continue as a going concern within one year after the date the financial statements are issued, and to provide related footnote disclosures in certain circumstances. The new standard will be effective in the first annual period ending after December 15, 2016, and for annual periods and interim periods thereafter. Early application is permitted. The Company is currently evaluating the potential impact of the adoption of this standard, but believes its adoption will have no impact on its financial position, results of operations or cash flows.

 

In February 2016, the FASB issued ASU No. 2016-02, Leases (Topic 842). This guidance revises existing practice related to accounting for leases under ASC 840, Leases (“ASC 840”) for both lessees and lessors. The new guidance in ASU 2016-02 requires lessees to recognize a right-of-use asset and a lease liability for nearly all leases (other than leases that meet the definition of a short-term lease). The lease liability will be equal to the present value of lease payments and the right-of-use asset will be based on the lease liability, subject to adjustment such as for initial direct costs. For income statement purposes, the new standard retains a dual model similar to ASC 840, requiring leases to be classified as either operating leases or capital leases. For lessees, operating leases will result in straight-line expense (similar to current accounting by lessees for operating leases under ASC 840) while capital leases will result in a front-loaded expense pattern (similar to current accounting by lessees for capital leases under ASC 840). The new standard is effective for annual reporting periods beginning after December 15, 2018, including interim periods within those fiscal years. Early application is permitted. The Company is currently evaluating the potential impact of the adoption of this standard on its financial statements.

 

In March 2016, the FASB issued ASU No. 2016-09, Improvements to Employee Share-Based Payment Accounting.  The guidance is intended to simplify several areas of accounting for share-based compensation, including income tax impacts, classification on the statement of cash flows and forfeitures. The new standard is effective for fiscal years beginning after December 15, 2016, including interim periods within those fiscal years. Early application is permitted. The Company is currently evaluating the potential impact of the adoption of this standard, but believes its adoption will have no impact on its financial position, results of operations or cash flows.

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3. Net Loss Per Share of Common Stock, Basic and Diluted

 

The following table sets forth the computation of basic and diluted net loss per share of common stock for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2016 and 2015:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Three Months Ended

 

Nine Months Ended

 

 

September 30,

 

September 30,

Net loss per share, basic and diluted calculation:

 

2016

   

2015

   

2016

   

2015

Net loss

 

$

(6,168,725)

 

$

(691,081)

 

$

(14,832,899)

 

$

(6,841,545)

Weighted-average common shares outstanding

 

 

8,756,393

 

 

649,721

 

 

8,685,818

 

 

649,721

Net loss per share, basic and diluted

 

$

(0.70)

 

$

(1.06)

 

$

(1.71)

 

$

(10.53)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The following outstanding securities at September 30, 2016 and 2015 have been excluded from the computation of diluted weighted-average shares outstanding, as they would have been anti‑dilutive:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

    

September 30,

    

September 30,

 

 

2016

 

2015

Series A convertible preferred stock

 

 —

 

31,116,391

Series A-1 convertible preferred stock

 

 —

 

9,074,511

Series B convertible preferred stock

 

 —

 

58,948,735

Stock options

 

1,828,441

 

510,884

Warrants on common stock

 

7,400,934

 

681,858

Warrants on preferred stock

 

 —

 

625,208

Investor rights obligation

 

 —

 

53,351,117

Underwriters' unit purchase option

 

40,000

 

 —

 

 

4. Fair Value Measurements

 

ASC 820, Fair Value Measurements and Disclosures (“ASC 820”), defines fair value as the price that would be received to sell an asset, or paid to transfer a liability, in the principal or most advantageous market in an orderly transaction between market participants on the measurement date. The fair value standard also establishes a three‑level hierarchy, which requires an entity to maximize the use of observable inputs and minimize the use of unobservable inputs when measuring fair value. The valuation hierarchy is based upon the transparency of inputs to the valuation of an asset or liability on the measurement date. The three levels are defined as follows:

 

·

Level 1—inputs to the valuation methodology are quoted prices (unadjusted) for an identical asset or liability in an active market.

 

·

Level 2—inputs to the valuation methodology include quoted prices for a similar asset or liability in an active market or model‑derived valuations in which all significant inputs are observable for substantially the full term of the asset or liability.

 

·

Level 3—inputs to the valuation methodology are unobservable and significant to the fair value measurement of the asset or liability.

 

At September 30, 2016 and December 31, 2015, the Company’s financial instruments included cash and cash equivalents, restricted cash, accounts payable, accrued expenses and other current liabilities, long term debt, the term loan warrant liability and the underwriters’ unit purchase option liability. The carrying amounts reported in the accompanying financial statements for cash and cash equivalents, restricted cash, accounts payable, and accrued expenses and other current liabilities approximate their respective fair values because of the short‑term nature of these accounts. The estimated fair value of the Company’s debt of $3.2 million as of September 30, 2016 was based on current interest rates for similar types of borrowings and is in Level 2 of the fair value hierarchy.

 

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The following table presents, for each of the fair value hierarchy levels required under ASC 820, the Company’s assets and liabilities that are measured at fair value on a recurring basis:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

September 30, 2016

 

 

Fair Value Measurements Using

 

 

Quoted prices in

 

Significant other

 

Significant

 

 

active markets for

 

observable

 

unobservable

 

 

identical assets

 

inputs

 

inputs

 

 

(Level 1)

 

(Level 2)

 

(Level 3)

Assets

    

 

    

    

 

    

    

 

    

Investments in money market funds*

 

$

8,661,483

 

$

 

$

Liabilities

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Warrant liability

 

$

 

$

 

$

44,992

Unit purchase option liability

 

$

 

$

 

$

90,780

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

December 31, 2015

 

 

Fair Value Measurements Using

 

 

Quoted prices in

 

Significant other

 

Significant

 

 

active markets for

 

observable

 

unobservable

 

 

identical assets

 

inputs

 

inputs

 

 

(Level 1)

 

(Level 2)

 

(Level 3)

Assets

    

 

    

    

 

    

    

 

    

Investments in money market funds*

 

$

21,122,553

 

$

 

$

Liabilities

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Warrant liability

 

$

 

$

 

$

27,606

Unit purchase option liability

 

$

 

$

 

$

50,571

*Investments in money market funds are reflected in cash and cash equivalents on the accompanying Balance Sheets.

 

Level 3 Valuation

 

The warrant liability (which relates to warrants to purchase shares of common stock as part of the term loan agreement) is marked‑to‑market each reporting period with the change in fair value recorded to other income (expense) in the accompanying statements of operations until the warrants are exercised, expire or other facts and circumstances lead the warrant liability to be reclassified to stockholders’ equity. The fair value of the warrant liability is estimated using a Black‑Scholes option-pricing model. The significant assumptions used in preparing the option pricing model for valuing the warrant liability as of September 30, 2016, include (i) volatility of 85%, (ii) risk free interest rate of 1.02%, (iii) strike price ($8.40), (iv) fair value of common stock ($4.23), and (v) expected life of 4.1 years.

 

The underwriters’ unit purchase option (the “UPO”) was issued to the underwriters of the Company’s initial public offering (“IPO”) and provides the underwriters the option to purchase up to a total of 40,000 units. The units underlying the UPO will be, immediately upon exercise, separated into shares of common stock, underwriters’ Class A warrants and underwriters’ Class B warrants (such warrants together referred to as the Underwriters’ Warrants). The Underwriters’ Warrants are warrants to purchase shares of common stock. The Company classifies the UPO as a liability as it is a freestanding marked-to-market derivative instrument that is precluded from being classified in stockholders’ equity. The UPO liability is marked‑to‑market each reporting period with the change in fair value recorded to other income (expense) in the accompanying statements of operations until the UPO is exercised, expire or other facts and circumstances lead the UPO to be reclassified to stockholders’ equity. The fair value of the UPO liability is estimated using a Black-Scholes option-pricing model within a Monte Carlo simulation model framework. The significant assumptions used in preparing the simulation model for valuing the UPO as of September 30, 2016, include (i) volatility range of 65% to 95%, (ii) risk free interest rate range of 0.12% to 1.03%, (iii) unit strike price ($7.48), (iv) underwriters’ Class A warrant strike price ($5.23), (v) underwriters’ Class B warrant strike price ($4.49), (vi) fair value of underlying equity ($4.23), and (vii) optimal exercise point of immediately prior to the expiration of the underwriters’ Class B warrants, which occurs on April 20, 2017. The increase in the fair value of underlying equity was the primary driver of the increase in fair value of the UPO liability from $50,571 as of December 31, 2015 to $90,780 as of September 30,

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2016. This $40,209 gain on the change in fair value of the UPO liability was recorded to other income in the accompanying statement of operations for the nine months ended September 30, 2016.

 

The table presented below is a summary of changes of the Company’s Level 3 warrant liability and unit purchase option liability for the nine months ended September 30, 2016:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

    

Warrant

    

Unit purchase

    

 

 

 

 

liability

 

option liability

 

Total

Balance at December 31, 2015

 

$

27,606

 

$

50,571

 

$

78,177

Change in fair value

 

 

17,386

 

 

40,209

 

 

57,595

Balance at September 30, 2016

 

$

44,992

 

$

90,780

 

$

135,772

 

No other changes in valuation techniques or inputs occurred during the nine months ended September 30, 2016 and no transfers of assets between Level 1 and Level 2 of the fair value measurement hierarchy occurred during the nine months ended September 30, 2016.

 

5. Accrued Expenses and Other Current Liabilities

 

Accrued expenses and other current liabilities consisted of the following:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

September 30,

 

December 31,

 

 

2016

 

2015

Compensation and benefits

    

$

849,859

    

$

1,128,073

Research and development expenses

 

 

2,166,342

 

 

464,719

General and administrative

 

 

156,021

 

 

253,132

Accrued interest

 

 

188,967

 

 

39,534

Total accrued expenses and other current liabilities

 

$

3,361,189

 

$

1,885,458

 

 

6. License Agreements

 

Lilly CERC-611 License

 

On September 22, 2016, the Company entered into an exclusive license agreement with Eli Lilly and Company (“Lilly”) pursuant to which the Company received exclusive, global rights to develop and commercialize CERC-611, previously referred to as LY3130481, a potent and selective Transmembrane AMPA Receptor Regulatory Proteins (“TARP”) γ-8-dependent α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic acid (“AMPA”) receptor antagonist. The terms of the license agreement provide for an upfront payment of $2.0 million, of which $750,000 is due within 30 days of the effective date of the license agreement, and the remaining balance of $1.25 million is due after the first subject is dosed with CERC-611 in a multiple ascending dose study. The Company recorded the $2.0 upfront amount as a research and development expense in the accompanying statement of operations for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2016. Additional payments may be due upon achievement of development and commercialization milestones, including the first commercial sale. Upon commercialization, the Company is obligated to pay Lilly milestone payments and a royalty on net sales.

 

Merck CERC-301 License

 

In 2013, the Company entered into an exclusive license agreement with Merck & Co., Inc. (“Merck”) pursuant to which Merck granted the Company rights relating to certain small molecule compounds. In consideration of the license, the Company may be required to make initial payments totaling $1.5 million upon the achievement of certain milestones. Pursuant to the license agreement the Company paid an initial payment of $750,000, which was recorded as a research and development expense in the Company’s statement of operations for the year ended December 31, 2013, and upon achievement of acceptance by the United States Food and Drug Administration, or FDA, of Merck pre-clinical data and FDA approval of a Phase 3 clinical trial the Company will pay an additional $750,000. Additional payments may be due upon achievement of development and regulatory milestones, including the first commercial sale. Upon

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commercialization, the Company is obligated to pay Merck milestone payments and royalties on net sales.

 

Lilly CERC-501 License

 

In 2015, the Company acquired rights to CERC-501 through an exclusive, worldwide license from Lilly. Pursuant to the license agreement, the Company paid $750,000 to Lilly within 30 days of the execution of the license agreement, which was recorded as research and development expense in the accompanying statement of operations for the nine months ended September 30, 2015. Upon the Company undertaking a nine-month toxicology study of CERC-501 in non-human primates and delivering a final study report, the Company will be required to pay Lilly an additional $250,000. Additional payments may be due upon achievement of development and regulatory milestones, including the first commercial sale. Upon commercialization, the Company is obligated to pay Lilly milestone payments and royalties on net sales.

 

Merck COMTi License

 

In 2013, the Company entered into a separate exclusive license agreement with Merck pursuant to which Merck granted the Company certain rights in small molecule compounds which are known to inhibit the activity of COMT. In consideration of the license, the Company made a $200,000 upfront payment to Merck, which was recorded as research and development expense in the Company’s statement of operations for the year ended December 31, 2013. Additional payments may be due upon the achievement of development and regulatory milestones. Upon commercialization of a COMT product, the Company is required to pay Merck royalties on net sales.

 

7. Term Loan

 

In August 2014, the Company entered into a $7.5 million secured term loan from a finance company. The loan is secured by a lien on all of the Company’s assets, excluding intellectual property, which was subject to a negative pledge. The loan contains certain additional nonfinancial covenants. In connection with the loan agreement, the Company’s cash and investment accounts are subject to account control agreements with the finance company that give the finance company the right to assume control of the accounts in the event of a loan default. Loan defaults are defined in the loan agreement and include, among others, the finance company’s determination that there is a material adverse change in the Company’s operations. Interest on the loan is at a rate of the greater of 7.95%, or 7.95% plus the prime rate as reported in The Wall Street Journal minus 3.25%. The interest rate effective from loan inception to December 16, 2015 was 7.95%. Effective December 17, 2015, the prime rate as reported by The Wall Street Journal increased 0.25% resulting in an increase to the current interest rate, which was 8.20% as of September 30, 2016. The loan was interest‑only through May 2015, and is repayable in equal monthly payments of principal and interest of approximately $305,000 over 27 months, which began in June 2015. The loan matures in August 2017. Debt consisted of the following as of September 30, 2016 and December 31, 2015:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

    

September 30,

    

December 31,

 

 

2016

 

2015

Term loan

 

$

3,228,763

 

$

5,688,256

Less: debt discount

 

 

(38,970)

 

 

(126,700)

Term Loan, net of debt discount

 

 

3,189,793

 

 

5,561,556

Less: current portion, net of debt discount

 

 

(3,189,793)

 

 

(3,208,074)

Long term debt, net of current portion and debt discount

 

$

 —

 

$

2,353,482

 

Interest expense, which includes amortization of a discount and the accrual of a termination fee, was approximately $404,000 for the nine months ended September 30, 2016, in the accompanying statement of operations.

 

In connection with the term loan, the Company issued warrants to purchase 625,208 shares of Series B convertible preferred stock at an exercise price of $0.2999 per share that is exercisable for a period ending in October 2020, which is five years following the closing of the Company’s IPO. Upon the closing of the Company’s IPO, these warrants became warrants to purchase 22,328 shares of common stock at an exercise price of $8.40 per share, in accordance with their terms.  The Company’s warrant to purchase shares of Series B convertible preferred stock

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represented a freestanding financial instrument that was indexed to an obligation of the Company to repurchase its Series B convertible preferred stock by transferring assets and, therefore, met the criteria to be classified as a liability under FASB ASC 480, Distinguishing Liabilities from Equity. The Company records the warrant liability at its fair value using the Black‑Scholes option pricing model and revalues the warrant at each reporting date (see Note 4).

 

8. Capital Structure

 

Initial Public Offering

 

On October 20, 2015, the Company closed an IPO of its units. Each unit consisted of one share of common stock, one Class A warrant to purchase one share of common stock at an exercise price of $4.55 per share and one Class B warrant to purchase one-half share of common stock at an exercise price of $3.90 per full share (the “units”). The Class A warrants expire on October 20, 2018 and the Class B warrants expire on April 20, 2017. The closing of the IPO resulted in the sale of 4,000,000 units at an initial public offering price of $6.50 per unit for gross proceeds of $26.0 million. The net proceeds of the IPO, after underwriting discounts, commissions and expenses, and before offering expenses, to the Company were approximately $23.6 million. On November 13, 2015, the units separated into common stock, Class A warrants and Class B warrants and began trading separately on the NASDAQ Capital Market.

 

On November 23, 2015, the underwriter of the IPO exercised its over-allotment option for 20,000 shares of common stock, 551,900 Class A warrants to purchase one share of common stock and 551,900 Class B warrants to purchase one-half share of common stock for additional gross proceeds of $135,319.

 

The common stock and accompanying Class A warrants and Class B warrants have been classified to stockholders’ equity in the Company’s balance sheet.

 

Underwriter’s Unit Purchase Option

 

The underwriter of the IPO received, for $100 in the aggregate, a unit purchase option (the “UPO”) to purchase up to a total of 40,000 units (or 1% of the units sold in the IPO) exercisable at $7.48 per unit (or 115% of the public offering price per unit in the IPO). The units underlying the UPO will be, immediately upon exercise, separated into shares of common stock, underwriters’ Class A warrants and underwriters’ Class B warrants (such warrants together referred to as the “Underwriters’ Warrants”) such that, upon exercise, the holder of a UPO will not receive actual units but will instead receive the shares of common stock and Underwriters’ Warrants, to the extent that any portion of the Underwriters’ Warrants underlying such units have not otherwise expired. The exercise prices of the underwriters’ Class A warrants and underwriter’s Class B warrants underlying the UPO are $5.23 and $4.49, respectively. The UPO may be exercised for cash or on a cashless basis, at the holder’s option, and expires on October 14, 2020; provided, that, following the expiration of underwriters’ Class B warrants on April 20, 2017, the UPO will be exercisable only for shares of common stock and underwriters’ Class A warrants at an exercise price of $7.475 per unit; provided further, that, following the expiration of underwriters’ Class A warrants on October 20, 2018, the UPO will be exercisable only for shares of common stock at an exercise price of $7.47. The Company classified the UPO as a liability as it is a freestanding marked-to-market derivative instrument that is precluded from being classified in stockholders’ equity. The fair value of the UPO is re-measured each reporting period and the change in fair value is recognized in the statement of operations (see Note 4).

 

The Aspire Capital Transaction

 

On September 8, 2016, the Company entered into a common stock purchase agreement (the “Purchase Agreement”) with Aspire Capital, pursuant to which Aspire Capital committed to purchase up to an aggregate of $15.0 million of shares of the Company’s common stock over the 30-month term of the Purchase Agreement. Under the Purchase Agreement, on any trading day selected by the Company on which the closing price of the Company’s common stock exceeds $0.50, the Company may, in its sole discretion, present a purchase notice directing Aspire Capital to purchase up to 50,000 shares of common stock per day, up to $15.0 million of the Company’s common stock in the aggregate at a per share price calculated by references to the prevailing market price of the Company’s common stock. Upon execution of the Purchase Agreement, the Company issued and sold to Aspire Capital 250,000 shares of common

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stock at a price per share of $4.00, for gross proceeds of $1.0 million, and concurrently entered into a registration rights agreement with Aspire Capital registering the shares of the Company’s common stock that have been and may be issued to Aspire Capital under the Purchase Agreement. Additionally, as consideration for Aspire Capital entering into the Purchase Agreement, the Company issued 175,000 shares of common stock as a commitment fee. The net proceeds of the Aspire Capital transaction, after offering expenses, to the Company were approximately $900,000 for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2016. As of September 30, 2016, the Company had sold 250,000 shares of common stock to Aspire Capital under the Purchase Agreement. Subsequent to September 30, 2016, the Company sold an additional 188,998 shares of common stock to Aspire Capital under the terms of the Purchase Agreement for gross proceeds of approximately $700,000. As of the date of this filing, the Company may issue to Aspire Capital under the Purchase Agreement 1,115,165 shares of common stock.

 

Common Stock Warrants

 

At September 30, 2016, the following common stock purchase warrants were outstanding:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Number of shares

 

Exercise price

 

Expiration

underlying warrants

 

per share

 

date

109,976

 

$

28.00

 

February 2017

29,260

 

$

14.00

 

February 2017

90,529

 

$

28.00

 

March 2017

29,557

 

$

14.00

 

March 2017

130,233

 

$

28.00

 

April 2017

2,275,950

 

$

3.90

 

April 2017

20,000*

 

$

4.49

 

April 2017

14,284

 

$

28.00

 

July 2017

80,966

 

$

28.00

 

August 2018

4,551,900

 

$

4.55

 

October 2018

40,000*

 

$

5.23

 

October 2018

3,571

 

$

28.00

 

December 2018

22,328*

 

$

8.40

 

October 2020

2,380

 

$

8.68

 

May 2022

7,400,934

 

 

 

 

 


*Accounted for as a liability instrument (see Note 4)

 

9.  Stock-Based Compensation

 

2016 Equity Incentive Plan

 

On April 5, 2016, the Company’s board of directors adopted the 2016 Equity Incentive Plan (the “2016 Plan”) as the successor to the 2015 Omnibus Plan (the “2015 Plan”). The 2016 Plan was approved by the Company’s stockholders and became effective on May 18, 2016 (the “2016 Plan Effective Date”).

 

As of the 2016 Plan Effective Date, no additional grants will be made under the 2015 Plan or the 2011 Stock Incentive Plan (the “2011 Plan”), which was previously succeeded by the 2015 Plan effective October 13, 2015. Outstanding grants under the 2015 Plan and 2011 Plan will continue in effect according to their terms as in effect under the applicable plan.

 

Upon the 2016 Plan Effective Date, the 2016 Plan reserved and authorized up to 600,000 additional shares of common stock for issuance, as well as 464,476 unallocated shares remaining available for grant of new awards under the 2015 Plan. During the term of the 2016 Plan, the share reserve will automatically increase on the first trading day in January of each calendar year, beginning in 2017, by an amount equal to 4% of the total number of outstanding shares of common stock of the Company on the last trading day in December of the prior calendar year. As of September 30, 2016, there were 691,987 shares available for future issuance under the 2016 Plan.

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The estimated grant date fair market value of the Company’s stock‑based awards is amortized ratably over the employees’ service periods, which is the period in which the awards vest. Stock‑based compensation expense recognized for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2016 and 2015 was as follows:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

    

Three Months Ended

 

Nine Months Ended

 

 

September 30,

 

September 30,

 

 

2016

 

2015

 

2016

 

2015

Research and development

 

$

43,861

 

$

13,986

 

$

95,013

 

$

57,353

General and administrative

 

 

243,913

 

 

15,029

 

 

1,344,181

 

 

263,875

Total stock-based compensation

 

$

287,774

 

$

29,015

 

$

1,439,194

 

$

321,228

 

During the first quarter of 2016, the Company modified stock options of its former chief executive officer by extending the life of the awards, which were set to expire in March 2016, to coincide with their original life. This modification resulted in the recording of $781,266 of compensation expense, which is included in general and administrative expenses for the nine months ended September 30, 2016 in the accompanying statement of operations.

 

A summary of option activity for the nine months ended September 30, 2016 is as follows:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Options Outstanding

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weighted average

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fair value of

 

remaining

 

 

Number of

 

Weighted‑average

 

options

 

contractual term

 

 

shares

 

exercise price

 

granted

 

(in years)

Balance, December 31, 2015

    

959,188

    

$

7.68

    

 

    

    

 

Granted

 

869,253

 

$

3.48

 

$

2,124,922

 

 

Balance, September 30, 2016

 

1,828,441

 

$

5.68

 

 

 

 

8.54

Vested or expected to vest at September 30, 2016

 

1,828,441

 

$

5.68

 

 

 

 

8.54

Exercisable at September 30, 2016

 

657,099

 

$

8.19

 

 

 

 

7.10

 

Employee Stock Purchase Plan

 

On April 5, 2016, the Company’s board of directors approved the 2016 Employee Stock Purchase Plan (the “ESPP”). The ESPP was approved by the Company’s stockholders and became effective on May 18, 2016 (the “ESPP Effective Date”).

 

Under the ESPP, eligible employees can purchase common stock through accumulated payroll deductions at such times as are established by the administrator. The ESPP is administered by the compensation committee of the Company’s board of directors. Under the ESPP, eligible employees may purchase stock at 85% of the lower of the fair market value of a share of the Company’s common stock (i) on the first day of an offering period or (ii) on the purchase date. Eligible employees may contribute up to 15% of their earnings during the offering period. The Company’s board of directors may establish a maximum number of shares of the Company’s common stock that may be purchased by any participant, or all participants in the aggregate, during each offering or offering period. Under the ESPP, a participant may not accrue rights to purchase more than $25,000 of the fair market value of the Company’s common stock for each calendar year in which such right is outstanding.

 

Upon the ESPP Effective Date, the ESPP reserved and authorized up to 500,000 shares of common stock for issuance. On January 1 of each calendar year, the aggregate number of shares that may be issued under the ESPP shall automatically increase by a number equal to the lesser of (i) 1% of the total number of shares of the Company’s capital stock outstanding on December 31 of the preceding calendar year, and (ii) 500,000 shares of the Company’s common stock, or (iii) a number of shares of the Company’s common stock as determined by the Company’s board of directors or compensation committee. As of September 30, 2016, 500,000 shares remained available for issuance.

 

In accordance with the guidance in ASC 718-50, Employee Share Purchase Plans (“ASC 718-50”), the ability to purchase shares of the Company’s common stock at the lower of the offering date price or the purchase date price

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represents an option and, therefore, the ESPP is a compensatory plan under this guidance. Accordingly, stock-based compensation expense is determined based on the option’s grant-date fair value and is recognized over the requisite service period of the option. The Company used the Black-Scholes valuation model and recognized stock-based compensation expense of $36,690 and $43,213 for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2016, respectively.

 

 

10. Commitments and Contingencies

 

Office Lease

 

The Company’s corporate office space, which is leased under an operating lease, is located in Baltimore, Maryland. The lease provided for three months of rent abatement and includes escalating rent payments. Rent expense is recognized on a straight‑line basis over the term of the lease. Rent expense for the office lease amounted to approximately $106,000 for the nine months ended September 30, 2016 and 2015. Pursuant to the terms of such lease, the Company’s future lease obligation is as follows:

 

 

 

 

 

Year ending December 31,

    

    

 

2016*

 

$

38,471

2017

 

 

154,845

2018

 

 

158,716

 

 

$

352,032

*Three months remaining in 2016

 

Obligations to Contract Research Organizations and External Service Providers

 

The Company has entered into agreements with contract research organizations and other external service providers for services, primarily in connection with the clinical trials and development of the Company’s product candidates. The Company was contractually obligated for up to approximately $1.7 million of future services under these agreements as of September 30, 2016. The Company’s actual contractual obligations will vary depending upon several factors, including the progress and results of the underlying services.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Item 2.  Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations

 

This Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q and the information incorporated herein by reference contain forward-looking statements that involve a number of risks and uncertainties, as well as assumptions that, if they never materialize or prove incorrect, could cause our results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements can be identified by the use of forward-looking words such as “believes,” “expects,” “may,” “will,” “plans,” “intends,” “estimates,” “could,” “should,” “would,” “continue,” “seeks,” “aims,” “projects,” “predicts,” “pro forma,” “anticipates,” “potential” or other similar words (including their use in the negative), or by discussions of future matters such as the development of product candidates or products, technology enhancements, possible changes in legislation, and other statements that are not historical. Although our forward-looking statements reflect the good faith judgment of our management, these statements can only be based on facts and factors currently known by us. Consequently, forward-looking statements are inherently subject to risks and uncertainties, and actual results and outcomes may differ materially from results and outcomes discussed in the forward-looking statements. Factors that could cause or contribute to these differences include those below and elsewhere in this Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q, particularly in Part II – Item 1A, “Risk Factors,” as well as in our Annual Report on Form 10-K filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, or SEC, on March 23, 2016 and in our other filings with the SEC. Statements made herein are as of the date of the filing of this Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q with the SEC and should not be relied upon as of any subsequent date. Unless otherwise required by applicable law, we do not undertake, and we specifically disclaim any obligation to update any forward-looking statements to reflect occurrences, developments, unanticipated events or circumstances after the date of such statement.

 

The following discussion and analysis of our financial condition and results of operations should be read in conjunction with our unaudited financial statements and related notes that appear in Item 1 of this Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q and with our audited financial statements and related notes for the year ended December 31, 2015 appearing in our Annual Report on Form 10-K filed with the SEC on March 23, 2016.

 

Overview

 

We are a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company developing innovative drug candidates to make a difference in the lives of patients with neurological and psychiatric disorders. We have a portfolio of clinical and preclinical compounds that we believe are best-in-class due to their unique mechanism of action. We are currently pursuing the development of two clinical Phase 2-stage product candidates, CERC-301 and CERC-501, as well as two earlier stage programs.

 

CERC‑301 is currently in a Phase 2 clinical trial as an oral, adjunctive treatment for patients with severe major depressive disorder, or MDD, who are failing to achieve an adequate response to their current antidepressant treatment, with a rapid onset of effect. We expect top-line data from this trial in November 2016. We received fast track designation by the FDA in 2013 for CERC‑301 for the treatment of MDD. CERC‑301 belongs to a class of compounds known as antagonists, or inhibitors, of the N‑methyl‑D‑aspartate, or NMDA, receptor, a receptor subtype of the glutamate neurotransmitter system that is responsible for controlling neurological adaptation. We believe CERC‑301 has the potential to be a first‑in‑class medication providing a significant reduction in depressive symptoms in a matter of days, as compared to weeks or months with conventional therapies, because it specifically blocks the NMDA receptor subunit 2B, or NR2B, a mechanism of action we believe may provide rapid and significant antidepressant activity without the adverse side effect profile of non-selective NMDA receptor antagonists.

 

We are also currently developing CERC‑501, which is in a Phase 2 clinical trial for smoking cessation. We expect top-line data from this trial in December 2016. We intend to develop CERC‑501 for treatment of substance use disorders, such as nicotine, alcohol, and/or cocaine addiction, and as an adjunctive treatment of MDD. If we receive approval for CERC‑501 for treatment of substance use disorders and for adjunctive treatment of MDD, we plan to further develop CERC‑501 for the concurrent treatment of MDD and substance use disorders, or co‑occurring disorders. CERC‑501 is a potent and selective kappa opioid receptor, or KOR, antagonist. KORs are believed to play key roles in modulating stress, mood and addictive behaviors, which form the basis of co‑occurring disorders. We are planning to conduct a Phase 2 clinical trial in inadequately treated subjects with MDD currently on antidepressants. Thereafter we intend to pursue additional studies focused on the adjunctive treatment of MDD and substance use disorders for

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registration and commercialization. We also intend to pursue studies of the treatment of the co-occurrence of MDD and substance use disorders.

 

On September 22, 2016, we acquired exclusive, worldwide rights to CERC-611 from Eli Lilly and Company, or Lilly. CERC-611 is a potent and selective Transmembrane AMPA Receptor Regulatory Proteins, or TARP, γ-8-dependent α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic acid, or AMPA, receptor antagonist in development as an adjunctive therapy for the treatment of partial-onset seizures with or without secondarily generalized seizures in patients with epilepsy. TARPs are a fairly recently discovered family of proteins that have been found to associate with and modulate the activity of AMPA receptors. TARP γ-8-dependent AMPA receptors are localized primarily in the hippocampus, a region of importance in complex partial seizures and particularly relevant to seizure origination and/or propagation. Research suggests that selectively targeting individual TARPs may enable selective modulation of specific brain circuits without globally affecting synaptic transmission, which may lead to an attractive efficacy, safety and tolerability profile. We expect to file an investigational new drug application, or IND, with the FDA and, if clearance is received, commence Phase 1 development of CERC-611 in 2017.

 

CERC‑406 is our lead preclinical candidate from our proprietary platform of compounds that inhibit catechol‑O‑methyltransferase, or COMT, within the brain, which we refer to as our COMTi platform. We are anticipating developing CERC‑406 for the treatment of residual cognitive impairment symptoms in patients with MDD.

 

Development of CERC-301 and CERC-501 beyond the two currently ongoing Phase 2 clinical trials, as well as the development of our other product candidates, will not be possible unless we secure additional funding. If we are unable to raise capital when needed or on attractive terms, we will be forced to delay, reduce or eliminate our research and development programs or any future commercialization efforts. We will seek to fund our operations through the sale of equity, debt financings or other sources, including potential collaborations and federal grants. However, we may be unable to raise additional funds or enter into such other agreements when needed on favorable terms, or at all. If we fail to raise capital or enter into such other arrangements as, and when, needed, we may have to significantly delay, scale back or discontinue the development and/or commercialization of one or more of our product candidates.

 

 We were incorporated in Delaware in 2011 and commenced operations in the second quarter of 2011. Since inception, our operations have included organizing and staffing our company, business planning, raising capital and developing our product candidates. We have no products approved for commercial sale and have not generated any revenue from product sales to date, and we continue to incur significant research, development and other expenses related to our ongoing operations. We have incurred losses in each period since our inception. As of September 30, 2016, we had an accumulated deficit of $68.4 million. We expect to incur significant expenses and operating losses for the foreseeable future as we continue the development and clinical trials of, and seek marketing approval for, our product candidates. Our recurring losses and negative cash flows from operations raise substantial doubt about our ability to continue as a going concern and our ability to continue as a going concern will require us to obtain additional financing to fund our operations.

 

We have financed our operations primarily through a public offering and private placements of our common stock and convertible preferred stock. Our ability to become and remain profitable depends on our ability to generate revenue. We do not expect to generate any product revenue unless, and until, we obtain marketing approval for, and commercialize, any of our product candidates. There can be no assurance as to whether or when we will achieve profitability.  

 

Recent Developments

 

The Aspire Capital Transaction

 

On September 8, 2016, we entered into a $15 million common stock purchase agreement, or the Purchase Agreement, with Aspire Capital Fund, LLC, or Aspire Capital, pursuant to which Aspire Capital committed to purchase up to an aggregate of $15 million of shares of our common stock over the 30-month term of the Purchase Agreement. Under the Purchase Agreement, on any trading day that we select on which the closing price of our common stock exceeds $0.50, we may, in our discretion, present a purchase notice directing Aspire Capital to purchase up to 50,000

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shares of common stock per day, up to $15 million of our common stock in the aggregate at a per share price calculated by reference to the prevailing market price of our common stock. Upon execution of the Purchase Agreement, we issued and sold to Aspire Capital 250,000 shares of common stock at a price per share of $4.00, for gross proceeds of $1 million, and concurrently entered into a registration rights agreement with Aspire Capital registering the shares of the Company’s common stock that have been and may be issued to Aspire Capital under the Purchase Agreement. Additionally, as consideration for Aspire Capital entering into the Purchase Agreement, we issued 175,000 shares of common stock as a commitment fee. The net proceeds of the initial purchase of common stock by Aspire Capital, after offering expenses, were approximately $900,000. As of September 30, 2016, we had sold 250,000 shares of common stock to Aspire Capital under the Purchase Agreement. Subsequent to September 30, 2016, we sold an additional 188,998 shares of common stock to Aspire Capital under the terms of the Purchase Agreement for gross proceeds of approximately $700,000. As of the date of this filing, we may issue to Aspire Capital under the Purchase Agreement 1,115,165 shares of common stock.

 

License of CERC-611

 

On September 22, 2016, we entered into an exclusive license, development and commercialization agreement, or the Exclusive License Agreement, with Lilly pursuant to which we received exclusive, global rights to develop and commercialize LY3130481, now designated as CERC-611. Our rights under the Exclusive License Agreement are exclusive, even as to Lilly, for the term of the Exclusive License Agreement, with the right to grant sublicenses through multiple tiers. Lilly retains rights for internal, non-clinical research purposes. We are obligated under the Exclusive License Agreement to use commercially reasonable efforts to develop and commercialize CERC-611 at our expense. If Lilly obtains a license for any future patent rights or know-how necessary for the development, commercialization or manufacture under the Exclusive License Agreement, we have the right, but not the obligation, to consent to include such patent rights or know-how, as well as the right to terminate any such license in our discretion.

 

Pursuant to the Exclusive License Agreement, we paid an initial upfront payment of $750,000, and the remaining upfront payment of $1.25 million is due after the first subject is dosed with CERC-611 in a multiple ascending dose study. We recorded the upfront amount of $2.0 million as a research and development expense for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2016 in the accompanying statement of operations. The terms of the Exclusive License Agreement also require additional one-time payments be made upon achievement of development and commercialization milestones, including the first commercial sale, of up to $67.5 million. Upon commercialization, we are obligated to pay Lilly milestone payments and a royalty in the mid-single digits to low double digits based on net sales. Unless terminated earlier, the Exclusive License Agreement will remain in effect, on a country-by-country basis and product-by-product basis, until the parties’ royalty obligations end.

 

Components of Operating Results

 

Revenue

 

To date, we have derived all of our revenue from research grants from the National Institutes of Health. We have not generated any revenue from commercial product sales to date. We will not generate any commercial revenue, if ever, until one of our product candidates receives marketing approval and we successfully commercialize such product candidates.

 

Research and Development Expenses

 

Our research and development expenses consist primarily of costs incurred developing, testing and seeking marketing approval for our product candidates. These costs include both external costs, which are study‑specific costs, and internal research and development costs, which are not directly allocated to our product candidates.

 

External costs include:

 

·

expenses incurred under agreements with third‑party contract research organizations and investigative sites that conduct our clinical trials, preclinical studies and regulatory activities;

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·

payments made to contract manufacturers for drug substance and acquiring, developing and manufacturing clinical trial materials; and

 

·

payments related to acquisitions of our product candidates and preclinical platform, milestone payments, and fees associated with the prosecution and maintenance of patents.

 

Internal costs include:

 

·

personnel‑related expenses, including salaries, benefits and stock‑based compensation expense;

 

·

consulting costs related to our internal research and development programs;

 

·

allocated facilities, depreciation and other expenses, which include rent and utilities, as well as other supplies; and

 

·

product liability insurance.

 

Research and development costs are expensed as incurred. We record costs for some development activities, such as clinical trials, based on an evaluation of the progress to completion of specific tasks using data such as subject enrollment, clinical site activations or information provided to us by our vendors.

 

We track external costs by development program, and subsequently by product candidate once a product candidate has been selected for development. Product candidates in later stage clinical development generally have higher research and development expenses than those in earlier stages of development, primarily due to the increased size and duration of the clinical trials. As we advance our product candidates through clinical development, we expect that the amount of our research and development spending allocated to external spending relative to internal spending will continue to grow for the foreseeable future, while our internal research and development spending should grow at a slower and more controlled pace.

 

As of September 30, 2016, we had eight full‑time employees who were primarily engaged in research and development. We anticipate that our research and development costs, including the need to hire additional research and development employees, may increase in the future.

 

General and Administrative Expenses

 

General and administrative expenses consist primarily of professional fees, investor and public relations expenses and salaries, benefits and related costs for executive and other personnel, including stock‑based compensation and travel expenses. Other general and administrative expenses include facility‑related costs, communication expenses and professional fees for legal, consulting, and tax and accounting services, insurance, depreciation and general corporate expenses.

 

We anticipate that our general and administrative expenses will increase in the future with continued research, development and potential commercialization of our existing and future product candidates and expanded compliance obligations of operating as a public company. These increases will likely include greater costs for insurance, costs related to the hiring of additional personnel, payments to outside consultants and investor relations providers, and costs for legal and accounting professionals, among other expenses. Additionally, if and when we believe a marketing approval of a product candidate appears likely, we anticipate an increase in payroll and expense as a result of our preparation for commercial operations, especially as it relates to the sales and marketing of our product candidates.

 

Change in Fair Value of Warrant Liability, Unit Purchase Option Liability and Investor Rights Obligation

 

In connection with the issuance of our term debt facility in August 2014, we issued warrants to purchase 625,208 shares of Series B convertible preferred stock. Upon the closing of our initial public offering, or IPO, in October

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2015, these warrants became warrants to purchase 22,328 shares of common stock, in accordance with their terms. These warrants represent a freestanding financial instrument that is indexed to an obligation, which we refer to as the Warrant Liability. These warrants are classified as a liability at fair value. This liability is remeasured at each balance sheet date and the change in fair value is recorded within our statement of operations.

 

As part of our IPO, the underwriter of our IPO received a unit purchase option, or UPO, to purchase up to 40,000 units, with a unit consisting of one share of our common stock, one Class A warrant to purchase one share of our common stock and one Class B warrant to purchase one-half share of our common stock. The UPO is classified as a liability at its fair value. This liability is remeasured at each balance sheet date and the change in fair value is recorded within our statement of operations.

 

Our obligation to issue additional shares of our Series B preferred stock as part of the Series B preferred stock offering was accounted for as a freestanding financial instrument, which we referred to as the Investor Rights Obligation. The Investor Rights Obligation expired upon the closing of our IPO in accordance with its terms, and the related liability was reduced to zero at that time.

 

Interest Expense, Net

 

Net interest expense is primarily related to interest payments pursuant to the terms of our term debt facility entered into in August 2014, as well as the amortization of the debt discounts and premiums and deferred financing fees in connection with such term debt facility.

 

Critical Accounting Policies and Significant Judgments and Estimates

 

This discussion and analysis of our financial condition and results of operations is based on our financial statements, which have been prepared in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles in the United States of America, or GAAP. The preparation of these financial statements requires us to make estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amounts of assets and liabilities, disclosure of contingent assets and liabilities at the date of the financial statements and the reported amounts of revenue and expenses during the reported period. In accordance with GAAP, we base our estimates on historical experience and on various other assumptions that we believe are reasonable under the circumstances. On an ongoing basis, we evaluate our estimates and assumptions, including those related to clinical and preclinical trial expenses and stock‑based compensation. Actual results may differ from these estimates under different assumptions or conditions. During the nine months ended September 30, 2016, there were no material changes to our critical accounting policies and use of estimates from those disclosed in Item 7 of our Annual Report on Form 10-K filed with the SEC on March 23, 2016, except with respect to our grant revenue recognition policy, which we adopted in connection with our receipt of the grant awarded in April 2016 from the National Institute on Drug Abuse at the National Institutes of Health, which provided additional resources for our ongoing Phase 2 clinical trial of CERC-501, or the NIDA Grant.

 

Grant Revenue Recognition

 

We recognize grant revenue when there is (i) reasonable assurance of compliance with the conditions of the grant and (ii) reasonable assurance that the grant will be received. We recognize revenue under grants in earnings on a systemic basis in the period the related expenditures for which the grants are intended to compensate are incurred.

 

Results of Operations

 

Comparison of the Three Months Ended September 30, 2016 and 2015

 

Grant Revenue

 

The following table summarizes our grant revenue for the three months ended September 30, 2016 and 2015:

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Three Months Ended

 

 

September 30,

 

    

2016

    

2015

 

 

(in thousands)

Grant revenue

 

$

321

 

$

 —

 

Grant revenue was $321,000 for the three months ended September 30, 2016. The revenue recognized during the quarter was from the NIDA Grant, which provided additional resources for the ongoing Phase 2 clinical trial of CERC-501. We did not have grant revenue in the 2015 quarter.

 

Research and Development Expenses

 

The following table summarizes our research and development expenses for the three months ended September 30, 2016 and 2015:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Three Months Ended

 

 

September 30,

 

    

2016

    

2015

 

 

 

(in thousands)

CERC-301

    

$

1,142

    

$

650

CERC-501

 

 

896

 

 

94

CERC-611

 

 

2,019

 

 

 —

COMTi

 

 

17

 

 

42

Internal expenses not allocated to programs:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Salaries, benefits and related costs

 

 

400

 

 

350

Stock-based compensation expense

 

 

44

 

 

14

Other

 

 

64

 

 

87

 

 

$

4,582

 

$

1,237

 

Research and development expenses were $4.6 million for the three months ended September 30, 2016, an increase of approximately $3.3 million compared to the three months ended September 30, 2015. This increase was largely due to the $2.0 million total upfront payments recorded in connection with the license of CERC-611 in September 2016. Additionally, costs for CERC-501 increased by $802,000, primarily due to the significant enrollment activity experienced during the third quarter for our ongoing Phase 2 clinical trial for smoking cessation. Only limited expenses were incurred for CERC-501 in the 2015 period as enrollment for our ongoing Phase 2 clinical trial with CERC-501 did not begin until the first quarter of 2016. Finally, costs for CERC-301 increased by $492,000, primarily due to the significant enrollment activity experienced during the third quarter for our ongoing Phase 2 clinical trial of CERC-301.

 

General and Administrative Expenses

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Three Months Ended

 

 

 

September 30,

 

 

    

2016

    

2015

   

 

 

 

(in thousands)

 

Salaries, benefits and related costs

    

$

556

    

$

403

 

Legal, consulting and other professional expenses

 

 

725

 

 

194

 

Stock-based compensation expense

 

 

244

 

 

15

 

Other general and administrative expenses

 

 

178

 

 

110

 

 

 

$

1,703

 

$

722

 

 

General and administrative expenses were $1.7 million for the three months ended September 30, 2016, an increase of $981,000 compared to the three months ended September 30, 2015. Legal, consulting and other professional expenses increased by $531,000, attributable primarily to audit, legal, and other costs resulting from becoming a public company in October 2015, as well as certain financing expenses. Stock-based compensation expense increased by $229,000 due to a significant increase in the number of options outstanding from September 30, 2015 to September 30,

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2016. Salaries, benefits and related costs increased by $153,000, attributable primarily to salary increases effected at the close of our IPO, as well as an increase in our headcount.

 

Change in Fair Value of Warrant Liability, Unit Purchase Option Liability and Investor Rights Obligation

 

We recognized a loss on the change in fair value of our warrant liability, UPO liability and investor rights obligation of $101,000 during the three months ended September 30, 2016 compared to a gain of $1.5 million during the three months ended September 30, 2015. The loss on the change in fair value during the three months ended September 30, 2016 was due to the increase in fair value of our warrant liability and UPO liability, both attributable to the increase in our common stock price at September 30, 2016 compared to the previous quarter-end.

 

The $1.5 million gain on the change in fair value during the 2015 quarter was primarily due to the decrease in fair value of the investor rights obligation from $1.4 million as of June 30, 2015 to $0 as of September 30, 2015. The fair value of the investor rights obligation decreased to $0 as of September 30, 2015 due to our pending IPO. The investor rights obligation expired in October 2015 upon the closing of our IPO and does not affect any reporting periods thereafter.

 

Interest Expense, Net

 

Net interest expense decreased by $93,000 for the three months ended September 30, 2016 compared to the three months ended September 30, 2015. The decrease was primarily due to a decrease in interest associated with a reduction in the principal balance of our secured term loan facility.

 

Comparison of the Nine Months Ended September 30, 2016 and 2015

 

Grant Revenue

 

The following table summarizes our grant revenue for the nine months ended September 30, 2016 and 2015:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nine Months Ended

 

 

September 30,

 

    

2016

    

2015

 

 

(in thousands)

Grant revenue

 

$

972

 

$

 —

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Grant revenue was $972,000 for the nine months ended September 30, 2016. The revenue recognized during the period was from the NIDA Grant. We did not have grant revenue in the 2015 period.

 

Research and Development Expenses

 

The following table summarizes our research and development expenses for the nine months ended September 30, 2016 and 2015:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nine Months Ended

 

 

September 30,

 

    

2016

    

2015

 

 

(in thousands)

CERC-301

 

$

2,534

 

$

2,202

CERC-501

 

 

3,145

 

 

1,197

CERC-611

 

 

2,019

 

 

 —

COMTi

 

 

121

 

 

200

Internal expenses not allocated to programs:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Salaries, benefits and related costs

 

 

1,285

 

 

978

Stock-based compensation expense

 

 

95

 

 

57

Other

 

 

178

 

 

202

 

 

$

9,377

 

$

4,836

 

Research and development expenses were $9.4 million for the nine months ended September 30, 2016, an increase of $4.5 million compared to the nine months ended September 30, 2015. This increase was largely due to the $2.0 million total upfront payment recorded in connection with the license of CERC-611 in September 2016. Additionally, costs for CERC-501 increased by $1.9 million, driven by the significant enrollment activity experienced in the second and third quarters for our ongoing Phase 2 clinical trial for smoking cessation, offset by the $1.0 million of costs incurred in the 2015 period related to the in-licensing of CERC-501. Further, we experienced an increase in costs for CERC-301 of $332,000, driven by the significant enrollment activity experienced in the second and third quarters for our ongoing Phase 2 clinical trial. We also experienced an increase of $307,000 in salaries, benefits and related costs, driven primarily by salary increases effected at the close of our IPO and an increase in our headcount.

 

General and Administrative Expenses

 

The following table summarizes our general and administrative expenses for the nine months ended September 30, 2016 and 2015:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nine Months Ended

 

 

September 30,

 

    

2016

    

2015

 

 

 

(in thousands)

Salaries, benefits and related costs

    

$

1,808

    

$

1,264

Legal, consulting and other professional expenses

 

 

2,186

 

 

665

Stock-based compensation expense

 

 

1,344

 

 

264

Other

 

 

651

 

 

305

 

 

$

5,989

 

$

2,498

 

General and administrative expenses were $6.0 million for the nine months ended September 30, 2016, an increase of $3.5 million compared to the nine months ended September 30, 2015. Legal, consulting and other professional expenses increased by $1.5 million, attributable primarily to audit, legal, and other costs resulting from becoming a public company in October 2015, as well as certain financing expenses. Stock-based compensation expense increased by $1.1 million, driven by the modification of grants made to our former chief executive officer in the first quarter of 2016 in which the exercise term was extended, as well as the significant increase in the number of options outstanding from September 30, 2015 to September 30, 2016. Salaries, benefits and related costs increased by $544,000,

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attributable primarily to salary increases effected at the close of our IPO, as well as an increase in our headcount. Further, other general and administrative expenses increased by $346,000 due to business development expenses and other costs.

 

Change in Fair Value of Warrant Liability, Unit Purchase Option Liability and Investor Rights Obligation

 

We recognized a loss on the change in fair value of our warrant liability, UPO liability and investor rights obligation of $58,000 during the nine months ended September 30, 2016 compared to a gain of $1.1 million during the nine months ended September 30, 2015. The $58,000 loss on the change in fair value during the nine months ended September 30, 2016 was due to the increase in fair value of our warrant liability and UPO liability, both attributable to the increase in our common stock price at September 30, 2016 compared to December 31, 2015.

 

The $1.1 million gain on the change in fair value during the 2015 period was primarily due to the decrease in fair value of the investor rights obligation from $1.1 million as of December 31, 2014 to $0 as of September 30, 2015. The fair value of the investor rights obligation decreased to $0 as of September 30, 2015 due to our pending IPO. The investor rights obligation expired in October 2015 upon the closing of our IPO and does not affect any reporting periods thereafter.

 

Interest Expense, Net

 

Net interest expense decreased by $253,000 for the nine months ended September 30, 2016 compared to the nine months ended September 30, 2015. The decrease was primarily due to a decrease in interest associated with a reduction in the principal balance of our secured term loan facility.

 

Liquidity and Capital Resources

 

We have devoted most of our cash resources to research and development and general and administrative activities. Since our inception, we have incurred net losses and negative cash flows from our operations. We expect to incur significant expenses and operating losses for the foreseeable future as we continue the development and clinical trials of, and seek marketing approval for, our product candidates. We incurred net losses of $14.8 million and $6.8 million for the nine months ended September 30, 2016 and 2015, respectively. At September 30, 2016, we had an accumulated deficit of $68.4 million, net working capital of $2.0 million and cash and cash equivalents of $8.8 million. To date, we have not generated any revenues from the sale of products and we do not anticipate generating any revenues from the sale of our product candidates for the foreseeable future. Historically, we have financed our operations principally through private placements of common and convertible preferred stock, convertible and nonconvertible debt, as well as our IPO in October 2015.

 

We will require substantial additional financing to fund our operations and to continue to execute our strategy. Development of CERC-301 and CERC-501 beyond the two ongoing Phase 2 clinical trials, as well as the development of our other product candidates, will not be possible unless we secure additional funding. We anticipate funding our operations over the next several years from further offerings of equity or debt securities, as well as non-dilutive financing arrangements such as federal grants or collaboration agreements. Based on our current research and development plans we expect that our existing cash and cash equivalents will enable us to fund our operating expenses and capital expenditure requirements through the end of 2016. These factors raise significant doubt about our ability to continue as a going concern. We have the potential to raise additional cash through the Purchase Agreement with Aspire Capital.

 

Term Loan

 

In August 2014, we entered into a $7.5 million secured term loan from a finance company. The loan is secured by a lien on all of our assets, excluding intellectual property, which is subject to a negative pledge. The loan contains certain additional nonfinancial covenants. In connection with the loan agreement, our cash and investment accounts are subject to account control agreements with the finance company that give the finance company the right to assume control of the accounts in the event of a loan default. Loan defaults are defined in the loan agreement and include, among others, the finance company’s determination that there is a material adverse change in our operations. Interest on the loan

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is at a rate of the greater of 7.95%, or 7.95% plus the prime rate as reported in The Wall Street Journal minus 3.25%. The interest rate effective from loan inception to December 16, 2015 was 7.95%. Effective December 17, 2015, the prime rate as reported by The Wall Street Journal increased 0.25% resulting in an increase to the current interest rate, which was 8.20% as of September 30, 2016. The loan was interest‑only through May 2015, and is repayable in equal monthly payments of principal and interest of approximately $305,000 over 27 months, which began in June 2015. The loan matures in the third quarter of 2017 and had an outstanding balance as of September 30, 2016 of $3.2 million.

 

Cash Flows

 

The following table summarizes our cash flows for the nine months ended September 30, 2016 and 2015:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nine Months Ended September 30,

 

    

2016

    

2015

 

 

(in thousands)

Net cash used in:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Operating activities

 

$

(10,860)

 

$

(6,615)

Investing activities

 

 

(26)

 

 

(20)

Financing activities

 

 

(1,461)

 

 

(1,799)

Net decrease in cash and cash equivalents

 

$

(12,347)

 

$

(8,434)

 

Net cash used in operating activities

 

Net cash used in operating activities was $10.9 million for the nine months ended September 30, 2016 and consisted primarily of a net loss of $14.8 million and an increase in grants receivable of $379,000, offset by non‑cash stock-based compensation expense of $1.4 million and an increase in accrued expenses and other liabilities of $2.5 million.

 

Net cash used in operating activities was $6.6 million for the nine months ended September 30, 2015 and consisted primarily of a net loss of $6.8 million and a $1.1 million non-cash gain on the change in fair value of our warrant liability and investor rights obligation. These were offset by non-cash stock-based compensation expense of $321,000, non-cash interest expense of $205,000, an increase in accounts payable and accrued expenses and other liabilities of $497,000, and a decrease in prepaid expenses and other assets of $255,000.

 

Net cash used in investing activities

 

Net cash used in investing activities is limited to purchases of property and equipment consisting of computers and software and furniture and equipment. Our net cash used in investing activities was $26,000 for the nine months ended September 30, 2016 and $20,000 for the prior year period.

 

Net cash used in financing activities

 

Net cash used in financing activities was $1.5 million for the nine months ended September 30, 2016, which consisted of principal payments on our term loan of $2.5 million offset by gross proceeds from the sale of common stock to Aspire Capital under the Purchase Agreement.

 

Net cash used in financing activities was $1.8 million for the nine months ended September 30, 2015, which consisted of principal payments on our term loan of $1.0 million and the payment of offering costs related to our IPO of $775,000.

 

Operating and Capital Expenditure Requirements

 

We have not achieved profitability since our inception and we expect to continue to incur net losses for the foreseeable future. We expect our cash expenditures to increase in the near term as we fund the development of our programs. Following the closing of our IPO in October 2015, we expect to continue to incur significant legal, accounting

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and other expenses that we were not previously required to incur as a private company. In addition, the Sarbanes‑Oxley Act, as well as rules adopted by the SEC and the NASDAQ Stock Market, requires public companies to implement specified corporate governance practices that were previously inapplicable to us as a private company. We expect these rules and regulations will increase our legal and financial compliance costs and will make some activities more time‑consuming and costly. We may also acquire or in‑license new product candidates. Based on our research and development plans, we expect that our existing cash and cash equivalents will enable us to fund our operating expenses and capital expenditure requirements through the end of 2016, which raises substantial doubt about our ability to continue as a going concern. We will require substantial additional financing to fund our operations and to continue to execute our strategy. Development of CERC-301 and CERC-501 beyond the two currently ongoing Phase 2 clinical trials, as well as the development of our other product candidates, will not be possible unless we secure additional funding.

 

Each of our product candidates are still in the early stages of clinical and preclinical development and the outcome of these efforts is uncertain. We cannot estimate the actual amounts necessary to successfully complete the development and commercialization of our product candidates or whether, or when, we may generate revenue. Until such time, if ever, as we can generate substantial product revenues, we expect to finance our cash needs through a combination of equity or debt financings, grant funding and exploring the possibility of entering into collaboration agreements.

 

We will need to raise substantial additional capital in the future to fund our operations and to continue to execute our strategy. We plan to meet our capital requirements primarily through a combination of equity and debt financings, collaborations, strategic alliances, federal grants and marketing distribution or licensing arrangements. There can be no assurance that we will be able to obtain additional equity or debt financing on terms acceptable to us, if at all. If we raise additional funds through collaboration and licensing agreements with third parties, it may be necessary to relinquish valuable rights to our product candidates, technologies or future revenue streams or to grant licenses on terms that may not be favorable to us. Our future capital requirements will depend on many forward‑looking factors, including:

 

·

the progress and results of the Phase 2 clinical program for CERC‑301 and changes to our development plan with respect to CERC‑301, if any;

 

·

the progress and results of the clinical trials being conducted, or contemplated being conducted, for CERC‑501 and changes to our development plan with respect to CERC‑501, if any;

 

·

our plan and ability to enter into collaborative agreements for the development and commercialization of our product candidates;

 

·

the number and development requirements of any other product candidates that we may pursue;

 

·

the scope, progress, results and costs of researching and developing our product candidates or any future product candidates, both in the United States and in territories outside the United States;

 

·

the costs, timing and outcome of regulatory review of our product candidates or any future product candidates, both in the United States and in territories outside the United States;

 

·

the costs and timing of future commercialization activities, including product manufacturing, marketing, sales and distribution for any of our product candidates for which we receive marketing approval;

 

·

the costs and timing of any product candidate acquisition or in‑licensing opportunities;

 

·

any product liability or other lawsuits related to our products;

 

·

the expenses needed to attract and retain skilled personnel;

 

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·

the revenue, if any, received from commercial sales of our product candidates for which we receive marketing approval; and

 

·

the costs involved in preparing, filing and prosecuting patent applications, maintaining and enforcing our intellectual property rights and defending our intellectual property‑related claims, both in the United States and in territories outside the United States.

 

Off‑Balance Sheet Arrangements

 

We do not have any off‑balance sheet arrangements as defined by applicable SEC rules and regulations.

 

Recent Accounting Pronouncements

 

See Item 1 of Part I, “Notes to Unaudited Financial Statements,” Note 2, of this Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q.

 

Item 3.  Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures about Market Risk

 

Interest Rate Risk

 

We maintain a short-term investment portfolio consisting mainly of highly liquid short-term money market funds, which we consider to be cash equivalents. These investments earn interest at variable rates and, as a result, decreases in market interest rates would generally result in decreased interest income. We do not believe that a 10% increase or decrease in interest rates would have a material effect on the fair value of our investment portfolio due to the short-term nature of these instruments, and accordingly we do not expect our operating results or cash flows to be materially affected by a sudden change in market interest rates.

 

Further, in 2014 we entered into our term debt facility, which carries a variable interest rate that is the greater of 7.95%, or 7.95% plus the prime rate as reported in The Wall Street Journal minus 3.25%. As a result, increases in market interest rates would generally result in increased interest expense. Given the stable nature of prime rates, the Company does not expect our operating results or cash flows to be materially affected by changes in market interest rates through the date of the maturity of our term debt facility in August 2017. The interest rate effective as of September 30, 2016 was 8.20%.

 

Item 4.  Controls and Procedures

 

Evaluation of Disclosure Controls and Procedures

 

As required by Rule 13a-15(b) and Rule 15d-15(b) of the Exchange Act, our management, including our principal executive officer and our principal financial officer, conducted an evaluation as of the end of the period covered by this Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q of the effectiveness of the design and operation of our disclosure controls and procedures. Based on that evaluation, our principal executive officer and principal financial officer concluded that our disclosure controls and procedures are effective at the reasonable assurance level in ensuring that information required to be disclosed by us in the reports that we file or submit under the Exchange Act is recorded, processed, summarized and reported within the time periods specified in the SEC’s rules and forms. Disclosure controls and procedures include, without limitation, controls and procedures designed to ensure that information required to be disclosed by us in the reports we file under the Exchange Act is accumulated and communicated to our management, including our principal executive officer and principal financial officer, as appropriate to allow timely decisions regarding required disclosure.

 

Changes in Internal Control over Financial Reporting

 

There have not been any changes in our internal controls over financial reporting during the quarter ended September 30, 2016 that materially affected, or are reasonably likely to materially affect, our internal control over

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financial reporting.

 

PART II – OTHER INFORMATION

 

Item 1.  Legal Proceedings

 

We are not currently a party to any material legal proceedings and we are not aware of any pending or threatened legal proceeding against us that we believe could have a material adverse effect on our business, operating results, cash flows or financial condition.

 

Item 1A.  Risk Factors

 

In addition to the risk factors stated below and the other information set forth in this Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q, you should carefully consider the factors discussed in Part I, “Item 1A. Risk Factors” in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2015, filed with the SEC on March 23, 2016, which could materially affect our business, financial condition or future results. Except as set forth below, our risk factors as of the date of this Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q have not changed materially from those described in our Annual Report on Form 10-K. However, the risks described below and in our Annual Report on Form 10-K are not the only risks facing our company. Additional risks and uncertainties not currently known to us or that we currently deem to be immaterial also may materially adversely affect our business, financial condition or future results of operations and the trading price of our common stock.

 

Our recurring operating losses and negative cash flows from operations have raised substantial doubt regarding our ability to continue as a going concern.

 

Our recurring operating losses and negative cash flows from operations raise substantial doubt about our ability to continue as a going concern. We have no current source of revenues to sustain our present activities, and we do not expect to generate revenues until, and unless, the FDA or other regulatory agencies approve our product candidates and we successfully commercialize any such product candidates. Accordingly, our ability to continue as a going concern will require us to obtain additional financing to fund our operations. The perception of our inability to continue as a going concern may make it more difficult for us to obtain financing for the continuation of our operations and could result in the loss of confidence by investors, suppliers and employees.

 

If we are unable to enroll appropriate subjects in clinical trials, we will be unable to complete these trials on a timely basis or at all. 

 

Identifying and qualifying subjects to participate in clinical trials of our product candidates is critical to our success. The timing of our clinical trials depends on the speed at which we can recruit appropriate subjects to participate in testing our product candidates as well as completion of required follow‑up periods. If subjects are unwilling to participate in our trials because of negative publicity from adverse events in the biotechnology industry or for other reasons, including competitive clinical trials for similar subject populations, the timeline for recruiting subjects, conducting trials and obtaining marketing approval of potential products may be delayed.  For example, we have experienced delays in enrolling patients in our CERC-301 Phase 2 clinical trial, due in part we believe to the highly competitive environment for recruiting patients to clinical trials studying depression. In addition, we believe the decision by the National Institutes of Health to discontinue a Phase 2 trial for CERC-501 was due in part to difficulties experienced in enrolling patients into the trial.

 

Difficulty or delays in patient recruitment into our trials could result in increased costs, delays in advancing our product development, delays in testing the effectiveness of our technology or termination of the clinical trials altogether. Many factors affect subject enrollment, including:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

the size and nature of the subject population;

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

the number and location of clinical sites we enroll;

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the proximity of subjects to clinical sites;

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

perceived risks and benefits of the product candidate under trial;

 

 

 

 

 

   

 

 

competition with other companies for clinical sites or subjects;

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

competing clinical trials;

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

the eligibility and exclusion criteria for the trial;

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

the design of the clinical trial;

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

effectiveness of publicity for the clinical trials;