Quarterly report pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d)

Summary of Significant Accounting Policies (Policies)

Summary of Significant Accounting Policies (Policies)
6 Months Ended
Jun. 30, 2018
Accounting Policies [Abstract]  
Basis of Presentation
The accompanying condensed consolidated financial statements of Pieris Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and its wholly-owned subsidiaries were prepared in accordance with U.S. GAAP. The condensed consolidated financial statements include the accounts of all subsidiaries. All intercompany balances and transactions have been eliminated.
Use of Estimates
The preparation of the financial statements in accordance with U.S. GAAP requires management to make estimates, judgments, and assumptions that affect the reported amounts of assets, liabilities, revenues, expenses and the related disclosures at the date of the financial statements and during the reporting period. Significant estimates are used for, but are not limited to, revenue recognition; deferred tax assets, deferred tax liabilities and valuation allowances; fair value of stock options and various accruals. Management evaluates its estimates on an ongoing basis. Actual results and outcomes could differ materially from management’s estimates, judgments, and assumptions.
Cash, Cash Equivalents and Investments
The Company determines the appropriate classification of its investments at the time of purchase. All liquid investments with original maturities of 90 days or less from the purchase date and for which there is an active market are considered to be cash equivalents. The Company’s current and non-current investments are comprised of money market, asset backed securities, government treasuries, and corporate bonds that are classified as available-for-sale in accordance with Financial Accounting Standards Board (“FASB”) Accounting Standards Codification (“ASC”) Topic 320, Investments—Debt and Equity Securities. The Company classifies investments available to fund current operations as current assets on its balance sheets. Investments are classified as non-current assets on the balance sheets if (i) the Company has the intent and ability to hold the investments for a period of at least one year and (ii) the contractual maturity date of the investments is greater than one year.

Available-for-sale investments are recorded at fair value, with unrealized gains or losses included in accumulated other comprehensive loss on the Company’s balance sheets. Realized gains and losses are determined using the specific identification method and are included as a component of interest income. Approximately $0.1 million of realized gains and $0.1 million of realized losses were recognized for the three and six months ended June 30, 2018, respectively. No realized gains or losses were recorded for the three and six months ended June 30, 2017.

The Company reviews investments for other-than-temporary impairment whenever the fair value of an investment is less than the amortized cost and evidence indicates that an investment’s carrying amount is not recoverable within a reasonable period of time. To determine whether an impairment is other-than temporary, the Company considers its intent to sell, or whether it is more likely than not that the Company will be required to sell the investment before recovery of the investment’s amortized cost basis. Evidence considered in this assessment includes reasons for the impairment, the severity and the duration of the impairment, and changes in value subsequent to period end.
Concentration of Credit Risk and Off-Balance Sheet Risk
The Company has no financial instruments with off‑balance sheet risk such as foreign exchange contracts, option contracts, or other foreign hedging arrangements. Financial instruments that subject Pieris to concentrations of credit risk include cash and cash equivalents, investments, and accounts receivable. The Company’s cash, cash equivalents, and investments are held in accounts with financial institutions that management believes are creditworthy. The Company’s investment policy includes guidelines on the quality of the institutions and financial instruments, and defines allowable investments that the Company believes minimizes the exposure to concentration of credit risk. These amounts, at times, may exceed federally insured limits. The Company has not experienced any credit losses in such accounts and does not believe it is exposed to any significant credit risk on these funds. Accounts receivable primarily consist of amounts due under strategic partnership and other license agreements with major multi-national pharmaceutical companies for which the Company does not obtain collateral.
Fair Value Measurement
The Company is required to disclose information on all assets and liabilities reported at fair value that enables an assessment of the inputs used in determining the reported fair values. FASB ASC Topic 820, Fair Value Measurement and Disclosures, (“ASC 820”) established a hierarchy of inputs used in measuring fair value that maximizes the use of observable inputs and minimizes the use of unobservable inputs by requiring that the observable inputs be used when available. Observable inputs are inputs that market participants would use in pricing the financial instrument based on market data obtained from sources independent of the Company. Unobservable inputs are inputs that reflect the Company’s assumptions about the inputs that market participants would use in pricing the financial instrument and are developed based on the best information available in the circumstances. The fair value hierarchy applies only to the valuation inputs used in determining the reported or disclosed fair value of the financial instruments and is not a measure of the investment credit quality. Fair value measurements are classified and disclosed in one of the following three categories:
Level 1 inputs are quoted prices in active markets for identical assets or liabilities that the reporting entity has the ability to access at the measurement date.
Level 2 utilizes quoted market prices in markets that are not active, broker or dealer quotations, or alternative pricing sources with reasonable levels of price transparency.
Level 3 inputs are unobservable inputs for the asset or liability in which there is little, if any, market activity for the asset or liability at the measurement date.

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

Financial instruments measured at fair value on a recurring basis include cash equivalents and investments (Note 4).

An entity may elect to measure many financial instruments and certain other items at fair value at specified election dates. Subsequent unrealized gains and losses on items for which the fair value option has been elected will be reported in net loss. The Company did not elect to measure any additional financial instruments or other items at fair value.
Revenue Recognition
Pieris has entered into several licensing agreements with collaboration partners for the development of Anticalin therapeutics against a variety of targets in diseases and conditions. The terms of these agreements contain multiple elements and deliverables, which may include: (i) licenses, or options to obtain licenses, to Pieris’ Anticalin technology and/or specific programs and (ii) research and development activities to be performed on behalf of or with the collaborative partner. Payments to Pieris under these agreements may include upfront fees (which include license and option fees), payments for research and development activities, payments based upon the achievement of certain milestones, and royalties on product sales. There are no performance, cancellation, termination or refund provisions in any of the arrangements that could result in material financial consequences to Pieris. Pieris follows the provisions of the FASB ASC Topic 605-25, Revenue Recognition—Multiple-Element Arrangements ("ASC 605-25") and FASB ASC Topic 605-28, Revenue Recognition—Milestone Method ("ASC 605-28") in accounting for these agreements.
Multiple-Element Arrangements
Multiple-Element Arrangements
When evaluating multiple-element arrangements, Pieris identifies the deliverables included within the agreement and evaluates which deliverables represent separate units of accounting based on whether the delivered element has stand-alone value to the customer or if the arrangement includes a general right of return for delivered items.
The consideration received is allocated among the separate units of accounting using the relative selling price method, and the applicable revenue recognition criteria are applied to each of the separate units of accounting. Pieris uses the best estimate of selling price (“BESP”) methodology to estimate the selling price for each deliverable and unit of accounting because Pieris does not have vendor specific objective evidence (“VSOE”) or third-party evidence (“TPE”) of selling price for these deliverables. To determine the estimated selling price of a deliverable, Pieris considers market conditions as well as entity-specific factors, including those factors contemplated in negotiating the agreements, terms of previous collaborative agreements, similar agreements entered into by third parties, market opportunity, estimated development costs, probability of success, and the time needed to commercialize a product candidate pursuant to the license. In validating Pieris’ BESP, Pieris evaluates whether changes in the key assumptions used to determine the BESP will have a significant effect on the allocation of arrangement consideration among multiple deliverables.
Multiple element arrangements, such as license arrangements, are analyzed to determine whether the deliverables, which often include licenses and performance obligations such as research and development services and governance committee services, can be separated or whether they must be accounted for as a combined unit of accounting in accordance with U.S. GAAP. The Company recognizes the arrangement consideration allocated to licenses as revenue upon delivery of the license only if the license has stand-alone value. If the license is considered not to have stand-alone value, the license would then be combined with other undelivered elements into a combined unit of accounting and the license payments and payments for performance obligations would be recognized as revenue when the revenue recognition criteria have been satisfied for the last deliverable within the unit of accounting. In the case of combined units of accounting that include delivered licenses and undelivered services to be provided over time, revenue would be recognized over the estimated period during which services will be provided. For units of accounting that include licenses to be delivered upon satisfactory completion of certain research services, revenue is deferred until the license is delivered and the performance obligation is satisfied.
If the Company is involved in a governance committee, as part of a multiple element arrangement, it assesses whether its involvement constitutes a performance obligation or a right to participate. When governance committee services are determined to be performance obligations, the Company determines the fair value to be allocated to this deliverable and recognize the revenue over the expected term of the development period of the products. Otherwise, the fair value for participation is combined with other research services or performance obligations and is recognized over the term which the Company expects to complete its aggregate performance obligations.
The Company recognizes arrangement consideration allocated to each unit of accounting when all revenue recognition criteria in SEC Staff Accounting Bulletin No. 104, "Revenue Recognition in Financial Statements" ("SAB 104") are satisfied for that particular unit of accounting. For each unit of accounting, the Company must determine the period over which the performance obligations will be performed and revenue will be recognized. If there is no discernible pattern of performance or objectively measurable performance measures do not exist, then the Company recognizes revenue under the arrangement on a straight-line basis over the period the Company is expected to complete its performance obligations. Conversely, if the pattern of performance over which the service is provided to the customer can be determined and objectively measurable performance measures exist, then the Company recognizes revenue under the arrangement using the proportional performance method. Revenue recognized cannot exceed the amount that has been earned and has been billed or is currently billable.
Significant management judgment is required in determining the level of effort required under an arrangement and the period over which the Company is expected to complete its performance obligations under an arrangement.
The accounting treatment for options granted to collaborators is dependent upon the nature of the option granted to the collaborative partner. Options are considered substantive if, at the inception of an agreement, Pieris is at risk as to whether the collaborative partner will choose to exercise the option(s) to secure additional goods or services. Factors that are considered in evaluating whether options are substantive include the overall objective of the arrangement, benefit the collaborator might obtain from the agreement without exercising the options, cost to exercise the options relative to the total upfront consideration, and additional financial commitments or economic penalties imposed on the collaborator as a result of exercising the options.
In arrangements where options to obtain additional deliverables are considered substantive, Pieris determines whether the optional licenses are priced at a significant and incremental discount. If the prices include a significant and incremental discount, the option is considered a deliverable in the arrangement. However, if not priced at a significant and incremental discount, the option is not considered a deliverable in the arrangement. When a collaborator exercises an option considered to be at a significant and incremental discount to acquire an additional license, the exercise fee that is attributed to the additional license and any incremental discount allocated at inception are recognized in a manner consistent with the treatment of up-front payments for licenses (i.e., license and research services). In the event an option expires un-exercised, any incremental discounts deferred at the inception of the arrangement are recognized into revenue upon expiration. For options that are non-substantive, the additional licenses to which the options pertain are considered deliverables upon inception of the arrangement; Pieris applies the multiple-element revenue recognition criteria to determine accounting treatment.
Payments or reimbursements resulting from Pieris’ research and development efforts in multi-element arrangements, in which Pieris’ research and development efforts are considered to be a deliverable, are included in allocable consideration and allocated to the units of accounting. These reimbursements are recognized as the services are performed and are presented on a gross basis, so long as there is persuasive evidence of an arrangement, the fee is fixed or determinable, and collection of the related receivable is reasonably assured. Revenue recognized cannot exceed the amount that has been earned and has been billed or is currently billable. Amounts received prior to satisfying the above revenue recognition criteria are recorded as deferred revenue in the accompanying balance sheets.
Milestone Payments and Royalties
Milestone Payments and Royalties
At the inception of each agreement that includes milestone payments, Pieris evaluates whether each milestone is substantive and at risk to both parties on the basis of the contingent nature of the milestone. This evaluation includes an assessment of whether: (a) the consideration is commensurate with either (1) the entity’s performance to achieve the milestone, or (2) the enhancement of the value of the delivered item(s) as a result of a specific outcome resulting from the entity’s performance to achieve the milestone, (b) the consideration relates solely to past performance and (c) the consideration is reasonable relative to all of the deliverables and payment terms within the arrangement. Pieris evaluates factors such as the scientific, regulatory, commercial and other risks that must be overcome to achieve the respective milestone, the level of effort and investment required to achieve the respective milestone and whether the milestone consideration is reasonable relative to all deliverables and payment terms in the arrangement in making this assessment.
Pieris aggregates milestones into four categories (i) research milestones, (ii) development milestones, (iii) commercial milestones and (iv) sales milestones. Research milestones are typically achieved upon reaching certain success criteria as defined in each agreement related to developing an Anticalin protein against the specified target. Development milestones are typically reached when a compound reaches a defined phase of clinical research or passes such phase, or upon gaining regulatory approvals. Commercial milestones are typically achieved when an approved pharmaceutical product reaches the status for commercial sale, including regulatory approval. Sales milestones are certain defined levels of net sales by the licensee, such as when a product first achieves global sales or annual sales of a specified amount.
For revenues from research, development, and commercial milestone payments, if the milestones are deemed substantive and the milestone payments are nonrefundable, such amounts are recognized entirely upon successful accomplishment of the milestones, assuming all other revenue recognition criteria are met. Milestones that are not considered substantive are accounted for as contingent revenue and will be recognized when achieved to the extent the Company has no remaining performance obligations under the arrangement. Revenues from sales milestone payments are accounted for as royalties and are recorded as revenue upon achievement of the milestone, assuming all other revenue recognition criteria are met. Royalty payments are recognized in revenues based on the timing of royalty payments earned in accordance with the agreements, which typically is the period when the relevant sales occur, assuming all other revenue recognition criteria are met.
Recent Accounting Pronouncements
In May 2014, the FASB issued Accounting Standard Update (“ASU”) No. 2014-09, Revenue from Contracts with Customers (Topic 606) (“ASU 2014-09”). Subsequently, the FASB also issued ASU 2015-14, Revenue from Contracts with Customers (Topic 606) ("ASU 2015-14"), which adjusted the effective date of ASU 2014-09; ASU No. 2016-08, Revenue from Contracts with Customers (Topic 606) ("ASU 2016-08"): Principal versus Agent Considerations (Reporting Revenue Gross versus Net), which amends the principal-versus-agent implementation guidance and illustrations in ASU 2014-09; ASU No. 2016-10, Revenue from Contracts with Customers (Topic 606) ("ASU 2016-10"): Identifying Performance Obligations and Licensing, which clarifies identifying performance obligation and licensing implementation guidance and illustrations in ASU 2014-09; and ASU No. 2016-12, Revenue from Contracts with Customers (Topic 606) ("ASU 2016-12"): Narrow-Scope Improvements and Practical Expedients, which addresses implementation issues and is intended to reduce the cost and complexity of applying the new revenue standard in ASU 2014-09 (collectively, the “Revenue ASUs”).
The Revenue ASUs provide an accounting standard for a single comprehensive model for use in accounting for revenue arising from contracts with customers and supersedes most current revenue recognition guidance. The accounting standard is effective for public emerging growth companies ("EGC"), like Pieris, for interim and annual periods beginning after December 15, 2018, with an option to early adopt for interim and annual periods beginning after December 15, 2017. The guidance permits two methods of adoption: retrospectively to each prior reporting period presented (the full retrospective method), or retrospectively with the cumulative effect of initially applying the guidance recognized at the date of initial application (the modified retrospective method). The Company is currently evaluating the impact of this pronouncement on its consolidated financial statements and expects to adopt this pronouncement commencing in the first quarter of 2019.
In February 2016, the FASB issued ASU No. 2016-2, Leases (Topic 842) ("ASU 2016-2"). Under the amendments in ASU 2016-2, lessees will be required to recognize (i) a lease liability, which is a lessee's obligation to make lease payments arising from a lease, measured on a discounted basis; and (ii) a right-of-use asset, which is an asset that represents the lessee’s right to use, or control the use of, a specified asset for the lease term for all leases (with the exception of short-term leases) at the commencement date. This guidance is effective for fiscal years beginning after December 15, 2018 including interim periods within those fiscal years; early adoption is permitted. The Company is currently evaluating the potential impact the adoption of this standard will have on its financial statements and related disclosures.

In December 2017, the SEC staff issued Staff Accounting Bulletin No. 118, Income Tax Accounting Implications of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, or ("SAB 118"), which allows the recording of provisional amounts during a measurement period not to extend beyond one year of the enactment date. In accordance with SAB 118, we determined that our deferred tax asset value and associated valuation allowance reduction of $3.7 million is a provisional amount and a reasonable estimate at December 31, 2017. The final impact may differ from this provisional amount due to, among other things, changes in interpretations and assumptions we have made thus far and the issuance of additional regulatory or other guidance. We expect to complete the final impact within the measurement period.
In June 2018, the FASB issued ASU No. 2018-07, Compensation - Stock Compensation (Topic 718) Improvements to Nonemployee Share-Based Payment Accounting ("ASU 2018-07). ASU 2018-07 expands the scope of Topic 718 to include share-based payment transactions when acquiring goods and services from nonemployees as part of the ongoing operations of the business. ASU 2018-07 will not apply in financing or revenue-based transactions. Upon adoption of ASU 2018-07, the requirements of Topic 718 will apply such that the Company must establish the value of nonemployee awards at the date of grant, rather than remeasure the value over the life of the award. ASU 2018-07 does not change either the inputs required when pricing the option or the attribution of cost (the vesting pattern and pattern of cost recognition over that period). This guidance is effective for fiscal years beginning after December 15, 2018, including interim periods within that fiscal year. As Topic 606 has not yet been adopted, early adoption of ASU 2018-07 is not permissible. The Company does not expect the adoption of this standard will have a material impact on its financial statements and related disclosures given the limited number of awards to non-employees.
Pieris has considered other recent accounting pronouncements and concluded that they are either not applicable to the business, or that the effect is not expected to be material to the unaudited condensed consolidated financial statements as a result of future adoption.