Quarterly report pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d)

Non-controlling Interest

Non-controlling Interest
3 Months Ended
Mar. 31, 2021
Non-controlling Interest  
Non-controlling Interest

7. Non-controlling Interest

The Company’s non-controlling interest is accounted for under ASC 810, Consolidation (“ASC 810”), and represents the minority shareholder’s ownership interest related to the Company’s subsidiary, Synthetic Biomics, Inc. (“SYN Biomics”). In accordance with ASC 810, the Company reports its non-controlling interest in subsidiaries as a separate component of equity in the Consolidated Balance Sheets and reports both net loss attributable to the non-controlling interest and net loss attributable to the Company’s common stockholders on the face of the Consolidated Statements of Operations. On September 5, 2018, the Company entered into an agreement with CSMC for an investigator-sponsored Phase 2b clinical study of SYN-010 to be co-funded by the Company and CSMC (the “Study”). The Study was to provide further evaluation of the efficacy and safety of SYN-010, the Company’s modified-release reformulation of lovastatin lactone, which was exclusively licensed to the Company by CSMC. SYN-010 is designed to reduce methane production by certain microorganisms (M. smithii) in the gut to treat an underlying cause of irritable bowel syndrome with constipation (IBS-C). After the 2018 transaction with CSMC, the Company’s equity interest in SYN Biomics is 83% and the non-controlling stockholder’s interest is 17%. As of March 31, 2021 and 2020, the accumulated net loss attributable to the non-controlling interest is $2.8 million and $2.9 million, respectively.

In consideration of the support provided by CSMC for the Study, the Company paid $328,000 to support the Study and the Company entered into a Stock Purchase Agreement with CSMC pursuant to which the Company, upon the approval of the Study protocol by the Institutional Review Board (IRB) : (i) issued to CSMC fifty thousand (50,000) shares of common stock of the Company; and (ii) transferred to CSMC an additional two million four hundred twenty thousand (2,420,000) shares of common stock of its subsidiary SYN Biomics, Inc. (“Synbiomics”) owned by the Company, such that after such issuance CSMC owns an aggregate of seven million four hundred eighty thousand (7,480,000) shares of common stock of SYN Biomics, representing seventeen percent (17%) of the issued and outstanding shares of SYN Biomics’ common stock. The services rendered are recorded to research and development expense in proportion with the progress of the study and based overall on the fair value of the shares ($285,000) as determined at the date of IRB approval. During the three months ended March 31, 2020, research and development expense recorded related to this transaction approximated $67,000. There was no expense recorded related to this transaction during the three months ended March 31, 2021.

The Agreement also provided CSMC with a right, commencing on the six month anniversary of issuance of the stock under certain circumstances in the event that the shares of stock of SYN Biomics are not then freely tradeable, and subject to NYSE American, LLC approval, to exchange its SYN Biomics shares for unregistered shares of the Company’s common stock, with the rate of exchange based upon the relative contribution of the valuation of SYN Biomics to the public market valuation of the Company at the time of each exchange. The Stock Purchase Agreement also provides for tag-along rights in the event of the sale by the Company of its shares of SYN Biomics.

On September 30, 2020, CSMC MAST formally agreed to discontinue the ongoing Phase 2b investigator-sponsored clinical study of SYN-010 following the results of a planned interim futility analysis. Although it was concluded that SYN-010 was well tolerated, SYN-010 was unlikely to meet its primary endpoint by the time enrollment is completed.

On November 9, 2020, the Company and its subsidiary, Synthetic Biomics, Inc. and CSMC mutually agreed to terminate the exclusive license agreement dated December 5, 2013 and all amendments thereto and the clinical trial agreement relating to SYN-010. The determination to terminate the SYN-010 license agreement was agreed following the completion of a planned interim futility analysis of the Phase 2b investigator-sponsored clinical trial of SYN-010. On September 30, 2020, CSMC (the Company’s SYN-010 clinical development partner) informed the Company that it discontinued the ongoing Phase 2b investigator-sponsored clinical study of SYN-010 IBS-C patients.