Quarterly report pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d)

Basis of Presentation

v2.4.1.9
Basis of Presentation
3 Months Ended
Mar. 31, 2015
Organization, Consolidation and Presentation of Financial Statements [Abstract]  
Basis of Presentation
Basis of Presentation

Ligand Pharmaceuticals Incorporated, a Delaware corporation (the "Company" or "Ligand") is a biopharmaceutical company with a business model that is based upon the concept of developing or acquiring royalty revenue generating assets and coupling them with a lean corporate cost structure. By diversifying the portfolio of assets across numerous technology types, therapeutic areas, drug targets, and industry partners, the Company offers investors an opportunity to invest in the increasingly complicated and unpredictable pharmaceutical industry. These therapies address the unmet medical needs of patients for a broad spectrum of diseases including hepatitis, multiple myeloma, muscle wasting, Alzheimer’s disease, dyslipidemia, diabetes, anemia, asthma, focal segmental glomerulosclerosis, ("FSGS"), and osteoporosis. Ligand has established multiple alliances with the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies including Novartis, Amgen, Inc., Merck, Pfizer, and Baxter International. The Company’s principal market is the United States. The Company sold its Oncology Product Line ("Oncology") and Avinza Product Line ("Avinza") on October 25, 2006 and February 26, 2007, respectively. The operating results for Oncology and Avinza have been presented in the accompanying condensed consolidated financial statements as "Discontinued Operations."
 
The Company had net income of $0.8 million for the quarter ended March 31, 2015. As of March 31, 2015, the Company’s accumulated deficit was approximately $658.6 million and the Company had working capital of approximately $173.6 million. The Company believes that its currently available cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments, as well as its current and future royalty, license and milestone revenues and Captisol material sales will be sufficient to fund operating and capital requirements, at a minimum, through the next 12 months.  The Company expects to build cash in future months as it continues to generate significant cash flows from operations. The ability of the Company to achieve its operational targets is dependent upon the Company’s ability to further implement its business plan and generate sufficient operating cash flow.

Principles of Consolidation
    
The accompanying consolidated financial statements include Ligand and its wholly owned subsidiaries. All significant intercompany accounts and transactions have been eliminated in consolidation.

Basis of Presentation

The Company’s accompanying unaudited condensed consolidated financial statements as of March 31, 2015 and for the three months ended March 31, 2015 and 2014 have been prepared in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States for interim financial information. Accordingly, they do not include all of the information and footnotes required by accounting principles generally accepted in the United States for annual financial statements. The Company’s unaudited condensed consolidated balance sheet at December 31, 2014 has been derived from the audited financial statements at that date, but does not include all of the information and footnotes required by accounting principles generally accepted in the United States for complete financial statements. In the opinion of management, all adjustments (consisting of normal recurring adjustments) considered necessary for a fair presentation of the financial position and results of operations of the Company and its subsidiaries, have been included. Operating results for the three months ended March 31, 2015 are not necessarily indicative of the results that may be expected for the year ending December 31, 2015. These financial statements should be read in conjunction with the consolidated financial statements and notes therein included in the Company’s annual report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2014.

Use of Estimates

The preparation of condensed consolidated financial statements in conformity with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States requires the use of estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amounts of assets, liabilities, revenue, expenses, contingent assets and liabilities, definite and indefinite lived intangible assets, goodwill, co-promote termination payments receivable and co-promote termination liabilities, uncertain tax positions, deferred revenue, lease exit liability and income tax net operating loss carryforwards during the reporting period. The Company’s critical accounting policies are those that are both most important to the Company’s financial condition and results of operations and require the most difficult, subjective or complex judgments on the part of management in their application, often as a result of the need to make estimates about the effect of matters that are inherently uncertain. Because of the uncertainty of factors surrounding the estimates or judgments used in the preparation of the condensed consolidated financial statements, actual results may materially vary from these estimates.

Income Per Share

Basic income per share is calculated by dividing net income by the weighted-average number of common shares and vested restricted stock units outstanding. Diluted income per share is computed by dividing net income by the weighted-average number of common shares and vested restricted stock units outstanding and the weighted-average number of dilutive common stock equivalents, including stock options, non-vested restricted stock units, convertible notes and warrants. Common stock equivalents are only included in the diluted income per share calculation when their effect is dilutive. The total number of potential common shares excluded from the computation of diluted income per share because their inclusion would have been anti-dilutive was 4.5 million and 1.0 million, as of March 31, 2015 and 2014, respectively.

The following table sets forth the computation of basic and diluted net income per share for the periods indicated (in thousands, except per share amounts):

 
Three months ended
 
March 31,
 
2015
 
2014
Net income
$
754

 
$
2,097

 
 
 
 
Shares used to compute basic income per share
19,611,881

 
20,600,683

Dilutive potential common shares:
 
 
 
Restricted stock
61,538

 
60,602

     Stock options
957,369

 
546,738

Shares used to compute diluted income per share
20,630,788

 
21,208,023

 
 
 
 
Basic per share amounts:
 
 
 
Net income
$
0.04

 
$
0.10

 
 
 
 
Diluted per share amounts:
 
 
 
Net income
$
0.04

 
$
0.10



Cash and Cash Equivalents
Cash and cash equivalents consist of cash, money market accounts, and certificates of deposit with original maturities of three months or less from the date of acquisition.
Short-term Investments
Securities received by the Company as a result of a milestone payment from licensees are considered short-term investments and have been classified by management as available-for-sale. Such investments are carried at fair value, with unrealized gains and losses included in the statement of comprehensive income (loss). The Company determines the cost of investments based on the specific identification method.
Restricted Cash
Restricted cash and investments consist of certificates of deposit held with a financial institution as collateral under a facility lease and third-party service provider arrangements.
The following table summarizes the various investment categories at March 31, 2015 and December 31, 2014 (in thousands):

 
Cost
 
Gross unrealized
gains
 
Gross unrealized
losses
 
Estimated
fair value
March 31, 2015
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Short-term investments
$
2,125

 
$
9,334

 
$

 
$
11,459

Certificates of deposit-restricted
600

 

 

 
600

 
$
2,725

 
$
9,334

 
$

 
$
12,059

December 31, 2014
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Short-term investments
$
2,179

 
$
4,954

 
$

 
$
7,133

Certificates of deposit-restricted
1,261

 

 

 
1,261

 
$
3,440

 
$
4,954

 
$

 
$
8,394



Concentrations of Credit Risk

Financial instruments that potentially subject the Company to significant concentrations of credit risk consist primarily of cash equivalents, investments and accounts receivable.

The Company invests its excess cash principally in U.S. government debt securities, investment-grade corporate debt securities and certificates of deposit. The Company has established guidelines relative to diversification and maturities that maintain safety and liquidity. These guidelines are periodically reviewed and modified to take advantage of trends in yields and interest rates. The Company did not experience any significant losses on its cash equivalents, short-term investments or restricted investments for either of the periods ending March 31, 2015 and December 31, 2014.

As of March 31, 2015 and December 31, 2014, cash deposits held at financial institutions in excess of FDIC insured amounts of $250,000 were approximately $107.3 million and $91.7 million, respectively.

Accounts receivable from three customers were 77% of total accounts receivable at March 31, 2015. Accounts receivable from two customers was 64% of total accounts receivable at December 31, 2014

The Company currently obtains Captisol from a single supplier.  If this supplier were not able to supply the requested amounts of Captisol and the Company's existing inventory was depleted, the Company would be unable to continue to derive revenues from the sale of Captisol until it obtained an alternative source, which might take a considerable length of time. The Company maintains inventory of Captisol, which has a five year shelf life, at three geographically spread storage locations in the United States and Europe.  If a disaster were to strike any of these locations, it could lead to supply interruptions.

Inventory

Inventory is stated at the lower of cost or market value. The Company determines cost using the first-in, first-out method. The Company analyzes its inventory levels periodically and writes down inventory to its net realizable value if it has become obsolete, has a cost basis in excess of its expected net realizable value or is in excess of expected requirements. There were no write downs related to obsolete inventory recorded for the three months ended March 31, 2015 and 2014.

Allowance for Doubtful Accounts

The Company maintains an allowance for doubtful accounts based on the best estimate of the amount of probable losses in the Company’s existing accounts receivable. Accounts receivable that are outstanding longer than their contractual payment terms, ranging from 30 to 90 days, are considered past due. When determining the allowance for doubtful accounts, several factors are taken into consideration, including historical write-off experience and review of specific customer accounts for collectability. Account balances are charged off against the allowance after collection efforts have been exhausted and the potential for recovery is considered remote. There was no allowance for doubtful accounts included in the balance sheets at March 31, 2015 and 2014.

Property and Equipment

Property and equipment is stated at cost and consists of the following (in thousands):

 
March 31,
 
December 31,
 
2015
 
2014
Lab and office equipment
$
2,176

 
$
2,232

Leasehold improvements
273

 
273

Computer equipment and software
632

 
624

 
3,081

 
3,129

Less accumulated depreciation and amortization
(2,641
)
 
(2,643
)
     Total property and equipment, net
$
440

 
$
486



Depreciation of equipment is computed using the straight-line method over the estimated useful lives of the assets, which range from three to ten years. Leasehold improvements are amortized using the straight-line method over their estimated useful lives or their related lease term, whichever is shorter. Depreciation expense recognized for each of the three months ended March 31, 2015 and 2014 was $0.1 million. Depreciation expense is included in operating expenses.

Goodwill and Other Identifiable Intangible Assets

Goodwill and other identifiable intangible assets consist of the following (in thousands):

 
March 31,
 
December 31,
 
2015
 
2014
Indefinite lived intangible assets
 
 
 
     Acquired in-process research and development
$
12,556

 
$
12,556

     Goodwill
12,238

 
12,238

Definite lived intangible assets
 
 
 
     Complete technology
15,267

 
15,267

          Less: Accumulated amortization
(3,189
)
 
(2,999
)
     Trade name
2,642

 
2,642

          Less: Accumulated amortization
(553
)
 
(519
)
     Customer relationships
29,600

 
29,600

          Less: Accumulated amortization
(6,194
)
 
(5,824
)
Total goodwill and other identifiable intangible assets, net
$
62,367

 
$
62,961



Amortization of definite-lived intangible assets is computed using the straight-line method over the estimated useful life of the asset of 20 years. Amortization expense of $0.6 million was recognized for each of the three months ended March 31, 2015 and 2014. Estimated amortization expense for the years ending December 31, 2015 through 2019 is $2.4 million per year.    

The Company accounts for goodwill and other intangible assets in accordance with Accounting Standards Codification ("ASC") Topic 350 - Intangibles - Goodwill and Other which, among other things, establishes standards for goodwill acquired in a business combination, eliminates the amortization of goodwill and requires the carrying value of goodwill and certain non-amortizing intangibles to be evaluated for impairment on an annual basis. The Company uses the income approach and the market approach, each weighted at 50%, when performing its goodwill impairment analysis. For the income approach, the Company considers the present value of future cash flows and the carrying value of its assets and liabilities, including goodwill. The market approach is based on an analysis of revenue multiples of peer public companies. If the carrying value of the assets and liabilities, including goodwill, were to exceed the Company’s estimation of the fair value, the Company would record an impairment charge in an amount equal to the excess of the carrying value of goodwill over the implied fair value of the goodwill. The Company performs an evaluation of goodwill and other intangibles as of December 31 of each year, absent any indicators of earlier impairment, to ensure that impairment charges, if applicable, are reflected in the Company's financial results before December 31 of each year. When it is determined that impairment has occurred, a charge to operations is recorded. Goodwill and other intangible asset balances are included in the identifiable assets of the business segment to which they have been assigned. Any goodwill impairment, as well as the amortization of other purchased intangible assets, is charged against the respective business segments' operating income.
Acquired In-Process Research and Development
    
Intangible assets related to acquired in-process research and development ("IPR&D") are considered to be indefinite-lived until the completion or abandonment of the associated research and development efforts. During the period the assets are considered to be indefinite-lived, they will not be amortized but will be tested for impairment on an annual basis and between annual tests if the Company becomes aware of any events occurring or changes in circumstances that would indicate a reduction in the fair value of the IPR&D projects below their respective carrying amounts. If and when development is complete, which generally occurs if and when regulatory approval to market a product is obtained, the associated assets would be deemed definite-lived and would then be amortized based on their respective estimated useful lives at that point in time. For each of the three months ended March 31, 2015 and 2014, there was no impairment of IPR&D.

Commercial license rights
    
Commercial license rights represent a portfolio of future milestone and royalty payment rights acquired in accordance with the Royalty Stream and Milestone Payments Purchase Agreement entered into with Selexis SA ("Selexis") in April 2013.  The portfolio consists of over 15 Selexis commercial license agreement programs with various pharmaceutical-company counterparties.  The purchase price was $4.6 million, inclusive of acquisition costs. The Company paid $3.6 million upon closing and paid an additional $1.0 million in April 2014. Individual commercial license rights acquired under the agreement are carried at allocated cost and approximate fair value. The carrying value of the license rights will be reduced on a pro-rata basis as revenue is realized over the term of the agreement. Declines in the fair value of individual license rights below their carrying value that are deemed to be other than temporary are reflected in earnings in the period such determination is made. As of March 31, 2015, management does not believe there have been any events or circumstances indicating that the carrying amount of its commercial license rights may not be recoverable.

Other Current Assets

Other current assets consist of the following (in thousands):

 
March 31,
 
December 31,
 
2015
 
2014
Prepaid expenses
$
896

 
$
835

Other receivables
30

 
685

     Total current assets
$
926

 
$
1,520



Accrued Liabilities

Accrued liabilities consist of the following (in thousands):

 
March 31,
 
December 31,
 
2015
 
2014
Compensation
795

 
1,708

Professional fees
359

 
459

Amounts owed to former licensees
1,627

 
925

Royalties owed to third parties
809

 
705

Other
673

 
1,069

     Total accrued liabilities
$
4,263

 
$
4,866



Other Long-Term Liabilities

Other long-term liabilities consist of the following (in thousands):

 
March 31,
 
December 31,
 
2015
 
2014
Deposits
$
430

 
$
411

Deferred rent
318

 
327

Other
32

 
32

     Total other long-term liabilities
$
780

 
$
770


Contingent Liabilities
    
In connection with the Company’s acquisition of CyDex in January 2011, the Company recorded a $17.6 million contingent liability, inclusive of the $4.3 million payment made in January 2012, for amounts potentially due to holders of the CyDex contingent value rights ("CVRs") and former license holders. The liability is periodically assessed based on events and circumstances related to the underlying milestones, royalties and material sales. Any change in fair value is recorded in the Company’s consolidated statements of operations. The carrying amount of the liability may fluctuate significantly and actual amounts paid under the CVR agreements may be materially different than the carrying amount of the liability. The fair value of the liability at March 31, 2015 and December 31, 2014 was $9.4 million and $11.5 million, respectively. The Company recorded a fair-value adjustment to increase the liability by $1.2 million offset by a revenue-sharing payment of $3.2 million for the three months ended March 31, 2015. For the three months ended March 31, 2014, the Company recorded a fair-value adjustment to decrease the liability by $0.5 million offset by a revenue-sharing payment of $1.6 million.
    
In connection with the Company’s acquisition of Metabasis in January 2010, the Company issued to Metabasis stockholders four tradable CVRs, one CVR from each of four respective series of CVR, for each Metabasis share. The CVRs will entitle Metabasis stockholders to cash payments as frequently as every six months as cash is received by the Company from proceeds from the sale or partnering of any of the Metabasis drug development programs, among other triggering events. The fair values of the CVRs are remeasured at each reporting date through the term of the related agreement. Changes in the fair values are reported in the statement of operations as income (decreases) or expense (increases). The carrying amount of the liability may fluctuate significantly based upon quoted market prices and actual amounts paid under the agreements may be materially different than the carrying amount of the liability. The fair value of the liability was estimated to be $2.5 million and $3.7 million as of March 31, 2015 and December 31, 2014, respectively. The Company recorded a decrease in the liability for Metabasis-related CVRs of $1.2 million and an increase of $2.5 million for the three months ended March 31, 2015 and 2014, respectively.

Fair Value of Financial Instruments
Fair value is defined as the exit price that would be received to sell an asset or paid to transfer a liability. Fair value is a market-based measurement that should be determined using assumptions that market participants would use in pricing an asset or liability. The Company establishes a three-level hierarchy to prioritize the inputs used in measuring fair value. The levels are described in the below with level 1 having the highest priority and level 3 having the lowest:
Level 1 - Quoted prices in active markets;
Level 2 - Inputs other than the quoted prices in active markets that are observable either directly or indirectly; and
Level 3 - Unobservable inputs in which there is little or no market data, which require the Company to develop its own assumptions.
The Company’s short-term investments include investments in equity securities which the Company received as a result of event-based and upfront payments from licensees. Additionally, there is a liability related to the investment in equity securities for amounts owed to former license holders. The Metabasis CVR liability is marked-to-market at each reporting period based upon the quoted market prices of the underlying CVR. The fair value of the CyDex contingent liabilities are determined at each reporting period based upon an income valuation model. The co-promote termination payments receivable represents a non-interest-bearing receivable for future payments to be made by Pfizer related to Avinza product sales and is recorded at its fair value. The receivable and liability will remain equal, and are adjusted each quarter for changes in the fair value of the obligation including any changes in the estimate of future net Avinza product sales.
The Company evaluates its financial instruments at each reporting period to determine if any transfers between the various three-level hierarchy have occurred and appropriately reclassifies its financial instruments to the appropriate level within the hierarchy.
Revenue Recognition

Royalties on sales of products commercialized by the Company’s partners are recognized in the quarter reported by the respective partner. Generally, the Company receives royalty reports from its licensees approximately one quarter in arrears due to the fact that its agreements require partners to report product sales between 30 and 60 days after the end of the quarter. The Company recognizes royalty revenues when it can reliably estimate such amounts and collectability is reasonably assured. Under this accounting policy, the royalty revenues reported are not based upon estimates and such royalty revenues are typically reported to the Company by its partners in the same period in which payment is received.
Revenue from material sales of Captisol is recognized upon transfer of title, which normally passes upon shipment to the customer, provided all other revenue recognition criteria have been met; however, we do not recognize revenue until all applicable substantive customer acceptance requirements have been met. The Company’s credit and exchange policy includes provisions for the return of product between 30 to 90 days, depending on the specific terms of the individual agreement, when that product (1) does not meet specifications, (2) is damaged in shipment (in limited circumstances where title does not transfer until delivery), or (3) is exchanged for an alternative grade of Captisol. All product returns are subject to approval by the Company and a 20% restocking fee. To date, product returns by customers have not been material to net material sales in any related period. The Company records revenue net of product returns, if any, and sales tax collected and remitted to government authorities during the period.

The Company analyzes its revenue arrangements and other agreements to determine whether there are multiple elements that should be separated and accounted for individually or as a single unit of accounting. For multiple element contracts, arrangement consideration is allocated at the inception of the arrangement to all deliverables on the basis of relative selling price, using a hierarchy to determine selling price. Management first considers vendor-specific objective evidence ("VSOE"), then third-party evidence ("TPE") and if neither VSOE nor TPE exist, the Company uses its best estimate of selling price.
Many of the Company's revenue arrangements involve the bundling of a license with the option to purchase manufactured product. Licenses are granted to pharmaceutical companies for the use of Captisol in the development of pharmaceutical compounds. The licenses may be granted for the use of the Captisol product for all phases of clinical trials and through commercial availability of the host drug or may be limited to certain phases of the clinical trial process. Management believes that the Company's licenses have stand-alone value at the outset of an arrangement because the customer obtains the right to use Captisol in its formulations without any additional input by the Company.

Other nonrefundable, upfront license fees are recognized as revenue upon delivery of the license, if the license is determined to have standalone value that is not dependent on any future performance by the Company under the applicable collaboration agreement. Nonrefundable contingent event-based payments are recognized as revenue when the contingent event is met, which is usually the earlier of when payments are received or collections are assured, provided that it does not require future performance by the Company. The Company occasionally has sub-license obligations related to arrangements for which it receives license fees, milestones and royalties. The Company evaluates the determination of gross versus net reporting based on each individual agreement.
Sales-based contingent payments from partners are accounted for similarly to royalties, with revenue recognized upon achievement of the sales targets assuming all other revenue recognition criteria for milestones are met. Revenue from development and regulatory milestones is recognized when earned, as evidenced by written acknowledgement from the collaborator, provided that (1) the milestone event is substantive, its achievability was not reasonably assured at the inception of the agreement, and the Company has no further performance obligations relating to that event, and (2) collectability is reasonably assured. If these criteria are not met, the milestone payment is recognized over the remaining period of the Company’s performance obligations under the arrangement.    
Revenue from research funding under our collaboration agreements is earned and recognized on a percentage-of completion basis as research hours are incurred in accordance with the provisions of each agreement.
In May 2014, the Company entered into a licensing agreement and research collaboration with Omthera Pharmaceuticals. The research collaboration targets the development of novel products that utilize the proprietary Ligand developed LTP TECHNOLOGY™ to improve lipid-lowering activity of certain omega-3 fatty acids. The Company is eligible to receive compensation and reimbursement from Omthera for internal research efforts and external costs incurred, as well as development and regulatory event-based payments. The completion of a proof of concept under the development program would trigger a $1.0 million payment which is determined to be a milestone under the milestone method of accounting as (1) it is an event that can only be achieved in part on the Company's past performance, (2) there was substantive uncertainty at the date the arrangement was entered into that the event would be achieved and (3) it results in additional payment being due to the Company. None of the other event-based payments represents a milestone under the milestone method of accounting. No event based payment or milestone was achieved during the periods presented. The Company received $0.5 million from Omthera in 2014 under the agreement and recognized $0.4 million as collaborative revenue based on the percentage of completion of the research program at December 31, 2014. No milestone payment or contingent payment was received in 2014.

Accounting for Stock-Based Compensation

Stock-based compensation expense for awards to employees and non-employee directors is recognized on a straight-line basis over the vesting period until the last tranche vests. Compensation cost for consultant awards is recognized over each separate tranche’s vesting period. The following table summarizes stock-based compensation expense recorded as components of research and development expenses and general and administrative expenses for the periods indicated (in thousands):

 
Three months ended
 
March 31,
 
2015
 
2014
Stock-based compensation expense as a component of:
 
 
 
Research and development expenses
$
920

 
$
689

General and administrative expenses
1,994

 
1,378

 
$
2,914

 
$
2,067



The fair-value for options that were awarded to employees and directors was estimated at the date of grant using the Black-Scholes option valuation model with the following weighted-average assumptions:

 
Three months ended
 
March 31,
 
2015
 
2014
Risk-free interest rate
1.8%
 
1.9%
Dividend yield
 
Expected volatility
58%
 
69%
Expected term
6.6
 
6.4
Forfeiture rate
8.5%
 
9.7%


The risk-free interest rate is based on the U.S. Treasury yield curve at the time of the grant. The expected term of the employee and non-employee director options is the estimated weighted-average period until exercise or cancellation of vested options (forfeited unvested options are not considered) based on historical experience. The expected term for consultant awards is the remaining period to contractual expiration. Volatility is a measure of the expected amount of variability in the stock price over the expected life of an option expressed as a standard deviation. In making this assumption, the Company used the historical volatility of the Company’s stock price over a period equal to the expected term. The forfeiture rate is based on historical data at the time of the grant.

Cost of Material Sales

The Company determines cost using the first-in, first-out method. Cost of goods sold include all costs of purchase and other costs incurred in bringing the inventories to their present location and condition, including costs to store and distribute.
Preclinical Study and Clinical Trial Accruals
    
Substantial portions of the Company’s preclinical studies and all of the Company's clinical trials have been performed by third-party laboratories, contract research organizations, or other vendors (collectively "CROs"). Some CROs bill monthly for services performed, while others bill based upon milestone achievement. The Company accrues for each of the agreements it has with CROs on a monthly basis. For preclinical studies, accruals are estimated based upon the percentage of work completed and the contract milestones achieved. For clinical studies, accruals are estimated based upon a percentage of work completed, the number of patients enrolled and the duration of the study. The Company monitors patient enrollment, the progress of clinical studies and related activities to the extent possible through internal reviews of data reported to it by the CROs, correspondence with the CROs and clinical site visits. The Company's estimates are dependent upon the timelines and accuracy of the data provided by its CROs regarding the status of each program and total program spending. The Company periodically evaluates its estimates to determine if adjustments are necessary or appropriate based on information it receives concerning changing circumstances, and conditions or events that may affect such estimates. No material adjustments to preclinical study and clinical trial accrued expenses have been recognized to date.

Research and Development

Research and development expense consists of labor, material, equipment, and allocated facility costs of the Company’s scientific staff who are working pursuant to the Company’s collaborative agreements and other research and development projects. Also included in research and development expenses are third-party costs incurred for the Company’s research programs including in-licensing costs, CRO costs and costs incurred by other research and development service vendors. We expense these costs as they are incurred. When we make payments for research and development services prior to the services being rendered, we record those amounts as prepaid assets on our consolidated balance sheet and we expense them as the services are provided.

Income Taxes

                Income taxes are accounted for under the liability method.  This approach requires the recognition of deferred tax assets and liabilities for the expected future tax consequences of differences between the tax basis of assets or liabilities and their carrying amounts in the consolidated financial statements.  A valuation allowance is provided for deferred tax assets if it is more likely than not that these items will either expire before the Company is able to realize their benefit or if future deductibility is uncertain.  As of March 31, 2015, the Company had provided a full valuation allowance against its deferred tax assets as recoverability was uncertain.  Developing the provision for income taxes requires significant judgment and expertise in federal and state income tax laws, regulations and strategies, including the determination of deferred tax assets and liabilities and, if necessary, any valuation allowances that may be required for deferred tax assets.  The Company's judgments and tax strategies are subject to audit by various taxing authorities.  While management believes the Company has provided adequately for its income tax liabilities in its consolidated financial statements, adverse determinations by these taxing authorities could have a material adverse effect on the Company's consolidated financial condition and results of operations. 

The Company's ending deferred tax liability represents a future tax obligation for current tax amortization claimed on acquired IPR&D.  As the Company cannot estimate when the IPR&D assets will be amortizable for financial reporting purposes, the deferred tax liability associated with the IPR&D assets cannot be used to support the realization of the Company's deferred tax assets.  As a result, the Company is required to increase its valuation allowance and record a charge to deferred taxes.  

Discontinued Operations - Oncology Product Line
    
In September 2006, the Company and Eisai Inc. and Eisai Co., Ltd. (collectively "Eisai"), entered into a purchase agreement (the "Oncology Purchase Agreement"), pursuant to which Eisai agreed to acquire all of the Company's worldwide rights in and to its oncology products, including, among other things, all related inventory, equipment, records and intellectual property, and to assume certain liabilities as set forth in the Oncology Purchase Agreement. The Oncology product line included the Company's four marketed oncology drugs: Ontak, Targretin capsules, Targretin gel and Panretin gel.
    
Discontinued Operations - Avinza Product Line
    
In September 2006, the Company and King Pharmaceuticals, now a subsidiary of Pfizer, entered into a purchase agreement (the "Avinza Purchase Agreement"), pursuant to which Pfizer acquired all of the rights in and to Avinza in the United States, its territories and Canada, including, among other things, all Avinza inventory, records and related intellectual property, and to assume certain liabilities as set forth in the Avinza Purchase Agreement.

Pursuant to the terms of the Avinza Purchase Agreement, the Company retained the liability for returns of product from wholesalers that had been sold by the Company prior to the close of the transaction. Accordingly, as part of the accounting for the gain on the sale of Avinza, the Company recorded a reserve for Avinza product returns.

Segment Reporting
    
Under ASC 280, Segment Reporting, operating segments are defined as components of an enterprise about which separate financial information is available that is regularly evaluated by the entity’s chief operating decision maker, in deciding how to allocate resources and in assessing performance. The Company has evaluated this codification and has identified two reportable segments: the development and commercialization of drugs using Captisol technology by CyDex and the biopharmaceutical company with a business model that is based upon the concept of developing or acquiring royalty revenue generating assets and coupling them with a lean corporate cost structure.
Comprehensive Income (Loss)
    
Comprehensive income (loss) represents net income (loss) adjusted for the change during the periods presented in unrealized gains and losses on available-for-sale securities less reclassification adjustments for realized gains or losses included in net income. The unrealized gains or losses are reported on the consolidated statements of comprehensive income.

Consolidation of Variable Interest Entities

The Company identifies an entity as a VIE if either: (1) the entity does not have sufficient equity investment at risk to permit the entity to finance its activities without additional subordinated financial support, or (2) the entity's equity investors lack the essential characteristics of a controlling financial interest. The Company performs ongoing qualitative assessments of its VIEs to determine whether the Company has a controlling financial interest in any VIE and therefore is the primary beneficiary. If the Company is the primary beneficiary of a VIE, it must consolidate the VIE under applicable accounting guidance. The Company determined it holds a variable interest in Viking based on management's assessment that it does not have sufficient resources to carry out its principal activities without the support of the Company. The Company's variable interests in Viking are a loan provided by the Company to Viking and a license agreement executed concurrently. As of March 31, 2015, the Company's total assets include $2.8 million related to Viking and the Company's total liabilities include $5.5 million related to Viking. Viking's consolidated assets are owned by Viking, and Viking's consolidated liabilities are without recourse against Ligand.

Convertible Debt

In August 2014, the Company completed a $245.0 million offering of convertible senior notes, which mature in 2019 and bear interest at 0.75%. The Company accounts for notes by separating the liability and equity components of the instrument in a manner that reflects the Company's nonconvertible debt borrowing rate. As a result, the Company assigned a value to the debt component of the notes equal to the estimated fair value of similar debt instruments without the conversion feature, which resulted in the Company recording the debt instrument at a discount. The Company is amortizing the debt discount over the life of the notes as additional non-cash interest expense utilizing the effective interest method.
New Accounting Pronouncements

In May 2014, the Financial Accounting Standards Board ("FASB") issued Accounting Standards Update ("ASU") No. 2014-09, Revenue from Contracts with Customers. ASU 2014-09 is effective for annual periods beginning after December 15, 2016 and interim periods within those annual periods. The revenue standard’s core principle is built on the contract between a vendor and a customer for the provision of goods and services. It attempts to depict the exchange of rights and obligations between the parties in the pattern of revenue recognition based on the consideration to which the vendor is entitled. To accomplish this objective, the standard requires five basic steps: (1) identify the contract with the customer, (2) identify the performance obligations in the contract, (3) determine the transaction price, (4) allocate the transaction price to the performance obligations in the contract, (5) recognize revenue when (or as) the entity satisfies a performance obligation. Management is currently evaluating the effect the adoption of this standard will have on the Company's financial statements.

In February 2015, FASB issued ASU 2015-02 Consolidation (Topic 810): Amendments to the Consolidation Analysis. ASU 2015-02 changes the analysis that a reporting entity must perform to determine whether it should consolidate certain types of legal entities. It is effective for annual reporting periods, and interim periods within those years, beginning after December 15, 2015. Early adoption is permitted, including adoption in an interim period. Management is currently evaluating the impact of the adoption of ASU 2015-02 on our consolidated financial statements.
    
In April 2015, FASB issued ASU 2015-03, Interest—Imputation of Interest: Simplifying the Presentation of Debt Issuance Costs. This update was issued to simplify the presentation for debt issuance costs. Upon adoption, such costs shall be presented on our consolidated balance sheets as a direct deduction from the carrying amount of the related debt liability and not as a deferred charge presented in Other assets on our consolidated balance sheets. This amendment will be effective for interim and annual periods beginning on January 1, 2016, and is required to be retrospectively adopted. Management expects to change the presentation on our consolidated balance sheets accordingly for all periods impacted upon the required adoption date.