Galectin Therapeutics (NASDAQ:GALT) Is In A Good Position To Deliver On Growth Plans

There’s no doubt that money can be made by owning shares of unprofitable businesses. For example, although Amazon.com made losses for many years after listing, if you had bought and held the shares since 1999, you would have made a fortune. Nonetheless, only a fool would ignore the risk that a loss making company burns through its cash too quickly.

Given this risk, we thought we’d take a look at whether Galectin Therapeutics (NASDAQ:GALT) shareholders should be worried about its cash burn. For the purposes of this article, cash burn is the annual rate at which an unprofitable company spends cash to fund its growth; its negative free cash flow. Let’s start with an examination of the business’s cash, relative to its cash burn.

View our latest analysis for Galectin Therapeutics

Does Galectin Therapeutics Have A Long Cash Runway?

A cash runway is defined as the length of time it would take a company to run out of money if it kept spending at its current rate of cash burn. When Galectin Therapeutics last reported its balance sheet in March 2020, it had zero debt and cash worth US$43m. Importantly, its cash burn was US$12m over the trailing twelve months. So it had a cash runway of about 3.6 years from March 2020. There’s no doubt that this is a reassuringly long runway. Depicted below, you can see how its cash holdings have changed over time.

NasdaqCM:GALT Historical Debt June 16th 2020
NasdaqCM:GALT Historical Debt June 16th 2020

How Is Galectin Therapeutics’s Cash Burn Changing Over Time?

Galectin Therapeutics didn’t record any revenue over the last year, indicating that it’s an early stage company still developing its business. Nonetheless, we can still examine its cash burn trajectory as part of our assessment of its cash burn situation. With the cash burn rate up 20% in the last year, it seems that the company is ratcheting up investment in the business over time. However, the company’s true cash runway will therefore be shorter than suggested above, if spending continues to increase. Clearly, however, the crucial factor is whether the company will grow its business going forward. So you might want to take a peek at how much the company is expected to grow in the next few years.

Can Galectin Therapeutics Raise More Cash Easily?

Given its cash burn trajectory, Galectin Therapeutics shareholders may wish to consider how easily it could raise more cash, despite its solid cash runway. Issuing new shares, or taking on debt, are the most common ways for a listed company to raise more money for its business. Commonly, a business will sell new shares in itself to raise cash to drive growth. By comparing a company’s annual cash burn to its total market capitalisation, we can estimate roughly how many shares it would have to issue in order to run the company for another year (at the same burn rate).

Galectin Therapeutics’s cash burn of US$12m is about 7.2% of its US$165m market capitalisation. That’s a low proportion, so we figure the company would be able to raise more cash to fund growth, with a little dilution, or even to simply borrow some money.

So, Should We Worry About Galectin Therapeutics’s Cash Burn?

As you can probably tell by now, we’re not too worried about Galectin Therapeutics’s cash burn. For example, we think its cash runway suggests that the company is on a good path. While its increasing cash burn wasn’t great, the other factors mentioned in this article more than make up for weakness on that measure. After taking into account the various metrics mentioned in this report, we’re pretty comfortable with how the company is spending its cash, as it seems on track to meet its needs over the medium term. Taking an in-depth view of risks, we’ve identified 2 warning signs for Galectin Therapeutics that you should be aware of before investing.

Of course, you might find a fantastic investment by looking elsewhere. So take a peek at this free list of companies insiders are buying, and this list of stocks growth stocks (according to analyst forecasts)

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This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. We aim to bring you long-term focused analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Simply Wall St has no position in any stocks mentioned. Thank you for reading.