Stock Analysis

Will Allakos (NASDAQ:ALLK) Spend Its Cash Wisely?

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NasdaqGS:ALLK
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We can readily understand why investors are attracted to unprofitable companies. 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. But the harsh reality is that very many loss making companies burn through all their cash and go bankrupt.

So should Allakos (NASDAQ:ALLK) shareholders 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. First, we'll determine its cash runway by comparing its cash burn with its cash reserves.

Check out our latest analysis for Allakos

When Might Allakos Run Out Of Money?

You can calculate a company's cash runway by dividing the amount of cash it has by the rate at which it is spending that cash. As at December 2021, Allakos had cash of US$424m and no debt. Importantly, its cash burn was US$241m over the trailing twelve months. Therefore, from December 2021 it had roughly 21 months of cash runway. Importantly, analysts think that Allakos will reach cashflow breakeven in 3 years. That means unless the company reduces its cash burn quickly, it may well look to raise more cash. Depicted below, you can see how its cash holdings have changed over time.

debt-equity-history-analysis
NasdaqGS:ALLK Debt to Equity History April 22nd 2022

How Is Allakos' Cash Burn Changing Over Time?

Allakos didn't record any revenue over the last year, indicating that it's an early stage company still developing its business. So while we can't look to sales to understand growth, we can look at how the cash burn is changing to understand how expenditure is trending over time. The skyrocketing cash burn up 110% year on year certainly tests our nerves. It's fair to say that sort of rate of increase cannot be maintained for very long, without putting pressure on the balance sheet. While the past is always worth studying, it is the future that matters most of all. So you might want to take a peek at how much the company is expected to grow in the next few years.

How Hard Would It Be For Allakos To Raise More Cash For Growth?

Given its cash burn trajectory, Allakos 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. One of the main advantages held by publicly listed companies is that they can sell shares to investors to raise cash and fund 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).

In the last year, Allakos burned through US$241m, which is just about equal to its US$240m market cap. That suggests the company may have some funding difficulties, and we'd be very wary of the stock.

So, Should We Worry About Allakos' Cash Burn?

Even though its cash burn relative to its market cap makes us a little nervous, we are compelled to mention that we thought Allakos' cash runway was relatively promising. Shareholders can take heart from the fact that analysts are forecasting it will reach breakeven. After looking at that range of measures, we think shareholders should be extremely attentive to how the company is using its cash, as the cash burn makes us uncomfortable. On another note, we conducted an in-depth investigation of the company, and identified 4 warning signs for Allakos (1 is a bit concerning!) that you should be aware of before investing here.

Of course Allakos may not be the best stock to buy. So you may wish to see this free collection of companies boasting high return on equity, or this list of stocks that insiders are buying.

What are the risks and opportunities for Allakos?

Allakos Inc., a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company, develops therapeutics that target immunomodulatory receptors present on immune effector cells in allergy, inflammatory, and proliferative diseases.

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Risks

  • Makes less than USD$1m in revenue ($0)

  • Shareholders have been substantially diluted in the past year

  • Currently unprofitable and not forecast to become profitable over the next 3 years

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