Just because a business does not make any money, does not mean that the stock will go down. Indeed, Anavex Life Sciences (NASDAQ:AVXL) stock is up 309% in the last year, providing strong gains for shareholders. Nonetheless, only a fool would ignore the risk that a loss making company burns through its cash too quickly.
So notwithstanding the buoyant share price, we think it's well worth asking whether Anavex Life Sciences' cash burn is too risky. In this article, we define cash burn as its annual (negative) free cash flow, which is the amount of money a company spends each year to fund its growth. The first step is to compare its cash burn with its cash reserves, to give us its 'cash runway'.
Does Anavex Life Sciences 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. In March 2021, Anavex Life Sciences had US$76m in cash, and was debt-free. Looking at the last year, the company burnt through US$25m. So it had a cash runway of about 3.0 years from March 2021. Importantly, though, analysts think that Anavex Life Sciences will reach cashflow breakeven before then. If that happens, then the length of its cash runway, today, would become a moot point. Depicted below, you can see how its cash holdings have changed over time.
How Is Anavex Life Sciences' Cash Burn Changing Over Time?
Because Anavex Life Sciences isn't currently generating revenue, we consider it an early-stage 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 21% in the last year, it seems that the company is ratcheting up investment in the business over time. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but investors should be mindful of the fact that will shorten the cash runway. 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 Easily Can Anavex Life Sciences Raise Cash?
While Anavex Life Sciences does have a solid cash runway, its cash burn trajectory may have some shareholders thinking ahead to when the company may need to raise more cash. Companies can raise capital through either debt or equity. One of the main advantages held by publicly listed companies is that they can sell shares to investors to raise cash and fund growth. We can compare a company's cash burn to its market capitalisation to get a sense for how many new shares a company would have to issue to fund one year's operations.
Anavex Life Sciences' cash burn of US$25m is about 1.9% of its US$1.3b market capitalisation. That means it could easily issue a few shares to fund more growth, and might well be in a position to borrow cheaply.
Is Anavex Life Sciences' Cash Burn A Worry?
As you can probably tell by now, we're not too worried about Anavex Life Sciences' cash burn. In particular, we think its cash runway stands out as evidence that the company is well on top of its spending. Although its increasing cash burn does give us reason for pause, the other metrics we discussed in this article form a positive picture overall. There's no doubt that shareholders can take a lot of heart from the fact that analysts are forecasting it will reach breakeven before too long. After considering a range of factors in this article, we're pretty relaxed about its cash burn, since the company seems to be in a good position to continue to fund its growth. An in-depth examination of risks revealed 2 warning signs for Anavex Life Sciences that readers should think about before committing capital to this stock.
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Anavex Life Sciences
Anavex Life Sciences Corp., a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company, engages in the development of drug candidates for the treatment of central nervous system (CNS) diseases.
Flawless balance sheet with high growth potential.