We're Keeping An Eye On Cellectar Biosciences' (NASDAQ:CLRB) Cash Burn Rate

By
Simply Wall St
Published
November 30, 2020
NasdaqCM:CLRB

Just because a business does not make any money, does not mean that the stock will go down. For example, although software-as-a-service business Salesforce.com lost money for years while it grew recurring revenue, if you held shares since 2005, you'd have done very well indeed. But the harsh reality is that very many loss making companies burn through all their cash and go bankrupt.

Given this risk, we thought we'd take a look at whether Cellectar Biosciences (NASDAQ:CLRB) shareholders should be worried about its cash burn. For the purpose of this article, we'll define cash burn as the amount of cash the company is spending each year to fund its growth (also called its negative free cash flow). Let's start with an examination of the business' cash, relative to its cash burn.

See our latest analysis for Cellectar Biosciences

When Might Cellectar Biosciences Run Out Of Money?

A company's cash runway is the amount of time it would take to burn through its cash reserves at its current cash burn rate. As at September 2020, Cellectar Biosciences had cash of US$19m and such minimal debt that we can ignore it for the purposes of this analysis. Importantly, its cash burn was US$13m over the trailing twelve months. So it had a cash runway of approximately 18 months from September 2020. Importantly, analysts think that Cellectar Biosciences will reach cashflow breakeven in 4 years. That means unless the company reduces its cash burn quickly, it may well look to raise more cash. You can see how its cash balance has changed over time in the image below.

debt-equity-history-analysis
NasdaqCM:CLRB Debt to Equity History November 30th 2020

How Is Cellectar Biosciences' Cash Burn Changing Over Time?

Because Cellectar Biosciences isn't currently generating revenue, we consider it an early-stage 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. With the cash burn rate up 5.3% 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. For that reason, it makes a lot of sense to take a look at our analyst forecasts for the company.

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

While its cash burn is only increasing slightly, Cellectar Biosciences shareholders should still consider the potential need for further cash, down the track. 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 and 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).

Since it has a market capitalisation of US$33m, Cellectar Biosciences' US$13m in cash burn equates to about 39% of its market value. That's not insignificant, and if the company had to sell enough shares to fund another year's growth at the current share price, you'd likely witness fairly costly dilution.

So, Should We Worry About Cellectar Biosciences' 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 Cellectar Biosciences' cash runway was relatively promising. Shareholders can take heart from the fact that analysts are forecasting it will reach breakeven. Even though we don't think it has a problem with its cash burn, the analysis we've done in this article does suggest that shareholders should give some careful thought to the potential cost of raising more money in the future. On another note, Cellectar Biosciences has 5 warning signs (and 3 which are concerning) we think you should know about.

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.
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