Just because a business does not make any money, does not mean that the stock will go down. 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. Having said that, unprofitable companies are risky because they could potentially burn through all their cash and become distressed.
Given this risk, we thought we'd take a look at whether Lyra Therapeutics (NASDAQ:LYRA) 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. First, we'll determine its cash runway by comparing its cash burn with its cash reserves.
When Might Lyra Therapeutics 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. In September 2020, Lyra Therapeutics had US$82m in cash, and was debt-free. Looking at the last year, the company burnt through US$20m. That means it had a cash runway of about 4.1 years as of September 2020. A runway of this length affords the company the time and space it needs to develop the business. Depicted below, you can see how its cash holdings have changed over time.
How Is Lyra Therapeutics' Cash Burn Changing Over Time?
Because Lyra Therapeutics 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. Over the last year its cash burn actually increased by a very significant 64%. Oftentimes, increased cash burn simply means a company is accelerating its business development, but one should always be mindful that this causes the cash runway to shrink. 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.
Can Lyra Therapeutics Raise More Cash Easily?
Given its cash burn trajectory, Lyra Therapeutics shareholders may wish to consider how easily it could raise more cash, despite its solid cash runway. Companies can raise capital through either debt or equity. 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).
Lyra Therapeutics has a market capitalisation of US$139m and burnt through US$20m last year, which is 14% of the company's market value. As a result, we'd venture that the company could raise more cash for growth without much trouble, albeit at the cost of some dilution.
How Risky Is Lyra Therapeutics' Cash Burn Situation?
It may already be apparent to you that we're relatively comfortable with the way Lyra Therapeutics is burning through its cash. In particular, we think its cash runway stands out as evidence that the company is well on top of its spending. While its increasing cash burn wasn't great, the other factors mentioned in this article more than make up for weakness on that measure. Based on the factors mentioned in this article, we think its cash burn situation warrants some attention from shareholders, but we don't think they should be worried. Separately, we looked at different risks affecting the company and spotted 3 warning signs for Lyra Therapeutics (of which 1 is potentially serious!) you should know about.
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Lyra Therapeutics, Inc., a clinical-stage therapeutics company, focuses on the development and commercialization of novel integrated drug and delivery solutions for the localized treatment of patients with ear, nose, and throat diseases.
Flawless balance sheet and slightly overvalued.