Even when a business is losing money, it's possible for shareholders to make money if they buy a good business at the right price. 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 while history lauds those rare successes, those that fail are often forgotten; who remembers Pets.com?
So, the natural question for Odonate Therapeutics (NASDAQ:ODT) shareholders is whether they should be concerned by its rate of cash burn. 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. First, we'll determine its cash runway by comparing its cash burn with its cash reserves.
Does Odonate 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. In September 2019, Odonate Therapeutics had US$204m in cash, and was debt-free. Looking at the last year, the company burnt through US$94m. Therefore, from September 2019 it had 2.2 years of cash runway. Notably, analysts forecast that Odonate Therapeutics will break even (at a free cash flow level) in about 2 years. That means it doesn't have a great deal of breathing room, but it shouldn't really need more cash, considering that cash burn should be continually reducing. The image below shows how its cash balance has been changing over the last few years.
How Is Odonate Therapeutics's Cash Burn Changing Over Time?
Because Odonate 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. During the last twelve months, its cash burn actually ramped up 55%. 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.
How Hard Would It Be For Odonate Therapeutics To Raise More Cash For Growth?
While Odonate Therapeutics 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 to 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.
Since it has a market capitalisation of US$1.0b, Odonate Therapeutics's US$94m in cash burn equates to about 9.0% of its market value. Given that is a rather small percentage, it would probably be really easy for the company to fund another year's growth by issuing some new shares to investors, or even by taking out a loan.
Is Odonate Therapeutics's Cash Burn A Worry?
As you can probably tell by now, we're not too worried about Odonate 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. One real positive is that analysts are forecasting that the company will reach breakeven. 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. Notably, our data indicates that Odonate Therapeutics insiders have been trading the shares. You can discover if they are buyers or sellers by clicking on this link.
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If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org. 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. Simply Wall St has no position in the stocks mentioned. Thank you for reading.