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. 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 Passage Bio (NASDAQ:PASG) shareholders should be worried about its cash burn. In this report, we will consider the company's annual negative free cash flow, henceforth referring to it as the 'cash burn'. The first step is to compare its cash burn with its cash reserves, to give us its 'cash runway'.
How Long Is Passage Bio's Cash Runway?
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 2022, Passage Bio had US$214m in cash, and was debt-free. Importantly, its cash burn was US$137m over the trailing twelve months. Therefore, from September 2022 it had roughly 19 months of cash runway. That's not too bad, but it's fair to say the end of the cash runway is in sight, unless cash burn reduces drastically. Depicted below, you can see how its cash holdings have changed over time.
How Is Passage Bio's Cash Burn Changing Over Time?
Because Passage Bio 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 cash burn dropping by 5.6% it seems management feel the company is spending enough to advance its business plans at an appropriate pace. Clearly, however, the crucial factor is whether the company will grow its business going forward. So you might want to take a peek at how much the company is expected to grow in the next few years.
Can Passage Bio Raise More Cash Easily?
Even though it has reduced its cash burn recently, shareholders should still consider how easy it would be for Passage Bio to raise more cash in the future. 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.
Passage Bio has a market capitalisation of US$80m and burnt through US$137m last year, which is 172% of the company's market value. Given just how high that expenditure is, relative to the company's market value, we think there's an elevated risk of funding distress, and we would be very nervous about holding the stock.
Is Passage Bio's Cash Burn A Worry?
Even though its cash burn relative to its market cap makes us a little nervous, we are compelled to mention that we thought Passage Bio's cash runway was relatively promising. Looking at the factors mentioned in this short report, we do think that its cash burn is a bit risky, and it does make us slightly nervous about the stock. On another note, we conducted an in-depth investigation of the company, and identified 3 warning signs for Passage Bio (1 is a bit unpleasant!) that you should be aware of before investing here.
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This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. We provide commentary based on historical data and analyst forecasts only using an unbiased methodology and our articles are not intended to be financial advice. 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.