Stock Analysis

We're Hopeful That Stoke Therapeutics (NASDAQ:STOK) Will Use Its Cash Wisely

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NasdaqGS:STOK
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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, Stoke Therapeutics (NASDAQ:STOK) shareholders have done very well over the last year, with the share price soaring by 127%. Nonetheless, only a fool would ignore the risk that a loss making company burns through its cash too quickly.

Given its strong share price performance, we think it's worthwhile for Stoke Therapeutics shareholders to consider whether its cash burn is concerning. 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). The first step is to compare its cash burn with its cash reserves, to give us its 'cash runway'.

See our latest analysis for Stoke Therapeutics

Does Stoke Therapeutics Have A Long 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. As at September 2020, Stoke Therapeutics had cash of US$191m and no debt. Looking at the last year, the company burnt through US$43m. That means it had a cash runway of about 4.5 years as of September 2020. A runway of this length affords the company the time and space it needs to develop the business. The image below shows how its cash balance has been changing over the last few years.

debt-equity-history-analysis
NasdaqGS:STOK Debt to Equity History March 3rd 2021

How Is Stoke Therapeutics' Cash Burn Changing Over Time?

Stoke Therapeutics didn't record any revenue over the last year, indicating that it's an early stage company still developing its business. Nonetheless, we can still examine its cash burn trajectory as part of our assessment of its cash burn situation. During the last twelve months, its cash burn actually ramped up 68%. 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. For that reason, it makes a lot of sense to take a look at our analyst forecasts for the company.

How Easily Can Stoke Therapeutics Raise Cash?

Given its cash burn trajectory, Stoke 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. 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.

Stoke Therapeutics has a market capitalisation of US$2.2b and burnt through US$43m last year, which is 1.9% of the company's market value. That means it could easily issue a few shares to fund more growth, and might well be in a position to borrow cheaply.

So, Should We Worry About Stoke Therapeutics' Cash Burn?

As you can probably tell by now, we're not too worried about Stoke Therapeutics' cash burn. 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. 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. Taking a deeper dive, we've spotted 3 warning signs for Stoke Therapeutics you should be aware of, and 1 of them is potentially serious.

Of course Stoke Therapeutics may not be the best stock to buy. So you may wish to see this free collection of companies boasting high return on equity, or this list of stocks that insiders are buying.

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