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, 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 the successes are well known, investors should not ignore the very many unprofitable companies that simply burn through all their cash and collapse.

So, the natural question for Stoke Therapeutics (NASDAQ:STOK) 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. We'll start by comparing its cash burn with its cash reserves in order to calculate its cash runway.

See our latest analysis for Stoke Therapeutics

When Might Stoke Therapeutics Run Out Of Money?

A company's cash runway is calculated by dividing its cash hoard by its cash burn. As at March 2021, Stoke Therapeutics had cash of US$268m and no debt. Looking at the last year, the company burnt through US$52m. Therefore, from March 2021 it had 5.1 years of cash runway. Even though this is but one measure of the company's cash burn, the thought of such a long cash runway warms our bellies in a comforting way. You can see how its cash balance has changed over time in the image below.

debt-equity-history-analysis
NasdaqGS:STOK Debt to Equity History June 16th 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. 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 39% in the last year, it seems that the company is ratcheting up investment in the business over time. However, the company's true cash runway will therefore be shorter than suggested above, if spending continues to increase. 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 Stoke Therapeutics To Raise More Cash For Growth?

Given its cash burn trajectory, Stoke Therapeutics shareholders may wish to consider how easily it could raise more cash, despite its solid cash runway. Issuing new shares, or taking on debt, are the most common ways for a listed company to raise more money for its business. One of the main advantages held by publicly listed companies is that they can sell shares to investors to raise cash and fund 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).

Stoke Therapeutics has a market capitalisation of US$1.4b and burnt through US$52m last year, which is 3.9% of the company's market value. That's a low proportion, so we figure the company would be able to raise more cash to fund growth, with a little dilution, or even to simply borrow some money.

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. On another note, we conducted an in-depth investigation of the company, and identified 4 warning signs for Stoke Therapeutics (1 is concerning!) that you should be aware of before investing here.

Of course, you might find a fantastic investment by looking elsewhere. So take a peek at this free list of interesting companies, and this list of stocks growth stocks (according to analyst forecasts)

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