Stock Analysis

Companies Like Verve Therapeutics (NASDAQ:VERV) Are In A Position To Invest In Growth

NasdaqGS:VERV
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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 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 Verve Therapeutics (NASDAQ:VERV) 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.

Check out our latest analysis for Verve Therapeutics

Does Verve Therapeutics Have A Long Cash Runway?

A company's cash runway is calculated by dividing its cash hoard by its cash burn. As at September 2022, Verve Therapeutics had cash of US$551m and no debt. Importantly, its cash burn was US$127m over the trailing twelve months. Therefore, from September 2022 it had 4.3 years of cash runway. 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:VERV Debt to Equity History February 24th 2023

How Is Verve Therapeutics' Cash Burn Changing Over Time?

Whilst it's great to see that Verve Therapeutics has already begun generating revenue from operations, last year it only produced US$929k, so we don't think it is generating significant revenue, at this point. Therefore, for the purposes of this analysis we'll focus on how the cash burn is tracking. Over the last year its cash burn actually increased by a very significant 83%. 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. Clearly, however, the crucial factor is whether the company will grow its business going forward. 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 Verve Therapeutics To Raise More Cash For Growth?

Given its cash burn trajectory, Verve 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 looking at a company's cash burn relative to its market capitalisation, we gain insight on how much shareholders would be diluted if the company needed to raise enough cash to cover another year's cash burn.

Verve Therapeutics' cash burn of US$127m is about 11% of its US$1.2b market capitalisation. Given that situation, it's fair to say the company wouldn't have much trouble raising more cash for growth, but shareholders would be somewhat diluted.

Is Verve Therapeutics' Cash Burn A Worry?

As you can probably tell by now, we're not too worried about Verve Therapeutics' cash burn. For example, we think its cash runway suggests that the company is on a good path. Although we do find its increasing cash burn to be a bit of a negative, once we consider the other metrics mentioned in this article together, the overall picture is one we are comfortable with. Considering all the factors discussed in this article, we're not overly concerned about the company's cash burn, although we do think shareholders should keep an eye on how it develops. On another note, we conducted an in-depth investigation of the company, and identified 4 warning signs for Verve Therapeutics (2 make us uncomfortable!) 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)

Valuation is complex, but we're helping make it simple.

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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.