Will Virios Therapeutics (NASDAQ:VIRI) Spend Its Cash Wisely?

By
Simply Wall St
Published
November 01, 2021
NasdaqCM:VIRI
Source: Shutterstock

Just because a business does not make any money, does not mean that the stock will go down. For example, biotech and mining exploration companies often lose money for years before finding success with a new treatment or mineral discovery. 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 Virios Therapeutics (NASDAQ:VIRI) 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. We'll start by comparing its cash burn with its cash reserves in order to calculate its cash runway.

See our latest analysis for Virios Therapeutics

How Long Is Virios Therapeutics' 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 June 2021, Virios Therapeutics had cash of US$22m and no debt. Importantly, its cash burn was US$11m over the trailing twelve months. That means it had a cash runway of about 2.0 years as of June 2021. That's decent, giving the company a couple years to develop its business. You can see how its cash balance has changed over time in the image below.

debt-equity-history-analysis
NasdaqCM:VIRI Debt to Equity History November 2nd 2021

How Is Virios Therapeutics' Cash Burn Changing Over Time?

Virios 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. Its cash burn positively exploded in the last year, up 427%. With that kind of spending growth its cash runway will shorten quickly, as it simultaneously uses its cash while increasing the burn rate. 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 Virios Therapeutics Raise Cash?

Given its cash burn trajectory, Virios Therapeutics shareholders may wish to consider how easily it could raise more cash, despite its solid cash runway. Generally speaking, a listed business can raise new cash through issuing shares or taking on debt. Many companies end up issuing new shares to fund future 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.

Virios Therapeutics' cash burn of US$11m is about 23% of its US$47m market capitalisation. That's fairly notable cash burn, so if the company had to sell shares to cover the cost of another year's operations, shareholders would suffer some costly dilution.

Is Virios Therapeutics' Cash Burn A Worry?

Even though its increasing cash burn makes us a little nervous, we are compelled to mention that we thought Virios Therapeutics' cash runway was relatively promising. Even though we don't think it has a problem with its cash burn, the analysis we've done in this article does suggest that shareholders should give some careful thought to the potential cost of raising more money in the future. Taking a deeper dive, we've spotted 5 warning signs for Virios Therapeutics you should be aware of, and 2 of them are a bit concerning.

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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