You're asking the right question. If MBLX is unable to raise additional capital with reverse split and secondary offering, then they will likely be forced to seek a buyer. They won't have much time or leverage, thus your reference to an auction is likely more or less how it's going to go down. They won't have any assets other than a bunch of patents that haven't generated any revenue to speak of. The value of the patents is difficult to determine. If you think they are extremely valuable, then you must believe that Eno and his management team are completely incompetent because they wasted 100's of millions of dollars trying to commercialize and never even came close to generating meaningful revenues. If you think Eno and his management team are competent, then the patents are probably not that valuable. There are 100's of thousands of patents that never generate any revenue or profits.
If I had to guess, which is all it would be, MBLX is probably worth around $50 to $100 million. If they sold now, there would be upside to the current stock price. However, this management team has proven time and time and time and time and time and time and time again that it's incompetent. Thus, I think there is high probability they will run out of cash and sell at fire sale prices. Who knows. I wish the analysts who covered this stock would ask good questions, and someone knowledgeable would write articles about the value of the patents.