Is Achilles Therapeutics (NASDAQ:ACHL) In A Good Position To Deliver On Growth Plans?
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. Nonetheless, only a fool would ignore the risk that a loss making company burns through its cash too quickly.
So, the natural question for Achilles Therapeutics (NASDAQ:ACHL) shareholders is whether they should be concerned by its rate of 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. Let's start with an examination of the business' cash, relative to its cash burn.
See our latest analysis for Achilles Therapeutics
When Might Achilles Therapeutics Run Out Of Money?
A company's cash runway is calculated by dividing its cash hoard by its cash burn. As at September 2022, Achilles Therapeutics had cash of US$180m and no debt. Importantly, its cash burn was US$62m over the trailing twelve months. That means it had a cash runway of about 2.9 years as of September 2022. Arguably, that's a prudent and sensible length of runway to have. The image below shows how its cash balance has been changing over the last few years.
How Is Achilles Therapeutics' Cash Burn Changing Over Time?
Achilles 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. With cash burn dropping by 4.6% it seems management feel the company is spending enough to advance its business plans at an appropriate pace. 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.
Can Achilles Therapeutics Raise More Cash Easily?
Even though it has reduced its cash burn recently, shareholders should still consider how easy it would be for Achilles Therapeutics to raise more cash in the future. Issuing new shares, or taking on debt, are the most common ways for a listed company to raise more money for its business. Commonly, a business will sell new shares in itself to raise cash and drive 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).
Achilles Therapeutics' cash burn of US$62m is about 90% of its US$69m market capitalisation. Given just how high that expenditure is, relative to the company's market value, we think there's an elevated risk of funding distress, and we would be very nervous about holding the stock.
So, Should We Worry About Achilles Therapeutics' Cash Burn?
On this analysis of Achilles Therapeutics' cash burn, we think its cash runway was reassuring, while its cash burn relative to its market cap has us a bit worried. 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 4 warning signs for Achilles Therapeutics you should be aware of, and 2 of them don't sit too well with us.
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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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.
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